Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University’s Board of Trustees approve tenure and promotions for faculty members

WESTFIELD, Mass.—Twenty-two Westfield State University faculty members were recently promoted in academic rank, including five who were granted tenure with automatic promotion by the University’s Board of Trustees.  

Adeyinka Banwo, Ph.D., associate professor of history, joined Westfield State in 2015 as an assistant professor. Before receiving a Ph.D. in history from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, Dr. Banwo received a bachelor’s degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, and a master’s degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.  

In addition to a broad range of history courses, Dr. Banwo has also introduced new courses to the curriculum that includes Expansion of Europe and Imperialism and Traditional Africa to 1807, as well as an honors course, African Warlords and Child Soldiers.  

Jessica Holden, D.N.P., associate professor of nursing and allied health, joined the University in 2015 as an assistant professor. Dr. Holden holds a B.S.N. degree from Our Lady of the Elms College, and received both her M.S.N. and D.N.P. degrees from Walden University. She focuses heavily on educating Westfield State nursing students for long-term career success in the field, ensuring continuous course improvements while instilling best practices in critical inquiry in the field of nursing.  

Dr. Holden serves as vice president of the Beta Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society for nursing. She serves as an active member of eight other professional discipline related organizations as well, including the Pioneer Valley Interprofessional Education and Collaboration Committee and the Massachusetts Action Coalition for Nursing Competencies Team.  

Samuel Ndegeah, Ph.D., associate professor of geography, planning & sustainability, joined Westfield State in 2015. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and political science and master’s degrees in both geography and urban and regional planning from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Idaho.  

He has become known for utilizing humor, humility, and personal stories to connect with students, as has decades of teaching experiences from an array of institutions. Dr. Ndegeah has spoken at numerous conferences and also has served on several University planning and administrative committees.  

Susan Scott, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing and allied health at Westfield State since 2015, showcases expertise in critical care nursing, bringing 30 years of experience into her classroom. She received a B.S.N. from Our Lady of the Elms College, an M.S.N. from the University of Hartford, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.  

Dr. Scott focuses on the use of simulation and high-fidelity equipment to teach future nurses the appropriate response and actions in a variety of medical-related situations. During her time at Westfield State, she has served as either the course coordinator or faculty for eight different courses serving both the nursing and the RN-to-BSN programs. In addition to her work for the University, she is an intensive care nurse at Baystate Medical Center.

Miriam Tager, Ph.D., professor of education, joined Westfield State in 2015. Dr. Tager focuses on the use of ongoing critical reflection to aid pre-service teachers with understanding how issues of race and ethnicity impact early childhood education classrooms, after serving as a former first grade teacher.  

She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Sarah Lawrence College, a master’s degree in early childhood education from Bank Street College of Education, and a Ph.D. in urban education with a concentration in early childhood education from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Throughout her time at Westfield State, Dr. Tager has participated as an active member of both the departmental and university-wide communities.

In addition, the Board of Trustees recognized the following appointments as well.

Promoted to Professor:

Heidi Bohler, Ed.D., Movement Science, Sport and Leisure Studies
Byung Jun Cho, Ph.D., Criminal Justice
Susanne Chuku, Ph.D., Economics and Management
Heather Crocker Aulenback, English
Terri Griffin, Ed.D., Education
Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch, D.P.E., Movement Science, Sport and Leisure Studies
Mark Horwitz, Ph.D., Social Work
James McNamara, English
Alice Perry, Ph.D., Criminal Justice
Daniel Price, Ph.D., Criminal Justice
Jennifer Propp, Ph.D., Social Work
Tamara Smith, Ph.D., Sociology
Karsten Theis, Ph.D., Chemical & Physical Sciences
Summer Williams, Ph.D., Psychology

Promoted to Associate Professor:

Paul Cacolice, Ph.D., Movement Science, Sport and Leisure Studies
H. Zahra Caldwell, Ph.D., Ethnic and Gender Studies
Amanda Salacinski, Ph.D., Movement Science, Sport and Leisure Studies
Jamie Rivera, Ph.D., Nursing and Allied Health

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without a barrier to race, gender, or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that create a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society. For more information about Westfield State University, visit,, or

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