Faculty Directory

Full-Time Faculty

Dr. Jennifer Backman : Professor, Writing Center Director

Dr. Jennifer Backman

Professor, Writing Center Director

B.A. University of California, San Diego
M.A. The University of Chicago
Ph.D. Purdue University

No bio available.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg – Room 302I Email: jbackman@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2397
Dr. Russell Backman : Associate Professor

Dr. Russell Backman

Associate Professor

B.A. University of California, Berkeley
M.A. University of Chicago
Ph.D. University of California, Davis

Professor Backman's teaching and research focus is on narrative, contemporary literature, transmedia storytelling, aesthetics, and critical theory. He has written on the history of the epic and the novel, especially works that attempt to encompass and embody cultural identities. His interest in storytelling and serialization includes the study of fiction, television, film, comic books, video games, and the various adaptations between them. From an emphasis on form and media, his work touches on aspects of Science and Technology Studies and the Digital Humanities. He also has an abiding interest in classical Greek myth, literature, and philosophy.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301M Email: rbackman@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2835
Dr. Melissa Haickel Bagaglio : Associate Professor

Dr. Melissa Haickel Bagaglio

Associate Professor

B.S. University of Evansville (IN)
M.A. University of Memphis
Ph.D. University of Memphis

Professor Bagaglio's teaching is influenced by her multicultural background and interest in science and politics. In her research, she focuses on the early modern British literature and the relationship between literature, politics, and justice. She explores ideas about law, mercy, and equity and their relation to royal prerogative in literary works and the authors' attempt to influence a shift towards reduced prerogative powers and legally limited sovereignty. Understanding the relationship between power and justice is an important contemporary issue, and Professor Bagaglio's experiences growing up in Brazil during the military dictatorship greatly influences her perspective. Her other research interests are in early sci-fi and fantasy works and how they influenced scientific discoveries as well as in questions of identity as they relate to language acquisition.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301G Email: mbagaglio@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2685
Dr. Abbie Cory : Professor

Dr. Abbie Cory

Professor

B.A. California State University, Long Beach
M.A. University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego

Professor Cory’s academic interests include British and Irish literature, literature by women and LGBTQ authors, and poetry. Her composition classes are often taught through the lens of social justice issues and popular culture. Professor Cory is the Director of the Palomar College Pride Center and the Chair of the Palomar College Committee to Combat Hate and also serves on the Student Services Planning Council. She has published in the journals Intertext, Women’s Studies, and New Hibernia Review.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301O Email: acory@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 3637
Dr. Richard Hishmeh : Professor

Dr. Richard Hishmeh

Professor

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B.A. University of California, Riverside
M.A. University of California, Riverside
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside

Professor Hishmeh’s teaching and research interests include Rhetoric, American Literature, Poetry, and Film and Visual Culture. His scholarship has appeared in journals including,  Modern Language StudiesThe Journal of American Culture, and the Hemingway Review. Professor Hishmeh is co-editor of Pacific Coast Philology, the official journal of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA), a regional branch of the Modern Language Association. He  has served as a member of PAMLA’s Executive Committee (2014-2017), and he is the recipient of Palomar’s Faculty Senate Award for Scholarly and Professional Achievement, 2016. With Jason Spangler of  Riverside City College, Hishmeh  is co-author of the textbook, Writing Up: Reading and Writing for College Readiness (BVT 2016). His latest publication, a chapter entitled, Claiming Their Place: Contemporary Arab American Poetry and Poetics,” is forthcoming in the Bloomsbury Handbook of Contemporary American Poetry (2022). In addition to his critical work, Professor Hishmeh has authored an unpublished collection of poems focusing on Southern California’s Inland region, entitled About Forty Miles Inland. For his complete CV and additional information, please visit his website (see link above).


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 302P Email: rhishmeh@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 3638
Dr. Martin Japtok : Professor

Dr. Martin Japtok

Professor

M.A. Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
Ph.D. University of California, Davis

Professor Japtok is the author of Growing Up Ethnic: Nationalism and the Bildungsroman in African American and Jewish American Fiction (2005), editor of Postcolonial Perspectives on Women Writers from Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S. (2003), and, with Professor Rafiki Jenkins, editor of Authentic Blackness/”Real” Blackness: Essays on the Meaning of Blackness in Literature and Culture (2011) and of Human Contradictions in Octavia E. Butler’s Work (2020). He has published essays in scholarly journals, books, and encyclopedias, mostly on African American and Afro-Caribbean literature. He was Professor of the Year at West Virginia State University from 2000-2003 and is also co-author of the 8th edition of Inside Writing and the 6th edition of The Writer’s Response: A Reading-Based Approach to Writing.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 302K Email: mjaptok@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 3994
Dr. Jerry “Rafiki” Jenkins : Professor

Dr. Jerry “Rafiki” Jenkins

Professor

B.A. University of California, San Diego
M.A. University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego

Professor Jenkins is Professor of English and Multicultural Studies at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. He teaches courses in composition, critical thinking, literature, African American Studies, and Multicultural Studies. His research focuses on African American speculative fiction and film. He has presented papers at the annual conventions of the Pacific and Ancient Modern Language Association, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, National Association of African American Studies, and the Popular Culture Association. His articles have been published in Screening Noir and African American Review, and he is the co-editor (with Martin Japtok) of Authentic Blackness/Real Blackness: Essays on the Meaning of Blackness in Literature and Culture (Peter Lang, 2011).


