Growth in degree programs results in new faculty at Worthington Scranton

John Brindle
January 11, 2017

With the number of baccalaureate degree programs increasing at Penn State Worthington Scranton, the campus has also experienced a need for more faculty.

“In order to ensure stability, success and quality of the degrees we offer, we have to hire faculty,” Marwan Wafa, chancellor, said.

To meet this demand, the campus recently hired four new full-time faculty members: Mathematics Instructor Timothy McNichols; Assistant Professor of Business Jiexin Wang; Assistant Professor of Psychology P. Douglas Sellers; and Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication Xialing Lin.

McNichols was born and raised in Scranton and attended Keystone College, where he received his bachelor’s degree in computer science. From there, he earned his master of business administration at Wilkes University.

A retired Scranton police officer, McNichols taught math and statistics at Northampton Community College, Misericordia University and King’s College prior to his arrival at Worthington Scranton.

“I’ve always had an admiration for Penn State,” he said.

This marks the first full-time academic jobs for both Sellers and Wang.

Born in Beijing, China, Wang attended California State University, Chico, for her master’s degree and earned her doctorate in organizational behavior and human resources from Texas A&M University.

“I’ve pretty much spent my last seven years traveling around and moving all over the place,” she said. Wang focuses her research on work-family balance. “It is an area related to stress management,” she said.

In addition, her work delves into ways employers can enhance the working environments of employees in order to retain them and maximize their potential.

It’s a field of study that is constantly evolving, and she must collaborate with other fields of study, including psychology.

Sellers understands that need for collaboration and has already spoken to Wang about future possibilities.

An Atlanta, Georgia, native, Sellers received his bachelor’s degree from Furman University before pursuing his doctorate at Florida Atlantic University. There, he met his wife, fellow Penn State Worthington Assistant Professor of Psychology Karin Machluf.

Sellers is thrilled to be on the ground level as he, Machluf, and Psychology Program Coordinator Renae McNair develop the campus’ new four-year baccalaureate psychology program.

The “opportunity to start a psychology program and be able to put our fingerprints on it” is a rare privilege, Sellers said.

“The goal is to create this little factory where we train students to be scientists … they have this great foundation in knowledge about psychology, where they can jump to be a medical doctor or go to law school or become an addiction counselor,” he said.

“You can take that set of skills and knowledge and apply that critically in almost any place. That’s what’s fantastic about psychology, that it really is flexible and you can take the degree and mold it to what you want it to be.”

Lin is in a similar position, having been brought to campus to develop the new four-year program in corporate communication, which is currently overseen by Associate Professor of English Eva Tettenborn.

Lin’s research is focused on crisis communication and risk and health communication. She received her master’s degree from Western Michigan University and her doctorate from the University of Kentucky.

As Chancellor Wafa sees it, these new faculty members will help set the bar high for the campus for generations to come.

Last Updated January 11, 2017