UW-WC Adds 4 New Faculty & Library Director

Three faculty promotions also announced

Four new tenure track faculty positions have been created at UW-Washington County this fall. The new faculty include: Dylan Bennett (Political Science), Tobias Keidl (Physics and Astronomy) Tait Szabo (Philosophy), and Kirk Tyvela (History). Also joining the staff is Michelle Harrell Washington, as the new Director of Library Sciences.

Dylan Bennett earned his Master’s and PhD in political science at the University of Oregon with undergraduate work completed at Sonoma State University in California. His dissertation examined the politics of sports talk radio. Bennett taught at Washington State University in Vancouver and the University of Oregon prior to joining the UW-WC staff. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and speaks fluent German.  According to Bennett, “receiving the offer to teach political science at UW-WC was a delightful moment. The University combines affordable access to education with the small size and quality of a private college. As large universities pursue a factory model with hundreds of students per class, a small university becomes a rare and precious public good. With a little determination, students who begin their education here can achieve their highest goals. I feel really blessed to be able to assist students in learning to read, write, speak and reflect about the political world that surrounds them.”

Tobias (Toby) Keidl is a lifelong Wisconsin resident, growing up in the Holy Hill area. He completed his undergraduate studies in Astronomy at Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in Physics at UW-Milwaukee.  Keidl’s graduate work focused on gravitational radiation, studying stellar sized black holes orbiting super massive black holes.  Keidl stated that he “was excited to find an opportunity to continue my career close to where I grew up. I love the small classes which give me an opportunity to get to know students on a personal level. I am also impressed with the commitment to teaching excellence at UW-Washington County.”

Tait Szabo recently completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder. While student teaching at CU, he received a prestigious campus-wide Graduate Teaching Excellence Award. Szabo’s research interests were primarily in applied ethics and ethical theory. His undergraduate studies were completed in Philosophy and Psychology at Cornell University.

Szabo stated, “I find teaching to be most rewarding when I have a personal relationship with my students and a real opportunity to be a positive influence in their lives. Washington County offers the right environment to pursue the kind of teaching career I have hoped for. I am happy to be here and am looking forward to the years ahead."

Kirk Tyvela completed his doctoral studies at Ohio University specializing in the contemporary history of U.S. foreign relations, with an emphasis on modern Latin America. His teaching experience includes Swansea University (Wales), Ohio University and Ohio University in Zanesville.  Tyvela’s undergraduate studies were completed at Saginaw Valley State University.

Tyvela noted that he “chose the University of Wisconsin-Washington County because of its commitment to teaching excellence. Small class sizes give me the opportunity to help each student, as an individual, meet their academic goals. I’m privileged to join the accomplished and caring faculty at UW-WC, in fulfilling this core liberal arts mission.”

Michelle Harrell Washington served as the Multicultural Services Librarian at UW-Milwaukee Libraries prior to joining the UW-WC staff as Director of Library Services. Her educational background includes undergraduate studies at UW-Madison, and graduate work (MS, Library and Information Science) at UW-Milwaukee.  Washington noted that her “combination of experience in the UW system and in libraries as both a professional and student” as well as her “personal experiences with diversity and outreach” has positioned her to make a “unique contribution to the UW-WC community” and she “embraces the opportunity to do so.” 

The UW Board of Regents also recently granted promotions to three faculty members at UW-Washington County.  Acting on recommendations from academic departments and the University of Wisconsin Colleges, Mark Peterson (Philosophy) advanced from Associate Professor to Professor while Anne Widmayer (English) and Chuck Rybak (English) advanced from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor.

UW-Washington County has 26 faculty members and 33 lecturers. Over 90% of the faculty members have a doctorate or terminal degree in their field of study. With a growing curriculum, small classes and dedicated faculty, students are provided with a high quality education at the lowest cost in the UW System.  For more information about UW-Washington County, visit the website at washington.uwc.edu or phone 262-335-5201 to set up an appointment with an advisor in Student Services. 


Sue Bausch