Faculty Biographies
Academics at Utica College

Faculty Biographies

Carole White Dennis, Sc.D, OTR/L

Associate Professor and Chair of the Occupational Therapy Department

Carole White Dennis, Sc.D, OTR/L, Associate Professor and Chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at Ithaca College, has been teaching at the college level for the past ten years, following 17 years of clinical practice. She served as Faculty Liaison for a Title VI Department of Education grant that focused on internationalizing programs in the health professions, and in that capacity led her department and supported other departments in their efforts to ensure that multicultural content was comprehensively addressed within respective curricula. She initiated and has led field experiences to the Dominican Republic for students with an interest in health and culture, and has supported other faculty in developing similar experiences for their students. In addition, in her role as an Accreditation Evaluator for the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, she has become very familiar with academic accreditation guidelines and how they may be implemented within curricula.

Patricia Gleason-Wynn, Ph.D., LCSW

Lecturer of Social Work and Gerontology


Ph.D. - The University of Texas at Arlington
M.S.S.W. - The University of Texas at Arlington
B.S.W. - Niagara University

Work Phone: 254.710.4431
Cell Phone: 817.680.2236
Work Email: Patricia_Gleason-Wynn@baylor.edu
Personal Email: drpgw@yahoo.com

Dr. Pat Gleason-Wynn is a lecturer in the School of Social Work at Baylor University. She has a Ph.D. and a Master's degree in social work from The University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Gleason-Wynn is a Licensed Clinical Social Work. Her primary area of interest is gerontology with a particular focus on nursing home social work practice. Previously she taught at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas where she was the Director of the BSW Program Work and an Assistant Professor. She has also taught part-time in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Gleason-Wynn is currently a Faculty Expert to the Strengthening Aging and Gerontology Education for Social Work (SAGE-SW) program which is a Council on Social Work Education project funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation. She has provided, and continues to provide, consultation to numerous nursing homes and social workers in Texas. In addition, Dr. Gleason-Wynn has developed and led a number of continuing education and professional development courses for gerontological social workers. She is married to David G. Wynn; they are the parents of Andrew (1988).

Research Interests

Mental Health and Older Adults Nursing Home Social Work Spirituality and Older Adults

Cynthia Hughes Harris Ph.D.

Professor and Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences

Cynthia Hughes Harris, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA serves as Professor and Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences. She received Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois in Chicago and in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Her doctoral work, in the arenas of policy studies and higher education, focused on the qualitative experiences of minority students in varied academic settings. As Dean, Dr. Hughes Harris is responsible for the administration and management of academic programs in health sciences, cardiopulmonary sciences, health care management, health information management, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Prior to coming to Florida A&M University, Dr. Hughes Harris served as Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Columbia University in New York City. Much of Dr. Harris' recent professional career has focused on research related to the prevention of high-risk behaviors in urban adolescent populations. She successfully incorporated AIDS education and prevention programs into the Chicago high school system. Later, she initiated similar programs to reduce high-risk behaviors in high school students in the South Bronx neighborhood of New York City. Dr. Harris also has considerable experience working with issues of aging as part of her membership with the Geriatric Education Consortiums of New York City and she is currently working with the Florida State Medical School geriatric department faculty on the development of a Geriatric Education Center in north Florida. Dr. Harris has extensive experience in curriculum design and has consulted with numerous academic programs in various stages of curriculum development, modification or revision. Currently, Dr. Harris is spearheading initiatives focused on the eventual elimination of health disparities within economically and educationally disadvantaged groups. In this capacity, she serves as principal investigator for a funded program sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services to increase the number of minority students successfully entering health professions. Additionally, she is the Principal Investigator for an initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health/Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities which includes research in community empowerment as an approach to the elimination of health disparities in rural and urban communities. Dr. Harris also has a number of publications, professional presentations and grants that reflect accomplishments in a variety of health related arenas. As an occupational therapist, Dr. Harris is active in professional association activities including having served as the immediate past Vice President of the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Patrick. L. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D

Professor of Cardiopulmonary Science

Dr. Johnson is Professor of Cardiopulmonary Science in the School of Allied Health Sciences at Florida A&M University. His professional interests include pathophysiology of disease, program evaluation, clinical outcomes, and professional credentialing. He has been involved in a number of collaborative projects investigating minority aging and health access. Dr. Johnson received the Frederic Helmholz Education Research Award. He was recognized as a 2001-2002 Teacher of the Year. He works as a consultant and has served on numerous boards and committees at national, state and local levels. Dr. Johnson's research is published in a number of refereed journals. His scholarship and publications also include articles, professional credentialing test and instructional manuals. He presents his research regularly at professional conferences.

