Announcing Augustana Faculty Promotions and Tenure

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The Augustana Board of Trustees approved a number of faculty members for tenure and/or promotions at their December meeting.

"For these faculty, the receipt of an increased rank in promotion and/or tenure is a testimony and acknowledgement from their colleagues of excellence across their roles of teaching, scholarship and service," said Dr. Jerry Jorgensen, interim senior vice president for Academic Affairs. "Being granted tenure and/or promotion is an important milestone in their professional careers. It is a commitment by the institution for each faculty member's commitment to the institution and its students."

 Faculty members promoted to the rank of professor:

  • Dr. Patrick Hicks (English)
    Dr. Patrick Hicks is the writer-in-residence at Augustana University, where he teaches courses on creative writing as well as Irish literature. When not discussing the literary arts with students, Dr. Hicks teaches such honors courses as "Great Britain and the Great War" and "Eleutheria: Freedom and Literature." He is the author of "The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard" (2014), as well as six poetry collections, most recently Adoptable (2014) and This London (2010). His work has appeared in some of the most vital literary journals in the nation. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, won the "Glimmer Train Fiction Award," and received several individual artist grant awards. His work with PBS’s Over South Dakota was nominated for an Emmy. In 2015, his collection of short stories, The Collector of Names was published and he is currently at work on a new novel. Before taking his Ph.D. from the University of Sussex (England), Dr. Hicks lived in Northern Ireland, Germany and Spain for many years. He gives fiction and poetry readings all across the nation.
  • Dr. Michael Nitz (Communication Studies)
    Dr. Michael Nitz is an associate professor in the department of communication studies. He received his doctoral degree from Arizona. He is also the coordinator of Norwegian programs. He teaches the basic course in communication, as well as "Communication Research," "Public Relations," "Persuasion," "Mass Media Effects," "Persuasive Campaigns," and "International Communication." He is a Fulbright Scholar whose research interests are in international media coverage of political and environmental issues, as well as the role of late-night television comedy in the political process. He recently received Augustana’s Jane Zaloudek Research Fellowship Award for work on Norwegian/German media coverage of the U.S. Presidential election. He is the campus advisor for the PRSSA (PR Student Society of America) chapter and has led several International PR courses in Europe.

Faculty members granted tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor:

  • Dr. Cecelia Miles (Biology)
    Dr. Cecelia Miles teaches "Developmental Biology," "Vertebrate Embryology," "Introductory Biology" and "Biology and Human Concerns." Her research is focused on the genetics of variation in egg size (per-offspring maternal investment) and how shifts in egg size affect key developmental events as well as fitness of parents and offspring. She received her bachelor's degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University, her master's degree in biological sciences from Florida Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida. Dr. Miles was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, doing research on resolving spatial patterning and egg size in Drosophila.
  • Dr. Michael Rueter (Modern Foreign Languages)
    Dr. Michael Rueter received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught all levels of Spanish language and composition as well as introductory literature courses. He specializes in medieval Spanish literature and the writings of the Moriscos, the crypto-Muslim population living in Spain during the 16th and early 17th centuries. Some of his research interests involve relations and exchange amongst the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities of medieval Iberia, as well as the themes of convivencia and reconquista. Dr. Rueter also spent time living in Spain, where he studied abroad and taught English at the University of Murcia.
  • Dr. Casey Trainor (Psychology)
    Dr. Casey Trainor received his doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas. His classes include "General Psychology" and "Abnormal Psychology." His research interests focus primarily on anxiety and anxiety disorders. Specifically he is interested in the factors that contribute to the development of anxiety, the relationship between anxiety and sleep, and the relationship between anxiety and substance use.
  • Dr. Seasson Vitiello (Biology)
    Dr. Seasson Vitiello teaches "Genetics," "Molecular Biology," "Cell Biology" and "Cell Signaling." Her primary research project focuses on using yeast molecular genetics to study cystinosis, a pediatric lysosomal storage disorder. Dr. Vitiello received 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/University of South Dakota.