Wagner College is rapidly approaching the end of its 138th school year — and what a year it has been!
With the end of the year at hand, it is fitting that we acknowledge the career milestones reached by members of our faculty — tenure, promotion, retirement, and the granting of emeritus status.
Note that faculty retirements are effective Aug. 31, and promotions on Sept. 1.
Paul Barretta, Associate Professor, Nicolais School of Business
Paul G. Barretta earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baruch College and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas–Pan American. Before joining the Wagner College community in 2019, where he teaches marketing, Barretta taught at St. Bonaventure University. His primary areas of research include consumer behavior, particularly in the cultural services industries. He has published research related to music, sports, perceived authenticity and beverage consumption.
TENURE & PROMOTION
to associate professor
Edna Aurelus, Assistant Professor, Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing
Edna Aurelus, who joined the Wagner faculty in 2015, is an alumna of Wagner College, where she earned her MSN in the family nurse practitioner program. She earned her DNP in advanced nursing practice from Arizona State University. Aurelus has extensive experience in psychiatric nursing and mental health; she has worked at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital and with the Department of Corrections, Perryville Prison, the only female prison in Arizona. Her doctoral research focused on prevention of weight gain induced by antipsychotic medications. Aurelus is the author of multiple peer-reviewed researched articles, including “A Decade of Cirrhosis,” for which she was the recipient of the competitive Maureen Robinson Faculty Fellowship 2019-20.
Racquel DiCicco, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Sciences
Raquel DeCicco received her undergraduate degree from Wagner College and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stony Brook University. After receiving her Ph.D., she served as visiting assistant professor of chemistry at Drew University. She previously taught at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan. DeCicco’s research focuses on the synthesis and polymerization behavior of polyynes. She joined the Wagner College faculty in 2015.
Brett Palfreyman, Assistant Professor, History Department
Brett Palfreyman, who joined the Wagner College history faculty in January 2016, earned his B.A. and M.A. from Boston College and his Ph.D. from Binghamton University. He teaches courses spanning the chronological length of American history, from the early colonial period to the present day. “Some of my classes focus on discrete moments in time, including the Revolutionary Era, World War II and the 1960s,” Palfreyman says. “Other courses highlight particular themes over a longer time span, like the environmental history of New York City or the history of science and medicine.” His current research project examines the fate of British loyalists who remained in the United States after the American Revolution. Palfreyman’s next major project will focus on the history of beer, brewing and drinking in New York City.
Lindsay Sabatino, Assistant Professor, English Department, and
Director of Writing Center, Center for Academic & Career Engagement
Lindsay Sabatino, who joined the Wagner College faculty in 2017, earned her Ph.D. in English composition and teaching English to speakers of other languages from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation subject was, “Interactions on the Online Writing Center: Students’ Perspectives.” Prior to joining the Wagner College faculty, Sabatino worked as a director at the Digital ACT Studio at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In addition to her journal publications, Sabatino is the co-editor of “Multimodal Consulting: Strategies for 21st Century Writing Consultations,” which focuses on providing writing center tutors with approaches to working with writers whose texts are visual, technological, creative and performative.
in order of seniority
(* also granted emeritus status)
Walter Kaelber (1971), Professor & Robinson Family Chair of Comparative Religion, Philosophy & Religious Studies Department
When Walter Kaelber went to graduate school at the University of Chicago in the 1960s to study under the renowned scholar Mircea Eliade, interest in Eastern religions was reaching a cultural peak as a personal quest for many young people. Over the past 50 years, the world has changed greatly, but the need for education in world religions has gained even more importance.
“What enables people to get along with each other and understand each other has nothing to do with technology,” Kaelber says. “How do we understand people with different beliefs? How do you work with people from other cultures? How do we reduce misunderstandings? The world is much smaller. The study of religion is a means of bringing people together in mutual understanding.”
Susan Bernardo * (1991), Professor, English Department
In nominating Susan Bernardo for emerita status, English Department chair Ali Arant cited Bernardo’s 30 years of service, scholarship and teaching at Wagner College. In addition to serving as department chair herself for a total of 10 years, Bernardo has worked on every faculty committee. “In all of these roles, she helped create systems that worked well and helped people thrive,” Arant wrote. “When colleagues were new, she was [their] determined advocate.”
