Faculty Focus

At William Paterson University, we are incredibly proud of our faculty. Faculty Focus is a continuing initiative to celebrate faculty who excel in teaching, research, and service. Faculty will include those who have received Faculty Excellence Awards for teaching, research/creative expression, or service, as well as those who have been recognized with honors such as Fulbright Scholar Awards and Guggenheim Fellowships. Those highlighted will be featured in various University communications.

Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis is a professor of sociology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has taught courses on a variety of topics including social stratification, the social organization of work, the sociology of police, sociology of women, and criminal justice. Professor Ellis has served in a variety of positions and on many committees, and is currently director of the American Democracy Project. He is the co-founder of the New Jersey Association of New Student Advocates (NJANSA), a state-wide organization consisting of higher education managers from private and public and two-year and four-year institutions devoted to student success. Most recently, he conducted bias training for the New Jersey Judicial College Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education.

What do you find most meaningful through your teaching or service?

Whether I’m writing about race, teaching a course on social problems, or working with New Jersey Supreme Court justices on understanding and encountering bias, I strive to help others consider the best in humanity while practicing social justice in our daily lives.

How does your work contribute to student success?

What I find most compelling is the opportunity to provide individuals with the resources to reach their best potential. If a person is able to see their value and realize their true potential and help others do the same, we are on course and positioned to bring out our collective best. When that is unleashed, the possibilities for greatness are mind-blowing.

Corey Basch

Corey Basch is professor and chairperson, public health, in the College of Science and Health. She has focused her research in three areas: The importance of colorectal cancer screening in low-income urban minority populations; conducting observational studies about public health hazards in New York City; and recognizing how health communications, advertising, and marketing impact healthy behaviors. Her commitment to her students’ learning extends beyond the classroom. Professor Basch has involved many public health students in her research. Among her roughly 200 peer-reviewed papers, 80 involved 25 William Paterson students or alumni who worked under her guidance.

How does your work contribute to student success?

The major challenge in public health today is translating knowledge into practice. Encouraging students to learn more about factors that influence decision-making is a main emphasis of public health. Involving students in research allows them to put knowledge into practice. Collaborating with students fulfills one of my most important career objectives, namely to motivate, enable, and support students to contribute to improving public health in their communities.

What do you find most meaningful through your research?

Research has provided me the opportunity to cross disciplines and establish a unique network of collaborators, many of whom are students and alumni. Establishing these connections through a common goal has been the most meaningful aspect of my research. Working together toward the elimination of health disparities, and to improve communications in public health, has been extremely fulfilling.

Sharmila Pixy Ferris

Sharmila Pixy Ferris is a professor of communication in the College of the Arts and Communication. Her research focuses on computer-mediated communication and pedagogical applications of technology. She has published seven books in these areas and is currently working on a book on leadership in higher education with Kathleen Waldron, president emerita. Professor Ferris has developed many engaging new courses, including Technology and Society and Communicating Food, among others. At William Paterson, she served as graduate program director in the Department of Communication for six years, director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence for five years, and coordinator of the Social Justice Project, for which she is on the Steering Committee.

What do you find most meaningful through your teaching?

Most meaningful is the fulfilment I receive from interactions with my students. I believe that a love of learning is essential to success in life. My goal is to help my students connect the dots between what they are learning and their future. I know I’ve succeeded when they acquire an interest in using learning to develop their own careers.

What do you find most meaningful through your research?

An important focus in my research is learning more about the connections between technology and communication, and working with others to do so. My research models the power of interdisciplinary connection, as I work collaboratively with colleagues in not only communication but also disciplines such as management, psychology, educational technology and rhetoric.