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301L Email: jjenkins@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2287
Dr. Kevin Kearney : Assistant Professor

Dr. Kevin Kearney

Assistant Professor

B.A. Union College
M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara

Professor Kearney’s teaching and research interests focus on contemporary literature and queer theory. His work has explored representations of futurity and apocalypse, speculative fiction, and (most importantly) how the humanities inspire creativity, demand discipline, and hone critical thinking. He is active with the Palomar Faculty Federation, the Committee on Political Education, the English Majors Group, the Basic Skills Initiative, and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301E Email: kkearney@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2379
Dr. Lisette Ordorica Lasater : Associate Professor

Dr. Lisette Ordorica Lasater

Associate Professor

B.A. California State University, San Marcos
M.A. University of California, Riverside
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside

Professor Lasater’s teaching is informed by her research interests, which include contemporary Chicana/Latina literature and cultural studies, Chicana feminism, twentieth century American literature, and theater and performance studies.  She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college student. Her educational journey began at Palomar College, and she is thrilled to return as faculty to teach the next generations of students.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301H Email: llasater@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 3410
Dr. Michael James Lundell : Assistant Professor

Dr. Michael James Lundell

Assistant Professor

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B.A. University of California, Berkeley
M.F.A. San Diego State University
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego

Professor Lundell teaches courses in composition, literature, and creative writing. Themes for his courses have included Latina/o literature and film, US/Mexico border studies, English literature in a transnational context, horror literature and film, punk rock, and The 1001 Nights.  His research on The 1001 Nights and literary theory has been published widely. He is currently the faculty advisor for the Palomar Animal Rights Club and the Palomar Mental Health Club.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 302M Email: mlundell@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2719
Dr. Leanne Maunu : Professor and Department Chair

Dr. Leanne Maunu

Professor and Department Chair

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B.A. University of California, San Diego
M.A. Indiana University
Ph.D. Indiana University

Professor Maunu specializes in British literature of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with an emphasis on Romanticism and its connections to French writers from the same time period.  She has published articles on Frances Burney, Charlotte Smith, and Mary Shelley, and her book, Women Writing the Nation: National Identity, Female Community, and the British–French Connection, 1770-1820 (Bucknell University Press, 2007), explores the role of nationalism in the works of female Romantic writers. Some of her more recent research interests include exploring the role of violence in literature and the contemporary Gothic novel. Besides teaching Palomar's composition classes, she also teaches Survey of British Literature I and II, Introduction to Shakespeare, Women and Literature, Literature through Film, and Violence and Literature. She is also one of the advisors for the English Majors Group.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg – Room 301N Email: lmaunu@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2288
Dr. Adam Meehan : Assistant Professor

Dr. Adam Meehan

Assistant Professor

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B.A. University of California, Berkeley
M.A. San Diego State University
Ph.D. University of Arizona

Professor Meehan specializes in twentieth-century literature, modernism, the novel, and critical theory. He has published in Journal of Modern LiteratureStudies in the Novel, and elsewhere. His first book, Modernism and Subjectivity: How Modernist Fiction Invented the Postmodern Subject, was published in 2020 by Louisiana State University Press.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg – Room 302N Email: ameehan@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2723
Dr. Clare Rolens : Assistant Professor

Dr. Clare Rolens

Assistant Professor

B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
M.A. University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego

Professor Rolens’ work focuses on crime and detection narratives in twentieth century American literature and film, with a sub-specialization in prison literature. She works especially with the role of identity passing in the crime narratives, exploring how ambiguous identity and social mobility are both criminalized and celebrated in U.S. culture. Her article “Write Like a Man: Chester Himes and the Criminal Text Beyond Bars,” examining censorship of same-sex sexuality in prison literature, appeared in Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters; her essay on absurdity and race in prison writing is forthcoming in the collection New Chester Himes Criticism. Her teaching interests include popular culture, gender studies, representations of the U.S. prison system, medical ethics, and passing/cross dressing in fiction and film.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg – Room 302L Email: crolens@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2710
Dr. Stacey Trujillo : Assistant Professor

Dr. Stacey Trujillo

Assistant Professor

A.A. Chaffey College
B.A. San Diego State University
M.A. University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego

