East Central University welcomed 33 new faculty during an orientation session on campus Wednesday. On the front row are: (from left to right) Kelby Pletcher, Martha Wilson, Jennifer “Kayce” Powers, Amanda Hoffpauir, Rozalin Roark, Dr. Darcy Tessman, Calantha Tillotson, Dr. Carolyn Lewis, Dr. Steven Pedersen, Nick Stowers and June Caruthers. The middle row includes: (left to right) Kesa McDonald, Amy Ward, Dr. Bruce Moring, Dr. George Wang, Dale Powers, Dr. Preston Draper, Dr. Christopher Campbell, Dr. Dustin Williams, Kristen Byers, Destany Schafer-Morgan and Dr. Terrie Becerra. The back row consists of: (left to right) Amy Ward, Dr. Randall Maples, Dr. Erick Ananga, Dr. Michael Pelosi, Dr. James Moten, John Dougherty, Dr. Vladimir Ufimtsev, Casey Lowry, Dana Jordan and Shelley Bailey.

East Central University welcomes 33 new faculty members for 2016-17.

The new faculty include five who began last spring and 28 new arrivals on campus this fall.

Here are the newcomers and their biographies:


Dr. Preston Draper

Assistant Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies

Draper earned a bachelor of arts in English and geography from Brigham Young University and a juris doctorate from the University Of Oklahoma College Of Law. Draper is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, has practiced law since 2003 and has served as president of the Pontotoc County Bar Association and the Chickasaw Bar Association. In addition to his professional experience, Draper has been a guest lecturer in several courses and has taught as an adjunct the civil procedure and litigation course for East Central University.

Amanda Hoffpauir

Instructor of Nursing

Hoffpauir earned her master of science degree in health care administration from Loyola University. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science from Southeastern Oklahoma State and a bachelor of science degree in nursing from ECU.  Hoffpauir has taught at ECU as an adjunct faculty.  Additionally, she is nationally board certified as a pediatric nurse by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and has experience as a pediatric nurse and manager.

Dr. Steven Pedersen

Assistant Professor of English

Pedersen earned a bachelor of arts from the University of San Diego and a master of arts in English from the San Diego State University.  Pedersen recently obtained a doctorate of English from Oklahoma State University.  Pedersen has taught college composition courses as a graduate assistant at San Diego State University and Oklahoma State University.  Last year, he has held a lecturer position at ECU. Pedersen has been working as the Assistant Director of the Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution research grant.  His primary work has been on academic advising and retention of Native American students.  In addition to his work with students, Pedersen has published book reviews and articles in well-respected journals.

Calantha Tillotson


Tillotson earned her master of library science and information studies from the University of Oklahoma.  She earned a bachelor of arts in English literature from Friends University, and an associates of arts from Butler Community College in 2009. Tillotson has served as a graduate research assistant since 2014 in the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma.  As a graduate assistant she served on the research help desk where she honed her reference desk skills.  She also has experience developing LibGuides, an information literacy tool ECU uses extensively for academic programs.  In addition, she served on a team that developed The 9 Things Every College Student Should Know About Money LibGuide which was awarded the Gold Star Award by the National Association of Student Financial Administrators at the 2015 NASFA Annual Conference.

Martha Wilson

Instructor in Nursing

Wilson earned her bachelor of nursing and master of science degree in nursing administration and management from the University of Oklahoma. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University and a master’s from the University of Central Oklahoma. Wilson has four years of experience in nursing and a strong desire to teach.


Dr. Erick Ananga

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Ananga earned his doctor of philosophy degree in geography and environmental science and policy from the University of South Florida. He earned his master of arts in politics and international development and a bachelor of arts in international development studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.  His most recently completed research includes his dissertation, “The role of community participation in water production and management: lessons from sustainable aid in Africa international sponsored water schemes in Kisumu, Kenya.”  Along with his research on sustainability, he studies women’s access to land and resources in Africa and the economic impact for their communities.  Ananga would like to continue focusing on the sustainability of water production and management in urban-based communities. He has recently published an article in the Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal.

Shelley Bailey

Instructor of Social Work

Bailey earned her bachelor of arts degree from Kansas State University and a master of social work from Newman University.  Bailey is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with many years of clinical experience as well as working in the field of child welfare, school social work and mental health services. She has taught at ECU as an instructor.

Dr. Terrie Becerra

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Becerra earned her bachelor of general studies degree in environment studies from the University of Kansas.  She earned a master of science degree in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University and her doctor of philosophy in sociology from Kansas State University. He also earned a graduate certificate in women’s studies and agriculture resource and ecological management from Kansas State.  Becerra taught sociology at Oklahoma State University for two years.  She was a post-doctoral fellow at OSU, researching the role of rangeland heterogeneity in biodiversity, riparian stability, livestock production and landowner landscape preference.  Her research and publications focus on watershed management, water conservation, water regulations and policy development and water quality best management practices. 

