COVID-19 Updates • Strategic Plan 2022-2027
Assistant Professor of Biology
Postdoctoral fellow - University of Arizona
PhD and MFS – Norwegian University of Life Sciences
MPVM‒University of California
MPH–Grand Canyon University
DVM–Addis Ababa University
Dr. Demelash Areda has been with Ottawa University, residential Campus in Surprise, Arizona since 2019. Prior to joining Ottawa University, Dr. Areda was a faculty member at Minnesota State University and Grand Canyon University. He is a broadly trained educator and researcher with several years of professional experiences in academia and industries. His areas of expertise include epidemiology, microbiology, public health, food safety, preventive medicine and veterinary medicine.
He is ACUE-credentialed faculty in effective college instruction program offered by the Association of Colleges and University Educators and the American Council on Education (ACUE-ACE). He has worked and taught at various Universities and Colleges including Ottawa University, Minnesota State University, Arizona State University, Bryan University, Grand Canyon University, and Maricopa Community colleges. He was a visiting scientist at Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI/Karolinska Institute, Sweden)-Tuberculosis Laboratory; World Health organization (WHO) designated center for TB research and diagnosis. He has also attended and completed post-graduate and advanced professional trainings at various Universities including University of Minnesota, Harvard University, University of Arizona, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Dr. Areda has also served as Subject Matter Expert (SME)-designed and developed course curricula) for various courses including General Biology (General BIO181L), Biostatistics for public health II (MPH 535) and Analytical Tools I (R statistical computing) (MAP 545), as well as Peer Reviewer for Microbiology-BIO205L curriculum, program review committee member for Pre-Physical Therapy program, Content Expert-Doctoral Thesis, and Lead faculty for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).
He has widely published scientific articles on peer reviewed journals and book chapters in the areas of epidemiology of infectious and zoonotic diseases. He has also served a scientific reviewer for several (over 14) peer-reviewed scholarly journals and editorial board member for two. He has served as grand award judge for International Science and Engineering Fair and currently Co-chair of Microbiology Judging category of Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2021.
He is a recipient of several fellowships awards including United Nations-Sustainable development goals (UN-SDG)-Open Pedagogy Faculty fellowship, Association of Colleges and University Educators (ACUE)- Effective Teaching Practice fellowship, American Society for Microbiology (ASM)-Science Teaching Fellowship (STF), American Society for Microbiology-Scientific Writing and Publishing Institute (SWPI) fellowship. His areas of research interest mainly include epidemiology, biostatistics/data analytics, microbiology and one Health. Concurrently, he has also developed an interest in research focusing on evaluation and implementation of effective classroom teaching, classroom assessment techniques, active student learning and integration of art methodologies in learning biology.
He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Food Safety from Norwegian University of Life Sciences/NMBU (Oslo, Norway), Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) from University of California, Davis; Master of Public Health (MPH) from Grand Canyon University; and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Addis Ababa University. He was also a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Arizona, working on NIH funded research grant aimed at elucidating mechanisms of host immune system evasion by Francisella tularensis.
In his spare time, he likes hiking, reading and volunteering at local church, community organizations and Habitat for Humanity.
Professor in Charge, Expressive Arts Therapy
MA - Marital & Family Therapy - Notre Dame de Namur University
BA - California State University
Paula Artac is a professional watercolor artist, art therapist, university instructor, liturgical art designer, illuminator, and author. She has taken the position of Professor in Charge of the Expressive Arts Therapy concentration at the Ottawa Phoenix campus. Dr. Artac is founder of 2 Dots and A Line non-profit, which utilizes and blends her doctoral study of spirituality, healing and the creative process in workshops, classes and symposiums for adults and children. Since 2014, Paula has successfully developed the Arizona chapter of Episcopal Church & Visual Arts national organization. She is the convener of this chapter, and Curator for EC&VA exhibits.
Professor of Psychology & Human Services
PhD - Human Science - Saybrook University
MHL - Ottawa University
MA - Human Department Counseling - Bradley University
BS - Psychology/Social Services Sociology - Bradley University
Dr. Karen Bryson holds the faculty rank of Professor of Psychology and Human Services. Karen earned a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University and earned a Master’s degree in Counseling from Bradley University. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Karen began working at Ottawa in April of 2005.
