New Tenure Track Faculty 2017-2018


Art & Design

New Tenure Track Faculty - Art & Design

Nicole Foran (MFA, University of Cincinnati) is an Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art and Design. Originally from Canada, she has been living and working in the United States for the past ten years. She earned her MFA from the University of Cincinnati in 2008, with an emphasis in Printmaking and Drawing. Nicole was previously employed at Texas A&M International University where she served as Co-Chair of Fine and Performing Arts and Director of the Texas A&M International University Art Gallery.  Her artwork is exhibited internationally, with her work most recently being exhibited in South Korea. She regularly contributes to publications, including Number, Inc., an independent Art journal, Lunch Ticket Literary Magazine, and Artist Statement #2 published by the CICA Museum.  She will be presenting at the 2018 (AHSE) Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Conference in Hawaii, and hosting an incubator session at the 2018 SGI Conference in Las Vegas. 


Douglas Dabbs (MFA, The Savannah College of Art and Design) is a Nashville native who returned to Tennessee after spending twelve years in Atlanta, Georgia.  He worked as a professional comic book artist while earning his BFA and MFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design.  It was there that he fell in love with teaching and helping students pursue artistic careers.  After serving as a Professor in the Sequential Art Department at SCAD for seven years, he currently teaches Illustration at Middle Tennessee State University.  In addition to teaching, he continues his professional storyboard, illustration, and comic book career while enjoying his other passions: coffee, film, jazz, biking, and spending time with his family. 


Sheri Selph (MFA, University of Tennessee-Knoxville) is an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at Middle Tennessee State University, where she has been serving as Lecturer since 2013. Sheri completed her MFA in Graphic Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2001 and her BFA in Graphic Design at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana in 1998.  She formerly held the position of Associate Creative Director with Acxiom Corporation in their Nashville office where she specialized in design for national-level direct marketing and advertising campaigns.  She currently serves as the design and marketing advisor to the non-profit organization Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network (DSDN)—whose mission is to connect, support and provide accurate information to families with a Down syndrome diagnosis. Her research includes the use of interactive media and new technology to enhance the design and aesthetic experience of multi- channel branding, advertising and marketing campaigns.



Communication Studies

New Tenure Track Faculty - Comm Studies & ORCO

Roberta Chevrette (PhD, Arizona State University) is joining the Communication Studies faculty as an Assistant Professor. Her areas of focus include rhetoric, critical-cultural studies, women’s and gender studies, and intercultural communication. By connecting theory with lived experience, her teaching guides students to become aware of, and critically examine, the ways language, symbols, and ideologies shape culture and communication. Her rhetorical and ethnographic research has been published in numerous journals, including Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Communication Theory, Feminist Formations, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies.  ​




New Tenure Track Faculty - English

Shaun Cullen (PhD, University of Virginia) is a specialist in modern and contemporary U.S. literature and culture. In addition to his Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, he earned an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago and a BFA in Cinema Studies from New York University. His research has been published in Journal of Popular Music Studies and Criticism. He is currently completing a book on the New York City punk scene at the rock club CBGB in the 1970s and is starting a second project on gaming and the culture of risk in the contemporary U.S. He is a proud Philadelphia native, guitar player, and traveler.


Poushali Bhadury (PhD, University of Florida) is an Assistant Professor of Children’s Literature at the Department of English, Middle Tennessee State University.  Her dissertation project investigates nationalism and global consciousness in Indian children’s publishing, focusing on the Kolkata publishing house Deb Sahitya Kutir’s literary output during the 1940s-60s. Her research and teaching interests are Comparative Children’s Literature, Postcolonial Literature (esp. South Asian), Media Studies, Book History, and Digital Humanities. Poushali was a 2013-2014 CLIR Mellon Fellow for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, and has been awarded research grants and fellowships from the Children's Literature Association, the International Research Society for Children's Literature, and the Taraknath Das Foundation at the South Asia Institute, Columbia University, among others. Her peer-reviewed publications include articles in Children’s Literature Association QuarterlySouth Asian Review and The Lion and the Unicorn.

 Christopher Weedman (PhD, Southern Illinois University) teaches courses on film studies and pop culture. He previously held a postdoctoral position at the Georgia Institute of Technology and served as a temporary faculty member at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on British, American, and European film history and criticism, particularly film aesthetics and genre conventions and their engagement with issues of class, gender, and sexual identity. Christopher is currently writing a monograph on the groundbreaking film career of 1960s British actress Anne Heywood. His scholarship has appeared in the journals Film International, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and Senses of Cinema, as well as the 2015 anthology Fifty Hollywood Directors (Routledge, edited by Yvonne Tasker and Suzanne Leonard).



