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September 25, 2019
In the World

September's Passing of Light

Faculty, Staff, and Alumni News

The following selections were compiled over the past month through the sharing of information or actual story submissions. Feel free to send your story to Correction needed? Please contact Cindy Holbrook at Thank you!

Faculty Corner

Wittenberg faculty members Amber Burgett, associate professor of biology, and Brooke Wagner, associate professor of sociology and director of the criminology program, recently presented at the Ecological Society of America’s national conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Demonstrating the values of the liberal arts model, these colleagues teamed up on a research project that studied how neighborhood socioeconomic status influenced biodiversity in suburban retention ponds. True to a liberal arts education, both Burgett and Wagner were able to include student researchers in the development and/or data collection of this project. 

The research team found that as neighborhood socioeconomic status increased, the zooplankton (an organism that can be used to understand the biodiversity in water) decreased. Findings from the project open new directions in the study of human intervention on neighborhood aquatic ecosystems. The team is continuing to pursue this research from a multi-disciplinary lens by developing a survey to better understand the impact of the lawn care industrial complex in neighborhood aquatic spaces.

Staff News

Doug Schantz, director of operations and University bursar, participated in a webinar titled “The Future of the Student Life Cycle: What the Business Team Needs to Know” presented by the Chronicle of Higher Education on Sept. 19.  The webinar addressed how colleges are blending teams to better focus on the student and how campus business teams are integrating into the campus-wide effort. The webinar is also one more way college departments are working together to enhance the student experience and streamline the student life cycle.

Schantz, the recent recipient of the 2019 Student Financial Services Award from the Student Financial Services Council of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), was joined by Ian Wilhelm, assistant managing editor of Chronicle Intelligence at the The Chronicle of Higher Education and by Hung Le, associate vice president and university registrar at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Welcome to Wittenberg

The Office of Advancement is pleased to welcome two new members to the fundraising team. Stephanie Clark is returning on Sept. 26, to serve as senior director of development, and Kristina Devine will join the office on Sept. 30, as senior director of development and director of strategic operations.

Alumni News

Alumni Lawyers Listed in Publication

Eight Wittenberg alumni were listed in the 26th version of the The Best Lawyers in America publication, a peer-reviewed ranking recognizing lawyers for their professional excellence across the United States.

Alumni lawyers listed include Kendrick R. Riggs ’79 of Louisville, Kentucky; Fred C. Fathe ’74 of Phoenix, Arizona; Ronald L. Rowland ’69 of Columbus, Ohio; Daniel G. Rosenthal ’74 of Cincinnati, Ohio; Steven P. Collier ’77 of Toledo, Ohio; Terrance E. Schmidt ’67 of Orange Park, Florida; David W. Alexander ’74 of Powell, Ohio; and Conrad J. Aiken ’66 of Eagle, Idaho.

More information about the publication and methodology used for the list can be found on

Ben Imlay ’14 Named Top Teacher

The Teaching and Leading Initiative of Oklahoma (TLI) has honored 20 of the top novice teachers in the state in their first annual 20 Under 2 list, a list of promising new Oklahoma teachers. Ben Imlay, a second-year social studies teacher at Teach for America’s Collegiate Hall charter school, was named an honoree. This list celebrates emerging teacher leaders, high performers, and novice educators who make Oklahoma’s future look bright.

Imlay, who was a double major in history and political science at Wittenberg, said that his goal is to take advantage of the knowledge he has been privileged to acquire throughout his life to make a difference in education, and to pass this knowledge to future generations of young people.

“I am proud of the work that our entire teaching staff has accomplished, as none of the success of my students can be attributed to me alone,” he said. “My wish for my students is to passionately share their own stories, and to empathize deeply with the stories of others. My hope is that my students will take immense pride in their own identities and culture, and to never allow systems of oppression to strip them from their passions in life. I strongly believe that an exceptional education is not a luxury, but rather an attainable aspiration waiting to be actualized by staunch leaders in the classroom - this is what I hope to become for all of my students. I have chosen to teach to help provide the type of high-quality education that all young people deserve and have the right to receive.”

Leslie McNamara ’83 Leads in Workforce Development

Leslie McNamara ’83 serves as chief marketing officer and head of workforce development for Citi Retail Services (CRS), one of the largest providers of private label and co-brand credit cards for retailers.

Named to this role in August 2018, she focuses on organically growing the business through partner, cobrand and digital marketing, and has oversight of the business’ research and insights, strategic communications, and workforce development functions. She works in lockstep with key partners to ensure seamless servicing for the 85 million cards the business issues in the U.S.

Leslie is also a trailblazer when it comes to mentoring and sponsoring women rising through the ranks, and is active in the bank’s women’s leadership initiatives, including keynotes at Citi’s Women Leadership retreats and training events.

Sharon Safley '04 Named Excellent Educator

Sharon Safley recently received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Springfield Rotary, the Springfield Foundation, and the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

Safley, who has taught music at Lincoln Elementary in the Springfield City School District since 2004, has been a piano teacher at Wittenberg’s Center of Music Development since 2003. She started playing piano and taking lessons in the sixth grade and said that growing up she always dreamed of being a teacher and having the opportunity to attend Wittenberg, but was unable to attend out of high school due to tuition prices. She received a bachelor’s in music education from Wittenberg and went on to receive her master's in music from Wright State University in 2010.

"I've known I've always wanted to do this. I can't think of a time when I didn't want to be a teacher. I love to share my music and my experiences with students. You want to share this love and this beauty that you get to experience every day. There is more than one way to learn. I'm happy I can share that," she said in a recent Springfield News-Sun article.

Jocelin Dean ’08 Named to Local Hall of Fame

Jocelin Dean, of Lisbon, Ohio, was recently named to Dayton's 40 under 40 Hall of Fame by the Dayton Business Journal (DBJ). Dean, membership director of The Dayton Club and a member of Wittenberg’s Dayton Alumni Chapter planning committee, was profiled in the DBJ’s new class of up-and-coming leaders in the Dayton region out of more than 250 nominations of bright, young professionals working in a wide variety of careers in greater Dayton.

This year’s winners include CEOs, lawyers, technology executives, health care leaders, small business owners, military officials and an entrepreneur/professional basketball player.

Eric Cusick ’03 Shines in Classroom

Eric Cusick, a history major at Wittenberg, was recently awarded the Howard L. Post Excellence in Teaching Award from Beavercreek City Schools. Honoring one of the most influential teachers at the school, the award is given by the valedictorian and salutatorian of each graduating class.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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