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Three Juniata Faculty Promoted to Full Professor; Five Promoted to Associate Professor

(Posted June 4, 2007)

From left, top row: Vince Buonaccorsi, associate professor of biology; Randy Bennett, professor of biology; Andrew Belser, professor of theatre; and Brad Andrew, associate professor of economics. From left, bottom row: Jim Latten, associate professor of music; Ryan Mathur, associate professor of geology; Richard Hark, professor of chemistry; and Lynn Cockett, associate professor of communication.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Eight members of the Juniata College faculty recently received promotions in the 2006-2007 academic year at the Juniata College Board of Trustees spring meeting. Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre, was promoted to full professor; Randy Bennett, associate professor of biology, was promoted to full professor; Richard Hark, associate professor of chemistry, was promoted to full professor; Bradley Andrew assistant professor of economics, was promoted to associate professor; Vincent Buonaccorsi, assistant professor of biology, was promoted to associate professor; Lynn Cockett, assistant professor of communication, was promoted to associate professor; James Latten, assistant professor of music, was promoted to associate professor; and Ryan Mathur, assistant professor of geology, was promoted to associate professor. Andrew Belser, a resident of Pine Grove Mills, Pa., joined the Juniata faculty as an associate professor in 1997, from Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va. Belser has worked extensively as a professional director both before and during his academic career. He has directed more than 40 theatre productions at professional and university venues, including \"The Member of the Wedding,\" \"The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks,\" \"A Midsummer Night\'s Dream,\" \"Nine Gates,\" and \"He.\" Belser is the artistic director of The Gravity Project, a professional theatre group based at Juniata. In addition to his directing career, Belser is a certified Fitzmaurice voice teacher and a master teacher of contact improvisation. He received Juniata\'s Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2002. In 2003, he was named Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Before coming to Juniata, he worked as an instructor and adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech from 1996 to 1997. He earned a master\'s degree in theatre from Villanova University in 1985 and a master\'s degree in directing from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1995. He earned a bachelor\'s degree in communication arts and secondary education from Grove City College in 1982. Randy Bennett, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., earned a bachelor\'s degree in biology and chemistry from Western Maryland College in 1985 and a doctorate in oncology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993. He came to Juniata in 1998 from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he was an assistant professor of zoology. Prior to his tenure at Brigham Young, Bennett had served as a postdoctoral researcher at Kansas State University, where he was a Kansas Health Foundation Scholar and an adjunct instructor at Upper Iowa University in Ft. Riley, Kansas. Bennett has taught many science courses and helped develop and teach one of Juniata\'s most popular courses, God Evolution and Culture. He also has written op-eds on evolution and testified before the Pennsylvania legislature on teaching evolution. He has taught courses in physical sciences, molecular biology, genetics and introductory biology courses. He has published articles in numerous journals, including Development, Genes and Evolution, the Journal of Experimental Zoology, and Cell. He has made presentations at the Midwest Drosophila Conference and the Annual Drosophila Research Conference. He was Phi Beta Kappa in 1985, was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral trainee from 1985-90 and has been a member of the Society for Developmental Biology since 1991. Richard Hark, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., came to Juniata in 2001 from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, where he served as assistant professor of chemistry from 1993 to 2000. He was promoted to associate professor at Marietta in 2000. At Juniata, Hark teaches such core courses as introductory and advanced Organic Chemistry He also developed and teaches Chemistry of Art and Forensic Science Laboratory. Hark earned a bachelor\'s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., in 1984. He went on to earn a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. He received the 2007 Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching in May. His work has been published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Organic Chemistry, the Journal of Forensic Identification and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He designed ninhydrin analogs as reagents for visualizing latent fingerprints on porous surfaces. His work in developing new reagents for latent fingerprints has been recognized by the United States Secret Service, the Israel National Police, the London Metropolitan Police Laboratory in England and Queen\'s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. More recently, Hark has started a research program using several specialized instruments such as the Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS). His research focuses on how to use LIBS as an analytic tool for works of art, artifacts and forensic applications. He is currently working on a collaborative effort with Huntingdon Emergency Services and the Army Research Laboratory to adapt a LIBS instrument into a mobile unit that could be used by emergency service and HAZMAT technicians. He received Marietta College Outstanding Faculty Award in 2000 and received the Edward G. Harness Fellowship for Distinctive Teaching from 1998 to 2001. