WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., May 9, 2019 — One faculty member from each of West Liberty University’s five colleges were named faculty of the year at the Honors Convocation held in Kelly Theatre recently.
Professor of the Year Awards are coordinated by the SGA, which collects student nominations and coordinates an annual election. Previously, students selected only one professor from the entire university.
“We decided to pick the best professor from each college since many times, the college with the biggest enrollment had an advantage in the past. This way more professors are rewarded for their work,” explained Anna Malone, vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) for the 2018 – 2019 academic year.
Colleges and faculty honored in 2019 include:
Gary E. West College of Business
- Dr. Rickard Briggs joined the university as fulltime faculty in 2017 and is assistant professor of entrepreneurship. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership and a doctoral degree in executive leadership, all at Mountain State University. Briggs is not only teaching entrepreneurship and business management, he coordinates WLU’s entrepreneurship incubator, located in Main Hall and at the Downtown Center.
College of Education and Human Performance
- Dr. Stephen Richards is an associate professor of teacher education. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of North Carolina, a Master of Arts in Special Education from East Carolina University and a doctoral degree, also in education from Florida Atlantic University. He has been a special education teacher in K-12 schools and a teacher educator for 27 years.
College of Arts and Communication
- Brian Fencl is professor of art and teaches drawing, illustration and art history, while serving as the chair of the Department of Journalism, Communication Studies and Visual Art. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 1990 and obtained a master’s degree in Drawing from the New York Academy of Art in 2000. He joined WLU in 2002.
College of Sciences
- Dr. Melinda Kreisberg is professor of biology and joined WLU in 2002. She teaches a variety of biology courses and also is active in the WLU theatre program. Her research involves the effects of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) on lipopolysaccharide-mediated inflammation in human aortic endothelial cells. She earned a bachelor of science at Mount Union College in 1988 and a doctoral degree at the University of Tennessee in 1994.
College of Liberal Arts (two professors were named due to tie vote)
- Dr. Steve Criniti joined WLU in fall of 2008. His areas of specialization include 20th century American literature, American ethnic literature, contemporary literature, and composition studies. In addition to teaching courses in these areas, Criniti also serves as primary coordinator and advisor for the English Education program. He earned a doctoral degree in English and comparative literature at University of Cincinnati in 2008, earned a master’s in English at the University of Dayton in 2002 and a bachelor’s in English and professional communication at Wheeling Jesuit University in 2000.
- Dr. Scott Hanna also began teaching at WLU in fall 2008. He earned his PhD in 2012 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania after completing his dissertation on American ecopoetics. His areas of interest include American literature, appalachian literature, native American literature, and poetry. His teaching duties at WLU include American literature, creative writing, composition and Appalachian literature. He also is the coordinator of the Hughes Lecture Series. He earned a doctoral degree in English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in English at Marshall University and a bachelor’s degree in English at West Liberty.