Karen has extensive experience teaching Ottawa’s Liberal Arts, Psychology, and Human Services programs. She serves at the Lead Faculty for Liberal Arts for APGS. She was part of the initial faculty team, who helped develop Ottawa’s early online teaching standards and she has been teaching regularly for online since its start as a unit in January of 2008. Karen also serves as a Phase I Certification instructor, a Phase II mentor and a Phase III peer reviewer for Ottawa Online.
In her personal life, Karen is an award-winning/optioned screenwriter, produced playwright and best-selling novelist. Karen has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she's not at her computer creating new stories, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband, who is an Ottawa graduate, and their bloodhounds.
Professor in Charge - School Psychology
MA Sociological Practice
Director of Nursing
Associate Professor of Nursing
DNP - Nursing - New Mexico State University
MSN - Nursing Administration - New Mexico State University
Master of Arts (MA): Counselor Education - Western New Mexico University
BSN - Nursing, Minor Social Welfare - Olivet Nazarene University
Dr. Burkhart’s professional background includes psychiatric nursing, counseling, nursing and health care administration, staff development, and education, and conference speaker. Dr. Burkhart’s experience as an educator includes a three-year college/university teaching assignment in East Africa and as nursing faculty in the United States since 2007, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education, and holding combined administrative and educator positions for part of that time. For the past eight years, Dr. Burkhart was faculty at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico before accepting the position as Director of Nursing/Associate Professor of Nursing position at Ottawa University, Overland Park, Kansas.
Dr. Burkhart has had several professional appointments to local, state, national and international councils and coalitions, including a past appointment to the New Mexico Governor’s Mental Health Planning Council, and a two-year appointment to the Council of an international university in East Africa. She is a past White House appointee as Native American Representative to the Binational Substance Abuse Coalition (US/Mexico border). Dr. Burkhart’s public speaking experience is in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and cultural competency. She has been a faculty advisor of the Student Nurses Association, a Sigma Theta Tau and Pi Omega (international nursing honor society) board member, member of the American Nurses Association, member of the New Mexico Native American Indian Nursing Association (NMNAINA), past president of District 14 and state board member of the New Mexico Nurses Association, member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), and co-founder and faculty advisor for NAMI on Campus New Mexico State University (NMSU). She was a recent participant in New Mexico’s health care reform initiative, Health System Innovation, and regional implementation with this initiative through the Dona Ana Wellness Institute.
Assistant Professor of Biology
NMD - Naturopathic Medicine - Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
BS - Biology - Western State University
Dr. Yana Dashevsky is the Associate Professor of Biology at OUAZ. She joined Ottawa University full time in 2018 at the opening of the Surprise campus in Arizona after having been an adjunct faculty for nearly 16 years.
Dr. Yana completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology graduated magna cum laude from Western New England University. She earned her doctorate degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, the only medical school in the country that combines conventional as well as holistic medicine curriculum. After completion of a two-year residency program in internal medicine, Dr. Yana focused on private practice and teaching. During her teaching experience, she was honored to be invited as a guest lecturer by many colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. Dr. Yana has extensive experience in course and curriculum development, as well as in academic advising and student mentoring.
Dr. Yana teaches general biology, microbiology, medical terminology, genetics, and human physiology. She is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with all of her students. In her classrooms, Dr. Yana strives to create a challenging, yet comfortable environment where each and every student has an opportunity to embark on a journey of personal growth and academic exploration.
Assistant Professor of Sport Studies
Doctor of Education in Sport Management – United States Sports Academy
Master of Science in Sport & Athletic Administration – Lynn University
Bachelor of Science in Physical Education & Psychology – Olivet Nazarene University
Dr. DeVinney has experience in higher education and business throughout the world. He cares about students and wants to see them be successful.
Dean - School of Education
Professor of Education
PhD - Education - Capella University
MLA - Education - Baker University
BS - Elementary Education - Baker University
Dr. Amy Hogan earned a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Vocal Music and a MLA from Baker University. She earned her PhD with a specialization in Advanced Classroom Instruction from Capella University. Her research focused on the relationship between preservice teachers and mentor teachers. Dr. Hogan served on the KS Regulations Board for teacher education, workgroups for the KEEP and KPTP evaluation tools, KS Teacher of the Year selection committees, task-forces for the Military Childhood Coalition, as a reviewer for NCATE and CAEP, and chaired a committee charged with revising the KS elementary education teacher licensure standards.
