New Faculty at UW Tacoma in 2017-18

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Heralding the start of the 2017-18 academic year, we present short biographies of 15 faculty members who have recently joined the UW Tacoma community.

Just as there are new students every year at UW Tacoma, there are also new faculty members. Below are short biographies, accompanied by teaching and scholarly interests, of 15 individuals who, in 2017, have joined the UW Tacoma community.

(These biographies of new, competitively-hired faculty were prepared by the UW Tacoma Office of Research.)

Eyhab Al-Masri
Assistant Professor, Institute of Technology

Ph.D. in computer science, University of Guelph

Eyhab Al-Masri's research spans across multiple disciplines in computer science and engineering.

His work seeks to enable the seamless integration of sensor-based devices into the cloud with minimal effort, as well as to develop platforms that facilitate the rapid development, deployment and maintenance of internet-of-things (IoT) applications. As part of this work, Eyhab has developed a smart rapid response system designed to observe, identify and respond to pediatric patients exhibiting early signs of deterioration.

Prior to joining UW Tacoma, Eyhab taught at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. He has authored more than forty refereed publications and is an active member across the research community. He is currently a member of the organizing team for The Web Conference 2018 (WWW2018, France). He formerly worked as a software engineer at Apptimum, a data migration software company that was acquired by Microsoft.

Eyhab loves to spend his free time traveling around the world with family and friends, playing soccer and swimming.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TCSS 360: Software Development and Quality Assurance
TCSS 445: Database Systems Design

Alan Bartlett
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. in mathematics, University of Washington

Alan Bartlett's research focuses on aperiodic order—mathematical structures that are between deterministic and chaotic in nature.

His work is concerned with how local properties give rise to global order. Specifically, he classifies spectral properties of substitution dynamical systems which relate to (Xray) diffraction spectra of mathematical (and actual) quasicrystals. His thesis developed a unified method for classification of such structures.

Since everyone engages mathematics differently, Alan tries his best to encourage and accommodate different learning styles and comfort levels in his teaching. He challenges students with difficult problems and reward them for perseverance should they struggle to master topics initially.

Alan enjoys games, supporting friends, walking, and spending time with his wife, Yajun An, who teaches Mathematics at Pacific Lutheran University.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TCORE 102: Introduction to Science
TMATH 307: Introduction to Differential Equations

Christopher Beasley
Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. in community psychology, DePaul University

Chris Beasley is a community psychologist who conducts applied research and participates in grassroots organizing.

His work aims to strengthen communities and help students develop knowledge and skills for this type of work. He uses a wide variety of psychological sub-disciplines to better understand social and psychological factors that facilitate and hinder transitions from prison to college. Chris is also working to strengthen support for people making the prison-to-college transition to UW Tacoma.

Chris has co-founded the Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network, a national organization of people with college degrees who have been to prison. The organization's core mission is to promote the education and empowerment of formerly incarcerated people through a collective community. The courses Chris enjoys teaching most are those involving research methods and an emphasis on the critique of methodology, as well as those that examine social psychological factors related to social justice.

In his free time, Chris likes to hang out with his husband Ev and their Labradoodle Ru. He also likes to camp and hike.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TPSYCH 209: Psychology Research I
TPSYCH 240: Community Psychology

Read “Chris Beasley Builds a Pipeline”

Sunny Chieh Cheng
Assistant Professor, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership

Ph.D. in nursing, University of Washington

Sunny Cheng has been in the nursing field for fourteen years, including working as a registered nurse in psychiatry settings in Taiwan.

Her clinical experience has driven her research on alleviating suffering caused by brain and behavior disorders through intervention and prevention. Her future research plans are to develop clinical guidelines for early identification and evidence-based interventions for people who are at risk of developing mental illness.

Sunny was nominated for the Husky 100 in 2017. She enjoys collaborating with people to create a more equitable world. For example, she has volunteered in a psychiatry community, served as the reviewer for peer-reviewed journals, and been involved in nursing organizations focused on diversity. Sunny loves teaching and sees it as an evolving process, so she works to gain new skills through courses, workshops, and other teaching activities. She also enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TNURS 403: Introduction to Research in Nursing and Healthcare
TNURS 430: Interpersonal Communication

Ander Erickson
Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. in math education, University of Michigan

Ander Erickson is from Portland and most recently was an assistant professor of mathematics at Western Oregon University.

He previously taught mathematics at the University of Portland and Portland State University.

