The Honors College

at West Chester University

Dr. Kevin Dean, Director
703 S. High Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2996
Fax: 610-436-2620

Honors Faculty

Anita Foeman

Anita Foeman
Communication Studies
Main Hall 508
Phone: (610) 436-2283

Since 1992 I have been a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University. I received my PhD in Organizational Communication from the Speech Department at Temple University in 1982. Throughout my career I have examined diversity related to Organizational, Public, and Intercultural Communication. My current work is focused on examining DNA ancestral profiles and family narrative to explore issues of the social construction of race and identity. My work includes over 20 years of publication and consulting in these areas.


John Helion

John Helion
320 Sturzebecker HSC
Phone: (610) 436-2424

I have been teaching for 39 years. I've taught at all levels from elementary school through college. I have taught in both urban and suburban settings. I am involved in physical education teacher education as well as experiential education. I instituted the annual Katrina Relief trip to the gulf coast which is now in its fourth year. I have traveled to several countries including Ireland, Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Trinidad - Tobago and South Africa. These trips have been both professional and personal. I have been married for 36 years and am the father of two wonderful daughters, Courtney, an art conservationist and Chelsea, a doctoral fellow at Cornell University in the area of social psychology.


Mark Hickman

Mark Hickman
Communication Studies
Main Hall 016
Phone: (610) 436-6942

I have taught at four different institutions--Miami University, Ohio University, Ohio State University, and West Chester University. The one constant that stretches across all of these positions is that I have been involved in intercollegiate forensics (competitive speech and debate), which I believe is one of the best co-curricular activities for developing leadership skills.

I currently share my home with Sammy, my 3 year old Maltese, who is quite possibly the coolest dog on the planet.


Gerardina L. Kenney

Gerardina Martin
Learning Assistance and Resource Center
223 Lawrence Center
Phone: 610-738-0496

I am the Director of the Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC) and I enjoy learning how students learn. My goal is to teach students how develop methods that adhere to their learning styles in order to help them succeed in college.  I come across new challenges all the time, and I like to help students become independent, active learners, so they can help themselves succeed academically.

Fun fact: I have five children, including two sets of identical twins. 


Dr. Lisa Marano

Dr. Lisa Marano


Phone: (610) 738-0585

I am Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of the Mathematics Department, where I serve as the coordinator of the BS in Applied Mathematics Program. My research interests include mathematical finance and probability theory. Currently, I am developing a course in Mathematics and Social Justice which introduces students to the concept of quantitative literacy and illustrates social injustices quantitatively.


Dr. Paul Morgan

Professional & Secondary EducationPaul Morgan, Professor
102 Ehinger Office Annex

Phone: 610-436-6945

My scholarly work here on campus is devoted to exploring the historical precedents, philosophical rationale, and practical means of reorienting educational institutions toward sustainability.I am the directorof the undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in education for sustainability and I am also currently pursuing research in education for worldview change. I am a member of the University’s Sustainability Advisory Council and I am the faculty advisor for the University’s environmental organization, EARTH. I teach HON 312 and co-teach HON 314. I hold a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Education from Columbia University, Teachers College.


Chris Penny
Professional & Secondary Education
210A Recitation Hall

I teach undergraduate and graduate educational technology courses. I am graduate of Penn State University with a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction. Recently I became an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Teacher. My efforts in teaching and research have the focus of technology integration into education. In my most recent research project I am working on an e-reader pilot at West Chester University. The goal of this research is to determine if the convenience and features of a e-reader are more useful than the physical qualities of a print book. Outside of teaching, research and service I enjoy spending quality time with my wife and three young boys.


Mr. Pierlott

Dr. Matthew Pierlott


I am honored and humbled to serve as the new Assistant Director to the Honors College. I came to WestChester University in 2005. In 2010 I was invited to a teach course in the HON Seminar Program, “Ideas of Freedom,” and later another course on “The Concept of God.” I had already become familiar with the vibrant community of students through colleagues, like Dr. Ruth Porritt, but this was my first experience in the classroom with some of them. I truly enjoyed the engaging discussions from thoughtful individuals across varied majors. Even more, I was impressed with the positive, supportive and constructive interactions among the students.