Professor Trujillo’s teaching and research interests focus on multi-ethnic and underrepresented voices in U.S. American Literature. Specifically, she specializes in multi-ethnic Latino/a literatures of immigration and migration and the diverse literature of U.S. empire. These areas of literature specialization also inform how she approaches critical thinking and composition courses. As a whole, her courses emphasize primary source analysis and she encourages students to push their analysis to engage with larger questions of privilege/oppression, race/ethnicity, and gender/sexuality.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg – Room 301K Email: strujillo@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2572
Dr. Rocco Versaci : Professor

Dr. Rocco Versaci

Professor

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B.A. University of Illinois
M.A. Indiana University
Ph.D. Indiana University

Professor Versaci has been a member of the English Department at Palomar since 1997. From 2000 - 2018, he served as Co-advisor for Bravura, the college's award-winning literary journal, and he is currently one of the advisors for the English Majors Group. In addition to teaching literature, composition, and critical thinking courses, his academic interests are creative writing, 20th Century American literature, memoir, film, and comics/graphic novels. He is the author of This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature (Bloomsbury, 2007) and That Hidden Road: A Memoir (Apprentice House, 2016). More information is available on his website (see link above).


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg - Room 301F Email: rversaci@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2971
Sue Zolliker : Professor

Sue Zolliker

Professor

B.A. Michigan State University
M.A. San Diego State University

Professor Zolliker teaches composition and humanities and is particularly interested in integrating firsthand experience with reading, writing, and traditional research.  Her travel-related projects include walking several hundred miles along medieval pilgrimage routes in France and Spain and, most recently, traveling around the Mediterranean, mostly on sailing ships, exploring Homer’s Odyssey.


Contact Information

Location: Humanities Bldg – Room 301J Email: szolliker@palomar.edu Phone: (760) 744-1150 ext. 2562

Part-Time Faculty

InstructorE-mail Address
Robin Avnerravner@palomar.edu
Shannon Bakersbaker@palomar.edu
Lori Balelmillerbale@palomar.edu
Adam Bishop abishop@palomar.edu
Katherine Buffington kbuffington@palomar.edu
Will Burkewburke@palomar.edu
Sarah Burnssburns@palomar.edu
Richard Carr, Jr.rcarrjr@palomar.edu
David Cowperdcowper@palomar.edu
Jim Dailjdail@palomar.edu
Michelle Dalrymplemdalrymple@palomar.edu
Will Dalrymple wdalrymple@palomar.edu
John N. DeGennaro jdegennaro@palomar.edu
Sarah Faulknersfaulkner@palomar.edu
Donna Fazio Di BenedettoDFaziodibenedetto@palomar.edu
Chris Fellcfell@palomar.edu
Cynthia Fillmorecfillmore@palomar.edu
Anne Flemingafleming@palomar.edu
Lauren Flennikenlflenniken@palomar.edu
Al Gardella agardella@palomar.edu
Matthew Griffing mgriffing@palomar.edu
Tucker Grimshaw tgrimshaw@palomar.edu
Sonia Gutierrez sgutierrez@palomar.edu
Richard Hannonrhannon@palomar.edu
Tracy Hardinthardin@palomar.edu
Kyle Hetrickkhetrick@palomar.edu
Andrew Hoeahoe@palomar.edu
Opal Johnsonojohnson@palomar.edu
Benedict Jonesbjones@palomar.edu
Christina Kennedyckennedy@palomar.edu
Mari Loppmlopp@palomar.edu
Leslie Manville lmanville@palomar.edu
Merry Marianommariano@palomar.edu
Jennifer McConkeyjmcconkey@palomar.edu
Bryan McCulley-Mendozabmcculleymendoza@palomar.edu
John McGuinnessjmcguinness@palomar.edu
Kellie Millerkmiller3@palomar.edu
Elaine Minamideeminamide@palomar.edu
Blaine Mogilbmogil@palomar.edu
Katie Montagna kmontagna@palomar.edu
Kathleen Nelsonkmnelson@palomar.edu
Megen O'Donnellmodonnell@palomar.edu
Deborah Paes de Barrosdpdbarros@palomar.edu
Victor Perezvperez1@palomar.edu
Lindsay Petteelpettee@palomar.edu
Jennifer Pilchjpilch@palomar.edu
Donna PotratzDpotratz@palomar.edu
Ronald Reedrreed@palomar.edu
Brandon Reynoldsbreynolds@palomar.edu
Monica Rodriguezmrodriguez1@palomar.edu
Ronald Smithrjsmith@palomar.edu
Glenda SnellGSnell@palomar.edu
Ross Talarico rtalarico@palomar.edu
Steve Waszakswaszak@palomar.edu
James Wenzell jwenzell@palomar.edu
Elsie Wilburn ewilburn@palomar.edu
Sean Wilkinsonswilkinson1@palomar.edu
Kim WolfeKWolfe@palomar.edu
Syndee Woodswood@palomar.edu
Gary Zacharias gzacharias@palomar.edu