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Early Launch Success Team

Brad Balser

I am the Director of Flyer Student Services. Flyer Student Services is a one-stop shop for a variety of student services including registration, student accounts, and financial aid. Maintaining academic records, issuing academic transcripts, and coordinating graduation are just a few of the office’s services.

I graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Technical Education and Training and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. At Ohio State I served as a resident advisor my junior and senior years of undergraduate study, and then as an assistant residence hall director during graduate school. I started my professional career in college student personnel at Purdue University, before coming back home to Ohio (originally from Greenville, OH) and working at the University of Cincinnati as the Coordinator for Student Activities, and the University of Dayton for the past 15 years.

My roles in student leadership programs, academic advising, and other areas of student development and persistence have been transformative for me. Working in community at UD has given me the opportunity to create lasting relationships and fond memories – two things I very much value in life. One way I hope to continue leading in service to the common good at UD is through my work as an Early Launch mentor.

When I'm not on campus, I can usually be found spending quality time with my wife, kids, and Labrador Retriever. I also enjoy watching, coaching, and playing sports of all sorts; listening to the Dave Matthews Band; and binge watching episodes of The Office – please don’t think any less of me because of this!!!

Welcome to the University of Dayton community. We’re all so glad you’re here. You’re now a Flyer!

Dr. Michael Cox

Lecturer in philosophy; PhD, University of Dayton. I research and write in the areas of philosophy of language, philosophy of religion, and philosophical theology. My dissertation focused on situating the Wittgensteinian philosopher-theologian Rowan Williams at the intersection of non-dualistic trajectories in both philosophy and theology. My recent research examines apophatic traditions and the role of silence in ancient and medieval Christian mysticism.

I regard teaching as a vocation in which one of my most important goals is to help students “learn how to learn.” In practice, that means challenging students to go beyond acquiring knowledge, important as that is, toward cultivating the habits of mind needed to become more reflective and responsible citizens of the world. Outside the classroom, I like to spend time outdoors with my family, preferably hiking at one of Dayton’s terrific MetroParks or canoeing one of the region’s many rivers.

Youssef Farhat

Dayton transplant since 2013, I have been part of the University of Dayton focusing my work on comparative studies, human rights, and international development. As the partnerships coordinator for Human Rights Center, I get to plan and put together a weeklong biennial conference, Social Practice of Human Rights aka SPHR which hosts over 500 human rights practitioners and scholars on campus, and work with inspiring undergraduate students through the Malawi Practicum on Rights and Development, a yearlong experiential program preparing them to travel and conduct research in northern Malawi. I serve on a number of advisory committees and boards in the Dayton area such as Dayton Council of World Affairs and Catholic Social Services connecting local and global affairs particularly working with refugees and immigrant families.

Prior to joining the flyer nation, I worked for the UN Development Programme and US Agency for International Development in Beirut, Lebanon as a multilingual researcher and coordinator for development projects in areas of legislation, education, income generation, women empowerment, environment, and LGBTQ+ rights. In my classroom, I do my best to bring all these interconnected experiences bridging the theory we learn in the textbook with real world experiences into the space. With that being said, I rely heavily on my students’ creativity, contributions and interests to shape our discussions. Don’t be surprised if you see us using coloring pens and play-dough, running fun simulations or playing board games. I view long-lasting friendships and networking as critical when it comes to our learning experiences, and that always starts in our classrooms. When I’m not planning events or preparing curriculum, you’ll find me either on a long walk or in my kitchen making the best hummus in town.

Justin Keen

I work in the Learning Teaching Center as the Director of Assessment and Student-Centered Analytics. I focus on engaging departments in processes to improve student learning and success. I first came to UD as a student, where I quickly learned that even a slightly introverted data nerd could accomplish more by being a part of a community that balanced strong support with encouragement to take risks and try new things. In the more than a decade since, I have served in a variety of roles working directly with educators to develop transformative student experiences that draw on University of Dayton’s mission to educate the whole person and advance the common good.

I also serve as a Marianist Educational Associate working to enrich the university’s Marianist character; a member of campus Green Dot Team where I help students develop skills to prevent power-based personal violence; and a member of several groups devoted to advancing inclusive excellence on campus. My most recent publication was a collaboration with UD’s Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation focused on a group of UD students that used active and collaborative approaches to build shared community between campus and local partners to advance social justice. My social distancing strategy has included cooking lots of meals with fresh bread, long runs in the beautiful neighborhoods surrounding UD, very slow walks with my aging Yorkipoo, and a few too many failed science experiments with my two children.

