Education Department

Chair and Associate Professor - Dr. Barbara Francois

Barbara Francois, PhD – Professor and Chair

Dr. Francois earned her BS degree in Psychology from the University of Akron and both her MS and Doctorate degree in Educational Psychology from Capella University.  Dr. Francois’ focus is on assessing individual learning styles, identifying learning difficulties and providing learning strategies to help students to succeed in medical school.

Xornman Apedoe

Xornam Apedoe, PhD, BSc – Associate Professor, Instructional Design & Technology

Xornam (pronounced ‘Ha-num’), earned her PhD in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia, and her BSc Honors in Psychology from the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Prior to joining AUA, Dr. Apedoe was an Associate Professor and Chair, of the Learning & Instruction Department at the University of San Francisco (USF). Prior to her time at USF, she served as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Learning Research & Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Apedoe has taught a variety of courses that focus on theories and best practices for improving teaching and learning across a variety of settings, utilizing technology in a variety of ways to enhance her instruction and to support student engagement. Dr. Apedoe’s research interests fall into three main areas: student learning and pedagogical practices in the sciences, technology-enhanced learning environments, and faculty conceptions of teaching and learning.

Dr. Apedoe is excited about the opportunity to use her knowledge of learning theory, teaching, instructional design and instructional technology to support both faculty development and student learning at AUA.

Assistant Chair and Assistant Professor - Dr. Joy A. Cox

Joy A. Cox, PhD – Assistant Chair and Assistant Professor

Dr. Joy Cox earned her Ph.D. in Educational Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, specializing in College Student Personnel. Her master’s degree in School Counseling is also from the University of Louisville, and her bachelor’s degree is in Biology from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus. Dr. Cox is a Caribbean national and has lived and worked as an educator in Barbados, Bermuda, and the U.S.A.

Her career path has mainly been focused on teaching Biology in high school and college. However, prior to completing her doctorate, Dr. Cox worked as an academic advisor for seven years. Her research interests include student persistence and retention factors, academic counseling, and academic strategies for success in college. As an active member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) for seven years, Dr. Cox has presented at national and regional conferences and serves as the Chair of the Probation, Dismissal, Reinstatement (PDR) Interest Group and a member of the Diversity Committee. She was also the recipient of a 2014 NACADA research grant to examine students’ perception about retention factors at the University of the West Indies.

As an educator, Dr. Cox is most passionate about tutoring, advising, and mentoring students in being academically successful. Her philosophy is based on the adage “advising as teaching” which is learning centered focused. She approaches education enrichment from a holistic perspective.

Ravenn Gethers

Ravenn Gethers, MSEd – Assistant Professor

Professor Gethers is a doctoral candidate in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration at the College of William & Mary. She earned both her BS and MSEd degrees in Education from Old Dominion University.

Prior to her position in the Education Department (ED) at AUA, Professor Gethers served as the Executive Director of African American Teaching Fellows of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Inc. During her career, she has held roles in academic affairs, student affairs, business, and nonprofit administration. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion, degree attainment for underrepresented student populations, educational policy, and college-community partnerships.

Professor Gethers is passionate about empowering students to achieve their academic and professional aspirations.

Assistant Professor - Dr. Aaron Phillips

Aaron Phillips, PhD – Assistant Professor

Dr. Phillips earned his BA in Sociology and BS in Middle Grade Education from Eastern Kentucky University. He went on to earn his MEd and PhD in College Student Personnel from the University of Louisville. For his PhD thesis, Dr. Phillips researched the strategies, practices, and behaviors that low income, first-generation students from rural backgrounds can use to be academically successful. He is passionate about helping such students achieve their academic and professional goals.

Originally from Kentucky, Dr. Phillips worked in graduate and undergraduate admissions and student services at the University of Louisville for several years before coming to AUA. He also taught writing and reading comprehension in the Ivy Tech Community College system in Indiana. Dr. Phillips and his wife Melanie have a six-year-old daughter, Lacy.

