College of Education and Health Professions Welcomes New Faculty

Sep 5, 2018 | College News

New faculty members in the College of Education and Health Professions include, back row, Anthony Vajda, Justin Adams, Elsa Camargo; middle row, LJ Shelton, Jeanne Eichler, Albert Cheng, Jonathan Wai; front row, Allison Ames Boykin.

New faculty members in the College of Education and Health Professions include, back row, Anthony Vajda, Justin Adams, Elsa Camargo; middle row, LJ Shelton, Jeanne Eichler, Albert Cheng, Jonathan Wai; front row, Allison Ames Boykin.

The College of Education and Health Professions welcomed 12 new tenure-track and tenured faculty members for the 2018-19 school year, including a few who started teaching last January.

“This is truly an outstanding class of new faculty,” said Michael Miller, dean of the college. “These faculty members are all emerging national experts in their fields, and the expertise they bring to our campus and our students is unparalleled!”

  • Justin Adams earned a doctorate in counselor education and supervision from the University of South Carolina in 2018, a master’s degree in counseling and development in 2013 and a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 2010, both from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Adams formerly worked as a behavioral health counselor in the Florence School District in South Carolina. His research includes the influence of individual-oriented relationship education on equality and conflict-related behaviors and integrating critical race theory to inform counseling practice with African Americans and Latinx in counseling. His dissertation explored black males’ sense of belonging in graduate counseling programs.
  • Allison Ames Boykin earned a doctorate in educational research methodology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2015, a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Virginia Tech in 2005 and a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Georgia in 2003. She previously taught at James Madison University and the University of Miami. Her dissertation title was “Bayesian Model Criticism: Prior Sensitivity of the Posterior Predictive Checks Method.” She has published research in the International Journal of Ethics Education, the International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics and Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice.
  • Elsa Camargo earned a doctorate in higher education in 2017, graduate certificates in public and nonprofit financial management and in educational research in 2016 and 2017, all from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in Hispanic studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009 and bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007. Her dissertation was titled “Faculty Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion at a Highly Diverse Institution: A Study of Organizational Culture.” She has researched many aspects of faculty careers, including work-life balance and negotiating social, professional and teaching identities.
  • Albert Cheng earned a doctorate in education policy from the University of Arkansas in 2016, a master’s degree in education from Biola University in La Mirada, California, in 2012, and a bachelor’s degree in pure mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006. He studies the measurement of noncognitive skills and how the educational practices and policies, especially those of charter and faith-based private schools, affect student noncognitive skills and longer-run indicators of well-being. He previously held postdoctoral research and teaching fellowships at Harvard University and formerly taught high school math in Union City, California.
  • Robert E. Davis earned a doctorate in health and kinesiology in 2017, a master’s degree in health promotion in 2015 and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2012, all from the University of Mississippi School of Applied Science. His research focuses on biopsychosocial determinants of behavior, health behavior theory, prescription drug misuse and abuse and objectively assessed physical activity. He won the Kevser Ermin Professional Development Award from the University of Mississippi in 2016 and worked at both the Center for Health Behavior Research and the Applied Physical Epidemiology Laboratory. Davis has published numerous articles on his research and serves as a peer reviewer for several publications.
  • Jeanne Eichler earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Saint Louis University in 2018, a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences in 2001 and a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Loyola University in 1989. She is a registered, licensed occupational therapist and previously taught at Saint Louis University. Her areas of ongoing research and scholarship include life transition skills across the lifespan, social skills and social competency development, and self-determination and self-advocacy. She has given numerous peer-reviewed presentations at international, national, state, regional and local meetings.
  • Tingting Liu earned a doctorate in nursing from Emory University in 2015 and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Sichuan University in China in 2006. She is a registered nurse and previously taught at Auburn University and worked as a research associate at the University of Georgia. Three articles from her dissertation were published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing Research. It compared biological, physical and psychological risk factors for cardiovascular disease among overweight and obese individuals with and without prediabetes. She also examined the effects of a health partner program on improving health status and on reducing cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Sherry L. Muir earned a doctorate in public policy and administration from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2016, a Master of Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in 1991 and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1987. She has been a registered, licensed occupational therapist since 1991, and she began university teaching in 2003, moving to the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in the Doisy College of Health Sciences as Saint Louis University in 2006, where she also held an appointment in the School of Medicine. She specializes in occupational therapy in primary care.
  • LJ Shelton earned a doctorate in higher, adult and lifelong education from Michigan State University in 2014 and a master’s degree in college student personnel in 2007 and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminology in 2004, both from Ohio University. She has worked as a clinical assistant professor of higher education at the University of Arkansas since 2014. She coordinates the master’s degree program. She was selected last year by NASPA, the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, to participate in its Emerging Faculty Leader Academy. Her research includes a focus on the experiences of undocumented Latinx students.
  • Cara Osborne earned doctoral and master’s degrees in public health from Harvard University in 2007, a master of science in nursing from Vanderbilt University in 2001, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1999. She has published several research articles in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health on topics such as the outcomes of care in birth centers and first birth cesarean and risk of antepartum fetal death in a subsequent pregnancy. She has worked as a midwife and has served as a technical adviser to the board of directors of Midwives for Haiti since 2010.
  • Anthony J. Vajda earned a doctorate in education with a concentration in counselor education and supervision from Old Dominion University in 2018, a master’s degree in clinical-counseling psychology from La Salle University in 2014 and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Delaware in 2011. He has published research on professional standards, interprofessional collaboration among helping professions and the emergence of the family-oriented human services practitioner. His dissertation explored the mental health functioning of HIV-positive individuals in Mexico City. He is a nationally certified counselor and worked as a counselor in Norfolk, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Jonathan Wai earned a doctorate in quantitative methods for psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2009, a master’s degree in psychology and evaluation from Claremont Graduate University in 2003 and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and mathematics from Claremont McKenna College in 2002. He previously worked as a visiting researcher in the Department of Psychology at Case Western Reserve University for five years and a research scientist in the Talent Identification Program at Duke University for seven years. His published research explores such areas as high educational and occupational achievement, sex differences in cognitive abilities and helping disadvantaged students fulfill their potential.

The College of Education and Health Professions offers advanced academic degrees as well as professional development opportunities and learning communities in service to the education and health systems of Arkansas and beyond. Last fall’s enrollment was 4,040 undergraduates and 1,320 graduate students. The college has about 150 full-time faculty members and about 300 full-time staff members.

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