Mary Amick, Ed.D.
Michael Antila, M.S.
Professor Antila taught at the Montana State University – College of Great Falls for five years before he joined the University of Providence in 2009. His path to higher education included a stint as a statistician for an insurance company, working 9 to 5…and longing for the fun of teaching math that he found as a tutor during his undergraduate work. He has also taught high school math and science in his hometown of Geyser.
In addition to teaching, Professor Antila operates a ranch and farm. He notes that being good at math may seem vastly different from the mechanical work (welding, tractor repair, irrigation, and other farm duties) but he enjoys being able to wear both a blue and a white collar to work each week. When he is able to travel near deep water, he enjoys scuba diving.
BS, Montana Tech/University of Montana
MS, Washington State University
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
-John Wooden, coach of the UCLA basketball team, 1948-1975
John Baluyut, Ph.D.
Dr. John Baluyut teaches General Chemistry and Classical and Modern Physics to science majors, as well as Physical Chemistry to chemistry majors. His doctoral dissertation dealt with an investigation of the visual behaviors (eye tracking) of students of different competencies when solving conceptual problems. His multicultural academic background helps students from differing ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds understand the most basic concepts of chemistry.
He uses guided inquiry to work with students in the laboratory as they apply concepts learned from lecture to situations that more closely resemble real life. In the Philippines, he supervised laboratory staff, coordinated activities for the teaching lab, and helped new instructors identify learning points from activities in the lab. He appreciates the small class sizes at the University of Providence, allowing for greater interaction with individual students.
He bases his classroom assessments on the well-designed examinations administered by the American Chemical Society Exams Institute. He uses statistical packages such as STATA and JMP to analyze student performance on exams and other assessment tools to identify common student struggles needing further review. His investigations into eye tracking give him a unique perspective to address student success at solving chemistry problems.
Dr. Baluyut moved to Montana from Iowa in 2015. He says nothing can beat the 85-degree weather during the long Filipino Christmas season. He also enjoys traveling all over the U.S. and is currently planning on visiting his 35th state.
BS, University of Philippines Los Baños
MS, University of Connecticut
MS, Iowa State University
PhD, Iowa State University
“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
-Zig Ziglar, 20th c. American salesman and inspirational speaker
Julia Becker, M.F.A.
Professor Julia Becker is a visual artist who also explores sound, movement, and creative writing. She has been creating, mentoring, directing, curating, collaborating, and teaching in the arts with diverse populations in varied venues for many years. Her artwork is collected internationally, and she is an award-winning filmmaker and published writer. Becker has a history of public art projects involving her students and the community. Her current work explores mixed media and printmaking techniques to create dynamic images that explore the human condition and a sense of place from her kinesthetic point of view. Improvisation is at the heart of her approach.
Professor Becker is an interdisciplinary artist whose interests span the natural sciences, spiritual studies, and the arts. Her diverse background includes working for the Forest Service (trail and fire crews, Wilderness Ranger), teaching yoga and therapeutic movement, and her own businesses in gardening/landscaping, culinary arts, construction/renovation, jewelry design and fabrication, street performance, and art production.
In addition to traveling the world as often as possible, Prof. Becker is an endurance swimmer who loves to take long swims in oceans and rivers. She believes in curiosity, adventure, and love as essential tonics and guides for the human experience and therefore the creative journey. Professor Becker’s deep passion for the unlimited potentiality of the imagination and the arts has empowered her students at UP since 1997.
BA, The Evergreen State College
MFA, Montana State University
Love is the most powerful and still most unknown energy in the world.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Gail Belfert, J.D.
Dr. Gail Belfert came to Big Sky country in 2010 after practicing law for over two decades in New Jersey. She taught at Rutgers University and Montclair State University and was a consultant in Juvenile Probation and Corrections. At the University of Providence, Dr. Belfert coordinates the Master’s Degree Program in Criminal Justice, and chairs the Faculty Education and Tenure Committee. She is a member of the Social Justice Committee as well as the Institutional Review Board. Her community service work includes service on the Board of Directors for Opportunities, Inc., and Alliance for Youth (past president). Her strong community partnerships with several state, local, nonprofit and federal institutions help her to provide mentorship and internship opportunities for her students.
