Sep. 4, 2015

Tammie Rubin is an assistant professor of Art: Sculpture, and a new full-time faculty member this year at St. Edward's University. She's one of 24 new instructors who are teaching courses that range from neuroscience to accounting. To help introduce themselves, we asked them to share what they're looking forward to this year.

Raazia Ali, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

“I am quite excited to be teaching at the St. Edward’s University. Every day, I look forward to meeting my students and doing my part in their academic and professional development. I am switching over from the industry to start teaching, and I am discovering student's enthusiasm and love for learning are a source of great joy and pride that only teaching can bring.”

Julie Armstrong, Assistant Professor of Communication

“Steeped in tradition and heritage and ignited with technology and passion, St. Edward’s University is every new faculty member's dream. It is my sincere privilege to be here. I am also honored to be a participant in the learning journey of such a bright, diverse and engaged student body!”

Shannon Baley, Assistant Professor of University Studies

“This year, I’m looking forward to teaching the civic engagement version of American Dilemmas — this will be a first for me, and I think I'm more excited about the possibilities of engaging with our local community(s) than maybe some of my students. I'm also excited to teach American Experience for the first time this fall. I can tell already I have a great bunch of smart, passionate students who are ready and willing to explore all parts of American history, including the histories that they may not have been exposed to in high school or in previous college courses. And last, but definitely not least, I'm excited about leading my Capstone students through their big research projects — this semester, I have students writing about NASA funding and bullet trains in Texas, and I can't wait to find out more about both subjects as I help guide them through their research process!”

Beth Bernstein, Assistant Professor of Spanish

“I look forward to watching my Spanish language students explore the language and see their communication skills in Spanish grow with each class period. I love when they realize that they can hold an actual conversation in Spanish! I also look forward to my literature students discussing interesting themes in Spanish literature, analyzing intriguing literary symbols and acting out dramatic parts in a theatrical work. The first heated debate about a literary topic is always fun. I am excited to teach at St. Edward's University because I have the opportunity to teach energetic, talented students and work with the amazing, enthusiastic faculty in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.”  

Jessica Boyette-Davis, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience

“I am part of the new Neuroscience major and am currently teaching General Psychology, Research Methods, and Animal Behavior. Already at this early point in the semester, I am impressed with the motivation, skills and knowledge that the students here at St. Edward’s display, and I look forward to getting to know them better and determine how I can best add to their learning environment!”

María Cavazos, Assistant Professor of Spanish

“This semester, as every semester, I want to teach my language, Spanish, my culture, Mexican, my heritage, Hispanic, believing that any organized teaching is in effect teaching values, such as civility and respect for diversity. As a professor, I want to be a model of ethical behavior and fulfill my promises. As a Hispanic, I want to be a model for all that is my culture and heritage. I’m from the Rio Grande Valley and northern México. I’m bilingual and bicultural, and my teaching sometimes is also a political act, a document of the cultural survival of my kind. Students at St. Edward’s are curious, they ask questions about my place of origin, and I give them clear, honest answers without being heroic but just being practical when it is relevant to the lesson. My students’ curiosity motivates me to organize my language and cultural knowledge to help them understand life in our diverse world.”

Roger Gans, Instructor of Communication

“This semester, I am teaching Media Communication, Advertising Creative Strategy and two sections of Principles of Advertising. I am looking forward to the changes in my students’ attitudes and perspectives with regard to the influences of advertising and media over the next few months. Advertising and media are things we are exposed to and immersed in from birth, so we often give them the same kind of attention we give to the air we breathe — in other words, we only notice when something smells funny. As a newcomer to Austin and St. Edward’s, I am excited to be finding my place in this incredibly welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment.”

Chris Gerben, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric

“Both in my research and in my teaching, I look for ways that writing, speaking and research can be understood in broader terms. Whether students are writing on social media, creating podcasts or digital videos, or writing researched essays, they’re all involved in authoring activities, and I try to both honor those activities and learn how we can better utilize them in the classroom. I most look forward to working with students from their first class to their last at St. Edward's, hopefully watching both their writing and their image of themselves as writers evolve during that time.”

