Intercultural Faculty Scholars

Program Description   |    Current Cohort   |    Resources

Program Description

As Kent State University's global footprint has expanded both at home and abroad, the university has experienced a near tripling of international students in its campus community. This increased international student presence has provided new learning opportunities in classrooms, throughout the campus and within the local community at large.

The Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching and Learning supported the development and delivery of a semester long program called “Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Kent State University’s Intercultural Classrooms and Community” for the fall 2014 semester. The program was developed and facilitated by Ken Cushner, Ed.D. Cushner is a professor of multicultural and international education in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State, an author or editor of nine books and numerous chapters and articles in the field of intercultural education and training, and a Founding Fellow and past-president of the International Academy for Intercultural Research. 

Two of the goals of this program include: (1) Gaining a better understand the potential conflict between one’s preferred teaching style and the range of learning styles and experiences international students may bring to the classroom and (2) An increased consideration of culturally responsive ways to modify and/or enhance teaching practices and assessment strategies

Faculty members who have completed this program are able to facilitate dialogue and discussion of critical intercultural issues faced by faculty at the individual and unit level in their respective colleges and programs. 

This recent eInside article provides more information about the program

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Current Cohort

  • Madhav Bhatta - College of Public Health
    • BIO
  • Maureen Blankemeyer - College of Education, Health and Human Services
    • Maureen Blankemeyer is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services (EHHS). She received an M.S. in Family Relations and Child Development and a Ph.D. in Human Environmental Sciences from Oklahoma State University. She has been at Kent State University since 1996. Along with two KSU students, she spent a semester in Northern Ireland conducting research on children’s perceptions of peace and political violence.  As part of the EHHS Global Learning Study Group, she internationalized two HDFS courses. She has worked with Kent State International Mentors and the OGE Conversation Partner Program to provide intercultural mutual mentoring opportunities for her students. She teaches an annual short-term study abroad course in Ireland and is currently heading up efforts to internationalize the HDFS curriculum. 
      Maureen is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®) and is presently collecting baseline data on HDFS students’ intercultural competence. While participating in the Intercultural Faculty Scholars program, she served on the project to support faculty members and her primary interest is curriculum internationalization. Maureen may be reached at or 330-672-9397.
  • Mary Lou Ferranto - College of Nursing, Kent State Salem
    • I have been fortunate to be at Kent State University for over 21 years as faculty in the College of Nursing. While at KSU I have taught in all levels in the BSN program as well as graduate program for our Nurse Practitioner students.  I started on my educational journey many years ago by completing my BSN at Kent State University. 
      After completing my BSN I moved to Boston and New York and worked in cardiovascular critical care settings. Several more moves brought me to Pittsburgh at Allegheny General Hospital as Clinical coordinator of the surgical ICU where I implemented a Cardiac transplant program for nursing. While in Pittsburgh, I received my Master's in Nursing Administration and Management at LaRoche College. Another move to New Jersey allowed me the opportunity to as begin my teaching career in an ADN program. I moved back to Ohio in 1994 when I began teaching at KSU.  I received a post-masters certification as a Certified Nurse Practitioner degree at Kent State in 1997. Finally, I completed my PhD in Curriculum Studies in Education at Kent State University.
      I have presented at numerous national, international and professional and community based conferences and have multiple publications. I am a member of the Northeast Ohio Organization of Advanced Practice Nurses, National League of Nursing, the American Association of Collegiate Nursing, The American Association of Nephrology Nurses, and Sigma Theta Tau.  My area of research interest is the development of cultural humility in nursing students.  As such, I often travel abroad with Salem nursing students.  Thus far, students have accompanied me on cultural international experiences to Africa, Japan, Haiti, and Canada.  Students are also encouraged to journey with faculty to the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Lakota people in South Dakota.
      Mary Lou Gemma Ferranto may be reached at or 330-337-4373
  • Elda Hegmann - College of Arts and Sciences
    • BIO
  • Yu Jin - College of the Arts
    • Yu Jin won First Prize at the Washington International Music Competition, Chicago Viola Society Solo Competition, and Ohio Viola Society Competition. She has performed at many prestigious venues and music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Bravo Vail Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and the 92Y. Ms. Jin gave her Washington debut at The Phillips Collection in 2006. She has collaborated with James Conlon, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Donald Weilerstein, Noah Bendix-Balgley, members of The Cleveland Orchestra and the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion and Cavani quartet. She also served as violist of the Miami String Quartet, Guest Principal Viola of the Cincinnati Orchestra, and Principal Viola of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, and the New York String Orchestra Seminar. A dedicated teacher, Ms. Jin gave master classes at Oberlin Conservatory, Toronto University, Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and at music festivals throughout the United States and Mexico. She has joined the faculty of Kent State University since 2007. Ms. Jin studied viola with Wang Shaowu and Wing Ho at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and Jeffrey Irvine at the Cleveland Institute of Music.​
      Yu Jin can be reached at or 216-269-3247
  • Isabel Lacruz - College of Arts and Sciences
    • BIO
  • Dandan Liu - College of Business Administration
    • Dandan Liu is an associate professor of Economics at Kent State University (KSU). She received her Ph.D. from Texas A & M University in 2005. Her research focuses on applied macroeconomics, applied econometrics (time series) and economic forecasting.  Liu has published in a wide range of journals, such as European Journal of Political Economics, Southern Economic Journal, Economic Inquiry, International Journal of Forecasting, Empirical Economics, etc.  She has been a board member of Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists (OAEPS) since 2008 and served as the vice president from 2012 to 2013 and president from 2013 to 2014. She currently teaches Principles of Macroeconomics, Time Series Analysis and Quantitative Methods in Business Administration at KSU.
      Liu has experience both as an international student and faculty member.  She can advise from both perspectives. She also can advise on Asian Cultures and Chinese education system.
      Dandan Liu may be reached at or 330-672-1095

