22 WT Faculty Members Earn Promotions; Seven Announce Retirements

Chip Chandler May 25, 2023
  • Agriculture
  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Featured
  • Science
  • History
  • Communication
  • Engineering
  • EPML
  • Arts
  • Business
  • Social Sciences

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — Twenty-two West Texas A&M University faculty members have been recognized for outstanding performance by being awarded tenure and/or promotion for the 2023-24 academic year.

This total includes 13 faculty members awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor and nine 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 18 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, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “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:


Photo: Newly named associate professors include, from left, Dr. Michelle Simmons, Dr. Yong Yang, Dr. David Howe, Dr. Kendall Samuelson, Dr. Eric Meljac, Dr. Matthew Harrison, Dr. Gene Farren and Dr. Noah Franken.

Award of tenure and promotion to rank of associate professor:

  • Dr. Ryan M. Brooks, associate professor of English;
  • Dr. Gene L. Farren, associate professor of sports & exercise sciences and Baptist Community Services Professor of Health Sciences;
  • Dr. Noah J. Franken, associate professor of communication;
  • Dr. Matthew P. Harrison, associate professor of English and Wendy Marsh Professor of Shakespeare Studies;
  • Dr. David C. Howe, associate professor of management;
  • James B. Johnson, associate professor of biology and James A. “Buddy” Davidson Professor of Wildlife Biology;
  • Dr. Eric P. Meljac, associate professor of English;
  • Dr. Justin Moeller, associate professor of political science;
  • Angelo O’Dierno, associate professor of theatre;
  • Dr. Joshua Partheepan, associate professor of engineering;
  • Dr. Kendall L. Samuelson, associate professor of animal science
  • Dr. Michelle L. Simmons, associate professor of education, Lanna Hatton Professor of Learning Disabilities and director of the Center for Learning Disabilities; and
  • Dr. Yong Yang, associate professor of mathematics.

Promotion to professor:

  • Dr. Tim Bowman, professor of history and department head;
  • Dr. Maxine DeButte, professor of psychology;
  • Dr. Jeremy Lewis, professor of music;
  • Dr. Collette Loftin, professor of nursing and Kritser Professor of Nursing;
  • Dr. Guglielmo Manfredi, professor of music;
  • Dr. Christopher Meerdink, professor of music;
  • Dr. Angela Phillips, professor of nursing and Mike Wartes Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences;
  • Dr. Sean Pullen, professor of music and director of choral activities; and
  • Dr. John Richeson, Paul Engler Professor of Beef Cattle Feedlot Management.

Photo: Retiring faculty members include Dr. Edward Kahler, Kathy Shipp and Greg Ingham.

Retiring faculty members include:

Nurturing excellent faculty is a key component 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 campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.




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.



Photo: Newly named professors at West Texas A&M University include, front from left, Dr. Maxine DeButte, Dr. Collette Loftin and Dr. Angela Phillips, and back from left, Dr. Tim Bowman, Dr. Christopher Meerdink, Dr. Jeremy Lewis, Dr. John Richeson, Dr. Sean PUllen and Dr. Guglielmo Manfredi.