 Professor - Dr. Iris Saltiel

Iris Saltiel, EdD, MEd – Professor

Iris M. Saltiel holds an EdD from Fordham University in administration and supervision, an MEd. in adult education from Rutgers University, and a BS in special education from Trenton State College. She is completing a graduate certificate in interdisciplinary qualitative research from the University of Georgia. Her work has primarily been in the area of collaboration among adult learners, faculty, and various organizations (corporate, nonprofit, higher education).

 She served as Director of the Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at Columbus State University and was also a professor there. Prior to that, she directed the Quality Enhancement Institute at Troy University and taught in Troy’s College of Education. Before coming to Troy, she served as the director of corporate programs at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey.

Assistant Professor - Dr. Sonya Ford

Sonya Ford, EdD – Assistant Professor

Dr. Ford has spent her career encouraging students to reach their fullest potential. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Old Dominion University, a Master of Science degree in School Counseling from Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. Dr. Ford holds Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study from Johns Hopkins University in Clinical Community Counseling and Higher Education. She is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and National Certified School Counselor (NCSC). Dr. Ford was an adjunct professor at Walden University and also had a private practice counseling adolescents and adults. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences on advocating for student success.

Assistant Professor - Dr. Trevor Ngorosha

Trevor Ngorosha, PhD – Assistant Professor

Dr. Trevor Ngorosha earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, with a concentration in adult and experiential learning. His two master’s degrees are in Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Teacher Leadership, earned from the University of Zimbabwe and Miami University, respectively. Dr. Ngorosha earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics, and a Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Zimbabwe. While studying at Miami University, he also earned a Graduate Certificate in Professional Development: Instructional Design and Technology.

Dr. Ngorosha’s teaching and research interests are in human development, performance and learning, school leadership development, professional development, and curriculum design. Before joining AUA College of Medicine, he taught at Miami University as an adjunct professor. Prior to studying and teaching at Miami University, Dr. Ngorosha taught English and Literature in English at Murewa High School, and served as a debate coach, syllabus developer, and national trainer of examiners in Zimbabwe.

Deborah Russ

Deborah Russ, PhD – Assistant Professor

Dr. Russ earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University. Her MEd from Georgia College & State University is in Interrelated Special Education, and her BM degree from East Carolina University is in Music Therapy and Piano Pedagogy. She has worked with adults and children with a variety of exceptionalities in multiple settings. She has taught in the Georgia public school system and has also served in several leadership positions. Most recently, she was an adjunct professor in the Tift College of Education at Mercer University.

Melissa Ethridge

Melissa Ethridge, MSEd – Academic Advisor/Instructor

Ms. Ethridge earned her MSEd in Higher Education Administration from the University of Tennessee, with a focus on College Student Personnel. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sport Administration from the University of Miami in Florida.
Prior to coming to AUA, Ms. Ethridge worked as an Academic Advisor for over 10 years at a number of US institutions that include: University of Miami (FL), University of Tennessee, and Kent State University. In recent years, Ms. Ethridge has shifted her focus to the academic success of underprepared and learning disabled students. After a brief stint at University of Akron as Learning Specialist and Coordinator of Athletic Learning Center, she spent three years at the University of South Carolina as a Learning Specialist and Tutor Coordinator for student athletes.

Ms. Ethridge has a passion for student success but in particular for those students that are underprepared, have learning disabilities, or come from low-income backgrounds.

Steve Jackinsky

Steve Jackinsky, MS, BS – Instructor

Mr. Jackinsky received his MS and BS degrees in engineering and has led international development teams to create, improve, and commercialize novel medical devices and products. He joined AUA College of Medicine’s Education Enhancement Department to make a difference in medical student success through evidence-based education and learning strategies.

Dawn Roberts

Dawn Roberts, MA – Academic Advisor/Instructor

Dawn Roberts earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Delaware concentrating in both Human Resources and Consumer Economics. She earned her Master of Arts in Applied Sociology and a Certificate in the Non-Profit Sector from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. While earning her master’s, she researched the causes of the attrition of underrepresented minority students. She has over 12 years of higher education experience, working in many different capacities with US medical students. This has included student advising and training, student engagement and development, higher education administration, policy and program development, as well as diversity and community outreach. She has received accolades from university leadership, colleagues, and the many students she has served. She is extremely passionate about cultivating a tradition of excellence and success among medical students.