Dr. Belfert serves on task forces in juvenile justice, domestic violence, and drug courts, as well as Montana Bar Association committees. She has provided numerous trainings for local and state organizations on sexual harassment, human trafficking, and juvenile alternative dispositions. At the Montana Corrections Association annual meeting, she presented with a group panel on re-entry programs. Her colleagues in New Jersey and Montana invited her to provide presentations for continuing education purposes (CLE): “School to Prison Pipeline,” “Paralegal training,” and “Compassion Fatigue.”
Outside the classroom, she enjoys sporting events, playing golf, and traveling.
BA, Rutgers College
JD, Antioch School of Law
“A woman is like a tea bag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady 1933-1945
Curtis Bobbitt, Ph.D.
Professor Curt Bobbitt was born in Indiana and worked in Wisconsin and West Virginia before moving to Montana in 1987. As a college freshman, he believed he would major in math or chemistry. Debate, an independent study book group, and intriguing classes helped him discover more interest and aptitude in literature, writing, and linguistics. Professor Bobbitt loves teaching English–and quite prefers it to his previous jobs slaughtering hogs, bookkeeping for hotels, and teaching high school. He finds purpose and value in the myriad results of engaging the University of Providence’s core questions in concert with colleagues and students.
His accomplishments during his tenure include three faculty mentor awards and more than a dozen team-taught classes with colleagues in physics, philosophy, history, and computer science.
He has visited 49 of the 50 U.S. states, Mexico, and all 10 Canadian provinces and their capitals…and all the libraries and bookstores he could find on his travels. Anyone want to help him visit that last state?
BA, Indiana University
MS, Indiana University
PhD, Ball State University
“Ignorance, when voluntary, is criminal.”
-Samuel Johnson, 18th c. English author and poet
Shawn Clark, Ed.D.
Jaime Coles-Duff, D.N.P.
James Croft, M.I.S.
His research focuses on network engineering and operating systems, and the implications for implementing technology in automotive industry and athletics. He has been web streaming games for the athletic department since 2002. (It wasn’t even called web streaming back then!) His hobbies include camping and traveling.
BS, University of Providence
MIS, University of Providence
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”
Ross DeForrest, Ph.D.
Dr. DeForrest moved to Montana in 2018 to take a position at the University of Providence. He received his PhD in Psychology with a specialization in cognition from Texas A&M University. Courses he has taught include General Psychology, Personality Theory, Cognitive Science, Abnormal Psychology, and Developmental Psychology. His current research interests include metacognition, the psychology of meaning, and topics in the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science.
Benjamin Donnelly, M.A.
Benjamin Donnelly is originally from Georgia, but spent most of his childhood going around the world, thanks to the US Air Force. His family settled here in Great Falls, and he’s been here ever since. He received his BA and MA from the University of Montana in 1997 and 2004 respectively, and started working at UP in 2008. Today, he’s the sole history instructor at the University of Providence. His job is teaching history and making it fun!
Ben’s hobbies include aviation photography, anime, manga, writing, model building, and pop culture.
Alice Dupler, J.D.
Patricia Farmer, D.N.P.
Mykal Gernaat, M.A.
Professor Mykal Gernaat was born and raised in Missoula, and completed degree work in both Forensic Anthropology and Psychology. Her research interests include human skeletal remains and their forensic application as well as human ancestral traits as displayed through cranial features. She has begun doctoral work at the University of Montana. Her service at the university includes the academic environment committee. She also enjoys presenting talks on forensic science to local organizations.
Professor Gernaat lives on a farm and ranch outside of Conrad. She enjoys the outdoor recreation found in Big Sky Country– hiking, fishing, and hunting for arrowheads.
BA, University of Montana
MA, University of Montana
PhD (ABD), University of Montana
“The good thing about science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it.”
-Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.
David Gides, Ph.D.
Dr. David M. Gides teaches Theology and interdisciplinary classes at the University of Providence. He taught at several colleges and universities across the country (Manhattan College and Fordham University in the Bronx, NY, Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN, Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, IA, Marian University in Indianapolis, IN, and others) before joining the UP faculty in 2018. His research and publication area is the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer specifically, and the intersection between theology and political considerations more generally.
