Communication school hires two new faculty for master’s program

Gannon University’s School of Communication and the Arts welcomed two new faculty members, Jennifer Allen Catellier, Ph.D., and Matt McKeague, Ph.D., with the departure of Brent Sleasman, Ph.D.

Sleasman will begin working as the Winebrenner Theological Seminary president at the University of Findlay in December.

A.J. Miceli, the director of the School of Communication and the Arts, said the school appreciates all Sleasman did, especially in his role designing the masters program in health communication, and wishes him the best.

“He helped us build this program,” Miceli said.

“Getting through the committees is the hard part; teaching them is the easy part.”

Miceli said the master’s in health communication is a two-year program that teaches students to work as health educators in medium-sized health-related organizations and to serve as the public face for such organizations.

Sleasman was the director of the program, but the school has hired McKeague on a one-year appointment and plans to hire a full-time faculty member for next year, Miceli said.

Miceli said the other most immediate step for the program is recruitment.

“We’re just settling into the program now,” Miceli said. “We intend to spend more time promoting it, and [putting the program] in better shape to get the word out so those who want to join it can.”

Other than promoting the program, classes have started this semester for the first students to enroll in it. McKeague and Catellier are instructors for the program, which is composed of two students.

Brandon Fronk, a graduate student in the program, said he chose it based on his interests in the health and communication fields.

“The health communication field is expanding drastically and the opportunities that will be available to ‘be the change’ in our world will only enhance,” Fronk said.

Fronk said he was not surprised to see new faculty this semester because Sleasman mentioned it, but that Sleasman will be missed as a great asset to students and faculty.

Fronk said he hopes to get more of an education in this program.

“I love being a student and I love learning so any opportunity I can take advantage of to expand my area of expertise in a field I enjoy studying, I will definitely partake in that opportunity,” Fronk said.

Catellier, the new full-time faculty, is originally from Cory, Pa., and completed her undergraduate degree at Mercyhurst. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo, where she studied health communication.

Catellier worked as an instructor at John Carrol in Cleveland and said her new students are similar in their attitudes.

“Students in this program seem really interested and engaged,” Catellier said.

She is teaching the introduction course for the program which is designed to give students an idea of what they can do with a master’s in health communication.

“There’s a lot of good energy here,” Catellier said. “I’m excited to see where that goes and turn this program where they want it to go.

“I think the energy is there to do that.”

She said the transition in coming to Gannon went smoothly.

“It seems like a great place to work,” Catellier said.

“I’m happy to be here and get all the help I’ve gotten so far.”

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