Bryant University
Thirteen top scholars from around the world join Bryant faculty
Aug 28, 2019, by Staff Writer

Bryant continues to attract accomplished faculty who have worked and studied at top institutions around the world, and who are energized by the opportunity to contribute to Bryant’s offerings and mission to educate and inspire.

For academic year 2019-20 which begins Sept. 3, 13 new faculty members will become part of Bryant's community of scholars.

“We are pleased to welcome the newest members of our incredible faculty," says Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn Sulmasy, J.D., LL.M. “This new generation of academics coming to Bryant reinforces our collective vision of academic excellence. Their commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service is exceptional, as are their academic and professional backgrounds. Their efforts unequivocally will help Bryant in its mission and in graduating outstanding students who are prepared for leadership roles around the world.”

The group is comprised of dedicated educators who are accomplished researchers and contributors to academic discourse in their fields, and most have industry experience. They demonstrate significant service internationally, nationally, and locally. The majority — 8 of the new members — possess degrees from institutions outside the U.S.

Included in this year's new faculty is the inaugural John '01H and Jeanne Rowe Professor of Data Science, James (Jimi) Shanahan, Ph.D., who will lead the University's interdisciplinary Data Science Initiative. 

The following faculty members have joined Bryant’s College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences:

Tenure track

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Ronald Bobroff, Associate Professor of History and Social Sciences, earned his Ph.D. in history at Duke University. His research interests include European international history of the 19th and 20th centuries, France, Russia, and World War I. Prior to joining Bryant, he was Associate Professor at Oglethorpe University, where he taught for 11 years. He holds an M.Sc. in international history from the London School of Economics and Political Science, an M.A. from Duke University, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Ella Browning, Assistant Professor of English & Cultural Studies and Coordinator of the Writing Workshop, earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Composition from University of South Florida. Before coming to Bryant, she was a lecturer at The University of Pennsylvania and Associate Director of Writing in the Disciplines, part of The Critical Writing Program. Her research interests include rhetorics of health and medicine, professional and technical communication, feminist rhetorics, sports rhetorics, disability studies, and writing program administration. She received an M.A. in gender and cultural studies at Simmons College and her B.A. at Boston College.

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Erim Ergene, Assistant Professor of Management, holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research interests include strategy process, behavioral strategy, strategy formulation and implementation, strategic initiatives, strategic decision making, and team processes. Before his doctoral studies, he worked in the construction materials industry in Turkey for six years as a manager and a second-generation owner of a small family business. He earned two Master of Science degrees in operations management from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and Bilkent University in Turkey, and his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University.

Ganga Urumutta Hewage

Ganga Urumutta Hewage, Assistant Professor of Marketing, earned her Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and is a Chartered Marketer (Chartered Institute of Marketing UK). Her research interests include experiential and material purchases, consumer decision-making, and anthropomorphism. She has eight years of industry experience in brand marketing with Unilever Plc, one of the world's top five consumer packaged goods companies. Her brand campaigns have received industry recognition. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and a B.Sc. from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

Michelle McAllister, Assistant Professor of Accounting, holds a Ph.D. in Accounting from Florida State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Her research interests include audit and financial reporting quality with specific interest in the auditor decision-making process as it relates to the application of professional skepticism, inter-team dynamics, and fraud detection. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a senior accountant at a regional accounting firm in Kansas, and as a signal officer in the U.S. Army. She was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, as a signal platoon leader in 2006; she received an Army Commendation Medal for her service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She earned her M.B.A. at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and her B.S. at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Oliva Headshot

Cedric Oliva, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, earned his Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures at the University of Corsica in France. His primary area of specialization includes pedagogy, second language acquisition, Romance linguistics, and intercomprehension. His professional experience includes serving as consultant for a multinational technology company and its development of voice recognition projects in the Corsican language, and working for the Consulate of France in Los Angeles and the French Embassy of Washington in the U.S. He received two Master of Arts degrees, one in French language and francophone studies at California State University at Long Beach and the other in anglophone and Romance civilizations, linguistics, and literatures at the University of Corsica. He received two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one at Stendhal University in France and the other at University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (University of Corsica). He is fluent in four languages: English, French (native), Corsican, and Italian.