At UP, Dr. Gides serves on a few committees and is a faculty leader in the Catholic Social Teaching seminars. He is also involved in diaconate intellectual formation for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings and is available for speaking engagements both within the university and in the larger community on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
A native New Yorker, Dr. Gides is an avid New York Yankees fan. He also enjoys writing music and spending time with his two beautiful daughters, Rhianna and Fadzai.
Sandra Granger, M.S.
Meredith Hecker, Ph.D.
Dr. Meredith Hecker (Berthelson) joined the faculty in 2015. She previously was the mathematics department chair at Blackfeet Community College on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, where she is an enrolled tribal member. She was also an astrobiology educator for Spectrum Museum in Missoula. She teaches a range of math courses from freshman to senior level with a focus in statistics for the sciences. She has overseen undergraduate research projects as a primary mentor in mathematics and a secondary mentor in biology.
Her research focuses on mathematics pedagogy for elementary education students, and separately the achievement gap in mathematics for American Indian students. Finally, she provides statistics courses for both the RN to BSN program as well as the Infection Prevention and Epidemiology master’s program in the School of Health Professions.
Dr. Hecker was an NSF IGERT Fellow as well as an Alfred P. Sloan Indigenous Fellow (MS and PhD) at the University of Montana. She served as a Faculty Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF) at Arlington, Virginia, through the Quality Education for Minorities Fellowship. She helped establish the UP Wellness Club, served as a co-faculty mentor to the UP Amazing Math Race and Math Colloquium, and participates in the UP Science Journal Club.
BS, Montana State University
MIS, University of Montana
PhD, University of Montana
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”
-Mark Amend, 20th c. American writer
Michelle Hill, Ph.D.
Dr. Hill worked in community mental health for over a decade in outpatient care, both in homes and in schools. She was the director of rural services at the Center for Mental Health in Great Falls before joining the faculty of the university full time in 2015. Hill has supervised In-Home Therapeutic Service, Children’s Case Management, Children’s Therapeutic Aids, and Comprehensive School and Community Treatment programming.
She assisted the university staff in attaining CACREP accreditation and is a member of both the American Counseling Association and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Dr. Hill joined the Board of Directors for Gateway Community Services in February 2017. A native of Billings, Montana, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and snowshoeing.
BA, Montana State University
MSC, University of Providence
PhD, Walden University
“Wisdom has three sources: to believe anything is possible, to accept all things are questionable, to know the answer is unknowable.”
Janet Houston, D.N.P.
Sachin Jain, Ph.D.
Dr. Sachin Jain is the program director and core faculty for the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSC) program. He completed his Masters (Clinical Psychology) in India and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Wyoming.
He is a licensed professional counselor and certified K-12 Mathematics & Physics teacher. He has published two books, 35 articles in peer-reviewed journals and numerous presentations and book chapters. Some of the awards he received include the “Outstanding Dissertation in Counseling” from the American Educational Research Association; “Outstanding contribution to scholarship” awarded by the University of Idaho; “Advocacy Award” from Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development.
He was the past President of Indian Association of Mental Health counselors, member of the American Counseling Association’s International committee & CACREP’s international steering committee (IRCEP). In past he had taught in counselor education programs at the Oakland University, University of Texas-Pan American, University of Idaho and served in the Michigan Army National Guard. He has received 30 grants including from Humanities councils at Michigan, Texas, Idaho and Wyoming.
Bachelors of Commerce, CSJM Kanpur University, Kanpur, India.
M.A., Applied Psychology (Clinical Psychology), V.B.S. Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, India.
PhD, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
Deanna Koepke, Ph.D.
Dr. Deanna Koepke came to the university in 2013 after teaching at Park University, Great Falls College MSU, and Ashford University. In addition to sociology, her training includes graduate work in information systems and undergraduate work in communications and Spanish. The multi-talented Dr. Koepke teaches a variety of courses at UP, including Introduction to Sociology, Poverty and Inequality, Research Methods and Applied Statistics, and the often-dreaded Public Speaking.