Kristen Byers

Instructor of Business Administration

Byers earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma and a master of business administration degree from Cameron University. Byers has been employed at Connors State College, and for the last four years, has been as an instructor of business.  She has also taught at Southern Nazarene University as an adjunct professor in business.  In addition to her collegiate experience, she has 10 years of professional experience in marketing and public relations at the University of Oklahoma.  Prior to her work at OU, she worked in sales and marketing for Apple Computer, Inc. for eight years. 

Dr. Christopher Campbell

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Campbell earned his bachelor of science in psychology from Colorado State University.  He has earned his master of arts in clinical psychology and his doctor of philosophy and his doctor of philosophy in clinical psychology from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  He has a predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Oklahoma. Campbell is a licensed health services psychologist in the State of Oklahoma.  His area of expertise is child maltreatment and parent-child interaction therapy.  Campbell has a healthy grant acquisition record. He is the principal investigator with funding that exceeds $250,000.  In addition to his grants, he has published in several refereed journals and completed book chapters. 

June Caruthers

Instructor of Education

Caruthers earned a bachelor of science in elementary education from ECU and a master of science in elementary education (reading concentration) from the University of Central Oklahoma.  She holds teaching certification in elementary education and has had a successful career as a classroom teacher in the Oklahoma public school system.  Additionally, she has been an adjunct instructor for ECU one year and taught education classes fulltime one year, receiving outstanding evaluations from her students.

Pamela Curtis

Instructor of Nursing

Curtis earned her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington and an associate degree of nursing from Grayson County College. Curtis earned her master of nursing degree from the University of Phoenix in 2009.  Curtis has served as a full-time faculty member for Grayson County College in Denison, Texas since 2009. Curtis’ professional experience includes serving as an adjunct at the University of Texas-Arlington. Curtis’ credentials also include being a certified CPR instructor.

John Dougherty

Assistant Professor of Art

Dougherty holds a master of fine arts in visual studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art, a bachelor of fine arts in visual art and a bachelor of arts in graphic design from the University of West Florida. Dougherty has been a visiting faculty at Missouri State University this past year teaching 2D and 3D design.  He has professional experience as an artist assistant for three different artists, as an archivist, video editor, photographer, designer and prop builder.  He also has freelance work with web design.  He has had solo exhibitions in Portland, Oregon; Springfield, Missouri and Pensacola, Fla., as well as many group exhibitions in various cities. 

Dr. Alisha Howard

Assistant Professor of Biology

Howard earned a bachelor of science in biochemistry and chemistry and a doctorate of philosophy from Oklahoma State University. She has spent five years as a post-doctoral research scientist at Colorado State University.  Her research led to several publications and presentations in molecular biology.  This past academic year Howard was at ECU in a temporary appointment as an assistant professor of biology.

Dana Jordan

Instructor of Education

Jordan earned a bachelor of education in family and consumer science and a master of education degree from ECU.  She is currently completing coursework for a doctor of education in institutional leadership from the University of Oklahoma. She holds teaching certification in early childhood and elementary education and has had a successful career as a classroom teacher in the Oklahoma public school system. Jordan has been successful teaching courses at ECU in early child and reading programs.

Dr. Carolyn Lewis

Director for the School of Nursing

Lewis earned her bachelor of nursing from Brigham Young University, a master of nursing education from University of Phoenix, and a doctorate in nursing from Texas Woman’s University.  She also has extensive teaching experience, having served as an assistant professor at Angelo State University and as the dean of nursing at Brookline College. In addition, Lewis has had a distinguished career in professional nursing, working as a member of the nursing staff at Shannon Medical Center and St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System. She has published journal articles, book chapters and has made 25 professional presentations. Lewis has worked as the manager of online faculty for the Western Governors University online nursing program. She also has experience in preparing self-study documents for accreditation in addition to leading site visits for both the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Casey Lowry


Lowry earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Tulsa in film studies and a master of library and information studies degree from the University of Oklahoma.  She has been with the Edmond branch of the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma County, for the past five years, being promoted from aide to associate librarian.  During her time at the public library, she served as a reference librarian and hosted various children’s programs.