Foreign Languages & Literatures

New Tenure Track Faculty - Foreign Languages & Literature

Dr. Fusae Ekida (PhD, University of Washington) has taught Japanese language, literature and culture at universities in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  She also holds an M.A. in Foreign Language Education from The Ohio State University. While her primary research interest has been the eighth-century anthology of Japanese poetry Man’yōshū, she has a wide range of research interests, from historical linguistics to Japanese classical literature, including waka poetry matches and noh theatre.



Global Studies & Human Geography

New Tenure Track Faculty - Global Studies & Human Geography

LaToya Eaves (PhD, Florida International University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Studies and Human Geography. She joined MTSU in January 2015 as a Lecturer in the Global Studies and Cultural Geography Program. She received her PhD from the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, with a major field in Geography, from Florida International University. Her primary areas of research involve examining social identities within spatial narratives and sociopolitical movements of the American South and the Atlantic World more broadly. She is a North Carolina native and holds degrees from North Carolina State University (B.A.) and Florida State University (M.S.).


James Chaney (PhD, Louisiana State University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Studies and Human Geography.  He currently lives in Nashville and conducts research on the metropolitan area’s immigrant and refugee population.  His scholarly interests include cultural geography, Latin America, transnational approaches to migration scholarship, the role of "place" in identity formation, landscape transformation, and refugee resettlement and integration.  His research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Latin American Geography, Southeastern Geographer, Revista Universidad de la Habana, and Southwestern Geographer. He coauthored the book Hispanic and Latino New Orleans: Immigration and Identity since the Eighteenth Century (recipient of the 2015 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Award).  James teaches both geography and global studies courses and leads education abroad trips to Latin America. ​




New Tenure Track Faculty - History

Kevin A. Leonard (PhD, University of California, Davis) is a Professor and Chair of the history department. For twenty years he was on the faculty of Western Washington University, where he developed and taught courses in African American history, LGBTQ history, and the history of the Pacific Northwest. His scholarship focuses on the history of race relations in the western United States. He has published a book, The Battle for Los Angeles: Racial Ideology and World War II, and articles in the Western Historical Quarterly, the Journal of the West, and the Journal of the History of Sexuality. He is currently writing a book about African Americans and the urban environment in Los Angeles during the early years of the Cold War.



School of Music

New Tenure Track Faculty - Music

Dr. Chris Combest (DMA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Assistant Professor of Tuba in the MTSU School of Music.  A board member of the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium-Tuba Competition, Dr. Combest has held teaching positions at the University of Texas-San Antonio, Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prior to joining the faculty at MTSU in 2016. As Principal Tubist with the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra and former tubist with the Louisville Orchestra, Combest has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, The U.S. Army Field Band, Dallas Wind Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Huntsville Symphony and various artists including Audra McDonald and film composer John Williams.  He is a Life Member of the International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA) and serves as Competitions Chair and Associate Editor for the ITEA Journal



Political Science & International Relations

New Tenure Track Faculty - Political Science & International Relations

Michael P. Federici (PhD, The Catholic University of America) is Professor and Chair of the Political Science and International Relations Department at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his B.S. in economics from Elizabethtown College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from The Catholic University of America. He is the former president of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters and the author of three books and two edited volumes: The Political Philosophy of Alexander Hamilton, The Challenge of Populism, Eric Voegelin: The Search for Order, The Culture of Immodesty in American Life and Politics: The Modest Republic, and Rethinking the Teaching of American History.



Sociology & Anthropology

New Tenure Track Faculty - Sociology & Anthropology

Ashleigh McKinzie (PhD, University of Georgia) is joining the department of sociology and anthropology as an Assistant Professor.  She moved to Murfreesboro from Athens, Georgia where she completed graduate school.  Dr. McKinzie’s primary interest areas are race, class, and gender, disasters and the environment, and qualitative methodology.  Dr. McKinzie has also completed research projects on violence against women, deviant behavior, and mental health.  She loves to teach and do research, but in her spare time she enjoys gardening, listening to music, singing, and being in the great outdoors.  Although the Arkansas Ozarks will always be “home,” she is delighted to be in Murfreesboro with her partner, two dogs, and cat.  ​



Theatre and Dance

New Tenure Track Faculty - Theatre & Dance

Kate Goodwin (MFA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is an Assistant Professor of Theatre. A Blue Raider alum (’00), Kate is returning to the fertile grounds of her early theatre training. Following undergrad, she taught at the Nashville School for the Arts, chairing the Theatre Department from 2003-2006. The pursuit of an MFA in Stage Management at UIUC led to an exciting array of opportunities, including touring internationally with The Builders Association production of Continuous City. Other adventures include serving as Director of Education and Touring for Voices of the South Theatre Company in Memphis, TN, teaching at University of Memphis, Eastern Kentucky University, Asbury University, and Centre College, and in 2014, helping to start AthensWest Theatre Company in Lexington, KY, where she served as Production Manager until her departure for Murfreesboro. Kate will be heading up the Theatre Education concentration and Stage Management training for the Department of Theatre and Dance.