She serves on the editorial board for the journal Race, Gender & Class and is a member of the University Social Justice Committee. She is a Co-Commander for Malmstrom AFB as a part of the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee. Her research interests include newspaper depictions of fatal interactions between unarmed people of color and law enforcement officers, continuing work on the intersection of media, race, and inequality in the U.S. that began with her dissertation.
Her professional experience includes serving as the site director for Troy University’s Malmstrom AFB location, director of business office services for the University of Providence, and even the supervisor of the loan collections department for First Interstate Bank in Missoula and Great Falls.
In her spare time, she likes to travel and watch football. Her college team is the Grizzlies (her alma mater) and the Seattle Seahawks are always a favorite in the NFL. Having recently spent time in Italy and France and Greece, she can’t wait to explore more of Europe.
BA, University of Montana
MSIS, University of Providence
MA, Fielding Graduate University
PhD, Fielding Graduate University
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
-Dom Helder Camara, 20th c. archbishop in Brazil, credited as the father of liberation theology
Deborah Kottel, J.D.
Dr. Deb Kottel teaches law, and coordinates the online paralegal program. She has been chair of the faculty, faculty representative to the board of directors, and a leader of various faculty governance committees throughout her distinguished academic career. Her experience includes four terms as a Montana State Representative (1995-2009), as well as Commissioner of Transportation for the State. A Chicago native, Kottel moved to Montana in 1987.
Dr. Kottel believes in service learning and started Camp SkyChild, a camp for children with a parent in prison in 1990. UP students help organize and run the camp. She is currently on the board of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Grace Home (for homeless veterans), and chairs the Community Health Clinic Board. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening.
BS, Loyola University
JD, DePaul University
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
James Lautenschlager, MBA
James Lautenschlager is a native to North-Central Montana and is passionate about everything Montana has to offer. Prior to joining the University of Providence faculty in 2019, James worked in the financial services industry for nearly two decades. As a loan officer, a registered financial advisor, and then as a branch manager, James has extensive practical experience in business administration, including management, human resources, marketing, accounting, finance, economics, and much more.
James is also active in the community working as Treasurer for his local church, refereeing high school basketball in the area, serving on the Board of Directors for the local official’s association and caring for his family, including his wife and three children.
AAS, Great Falls College MSU
BS, Capella University
MBA, Capella University
DBA, California Southern University (in progress)
Sylvia Lindinger-Sternart, Ph.D.
Dr. Lindinger-Sternart served as the program director (2016-2019) and is core faculty for the M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at the University of Providence (UP). She successfully shepherded the program through the CACREP accreditation process for Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). She served at Penn State University before coming to UP in 2015.
Dr. Lindinger-Sternart has earned her doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision at the University of Toledo. In addition, she holds a M.S. in Clinical Psychology from University of Salzburg, Austria, and a M.A. in Counseling from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. She brings experience from her previous profession as an engineering project manager in her native country of Austria. She transitioned from engineering to counselor education by completing a M.S. in Clinical Psychology, with a minor in Organizational and Health Psychology.
Dr. Lindinger-Sternart is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LCPC) in Montana and earned a Nationwide Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling. Her clinical experiences include individual, family, and group counseling in institutional settings such as a Psychosomatic Clinic, Psychiatric Clinics, and Inpatient Clinic for Women with Substance Use Disorders, a College Counseling Center, High Schools, Community Mental Health Agencies and in a Private Practice. Her particular passion is to work with diverse populations on trauma and she is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Dr. Lindinger-Sternart presented and published on mindfulness, trauma, addiction, suicide prevention, and online counseling services nationally and internationally.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, painting, embraces activities in nature, and engages in community service to prevent suicide and enhance resilience.
B.S. Psychology, University of Salzburg (Austria)
M.S. Clinical Psychology, University of Salzburg
M.A. Counseling, Bowling Green State University, Ohio
PhD, Counselor Education & Supervision, University of Toledo, Ohio
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Ron Lombard, D.N.P.
Leslie Lott, M.E.T.
Professor Lott taught in the public-school system in both Idaho and Montana prior to joining the faculty in 2012. She did graduate work in instructional design, educational technology, library science, and counseling. She helped bring about the Quality Matters initiative, a training program for professors to ensure high quality online course design. Professor Lott serves on the Montana State Praxis committee, which reviews the teacher certification exams, and sits on the State Council of Deans of Education.
