Wilkes University Announces Faculty Promotions and Awards Faculty Tenure
Wilkes University has announced faculty who have earned promotion and been awarded tenure.
The faculty member receiving promotion is:
Donald Mencer was promoted to professor of chemistry. Mencer joined Wilkes University in 2001 and was tenured in 2005. During his time at the University, Mencer has served as chair and co-chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and is the current chair of the Faculty Affairs Council. He has been the recipient of numerous grants for instrumentation and research, receiving funding from external agencies such as National Science Foundation, Keystone Innovation Programs (KIP), and Merck-AAAS. He serves as a journal referee responsible for evaluating papers submitted to nearly a dozen peer-reviewed journals. He also serves as a textbook reviewer and evaluator. He is an active volunteer for the American Chemical Society and was awarded the American Chemical Society Susquehanna Valley Section Joseph Priestley Service Award for 2010 for outstanding community involvement and outreach activities. He also is the recipient of a number of awards from Wilkes University for his teaching, scholarship, and service. They include the Alumni Mentorship Award from the Wilkes University Teaching Recognition and Effectiveness Committee, the Student Government Faculty Choice Award, and the Outstanding Faculty Award in the College of Science and Engineering. He also was recognized with the Colonel Award and blazer for outstanding contributions to Wilkes University and the community at large from The Wilkes University John J. Chwalek, Sr. Committee. Mencer received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Frostburg State University and a doctorate in analytical chemistry from Texas A&M University.
The faculty receiving promotion and tenure are:
Lori Cooper was promoted to associate professor in the doctoral program in the School of Education and was granted tenure. Cooper joined Wilkes in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Mansfield University, a Master of Education degree in early childhood education from Cameron University, and a Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from Liberty University. Her education background is in early childhood education and primary grades as well as teacher and leader preparation. She has taught on both the undergraduate and graduate levels and helped spearhead the Early Childhood Online Pathway and the school safety initiative in Wilkes University’s School of Education. She is the recipient of a multi-year “Grow Up Great” grant. Cooper has authored journal articles and has presented her research at regional and national conferences.
Thomas Franko was promoted to associate professor, pharmacy practice in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and was granted tenure. He joined Wilkes in 2013. Franko's scholarship focuses on the topics of chronic pain, opioids, substance use and the administration of naloxone. He is emerging as a regional and national expert on pain management and substance use disorders. He has published more than a dozen journal articles and abstracts and presented at more than 30 regional and national conferences. He maintains an ambulatory care practice site with Northeast Rehabilitation in Wilkes-Barre and The Wright Center for Community Health in Kingston. Franko trains pharmacy and medical residents from Moses Taylor Hospital and The Wright Center. He is an active member of the American Pharmacists Association, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, where he is incoming president-elect. Franko earned the Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 2011.
Jonathan Kuiken was promoted to associate professor of history and was granted tenure. He has taught courses in European and global history, focusing on themes of geopolitics, economics, energy, and the trade of commodities and ideas. He has developed topic courses focusing on energy history that were cross-listed with energy studies. In 2019, Kuiken received Wilkes University’s Teacher Recognition and Effectiveness Committee's (TREC) award for alumni mentoring. He is the author of journal articles and two book chapters. His book manuscript, Empires of Energy: Britain, British Petroleum, Shell and the remaking of the international oil industry, 1957-1986, is in review for publication. He has presented at multiple national and international conferences including major and competitive conferences at the American Historical Society and the World History Association. Kuiken earned a bachelor’s degree in European Studies at Gordon College and a master’s degree in modern European history and a doctorate in modern British history, both from Boston College.
Jon Liebetrau was promoted to associate professor, performing arts and was granted tenure. Liebetrau has been a professional theatre artist for over 35 years. A member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA, he has acted on stages across the nation. Prior to joining the faculty at Wilkes in 2014, Liebetrau taught theatre at Dickinson College, Randolph College, Hollins University, Virginia Tech, Gettysburg College, Shippensburg University, Brandeis University and Messiah College. He received the Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from Brandeis University and earned the Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration and German from Gettysburg College.
Blake Mackesy was promoted to associate professor in the doctoral program in the School of Education and was granted tenure. Mackesy joined Wilkes University in 2003 and served various roles within University College including learning specialist, coordinator of academic services and assistant director and director. In 2014, Mackesy was hired as an assistant professor in the doctor of education program. She has authored articles for peer-reviewed journals and presented at regional, national and international conferences. Mackesy received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Russell Sage College, her master's degree in counseling from Rollins College, and her Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from Wilkes University. In 2015, Mackesy was a fellow with the Pennsylvania Education Policy and Leadership Center.
Patricia Sweeney was promoted to associate professor in the Passan School of Nursing at Wilkes University and was granted tenure. Since joining Wilkes in 2014, she has been an assistant professor in the graduate nursing program and serves as the Clinical Concentration Coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program. Sweeney has 30 years experience in the nursing profession and is a nationally certified clinician who maintains a clinical practice as a family nurse practitioner at a local urgent care center. At Wilkes, Sweeney teaches in the Master of Science in Nursing, Post-Graduate Certificate APRN, and the Master of Science to Doctorate Nurse Practitioner (DNP) programs. She was instrumental in the development of the Primary Care/Family Nurse Practitioner program in the Passan School in 2017. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Wilkes University, Master of Science degree in nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, from SUNY Binghamton and her doctorate in nursing from Penn State University.
Joyce Victor was promoted to associate professor in the Passan School of Nursing at Wilkes University and was granted tenure. She first joined Wilkes in 2004 in a staff position as the director of the Nursing Learning Resource Center. Victor created and designed the School of Nursing’s simulation center and simulation curriculum. She became a member of the faculty in 2014 as an assistant professor in the undergraduate nursing department. In 2019, Victor received the student-nominated Outstanding Advisor Award given by the Teacher Recognition and Effectiveness Committee (TREC) at Wilkes. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at local, regional, national and international nursing conference. She is board certified in nursing professional development and holds advanced certification in healthcare simulation education. Her book, “You’re Not Dead ’Til I Say You’re Dead: A Nurse’s Reflections on Death, Dying and the Near-Death Experience,” was published by Northampton House Press. Victor earned the bachelor and master’s degrees in nursing from Wilkes University and a doctorate from Duquesne University. Prior to her career at Wilkes, Victor was a practicing nurse and educator.
Shaokang (Ken) Wang was promoted to associate professor, finance in the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership at Wilkes and was granted tenure. Wang's research interests are in law and finance, initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. He has contributed articles to peer-reviewed journals and been a presenter at regional and national conferences. Wang has received the Wilkes Outstanding Academic Advisor Award in 2020 and 2017) and the Wilkes Executive Diversity Award in 2017. He was also nominated for the Outstanding New Faculty Award at Wilkes in 2016 and the ACBSP Teaching Excellence award in 2019. Prior to joining Wilkes, he was a visiting assistant professor of finance at Fordham University and had taught finance courses at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) when he was a Ph.D. student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Tsinghua University in China and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from SUNY Buffalo before earning a doctorate in finance from SUNY Buffalo.