College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Assistant Professor, Linguistics
ext. 7669
Office Location: Schmitt Hall 240A

DR. ABNER received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012. Her dissertation, There Once Was a Verb: The Predicative Core of Possessive and Nominalization Structures in American Sign Language, explores properties of complex nominal and verbal structures in American Sign Language (ASL) and their implications for human language, both spoken and signed. Dr. Abner has done fieldwork on typologically diverse languages including ASL, English, French Sign Language, Nicaraguan Sign Language, Tongan, and homesign. In 2011, for her efforts in the development and implementation of the first ASL instruction program at UCLA and her service to UCLA and the broader community, she was awarded the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Award, an award given annually to one student in the UCLA Humanities Division. Since earning her degree, Dr. Abner has been a postdoctoral scholar in the Goldin-Meadow laboratory in the University of Chicago’s Psychology Department researching issues of language development and emergence in Deaf individuals and communities.

Assistant Professor, Psychology
ext. 5201
Office Location: Dickson Hall

DR. ASKEW received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of South Florida in August 2012. Prior to joining the faculty at Montclair State University, Dr. Askew worked as an internal consultant for iTTTi located in Tochigi, Japan.  Dr. Askew’s research interests include harmful work behaviors, use of the personal computer at work, and technology and human behavior. Recent publications include “The Effects Commitment to Multiple Foci: An Analysis of Relative Influence and Interactions” published in Human Performance. Current research projects include investigating office workers and how the theory of planned behavior can be a model of cyberloafing, as well as examining a job-specific approach to the measurement of counterproductive work behaviors. Our students will benefit greatly from Dr. Askew’s experience and expertise in and he brings a strength to support methodological and statistical courses important across the graduate and undergraduate major.  

Assistant Professor, Robert D. McCormick Center for Child Advocacy and Policy
ext. 4188
Office Location:  Dickson Hall 372

DR. FORENZA received his Ph.D. in social work—with concentration in policy analysis and administration—from Rutgers University. There, his dissertation explored processes and outcomes allied with civic engagement among youth aging out of foster care. Dr. Forenza started his career as an intern in the Office of (former) United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. For eight subsequent years, he was Senior Aide to a member of the New Jersey Legislature. Dr. Forenza’s policy experience is accentuated by: (1) direct social work practice at youth & family development agencies, and (2) applied research/program evaluation for clients in the human services

Assistant Professor, Psychology
ext. 7730
Office Location: Dickson Hall 262

DR. GRAPIN  received her Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Florida in August 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, where she was awarded the Muriel Fain Shur Memorial Premium, which is awarded to the graduating psychology major who demonstrated the most promise to the field of psychology. She completed her pre-doctoral training locally in the Glen Rock public school system, and grew up in New Jersey, so she is very familiar with our state’s school systems, which will serve our graduate students pursuing certification in school psychology. During her education at the University of Florida, Dr. Grapin served as a liaison to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).   Dr. Grapin’s research interests are in standardized assessment and developing appropriate cut scores.  Recent publications include “Normative Assessment of Scholarly Productivity and Impact of School Psychology Faculty” in Psychology in the Schools. Dr. Grapin will lend her expertise to graduate students in the department’s School Psychology certification and Clinical Psychology degree programs. 


Assistant Professor, Justice Studies
ext. 5355
Office Location: Dickson Hall 346

DR. KURZE received his Ph.D. in Political Science from George Mason University in 2012. Prior to his arrival at MSU, Dr. Kurze served as a junior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and as an Adjunct Professor at New York University.  Dr. Kurze, who speaks four languages fluently, has published numerous articles in the areas of transitional and restorative justice.  He also has taught a wide-range of undergraduate and graduate classes relating to international justice. Dr. Kurze brings extensive research and teaching expertise in international human rights and transitional justice, and will be an exciting addition to the Department of Justice Studies Department.


Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
ext. 5577
Office Location: Schmitt Hall 241Q

Pascale LaFountain received her Ph.D. in German Studies from Harvard University in 2011. Her dissertation, “Flaws, Mistakes, Misreadings: Error and the Human Sciences in Drama around 1800” examines gender, body language, and concepts of error in 18th-century German medicine, law, and performance, with a focus on dramatic works by Lessing, Schiller, and Kleist. Dr. LaFountain’s graduate studies were fully funded by a national scholarship from the Beinecke Foundation, and in 2012 she received a Fulbright scholarship for continued study in Tübingen. Before arriving at MSU, she taught at Transylvania University in Kentucky and at the renowned Middlebury Summer Language School. She has studied in the United States, Mainz (Germany), and Paris. Her diverse publications include works on the 18th-century dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, the Nobel Prize-winning Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek, the Eastern European dramatist Heiner Müller, and the trans-European contemporary feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti. Dr. LaFountain teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on German and French culture, language, literature, and film.


Assistant Professor, English
ext. 4274
Office Location: Dickson Hall

DR. ROBBINS received his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago in 2011.  His first book of poems, Alien vs. Predator (Penguin 2012), is characterized by linguistic code-switching, canonical and pop culture allusion, and devastating humor, and it has been widely praised as an important contribution to the tradition of verse poetry in English.  Another book of poems, The Second Sex, is forthcoming from Penguin, and his book entitled Equipment for Living: On Poetry and Pop, forthcoming from Simon and Schuster, is a critical discussion of poetry and pop music as imaginative resources of protection.  Dr. Robbins is an exciting new voice in American poetry and an inspiring teacher who will contribute to our English Department curriculum and our Creative Writing Minor.


Assistant Professor, Psychology
ext. 5201
Office Location: Dickson Hall 

DR. SIMONET received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Tulsa in May 2014. His dissertation investigated the contingent effects of emotional intelligence and emergent affective states under competitive versus cooperative negotiations. Dr. Simonet’s research interests include developing multi-level models of people and teams which help integrate micro- and macro-level perspectives of organizational functioning. Recent publications include “Are Leaders and Managers Distinguishable? A Competency-Based Conceptual Integration” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, as well as his co-authored book chapter “Trait Activation Theory: Application, Further Developments, and Implications for Workplace Fit” in the Handbook of Personality at Work.  He taught several courses while at the University of Tulsa, including Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Theories of Personality. Dr. Simonet’s expertise will be shared with both undergraduate and graduate students in courses such as Personnel Psychology, Leadership, and Personnel Selection.


Assistant Professor, Sociology
ext. 5263
Office Location: Dickson Hall 

DR. SINGH received his PhD in Sociology from Rutgers, New Brunswick, in May 2014. His dissertation research addresses the expressions of neo-liberal social changes, social inequalities and conflicts, and the anxieties of social and sexual recognition in a rapidly expanding popular religious movement in India. Dr. Singh’s research interests include social theory and phenomenology, caste/race, ethics, popular culture and aesthetics, and collective action. He has also worked on a number of projects on urban and rural poverty, homeless children, entitlements, and social movements in India. He has been published in Culture and Religion, Sociological Forum, International Journal of Zizek Studies, and the Economic and Political Weekly. He has also published chapters in edited volumes published by the Oxford University Press, Routledge, and working papers from the Overseas Development Institute.


Assistant Professor, Justice Studies
ext. 5354
Office Location: Dickson Hall 327

DR. SMILEY received his Ph.D. in Sociology, with a Certificate in Africana Studies, from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in March 2014.  Dr. Smiley’s dissertation, entitled Existing But Not Living: Civil Death and the Carceral State, is a qualitative study of his work, through a community-based reentry organization, with men and women in half-way houses in Newark, NJ, and their challenges as they seek to reenter society. Dr. Smiley’s research focuses on prisoner reentry, inequality, and the impact of prisons on poor communities.  Dr. Smiley will be a valuable and welcome addition to the Department of Justice Studies.