New faculty drawn to university's mission | California Lutheran University

New faculty drawn to university's mission

Professors enjoy working closely with students

"I love engaging students and getting them to think outside the box and how to think for themselves,” said Rose Aslan, a practicing Muslim who was appointed an assistant professor of religion.

Photo: Brian Stethem

California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks has announced the hiring of several new faculty members for the 2014-15 academic year.

Among the new faculty members at the private university is Rose Aslan, a practicing Muslim who was appointed an assistant professor of religion.

Aslan, who’s originally from San Francisco, said she came to CLU because she liked the idea of being part of a Christian college and that as such, it offers her a more welcoming environment where she can share her faith.

“There’s more freedom in the classroom than there would be at a public university,” she said. “It’s been really great to be with open-minded colleagues, and I’ve had a really good experience with the students.”

Aslan teaches Introduction to Abrahamic Religions, Global Religions and courses on Islam.

Immediately before coming to CLU for the start of the fall semester, she earned a doctorate in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Cal Lutheran requires all students to take two religion courses, so you have to find a creative way to engage them,” she said. “That’s challenging, but it’s a good challenge and leads to open questions. I love engaging students and getting them to think outside the box and how to think for themselves.”

John Deisz, a professor and chairman of the physics department, joined CLU after 15 years at the University of Northern Iowa.

“I just felt I was interested in experiencing something different and something that would provide me with a little more personal interaction with students,” he said.

A North Dakota native, Deisz specializes in scientific computing and computer modeling.

“There’s a lot of practical significance to what I teach and a wide range of career options if you have a physics degree,” he said. “I really want to know the kind of impact I have and see what happens with my students afterwards, and at a smaller university it’s possible to have a more significant relationship with the students I am working with.”

Other new faculty members at CLU include associate professor Michael Owens, assistant professor Heidi Coronado, faculty fellow Therese Eyermann, and lecturers Jacquelyn Greenhill and Lory Selby in the Graduate School of Education.

Bethany Simmons has joined the Graduate School of Psychology as an assistant professor along with assistant professor of psychology Ariana Young.

Sarah Fischbach is a new assistant professor in the School of Management, while Michael Panesis has been appointed executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of Management at CLU’s Westlake Village campus.

Aaron Heresco is an assistant professor of communication, and Noelle Raffy is an assistant professor of theater arts.

In addition the Rev. Shauna Hannan has joined CLU’s Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley as an associate professor of homiletics.

--- Published in the Ventura County Star on Dec. 29, 2014

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