Rhodes Welcomes New 2017 Faculty

(Standing, from left) Dr. Ariel Eisenberg, Dr. Brooke Shedneck, Dr. Duane Loynes Sr., Dr. Sesha Dassanayake, Dr. Graham Tuttle, Dr. Laura Taylor, Dr. Kiren Khan. (Seated, from left) Dr. Tisha Brown-Gaines, Dr. Carolin Purser, Dr. Stephanie Elsky, Dr. Stephanie Haddad, Dr. Shana Stoddard, Dr. Chanelle Benz.

Chanelle Benz joins the Department of English as an assistant professor. She received an MFA in fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University. Dr. Benz’s short story collection, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, was published this past January by Ecco Press, and she has a novel forthcoming in 2019 entitled The Gone Dead.

Tisha Brown-Gaines, visiting assistant professor of computer science, is a graduate from the University of Mississippi with a PhD in engineering science with an emphasis in computer science. She received an MS degree in computer science from Jackson State University and a BS degree in computer science from Mississippi Valley State University.

Sesha Dassanayake joins the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science as an assistant professor. Dr. Dassanayake has a BA in mathematics and physics from Wabash College, an MS in aerospace engineering from University of Minnesota, an MS in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado Denver, and a PhD in applied mathematics (with a concentration in statistics) from the University of Colorado Denver.

Ariel Eisenberg, who joins the Department of History as an assistant professor, received a PhD in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Coming to Rhodes from Kennesaw State University, Dr. Eisenberg’s research and teaching interests include the history of women, gender and sexuality, the history of cities, LGBTQIA studies, disability studies, and the study of place, space, and geography.

Stephanie Elsky joins the Department of English as an assistant professor. She received a PhD in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Elsky comes to Rhodes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was an assistant professor of English and core faculty at the Center for Law, Justice, and Society.

We could not be more pleased with the quality of the 
new faculty who have joined us at Rhodes. They are devoted teachers and scholars who add so much to our learning environment. Our faculty truly represent the fact that Rhodes is an exceptional place to learn and grow in a community of thought leaders, inspired artists, and extraordinary researchers.”
 —Dr. Milton Moreland, Dean of the Faculty
& Vice President for Academic Affairs

Stephanie Haddad joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. She received her PhD in systematics and evolution from the University of Memphis. Dr. Haddad comes to Rhodes from the University of Memphis, where she was an adjunct faculty member and research associate.

Kiren Khan joins the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. She received her PhD in developmental psychology with a specialization in social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include language and literacy interventions for children at risk, the role of cognition in language development, and narrative development.

Tyler Lefevor (not pictured) joins the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. He received a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Miami, and comes to Rhodes from Stanford University, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Duane T. Loynes Sr. joins the Department of Religious Studies as the William Randolph Hearst Teaching Fellow. He holds an interdisciplinary PhD in religious studies from Marquette University, and his research interests are at the intersection of Africana religion/philosophy, methodology, black existential phenomenology, and critical race studies. 

Jade Planchon (not pictured) continues her work in the Department of Business in her new tenure track position as an assistant professor. She received an MBA from the Columbia Business School in 2010 and is in the process of acquiring a PhD in finance from the University of Memphis. Her research interests include fixed income and equity shorting, financial crises, government bonds, and mortgage-backed securities.

Carolin Purser joins the Department of International Studies as an assistant professor. She received her PhD in political science and international affairs from the University of Georgia. Dr. Purser’s dissertation was titled “The Concept, Measurement, and Determinants of Human Security.” She has taught classes titled Introduction to Global Issues and Introduction to Comparative Politics.

Brooke Schedneck joins the Department of Religious Studies as an assistant professor. She received a PhD in religions of Asia from Arizona State University. Her first book, Thailand’s International Meditation Centers: Tourism and the Global Commodification of Religious Practices, was published in 2015.

Shana Stoddard joins the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor. Dr. Stoddard received a PhD in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Mississippi. She completed a post-doc at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Radiological Sciences, and was recently the William Randolph Hearst Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemistry.

Laura Taylor joins the Educational Studies Program as an assistant professor. She received a PhD in curriculum and instruction in the language and literacy studies program area from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Taylor’s dissertation used a discourse analytic approach to examine how teachers and students constructed a humanizing pedagogy in their one-on-one interactions. 

Graham Tuttle joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. He received a PhD in ecology/bioagricultural science and pest management from Colorado State University. His dissertation was titled “Impacts and Management of the Invasive Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) in a Heterogenous Riparian Ecosystem.”