Dr. Randall Maples

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Maples earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a doctor of philosophy in analytical chemistry from Oklahoma State University.  His research as an analytic chemist has examined nanotechnology and neurotoxicology.  He has developed methods in nanomaterials synthesis, trace organophosphate detection and brain neurotransmitter analysis, which includes a method for the detection of chemical warfare agent related precursor and degradation products for the U. S. Government Department of Defense and Homeland Security.  He has been a faculty member at Eastern Oklahoma State College since 2013.  Prior to that he did post-doctoral research as National Institute of Health Fellow at Oklahoma State.

Kim McDonald

Instructor of Mathematics

McDonald earned a master of science in education in collegiate scholarships and personal services with an emphasis in mathematics and a bachelor of science in education, secondary mathematics from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.  Her thesis examined the effects of change on the local community concerning unemployment and adult education.  She has fulltime collegiate experience as a mathematics instructor at Western Oklahoma State College and Connors State College as well as adjunct experience at Bacone College and the Spartan School of Aeronautics & Technology.  Additionally, she is a certified secondary education mathematics instructor and has taught at the secondary level for seven years. She also has fulltime experience teaching math at the secondary level. She has taught math since 1999.

Dr. Bruce Moring

Assistant Professor of Biology

Moring earned a doctorate of philosophy in ecology from the University of North Texas, master of science in biology from Angelo State University, master of science in zoology from Texas Tech University and a bachelor of science in biology from Angelo State University.  Since 2013, he has served as an adjunct faculty member at Central Texas College teaching general biology and zoology, and as a part-time assistant professor at Southwestern University teaching ecology and stream ecology.  In addition to his teaching experience, Moring brings 21 years of research and investigative studies as a freshwater ecologist and senior biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Texas Water Science Center.  As a senior biologist, he was responsible for reviewing and approving all biological data collection and research activities for the USGS Texas Water Sciences Center.  He has additional experience overseeing the USGS's National Water Quality Assessment Program for of the Trinity River Basin in Texas, and as an independent water resources consultant. 

Dr. James Moten, Jr.

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Moten earned his master of business administration from Cameron University, master of science in acquisition and contract management from the Florida Institute of Technology, master of science in economics and master of science in finance from Texas A&M University-Commerce, master of science in accounting from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a doctorate of business administration from Northcentral University. Moten has taught for the past four years as an assistant professor at the University Mary-Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas. He has also taught in both fulltime and part-time positions at Concordia University in Austin, Texas; Texas A&M University in Central Texas and McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, in addition to other online institutions. Moten’s professional designations include certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant, chartered mutual fund counselor and chartered retirement planning counselor.

Dr. Michael Pelosi

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Pelosi earned a bachelor of science in business administration and a master in business administration and a master in public administration from City University of Seattle, Wash.  He then earned a doctorate of philosophy in computer information systems from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Pelosi has taught a variety of courses from financial and managerial accounting at the University of Hawaii to information management, software engineering, and programming logic at Southern New Hampshire University, Colorado Technical University and the University of Maryland.  He has substantial experience teaching online courses. His research is in the area of computer-based artificial intelligence and has published in the areas of computer control of military defense missiles and computer-based artificial intelligence. 

Kelby Pletcher

Lecturer of Music

Pletcher earned a Bachelor and a Master of Education, music education, from East Central University.  She has worked as an adjunct instructor for East Central University for the past six years, receiving strong end-of-course survey results from her students.  She has also served as the faculty advisor for the ECU National Federation for Music Education chapter.  Prior to her work at ECU, she was a classroom teacher from 1999 – 2006 with Lakewood Christian School in McAlester, Haileyville Public Schools, and McAlester Public Schools.  Her certification in music education will allow the music department to continue overseeing the student teachers placed in music programs around the state.

Dale Powers

Instructor of Business Administration

Powers earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Mid-America Nazarene University and an executive master of business administration from Benedictine College.  For the past four years, Powers has taught part-time at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., and as a lecturer at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.  His experience teaching in China as a visiting professor will support ECU’s efforts to have more students study abroad.  In addition to 12 years of experience teaching part-time and as an adjunct professor, Powers also has over 20 years of professional experience in corporate leadership. 

Jennifer “Kayce” Powers

Instructor of Nursing

Powers earned her bachelor of science in nursing from the Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., and master of science in nursing, with emphasis in nursing education, from Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan.  Powers’ professional experience includes 30 years of experience in pediatric nursing.  For the past six years, she has served as the school nurse in the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kan.  In that position, Powers has planned and implemented set-up of a health room at a newly opened middle school, managed chronic health care needs for students, developed wellness initiatives for students and staff and served as a mentor for student nurses in the University of Missouri-Kansas City nursing program. 