The university mission inspires her, with a special emphasis on the underprivileged; she endeavors to help students see their divine worth. She serves on the Core Advisory Committee.
A Montana native, she loves the close-knit community with space to roam. She serves in a regional leadership role for women’s ministries at her church. She is also an enrolled member of the Choctaw tribe.
BA, Boise State University
MET, Boise State University
“Dear Teacher, I am the survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, and women and babies shot and burned by high school graduates. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your students to become more human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.”
-Haim Ginott, 20th c. teacher and psychologist
Michael Low, M.A.
Edward Lucas, J.D.
After a successful career as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG), Dr. Ed Lucas (Colonel, Retired) joined the university faculty in 2016. His legal background includes criminal (both prosecution and defense), tort, contract, environmental, labor, family law, and government ethics. He has expertise in the areas of international and operational law. Highlights of his career include serving as a Deputy Legal Counsel in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Chief of International Law for United States Central Command Air Forces. He also served as the Staff Judge Advocate (supervisory attorney) for the Air Force’s largest combat wing, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and as the Staff Judge Advocate for the USAF in the Republic of Korea.
During law school, he worked for a foundation that provided legal services to low-income clients. He also served as an Army combat medic, military police officer, and infantry officer. Professor Lucas retired from active duty and moved to Montana because of the friendly people, wide open spaces, and outdoor adventure opportunities.
BS, Illinois State University
JD, Creighton University
LLM, University of Iowa
“Take your responsibilities seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”
-Dr. Ed Lucas
S. Diane Lund, Ph.D.
Dr. Diane Lund has served in leadership roles at the university since she joined the faculty in 2003. Prior to UP, she was a Level III Instructor at Great Falls College Montana State University. A postdoctoral research fellowship at the McLaughlin Research Institute brought her to Great Falls in 1991. She was a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences in 2014. Her research interests center around sustainable practices for the development of food products, utilizing UP’s experimental aquaponics system.
Dr. Lund creates opportunities for students to actively pursue solutions to the pressing problems of this planet. She is involved with the core initiative of integrating sustainability across the curriculum. With her students, she attends regional conferences such as the bi-annual Pre-Medical WWAMI conference and the annual Murdock College Science Research conference. She created a “rubber hits the road” Junior Science Seminar course to prepare students for success with graduate school applications. Overall, she keeps her focus on educating the whole student, with an eye toward helping students develop the ability to excel in a demanding discipline.
In her distinguished career, Dr. Lund served as both chair of the faculty and the faculty representative to the University Board of Trustees. She served as division chair multiple times prior to being named associate dean in 2016.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, fishing, hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and reading. On the creative, artsy side, she dabbles in stained glass art, and is even a bit of a “fix-it” person. And her dog, Maya, thinks she is the best. She would say that the feeling is mutual!
BA, Carroll College
PhD, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine
“A candle loses none of its light by lighting another.”
-Jalal ud-Din Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet, mystic, and scholar
Frankie Lyons, Ed.D.
Gregory Madson, Ph.D.
Lyndon Marshall, Ed.D.
Professor Lyndon Marshall’s career spans three decades, giving him an in-depth understanding of the development of modern computer science. He has worked as a programmer, software engineer, network administrator, project manager, and network engineer; he has built and managed email systems, in addition to database development.
His insight into the challenges of online students and teachers is based on solid experience with multiple distance learning platforms. Professor Marshall has kept current with Artificial Intelligence technologies such as expert systems, machine learning methods, and information engineering. His current research interests include computer security, social engineering, and the impact of technology on critical thinking.
When he is not teaching, Professor Marshall runs, lifts weights, and cycles. Trained in multiple forms of martial arts, he holds a black belt in Shin Karate-Do. During summers, he tends his garden, fruit trees, nut trees, and yard.
BS, University of Providence
MBA, University of Montana
EdD, Montana State University
“If we don’t make an effort to understand technology, we’ll fail to understand one of the most important factors that will shape humanity and the future.”