Michael Key

As the Learning Initiatives Coordinator for the Office of Learning Resources, I coordinate Tutoring, Academic Coaching, and courses designed for students in academic distress. I successfully secured international certification and recognition by the College Reading & Learning Association for UD's Tutoring program, which specializes in inquiry-based learning. I also co-facilitate Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certifications to coach professionals on process improvement and change management.

My vocation is working with students who've experienced academic distress and help them tap into their present skills to develop a greater sense of wellbeing. I approach learning through mindfulness and the relationship between emotions and cognition to help students develop greater emotional intelligence. I am a gamer who enjoys fantasy and science fiction video and tabletop role-playing games. My cats thoroughly enjoy rolling my twenty-sided die when the occasion doesn't call for it.

Sue Klosterman

In my role as Lab Coordinator for the Geology Department, I oversee all of the department’s introductory labs, along with teaching introductory lectures. I like to include a wide range of learning experiences ranging from hands on examination of geological materials to using on-line data such as mapping earthquakes in visualization tools like Google Earth. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the lab from the lecture since I bring as much activity into the classroom as possible! My background is a little different from many of our science faculty as I originally graduated from the University of Dayton (long ago!) with a BA in Accounting. My unique combination of business experience along with my MS in Geology allow me to bring a distinctive approach to my classroom teaching. I enjoy hiking and backpacking with my family. While my husband says he appreciates the occasional impromptu geology lecture, I have been told by the kids sometimes to just enjoy the scenery!

Amy Krug
  • Promotion to Senior Lecturer, Spring 2020
  • Participation in Faculty-Led Business in Spain, Summer 2020 (canceled)
  • E-Learning Fellows Program, April 2

Having a background in Computer Science (my Bachelor's degree was in Computer Information Systems), I have enjoyed embracing many of the technological advances in teaching, perhaps the most significant of which are in online education. I began teaching online in 2010 and have been amazed at the changes not only in tools, but in the eventual embrace of a unique pedagogy for online learning. By research and reading about these advances, I am committed to constantly improving my own teaching techniques as well as helping others improve theirs.

I live south of UD with a bunch of kids, cats, random small animals, and a husband. I love to read, especially romance novels (as the poster in my office says, "Unapologetic Romance Reader"). I have actually written several romance novels and novellas as a ghostwriter. This writing spurred my interest in popular romance as a research interest, which I teach in my English 200 class. I am also very involved in the Girl Scouts as a leader -- no, we don't do romance writing badges, but maybe we should. I also love to travel, draw/paint, and binge Netflix.

Gretchen Theil

I am a second year graduate student pursuing my Master's of Science in Education through UD's College Student Personnel program. I currently work as the Graduate Assistant (GA) for Flyer Student Services. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minor in Spanish in December 2018. 

Throughout my first year working at UD I served in many roles. Aside from being the first GA in Flyer Student Services, I have worked alongside the Divisions of Enrollment Management and Student Development, the Office of Admission and Financial Aid, the School of Engineering Office of Student Success, the Office of Learning Resources, and New Student Orientation. Through my experiences and relationships I have formed at UD, I am well connected to several areas of campus! 

I am committed to guiding students along the path to forming authentic relationships with themselves, which will in turn help them form authentic relationships with others. I am passionate about teaching and mentoring through a strengths-based approach and my vocation lies in creating engaging and positive environments for all students based upon their individual needs. 

As a Dayton native, I enjoy exploring restaurants all over the Dayton area! When I am not eating or working on my graduate studies, I enjoy reading any book I can get my hands on (physical books are preferable), refining my cookie baking skills, and attending various sporting events (especially Flyer ones) with my family and friends!

Patrick W. Thomas, PhD

I’m an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the English Department. Both in and out of the classroom, I study what and how people write on the internet, and the effects of this writing on people’s understandings of their communities, their workplaces, and their own identities. In my classes, I’m especially interested in immersing students in relevant, creative problem-solving to discover the significance that writing plays in all areas of their lives. Because writing is so personal, I also spend a lot of time working one-on-one with students to help them develop their ideas into well-reasoned arguments. When I’m not working, I like to travel, volunteer around town, make music, and play with my dog.

Laura Toomb

I graduated from UD and went to work in Chicago for Lexis-Nexis and while there I earned my masters in speech from Northwestern University.   I went on to become a manager of the accounting market in New York City.  After a stint staying home with my children, I went back to work as the Marketing and Sales Director of an Independent Living Community in Cincinnati.  In 2011, I began my teaching career at Sinclair Community College then joined UD in January of 2015.

