University Report 2015-16 | Faculty

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SJU Faculty: Scholarly Experts Heighten Students’ Learning Experiences

Saint Joseph’s supports its academic priorities in many ways, among them, hiring faculty whose scholarly expertise, industry experience and commitment to student achievement bring depth and insight to student learning. Here are four examples.

Michael Angelina

Executive Director of the Academy of Risk Management and Insurance

A 30-year insurance industry veteran, Michael Angelina took the helm of Saint Joseph’s Academy of Risk Management and Insurance (ARMI) as executive director in 2012. His connections made through executive positions in the industry — at Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., Tillinghast-Towers Perrin and the Academy of Actuaries — help facilitate his interactions with leading firms to prepare students in the University’s risk management and insurance program for internships and employment opportunities.

“We are distinguishing ourselves in insurance education,” says Angelina, “and leading the way through our research, curriculum and student outcomes.”

Angelina presented the results of his research pointing to the underrepresentation of women working in the eld at the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s 2015 Women in Insurance Conference as well as other venues. He analyzed gender diversity analytics from more than 100 insurance companies and has testified as an expert witness to the U.S. Federal Court in landmark tax cases regarding the definition of insurance for tax purposes, insurance risks and types of policies, and captive insurance companies.

Cheryl George, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Special Education

Cheryl George joined the Saint Joseph’s faculty as an assistant professor of special education in 2015, immediately becoming involved with the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. For more than 10 years, she has been examining the effects of aerobic exercise on behavior, academic responding, motor skills and sleep in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). George is looking for new ways teachers and families can aid in the academic performance of children with disabilities and manage their behaviors.

“I am thrilled to join the SJU family,” says George.“Saint Joseph’s University, along with the Kinney Center, provides both opportunities and resources for an expansion of my research, as well as allowing me the privilege to teach undergraduate and graduate courses.”

This year, she mentored Summer Scholar Erin Ross ’17, a chemistry major, as they researched the academic and social responses of children with ASD who participated in various tasks before and after swimming during Camp Kinney on campus. The pair plans to submit their research for publication and have been accepted to present their findings at upcoming conferences.

In addition to her research interests, George provides pre-service teachers with practical experiences that increase their abilities to successfully educate and support children with disabilities and their families.

Amy E. Ji, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Accounting

Before Amy Ji became an assistant professor of accounting at Saint Joseph’s in fall 2014, she gained professional work experience at firms specializing in accounting, taxes, financial services and benefits. She uses her corporate background to integrate an emphasis on critical decision-making into the courses she teaches in the accounting program, recently ranked No. 10 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report (“Best Colleges,” 2017).

“I want my students to be proficient in their fields,” says Ji, “and display the highest standards of ethical conduct after they leave my class.”

Ji’s academic research on how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule-making affects earnings timeliness was published in the International Journal of Economics and Finance in 2015. She also presented her studies on auditing and corporate nance and governance at the American Accounting Association’s Mid-Atlantic Region Meeting in 2015 and 2016.

William Wolff, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Bill Wolff brought his desire to explore the connections between digital media technologies and writing to Hawk Hill in 2015 as assistant professor of communication studies. He is also a mentor in the Summer Scholars program and director of the Beautiful Social Research Collaborative. Beautiful Social partners teams of students enrolled in a communication studies course with non-profit organizations to provide consulting, training and original content for their social media platforms, free of charge.

“At Beautiful Social, we believe students have the ingenuity and vision to create positive social change for non-profit organizations and their clients in the Philadelphia area and beyond,” says Wolff.

A grant from the John Cardinal Foley Program for Media and Civic Engagement supports the collaborative’s work, including stipends for paid undergraduate Foley Fellows. The Fellows work closely with Beautiful Social student teams, facilitate communication between teams and clients, and help with community outreach efforts.

Wolff’s scholarly agenda attempts to answer the questions: How are new media technologies changing what it means to communicate? What are the implications of those changes for communications-related fields? Building on his large-scale study of how Bruce Springsteen fans communicate on Twitter, his current project considers how communities dedicated to social change are using social media to enact that change. He hopes to translate his findings into practical suggestions that non-profits can use to enhance their social media communications.