In 2012, I joined the Honors Council and teamed up with Dr. Tischio in offering the HON 490: Capstone courses. It is such a privilege to work with the students one-on-one and in our group working sessions to realize their visions. So many students have shared with me their passions and their developed ideas to serve their community. It continues to be a tremendously rewarding experience.

As an undergrad at the University of Scranton, I also took part in a program in which a small cohort of varied majors took one or two classes together each semester. That experience was so important to me, and I am thrilled that our program has a similar model. But what is truly rare about our Honors College is the focus on leadership and service, and the carefully designed curriculum that provides the skills and opportunities to get out of the class and make a difference.

As Assistant Director, I look forward to finding new ways to strengthen the existing programs and initiating new programs and activities. Our Honors College is one of the many jewels of the University, and I hope to increase opportunities for more students to participate in our programs and activities and for more faculty to become involved in the future direction of the College.



Dr. Denise Polk

Communication StudiesSouth Africa

509 Main Hall

Phone: 610-436-2180

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. My teaching and research areas focus mainly in areas of interpersonal communication, work-family integration, conflict resolution and health communication. I serve on the Joint Sustainability Task Group, BLUER (Borough Leaders United for Emissions Reduction) and I participate on the Sustainability Advisory Council. I enjoy gardening, cooking, and working on my home in my free time, and am also a hobby beekeeper. I received my B.A. from Baldwin-Wallace Colege, my M.A. from Miami University and my Ph. D. from Kent State University.


Victoria Tischio
550 Main

I never thought I wanted to be an English professor until I started teaching college composition classes as part of my graduate assistantship. I immediately fell in love with my students and with the project of teaching. I went on to pursue a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in composition and rhetoric as a result of having found this passion for teaching college-level writing. I still find studying writing--how it happens, how we learn it, why we write, what roles in plays in society--endlessly fascinating and have devoted my scholarship to looking at it from a variety of theoretical angles. I live in West Chester, PA with my husband, Bob, and two cats, Wally and Kitty Hawk. I like to cook and go to the movies.


Donna Usher

Donna Usher
218 Mitchell Hall
Phone: (610) 436-2680

I am currently an associate professor of art in the Department of Art + Design at West Chester University, PA. Following my passions, I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and Bachelor of Science in art education from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, going on to earn my Masters in Fine Arts with Honors from the University of Delaware.  I have been featured both locally and internationally in several permanent collections, including The Museum of Cozumel, Mexico; The National Centre of Fine Arts, Cairo, Egypt; the Reading Art Museum, Reading, Pa and several others.  Many of my paintings can be seen in the upcoming exhibition Art in the Philadelphia Airport, 2010 to 2011.


Joan M. Welch

Joan M. Welch
Geography and Planning
103 Ruby Jones Hall
Phone: (610) 436-2940

I received my B.A. in Environmental Science and Spanish from Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota, a M.A. in Energy and Environmental Studies and a Ph. D in Geography from Boston University. I worked in Latin American development and as the National Park Service's National Landmarks Coordinator for the northeast region before beginning at West Chester in 1990. My research focuses in biogeography and landscape ecology. I am also passionate about local food and am a member of the Community Suported Agriculture (CSA) at Sankanac, Camphill Village, Kimberton HIlls, since 1993, where my family also keeps honeybees.


Dr. Ruth Porritt


Anderson 108B

Phone: (610)-436-2841

I co-designed and team-taught the first HON 212 Moral Choice in a Technological Age course with Dr. Leslie Slusher in Biology.  The Spring 2009 HON 212 students started the WCU chapter of National Students of Ailing Mothers and Fathers, a support group for students coping with the illness or death of a loved one.  To support people with disabilities who want to pursue their artistic creativity, I serve on the Art Ability Committee at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.  I’m fortunate to meet all of the wonderful people in these educational and medical environments who are working so constructively with difficult challenges.