“Dr. Bernardo has also earned a reputation as a demanding but nurturing teacher,” Arant wrote, sharing her scholarship in the classroom as well as in journals and books. Bernardo co-edited “Gender Reconstructions: Pornography and Perversions in Literature and Culture” (Ashgate 2002), co-authored “Ursula K. Le Guin: A Critical Companion” (Greenwood Press, 2006), edited and contributed to a third volume, “Environments in Science Fiction: Essays on Alternative Spaces” (McFarland Publishing, 2014), and authored a forthcoming monograph, “The Self and Community in ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ ” (McFarland, 2021).
Mark Wagner * (1991), Professor, Psychology Department
“During his 30 years at Wagner, Mark has been a supportive mentor for students and faculty alike,” wrote Psychology Department chair Laurence Nolan in nominating Mark Wagner for emeritus status. “Mark has been an inspiring professor to generations of students, holding students to high academic standards with warmth and empathy.
“Mark is a prolific scholar in the field of psychophysics, particularly in the area of understanding how we perceive the space in which we live. By my count,” Nolan said, “he is the author of 14 book chapters and 20 journal articles, many co-authored with Wagner students. He has co-authored an edited volume on the history of American psychology and is the sole author of a book, ‘The Geometries of Visual Space,’ that is now in contract for a second edition. He is currently writing a book on the philosophy of psychology.
“As you all know, Mark has served the college faithfully on many standing committees and has been a tireless advocate for the faculty and for shared governance. Mark served as psychology department chair for at least 16 years and … he was instrumental in re-establishing an independent psychology department and in the development of its curriculum.
“On a personal note,” Nolan concluded, “he has been a great mentor to me both as a scientist and as a member of the faculty.”
Ann Hurley * (1996), Professor, English Department
“In her 25 years as a full-time faculty member at Wagner College, Dr. Hurley has earned a reputation as a professor who inspires student devotion,” wrote Ali Arant in her nomination of Ann Hurley for emerita status. “She facilitates breakthroughs and epiphanies in student thinking and writing, both in-class and beyond.”
“Ann Hurley is also a first-rate scholar of Early Modern studies,” Arant said. “She is currently in the process of publishing ‘The Faithful Virgins,’ a 17th century play by Elizabeth Polwhele that Hurley transcribed at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. She has also authored ‘John Donne’s Poetry and Early Modern Visual Culture’ (Susquehanna, 2005) and co-edited two volumes, ‘Women Editing/Editing Women: Early Modern Women Writers and the New Textualism’ (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and ‘So Rich a Tapestry: The Sister Arts and Cultural Studies’ (Bucknell, 1995). She has written more than 15 articles and book chapters on Early Modern literature, often focusing on archival studies and the so-called ‘nonexistent’ women writers of the English renaissance.”
Andrew Needle (2001), Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts
Andy Needle has exhibited his paintings at such venues as the American embassies in Austria, Israel and Costa Rica, Albany Institute of History and Art, Vassar College and the Arsenal in Manhattan’s Central Park.
He earned an MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania and studied with Paul Georges, Rackstraw Downes and Yvonne Jacquette.
Needle studied computer graphics at the School of Visual Arts and freelanced extensively at advertising and design firms when the field was new.
Todd Price (2006), Associate Professor, Department of Performing Arts
Todd Price teaches in the theater and arts administration programs, as well as serving as director of the Stanley Drama Awards. As an attorney, he practiced entertainment law in New York City, with emphasis in theater, music, film, television and book publishing.
Price's extensive theatrical production experience includes his work as associate producer at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, where he produced a variety of shows, including “Death of a Salesman” with Hal Holbrook, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” with Elizabeth Ashley, “Ladies in Retirement” with Julie Harris, and the world premier of “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” based on the novel by Herman Wouk, music by Jimmy Buffett.
As the founding artistic and executive director of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, a not-for-profit, professional regional theater, Price created a business plan and developed community support to save the former Burt Reynolds Theatre. In that role he oversaw massive renovations to create a state-of-the-art, 550-seat professional theater and established a season of dramas and musicals with strong subscriber support.
