Meet JMU's newest faculty


The College of Arts and Letters welcomes 30 new faculty members for the 2014-15 academic year.

Michael Dennis Brislen

Adjunct Instructor, Philosophy and Religion

Brislen currently lives in Harrisonburg, Va., although he grew up in Mt. Pleasant, Ohio.

  • Education: Ph.D., University of Birmingham (U.K.); M.Div., Eastern Mennonite Seminary; B.S. Mount Union College
  • Areas of expertise: African expressions of Christianity and Islam; Christian-Muslim relations; interreligious encounters
  • Courses Teaching: Religions of the World

Nancy Bressler

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

Bressler’s hometown is Shillington, Pa.

  • Education: Ph.D., Bowling Green State University; M.A., communication, University of Hartford; B.A., communications/theatre, Albright College
  • Areas of Expertise: Media Studies; Critical/Cultural Studies; Feminist Studies; Public Speaking
  • Courses Teaching: Introduction to Communication Research; Presentational Speaking; Fundamental Human Communication

Chris Carlberg

Adjunct Instructor, History

Carlberg is originally from Alexandria, Minn. He is on Facebook as Christopher Carlberg and writes a food blog at

  • Education: M.A., History, James Madison University; B.A., International Studies, University of Minnesota at Duluth
  • Areas of Expertise: How Germans have processed their National Socialist past in the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly through popular film
  • Courses Teaching: Recent Issues in Global History

Yamilette Chacon

Visiting Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Chacon’s hometown is San Jose, Costa Rica.

  • Education: Ph.D., sociology, University of South Carolina; M.A., sociology, University of South Carolina; Certificate in Women’s Studies, University of South Carolina; B.A., sociology, Winthrop University; A.A., anthropology, El Camino College
  • Areas of Expertise: Social Psychology; Sociological Theory; Historical Sociology; Immigration; Education; Race/Ethnic/Minority Relations; Women’s Studies; Belief Systems and Ritual Violence among Indigenous Peoples of Latin America
  • Courses Teaching: Social Issues in Global Context; Microsociology: The Individual in Society

Cindy Grove Chiarello

Instructor, Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Chiarello’s hometown is Waynesboro, Va.

  • Education: M.A., writing, rhetoric and technical communication, James Madison University; B.A., individualized study, James Madison University
  • Areas of Expertise: Scientific and medical writing for lay audiences; Working with non-native English writers; Editing for non-native English audiences
  • Courses Teaching: Critical Reading and Writing

Kerry Frances Crawford

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Crawford is originally from Towson, Md., but currently lives in Strasburg, Va.

  • Education: Ph.D., George Washington University; B.A., St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • Areas of Expertise: International Relations, specifically war, sexual violence, civilian casualties, human security, human rights, international norms and gender
  • Courses Teaching: Human Security; Ethics and International Politics

Patricia D. Hardin

Adjunct Instructor, Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Hardin’s hometown is Lexington, Va.

  • Education: M.A., Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; B.A., Italian, University of South Carolina
  • Areas of Expertise: 17th-century German literature, emblems and emblematic devices, incorporating meaningful technology into my classes
  • Courses Teaching: Business German; Introduction to German

Lindsey A. Harvell

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

Harvell’s hometown is Overland Park, Kan.

  • Education: Ph.D., University of Oklahoma; M.A., Wichita State University; B.G.S., University of Kansas
  • Areas of Expertise: Social Influence; Terror Management Theory; Political Communication; Quantitative Methods
  • Courses Teaching: Communication Theory; Survey Methods

Philip Mills Herrington

Assistant Professor, History

Herrington’s hometown is Augusta, Ga.

  • Education: Ph.D., history, University of Virginia; M.H.P., historic preservation, University of Georgia; B.A., Berry College
  • Areas of Expertise: 19th-Century American History; Environmental History; Agricultural and Architectural History of the American South; Public History; Historic Preservation
  • Courses Teaching: American History; Problems in Public History

Jennifer Lang-Rigal

Assistant Professor, Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Lang-Rigal’s hometown is Puyallup, Wash. You can follow her work at

  • Education: M.A. and Ph.D., Hispanic linguistics, University of Texas at Austin
  • Areas of Expertise: Spanish and Linguistics
  • Courses Teaching: Spanish Phonetics; Spanishes of the World; Spanish Oral and Written Communication

Jennifer Mease

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

Mease’s hometown is Charlotte, N.C.

  • Education: Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.A., Arizona State University; B.A., Villanova University
  • Areas of Expertise: Organizational Communication with a focus on how social bias is built into organizational structures and how individuals and collectives cope with, challenge and change those structures
  • Courses Teaching: Introduction to Research Methods

Aaron Peeks

Adjunct Professor, Sociology

Peeks’ hometown is Lincoln, Neb.

  • Education: Ph.D. University of Nebraska at Lincoln
  • Areas of Expertise: Criminology, Sexual Aggression, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Mixed-Methods with an emphasis on quantitative research
  • Courses Teaching: Global Social Issues

Heidi L. Pennington

Visiting Assistant Professor, English

  • Education: M.A. and Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis; B.A., The College of William and Mary
  • Areas of Expertise: Victorian and 19th-Century British Literature; Narrative Theory; Autobiography; Fiction and Ethics
  • Courses Teaching: The Nineteenth-Century British Novel; Survey of British Literature II

Christina E. Saindon

Instructor, Communication Studies

Saindon’s hometown is Springtown, Texas. You can follow her in social media at and

  • Education: M.A., University of North Texas; B.A., University of Texas at Arlington
  • Areas of Expertise: Communication Pedagogy; Autoethnography; Performance; Rhetoric; Gender and Women's Studies; Culture and Media; Oral Interpretation; Speaking Effectively
  • Courses Teaching: Fundamentals of Human Communication; Persuasion

Heather L. Scheuerman

Assistant Professor, Justice Studies

Scheuerman’s hometown is Dix Hills, N.Y.

  • Education: M.A. and Ph.D., sociology, Emory University; B.A., sociology, psychology, and Spanish, State University of New York College at Geneseo
  • Areas of Expertise: Social Psychology and Criminology
  • Courses Teaching: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Research Methods;  Justice and Crime  

Also joining the College of Arts and Letters faculty:

Maria Alvaro

Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

David Babcock


Gianluca de Fazio

Justice Studies

Jennifer Diggs

Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication

David Greeves

Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Elizabeth Keene

Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Yeonsoo Kim

Communication Studies

Nathan Malenke

Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Aisha Mitchell

Media Arts and Design

Lily Monfared

Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Yenisai Montes de Oca

Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Stacey Passalacqua

Communication Studies

Lisa Porter

Sociology and Anthropology

Steven Smith

Justice Studies

Jana Zevnik

Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication


Aug. 26, 2014

Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Back to Top

Related Articles