The LMU Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) offers an opportunity for faculty expertise to be uplifted and shared broadly with the LMU community through its Faculty Fellows program. Articulated as a teacher-scholar model, the Faculty Fellows Program is inspired by the University mission and aligns to LMU’s Strategic Plan, Creating the World We Want to Live In as it facilitates faculty engagement in interdisciplinary and integrative thinking and creative problem solving.
The Faculty Fellows program invites faculty with interest and expertise to collaborate with a sponsoring office (e.g., DEI, Global-Local) and support the work that intersects with teaching and learning. Faculty Fellows also inform the broader LMU faculty community of the latest issues, pedagogical approaches, and scholarship involved in the work. Specifically, the Faculty Fellows program is designed to support the development of faculty expertise.
2022 LMU Faculty Fellows
Arnab Banerji is an Associate Professor of Theatre History and Dramatic Literature at Loyola Marymount University located in the unceded lands of the Gabrilieno Tongva people also known as Los Angeles. He is the author of Contemporary Group Theatre from Kolkata, India (Routledge 2020). Arnab’s essays and reviews have been published in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Asian Theatre Journal, TDR, BOOM California, Ecumenica, Theatre Symposium, Sanglap, Cerebration, SERAS, and Virginia Review of Asian Studies. His current research is in performances by the Indian diaspora, translations of Indian vernacular plays, and contemporary Bengali theatre. Arnab is married and lives with his partner Sayantika and infant daughter Aarayna in Tovaangar. When he is not doing academic stuff, Arnab enjoys drinking specialty coffee, looking up restaurants around town, binge-watching The Office, and browsing through graphic novels.
Pushcart Prize nominee, a USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow and a Department of Cultural Affairs City of Los Angeles (COLA) Master Artist Fellow, Shonda Buchanan is the author of five books, including the award-winning memoir, Black Indian.
Also an award-winning educator, Shonda is the recipient of the Brody Arts Fellowship from the California Community Foundation, a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and several Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grants. A Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow and a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow, Shonda is a finalist for the 2021 Mississippi Review poetry contest. Shonda’s memoir, Black Indian, won the 2020 Indie New Generation Book Award and was chosen by PBS NewsHour as a "top 20 books to read" to learn about institutional racism. A journalist for 25+ years, Shonda has published in the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Indian Country Today, and The International Review of African American Art. Currently a Writing Instructor for First Year Seminar and a Senior Lecturer for the Department of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Shonda recently completed a collection of poetry about Nina Simone and is working on her second memoir and a novel.
Stacey Cabaj, Assistant Professor of Acting and Pedagogy, is LMU’s Faculty Fellow in Mission and Ministry and an American Fellow in the AAUW. Professor Cabaj is an arts leader who has served as the director of graduate theatre programs at LMU, LSU, and the University of Pittsburgh. Her forthcoming book, co-authored by Andrea Odinov, is entitled Lessons from our Students: Meditations on Theatre Pedagogy (Routledge, 2023.) As an award-winning theatre artist, Cabaj works and plays around the world, exploring questions about our human-beingness, creativity/spirituality, learning, and healing. She holds teaching certifications in the Meisner Approach to Acting, Meditation, Mental Health for Artists, Trauma-Effective Education, Vibrant Voice Technique®, Vocal Yoga®, and Yoga.
Lauren Casella Ed.D. serves the School of Education as Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration. In this role, she directs the Catholic School Leadership Academy and co-directs the MA in Educational Leadership program. She teaches Freshman First Year Seminar, K-12 teacher and school leader preparation courses, research methods, and doctoral writing seminars. Her teaching and research interests include social and emotional learning, innovative instructional and assessment practices, and the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. She enjoys working 1:1 with faculty to imagine and implement transformational learning experiences in face-to-face and online settings. Dr. Casella holds a Master of Education degree in Leadership and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from University of Southern California. She holds a Illinois General Administrative Credential, an Illinois Teaching License, and a California Teaching Credential & BCLAD. She is excited to support faculty across the University as a member of the CTE Team.
Christopher J. Finlay
Dr. Christopher J. Finlay is Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He holds a PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in digital media cultures, sports communication, global media industries and political communication. He has a particular interest in Olympics media, global digital media policy and Chinese media industries.
