21 WT Faculty Members Earn Promotions; Seven Announce Retirements

Chip Chandler May 23, 2022
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21 WT Faculty Members Earn Promotions; Seven Announce Retirements

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,



CANYON, Texas — Twenty-one West Texas A&M University faculty members have been recognized for outstanding performance by being awarded tenure and/or promotion for the 2022-23 academic year.

This total includes 17 faculty members awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor and four promotions in academic rank to professor.

Extensive reviews and recommendations by faculty colleagues at the department, college and university levels inform the decisions, which culminate with final approval by President Walter V. Wendler and The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. The Regents officially approved promotion and tenure at their May 19 meeting.

WT’s recommendations were announced at the annual spring address, which also included recognition of the retirements of seven WT faculty members.

Promotion and tenure is a privilege reserved for faculty members who have demonstrated professional accomplishments in instructional responsibilities, intellectual contributions and service.

“We are proud of our colleagues who are celebrating this well-deserved career milestone,” said Dr. Neil Terry, executive vice president and provost. “We have confidence that these faculty members will continue to contribute at a level of excellence that is critical to WT’s mission.”

The faculty members recognized include:

Award of tenure and promotion to rank of associate professor:

  • Christopher Baird, associate professor of physics
  • Stephen Karaganis, associate professor of biology
  • Liang Chen, associate professor of computer information systems and McCray Professor of Business Analytics
  • Anne-Christine Barthel, associate professor of economics
  • Brandli Stitzel, associate professor of economics
  • Anitha Subburaj, associate professor of electrical engineering and McFather Professor of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics
  • Vinitha Subburaj, associate professor of computer science
  • Laura Bell, associate professor of political science
  • Kenneth Denton, associate professor of psychology
  • Danney Rasco, associate professor of psychology
  • Malvika Behl, associate professor of school counseling
  • Brigette Whaley, associate professor of education
  • Callie Hisek, associate professor of theatre and Royal R. Brantley Professor in Theatre Studies
  • Mary Liz Brooks, associate professor of mass communication and Dr. Jenny Lind Porter Professor of Communication
  • Li Chen, associate professor of mass communication
  • James Barger, associate professor of music
  • Kimberly Hieb, associate professor of music

Promotion to professor:

  • David Lust, professor of animal science
  • Helen Reyes, professor of nursing
  • Nicholas Scales, professor of music
  • Edward Truitt, professor of dance

Retiring faculty members include:

  • Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences: Dr. J. Rex Lee, associate lecturer of biology
  • Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business: Dr. James K. Owens, professor of finance and Hodges Professor of Corporate Government
  • Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences: Dr. Elsa Diego Medrano, associate professor of education; and Dr. J. Keith Price, professor of sociology and criminal justice
  • Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities: Dr. Byron Pearson, professor of history; Dr. Jean Stuntz, professor of history
  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences: Laura Waight, instructor of nursing

Nurturing excellent faculty is an important principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $110 million.




About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.