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Alumni News

Honoring Emeriti Faculty

Posted in: Alumni News and Events


Fourteen faculty members were named professors emeriti during the Montclair State University Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, October 23. Following the meeting, professors Janet Cutler, Mark Hubey, Tina Jacobowitz, Agatha Jeffers, Lorraine Katterhenry, Michael Kruge, Jay Livingston, Tzu Chiang Ernest Ma, Luis Montesinos, Ruth Rendleman, Susana Sotillo, David Townsend, Nilufer Usmen and Debra Zellner, were honored at a luncheon, which was attended by fellow emeriti faculty, guests and University administrators.

Emeriti faculty are an integral part of the campus community, serving as ambassadors for the University and its educational mission in the community, state and nation, as well as in professional and academic organizations and activities. They serve as significant scholarly resources for the University with their collective wisdom and knowledge, sharing their expertise through professional achievements, publications and community service.

Judith Lin Hunt, Dean of Library Services, spoke briefly and introduced Karen Ramsden, Sprague Library research and projects specialist, and the recently launched institutional repository. Ramsden presented on the Montclair State University Digital Commons, an institutional repository designed to preserve, showcase and archive the creative and scholarly achievements of the Montclair State University community.

After lunch, the speaking program continued with remarks by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard Gingerich who provided academic updates, including the naming of Professor Jeffrey Miller as a 2019 MacArthur Fellow. He announced the 14 newly inducted emeriti faculty and recognized the members in attendance. In addition, he thanked those present for their years of service to the University.

Vice President for Development Colleen Coppla gave an update on Soar, the Campaign for Montclair State University, which currently stands at more than $74 million raised toward a $75 million goal. Coppla thanked the emeriti faculty for their support and invited them to continue to stay connected and involved with Montclair State and engage with the University’s alumni through events and activities.

We invite you to view photos from the luncheon, which was sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Office of Development. We look forward to continuing to host events and activities that engage our emeriti faculty at Montclair State. For more information, contact Jenna Villani, Office of Alumni Engagement, at 973-655-7872 or

Please join us in congratulating our newest inductees as professors emeriti! Below you can read some of the focal points of their careers at Montclair State, including their years devoted to the University, awards and achievements.

Professor Janet Cutler

Department of English

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Janet Cutler served Montclair State University for 41 years, and taught generations of Montclair State students. She created the interdisciplinary Film minor and served as its coordinator for 30 years as well served as coordinator of the Film Studies program. In addition, Professor Cutler published Struggles for Representation: African-American Documentary Film and Video, the first book of its kind on the subject. She published widely on race and cinema, including work on the films of Charles Burnett, the L.A. School and the work of Marlon Riggs and on women and the American avant-garde cinema.

Professor Mark Hubey

Department of Computer Science

College of Science and Mathematics

Professor Mark Hubey served Montclair State University for 35 year as professor of Computer Science. He was an important contributor to the department’s development, designing and teaching a broad array of courses. Professor Hubey distinguished himself as a scholar in the fields of computer science as well as philosophy.

Professor Tina Jacobowitz

Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education

College of Education and Human Services

Professor Tina Jacobowitz served Montclair State University for 39 years. She served as department chair for nine years and coordinated the Agenda for Education in a Democracy and the Leadership Associates Program. During her time at Montclair State, Professor Jacobowitz published book chapters and numerous articles in scholarly journals in the field of teacher education. She created the first Portrait of a Teacher, the embodiment of the mission of the University’s teacher education program. In addition, she was selected to be an honorary member by Alpha Lambda Delta based on her dedication to the field of education and her excellent teaching.

Professor Agatha E. Jeffers

Department of Accounting and Finance

Feliciano School of Business

Professor Agatha E. Jeffers served Montclair State University for 17 years. She served as professor of Accounting, served on numerous committees at the Department, School and University levels, as well as taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She also served as the African American Caucus representative on the President’s Commission on Affirmative Action and Diversity, and organized the Promise Prize for undergraduate accounting students for the Change Create Transform Foundation. Professor Jeffers’ scholarly contributions include the publication of numerous refereed journal articles and the presentation of many papers at academic conferences. She earned the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s Bright Idea Award three times for research papers.

Professor Lorraine Katterhenry

Department of Theatre and Dance

College of the Arts

Professor Lorraine Katterhenry served Montclair State University for 33 years as the director of the Dance program and deputy chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. She was instrumental in the development of the BA and MFA in Dance. During her time at Montclair State, she inspired as well as mentored multiple generations of Montclair State students, enhancing their development as dancers, choreographers, arts administrators and dance teachers. Professor Katterhenry choreographed more than 20 works for University Dance majors. Her choreographic work received both regional and national recognition.

