University promotes faculty members

The Trine University Board of Trustees recently approved the promotion of 10 university faculty members.

“Each of these faculty members has distinguished themselves in their teaching excellence, and in their service to the university and their professional field,” said Catherine Swick, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud to recognize them with a promotion in academic rank and are grateful for the service of all our outstanding faculty members at Trine.”

The university promoted Lauren Decker, serving in the Jannen School of Arts and Sciences, from instructor to assistant professor.

The 2020 recipient of the Helen Smith McKetta Excellence in Teaching Award, Decker is an experienced teacher within the TrineOnline program. She serves as assistant historian in the Indiana section of the Mathematical Association of America. She also has served as secretary of the Trine University Faculty Advisory Committee, and oversees the university’s annual High School Math Competition.

Six faculty were promoted from assistant professor to associate professor: Catherine Benson, dean of the Ketner School of Business; Angela Berger, Ph.D., Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences; Linda Conley, Ketner School of Business; Christine Olding, Ph.D., Jannen School of Arts & Sciences; Brandon Podgorski, Ketner School of Business; and Michael Staude, Ph.D., Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences.

Benson has continued her professional development through membership in organizations such as the Indiana PGA and Indiana Golf Foundation. Additionally, she is a member with Junior Achievement, working with area schools to develop business-related curriculum.

She is the academic advisor for Tee It Up Trine, the university’s golf management organization. She also volunteered on the YMCA Fundraising Committee and contributed to writing the Lilly grant Trine University received for technology.

Berger works with senior biology and biochemistry students on their capstone research projects, exploring the use of genetics to study mutant viruses using bacteria as hosts for the viral genome. In the classroom, she has worked on a project in the General Biology course that received a Course Redesign Grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. in support of low-cost learning initiatives for undergraduate education. 

Berger is advisor for Tri-Beta, Trine’s student biological society, and actively participates in student recruitment activities such as Health Science Visit Day and Scholarship Day interviews. She serves as a faculty mentor for biology, advises students and serves on the Department of Science Lab Safety Committee. 

Conley is part of the Northeast Indiana Human Resource Association (NIHRA), serving as a member of its scholarship committee for the last five years. She also is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management and has attended the Barrett McNagny legal update and the NIHRA Conference.

Conley serves as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs champion for the Ketner School of Business, chair of the General Assessment Committee and chair of the Ad Hoc UE 101 Evaluation Committee. She also co-facilitates P2 events and provides sexual harassment training for MGT 453.

Olding has authored scholarly articles related to rock music, music composition and feminism. As chair of Trine’s Department of Humanities and Communication, she has shepherded the department through a major overhaul of the first-year writing sequence and general education as well as transformation of its physical space.

Podgorski has received multiple teaching honors, including being voted Professor of the Year for the Ketner School of Business and receiving the Chair’s Award for Dedication to Students in 2019, receiving the McKetta Excellence in Teaching Business Award in 2020, and being named to the H. Phillip Conrad Chair in 2021.

The inaugural director of Trine’s Center for Sports Studies, Podgorski publishes a bi-weekly blog and hosts a bi-weekly podcast for the Center. He serves as faculty advisor for Trine’s Sport Management Club and redesigned the sport management capstone program as a project-based competition. He also serves as Leadership Committee Chair for the National Association for Sport Business & Management Professionals.

Staude has dedicated significant efforts to modernize Trine’s biochemistry sequence in class and, most significantly, in the laboratory. He has developed online content for the on-campus General Chemistry I and II courses and contributed significantly to the development of the online CH114 course. In the laboratory, he mentors biochemistry students for their senior capstone research. Recent projects include study of the synthesis of recombinant DNA, specifically to make Green Fluorescent Proteins.

Staude is an active participant in student-focused activities including National Chemistry Week, Scholarship Day interviews and the Science Fair. 

Three faculty were promoted from associate professor to full professor: William Barge, Ph.D., Allen School of Engineering and Computing; Timothy Jenkins, Ph.D., Allen School of Engineering and Computing; and Christina Zumbrun, Ph.D., Jannen School of Arts and Sciences.

Barge served as department chair for a decade. He has served as an invited reviewer for two scholarship committees and three conferences. He also has been quoted multiple times in local and regional press as an expert on cybersecurity.

Jenkins has earned Indiana Space Grant Consortium grants for the past three years. He has maintained certification in Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) and developed several P2 activities with the Ketner School of Business over the past five years.

He serves as academic advisor for Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, faculty liaison for AFROTC, advisor for the student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and is the chair of the Curriculum and Academic Standards committee. He is also very involved with community programs, including the Boy Scouts of America and chaplain for the local American Legion Post.

Zumbrun received the McKetta Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009 and the Jannen Renaissance Scholar Award in 2018. She served as director of Trine’s office of Institutional Planning and Development for multiple years.

Since 2008, Zumbrun has served as faculty advisor to the Trine University chapter of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society. She serves on the General Education Assessment Committee and on multiple departmental committees.

  • Lauren Decker

    Lauren Decker

  • Catherine Benson

    Catherine Benson

  • Angela Berger, Ph.D.

    Angela Berger, Ph.D.

  • Linda Conley

    Linda Conley

  • Christine Olding, Ph.D.

    Christine Olding, Ph.D.

  • Brandon Podgorski

    Brandon Podgorski

  • Michael Staude, Ph.D.

    Michael Staude, Ph.D.

  • William Barge, Ph.D.

    William Barge, Ph.D.

  • Timothy Jenkins, Ph.D.

    Timothy Jenkins, Ph.D.

  • Christina Zumbrun, Ph.D.

    Christina Zumbrun, Ph.D.

Last Updated: 03/01/2022