  • Mike Mayo - College of Business Administration
    • BIO
  • Sevim McCutcheon - University Libraries
    • Sevim McCutcheon is a Catalog Librarian and Associate Professor in University Libraries. She specializes in providing access to ETDs, ebooks, print books, and maps. Her recent articles have appeared in Public Library Quarterly, The Reference Librarian and Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. While her daily work does not bring her into contact with international students on a regular basis, she is committed to easing the transition of international students to the United States and in their quality of life and studies while at Kent State University. She represents University Libraries on the International Students and Scholars Integration Committee (ISSIC) and is a regular volunteer in the Office of Global Education’s Conversation Partners Program and the soon-to-be- launched Friendship Families Program. Sevim’s undergraduate degree from Ohio State University was in Middle Eastern Studies, with emphasis on Turkey and Greece. She taught English as a Second Language in Turkey to 3rd through 9th grade prior to getting her M.L.S. from Kent State University. Before joining academia, she was head of technical services in an Ohio public library system, the sole original catalog librarian for a consortium of Ohio public libraries, and an original catalog librarian at OCLC, where she cataloged materials in a number of non-English languages. Sevim McCutcheon may be reached at or 330-672-1703.
  • Tracey Motter - College of Nursing
    • BIO
  • Athena Salaba - College of Communication and Information
    • Dr. Athena Salaba joined the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science in January 2004. She teaches in the area of organization of information and her research focuses on metadata, subject access to information, knowledge organization systems, and conceptual modeling. She has published and presented a variety of work on how users interact with an information system. She received her PhD in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her Master’s of Library Science from Kent State University and has undergraduate degrees in cultural anthropology from Kent State University and library science from Greece. She was a 2006-2007 Teaching Scholar, where she enjoyed interacting with and learning from faculty from all over campus. She first came to the United States as an international scholar and then as international student, and as such, she has first hand experiences of the differences in teaching methods, course requirements, and classroom interactions student face when arriving in an American university. She is working with the Intercultural Faculty Scholars group that is focusing on resources for faculty but her interests are on bringing awareness of international students’ adjustments to Kent State’s educational culture to both domestic students and faculty who interact with international students.
      Athena Salaba may be reached at or 330-672-0023
  • Kim Schimmel - College of Education, Health and Human Services
    • Kimberly S. Schimmel, PhD is a Professor of the Sociology of Sport and an Affiliate to the Women’s Studies Program. She developed and teaches an undergraduate course that meets the University Domestic Diversity Requirement (“Sport in Society”) and one that focuses on globalization  (“Sport in Global Perspective”), as well as a graduate level social theory course (“Sociology of Sport”). Her research is related to sport and local/global urban development, the political economy of sport, and urban securitization in the post-9/11 era. Kim's research has been published in numerous scholarly journals and anthologies and has been translated into five languages, including a monograph in Brazilian Portuguese (Os Grandes Eventos Sportivos: Desafios E Perspectivas, 2013, University of Campinas). She is a past Associate Editor of the Sociology of Sport Journal and currently serves as the Vice President of the International Sociology of Sport Association. Kim is a recipient of Kent State University’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2008), has given invited scholarly presentations and workshops in 16 countries, and in May 2014 was honored as University’s Scholar of the Month.
  • Jakyung Seo - College of the Arts
    • Jakyung Seo is an Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at Kent State University.  Prior to joining the faculty at Kent State, she taught at University of Cincinnati (CCM) and California State University at Fresno.  Jakyung has worked as a professional lighting designer and assistant lighting designer in USA regional theatre including Steppenwolf and Congo Square Theatre (Chicago), Eye to Soul (NYC), CATCO (Columbus), Porthouse and Lodestone Theatre (LA).  Her international credits include : Face with Eye to Soul at Edinburgh, UK and What We want is for Thrust Dance Company in Japan, where she was awarded the best prize at the International Dance Festival in Saitama. Recently, she designed BINARI with MAC theatre company at Avignon Off Theatre festival and Theatre Laboratory Elizabeth Czerczuk, Paris at France, Sibiu International Theatre Festival at Romania, Busan Performing Arts International Festival at South Korea. She has designed more than 60 shows including South Pacific, Peterman, Man of La Mancha, and many dance performances. She is actively presenting at international conferences such as PQ Scenofest 2007 in Prague where she was lead lecturer, USITT, SETC and  KCACTF at USA. Also, she has been teaching lighting design workshops at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts at Singapore and DonSeo University and KyungSung University at South Korea.

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