Her background includes mission coordination in the Tennessee Cumberland region, classroom teaching in the Shawnee-Mission School District, grant writing, developing small business enterprises, supporting programming for military families and children, and consulting in technology education and teacher assessment. While teaching in Shawnee-Mission, she was awarded twice West Antioch Elementary teacher of the year. Dr. Hogan has presented at numerous regional and national educational conferences, including TECHLearning. She has administrated several grants in technology and teacher education preparation. One of these grant projects regarding parent-community-school involvement is featured in the Harvard Family Research archives.
While at Ottawa U, Dr. Hogan has been a Division Chair, the Director of Teacher Education, an Associate Dean, the Dean for the School of Education, the Academic Dean of Arizona, and the inaugural Academic Dean for Surprise. In July 2019, she returned to the role of Dean for the School of Education.
Professor of Business Administration
DBA - Human Resources Management - Nova Southeastern University
MHL - Ottawa University
MS - Administration
MS - Physical Education - Central Michigan University
BS - Physical Education
Dr. Kayong Holston holds a Doctor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Nova Southeastern University.
Currently, she teaches both graduate and undergraduate business courses at Ottawa University and also develops course curriculum.
Dr. Holston worked in government for 17 years as a manager and director in the community services and career development fields. She used many different types of statistical analyses for the effective planning and implementation of the organization’s bottom line. She also developed employee and leadership training instruction designed to help employees increase their performance at the highest level.
She has published numerous articles in professional publications and one was selected as the best paper for the Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management. She recently published a diversity management article in the International Academy of Business Discipline yearbook. Her research interests are diversity management, cultural and workplace diversity, leadership, organizational development, and human resources management.
Dr. Holston has served as a member of the Armed Forces YMCA and San Diego Chapter of ASTD Board of Directors – Educational Committee, chair of the strategic planning task force, organizational effectiveness, a member of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, and internal coaching consultant for the Red Cross. She is part of the Presidential Council of Paradise Community College, Maricopa Community College Chancellor’s Asian Pacific- Islander Community Advisory Committee and Maricopa Workforce Connection Board member. She also is serving the president in the Korean Women's International Network.
Dr. Holston is a national member of SHRM; Organizational Behavior & Theory Track Chair for the International Academy of Business Discipline; Area Representative for the American Society for Competitiveness; Member of Academy of Management; National register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals; and a member of the Executive Women’s Golf Association. She frequently gives speeches to local professional organizations.
Professor in Charge - Education Interim Field Placements (AZ)
ME - Elementary Education
BA - Elementary Education
Associate Professor of Psychology
BS Psychology/Biological Science
Associate Professor of Mathematics
PhD - Applied Mathematics - Southern Illinois University
MS - Mathematics - Southern Illinois University
BS - Electrical Engineering - Southern Illinois University
Jeff McCreight holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Mathematics from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, after receiving his Master in Mathematics and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics at the same university. Jeff has been an educator in undergraduate mathematics since 1994, having taught undergraduate mathematics courses at three different schools. He currently is the lead faculty for Mathematics at Ottawa University and resides in Surprise, AZ with his beautiful wife, Jill. Jeff is an avid golfer and recently has started the hobby of saltwater aquarist. His wife, Jill, works for the local school district as the high school’s media specialist. Feel free to contact me via email should you have any questions concerning mathematics at OUAZ (or to offer insights/experiences with saltwater aquariums!)
Visiting Associate Professor of English
BA - English Literature
MA - English
MA - Clinical Mental Health Counseling
PhD - English Rhetoric/Composition & Linguistics
Dean - School of Arts & Sciences
Professor of English
PhD - English - University of Kansas
MHL - Ottawa University
MA - English - New York University
BFA - Creative Writing - Univeristy of Tennessee
BA - English - University of Tennessee
Dr. Karen Ohnesorge is currently the Dean of The School of Arts & Sciences, Dean of Instruction at The College and professor of English. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee, both with highest honors. She earned her master’s in English-creative writing from New York University and her doctorate in English from the University of Kansas.
