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Juniata College Promotes Eight Faculty

(Posted May 17, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Eight members of the Juniata College faculty received promotions in the 2008-2009 academic year at a recent Juniata College Board of Trustees meeting.

John Bukowski, associate professor of mathematics, was promoted to full professor; Dennis Johnson, associate professor of environmental science, was promoted to full professor; Belle Tuten, Long Associate Professor of History, was promoted to full professor; Peter Baran, assistant professor of chemistry, was promoted to associate professor; Philip Dunwoody, assistant professor of psychology, was promoted to associate professor; Valerie Park, assistant professor of education, was promoted to associate professor; Dennis Plane, assistant professor of politics, was promoted to associate professor; and Kathryn Westcott, assistant professor of psychology, was promoted to associate professor.

John Bukowski, a Huntingdon resident, came to Juniata in 1997 after earning a master's degree in 1992 and a doctorate in 1997 in applied mathematics from Brown University. He earned a bachelor's degree in both mathematics and physics in 1991 from Carnegie Mellon University.

He was named Juniata's faculty Member of the Year in 2003 and received honorable mention for the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching from Brown University in 1996. He was promoted to associate professor in 2003 and serves as chair of the mathematics department.

Bukowski is governor of the Allegheny Mountain section of the Mathematical Association of America and serves on the association's national board of governors. In addition, he is secretary/treasurer of the association's Special Interest Group on Quantitative Literacy.

In 1998-99, he was a fellow of Project NExT, a national program sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America for new faculty interested in improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. He continues to be active in the regional version of this project.

His research interests focus on the history of mathematics in the 17th and 18th centuries. He has published articles on the Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens and spent several weeks in the Netherlands at the University of Leiden and the University of Utrecht researching Huygens' work.

He is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Bukowski remains active in the community through his love of music. He serves as pianist for the Juniata College Catholic Community and Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Huntingdon. He sings with the Choral Union and Chamber Choir at Juniata, and he plays cello in the college's String Ensemble.

Dennis Johnson, an Alexandria, Pa. resident, came to the Juniata faculty as assistant professor of environmental science in 1999. He was promoted to associate professor in 2003. He teaches a variety of environmental science courses, including hydrology, water resources and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He earned a bachelor's degree from Lock Haven University and a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Penn State University, both in 1989. He went on to earn a master's degree in 1992 and a doctorate in 1995 in civil engineering from Penn State.

He started his academic career as an instructor and assistant professor at Penn State and worked as a research hydrologist in 1996-97 at the National Weather Service. Before coming to Juniata, Johnson worked as assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University. Johnson has also served as an instructor in multiple capacities for the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He has written numerous articles for such professional journals as the "Journal of American Water Resources," "ACSE Journal of Hydrologic Engineering," "Computers & Geosciences," and "Weather."

Johnson has served as both an assistant and consulting engineer for the City of Lock Haven, A.C. Miller and Associates, Capitol Engineering Corp., Port Matilda Borough Authority and Duffy and Associates. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Geophysical Union, and Michigan Technical University Remote Sensing & Environmental Monitoring Institute.

Belle Tuten, a Huntingdon resident, joined the Juniata faculty in 1997 as a specialist in medieval European history. Her historical interests center on medieval culture and history (300-1500 A.D.) and early modern social history, particularly on the history of women and family. She has taught courses on Western European history, the history of Islam, medieval films, the history of women in medieval Europe and the history of God.

She earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1991 from the College of Charleston. She went on to earn a master's degree in 1994 and a doctoral degree in 1997, both in history from Emory University.

At Juniata, Tuten received the 2001 Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service and was named the 1999 Juniata May Day Faculty Woman of the Year. She was named the W. Newton and Hazel A. Long Professor of history in 2003 and was promoted to associate professor the same year.

She has published articles in such professional journals as "French Historical Studies" "Medieval Perspectives" and "Conflict in Medieval Europe." In 2004, she collaborated with professors from Furman University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges to teach an interactive online course on the principles of Islam, sponsored by the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education.

She has presented papers to the Southeastern Medieval Association and to the International Colloquium on Medieval Studies.

Peter Baran, a Huntingdon resident, became assistant professor of chemistry on the Juniata faculty in 2004, after working at several academic positions at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

Baran earned a bachelor's degree in 1985 at Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, Slovakia. He went on to earn the equivalent of a master's degree in physical and analytical chemistry in 1985. He earned a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from Slovak Technical University in 1992.

He started his career as a research assistant at his alma mater in 1986, interrupted by compulsory military service in the Czechoslovak Army from 1986 to 1987. He returned to Slovak Technical University in 1992 as an assistant professor and worked there through 1998. From 1998 to 1999, Baran was a research assistant professor at Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Trnava, Slovakia, and a laboratory supervisor at Amylum Slovakia in Boleraz, Slovakia.