Jessica Martin, M.S.
Paleontologist Jessica Martin moved to Montana for the fossils, serving as executive director of Paleo World Research Foundation, a non-profit in eastern Montana. She joined the university faculty in 2013, and teaches wildlife biology, including senior geographic information systems (GIS) and geobiology. (GIS is a mapping program used to quantify and express relationships in wildlife and habitat management.)
Her research interests include evolutionary relationships between species, and applications of the GIS system. She enjoys providing students with useful skills relevant to work they can do immediately in the field. She and her colleagues work together to support student research projects, including a recent water contaminant research project related to mining.
The trunk of her Volkswagen Beetle is full of rocks…of all shapes, sizes, and compositions. Montana is like heaven to this rock hound! She also loves to travel, hike, and fish. She has entered the lottery to fish the Smith River but has not yet won.
BS, Georgia Southern University
MS, San Diego State University
“If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t call it research.”
Vicki Mason, D.HSc.
Sarah Mauws, M.S.N.
Susan McCoy, M.S.
Daniel McGuire, Ph.D.
Dr. Dan McGuire joined the University of Providence after a 20-year career as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. A native of New Jersey, McGuire teaches theology and has held numerous administrative positions as well. His doctoral dissertation explored the work of Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, and his training included a year-long seminar on St. Thomas Aquinas at the Dominican House of Studies (Washington, DC). Current research interests include papal documents on marriage and family, liturgical formation, and fundamental theology, all oriented to helping Catholics rediscover the philosophical underpinnings of the faith.
He served four years as the intellectual formation director for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings diaconate training program, and speaks at diocesan events. He wrote the Blue Knights Boys Club series and Marching Orders, a book on evangelization.
BS, Virginia Military Institute
MTS, University of Dallas
PhD, Marquette University
“There is nothing pious about being mistaken about God.”
-St. Bonaventure, 13th century leader of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
Rachel Morgan, Ph.D.
Director, Lumen de Lumine Core Curriculum
Director, Writing & Critical Thinking Center
Stephen Muir, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Muir’s dissertation slightly expanded the theory of Gibbs/equilibrium measures in classical lattice models of statistical physics (“Zd actions”). He came to the university in 2016 from Montana Tech, and has also taught at the University of California, Riverside. His mathematics interests center on applications to dynamical systems theory and the mathematical foundations of physics. Recent work includes discrete math and combinatorics and so-called “machine learning” techniques. His Erdos number is 3.
At the University of Providence, he designed a new course on “Contemporary Math” (for liberal arts majors!), and strengthened the sequence between linear algebra and real analysis for math majors. Courses on probability theory, machine learning, and “chaotic” dynamical systems are on the horizon–big, bold, and excellent! He is an active participant in the faculty discussions on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
In college, Dr. Muir minored in Chinese, and was the flyhalf (quarterback!) for the Whitman Reaper rugby team. He enjoys traditional kung fu training for health and longevity, mountain sports, and gardening.
BA, Whitman College
MA, University of North Texas
PhD, University of North Texas
‘“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses,” 1842
Jonathan Nelson, Ph.D.
Newly minted philosopher Dr. Jonathan Nelson joined the University of Providence faculty in 2017. His dissertation explored Plato’s theories on the immortality of the soul. His research interests include the ethical implications of the ontological status of the soul – in other words, can knowing what kind of thing the soul is help you understand what you should be doing? He is an experienced instructor, after stints at Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Southwest Illinois Community College, McKendree University and Saint Louis University.
He is ecstatic to be back near the mountains after his academic exile in the Midwest. A native of Boise, Idaho, he enjoys camping and hiking, and board games with friends.
BA, Boise State University
MA, Saint Louis University
PhD, Saint Louis University
“You are wedded to stupidity, my good fellow, stupidity in the highest degree—our discussion and your own words convict you of it.”
-Socrates, Alcibiades 118b (translated by D.S. Hutchinson)
Jonas Nguh, Ph.D.
