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WLU’s January convocation includes faculty awards

GLASS PLAQUES GIVEN — Matthew Zdilla, left, Steve Criniti and Chad Kuhns, all of the Wheeling area, display the glass plaques that they received for Faculty Excellence during West Libety University’s recent mid-year convocation. -- Contributed

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University held a mid-year convocation and general faculty meeting recently, bringing the campus community together for updates from the president and his cabinet.

President Stephen Greiner began the meeting with comments from Vice President of Enrollment Scott Cook.

“There were only two schools in West Virginia that showed an increase in enrollment this fall and West Liberty was one of them. We must continue to share our good news that West Liberty provides an affordable education on a safe campus with a caring environment for students and their families,” Cook said.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Roberta Linger reported on a successful audit and shared other accounting news with employees.

Greiner then singled out three faculty members for awards of excellence.

¯ Matthew J. Zdilla of the College of Sciences, Faculty Excellence in Professional Activity Award

¯ Steve F. Criniti of the College of Liberal Arts, Faculty Excellence in Service Award

¯ Chad Kuhns of the College of Sciences, Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award

Zdilla is an associate professor of biology and physician assistant studies and has taught at WLU since 2009. Most recently, he was named a finalist for West Virginia Professor of the Year. His laboratory is involved in research aiming to improve clinical procedures and discover new links between human structure and function. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh and his doctoral degree at New York Chiropractic College. He is a resident of Wheeling.

Kuhns is an associate professor of mathematics and joined WLU in the fall of 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics at Freed-Hardeman University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics, both at Idaho State University. He serves as faculty advisor to the WLU chapter of the science honorary Chi Beta Phi and as Chair of the General Studies Assessment Committee. He resides in Valley Grove.

Criniti is a full professor of English and joined WLU in the 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, he serves as primary coordinator and advisor for the English Education program. He earned a doctoral degree in English and comparative literature at the University of Cincinnati, a master’s in English at the University of Dayton and a bachelor’s in English and professional communication at Wheeling Jesuit University. He resides in Wheeling.

Provost Brian Crawford then took a moment to introduce new faculty hired since fall to the audience. The three new faculty include:

¯ Sarah Alig of Wheeling, assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology

¯ Katie Phillips of Prosperity, Pa., instructor of accounting

¯ George Vopal of Wheeling, instructor of mathematics

Chief Human Resources Officer Diana Harto took the podium and introduced new staff members hired since August 2019. They include:

¯ Charles Butler, certified mechanic

¯ Denver Schuler, accountant

¯ Lauralee Wiechman, administrative assistant

¯ Thomas Estlack, web designer

¯ Johnie Olkosky, student records assistant

¯ Andrew Miller, trades specialist-carpenter

¯ Brooke Cenkus, program coordinator Teacher Education

¯ Stephanie Hooper, general counsel

¯ Lori Gibson, administrative assistant

¯ Sally Ayob, instructional designer

¯ Maureen Golick, assistant to the provost

The convocation ended with comments from Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Special Projects Ron Witt who updated employees on the activities of the Employee Engagement Committee.

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