Returning students will see some new faces on campus

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:52 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 21, 2014

ERIKA LIETZAN, School of Law, 313 Hulston Hall

Erika Lietzan moved to Columbia on June 8 with her husband, Karl, and their two daughters, Sophia, 9, and Effie, 2, along with two cats. They traveled nearly 960 miles from Alexandria, Va.

Lietzan, 46, was born in Greenwich Village in New York. She studied history at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1990 before receiving her master's degree in history in 1992 from University of California, Los Angeles. She then attended Duke University Law School, graduating in 1995.

After law school, she moved to Jacksonville, Fla., to work as a clerk for Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat of the 11th Circuit, a federal appeals court. One year later, she was hired by a law firm, Covington & Burling LLP, in Washington, D.C.

She eventually became a partner at the firm, where she represented drug and medical device companies in front of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress. She spent a small part of her career lobbying legislation that became a portion of the Affordable Care Act.

Lietzan has spent over 17 years in private practice, which she said will benefit her students.

"It's pretty unusual to have this much private practice experience," she said. "I think it will contribute to real-world examples in the classroom."

She will teach three classes this year — an intellectual property survey course and a drug and device regulation class.

AARON HEDLUND, Department of Economics, 226 Professional Building

Aaron Hedlund and his wife, Katie, moved to Columbia at the beginning of July with their four children, who range in age from 1 to 5 years old. He will join the economics department in the fall with a special interest in macroeconomics. 

"Other areas of economics affect only slices of life," Hedlund, 30, said, "But macro affects everything. It consists of things that tangibly affect people's everyday lives."

Hedlund was born in Wheaton, Ill., which is outside Chicago. He graduated from Duke University in 2006 with a degree in economics and math. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for his Ph.D., graduating in 2012.

He has spent the last two years at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he was an assistant professor.

Hedlund will be teaching labor economics this fall, as well as a Ph.D. macroeconomics class in the spring. He said the diversity of MU will help his research.

"(MU) is a public school and people come here from all walks of life," he said, "and that's appealing to me."

KATE LOCKWOOD HARRIS, Department of Communication, 208 Switzler Hall

Kate Lockwood Harris said she believes communication is the study of human interaction. She moved to Columbia in the middle of July to join the communication department.

Harris, 31, who was born in Boston and grew up on the East Coast, graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2005 with a degree in communication and music performance.

She has played piano since she was 4 years old and flute since she was 10. She received her master's degree from the University of North Carolina in 2009.

She has been at the University of Colorado for the last four years, where she received a doctorate in communication and then taught for a year.

Harris said she looked forward to teaching at a public university because she believes they are more accessible than private universities. She will teach a feminist communication theory graduate seminar this fall and an introductory survey of communication for majors in the spring.

Harris said she is a nature lover. An avid fan of hiking and biking, she said she has already enjoyed some of the trails Columbia offers, such as the MKT Nature and Fitness trail.

"I'd prefer a bike to a car any day," she said.

JENA RANDOLPH, College of Education, Thompson Center

Jena Randolph is not a newcomer to Columbia nor MU, but she will join the university as a full-time faculty member for the first time this fall. 

Randolph, 37, graduated from William Woods University in 1999 with a degree in special education and elementary education. She received a master’s degree in early childhood special education at MU in 2002.

Her passion for teaching children with special needs started in 1996 when she "fell in love" with an autistic child after she responded to an ad from a mother who needed help taking care of him. Years later, she taught special education at Rock Bridge Elementary School.

Randolph received a doctorate in special education from MU in 2009. In the fall, she will teach an undergraduate special education class, "Collaboration and Consultation" and will lead a master’s program on teaching children with autism. She will continue her research and development at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

She lives with her husband Ben, a chef at Eleven Eleven, the restaurant in The Broadway Hotel. They have two children, Miles, 6, and Sophie, 4. She said she is a food and wine enthusiast.

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