Faculty Highlights

Faculty Highlights

Alumni Recall Faculty Who Left Lasting Impressions
JWU Faculty Jeri Langford

Jeri Langford, DBA
Associate Professor, Marketing, Charlotte

After 25 years in the corporate world, Charlotte Campus Associate Professor Jeri Langford, DBA finds staying current in her subject is her biggest challenge. Out in business, she was exposed to the latest news and marketing techniques daily. “The world of media is changing by the second,” she observes. “When you’re in the classroom you’re isolated.”

Langford stays abreast of developments by building relationships with ad and marketing agencies, visiting companies over summers and serving as an officer of the Charlotte American Marketing Association. She brings representatives onto campus as guest speakers and has students tour local businesses. Time spent as an industry insider works to her students’ benefit. “The more experiences you can bring to the classroom — the more patience and wisdom, because you’ve seen it all before — gives you a distinct advantage.”

“Dr. Langford not only cared for our careers as students, but for our careers as young professionals, doing everything in her power to prepare us for life after the university. She knew when to challenge and push us and when to mentor us.”
— Audrey L. Quetel ’10, Marketing, Charlotte Director of Business Development, Environmental Service Systems LLC, Charlotte, NC.

To the old quip that nothing you learn in college is what you really need on the job, she replies, “I’m here to break that cycle.” She works to find the balance between dense text and necessary information. “I’ve been out there for 25 years, hired people, interviewed, been promoted. I know the kind of skills they’re looking for.” Students tell her they enjoy the way her class fits the real world. “I want to prepare you for that interview and open that door for you,” she tells them, adding, “You’re the one that has to walk through.”

JWU Faculty Irit Cohen Irit Cohen
Assistant Professor, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Denver Assistant Professor

Irit Cohen invites non-science students to enjoy science. In her classes at the Denver Campus, most of the students she faces have had some kind of struggle with math and science in their past.

“They’re scared of science and I enjoy showing them the beauty and making them think, ‘I can be a scientist. I can take that path,’” the cell and molecular human biologist says.

“In order to learn, the student must be confident in his or her ability,” Cohen believes. “If that is gone, then learning is gone.” For students to really take in information, there has to be an equal trust and flow from student to teacher and back — “completely uninhibited so that the mind doesn’t shut down at any point.”

“Professor [Irit] Cohen went above and beyond ... She truly and genuinely cared for all of her students and wanted only the best for us. She encouraged us to follow our hearts.”
— Ashly Quibodeaux ’11, Culinary Nutrition Production Chef, Project Angel Heart, Denver, Colo.

She tries to encourage all to use science as a way of life: question everything; take nothing for granted; experiment when possible; and use the science model to solve any problems in life.

Cohen “floats ideas” about potential career choices. Culinary students often arrive thinking they can only do culinary and not science, she says. With her guidance, many discover that they can do science and decide to study culinary nutrition. Four of her students are now en route to medical school.

“That instance when I hear, ‘Oh I get it. I get it. I understand everything is connected.’ That’s what I live for,” she says.

JWU Faculty Martin SivulaMartin Sivula, PhD
Associate Professor, Director of Research, Alan Shawn Feinstein
Graduate School, Providence

Martin Sivula, PhD was hired in 1985 to bring technology into academics and 21st-century education to Johnson & Wales College. When computer education became the first graduate school master’s degree, Sivula was named program director. Today, as an associate professor and director of research in the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School, he remains at the forefront of his field, often using software like Skype to impart individualized lessons online through instant messaging and video conferencing.

“When I was writing my dissertation, he was like a taskmaster. I came to lean on him a lot because he knew a lot … what I’d need to do to succeed and advice on life I could really work with. It’s very rare that you meet someone like that.”
— Emmanuel Vincent ’09 Ed.D., providence Assistant Professor, Special Education, Springfield College, Springfield, Mass.

“People pay a lot of money for graduate education. They want to be sure that they’re getting what’s cutting-edge in the discipline and it has to be presented in a manner that’s digestible,” he says. “To make the complicated simple” is Sivula’s educational mission.

He believes that trust is the foundation of the student-teacher relationship, staying abreast of advances in course content and always imparting the truth. As an advisor to Fulbright applicants and doctoral candidates, his shoot-from-the-hip style and candid concern garner praise and respect from his charges.

The doctoral process begins as a mentor-protégé relationship. By graduation, the student is readied to become the mentor. “That’s a skill set you hope transplants itself,” Sivula says. When the process is completed, the student can depend upon himself.

JWU Faculty Susan Gritz EdD 170x150Susan Gritz, EdD
Associate Professor, Sociology, Psychology, Leadership, North Miami

As a therapist with a private practice, Susan Gritz, EdD, can reach one person in an hour. As an associate professor in Arts & Sciences at Johnson & Wales’ North Miami Campus, she can reach 40 in two hours. “I get to work with that multitude of subjects to enhance wellbeing,” she says.

Gritz “reads ferociously” daily to stay abreast of applicable topics in psychology and begins her classes discussing what she’s learned. “I’m teaching non-psych majors and non-sociology majors so I want to show them how my class cannot only help them in their industry but help them in their own lives.”

Optimal teaching, she believes, means being prepared, dynamic and most importantly, having passion, enthusiasm, personality — and fun. Gritz is admired for having all of that. Her lessons are as readily delivered in cartoons as case studies. “I love my students,” she says. “I want to make them laugh.”

Studies conducted between 1960 and today show that 45 percent of college-age students report some level of depression that makes it difficult for them to function on campus. She’s seen no noticeable change. Students were coming in years ago with the same kind of issues.

“Susan Gritz has a creative way of engaging her classes so that her students are easily able to comprehend the subject material. Her enthusiasm and passion for teaching inspired me … to pursue learning opportunities outside of the classroom.”
— Joanna Barret ’08, Sports /Entertainment /Event Management , North Miami Meetings & Events Coordinator, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, Mass.

Gritz delivers lessons to help them grow as individuals and social beings. “I want to take what’s theory and make it practical and meaningful for them in their lives,” she says. “I want optimal humans and optimal functioning.”