He has studied internationally in Germany, Crete and Puerto Rico. His research interests include chemical synthesis, X-ray crystallography, spectroscopy and magnetochemistry. He has taught courses in inorganic chemistry, solid-state chemistry, crystallography, and general chemistry.

He has had a variety of professional papers and articles published in publications such as the "Journal of Organic Chemistry," the "Journal of Chemical Crystallography," "Polyhedron" and the "Journal of the American Chemical Society."

Philip Dunwoody, a Huntingdon resident, was hired by Juniata as assistant professor of psychology in 2004, directly from the faculty of Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where he was a visiting assistant professor from 2003 to 2004.

Dunwoody earned bachelor's degree in psychology in 1994 from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in Pomona, N.J. He went on to earn a master's degree in 1998 and a doctoral degree in 2000, both in cognitive and experimental psychology, and both from the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

At Juniata, he teaches courses in political psychology, cognitive psychology, judgment and decision-making, statistics and research methods. He was a member of the Graduate Psi Chi honor society at the University of Georgia from 1996 to 2000. He received the Best Paper Presentation Award at the 1999 Convention for Behavioral Sciences, and received the Best Investigator Award from the Brunswick Society in 1999.

He also received the Herbert Zimmer Award for Excellence in Research from the University of Georgia in 2000. Most recently, he was asked to edit a special issue of the journal "Judgment and Decision-making" and has contributed several articles to the journal as well. He has published articles in "Psychological Reports," and articles in the "Journal of Psychology" and the "Journal of Behavioral Decision Making."

Valerie Park, a State College, Pa. resident, joined the faculty at Juniata in 2003 after earning her doctoral degree from Penn State University's College of Education in 2003. She earned her bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Penn State in 1979, and went on to earn a master's degree in education from Shippensburg State University in 1982.

Park has a wealth of teaching experience in primary and secondary schools. She worked as a developmental reading specialist from 2001 to 2003 in the Hollidaysburg Area School District. From 1999 to 2001 she was a teaching assistant at Penn State. From 1985 to 1999, Park worked as a reading specialist in several primary and secondary schools in the Hollidaysburg Area School District. She started her career as a reading specialist at McConnellsburg Elementary School in McConnellsburg, Pa. from 1982 to 1985.

Before specializing in reading education, Park taught third grade at Breezewood Elementary School in Breezewood, Pa. from 1980 to 1981, and taught kindergarten and supervised the Head Start program at Powellton Elementary School in Powellton, W.Va.

Park's research interests are in the areas of literacy and supervision. At Juniata she teaches courses in language and literacy, secondary methods, adolescent development and supervises student teachers from the college's education department.

She is a member of the International Reading Association, the Keystone State Reading Association and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She also serves as president of the Raystown Country Reading Council.

Dennis Plane, a Huntingdon resident, became a member of the Juniata College faculty as assistant professor of politics in 2004. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1993 from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and went on to earn a doctoral degree in political behavior and American political institutions in 2002 from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Plane previously worked as a visiting assistant professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. from 2002 to 2004. He also worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Texas from 1995 to 1997 and as an instructor in politics from 2000 to 2002. From 1998 to 2000 he also worked as an adjunct professor of politics at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

He has taught courses in U.S. government, state and local government, public policy, Congress and public opinion. At Juniata, he team-teaches a course in political psychology with Phil Dunwoody, and he created a course called Election 2008, which tracked the course of the 2008 presidential campaign. As part of that course, he took a dozen students to the two national political conventions and also took a group of students to the Inaugural of President Barack Obama, an academic experience sponsored by the Washington Center.

He serves on the Federal Government Advisory Board for The Washington Center. He has presented papers at a variety of professional conferences and published articles in several professional journals, including "Political Behavior."

Kathryn Westcott, a Huntingdon resident, joined Juniata's faculty in 2003. She earned a magna cum laude bachelor's degree in psychology from Ohio State University in 1994. She went on to earn a master's degree in psychology in 1998 and a doctorate in psychology in 2001, both from the University of Cincinnati.

She also holds certifications in school psychology from the Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana departments of education. She served as an adjunct professor at Juniata for spring semester 2003.

Westcott worked as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Cincinnati from 1999 to 2001. Before starting her academic career, Westcott worked as a school psychologist for the Monroe County Community School Corporation in Bloomington, Ind. and for the Clermont County Educational Service Center in Batavia, Ohio from 1999 to 2001. During that time, she also was a practicum and intern supervisor for school psychology trainees through the University of Cincinnati and the University of Dayton.

In addition, she worked as a consultant for Northern Kentucky Head Start delivering training sessions and consulting with teachers and parents on academic or behavioral issues.

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