Five new full-time faculty at Columbia College plus a presidential search

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:17 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 15, 2013

Columbia College has 71 full-time faculty positions. Among the faculty, 37 professors are now tenured, while 33 professors were tenured during the past academic year.

Columbia College will welcome 5 new full-time professors and an interim president this school year.

Columbia College President Gerald Brouder retired on Aug. 1. He served for 18 years as the college's 16th president. Smith became interim president Aug. 2 and is expected to remain for the duration of the 2013-2014 school year.

Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for academic affairs, will serve as interim president of the college until a new head is hired to replace Brouder.

The college began searching for new leadership in January. It is working with a search firm and search committee and expects to instate a new president in July 2014

The Rev. John Yonker, a member of the college's board of trustees, will head the search committee. Other committee members include board members, the student government president, administrators, faculty and staff.

Smith received a master's degree and doctoral degree from Michigan State University and was a Fulbright Scholar. As a dean, he also taught political science courses.

5 new full-time faculty

  • Heather Ditzer: Ditzer comes from the University of Central Missouri, where she taught English at UCM's English Language Center. She will teach English as a second language classes focusing on written communication, grammar skills and oral communication on Columbia College's main campus in fall 2013.
  • Curtis Mason: Mason will be an assistant professor in the department of education at the main campus. In the fall, he will teach law, ethics and education on the main campus. Mason is listed as transitioning from another branch of Columbia College in the college's Connections publication for staff.
  • Melinda McPherson: McPherson joins as an assistant professor of forensic science after working as a research assistant professor and director of research in the MU School of Medicine. She previously worked as an explosives chemist with the Navy and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She earned her doctorate in analytical chemistry from Virginia Tech.
  • David Ruggeri: Ruggeri, an assistant professor of business administration, will teach health care economics in fall 2013. He previously taught economics and business courses at East Central College. He received a doctorate in public police from Saint Louis University.
  • Rie Sasaki: Sasaki will join the biology faculty at Columbia College after serving as an assistant professor at Lynchburg College in Virginia. She earned her doctorate in physiology from MU. In the fall semester she will teach classes in human biology and anatomy on campus. Her research interests include Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular physiology. 

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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