Dr. Jonas Nguh has served in various leadership roles from program chair, program director and Dean at both undergraduate and graduate level programs. He holds a PhD in Public Health, a Master of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executive, the National Academy of Practice, and board certified as a Nurse Executive, Advanced by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Dr. Nguh serves on several healthcare boards including the regional chapter of Nurse.com, board member and membership chair to the American Association of Men in Nursing, the American College of Healthcare Executives (National Capital Chapter), and the National Blood Clot Association. He is a peer reviewer for several editorial boards including the International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, the International Journal of Management in Education, the International Advisory Board for Nurse Education in Practice and the Journal of Transcultural Nursing.
Robert Packer, Ph.D.
Brendan Palla, Ph.D.
Dr. Brendan Palla teaches philosophy and interdisciplinary coursework in tandem with professors from multiple disciplines. He was a teaching fellow at Fordham University prior to moving to Big Sky country in 2014. A member of the core curriculum revision team, he helped research and articulate a foundation for the new Lumen de Lumine core. He has also taught ethics for the School of Health Professions.
His scholarship focuses on the Catholic Intellectual tradition, with an emphasis on Aquinas’ robust account of human freedom, alongside Aristotelian concepts of the common good. His favorite project is “Rage against the Machine” which he is developing for the Reacting to the Past series. Working with Professor Louise Williams (History) of Central Connecticut State University, he is developing a textbook-length, three-five week, student-led, role-playing scenario that explores the philosophical and social issues surrounding the industrialization of Manchester, UK, in the early 1800s.
In his (limited) free time, he enjoys playing board games and exploring the Mountain West with friends and family.
BA, Gonzaga University
MA, Fordham University
MPhil, Fordham University
PhD, Fordham University
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
-Morpheus, The Matrix
Tami Park, M.S.
Professor Park teaches both undergraduate and graduate accounting. Her passion is cost accounting, because it is the most important contribution the accountant can provide to the decisions of an organization. Her career includes accounting positions in industry, nonprofits, manufacturing, utilities services, and banking. She began her academic career in 2007. Her experience helps her guide students to apply accounting theory to real-world challenges.
During her time at the university, she implemented a 4 plus 1 accounting program, allowing graduates to attain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in only five years. She prepares students for both a career in accounting and success on the Uniform CPA Examination.
When not in the classroom, she volunteers with her church praise band, travels, and sings with the Great Falls Symphonic Choir. In the past, she also played tenor saxophone in the Winds of Montana and in the University Community Band.
She is currently working on a PHD in Leadership and Management at Carolina University.
BS, University of Providence
MSM, University of Providence
“Accounting is all about balance.”
-some wise guy
Victoria Plagenz, Ph.D.
Kelly Quick, Ed.D.
Dr. Kelly Quick joined the faculty in 2015, after lengthy teaching roles at two small, private, liberal arts colleges in the Midwest. She directs the Exercise Science Program and oversaw its transition from the (former) Health and Human Performance major. Her academic preparation includes both exercise science and philosophy, and she emphasizes treating the whole person. She has experience supervising internship opportunities and evaluating outcomes to help students maximize their real-world experience prior to graduation.
Dr. Quick’s dissertation documented the importance of a comprehensive fitness program for breast cancer survivors to maximize the body’s natural ability to heal. A member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, she has served on Institutional Review Boards, and various other efforts to support student success. Diagnosed with autism personally, she embraces the talents of her students and leads them to find new potential despite any challenges they may have.
Montana opens up new adventures for her: snowshoeing, kayaking, hiking, and camping. Dr. Quick is active in her local church, and she loves her cats.
BA, University of Minnesota, Morris
MS, Lamar University
EdD, University of Northern Colorado
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
-attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States
Judy Ramento, M.N.
Thomas Raunig, Ed.D.
Dr. Tom Raunig came to the University in 2008 from the University of Montana, where he was the head track and field/cross country coach for men and for women for 12 years. He coached numerous professional athletes including five different individual national track and field champions. Raunig provides service opportunities for his students, including a homeschoolers physical education course and assisting in after-school programs. His students go on to coach at schools throughout the Northwest.
His research interests include the role of the coach in predicting the oxygen utilization of distance runners, as well as the relationship between the funding of collegiate athletics and success in coaching. Raunig feels fortunate to combine his love of sport and fitness into a profession. He volunteers on behalf of the YWCA domestic violence shelter, Relay for Life, and the Buddy Walk. He is also an official at local sporting events.