She has served as adjunct instructor for Neosho County Community College Extension in Ottawa, Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass. and Johnson County Community College.
Dr. Ohnesorge’s past experience involves assistant editor for the American Art Review, director for the Academic Achievement Center in Ottawa, project assistant and support services coordinator for Supportive Educational Services/Student Support Services at the University of Kansas, project coordinator for TRIO Dissemination Partnership & Dean’s Scholars Program and associate director of Academic Programs for Excellence at the University of Kansas, and director of the Center for Excellence at OU.
Dr. Ohnesorge has extensive published works, has conducted several conference presentations, and holds many honors including OU’s College Class of 1966 Award from the Senior Class for having “changed lives and challenged students to achieve.”
Visiting Instructor in Communications
Chief Enrollment Officer, OUAZ
Associate Professor of Business Administration
BBA Business Administration
MA Organizational Management
PhD Business Administration
Dr. Sandusky is a seasoned education executive with 23 years experience in strategic planning, marketing and positioning, enrollment management and financial aid modeling, student affairs and academics, profit and loss management in both the traditional in-seat and online learning modalities for complex, multi-campus university systems.
Proven executive leadership track record of shaping enrollment and improving student outcomes, as well as achieving net revenue goals and expense budgets in the fast changing landscape of higher education. Considerable experience with U.S. and international markets.
Teaching and faculty experience at the undergraduate and graduate level. Coursework includes; statistics, business ethics, organizational design and strategy, management resources.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
OUAZ Disability Services Coordinator
PhD - Psychology - Capella University
MAC - Ottawa University
MSc - Clinical Psychology - Capella University
BA - General Psychology - University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Dr. Sherlin is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Disability Services Coordinator at OUAZ. He joined Ottawa University full time in 2017 at the opening of the Surprise campus in Arizona after having been an adjunct faculty. He completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology (2000) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, master’s degree in clinical psychology (2003), and PhD in psychology (2008) from Capella University, Minneapolis. In 2013, Dr. Sherlin completed a PhD re-specialization and post-doctoral fellowship in sport and performance psychology. In 2018, he completed a master’s degree in professional counseling with an emphasis in expressive arts therapy from Ottawa University, Phoenix. He will complete a master of fine arts in photography in 2021.
Dr. Sherlin has had an extensive career in providing patient services, academic research and instruction, and entrepreneurial endeavors in mental health care. He is one of the world’s leading experts and a leader in the research and use of neuroscience for improving human performance. He has led research partnerships with Red Bull North America’s High-Performance Center, USA Track & Field, US military Special Operations Forces, local and federal level law enforcement agencies, Fortune 500 companies and professional teams in multiple sports in many countries. He has published this work in the academic literature and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, BBC, Sports Illustrated, CNN, ESPN, CBS, Popular Science, Bicycling, Outdoor Magazine and more.
He provides services in clinical counseling as well as sport and performance psychology consulting to individuals, families, teams and organizations through his private practice. Dr. Sherlin is a licensed counselor in the state of Arizona and is listed in the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry. He is a certified mental performance consultant by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology; certified by the International Board of Quantitative Electrophysiology (IBQE); certified at the Diplomat level in by the International Board of Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG); is Biofeedback Certification International Alliance Board certified in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback (BCN, BCB); and is an equine certified professional by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (ECP). Dr. Sherlin has served on the board of directors for the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research, the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance and the International Board of Quantitative Electrophysiology in a number of elected positions including the president/chairman.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Education
BS Ed Elementary Education
MS Ed Education Curriculum & Instruction
Professor in Charge - School Guidance & Counseling
MA Sport & Exercise Psychology
MA Professional Counseling
Associate Professor of Counseling
Director of Training
PsyD - Counseling Psychology - University of Northern Colorado
MA - Agency Counseling - University of Northern Colorado
BA - Psychology - University of Denver
Dr. Thomas is recognized internationally as an expert in the areas of youth firesetting and adult arson. He has consulted with both the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Association of State Fire Marshals to help establish standards of care for mental health interventions with youth firesetters. Through his consulting company, Psychological Fire Rescue, he has worked with numerous fire service and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada regarding critical incident stress management and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Thomas was in private practice for more than 12 years. He has also worked in numerous healthcare settings including hospitals, a state hospital, group homes, and residential treatment centers. He has held positions with both the City of Goodyear and City of Phoenix fire departments. Dr. Thomas also served as Interim Emergency Manager for the City of Goodyear. He is the co-author of Responding to Psychological Emergencies: A Field Guide and Case Studies for Emergency Responders: Psychosocial, Ethical, and Leadership Dimensions.