Professor Michael Kruge

Department of Earth and Environmental Studies

College of Science and Mathematics

Professor Michael Kruge served Montclair State University for 17 years as associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. He was instrumental in facilitating the recruitment of research-active faculty and associated growth of state-of-the-art research facilities throughout the College. He distinguished himself as an international scholar in the fields of geochemistry and environmental forensics. Professor Kruge designed and taught a broad array of geology, environmental science, energy and geochemistry courses, and served the department with distinction as an undergraduate program advisor and research mentor.

Professor Jay Livingston

Department of Sociology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Jay Livingston served the University for 47 years in multiple terms as chair of the Department of Sociology. He created new courses for the Departments of Sociology and Justice Studies, and was instrumental in the planning and creation of the Department of Justice Studies. Professor Livingston wrote a seminal sociological study of gambling addiction titled Compulsive Gamblers: Observations on Action and Abstinence, and was the author of university-level textbooks and articles in both scholarly and general-interest publications.

Professor Tzu Chiang Ernest Ma

Department of Physics and Astronomy

College of Science and Mathematics

Professor Tzu Chiang Ernest Ma served Montclair State University 36 years as instructor in the Physics major, where he was known as an excellent teacher who trained generations of physics students. He contributed broadly to physics education, and to our understanding of solid state physics though many publications and presentations to scholarly associations.

Professor Luis E. Montesinos 

Department of Psychology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Montesinos served Montclair State University for 29 years as the acting dean, associate dean and director of the New Faculty Program. During his time with the University, he received the Distinguished Teacher Award and the Dean’s Recognition Award for Scholarly Work. Professor Montesinos has an international reputation in the field of health psychology, having published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He was a visiting professor in Chile and Spain and served as consultant for graduate programs and accreditation bodies in those countries. He has served as a member of steering committees for the World Congress on Behavior and Cognitive Therapy and editorial boards on psychological international journals.

Professor Ruth Rendleman

John J. Cali School of Music

College of the Arts

Professor Ruth Rendleman served Montclair State University for 44 years as professor of Music, chair of the Department of Music and director of the John J. Cali School of Music. She also served as coordinator of programs in Music Theory and in Piano, founded and directed the Music Preparatory Division and the Stokes Forest Music Camp. Professor Rendleman is an active pianist and chamber musician, and has received multiple awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for manuscript studies and theoretical analysis. She has presented her trailblazing work on improvisation in Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, in both academic presentation and performance, to many audiences in North America. Additionally, she has taught master classes and performed in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Professor Susana Sotillo

Department of Linguistics

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Susana Sotillo served Montclair State University for 30 years as a faculty member, teaching English as a Second Language, language and culture as well as bilingual courses. She was a leader in the design, technological development and successful teaching of online linguistics courses. Professor Sotillo published numerous articles and book chapters on computer-mediated communication and SMS texting in numerous journals of language, linguistics and technology. Her publications were internationally recognized as significant contributions to Applied Linguistics, Teaching through Technology, Applied Corpus Linguistics, Bilingualism and Theoretical Linguistics.

Professor David John Townsend

Department of Psychology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor David John Townsend served the University for 47 years as coordinator of Cognitive Science and as chair of the Department of Psychology. He created the interdisciplinary Cognitive Science minor in collaboration with colleagues from Communication Sciences and Disorders, Computer Science, Linguistics and Philosophy. During his time with the University, he received Montclair State University’s Distinguished Scholar Award and four federal research grants. Professor Townsend was the author of a book, numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, and delivered more than 100 national and international conference presentations.

Professor Nilufer Usmen

Department of Accounting and Finance

Feliciano School of Business

Professor Nilufer Usmen served Montclair State University for 22 years as a faculty member. She is recognized as an exceptional teacher with a clearly demonstrated commitment to the intellectual development and welfare of her students. She has made outstanding contributions to the development and progress of undergraduate and graduate programs in finance and in the Feliciano School of Business. Professor Usmen’s publications include numerous leading books, scholarly research articles and presentations on the field of finance, as well as invited presentations and editorial leadership in the discipline.

Professor Debra Ann Zellner

Department of Psychology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Debra Ann Zellner served Montclair State University for 18 years as chair of the Institutional Review Board, advisor for the Montclair State chapter of Psi Chi and the international honor society in Psychology. During her time at the University, she mentored more than 50 students in research, resulting in 45 students appearing as her co-authors on refereed research publications. Professor Zellner authored numerous scholarly journal articles and book chapters. In addition, she was named a Fellow by the Association for Psychological Science, the Psychonomic Society and the Eastern Psychological Association. She also served as an editor on the boards of scholarly journals and presented her research at conferences, research institutes and universities throughout the United States and internationally.