By MARY BURGER – STAFF WRITER
This year, Centre College welcomed 14 new faculty members to campus. The student to faculty ratio is now reported as 10:1, a number that reflects the individual attention promised by a school of this caliber. These professors have a variety of interests, backgrounds, and areas of academic expertise and are eager to share their knowledge with students.
Visiting Instructor of Economics Justin Roush makes a return to Centre’s campus after receiving a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Mathematics from Centre in 2010.
He received his M.A. in Economics from the University of Tennessee and is teaching Intro. to Economics and Corporate Finance this semester. Currently, Roush is researching the environmental performances of foreign-owned manufactures within the U.S.
“I also study the Economics of Education, particularly focusing on higher education. My current research looks at the response of for-profit tuition rates to the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” Roush said.
He moved to Kentucky at age twelve after growing up in Phoenix, Arizona as a self-described “chubby little punk with a bowl cut and a sweet BMX bike.” After becoming a country boy and working at John Deere in high school, he came to Danville to begin his four years at Centre College.
Now a professor at his former alma mater, Roush reminisces on the changes to Centre’s campus since his days as a student.
“Lots of things have physically changed, but Centre still has that feel,” Roush said. “When we [the graduating seniors] commuted to commencement…we passed by chain link fences surrounding what would be the new façade for Young Hall … However, some things haven’t changed, like the friendliness of the students and staff, the interesting conversations you hear at Cowan, and the level of care for education that professors maintain.”
When he is not at work, Roush enjoys swimming, biking, and running. He has participated in triathlons, the longest being a half ironman. He watches Barkley’s Premier League soccer (and is a proud Tottenham Hotspur) and has a growing interest in the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Dr. Iulia Sprinceana is the new Assistant Professor of Spanish, originally from Bucharest, Romania. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont as an undergraduate and then went to University of California Berkeley for graduate school, where she received her Ph.D.
“I specialize in modern and contemporary, twentieth and twenty-first century, Spanish peninsular theatre and performance,” Dr. Sprinceana said, who discovered this interest while spending her junior year of undergraduate studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.
While abroad, she took a class on contemporary Spanish literature and found an interest in the dramatic pieces. Her time in Spain “definitely helped shape [her] passion for the language.”
Sprinceana’s first impressions of Centre were very positive. “I was looking to teach at a small liberal arts school. My experience at Middlebury shaped my life. Study abroad was part of that school and its mission and I wanted to do the same for my students,” Sprinceana said. This semester she is teaching Review of Fundamentals, and Advanced Grammar and Composition.
Visiting Instructor of English Professor William Weber is currently teaching Humanities and a course of his own design, Revenge Drama. Later this semester he will be receiving his Ph.D from Yale University.
He specializes in Shakespeare and Early Modern Classical Literature. Although originally from northwest Wisconsin, he attended Sewanee for undergraduate.
“I’m extremely excited to be in the small liberal arts college environment again. It’s a great opportunity for me to get back to my academic roots,” Weber said. “I love the enthusiasm that everyone seems to have for life here … Every student seems happy, seems focused, and seems interested and committed to the liberal arts education. That’s not something you can say of most places. Centre really lives up to its billing and people here seem to really buy into it. That’s why I feel so at home.”
Having only been here two weeks, Professor Weber is already getting involved in student life outside of academic. He is in the process of starting a rugby club on campus. He played the sport at Sewanee and on a city team while in New Haven. He is also a certified referee and coach.
“Centre is one of only 2 of the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News and World Report without a rugby club. So it is something peer institutions are successful at and I think it would be successful here,” Weber said.
“Rugby is the second most popular sport worldwide and the fastest growing sport in the US. It’s going to be in the Olympics in 2016 for the first time since 1920. It’s truly an international sport.” This link to the international sphere fits in well with Centre’s determination for all to become global citizens.
New faculty members bring more expertise and interests to campus. It is thanks to their dedication that students receive the quality education provided at Centre. A warm welcome is extended to all 14 of these new faces on campus.