Dr. Thomas was formerly the Program Chair of Fire Administration at Arizona State University and Director of Fire Science at Estrella Mountain Community College. He is a member of and a Past President of the Arizona Psychological Association. He is the Chair of Youth Firesetter Intervention for National Fire Protection Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Psychology Training Consortium and the Board of Directors for the Arizona Fire & Burn Educators Association. Dr. Thomas was also a Senior Teaching Fellow with the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics.
Campus President, OUAZ
Professor of Science
PhD - Electrical Engineering - Northeastern University
MS - Electrical Engineering - Northeastern University
BS -Electrical Engineering - Northeastern University
Dr. Dennis J. Tyner was named president of Ottawa University-Arizona in May 2019. This came after Tyner had served as senior vice president and provost of OUAZ from its inception in February 2017, helping build the university’s new Surprise, Arizona, residential campus from the ground up. His tireless work in OUAZ’s first two years of existence led to him being named “Most Influential Person in Valley Education” by Arizona Foothills Magazine in its “Best of Our Valley 2020” awards.
Tyner joined Ottawa University in January 2007 as vice president and provost of the university’s 155-year-old campus in Ottawa, Kan. He has been teaching at the collegiate level since 1986, when he began lecturing at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. Immediately prior to coming to Ottawa University, Dr. Tyner served for eight years as dean of the David Crawford School of Engineering at Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the nation. In that capacity, he helped to reverse a decade long trend of declining enrollment, and was able to substantially increase the number of undergraduate engineering students enrolled at the school. During that time, he was instrumental in the development of new undergraduate program offerings. He also designed an annual Engineering Summer Camp and a semi-annual Engineering Showcase, and he established the school’s first online graduate program.
The Boston native earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1985, 1986, and 1992, respectively. His primary research focused on applying digital communication methods in magnetic storage systems to increase the storage capacity of magnetic media. He published several articles on his research and presented his results at national and international conferences. While pursuing his bachelors and masters degrees, Tyner was employed by GTE as a member of the Radio Products Group within the company’s Communication Systems Division. There, he was part of a team that developed the secure communication radios for the aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, and for the NASA Space Shuttle.
After earning his doctorate, Tyner joined the faculty at Norwich University as an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, where he developed and taught new courses in communications and digital signal processing. In addition to his academic work, he served Norwich University in several other areas during his 14 years of employment with them, including admissions, facilities operations, student activities and athletics. He also served as a textbook reviewer for Prentice Hall Publishers, and authored two solutions manuals for electric circuits textbooks that he evaluated.
Tyner is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society, and he served as advisor to Norwich’s student chapter from 1994 to 2006. He was instrumental in helping the chapter achieve national recognition, as they were twice voted as the R.C. Matthews Most Outstanding Chapter, and were twice runners-up. In 1997, Tyner received Tau Beta Pi’s “Most Outstanding Advisor” award. That same year, he was also selected to serve the organization as a facilitator for their award-winning “Engineering Futures” program, whereupon he traveled to schools across the nation to deliver seminars on public speaking, interpersonal skills, analytical problem solving, meeting management, and team chartering. Additionally, he has taught engineering students for more than 20 years at every institution for which he has served.
Tyner and his wife, Patricia, reside in Surprise, Ariz. They have eight grown children, and a grandchild. His wife and five of their children are graduates of Ottawa University.
Assistant Professor of Engineering
Wayne State University:
PhD & MSc - Mechanical Engineering
MSc & BSc - Aeronautical Engineering
Graduate Certificate - Alternative Energy Technology