The Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Faculty Senate Council for Non-Tenure Track Faculty Issues is proud to feature the following non-tenure track faculty for our Inaugural NTT Spotlight. Chairs and colleagues nominated the faculty below for public recognition of their professional dedication to the university, highlighting examples of the significant teaching, research, and service contributions non-tenure track faculty provide to the NAU community and beyond.
Cody Canning, M.Ed., M.A.
Director, First Year Learning Initiative and Senior Lecturer, First Year Seminar in the College of Arts and Letters
Senior Lecturer Cody Canning has served in multiple leadership roles during his time at NAU, include directing two academic programs (First Year Experience and First Year Seminar). In addition to these appointments, he currently is the director the First Year Learning Initiative (FYLI). Since stepping into this role, he has made bold direction changes to the program, such as the incorporation of a focus on equity-mindedness and the development of an extended professional learning experience for FYLI faculty in the form of the FYLI Equity Academy (in collaboration with Amy Rushall and Liane Sims of Faculty Development). The Equity Academy work, in particular, has the potential to make an institution-wide impact on inclusive teaching and learning at NAU. The Equity Academy is a campus-wide, intensive professional development opportunity centered on racial (in)equity in the higher ed classroom. Director Canning inspired participants with his passion for creating equitable spaces for students; he made himself vulnerable, talking about previous mistakes in his life and his eagerness to become a better educator. He handled a sensitive topic adeptly and provided resources, data, and support for each of the approximately 20 teachers in the academy. His commitment to equity and the corresponding work on campus is in addition to the myriad responsibilities he has in his roles as director and educator. He supports students in as many ways as possible inside and outside of the classroom, including serving as an interviewee for students in a collaborative research project group writing about discrimination in higher education as part of a composition course. Such an activity connects students more deeply to the subject matter but also helps them to think about the topic in a multifaceted way. Director Canning’s advocacy for all students, but especially those from groups historically and currently oppressed and excluded, is essential to student success and he further contributes to their sense of belonging and respect at NAU and by supporting, encouraging, and guiding faculty in how best to create an environment in which all of us thrive.
Ijeoma Ononuju, Ph.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education
Dr. Ijeoma Ononuju serves NAU in the College of Education (COE) and his home department of Educational Leadership (EDL) in exceptional teaching, service, and research. He has contributed significantly to growth in the COE and EDL capacity to meaningfully engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work for our students, staff, faculty, and communities that they serve, such as in his role as co-chair the COE Diversity Committee. As part of his story, Dr. Ononuju was one of the many non-tenure track faculty who were non-renewed during Summer 2020, but returned in the fall 2020 and redoubled his commitment to seeing that his students were well served during the pandemic, that the COE reflected and acted upon their strengths and weaknesses regarding DEI efforts, and much more. Additionally, Dr. Ononuju, as an Educational Foundations sub-unit faculty member, suppported the Community College and Higher Education (CCHE) Leadership sub-unit by chairing student dissertations, rewriting and teaching a new CCHE doctoral course on justice in higher education, attending optional meetings for the department and sub-units, serving on a tenure-track search committee for the CCHE sub-unit, serving on the EDL department diversity committee, and engaging in ongoing dialogue with students and colleagues about DEI in education. His work also extends beyond the institution through his non-profit, Immersion Foundation, an organization focused on providing academic support to youth and families via a community-based learning hub, an online platform for virtual Saturday school, and organizing food drives for those experiencing food insecurity.
Claudia Rodas, Ph.D.
Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Educational Specialties in the College of Education
Dr. Claudia Rodas is an anchor faculty and co-coordinator of special education in the College of Education. In her role as an anchor faculty, Dr. Rodas recruits, advises, and teaches students at our North Valley and Paradise Valley campuses. She also works with the chair and assistant chair of Educational Specialties to course schedules, area needs, area review. In addition to these essential service roles, Dr. Rodas serves as the College Council President and demonstrated strong leadership for the faculty as the university navigated the COVID-19 epidemic. In her role, she worked with college administration to bring faculty concerns to the forefront and to find opportunities for common ground and growth. During the pandemic she also developed educational webinars to support teachers, parents, and other community members in providing learning opportunities for students. Dr. Rodas also recently assisted with preparing teachers from countries in South America joining Arizona schools for the adjustment and to develop familiarity with American schools and curriculum and reflects her deep commitment to preparing future teachers. Dr. Rodas’ leadership in the classroom, in the department, and in the College of Education all serve as exemplar examples for her colleagues, students, and NAU at large.