Meet Our Faculty

Arlene Lowenstein
Michelle Putnam

Average class size: 18

Richard Wollman
Katherine Jung Reis
LaDonna Christian
Stephen Berry
Justin Beebe

215

Full-time faculty members,
70% of whom are women.

Shelley Strowman
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Student-to-faculty
ratio of 10:1

Erica Gunn
Shirong Luo
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“The faculty are extremely accessible. There’s the sense that we’re here for common goals.”

Kara Mellonakos '15HCMBA

James Corcoran
Elizabeth Metallinos-Katsaras
Jennifer Putney
Martha Mahard
Michelle Putnam

Michelle Putnam

Dr. Putnam's research focuses on the intersections of aging and disability, with particular emphasis on understanding how public programs and public policy meets the needs of persons aging with disability. Within this area, her work examines collaborations between aging and disability service providers and their capacity to serve the aging with disability population, long-term care and support needs of persons aging with disabilities, the role of activity portfolios in fostering well-being among older adults, and the relationship of asset accumulation in fostering financial security and independent living among older adults and persons aging with disability. Dr. Putnam holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, a Masters of Gerontological Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Public Health and Disabilities at the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Health and Wellness for Persons with Long-term Disabilities, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR. Dr. Putnam served on the faculty of the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis prior to joining the School of Social Work at Simmons University.

Dr. Putnam's scholarship is both independent and done in collaboration with colleagues across institutions and disciplines, and when possible with direct stakeholders. Funders of Dr. Putnam's research and/or research collaborations include the John A. Hartford Foundation, AARP Foundation, National Institute of Aging, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, Administration for Community Living, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Productive Living Board of St. Louis County, and Council on Social Work Education. She is frequently engaged to speak about aging with disability and public policy to research, practice, and policy audiences.

Dr. Putnam is one of the few scholars in the field of social work studying aging with disability and is recognized for her leadership in this area. She has actively worked to build awareness of the distinctions between aging with long-term disability and incurring disability for the first time in later life as it relates to provision of supports and services and the overall experience of aging. Her work is both theoretical and empirical, but always related to public policy and the practical aspects of making aging and disability policies and programs work well for people aging with disabilities and their families. Dr. Putnam's current interest in capacity building within aging and disability service networks directly stems from her prior work. She believes that building capacity to meet unique needs of aging with disability populations has potential to compliment and move current discussions focused on institutional systems change to also include discourse what individuals and their families need to live independently, engage in their community, and experience positive aging.

In addition to her research, Dr. Putnam actively participates at the national and international level in building bridges across the aging and disability fields of policy and practice. She serves as a founding member of the Bridging Aging and Disability International Network (BADIN), is a Fellow of the Gerontology Society of America, member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and member of the National Advisory Board on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities, an independent board with funded by Anthem Inc., to provide expert opinion (including those contrary to industry) and guidance on the health care needs of persons with disabilities of all ages. Dr. Putnam also serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.

Richard Wollman

Richard Wollman

Richard Wollman is Professor of Creative Writing, Shakespeare, and 17th Century Literature. He is both a poet and a sculptor whose work may be viewed on his website

Professor Wollman is on the Advisory Board for the Mass Poetry Outreach Program at UMass Lowell as well as the Massachusetts Cultural Council in Newburyport. He is on the Executive Committee of the Powow River Poets and is a member of both the Newburyport Art Association and the John Donne Society.

Katherine Jung Reis

Katherine Jungreis

I am delighted to be beginning my fifth year as a full time faculty member after 23 years as an adjunct here at Simmons School of Social Work. When then Professor Sophie Freud initially suggested that I teach the Psychopathology course (now Assessment and Diagnosis) while I was a doctoral candidate at Simmons, I told her that I had never really considered teaching and wasn’t sure it was such a good idea. She countered with, “this is an offer you can’t refuse” and her wisdom was clear as I quickly found that teaching became one of the greatest pleasures of my social work career. 

