Twenty new faculty members include PA program chair

The newest faculty members at Brenau University entering August 2019 with President Anne Skleder. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Julie B. Keena, DHSc, MMSc, PA-C Professor, Chair and Founding Program Director Physician Assistant Studies
Julie B. Keena, DHSc, MMSc, PA-C
Professor, Chair and Founding Program Director Physician Assistant Studies

Twenty new colleagues joined the ranks of full-time Brenau University faculty for the 2019-20 academic year, representing growth and development in every area of study at the institution.

In the Ivester College of Health Sciences, seven nursing professors and one occupational therapy professor were hired along with new professor and Chair of Physician Assistant Studies Julie Keena.

“I am so excited to be here and to be the founding chair,” Keena said. “I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to be innovative and do some fun things in a smaller area and really give back to the community. That’s my hope, to get us involved like our other health sciences have in the community.”

Keena was most recently assistant director of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, the accrediting body for PA programs including Brenau’s. Prior to that, she was the department chair and founding program chair of the PA program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Keena said over the next year and a half she will get the curriculum ironed out and faculty hired, but her first priority is getting the accreditation application to the ARC-PA by March 2020. Pending accreditation, the hope is for the first class to begin in January 2021.

“I’m going to be busy getting clinical sites lined up for our students,” she said. “We have to have enough sites for our first cohort by the time of application, so that’s going to be a big push, getting the community to commit to the program, too.”

In the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, Wenwen Guo, one of two new hires in the college, was hired as an assistant professor of English. Guo previously taught at Emory University in Atlanta and Dillard University in New Orleans as a doctorate candidate and Mellon fellow.

“I am thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career here at Brenau,” Guo said. “I will be teaching courses and working on my research in my areas of interest such as 20th-century American literature, American multiethnic literature and affect theory. Brenau is such a unique place to be at the moment. I am invigorated by the campus dynamics, with the launch of our first G year of the GOLD program and the increasing diversity of our student population.”

Assistant professor of education Allison Bisel is one of three new full-time faculty in the College of Education, which is launching its online MET program and in its second cohort of the Doctor of Education program. Bisel, who said she is “thrilled” to be a full-time faculty member, is teaching courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including the doctorate program.

“I was initially interested in Brenau because of its size and reputation,” she said. “I felt that this would be the perfect place to begin my career as a full-time assistant professor, and Brenau did not disappoint. The faculty and staff in my department have gone above and beyond to welcome and assist me in getting acclimated to this new position. I am excited to interact with students and share my passion for the field of education. I hope to make an impact on the pre-service and in-service teachers who will undoubtedly influence young minds in K-12 education.”

And finally, in the College of Business & Communication, Pennie Eddy was hired as chair of undergraduate business programs and assistant professor of accounting. Eddy has taught as an adjunct professor at Brenau for many years and was most recently Accounting Program Director and instructor at Lanier Technical College.

“We are delighted to welcome Pennie Eddy to the accounting faculty and to the role of undergraduate chair for business programs,” said Suzanne Erickson, dean of the College of Business & Communication. “Pennie is a long-time adjunct at Brenau, and she comes to us from Lanier Tech, where she last year was awarded the Instructor of the Year Award for all Lanier Tech campuses.”

The full list of new faculty are:
Allison Bisel, assistant professor of education
Angela Wheat, assistant professor of nursing
Anna Deeb, assistant professor of communication
Anne Wesserling, assistant professor of Spanish
Belena Butler, assistant professor of nursing
Carrie Davis, assistant professor of nursing
Carysa Mattlin, assistant professor of nursing
Cresta Davis, assistant professor of nursing
Jennifer Bolden, assistant professor of accounting
Julie Keena, chair and professor of physician assistant studies
Laura Cantu, assistant professor of education
Leigh Lehman, associate professor of occupational therapy
Michael Frazer, assistant professor of English
Natasha Iszard, assistant professor of education
Pennie Eddy, chair of undergraduate business programs and assistant professor of accounting
Rebecca Metcalfe, associate professor of nursing
Shatrela Washington-Hubbard, assistant professor of human resources management
Tim Bryant, executive coordinator of the Center for Lifetime Study
Trisha Sullivan, assistant professor of nursing
Wenwen Guo, assistant professor of English