ALSO GRANTED EMERITUS STATUS
in order of seniority
Otto Raths (1964), Physics Professor, Department of Physical Sciences
In 1964, physicist Otto Raths grew dissatisfied with his job in industry. He had a friend, Harvey Logan, who taught physics at Wagner. The rest is history.
In 1968, Raths left Wagner for a couple of years to complete his doctorate at the Stevens Institute of Technology — but he had found his niche, and he returned to influence generations of Wagner students.
Spending time with students was always of utmost importance to Raths. As he said in a 2013 video, “People can find themselves [at Wagner]. That’s important. If you go to a very large campus, sometimes the faculty doesn’t want to spend time with students. We do. We think it’s important.”
Otto Raths retired in 2018.
Margaret Horan (1980), Accounting Professor, Nicolais School of Business
Margaret “Peg” Horan joined the Wagner business administration faculty in 1980. Over nearly four decades, she taught and mentored accounting students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers. She advised student organizations, served on a number of college committees, directed the graduate program in accounting, and brought her knowledge to the general public through a weekly column in the Staten Island Advance. She served as faculty marshal for the 2017 commencement. Peg Horan retired in 2019.
Anne Schotter (1983), Professor, English Department
In Anne Schotter’s 37 years at Wagner College, she was a force for collegiality and professionalism. Her commitment to creating a strong academic community at Wagner shaped the positions she held and affected her approach to them. She was the first person to serve as the director of the college’s honors program. She served as the associate dean of the faculty for 12 years and as liaison officer to NYU’s Faculty Resource Network for 17 years. She served as chair of the English Department during times of transition, and she served on standing committees, including the Priorities and Budgets Committee, and on various ad hoc faculty committees, including the General Education Task Force. In organizing events like the Faculty Forum, she not only helped highlight faculty scholarship, but she also furnished the party and set the tone of academic conviviality.
In addition to this impressive record of service to the college, Anne Schotter made significant contributions to the field of medieval literature. Her research focused particularly on the representation of women’s experience in medieval Latin, the subject of four of her scholarly articles. She was the co-editor of the medieval volume of “The Longman Anthology of British Literature (4th Edition, 2010),” a volume that helped define the field by giving access and shape to the work of other scholars.
Anne Schotter retired in 2020.
Marilyn Kiss (1989), Spanish Professor, Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Marilyn Kiss’s joy in Spanish language, literature and culture has been her gift to Wagner students. Her pedagogical skills earned widespread recognition, most recently by the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, who named her Teacher of the Year for 2018. She also served as Wagner’s study abroad advisor for 17 years. When she retired in 2018, she had plans to continue her passions for poetry, photography, and reading. She also wanted to travel to Hawaii and Alaska — the only two U.S. states she had not yet visited.
Paula Dunn Tropello (1995), Dean, Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing
Paula Dunn Tropello, who retired in 2018, became the inaugural dean of the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing in 2014, having been chair of Wagner’s Nursing Department since 2010, serving previously as chairwoman from 1998 to 2004. Under her leadership, the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing won National League for Nursing designation as a 2012-2016 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education in the category of Creating Environments that Enhance Student Learning and Professional Development. It was also under Tropello’s leadership that the Spiro School’s new Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, Wagner College’s first-ever doctoral program, was approved by New York State; its first cohort was enrolled in August 2014. Tropello earned her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Virginia, her master’s in maternal child health (Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist track) from the University of Florida, and a post-master’s certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Wagner College. She earned her doctorate from Rutgers University.
Gordon McEwan (1999), Anthropology Professor, Department of Culture & Economy
Gordon McEwan, who served as a professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, began teaching at Wagner in 1999. He is an expert on the Incas and earlier empires in Peru and has four decades of field experience in that country’s Valley of Cuzco. He appeared in documentary films shown on the History and Discovery channels and was featured in National Geographic magazine. He also gave Wagner students the opportunity to gain hands-on field experience by traveling with him to Peru. He authored or co-authored six books and numerous articles about the Wari people and the Incas. He earned his B.A. in anthropology from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Read more about Gordon McEwan in the Wagner Magazine story, “Why Anthropology Is Important.” McEwan retired in 2019.