Suzanne R. Kunkel Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology and Gerontology

Dr. Suzanne Kunkel is Director of the Scripps Gerontology Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Her primary research focus is on the measurement of health and planning for the health care needs for the older population. She has been involved in several large-scale studies projecting the future of long-term care needs for the nation, and for the state of Ohio and its counties. Her projections of population aging and the impact on long-term care needs have expanded to include a focus on global aging and the consequences of a rapidly aging society on less-developed regions of the world. Dr. Kunkel's research also includes federally funded projects designed to develop and evaluate innovations in home-care. She is currently principal investigator or co-principal investigator on three consumer-direction projects, including a study of quality in consumer direction in programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Kunkel is a frequent speaker at national and state professional conferences. She also makes numerous presentations at state, local, and national training conferences on the uses of demographic data, projections of long-term care needs, and consumer directed services for older people. She has authored numerous book chapters, research monographs, and articles, and a textbook (with Leslie Morgan) entitled, Aging: The Social Context. She was guest editor, along with colleague Mildred M. Seltzer, of a special issue of Generations, journal of the American Society on Aging, on the topic of what it means to be a professional in the field of aging. Dr. Kunkel's service to the field of aging has included offices, as President of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, member of the governing board of the Gerontological Society of America, reviewer for several professional journals, board member for several state and local organizations, and technical assistance to a number of Ohio area agencies on aging and service providers in the region. Dr. Kunkel holds degrees from Edgecliff College (BA, magna cum laude, psychology); Miami University (MA, sociology); and University of Cincinnati (Ph.D., sociology/demography).

Phoebe S. Liebig, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Gerontology

Dr. Liebig is an Associate Professor of Gerontology at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California, with a joint appointment in USC's School of Policy, Planning and Development. Positions held in the past include Director of the Pacific Geriatric Education Center, one of the first four GECs funded by the Bureau of Health Professions; Director, Information/Education Outreach Component of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center of the Southern California Consortium; Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Team, of AARP's Public Policy Institute; and Director of Planning, Andrus Gerontology Center. Dr. Liebig serves or has served on numerous boards, task forces and committees, including the Advisory Committee, Project on Teachers of Physician Assistant Programs; National Task Force on Gerontology and Geriatric Education in Allied Health; Commission on the Institute for the Future of Aging Services, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging; Los Angeles Health Policy Forum Steering Committee; Board of Trustees, Southern California Presbyterian Homes; and Advisory Council, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Care (Sepulveda, CA).

Research Interests

Her research interests and publications focus on the politics and policy processes in aging, state-level policies and programs in housing, long-term care and assistive technology, education in aging, and aging in India. A Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, her publications have appeared in such journals as Technology and Disability, Journal of Applied Gerontology, The Gerontologist, Housing Policy Debate, Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, and the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. She also has written several entries in the Encyclopedia of Retirement and Finance; Encyclopedia on Aging; The Encyclopedia of Aging (all editions); and Encyclopedia of Gerontology: Age, Aging and the Aged. Honors include the 2003 Clark Tibbitts Award for Excellence in Gerontology and the 1997 Distinguished Teachers Award, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education; Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, 1997-1998; Hanson Family Trust Assistant Professorship, USC, 1990-1993; and Fellow of the UCLA/USC Long-Term Care Gerontology Center, 1980.

