Two veteran teachers at Mercyhurst University have been named full professors. Promoted were Tauna Hunter, chair of the dance department, and Brian Reed, Ph.D., a member of the English faculty who also serves as dean of faculty.
In other recent promotions, the Mercyhurst University Board of Trustees granted tenure to R. Scott Tomlison, Ph.D., and promoted him to associate professor of music, while Mary Gavacs, director of the associate degree program in occupational therapy, has been named assistant professor.
Hunter has chaired the nationally recognized dance department since 1994, and was instrumental in obtaining accreditation for the program from the National Association of Schools of Dance in 2009. She also serves as artistic director of The Mercyhurst Dancers and Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre. She earned B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in ballet performance and choreography from the University of Utah. Hunter has appeared in all the major roles of the classical repertoire and has taught for companies, universities and private schools throughout the country. She has made numerous scholarly and creative presentations at the national and international level, and serves as liaison to the regional, national and international dance communities through her work with groups including the Erie Dance Consortium, Lake Erie Ballet, CORPS de Ballet International and Ballet Concerto. Hunter has been recognized as a Mercyhurst Teaching Fellow and received the Chautauqua Artist Teacher Award and the Award for Outstanding Service from Corps de Ballet International.
Reed holds a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University, a master’s degree from Youngstown State University and an undergraduate degree from Wittenburg University. Known as a dynamic teacher, he also has an extensive record of scholarship since joining the Mercyhurst faculty in 2003, including three articles published in peer-reviewed journals, a book under contract (Manipulating Men in Late 18th Century Britain: Power and Masculine Anxiety in the Age of Sensibility), and many presentations at national and international conferences. In addition to serving in the Office of Academic Affairs as dean of faculty for the past two years, Reed has served on a number of university committees, was the first director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, and was one of the founding faculty to teach at Mercyhurst’s campus in Dungarvan, Ireland.
R. Scott Tomlison, Ph.D., joined Mercyhurst’s D’Angelo Department of Music in 2007. He serves as coordinator of music education as well as teaching methods courses, applied trumpet lessons and brass techniques. He also conducts the Mercyhurst Symphony Orchestra. He previously was director of bands at McPherson College in McPherson, Kan. He holds a B.M.E. degree from Eastern Kentucky University, an M.M.E. degree from Murray State University, and a Ph. D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Tomlison has made a dozen presentations at national and regional conferences. He has also served on the brass staff with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps and Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, as director of the Gem City Bands, as a board member of JazzErie, as an adjudicator for regional high school music festivals, and as a clinician and guest conductor.
Mary Gavacs joined Mercyhurst in 2008 to help create an Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) program on the North East campus. An occupational therapist registered with the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and licensed in the state of Pennsylvania, she earned a B.S. in occupational therapy from SUNY at Buffalo and a M.Ed. in adult education from Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a Supervisory Management Certificate from Penn State. She has been active in the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA), holding offices at both the district and state levels. In 2002 she received the OTR Award of Recognition and in 2009 the Master Clinician Award for her work with children with Epidermolysis Bullosa from POTA.