Following graduation from Smith School for Social Work, I worked for almost twenty years at a community mental health center in a poor and working class town. My clinical work was with adults, families, groups and emergency services and I dealt with a variety of issues including many people with severe mental illness and their families. During that time Cambodian refugees moved into the community and we were actively involved in trying to provide culturally meaningful mental health services to them.

Like many others in our field, the direction of my work has been constantly evolving. Initially after graduation, I received training and became very involved with family therapy. Later, as I became more attuned to connecting the various parts of myself in my work, I wove in my curiosity about integrating spiritual/religious issues and psychotherapy. I joined the Jewish Therapists Network and taught in the Certificate Program for Jewish Communal and Clinical Social Work at Simmons. Other areas of special interest to me have included social work ethics, working with couples, mindfully connecting theory to practice and the use of movies as a powerful learning tool. Appreciating the meaning of work and the workplace was a central focus during the ten years that I consulted to the staff at the Federal Employee Assistance Program.

Most recently, I have been intrigued with relational aspects of social work supervision. I have given presentations and consulted on this topic and in the summers I teach in the Certificate Program for Advanced Clinical Supervision at Smith School for Social Work. While I no longer supervise students and staff in an agency setting, I have been able to continue a significant amount of clinical consultation to practitioners as well as consulting to staff at South Shore Mental Health Center which afforded me the ability to work again in a community mental health setting.

I believe that to most effectively teach I need to be directly involved in the work and that my ongoing clinical experiences enrich the learning in the classroom. I have found Simmons to be a wonderfully supportive, interesting and committed community that truly cares about helping students to be skillful, thoughtful and caring social workers. I am excited to be part of this community and to contribute to the professional growth of future social workers.


LaDonna Christian

LaDonna Christian

LaDonna L. Christian, PhD, MSN, APHN-BC, joined the department of nursing at Simmons University eight years ago as faculty in the Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program and a year later she was named the program Director. She recently completed her doctorate degree in Health Professions Education at Simmons University. She received her undergraduate degree from the University Of Michigan School Of Nursing and her Masters Degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Community Health Nursing. She also completed her Advance Practice Certification in Community Health Nursing and a Certificate of Advance Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Health Professions Education. Her background and clinical expertise is in Public Health Nursing and Environmental Health with a focus on policy and the underserved and minority population. In 2007, LaDonna traveled to Honduras on a one-week medical missions trip to work with the Sisters of Notre Dame to meet the medical needs of the families in Guaimaca. LaDonna also spent 17 years in public health working with HIV, STI, and TB patients. LaDonna began teaching at Brockton Hospital School of Nursing, but has also taught at South Shore Regional Technical High School, and Coppin State University School of Nursing in Baltimore MD. In her present position she works with underrepresented and underprivileged multicultural nursing students, where she has assisted over 130 scholars to reach their goal of becoming a bachelors prepared registered nurse and leaders in their communities. LaDonna is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International and is the Vice President of Theta at Large Chapter at Simmons University. She also belongs to The Mary Mahoney Nursing Honor Society, American Nurses Association, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Chi Eta Phi Black Nurses Association, The National Black Nurses Association and the New England Regional Black Nurses Association. At Simmons, LaDonna serves as the faculty advisor to the ALANA nursing Liaison, co-facilitator of the Seeking Education Equity and Diversity (SEED) program for faculty, staff, and students, a co-facilitator of the Diversity and Inclusion committee in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and a member of the college wide Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee.

Download Ladonna L. Christian's CV.

Stephen Berry

Steve Berry

I attended Vanderbilt University where I double majored in History and Fine Arts earning the Bachelor of Arts and later a Masters of Education degrees. I also hold a M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary as well as a M.L.I.S. degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. I earned my doctoral degree in the Graduate Program in Religion of Duke University with qualifying exams on colonial America history, the history of religion in America, history of Reformation Europe, and Atlantic World travel literature. My doctoral dissertation, “Seaborne Conversions 1700-1800” examined the role of religion aboard eighteenth-century British sailing vessels crossing the Atlantic.

