Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight

CHSS Professors Honored with Awards

CHSS and Beyond: Celebrating the Remarkable Research Accomplishments of Four Faculty Members

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rowan University is delighted to recognize the outstanding research achievements of our esteemed faculty during the current year. The impressive range of accomplishments highlights the exceptional talent within our institution. We would like to highlight four exemplary individuals who will be undertaking exciting endeavors during the upcoming summer and academic year.

Debbie SharnakDebbie Sharnak’s NEH Summer Stipend and NEH Humanities Connections Award

Debbie Sharnak is an Assistant Professor of History at CHSS. Sharnak has received NEH funding for two separate projects.  The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is a government agency formed in 1965. It provides funding for humanities programs in the United States and awards grants to the best proposals reviewed by independent panels. She won the highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend for Summer 2023 to work on her new book project. The NEH Summer Stipend is incredibly competitive with a funding ratio of only 11 percent. Additionally, Sharnak’s NEH Humanities Connections application, “Strengthening Humanistic Literacy in the Study of Sport: Developing a Minor and Certificate in Sports and Society” was approved for an award. The Humanities Connections program aims to enhance undergraduate education by promoting interdisciplinary collaborations between humanities faculty and counterparts in social and natural sciences, as well as professional programs, to create innovative curricular approaches and integrative learning opportunities for students. This program is also competitive with a funding ratio of 26 percent.

Carla LewandowskiCarla Lewandowski, Fulbright-Hayes to Mexico for Summer 2023

Carla Lewandowski, Law & Justice Studies, has been selected to participate in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program to Mexico. She is one of 16 professors chosen to spend a month in Mexico with colleagues from across the U.S. Organized by the Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange, or COMEXUS, this program commemorates the 200th anniversary of Mexico-U.S. relations. Carla will join a group of faculty and administrators to explore shared history, visit landmarks, and engage with Mexican scholars on key bilateral issues. They will immerse themselves in Mexican culture and establish collaborations for future projects. Carla's participation will enhance her understanding and enable her to create educational initiatives for her students and community.

Sierra lomutoSierra Lomuto, Accepted to the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton for 2023-24

Sierra Lomuto, English, has been chosen for a Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors, granting her membership at the Institute for Advanced Study during the 2023-2024 academic year. With an acceptance rate of approximately 13%, Sierra's selection marks a significant achievement as she becomes the second faculty member from Rowan University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) to receive this prestigious honor. Supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the fellowship allows Sierra to engage in scholarly research and writing exclusively, while enjoying the privileges of membership at the Institute. Her appointment signifies her exceptional promise and contributions to her field, positioning her as a rising star in academia. 

Jessica MackJessica Mack, 2023-24 Andrew W. Mellon Price Lab Seminar

Jessica Mack, History, has been selected as a Mellon Price Lab Seminar Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania for the upcoming academic year. This esteemed fellowship entails active participation in a biweekly seminar and includes a $5000 research fund specifically allocated for the development of a digital mapping project aligned with her book research. This fellowship is extremely competitive, only accepting 12 participants each year. Jessica is thrilled about this opportunity as it not only allows her to engage with a network of fellow digital humanities scholars in the region but also provides a platform to further her research interests.

Assistant/Associate/Full Professor Award for Excellence in Service, Dr. Chanelle Rose, Associate Professor, History Department

Chanelle RoseDr. Chanelle Rose has worked tirelessly to foster inclusivity, civility, and diversity at Rowan and in the broader community. In her department, Dr. Rose has served on and chaired numerous committees and created innovative curriculum such as the Model African Union and a service learning course on the History of Camden. She has also worked to develop interdisciplinary curriculum, serving on the CHSS Diversity and Curriculum MA Committee to create graduate courses and CADPs and working with the College of Education to develop a CUGS on African American history for future teachers. Dr. Rose has been especially impactful as the coordinator of Africana Studies and in DEI work in general. In addition to serving on the department, college, and university DEI committees, as coordinator of Africana Studies, Dr. Rose works on organizing numerous events each year, from their signature Rosa Parks Luncheon to the Corann Okorodudu lecture series. She has also organized, moderated, and presented at numerous panels and workshops about current topics such as the Black Lives Matter protests, Critical Race Theory, the decline of civil discourse, and Anti-Asian violence. Dr. Rose also serves as a public intellectual, frequently speaking to community groups about African American history, civil discourse, and current racial justice movements. Currently Dr. Rose is working with the College of Education to develop an Amistad Center to foster the implementation of the Amistad Bill and improve teaching about African American history in NJ schools.

chanelle rose whitney cox

Lecturer/Instructor Award for Excellence in Service, Dr. Whitney Cox, Lecturer, Department of Philosophy and World Religions

whitney coxDr. Whitney Cox has been very active in service at the departmental, college, and university levels. In her department, for example, she has been very active in recruitment, mentoring students, curriculum development, and faculty searches, and she coordinates the World Religions Program. In terms of service to CHSS and the wider university, she worked with the CHSS Center for Professional Success on the career modules and helped organize alumni events. She also serves as advisor to the Spiritualistic Study Club and as a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Council. With her passion for social justice, Dr. Cox has been especially active in DEI work: she’s on the DEI committees of her department and CHSS, and she’s been very active on the University DEI Council, serving on numerous time-consuming subcommittees. She’s also active in Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution, serving on their steering committee and participating in their activities and panels, and in Universal Design for Learning work, serving on the steering committee of the new Rowan Center for Neurodiversity. In the fall, she will be leading the CHSS UDL initiative with Kelly Duke Bryant.  None of her service activities have carried adjusted load so she has also been teaching 4-4. On April 1, Dr. Cox will be part of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship’s annual April Fool’s Day debate over which is more American: the eagle or the turkey.

CHSS Professors Honored with Research Awards

melissa klapperDr. Melissa R. Klapper earned her BA from Goucher College and her PhD from Rutgers University. She teaches American and women's history, with a focus on the late 19th and early 20th century and additional research interests in the history of childhood, the history of education, and American Jewish history. She is the author of Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 (NYU Press, 2005) and Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2007), as well as numerous articles and essays. She lectures widely in a variety of academic and community settings. She is the book review editor of the journal American Jewish History and recently completed a term as the co-chair of the Association for Jewish Studies's Modern Jewish History--The Americas division.  She is currently the Coordinator of the Women's & Gender Studies Program at Rowan University.

Dr. Klapper's scholarship has been awarded grants and fellowships from an array of sources, including the American Jewish Archives, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women at Harvard University, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, among many others. Her book Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940 (NYU Press, 2013), won the National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies. Dr. Klapper's most recent book is Ballet Class:  An American History (Oxford University Press, 2020).

john shjarbackJohn Shjarback is an assistant professor in the Department of Law and Justice Studies at Rowan University. He earned his Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Arizona State University in 2016. He has published close to 30 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and technical reports on topics broadly related to transactional violence between police officers and citizens, race/ethnicity, and police accountability. Additionally, John is a proponent of public/translational criminology and he has written op-ed essays geared towards the general public for The Washington Post, the New York Daily News, The Dallas Morning News, and Smerconish.com, among other media outlets. He has collaborated with a number of law enforcement agencies – most recently the Atlantic City Police Department and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office – and practitioners on various projects and evaluations. His research has impacted policy and informed data collection efforts. For example, John’s work on use of force and officer-involved shootings has been cited during legislative and agency efforts in Philadelphia, Utah, Georgia, and New Jersey. He has also provided testimony regarding best practices for civilian oversight bodies for the New Jersey State Legislature. John is the 2021 recipient of the “Early Career Award” from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of Policing.​