Ronald Lucchino, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Biology Former Director of the Institute of Gerontology at Utica College of Syracuse University Retired in 2003 after 30 years.
E-mail: rvluc@pop.net
Phone: (941) 685-8056

Current Activities

  • Dr. Lucchino is Director of Communications, Policy and Legislative Advocate for state of New Mexico Alzheimer's Association.
  • Trainer-consultant for the National ARC National Caregivers Support Program (NFCSP).
  • Consultant to New Mexico State University to develop a Minor in Gerontology and a graduate certificate program in Geriatric Nursing to be offered nationally to allied health and nursing students
  • Co-coordinator for the HRSA project for the infusion of aging into the allied health academic programs
  • Instructor in a WEB based distance learning course, Biology of Aging, for Utica College
  • Member of Associate of Gerontology in Higher Education's (AGHE) Program of Merit committee to develop standards for gerontology programs in higher education. Developed the national standards for continuing education gerontology programs
In 2002-03 he was program manager for the Aging and DD network Inclusion Program with NM State Agency on Aging. And DDPC

In 1991 established and successfully directed the Oneida County, New York, Alzheimer's Disease Coalition, a single point entry for the assessment and case coordination of families caring for individuals with Alzheimer's disease

In 1989 Dr Lucchino initiated and coordinated the first aging and disability collaborative network in Upstate New York.

Co-developed with Della Ferguson

  • the Minor in Gerontology,
  • the BS in Gerontology,
  • undergraduate continuing education Certificate in Gerontology
  • the WEB based distance learning undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology
Dr. Lucchino has for many years been involved in training staff from the aging network and staff from the Development Disabilities Network on issues concerning aging.

Charlie Schmidtke Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Gerontology

Charlie Schmidtke received a B.A. in Philosophy from Canisius College in 1968, a M.A. in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Tulane University (1970 and '73 respectively). He has been an Associate Professor and Director of Gerontology at Canisius College from 1991 until the present. Prior to that he served as the college's Dean of Continuing Studies for 11 years and held a variety of other administrative positions for 7 years. He taught at a community college and at a high school, while also serving in the U S Army as an officer in the MPs. He has had some related continuing education over the years: in1978 a Syracuse University workshop on "Futures Inventions" and a 1979 Syracuse University Summer Institute in Gerontology at which he completed the "Foundations of Gerontology: Aging and the Individual", "The Sociology of Aging and Life Cycle Planning", "Producing Instructional Units, Modules or Materials", "Designing a Course or Training Program in Gerontology" and audited a Syracuse University Graduate course on "Social Problems in Gerontology". In 1992 at the East-West Center he completed the Summer Workshop for the Development of Intercultural Coursework at the Institute of Culture and Communication.

He teaches in 12 different departments and programs at Canisius College. His primary courses are: 1. Time and the Human Condition, 2. Ethics and Human Services, 3. Social Foundations of Gerontology, 4. Images of Aging in Literature, 5. Cross Cultural Communication and Aging, 6. Introduction to Human Services, 7. Philosophy of Time and Across Cultures, 8. Psychological and Social Context of Aging, 9. Philosophy and Ethics in Sports, 10. Freshman Seminar.