Ander has two primary research areas. First, he studies the introduction of information-literacy instruction into mathematics classrooms. This includes analyzing the features of classroom tasks that help students engage productively with expert communities, the role of mathematics in these tasks, and how teachers facilitate the development of a critical stance towards quantitative claims.

Second, he participates in the analysis of a large-scale online study of secondary mathematics teacher decision-making carried out through the online LessonSketch platform. This study employs virtual teaching scenarios to better understand the conditions under which teachers are willing to depart from normative instructional practices. He looks forward to collaborating with the School of Education, Tacoma Public Schools, and his mathematics colleagues.

Ander loves exploring the Puget Sound area with his wife, Cassie, and 2-year old daughter, Chloë.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TMATH 308: Matrix Algebra

Margaret Griesse
Senior Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. in education and international development, University of Frankfurt

Margaret Griesse is returning to UW Tacoma as a senior lecturer. She comes with an interdisciplinary and international background having studied and worked in Brazil, Germany, Argentina and the United States.

She has also participated in international projects in Spain and Canada. Her main areas of research include social movements in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil; transversal and transnational studies on gender; and social responsibility within emerging nations. During the summer, she takes students on a Brazil study abroad program.

She enjoys traveling (of course), walking her dog, gardening and drinking coffee with friends, students and colleagues.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TWOMN 101: Introduction to Women's Studies
TEGL 340: Intersections - Race, Gender and Sexuality in a Global Perspective

Massimiliano Laddomada
Professor, Institute of Technology

Ph.D. communications and electronics engineering, Politecnico di Torino

Massimiliano Laddomada comes to UW Tacoma from Texas A&M University-Texarkana, where he served as department head of electrical engineering.

Previously, he has also taught at California State University, Los Angeles. Massimiliano’s main areas of teaching and research are signal processing and wireless communications, especially modulation and coding, including turbo codes and, more recently, Biochemical signal processing for molecular communications.

In these areas, he has authored and co-authored more than 70 articles. He regularly serves as a member of the technical program committee of international conferences in the fields of wireless communications and signal processing. He is also a former associate editor of IEEE Transactions on circuits and systems I: Regular papers and IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TCES 310: Linear systems and transforms

Bidisha Mallik
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. philosophy, University of North Texas

Bidisha Mallik's research interests include Gandhian philosophy, and philosophy and practical ethics related to the environment, sustainability, public policy, gender, art and aesthetics, music and religion.

In her teaching, she integrates interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives and experiential learning models to inspire students to connect with and confront alternative viewpoints, to think critically, and to become lifelong learners and leaders.

Bidisha is currently working on a book project examining the contribution of two European associates of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Mira Behn (Madeleine Slade) and Sarala Behn (Catherine Mary Heilemann) to social development and environmental sustainability among mountain communities in India that created the Chipko (Hug the Tree) and Anti-Tehri Dam movements. In the past, Bidisha Mallik taught as an assistant professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada.

Apart from writing and teaching, Bidisha loves hiking, traveling, gardening, cooking, reading, and musical concerts. She is excited about the opportunity to contribute to UW Tacoma’s diverse and growing campus as well as explore the Cascade Range and the art, culture, and history of the Pacific Northwest.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TPHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy
TPHIL 240: Introduction to Ethics
TPHIL 250: Practical Reasoning

Robert MacGregor
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ed.D. educational leadership and policy studies, University of Washington

Rob MacGregor has been an educator since 1980 and throughout his career has served as a school district superintendent, central office administrator, principal, school counselor and classroom teacher.

In addition, Rob was the Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement at the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2001-2006.

During his years in P-12 education and through those experiences, Rob became greatly appreciative of the role of the school principal in leading change efforts in schools that contributed to significant and sustainable improvements in outcomes for all students. His interest in the connection between school leadership and outcomes for students drives Rob’s work in school leadership preparation.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TEDADAM 576: Schoolwide Assessment

Scott Rayermann
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. chemistry, University of Washington

Scott Rayermann's research is primarily focused on cell membranes.

These membranes are capable of separating into two liquids, each with a distinct composition. Some proteins prefer to be in one of these liquids over the other, allowing the cell to organize proteins along its membrane. This is important for normal functions like cell signaling.

In addition to the role of chemistry in biology, Scott is also interested in leveraging our biology and psychology to teach chemistry. He is currently working on a project aiming to increase the average grade in general chemistry by training students to use metacognition, a fancy word for being aware of your thought processes. As he transitions to the University of Washington Tacoma, Scott will continue researching chemistry education and apply that knowledge in class.