I have been a member of the History Department at Simmons University in Boston since 2007 where I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Early American and Atlantic World history. I currently direct the department’s undergraduate program in public history, which means I teach an introductory course on public history that is combined with the history of Boston, a course that focuses on the role of objects in historical understanding, as well as supervising internships at a variety of museums and historic sites in the area. I teach separate graduate and undergraduate courses on the history of the Atlantic World from Columbus to the Haitian Revolution. I normally handle the first half of the American history survey, which covers colonization through reconstruction as well as an African-American history survey course. Finally, I typically teach our department’s core seminar for our undergraduate majors, “Interpreting the Past,” which introduces students to the theory and method of history. As a teacher of the humanities, my two overall goals for students in all of my courses are to be critical thinkers and excellent writers.

My wife Dana and I live in Maynard, Massachusetts with our teenage daughter and son. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and playing board games. In addition to writing about ships, I love sailing, but I know just enough about boats to be a danger to others and myself.

Justin Beebe

Justin Beebe

License/Certifications

MA Physical Therapist

Professional Organizations Membership

American Physical Therapy Association
Section on Research Member
Orthopaedics Section Member

Dr. Beebe joined the faculty at Simmons University in July 2013. He has been a physical therapist since 2000, and practiced primarily in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy settings. Prior to coming to Simmons, he served as an assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of South Dakota for nearly five years. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association where he serves as Chairman of the Section on Research Abstract Review Committee, and is a member of the Research Committee of the Orthopaedic section. He is an active researcher, and manuscript reviewer.

Shelley Strowman

Shelley Strowman

Dr. Strowman teaches Biostatistics and Capstone Seminar III in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.  She also provides statistical consultation on Capstone projects and Master's theses in the Nursing and Nutrition departments.  Dr. Strowman joined the School of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty in 2008 after working for several years in the Academic Technology Department as a Statistical Software Consultant.

Professor Strowman has supervised several DNP Capstone projects including:

  • Teleneurology in Long Term Care: Value of a Joint Nurse Practitioner-Neurologist Videoconferencing Clinic
  • Early Integration of Palliative Care in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer: A Quality Improvement Project
  • Survivorship Care Plans: Exploring Lymphoma Patients' Knowledge of their Disease and Follow-Up
  • Improving Exercise Prescribing in a Rural New England Free Clinic: A Quality Improvement Project Implementing Exercise Prescribing Guidelines

Dr. Strowman brings to the classroom over 20 years of experience in research, including several years as a consultant in public health.  She has provided statistical and survey consultation in a variety of areas including cardiovascular health promotion, tobacco control, the relation between stress and hospitalization, and health risk behavior.  Dr. Strowman's professional experience is integrated into her teaching through an emphasis on real-world examples and applications.

Professor Strowman has also taught Statistics and provided consultation in the Schools of Social Work, Management, and Library and Information Science.

Erica Gunn

Erica Gunn

I am perhaps an unlikely chemist. Naturally inclined to music and language rather than science, I struggled with the basic mechanics of understanding chemistry. After failing my first chemistry test in high school, I knew that I would hate the topic forever. Achieving high final grades in both accelerated. . .

Shirong Luo

Shirong Luo

Shirong Luo has been a member of the philosophy department at Simmons University since 2006. Prior to his appointment at Simmons, he had been a visiting professor at Mount Holyoke College for two years (2004-2006). The first recipient of the Dean's Award for Exceptional Faculty Scholarship at Simmons University (2012), Dr. Luo has focused his research on Chinese philosophy of the classical period, comparative philosophy, and feminist ethics. He was an invited lecturer at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers (2008).

