The college adds five new faculty members.
A new academic year has begun at Columbia College, the college’s 161st, and with the new year has come new faces:
- Dr. Melanie Johnson-Moxley, philosophy
- Kelli Schnell, nursing
- Dr. Ahoo Tabatabai, sociology
- Dr. Teresa VanDover, education
- Dr. Seth Warn, computer science
- Dr. Miranda Wilkerson, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for Academic Affairs, said, “I am pleased to welcome such an outstanding group of new faculty. These individuals have extraordinary accomplishments and teaching credentials, and they join the deeply talented and committed group of instructors currently at Columbia College. I am confident that their contributions to the community and to student learning will be significant.”
Dr. Melanie Johnson-Moxley, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, earned her bachelor's degree from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., all in philosophy. She previously taught logic and ethics at Ohio State University and the University of Missouri, where she won a graduate teaching award. She has been an adjunct instructor at Columbia College since 2008, teaching Western and Eastern philosophy, major figures and ethics. Johnson-Moxley says she is particularly interested in developing courses on women in philosophy, Indian and Chinese ethics and philosophical themes in science fiction. She is the faculty advisor for the Columbia College Philosophy Club and co-advisor of the Peace Club. She is also a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy. Johnson-Moxley lives in Columbia.
Kelli Schnell instructor of nursing, comes to the college with 25 years of nursing and teaching experience in medical, surgical, cardiovascular and intensive care nursing. Schnell received both her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree in nursing with a focus on nursing education from the University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing, where she also was a teaching assistant. She has been the lead nursing instructor at Moberly Area Community College since 2000 in nursing fundamentals, adult health nursing and medication administration. Schnell makes her home in Columbia.
Dr. Ahoo Tabatabai, assistant professor of sociology, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, master’s in women’s studies and Ph.D. in sociology, all from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. Before coming to Columbia College, Tabatabai was visiting professor of sociology at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. She has also been an adjunct instructor with the University of Cincinnati’s departments of Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies and with Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio. Tabatabai won the Future of Learning Award at the University of Cincinnati. She has published and presented extensively on gender, identity, racial awareness and Iraqi adolescents, among other topics. Her interest and teaching expertise include women and Islam and gender and its intersection with race and class.
Tabatabai and her family left their native Iran during the 1980s Iraq war. The family then lived in Turkey, India and Canada before settling in Cincinnati.
Dr. Teresa VanDover, associate professor of education, received her bachelor’s degree in education, master’s degree in special education and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri. VanDover was previously associate professor of education at Stephens College, Columbia, Mo. In a long and distinguished educational career spanning 35 years, VanDover taught elementary, middle and special education students in Fulton and Columbia; served as principal of two Columbia elementary schools and was selected administrator of the year by the school district. Under her leadership, Shepard Elementary received Gold Star status from the state for student achievement. Her last school was Lee Expressive Arts School. She has also taught at the university level at Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo., Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., and the University of Missouri in Columbia.
VanDover has published two books in the Principal's Guide series, “Creating a Building Climate for Inclusion” and “Managing the Needs of Chronically Disruptive Students.” She has also been a Ford Foundation Faculty Fellow for the Chancellor's Initiative on Diversity at the University of Missouri, received the Missouri Art Education Association’s Appreciation Award, the Dean’s Leadership Award from Lincoln University and Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Missouri. Her research -based program "Above and Beyond" was presented at the American Educational Research Association National meeting last spring. She is active in the community, having volunteered with the Columbia Area Career Center and served as board member for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Rainbow House. VanDover lives in Columbia, Mo.
Dr. Seth Warn, instructor of computer science, received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Columbia College in 2006 and recently defended his doctoral thesis from the University of Arkansas. He will be awarded the doctorate in December. Warn has taught at both the universities of Kansas and Arkansas and published extensively on computer science and theory. His research focuses on using clusters, high-performance computer systems, for geospatial image analysis. The huge number and size of these images, taken by satellite and aircraft, requires enormous computational power. Warn is also interested in parallel programing.
“Effective teaching can and will frustrate students,” Warn has written. “New ideas require effort to absorb. Learning anything of value necessitates change.”
Teaching at Columbia College is in some respects coming home for Warn: he graduated from the college, his sister, Grace, is a 2008 graduate, and his mother, Elaine, has been Art department administrative assistant since 1994.
Dr. Miranda E. Wilkerson, coordinator and assistant professor, English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL), earned her bachelor’s degree in Germanic studies from Indiana University, master’s degree and Ph.D. in German linguistics with a concentration in second language acquisition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds core certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Wilkerson most recently trained teachers of English and German in Ukraine as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. She has also taught German language, art and culture for Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill. and the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and English for the Bundeshandelsakademie und Bundeshandelsschule (College for Business Studies and Administration), Klagenfurt, Austria as a Fulbright teacher.
Wilkerson has presented extensively in Ukraine, U.S. and Canada. Her research focuses on topics in second language acquisition from cross-linguistic and longitudinal perspectives and her work on learning English among earlier immigrants has been featured on NPR. She is a fluent German speaker, reader and writer who organized Kaffeestundes, informal get-togethers, for German faculty and students at the University of Wisconsin. She also speaks Ukrainian and Dutch.