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Organic and Chemical Education Division, the American Academy of Forensic Science and the International Association for Identification. He is a trained Emergency Medical Technician and is trained as a hazardous materials technician. Vince Buonaccorsi, a Huntingdon, Pa. resident, came to Juniata in 2001 after working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, part of the National Marine Fisheries Service in San Diego, Calif. Buonaccorsi earned his bachelor\'s degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1993 and went on to earn a doctorate in marine science from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. in 1998. His research interests center on population genetics and genomics, including population structure, population dispersal, speciation, species identification, molecular evolution and Endangered Species Act issues. His graduate research focused on the population genetics of the blue marlin. His postdoctoral work and his research at Juniata has centered on Pacific coast rockfish. His teaching interests include, ecology, evolution, molecular genetics, zoology, ichthyology, marine biology, biology and biostatistics. He has published articles in Molecular Ecology, Evolution, Conservation Genetics, Copeia, Teaching Statistics and Marine Biology. He has presented research at conferences of The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the American Fisheries Society and the Western Groundfish Conference. He also has presented research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He serves on the external review panel for Washington SeaGrant and is on the editorial review board for the journal Marine Biotechnology. He has received grants from Oregon SeaGrant, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Academy of Sciences\' National Research Council and the Virginia Marine Recreational Commission. Lynn Cockett, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., came to Juniata in 2001 after working as an assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies at Rutgers University. She is a specialist in group communication, particularly in the workplace. She teaches a variety of communication courses, including the research methods course in the communication department. Cockett earned a bachelor\'s degree in English in 1989 from Messiah College. She went on to earn a master\'s degree in library science in 1993 from Rutgers and earned a doctoral degree in communication in 2000 from Rutgers. Her research has been published in such journals as Knowledge Quest and Library Trends and she has written chapters in a variety of books centering on young adult literature and library science. Her main area of communications research focuses on how professional work practices relate to issues of identity. Before arriving at Juniata, she worked as an assistant professor at Rutgers and worked as an instructor in the communication department from 1999 to 2000. Cockett has served on a variety of professional and academic committees and served as a member of the board of directors for the Children\'s Literature Council of Pennsylvania and served as the group\'s president in 1998. She is a member of the Huntingdon County Library board of trustees. She is a member of the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. James Latten, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., joined the Juniata faculty in 1997 as adjunct instructor of percussion. In 2002, he was hired as a full-time faculty member as director of instrumental music and director of the college Wind Symphony, and in 2003, the new college jazz ensemble. He teaches a full slate of music courses and team-teaches a course on musical acoustics with Jamie White, professor of physics. In 2006, Latten debuted his musical percussion composition \"IMR: Images of Magnetic Resonance,\" which was inspired by Latten\'s experiences being medically tested in an MRI machine. Latten earned a bachelor\'s degree in music education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and went on to earn a master\'s degree in music education with wind conducting emphasis from Indiana University. He earned a doctorate in music education at Penn State University in 2006. At Penn State, he served as graduate assistant with the band program, including the 280-member Penn State Blue Band, for three years. Latten performs as principal percussionist for the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. He also is currently a member of Music Educators National Conference, College Music Society, New York State School Music Association, Percussive Arts Society, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, The Conductors Guild and the College Band Directors National Association. Ryan Mathur, a resident of Huntingdon, Pa., returned to Juniata in 2002 as a faculty member after earning a doctorate in geosciences at the University of Arizona in 2000. He earned a bachelor\'s degree in geology/history at Juniata in 1997. Mathur served as a teaching assistant while at Arizona, teaching such courses as Chemical Evolution of the Earth, Physical Geology and Introduction to Geochemistry. His teaching interests at Juniata include Structural Geology, Hydrogeology and introductory geology courses. He also developed a new course, Death and Destruction by Nature, and collaborated on the development of another course, Mining in the Americas. He also is part of the teaching team for Juniata\'s Remote Field Course. His research focuses on using geochemistry to investigate the evolution of ore deposits, particularly copper and other precious metals. He also is interested in creating a research program to analyze the water quality and water quantity of the Susquehanna River Basin. Mathur\'s research has been published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Mineralium Deposita, Geology and Economic Geology. Mathur received First Place in the University of Arizona Graduate Student Showcase in 2000. While at Arizona, he received the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society Scholarship and the Sulzer Earth Science Scholarship.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.