Among the many courses Dr. Luo has taught at Simmons are Asian Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, World Religions, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Philosophy and the Arts, Philosophy through Literature and Film, Philosophy of Human Nature, American Pragmatism, Biomedical Ethics, and MCC.

James Corcoran

James Corcoran

James Corcoran, an associate professor in the Department of Communications, is the author of two books on domestic terrorism. The first, Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland, examined the rise of the anti-tax movement in rural America embodied by extremists groups such as the Posse Comitatus. NBC-TV turned the book, which was based on Corcoran's Pulitzer Prize nominated coverage of the murders of three U.S. marshals by a militant tax protest group, into a made-for-television movie, starring Rod Steiger, entitled "In the Line of Duty: Manhunt in the Dakotas." Bitter Harvest received the Gustav Meyers Center's award for Outstanding Book on the subject of human rights and the Golden Pen Award. Penguin Press reissued it with a new foreword in 1995 following on the Oklahoma City bombing. A third edition was reissued in 2005.

His second book, Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat, was co-authored with Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Written after the Oklahoma City bombing, it traced the growth and impact of hate groups, militias, and racist demagogues.

Corcoran is a member of the United Nations' "Roster of Experts on Terrorism and Related Phenomena" and a recipient of the Bush Foundation Leadership Award, which is awarded annually to no more than 20 people who are considered of "substantial standing" in their fields. During his 10-year career as a journalist, which included work for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and Newsweek, Corcoran received more than 24 state, regional, and national writing awards.

Elizabeth Metallinos-Katsaras

Elizabeth Metallinos-Katsaras, PhD, RD

Originally from Sonoma, California, I have been a faculty member of the Nutrition Department, for the past 16 years. I grew up on a farm in Sonoma, and am a first generation college graduate; my parents were of Greek descent, my Dad being a Greek immigrant. Food and good nutrition was always emphasized in my family, which was likely the inspiration for becoming a nutrition professional.


I completed my doctorate and dietetic internship at University of California, Davis and then came to Boston. I gained valuable public health experience by working at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a nutrition project manager. There I oversaw data management, research and evaluation activities for a variety of nutrition programs, such as WIC, The Growth and Nutrition Program, Food Stamp Outreach, and the Pregnancy and Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance Systems. My work there became the foundation of my future research agenda which centered on health of low income women and children.

My teaching philosophy has evolved into a pedagogy that emphasizes not only knowledge acquisition but application of learned principles and generalizations to new problems and situations, synthesis and integration of new information and ideas and application of this synthesized information to the solution of public health problems. I firmly believe in the power of good communication, both written and oral and have sought to emphasize these in my courses.

I have received several grants for my research from USDA and CDC. Most recently I was awarded the President’s Fund for Faculty Excellence grant, in which I am examining factors that affect gestational weight gain in a diverse sample of low income women. For about 14 years, I was the Director of Simmons Didactic Program in Dietetics and have recently become the Ruby Winslow Linn Endowed Chair of the Nutrition Department. I love working with my wonderful colleagues and students to continue to be the visionary Nutrition Department we’ve always been.

Martha Mahard

Martha Mahard

Martha Mahard has more than three decades of professional experience with the Harvard University Libraries, including work in photography and visual collections at the Fine Arts Library, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Harvard Theatre Collection of The Houghton Library. In addition to her numerous journal articles and presentations in the field of photographic archives, cultural heritage, and digital preservation, she is the co-author with Ross Harvey, of The Preservation Management Handbook: A 21st Century Guide for Libraries, Archives and Museums (published by Rowman and Littlefield in April 2014). With Michele Cloonan she was co-principal investigator for the IMLS (Institute of Library and Museum Services) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians grant which supported the development and implementation of the Cultural Heritage Informatics concentration. She has served as a consultant on major projects for museums and libraries, including the Worcester Art Museum and the Boston Public Library, and is a current board member at the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Mahard received an M.A. in Theatre History from Tufts University, and her M.S. and D.A. from Simmons SLIS.