Dr. Raunig is still dedicated to staying physically fit. His activities include running, hiking, biking, and walking throughout the beautiful city of Great Falls.
BS, University of Montana
MS, University of Montana
EdD, Montana State University
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”
-Henry David Thoreau
Jared Roberts, Ph.D.
Dr. Jared Roberts teaches in the clinical mental health counseling master’s degree program. He typically teaches professional ethics, crisis counseling, psychopathology, and provides clinical supervision to students during practicum and internship courses. As a mental health counselor, he has worked with clients of all ages in individual, group, and family settings dealing with a variety of issues including substance abuse, sexual offenses, mood and anxiety disorders, and trauma. He is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) and as a Partner Recovery Therapist (PRT).
His scholarly interests include clinical supervision, counselor theory development, and counselor education. His dissertation research examined the role of the supervisor’s counseling theory in the implementation of clinical supervision.
Dr. Roberts is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the state of Idaho. During his free time he enjoys sports, cooking and eating, running, and traveling.
Melissa Robinson, Ph.D.
Lynette Savage, Ph.D.
Danette Schloeder, M.S.N.
Teresa Seright, Ph.D.
Bryan Slavik, M.S.
Professor Bryan Slavik began his academic career in 2008 while still serving as a full-time police officer with the Great Falls Police Department. He retired from the police department in 2015 at the rank of sergeant, with 24 years of experience. His tenure on the police force included patrol, sex crime investigations, and public information work, as well as criminal justice instruction with the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. He also serves as a Peace Officer Standards Training instructor for the State of Montana and the entire Northwest area.
Professor Slavik is a native Idahoan, who came to Great Falls as an Air Force Police Officer back in 1978. He is a long-time leader of local 4-H clubs and the Boy Scouts of America, and loves to golf, travel, and fly airplanes.
AS, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
BS, University of Providence
MS, University of Providence
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Sarah Spangler, Ph.D.
Dr. Sarah Spangler teaches interdisciplinary courses in the humanities and is the director of the Lumen de Lumine Core. She taught at Rosemont College and Fordham University before joining the UP faculty in 2011. Her dissertation explored the intersection of faith and reason in the early church, focused on the scriptural commentaries by Origen, under Fr. Joseph Lienhard, SJ. Her research interests include the Greek foundations of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. She also serves on the advisory board for the diaconate for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.
The lay leadership model pioneered by the Sisters of Providence in their hospitals and colleges has guided her work. Dr. Spangler serves on multiple committees to facilitate her core curriculum role. She is available for speaking engagements both within the university and in the larger community on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
A native Montanan, she grew up in Superior. She enjoys hiking and kayaking in the summers there.
BA, Seattle University
MA, Fordham University
PhD, Fordham University
“Above all trust in the slow work of God.”
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, 20th c. French theologian
Katrina Stark, D.M.
Dr. Katrina Stark has served a number of leadership roles in her decade at the university, including chair of the faculty. She is an advocate for both faculty and students. She serves as coordinator of the MS in Organizational Leadership – Management program. She teaches courses in management and business administration, extending learning beyond the classroom through mentorship of student-run businesses.
Her students currently operate a food bank, an Argo spirit-wear shop, a professional clothing closet, and an annual Kids Night Out event with Whittier Elementary School, a school in an economically challenged neighborhood. The project-based approach has yielded rich dividends academically, and has even resulted in a course on entrepreneurship.
Before her academic career, Stark operated a calligraphy studio and served as a Girl Scout professional—director of membership and training—across the state. Dr. Stark volunteers for the AWANA program at her church. She grew up on the water in Florida, was a college athlete (fencing), and now plays and referees ice hockey.
BA, Scripps College
MS, Troy University
DM, University of Phoenix
“It seems to me a little thing to give money, even for a great purpose. But to give of ourselves—the work of our hands, the coinage of our brains, the sympathy of our hearts, the riches of our experiences in joy and sorrow, the beauty of our lives, in all good fellowship—ah, this is grand!”
-Ellen Browning Scripps, 1914, founder of Scripps College