Dr. Finlay has authored over a dozen scholarly works, including, most recently, “Real Men, Himbos, And Bros: Continuity And Change In The Portrayal Of Masculinities In Sport-Dirtied Beer Advertising” with Dr. Lawrence Wenner, “The Right to Profitable Speech: Olympians, Sponsorship, and Social Media Discourse” and “Building a Better Winter Dream: Beijing 2022 and the International Olympic Committee”. In addition, Chris regularly contributes to popular media through expert commentary and original think pieces. His most recent is “Powering Down” for LMU Magazine.
Linh earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of California, Irvine, specializing African American and Asian American literary and cultural history, critical theory, and feminist theory. In 2002-2005, she served on the Modern Language Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession and contributed to developing a national survey on women in academia in mid-career, the results of which are published in the journal Profession (2009). Linh is a recipient of African American Review's Joe Weixlmann Prize for her 2011 article, "Reproducing Time, Reproducing History: Love and Black Feminist Sentimentality in Octavia Butler's Kindred.” She has writing appearing in The Feminist Wire (2013), Teaching and Emotion (Jossey-Bass Wiley; 2018), Conditions of the Present (Duke UP; 2018), Mapping Gendered Ecologies (Rowan 2020); and in a forthcoming collection entitled Feminist Collaborations of Radical Interconnectedness. Her current work takes up citation practice as a social justice issue that, at its base, begins with the fundamental premise that who we read and what we cite shapes how we live and lead, fuels how we imagine, and ultimately determines who gets to be free. She heads the Citation Initiative, now heading into its fourth year, for which she was awarded a 2020-21 Inclusive Excellence Grant. Linh is Instructor of Rhetorical Arts for LMU’s core curriculum.
Yu Li is Assistant Professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Her research centers on transcultural and translingual pedagogy, intercultural communication, and linguistic landscape studies with a focus on social justice. Her first book, The Chinese Writing System in Asia: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, was published by Routledge in 2020. It offers a culturally rich study of the Chinese script, integrating a broad range of disciplinary perspectives on how the Chinese writing system shapes personal and social identities in and beyond Asia. Her current project examines the global use of the chop suey typeface invented in 1880s’ America to represent Chineseness. She teaches a broad array of courses in Chinese cultural history, linguistics, and language, including Global China, The Chinese Writing System, and Chinese Calligraphy, and she is working on a new course called Reading Multilingual Cities. She coordinates the Chinese program, co-organizes the interdisciplinary China Studies Group on campus, and serves on the Faculty Senate. She is committed to building and transforming global-local communities through education and research and is excited to be working closely with colleagues, students, and other members of the LMU community as part of the Global-Local Initiatives team.
Cathleen McGrath is an Associate Professor of Management. Her research focuses on the organizational context supporting innovation and careers with a focus on social networks.She has published research in the area of social network analysis and management in Social Networks, the Journal of Social Structure, and MIT Sloan Management Review. She has been a part of multiple National Science Foundation projects. She serves on the editorial board of Jesuit Higher Education: A Journaland as a reviewer for journalsin the field of management and management education. Shehas participated in the International Institute for SoTLScholars and Mentors. She is a member of the Ignatian Colleagues Program, is currently Vice-President of Faculty Senate and has served on several College and University committees with a focus on University mission and governance.
I’m a developmental psychologist specializing in educational psychology. My research applies psychological principles and methods to understand what makes for effective learning environments. Much of my work—research, university service, and teaching—has in some way addressed the following questions: What constitutes powerful learning environments for students, and how can teachers be empowered and supported to create these environments? My research has examined how classroom teaching can be quantified and measured, and how those teaching practices are related to student outcomes. Outside of my research, I have experience providing teachers or faculty members with professional development around their teaching. Prior to joining LMU, I worked in education technology, evaluating the efficacy of K12 education-technology initiatives (at the district and state level) and supporting teachers in these initiatives. I love being in the classroom! It’s a space for me to play around with ideas that I study and enjoy thinking about. Teaching is a skill like any other – we stretch in what we try to achieve, sometimes stumble and sometimes succeed, and over time we gain knowledge and control over our practice. I’m excited to work LMU faculty around their questions, goals, and interests related to teaching and student learning!