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Faculty Spotlight

 Richard Ranta

Dr. Ranta Receives Distinguished Achievement Award

For more than 35 years, Dean Richard R. Ranta has tirelessly worked to advance the arts and communication offerings at the University of Memphis. His efforts were recognized when he received the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts, given by the College of Communication and Fine Arts Advisory Board, Thursday, Oct. 17th.   Off-campus, Ranta has had many accomplishments as a director, producer and member of various organizations. He has been trustee, vice president and education chair for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif. He continues to be part of the production team of the Recording Academy’s production of the Grammy Awards on CBS, an integral role he’s held for more than 30 years. Listed in Who’s Who in America, Ranta can also be seen weekly on WREG-TV’s Knowledge Bowl. In 2005, he received the Tennessee Governor’s Award.

Dan Lattimore 

Dr. Lattimore Receives Herbert Lee Williams Award

Dr. Dan Lattimore was honored with the Herbert Lee Williams Award at the 2013 Journalism Award ceremony on October 18th.  Dr. Lattimore is vice provost for Extended Programs and dean of University College as well as dean of the Lambuth Campus.  He also holds the rank of professor in the Journalism Department.  Dr. Lattimore is the author of five books, an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and past president of the PRSA Educators Academy and Memphis Chapter of Public Relations Society of America.  He was vice president of the Accrediting Council for Journalism and Mass Communications for six years.  He has served as communication director for several USAID projects throughout the world where he produced numerous films and videos.  He also developed the first online master’s program in journalism in the country in 1995.

Dr. Robert Yelle 

Dr.Robert Yelle Named Joint Tikvah/Senior Emile Noel Fellow

Dr.Robert Yelle, Associate Professor of History and a Helen Hardin Honors program associate professor, has been named as a Joint Tikvah/Senior Emile Noel Fellow for the 2013-14 academic year by the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization.

Yelle, also a program adviser for the minor in Religious Studies, is a former Guggenheim Fellow and author of Explaining Mantras: Ritual, Rhetoric and the Dream of a Natural Language in Hindu Tantra; The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India; and Semiotics of Religion: Signs of the Sacred in History, in addition to numerous articles.

He is an active member of the American Academy of Religion and is presently editor of the AAR/Oxford University Press book series Religion, Culture and History.

 Dr. Gene A. Plunka

Dr. Gene A. Plunka Added to Editorial Board

Dr. Gene A. Plunka, Professor of English, has been added to the editorial board of The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.




Advances in Applied Mathmatics Book 

Dr. George Anastassiou Publishes Mathematics Book

Dr. George Anastassiou, Professor of Mathematics, published Advances in Applied Mathematics and Approximation Theory: Contributions from AMAT 2012.



 Dr. Karen Weddle-West

Dr. Karen Weddle-West Appointed Chair-Elect of GRE Board

Dr. Karen Weddle-West, dean of the Graduate School, vice provost for Academic Affairs and director of Diversity Initiatives, has been appointed chair-elect of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Board.

The GRE is the most widely used, internationally recognized admissions test for graduate schools. The GRE Board oversees GRE assessments, services and research in consultation with its committees. It establishes all policies for the GRE Program.

Weddle-West was nominated to serve as the Council of Graduate Schools' (CGS) representative of the GRE Board in 2009, and the GRE Board elected her to serve as their representative on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Board. Following three years of service on the GRE Research and Finance Committees, and two years of service on the TOEFL Board, GRE Board members voted her chair-elect.

 Bob Hetherington

Robert Hetherington Named Provost's Fellow

Dr. Robert Hetherington has been named a Provost’s Fellow for the 2013-2014 academic year. He will work on special projects related to academic planning.

“We are fortunate to have a person with Bob’s talent, vision and experience in this position,” said Provost David Rudd. Hetherington joined the U of M faculty in 1997 as chair and professor of Theatre & Dance, a position he held for 15 years. During that time, his department saw the creation of a Musical Theatre program, the addition of several professional staff positions and strong partnerships with area theatres and the Accademia dell Arte in Arezzo, Italy.

Hetherington’s work as a theatre director is well known to Memphis audiences, and he has won many awards. During the University’s centennial celebration, he produced and directed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. He has received both the College of Communication and Fine Arts Creative Achievement Award and the Alumni Award for Creative Achievement.

 Dr. Klesges

Dr. Lisa Klesges Selected a Finalist for Health Care Heroes Award

Dr. Lisa Klesges, Dean of the School of Public Health, was selected as a finalist for the Memphis Business Journal’s 15th Annual Health Care Heroes Awards. The 20 finalists in five categories – Administrative Excellence, Community Outreach, Health Care Innovations, Health Care Provider (Non-Physician) and Health Care Provider (Physician) – were selected by the MBJ editorial staff. Klesges was nominated in the Administrative Excellence category. Winners will be recognized at a ceremony Thursday, Sept. 26, at the U of M Holiday Inn. Click here to read more.

 Dr. Dan Gentry

Dan Gentry Elected Chair of CAHME Board

Dan Gentry, PhD, MHA, Professor of Health Systems Management and Policy and Associate Dean for Academics at the University of Memphis School of Public Health, has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors for the Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Management Education (CAHME) for 2013-2014. Dr. Gentry served as a CAHME Fellow from 2006 to 2009, has been both a Commissioner and Board Member since 2011, and was CAHME’s lead faculty consultant on implementation of competency-based education from 2008 to 2013.

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Last Updated: 10/29/13