I am a professor in the Communication Department where I teach Public Speaking, Principles of Oral Communication and Interviewing and Business Communication weaving my business background with academics.  For the past four years, I have also been teaching the Introduction Course to the university (ASI160) working with undecided first year students and advising them until they choose their majors.   In 2017, I became part of the MEA program at UD (Marianist Educational Associate) where I represent the Marianist values at various events for students, faculty, and staff.  This past year, I was on the Vocation Implementation Cohort learning to make sure students in my Introductory course understand the vast talents they bring and how to become involved and be the best student they can be while at UD.

As the mother of 4 with two of my daughters currently attending UD, I feel like I can really connect to the students and understand the stress and pressures of entering college.  I am so excited to work with the incoming students and help guide them to a successful academic career.

Dr. Sam Wallace

I earned my Ph.D. in Communication from Ohio State University and I have just completed my 38 th year as a faculty member at the University of Dayton where I hold the rank of professor. My research interests include group and individual decision making and problem solving. But I am especially interested in academic course design that puts maximum emphasis on helping students learn as opposed to “merely” teaching them stuff. The difference between teaching and learning may appear inconsequential, but approaching instruction from a learning perspective makes a huge difference in how faculty and students do their jobs. Since I decided to approach instruction as learning, my students generally get better grades, they seem to get more from my courses, we are all more actively engaged, and we all seem to better enjoy the experience. It’s all good!

I have three children, two of which graduated from UD, and the third graduated from Capital University in Columbus. I also have two grandchildren, Caroline (age 4) and Jimmy (age 4 months). Caroline and Jimmy live in Texas, but they will be visiting Ohio this summer!

I have really enjoyed my career at the University of Dayton. It has been a great job for me as well as my family, and I look forward to conspiring with new first-year students to help them get established, dig deep into this “learning” thing, and start from a solid place on this exciting next phase of their lives!

Lisa Wellinghoff

I earned a M.S. degree in Statistics and a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences. I am currently a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. I have 17 years of experience teaching Introduction to Statistics and have taught an online version of this course for the past several years. I have a passion for teaching, which is demonstrated by the energy that I bring to my lectures. I greatly enjoy the subject of statistics and hope my enthusiasm is passed along to my students. I have an Australian Shepherd, Tess, whom the vet has given the nickname “Bazooka Dog” due to her love of eating Bazooka bubble gum which she finds on the kitchen counter. Tess has had a couple of trips to the vet for treatment but has not learned her lesson. She has now moved on to Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba!

Aaron Witherspoon

I currently serve as the Director of University Advising Initiatives, where I oversee the vision, implementation of training, development and centralized coordination of advising and mentoring at the university. Previously, I served as assistant dean for student success in the College of Arts and Sciences, where my contributions included helping to increase retention and persistence within CAS, recruiting multicultural students working with diverse student populations, leading the revision of discover arts and science programs, as well as assisting in leading implementation and coordination for the Student Success Network. I have professional experience working with students in leadership development, student-athletes, program creation and management. I earned bachelors and master’s degrees from SUNY Buffalo and have been at the university since 2009. I hold current membership in NACADA, OHAA and have presented at national, state and regional conferences on student success, STEM success, academic advising and multicultural programming and awareness. 

My vocation is to help students find what they are called to do, their passions and interests - and support them in pursuing their calling.  Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, following my hometown Buffalo Bills and keeping up with the latest automotive trends.

Sabrina Neeley, PhD, MPH

I am the Associate Dean for Health Sciences in the School of Education & Health Sciences (SEHS) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health & Sport Science (HSS). I have 4 college degrees in 3 different disciplines (sociology, marketing, and public health), so my approach to teaching and learning is to bring together a variety of people who possess different ideas, experiences and expertise to work together toward a common goal. I also believe in learning by doing. The questions that interest me the most are: 1) How can a society create a culture of health and wellbeing? 2) How can we prioritize disease prevention? and 3) How do different factors influence how people make decisions about their health? I’m the perfect person to talk to if you have a variety of interests and aren’t quite sure what you want to do in life.

My husband is also a UD faculty member and we have a daughter who is entering her sophomore year in college. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, baking, spending time outside and traveling.

Dr. Toby W. Rush

I earned my graduate degrees in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Northern Colorado and have been teaching at UD for nine years. I love teaching people what makes music tick, whether they are an accomplished performer or just a passionate fan, and I firmly believe that any music that is worth listening to is worth studying, whether it's a classical concerto, a catchy K-Pop synth beat or a passionate, meaningful rap performed by an expert MC. I'm also a huge computer nerd and a lover of new media — I'm well known on the internet for Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People, a free-to-download music theory textbook in comic book format.

I love teaching at UD and living in the Dayton area with my wife and six kids, the oldest of whom will be attending UD as a first-year student this fall, and the youngest of whom is in kindergarten. I especially enjoy helping first-year students find ways to explore their passions and discover new ones, musical or otherwise.