Katherine Goldey, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience

“I’m teaching Research Methods, Learning and Cognition, and Behavioral Neuroscience this semester. I love teaching courses that give students tools to explore their interests, so I’m looking forward to getting students engaged in the research process and in relevant skills (e.g., reading primary literature) in my courses this year. In general, I’m excited to learn about biology and behavior together with St. Edward’s University’s very inquisitive and engaged students. I enjoy the variety of experiences and interests my students bring to the classroom, and I’m impressed by how much my students have taught me already!”

Victoria Hill, Assistant Professor of University Studies

“I teach in University Studies and am teaching American Experience, American Dilemmas, and Capstone this fall. My favorite part of any school year, and what I look forward to, are the moments when a student makes a connection they’ve never made before, or recognizes an entirely new aspect of a situation they thought they understood, and their world expands. Those moments create profound learning. The St. Edward's emphasis on globalism, diversity and social justice creates a rich environment for this type of transformative learning, and I am very excited to be a part of that process.”

Adam McCormick, Assistant Professor of Social Work

“Being around social work students and helping them to become better equipped to combat issues of injustice and inequality is an energizing experience. I’m excited to be at a university with such a strong commitment to issues of social justice and peace.”

Leila Mills, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

“After many years of teaching online, I am very happy to be teaching students at St. Edward's the ins and outs of computers and technology in the face-to-face classroom. I am finding students to be refreshingly upbeat and motivated. I love seeing students get excited about computer science.”

Matthew Shirley, assistant professor of Mathematics

“I graduated from St. Edward’s in 2000.  Through my adult life, I have noted that the liberal arts education I received has helped me professionally and personally. I hope to contribute in a small way to the mission here.”

David Thomason, Assistant Professor of Political Science

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the St. Edward’s faculty. I’m energized by the students and vibrant campus activity. This year, I hope to engage students in a critical analysis of the moral and political dilemmas facing their generation, as well as provide the space for them to explore the solutions to those dilemmas. As a political theorist, I want students to understand that public policy and politics are relevant to them and provide students with the tools for being involved in the public and political debate. I believe that these skills are important no matter what area of interest or profession they may pursue in life. I also want to share my interest in guitar, baseball, mountain biking vinyl albums, and outdoor activities.”

Santiago Toledo, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

“If I were to describe St. Edward’s in a simple phrase it would be ‘forward momentum.’ The institution is very alive, dynamic and is embarking on a variety of exciting yet challenging initiatives that look to continue to improve the academic excellence of St. Edwards’s and its students. I am thrilled to join these efforts and to be able to contribute specifically in the areas of high-impact and relevant undergraduate research, global initiatives (study abroad programs), and innovative teaching based on best practices.”  

Don Unger, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric

“This fall, I‘m teaching two sections of Rhetoric and Composition II linked to the Sex, Drugs, and Counterculture theme in Freshman Studies. I‘m also teaching Document Design. In spring 2016, I will be teaching RC II, Document Design, and Writing Online. I forward to working with students at St. Edward’s on projects that bridge professional writing to service learning. For example, in Writing Online, my class will develop the prototype for an app that provides information about social and cultural events at St. Edward’s and similar events around Austin. The projects goal is to strengthen connections among university and local communities.”


List of all new full-time faculty members

  • Raazia Ali, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Julie Armstrong, Assistant Professor of Communication
  • Shannon Baley, Assistant Professor of University Studies
  • Beth Bernstein, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience
  • María Cavazos, Assistant Professor of Spanish
  • Roger Gans, Instructor of Communication
  • Chris Gerben, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
  • Katherine Goldey, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Victoria Hill, Assistant Professor of University Studies
  • Tyler Layton, Assistant Professor of Theatre: Acting
  • Adam McCormick, Assistant Professor of Social Work
  • Leila Mills, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Karina Perlato, Assistant Professor of Accounting
  • Hugo Pedrozo, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Tammie Rubin, Assistant Professor of Art: Sculpture
  • Matthew Shirley, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • David Thomason, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Santiago Toledo, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Don Unger, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
  • Sasha West, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
  • Emma Woelk, Assistant Professor of German
  • LaRu Woody, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
  • Debra Zahay Blatz, Professor of Marketing