Away from the classroom, Scott enjoys indoor bouldering, jogging, hiking, and critically consuming stories — in the form of books, television, movies and video games.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TCHEM 142: General Chemistry I

Olga Shatunova
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Master in mathematics, Moscow State University

Olga Shatunova specializes in teaching mathematics and focused her studies on discrete mathematics with an emphasis on diagram completeness of deterministic finite automata.

In her teaching, she incorporates her own diverse cultural background and life experience. She was born and educated in Russia and has taught mathematics in Moscow at the University for Engineers of Metallurgy and Aviation Institute and in Washington at several community colleges. She has worked, taught and developed curriculum in Russia, France, Germany and the United States. In her curriculum and pedagogy, she utilizes this work experience. She points out to students the origins of mathematical ideas from western civilization and from other cultures and other parts of the world. She is excited to work with other talented math faculty at UW Tacoma to develop curriculum and studies for the new mathematics major.

In her free time, Olga enjoys hiking with two dogs in the beautiful Northwest, skiing, running, yoga (leading classes at a local sports club) and painting. Her husband is also a mathematician and they collaborate on making presentations at math conferences and writing.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TMATH 110: Statistics

Gary Viers
Senior Lecturer, Milgard School of Business

Master of accounting, University of Washington Tacoma

Gary Viers has been a part-time lecturer with the Milgard School of Business since January 2014.

He has taught a wide range of accounting classes at UW Tacoma. He loves to engage his students in the discussion and implementation of foundational accounting and finance principles.

Gary was a heavy equipment operator for many years before he began his studies in accounting. He received both his B.A. in Business Administration and his Master of Accounting from UW Tacoma. He is also a licensed CPA in the State of Washington.

For the past five years, Gary worked in the corporate tax departments of the Weyerhaeuser Company and Davita, Inc., before making the decision to pursue teaching full time. He is very excited to be a part of the faculty at the Milgard School of Business.

His personal interests include family, travel, sports, songwriting, and musical performance.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TACCT 210: Financial Accounting I
TACCT 404: Advanced Accounting

Itziri Moreno Villamar
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. hispanic studies, University of Western Ontario

Itziri Moreno is a linguist and Spanish teacher. She has taught beginner and intermediate Spanish as well as advanced courses in Hispanic linguistics at the University of Western Ontario.

She also has experience coordinating community service programs in which students are paired up with members of the community for a language and cultural exchange that is mutually beneficial for the student and the community.

Her research focuses on bilingualism, second language acquisition, Spanish as a heritage language, and language contact between Spanish and the Amerindian languages. Particularly, she is interested in how languages interact in the minds of the bilinguals and the outcomes of these interactions.

Itziri is both Canadian and Mexican, but lived in Oregon for many years where she earned her BA in Linguistics and Spanish. She enjoys traveling, eating interesting food, yoga, and learning languages.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TSPAN: 101: Elementary Spanish
TSPAN: 102: Elementary Spanish

Bruce Worobec
Lecturer, Milgard School of Business

Master of computer science, Washington State University

Bruce Worobec is coming to the Milgard School of Business from Gonzaga University, where he worked as a lecturer in the computer science department for the past three years. At Gonzaga, Bruce taught courses in computer science, object-oriented and event-driven programming, and database management systems, as well as serving as a faculty advisor to senior capstone project teams.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TBUS 301: Quantitative Analysis for Business
TBANLT 510: Business Analytics

Kevin Wynter
Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ph.D. film and media studies, University of California, Berkeley

Kevin Wynter’s research on the history and theory of the moving image is informed by his interdisciplinary training in film and media studies, critical theory and continental philosophy.

His work focuses on body genres and contemporary European art cinema, representations of violence, phenomenology and cinematic perception, and black popular culture.

At the core of Kevin’s work is a concern with relationality both as a problem reflected in structures of violence (institutional, ideological, psychical) on screen, and in a more theoretical and political vein, as an issue of paramount importance in an increasingly networked and technological world.

Kevin is also interested in the scholarly, political, and pedagogical potential of video-graphic criticism and is founder and editor of interstice: journal for the video essay.

Teaching, Autumn 2017

TFILM 272: Film Studies
TFILM 485: Media Genres (Horror)

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / October 23, 2017
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or