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Yasamin Salmani, Assistant Professor of Management, holds a Ph.D. in Operations and Business Analytics from Drexel University. Her research interests include downstream supply chain management, operations and marketing interface, distribution channel operation, business analytics for supply chain, decision making in service industry, inventory control, and behavioral operations. She earned her M.Sc. and B.Sc. from Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran, Iran.

Shanahan headshot

James (Jimi) Shanahan, the inaugural John '01H and Jeanne Rowe Professor of Data Science and leader of the University's interdisciplinary Data Science Initiative, is an accomplished data scientist, teacher, researcher (with 20 U.S. patents filings), high-tech startup advisor, and entrepreneur. He has spent the past 30 years developing and researching cutting-edge artificial intelligent systems, splitting his time between industry and academia. He most recently served as a founding faculty member of the Masters in Data Science programs at University of California, Berkeley, and Indiana University. He co-founded several companies that leverage AI, machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision, including Church and Duncan Group, Inc., whose clients include AT&T, Adobe, and others. His most recently held industry appointments include Executive Director of Research at AT&T and SVP of Data Science at NativeX. He holds a Ph.D. in engineering mathematics from the University of Bristol, U.K., and a B.S. from the University of Limerick, Ireland. He is an EU Marie Curie fellow, and in 2011 was selected as a member of the Silicon Valley 50 (Top 50 Irish Americans in Technology). 

Weicksel headshot

Steven Weicksel, Assistant Professor of Science & Technology, holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His areas of expertise include cell biology, developmental biology, chromatin, zebrafish, C. elegans, and molecular biology. His research explores the molecular mechanisms of metazoan development. His collaborative work included projects in the fields of cancer biology and physiology. He performed research as a postdoctoral fellow at in the Department of Genetics in the Yale School of Medicine, where he was also a Howard Hughes Teaching Scholar, a position supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He earned his B.S. at the University of New Hampshire.

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R. Isil Yavuz, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator, earned her Ph.D. in business administration at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She is an angel investor with Next Wave Impact, part of the Rising Tide Europe program, which seeks to increase women’s participation in angel investing. She was recently a mentor at InoSuit, an innovation-focused mentorship project in cooperation with Turkish Exporters Assembly. Her research interests include early internationalization, new venture strategy and performance, entrepreneur background, and innovation in new and established firms. Prior to joining Bryant, she was Assistant Professor at Ozyegin University in Istanbul, Turkey. She holds an M.S. in social psychology and a B.S. in business administration from Middle East Technical University in Turkey.

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Leila Zbib, Assistant Professor of Finance, holds a Ph.D. in finance from Washington State University. Her research interests include corporate finance, merger and acquisitions, earnings management, CEO and CFO characteristics, and gender diversity. She is fluent in English, French, and Arabic. Prior to her master’s degree studies, she worked as an accountant at Al-Media subsidiary of J-Group in Beirut, Lebanon. She received her M.A. in accounting at the University of Idaho and her B.B.A. at Lebanese International University in Beirut, Lebanon.

Visiting faculty and lecturers

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Valerie Carrigan, Visiting Artist and Lecturer of English & Cultural Studies, is a book artist and printmaker who has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards. She also is the proprietor of Messenger Press. She works out of her studio in North Adams, MA, where she produces prints and artist books. Through monotype, relief and letterpress printing, she explores the intersection of the natural world and the human spirit. Her work is found in collections such as the Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Book Collection, The University of Vermont Arts of the Book Collection, and the Smith College Book Arts Collection. She earned an M.F.A. in printmaking/book arts at the University of the Arts, an M.Ed. in art education from Western Washington University, and a B.S. at Nazareth College.

Ryan Marnane, Lecturer of English & Cultural Studies, earned his Ph.D. and his M.A. in humanities at Salve Regina University. His teaching and research are interdisciplinary, drawing on literary studies, philosophy and history of technology, media studies, and the environmental humanities. He received a B.A. at Providence College.

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