He has served as a delegate on a Medical Geriatric Team in June, 1992 that visited institutions (medical, geriatric and educational) in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Prague and Berlin. He has offered multicultural and racial sensitivity workshops to the Kenmore School District. He has been a Visiting scholar at the All-University Gerontology Center at Syracuse University and was appointed to serve on the Steering Committee for a grant sponsored by the Retirement Fund and managed by AGHE. He was named first Chairman of the Faculty Development Committee for AGHE and served as Program Chair for two consecutive programs (1996 in Philadelphia and 1997 in Boston). He served as a delegate to the People's Republic of China in 1984 studying Family and Institutional Care for the Elderly. He presented a paper "Values Dilemmas Confronting Family Care for the Elderly" in Dalian and was selected by the delegation to deliver it in Beijing. He received Fellowship status in AGHE during its charter induction (1997) and served on a special Task Force for AGHE which created guidelines for federal departments and private foundations regarding funding for aging programs (1997). He has a wide variety of publications and presentations. Some of the topics for them include: applying a Pulsational-wave model to time and aging, analyzing values and dilemmas in home care, applying ethical decision-making to aging issues, relating aging to science fiction and using dramatic personae in the classroom. He has written and performs dramatic life reviews for Raoul, from the "Phantom of the Opera", Marius from "Les Miz" and Sancho Panza from "Man of La Mancha". He has worked with AGHE in publishing a variety of items including: "A Brief Handbook for Gerontology Development in Four-Year Colleges", 1994; . "Continuing Educational Opportunities for Gerontology",1994; “Aging Education and Training Priorities for Grant Making”, 1997; and “Gerontological Education and Job Opportunities in aging”, 1998. He has offered pre-conference workshops at AGHE on such topics as: cultural diversity and aging and incorporating ethical components into courses. He was a distinguished teacher at the 1995 AGHE conference. He is very active in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving as a preaching and Liturgical Deacon; serving on the following committees for the Upper New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Sexual or Professional Misconduct Committee, Synod Candidacy Committee, Conflict and Healing Team. Also, he has been Director of Christian Education (1979-1985); Director Youth in Liturgy (1978-1996); Church Council Vice-President (1982-1985); Church Council Secretary (1980-1982); Taught Post-Confirmands (1979-1982 and 1986-1996); Taught Adult Bible class (1982-1985, 1996-present); Chair Liturgical Committee (1986-present); Chair Nominations Committee (1985-88); Director Adult and Youth Drama (1980-2000); Bell Choir (1987-2000); Founder and Advisor for the Church's Senior Sociables Club; Founder and coordinator for the Men's Club; developed, organized and led 9 spiritual retreats for the church.

Sally Claycomb Townsend


B.S. in Occupational Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University M.A. in Learning Disabilities/Special Education, College of Saint Rose C.A.S. in Disability Studies, Syracuse University

Areas of interest in Occupational Therapy

Teaching best practice Assistive technology Children and psycho-social arena Assisting the profession in the use of occupations as the focus for helping clients achieve their goals
Other Professional interests:
Peaceful education for all children Course work in the Occupational Therapy Program: Occupational Performance: Infants, Toddlers, and Children

Other Course Work

Activities Analysis First Year Seminar Education: Designing Inclusive Environments for Classrooms


Qualitative research concerning issues of peaceful education with populations ranging from preschool to post-secondary levels Effectiveness of a prevention program and related service programs with Early Head Start and Head Start.

Special Projects/Pursuits

Implementation of self-directed learning Use of Assistive Technology to increase quality of life Member at Large for the New York State Learning Disabilities Association Governance Board for the Resource Center for Independent Living


Handley, M., & Townsend, S. (in press) Tell me another one. Occupational Therapy in Health Care. Hollins, N. & Townsend, S. (in press) Opportunity model of collaboration: A model for assessment instrument development. Journal of Allied Health Education. Townsend, S.C., Carey, P., Hollins, N.L., Helfrich, C., Blondis, M., Hoffman, A., Collins, L., Knudson, J., & Blackwell, A. (2001). A user's manual for the Occupational Therapy PsychosocialAssessment of Learning (OT PAL). Chicago: Model of Human Occupation Clearinghouse, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Teaching Video
Townsend, S., & Pattarini, S. (2001). Communication and Disclosure. An interactive teaching video. Available from author.
Work in Progress
Dissertation Research Project - Being in First Grade: A qualitative research project


Faculty Development Fund provided support for a variety of presentations and projects nationally and internationally on an annual basis. American Occupational Therapy Association Recognition of Achievement Award for "Creating Positive Change in Student Occupations". Washington D.C. June, 2003. Best Practitioner Poster Award at the National Conference of the Association of Schools and Allied Health Professionals, San Diego, CA. October, 2002

Web Links

www.CAST.org Universal Design for Learning
www.LDAnatl.org National Learning Disabilities Association

Personal Interests

Global Missions projects with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, hiking and skiing, especially in the Adirondack Mountains, cooking, sewing, knitting, tatting, and ongoing personal and professional growth.


Catherine Brownell, Ph.D.
220A White Hall

(315) 792-3705
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502