West Liberty University welcomed 14 faculty members to the teaching ranks this fall, bringing the total number of full-time faculty to 144 for the start of the school year. New faculty include:

  • Gregory Chase, Associate Professor of Economics and Finance. Chase joins WLU after teaching at the Australian College of Kuwait. Prior to that he worked at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga., and Maine Maritime in Castine, Maine. In addition, he has taught at the Academy of Economics in Moldova as a Fulbright Scholar and in China at Zhong Yuan Technical University and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, his master’s at the University of Central Florida, and his doctoral degree from Kent State University.
    From left, first row, Sarah Davis, Leann Diandreth-Elkins, Jon Serra, second row, Jeff Pfister, Aaron Harper, Marie du Toit, Katherine Hastings, Jerold Duncan, top row, Herb Minch, Gregory Chase, Hannah Harner, Dennis Gumaer. (Abu Ma'afala and Nicole Naegele were unavailable for photo.)

    From left, bottom row, Sarah Davis, Leann Diandreth-Elkins, and Jon Serra, middle row, Jeff Pfister, Aaron Harper, Marie du Toit, Katherine Hastings and Jerold Duncan, top row, Herb Minch, Gregory Chase, Hannah Harner and Dennis Gumaer. (Abu Ma’afala and Nicole Naegele were unavailable for photo.)

  • Sarah Davis, Instructor of Graphic Design. Davis joins WLU after teaching graphic design at Pittsburgh Technical Institute for 18 years. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Columbus College of Art and Design and her Master of Science in Instructional Leadership at Robert Morris University.
  • Leann Diandreth-Elkins, Assistant Professor of Special Education. Diandreth-Elkins comes to WLU from Lubbock, Texas, where she was an assistant professor for Special Education at Texas Tech University since 2009. Prior that that, she was site coordinator for a special education math research project with Lubbock-Cooper North and West Elementary and the University of Texas at Austin, from 2006 – 2010. Before that, she amassed 20 additional years of professional experience in teaching, student life and support for students with learning disabilities. Diandreth-Elkins earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, her Master of Arts in Student Affairs in Higher Education, also at IUP, and both a master’s and doctorate in special education from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
  • Jerold Duncan, Athletic Training Faculty/Football Athletic Trainer. Duncan Joins WLU after a two year teaching and clinical position at Wheeling Jesuit University and a six-year athletic training career working with professional minor league hockey teams affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadians and Pittsburgh Penguins. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Mercyhurst University and a master’s at West Virginia University.
  • Marie du Toit, Assistant Professor of Nursing. Du Toit joins WLU after a teaching position at Georgia Highlands College, Rome, Ga. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. She also earned an Advanced Diploma in Nursing Education from the University of South Africa.
  • Dennis Gumaer, Associate Professor of Mathematics. Gumaer has been teaching for 13 years, seven of them at the university level. He eared both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from California State University, San Bernardino, Ca. and his Doctorate in Mathematics degree from the University of California, Riverside, Ca.
  • Hannah Harner, Instructor Athletic Training. Harnar joins WLU after completing her master’s degree at Kent State University where she was a teaching assistant in the Athletic Training Education Program.  Prior to her graduate work she earned a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training degree from the University of Mount Union, Mount Union, Ohio.
  • Aaron Harper, Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Harper was formerly an instructor of philosophy with WLU during 2012-2013. Prior to that, he was an adjunct instructor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minn. in 2012 and before that an instructional assistant professor at Illinois State University, Normal, Ill., in 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree at Creighton University, and a master’s and doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Katherine Hastings, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Hastings joins WLU from her previous teaching position at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. She earned her bachelor’s degree and her Ohio teaching license at Baldwin Wallace University. Hastings also earned both a master’s and doctoral degree at Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
  • Albert “Abu” Ma’afala, Instructor of Exercise Physiology. Ma’afala transitioned into a faculty role after joining WLU as adjunct faculty in the Health and Human Performance Department two years ago. Also Hilltopper Football Special Teams coach, he is the nephew of former NFL running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala. Ma’afala’s path to the Hilltop began in his native Hawaii, where he was a first-team allstate and all-conference defensive lineman at Kamehameha High School, Honolulu. He signed with the University of Hawaii. Ma’afala went on to play in 19 games over two seasons at Hawaii before transferring to the University of California. Following the season, he was selected to play for the West All-Star Team in the Hula Bowl. Ma’afala began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kt., from 2008-10. Ma’afala his bachelor’s degree at the University of California with a degree in American Studies and earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology from University of Louisville. Most recently Coach Ma’afala was one of several talented young coaches selected to participate in the 2013 Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship.
  • Herb Minch, Instructor of Athletic Training. Minch has been an athletic trainer at West Liberty University since 1994.  A West Liberty native, he also is a WLU alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education and a graduate of West Virginia University with master’s degree in physical education. He began his career working in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. After four years in this clinical setting, he became WLU’s first full time athletic trainer. Today he is head athletic trainer and clinical coordinator. He also has National Registry EMT – Paramedic certification and coached the intercollegiate softball program for 17 years. Prior to this, he served as the West Virginia Athletic Training Association president from 1998-2000 and chairman of the WVIAC athletic trainers committee twice. In addition, he’s been a member of the West Liberty Volunteer Fire Dept. since 1996, has served as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) for the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star charity football game since 1987, has been a volunteer medical assistant at the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, and has been an athletic trainer at numerous other camps and clinics. He continues to hold membership in the National Athletic Trainers Association, and maintains certification as an ATC, registration as an ATC in West Virginia, and state certification as a paramedic.
  • Nicole Naegele, Instructor of English. Naegele joins the faculty after 14 years of adjunct teaching at WLU and five years as a staff member. Also an alumna, she earned an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree from West Liberty and master’s degree in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is now the website coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts, in addition to being an instructor of English.
  • Jeff Pfister, Instructor of Communication, Director of WGLZ. Pfister began his career in communications as an undergraduate media student at Ashland University in the late 1980s, studying electronics, video and audio production, computers, and the history of technology. Prior to joining WLU in 2013, he served as an electronics engineer and campus media adviser at Bethany College beginning in 1991. Most recently, he served as director of the media communication center at Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio, where he taught electronic media production and served as the adviser for radio and TV. In addition to his teaching assignments here at WLU, he is also the director of the campus radio station, WGLZ.
  • Jon Serra, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Serra joins the WLU faculty after a combined nine years of teaching experience at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, Pa., and Chadron State College, Chadron, Neb. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry with an emphasis in physics from California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pa., and his doctoral degree in computational chemistry from Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.