Rozalin Roark

Instructor of Kinesiology

Roark earned her bachelor of science in kinesiology from ECU in 2011 and master of education: secondary education—sports administration from ECU in 2013.  She has held several support staff positions at ECU and Seminole State College.  She most recently has served at ECU as a counselor for educational talent search. Roark also holds a teaching certificate in physical education, health and safety.

Destany Schafer-Morgan

Instructor of Social Work and Social Work Field Director

Schafer-Morgan earned her bachelor of arts in psychology from Wright State University and master of social work from the University of Cincinnati.  She has spent the last eight years working in child welfare, most recently with the Chickasaw Nation.  She holds a certification as a school social worker and is a licensed master social worker.  Schafer-Morgan is active in the National Association of Social Workers, serving on the Nominations and Leadership Identification Committee.

Nicolas Stowers

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology/Sports Administration

Stowers earned a bachelor of science degree from ECU, master of education in sports management from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and is currently working on his doctor of philosophy in adult education from Oklahoma State University.  He expects to complete his degree May, 2017.  In addition to his degrees, Stowers holds a certification in athlete development from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.  Stowers is was previously an adjunct instructor in the sports management program and the assistant athletic director for student development at Rogers State University.  He has also served as the assistant director for student life at Oklahoma City University and served as a unit supply sergeant with the Oklahoma Army National Guard.  Mr. Stowers has presented at the NCAA student-Athlete Leadership Forum and stays current on NCAA policies through regular professional development programs.

Dr. Darcy Tessman

Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Science

Tessman earned a doctor of philosophy in educational policy studies and practice from the University of Arizona (2016), master of arts in education in classroom teaching from Pacific Lutheran University (1992), and a bachelor of science in home economics from the University of Nebraska (1987).  Tessman has most recently worked as an associate agent for the 4-H youth development program at the University of Arizona.  She also worked as a teacher in Izmir, Turkey and in the Federal Way School District in Washington. Her dissertation examined the student and parent experiences with American schools for families living on the U.S. and Mexico borders.  Her master’s thesis focused on the nutritional effects of breakfast on the behavioral and academic performance of adolescents.  She continues to present and publish work on nutrition, youth development, project based learning and rainwater harvesting and gardening.  Tessman has significant experience writing and obtaining grants. She has received over $3.8 million in grants or in-kind deliverables.

Dr. Vladimir Ufimtsev

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Ufimtsev earned a bachelor of science in mathematics from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a master in science in mathematics from Northeastern University in Boston.  He completed his doctorate in computer science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in May 2016. While at the UNO, he had served in several positions: teaching/research assistant, substitute lecturer, grader and as a tutor.  His areas of expertise are in complex network analysis and high performance computing, which are critical components in the advancement of data mining, cybersecurity and bioinformatics.  He has published significantly in the areas of DNA computing, robotics configuration, large-scale networks and group testing.

Dr. George Wang

Assistant Professor of Biology

Wang earned a doctor of philosophy in environmental and evolutionary biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, master of science in biology and a bachelor of science in zoology from Texas Tech University.  In addition to his educational attainment, he has completed postdoctoral work at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Waterloo in Canada. Most recently Wang worked at the Mpala Research Centre with the Smithsonian Institution.  He has also been a visiting assistant professor at Tulane University.  His research focuses on species interactions and species distribution, particularly with insect populations.  He combines standard field experimentation with modern analysis, using DNA barcoding and linear mixed-effects modeling.  His current research in Kenya at the Mpala Research Centre examines large mammalian herbivores and their effect on insect community dynamics.  He has also studied insect communities in the Missouri Ozark forests. 

Amy Ward

Director of Social Work

Ward earned her Bachelor of Social Work from East Central University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma.  She is a licensed master social worker and a licensed clinical social worker.  She also holds a certification in trauma specialty.  She has worked for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Adoption Unit and the Chickasaw Nation.  Her most recent position had her managing a staff of 10 social workers, overseeing the department budget, writing policy and ensuring compliance and quality.  She has mentored several ECU social work interns over the past few years and serves as a member of the ECU social work advisory committee.  In addition to her work with the university, she is an active community member and serves on several community committees, including branch chair for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Dr. Dustin Williams

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Williams earned his bachelor of science in religious studies from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas.  He earned a master of science in human development and family science from Oklahoma State University.  He then completed a master of arts in industrial organizational psychology and a doctor of philosophy in business psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  Williams has combined his graduate teaching experience from OSU with his industry experience as an executive coach for the Leadership Evaluation and Assessment Program (LEAP) in which he assessed leadership abilities and then coached clients on their careers, from loss of employment, change of employment or promotions within a company.  He has additional experience conducting market research in the consumer packaged goods sector. Williams also has experience with managing measure development for quality of life for various diseases and injuries.

For Immediate Release: 

            Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

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