Augustana Announces New Faculty Members

As Augustana officially opens the 2012-13 academic year, the College also welcomes the following new full time faculty members:

Dr. Lisa Baye, biology lab instructor/lab coordinator
Dr. Baye holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and a Ph.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she studied in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy. As a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Iowa, she worked on “Elucidating the molecular pathways underlying human blindness and ciliopathy diseases in the zebrafish model.”

Kim Dobson, assistant professor, education
Ms. Dobson holds a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University. She has more than 21 years of special education teaching experience, both in the Sioux Falls School District and at Augustana, where she has taught the SPED 330 course, “Educating Children with Cognitive Impairments.”

Dr. Nathan Grau, assistant professor, physics
Specializing in nuclear and particle physics, Dr. Grau is a member of the PHENIX experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory and is a past member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. Dr. Grau earned his bachelor’s degree from Millikin University and holds a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. More recently, he served as a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University's Nevis Laboratories, where he also served as an adjunct faculty member in the physics department. Dr. Grau has taught Modern Physics, Astronomy, Thermal and Statistical Physics, Atoms to Stars, and introductory programming courses. Since 2010, he has served as a visiting assistant professor for the Department of Physics at Augustana.

Dr. Landon Karr, assistant professor, art and anthropology
Dr. Karr holds a bachelor’s degree from Augustana and a Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Exeter. Following his undergraduate studies, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the municipality of Guajiquiro, La Paz, Honduras. As a postgraduate research student, he served as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter.

Dr. Lindsay Laurich, assistant professor, education
Dr. Laurich holds a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s University, a master’s degree in developmental reading from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in language, literacy and culture from the University of Iowa. Her research interests include reading instruction, teacher development, process writing, digital literacy, discourse analysis, and identity and literacy. Her teaching interests include reading methods, children and adolescent literature, language arts methods, socio-cultural contexts and learning, adolescent and adult reading, and inquiry-based teaching.  Most recently, she served as a teaching assistant in the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Paul Nesheim, associate professor of music and director of The Augustana Choir
Dr. Nesheim earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College (music education major); a Master of Music degree in choral music from Arizona State University; and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Arizona. He most recently served as associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he conducted three choirs and taught choral conducting. He also served as artistic director of the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber Chorale and the conductor of the Senior Choir at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead.

Dr. Janet Philipp, professor and chair, Nursing Department
Dr. Philipp is a graduate of the Capital City School of Nursing and holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and nursing from the University of Dubuque. She earned her master’s degree in Family and Community Health Nursing from Creighton University and holds her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Dakota. Most recently, she served as chair for the Division for Health Professions and director of the Ed.D. program for the College of Saint Mary. Prior to that, she served as president for Dana College from 2005-2010.

Dr. Steve Schultz, assistant professor, chemistry
Dr. Schultz holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in chemistry/biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He completed his post-doctorate work at Yale University and received his M.P.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. Most recently, he served as a chemistry instructor at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. From 1991 to 2000, he served as an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Dr. Leigh Vicens, assistant professor, philosophy
Dr. Vicens holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a master’s of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Vicens’ areas of specialization include philosophy of religion, philosophy of the mind and philosophy of action. As a teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, she taught “Philosophy of Religion,” “History of Modern Philosophy,” “Introductory Ethics,” and “Contemporary Moral Issues.” As a teaching assistant at Virginia Theological Seminary, she taught “Christian Ethics” and “Anglican Thought.”

Dr. Seasson Vitiello, assistant professor, biology
Dr. Vitiello earned her bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College. She completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship there and at Sanford Research/USD. Dr. Vitiello teaches Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Cell Signaling. Since 2010, she has served as a visiting assistant professor for the Department of Biology at Augustana. Her research focuses on using yeast molecular genetics to study cystinosis, a pediatric lysosomal storage disorder. Previously, she served as co-director of the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), a training program designed to introduce undergraduate students to graduate school, with a focus on those from socio-economically challenged backgrounds.

Dr. Emily Wanless, assistant professor, government and international affairs/political science
Dr. Wanless earned her bachelor’s degree from Clemson University (political science major) and her master’s degree in political science from the University of Montana. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Georgia. Dr. Wanless’ teaching and research interests include American politics, institutions and elections. Most recently, she served as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Georgia’s Department of Political Science, School of Public and International Affairs.

"Working alongside our current exceptional faculty members, these new teacher-scholars will help Augustana advance its mission to provide an education of enduring worth that challenges the intellect, fosters integrity and integrates faith with learning and service in a diverse world. We are excited and honored to have these talented and inspiring individuals on our team," said Dr. Susan Hasseler, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.

New Faculty Members for 2012-13 academic year

Front row (seated), left to right: Paul Nesheim, Janet Philipp, Landon Karr, Leigh Vicens, Kim Dobson.
Back row, left to right: Steve Schultz, Nathan Grau, Lindsay Laurich, Emily Wanless.