PSU OE Ambassadors 2016
Robin DeRosa is Professor and Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State. She is an advocate for open education, and is interested in the intersection of technology, pedagogy, and the public good. She is an editor for the open access journal Hybrid Pedagogy, and a super-proud member of the very geeky USNH Academic Technology Steering Committee.
Elliott Gruner teaches writing, rhetoric, literature, film, and culture. He has chaired PSU’s General Education Committee and is a past President of PSU’s Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. He also serves on the Institutional Review Board and the Assessment Advisory Group as well as other faculty and institutional organizations. He led the Composition program for five years at PSU. He developed, taught, and supervised preparatory, undergraduate, and graduate level courses in writing, communications, literature and composition at four other colleges. Before coming to PSU, he was Director of Writing Programs at the University of New Hampshire. He also directed writing programs at two other universities. His research interests include writing, rhetoric, grammar, technology, assessment, and American Literature. He has writing experience not only in scholarly publishing but also in professional writing beyond academia. In addition to his listed degrees, he attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Dartmouth College in 1997. Current research: “Writing at PSU”—a longitudinal study of undergraduate writing at PSU.
Elisabeth Johnston teaches Inquiry, Integration, and Problem Solving in the Primary Grades, Primary Grade (K-3) Practicum, K-3 Student Teaching Seminar, and K-3 Student Teaching in an Inclusive Classroom. Dr. Johnston earned her BS in Elementary Education and her MA in Education from the University of Connecticut and received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor in Early Childhood Education from the University of North Texas. Her dissertation focused on how preschool teachers’ instructional practices align with recommendations for high-quality mathematics learning environments. Dr. Johnston’s research interests include mathematics instructional practices in the early childhood classroom, professional development for early childhood educators, and teachers’ self-efficacy related to teaching math/science in the early childhood classroom. She has had the opportunity to present at a variety of national conferences on these topics, such as the National Council of Teachers for Mathematics (NCTM), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Association for Teacher Educators (ATE), and the Research Council of Mathematics Learning (RCML).
George Matthews is originally from New York City, but lived most of his adult life in rural Pennsylvania and now is a resident of New Hampshire. He studied sculpture at Pratt Institute as an undergraduate and then philosophy at the Loyola University of Chicago, where he earned his Masters degree in 1990 and at the Pennsylvania State University, where he completed his PhD in 1996 with a dissertation on nineteenth century German philosophy. While he was a graduate student at Penn State he spent three semesters abroad as a Fulbright scholar in the newly independent Republic of Slovenia. He has traveled widely to mountainous regions of North and South America and Europe and is an avid hiker and climber. He has been teaching philosophy for the last twenty years, first at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and, since 2012, at Plymouth State University. He has taught a wide variety of courses in ethics, applied ethics, logic, social and political philosophy, philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, as well as courses in the history of philosophy and world religions. This reflects his broad interests in the field of philosophy and its intersections with other aspects of culture and history. He has been experimenting with technology in education for many years both in online courses, which he has been regularly offering through Penn College since the year 2001, and in face to face courses as well. Some highlights of this experimentation have been the use of Wordpress blogs as the basis for online courses and as supplements to classroom work in other courses; the development of a series of laboratory activities for a course in philosophy of mind; and the teaching of symbolic logic in a computer lab using Barwise and Etchmendy's "Language, Proof and Logic" software. He is currently working on a revised version of an open access textbook in ethics that he has used in distance learning courses and he shares many of his pdf presentations, written with the open-source LaTeX document production system program, at slideshare.
Dr. McCahan brings an educational background in biological sciences together with 30 years of experience in health and physical activity leadership to her teaching, research and regional outreach activities. In line with the Center’s mission – to enhance active living, health and wellness of rural residents in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and North Country – McCahan’s activities focus on understanding the social and cultural influences on health and physical activity behaviors. She also serves as a consultant to regional groups working on issues related to access to physical activity resources, transportation and health concerns. After graduating from the University of California San Diego, McCahan earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara, specializing in cell biology, ultrastructure and plant anatomy. She served as a post-doctoral research associate in immunopathology at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver and as a teaching/research associate in reproductive biology at the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. McCahan entered the physical activity leadership field during her time in Hawaii and has since developed a career in health and fitness promotion. Most recently she was awarded the 2011 Anne Seeley Scholarship to attend the Physical Activity in Public Health – Community Outreach training program, cosponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. A Plymouth State faculty member since 1989, McCahan instructs various theory and professional-skills courses in health promotion and exercise science. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for the Circle Program in Plymouth addressing the needs of local at risk girls, is a community health advisor for the Lakes Region United Way and is heading the Healthy PSU worksite wellness campaign for the campus. Continuing as a group exercise leader, personal trainer, consultant, swimmer, hiker, cyclist and skier, she resides in Plymouth, NH with her husband Ted McCahan.
Kimberly Ritchie is the Coordinator of the Printmaking Program and Assistant Professor of Art at Plymouth State University. Ritchie teaches within the Printmaking Program as well as a variety of other classes within the Art Department. Ritchie received her Masters of Fine Art in Printmaking from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Painting from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Ritchie’s artistic practice focuses on an array of environmental issues. Her work is generally created through various printmaking processes, installation work, and the use of natural materials. She has taught and exhibited her artwork nationally and internationally.
Meagan Shedd teaches undergraduate courses in language and literacy development and courses that offer collaboration with the Center for Young Children and Families . She also teaches the Introduction to the Early Childhood Profession course and has taught a graduate course in Research Design. She has teaching interests in school readiness, including nutrition, health, and safety. Her research interests include the development of young children and how it can be supported in early childhood education environments and preservice teacher preparation, particularly literacy development. She has authored several publications, including multiple professional development and resource guides, speaks widely about language and literacy development in early childhood education, and is a member of several literacy-based and early childhood organizations. Dr. Shedd received her Doctoral degree from Michigan State University in Educational Psychology with a Specialization in Language and Literacy. Her dissertation focused on the relationship between early childhood educators’ teaching practices, perceptions of themselves as literacy educators, content knowledge, and children’s literacy outcomes. Before joining the department in 2010, Dr. Shedd taught courses in language and literacy development at Michigan State University, and literacy development and creative development at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.
Kristin Stelmok is a Graduate Assistant in the English Department at Plymouth State University.
Hilary Swank came to PSU in 2011 after completing a postdoctoral position at New York University. At PSU she teaches courses in human development and history and philosophy of education. In the past, her research has focused on two main areas: children’s cognitive development and math learning, and the history of U.S. elementary school reading and mathematics textbooks. Recently, she has begun a research partnership with the NH Department of Education and the NH Afterschool Network. Through this work, she plans to learn more about the value of after school programming in child development and education. Dr. Swank serves as the Co-Chair for the NH Afterschool Network’s Leadership Team.