Felician Announces New Faculty for Fall 2018

Felician University is proud to introduce new faculty members for the Fall Semester 2018.  "Maintaining the quality of our academic programs is of primary concern.  Whenever a need for faculty to support and enhance our programs presents itself, our colleagues dedicate time to carefully select from among top candidates” shares Dr. George Abaunza, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.  “Given the dual goals of providing a high quality education and preparation for the workforce, we are guided in this search process by our Felician mission and values, as well as relevant professional standards.  Furthermore, securing new faculty is an indication of Felician’s commitment to an excellent educational experience for our students."


School of Nursing

Barbara Crump, PhD, RN, NP-C, AOCNP

Barbara Crump has been in the nursing field for 30 years, enjoying every minute of her career, especially caring for veterans with cancer and empowering them and their families throughout this difficult process in their lives.  Working as a Nurse Practitioner in Oncology has been her passion for thirteen years. Barbara is also a mentor for teen mothers, nursing students and victims of intimate partner abuse; her purpose is the empowerment of others through education. 


Susan J. Hart, MSN, RN, CNE

With 40 years of experience as a nurse, Susan Hart has worked in the clinical setting as a critical care nurse, a hospital-based nurse educator, and in advanced practice as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. In academia, Susan has been a professor in both undergraduate associate degree and baccalaureate nursing programs. She is a graduate of Seton Hall University College of Nursing with her BSN in 1978 and her MSN in 1988.  Presently, she is completing her PhD in Health Sciences Leadership in the School of Health and Medical Science at Seton Hall University. Starting at Felician this fall semester, Susan will be teaching in the undergraduate pre-licensure program Health Assessment lecture and practicum, and Global Issues in Health.  In her leisure hours, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Walter, her daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Matt, and her two very active grandsons, Damion, age 7 and Jeremiah, age 2.


Kira Maffett

Kira Maffett graduated from Dominican University of California and moved to New York shortly after to engage in a year of service with the Dominican Sisters. The East Coast quickly became her new home and she moved to New Jersey four years ago. Kira has practiced as a nurse in various specialties, with her heart being in the Emergency Department. She recently completed her MSN in nursing education here at Felician and is delighted to be an instructor in the prelicensure nursing department. Kira will be teaching Care of Healthy Adults, Health Literacy and Informatics, and Nursing Mentoring. 


School of Arts and Sciences

Theresa Fanelli, Criminal Justice

Theresa Fanelli received her Bachelor’s degree from Pace University in Psychology and has earned two Master’s degrees – one in Applied Behavioral Psychology and the other in Psychology and Research/Experimental Design. In 1997, Fanelli joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a Special Agent. During her tenure at the FBI (1997-2017) She worked in the following areas: civil rights, human trafficking, public corruption, traditional and non-traditional gangs, organized crime, violent crimes, intelligence collection, and fugitive task forces. Professor Fanelli has extensive teaching experience in higher education in both Psychology and Criminal Justice and recently taught at Felician as an Assistant Adjunct Professor in both of those respective departments. Her interests include organized crime and the criminal mind, the latter topic on which she plans to develop a course for our Criminal Justice majors.

Dr. Melisa Sasali, Exercise Sports Science

Dr. Melisa Salsali comes to us after nine years at Georgian Court University, where she was Program Director for Exercise Science, Wellness and Sports. She holds a master’s in science degree in Exercise Physiology from The University of Florida and a doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology and Educational Research from The University of Miami. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a ‘Both Sides Utilized’ (BOSU) Master Trainer. Her research specialization is women’s health, with a focus on exercise during pregnancy. Her teaching interests include: Exercise Physiology, Exercise Testing and Prescription, Nutrition, and Strength and Conditioning.

Dr. Lavina Sequeira, Philosophy

Dr. Lavina Sequeira holds the M.Ed. from Karnatak University, Dharwad, India, with a concentration in Math and Science and the Ed.D. from Montclair State University in Pedagogy and Philosophy. Sequeira has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor in our Philosophy Department for several years now, teaching Critical Reasoning, Ethics, and Philosophy of Education. Dr. Sequeira is co-author (with C. Lin) of Inclusion, Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue in Young People’s Philosophical Inquiry (Sense Publishing, 2018). Her current research interests include the intersections of immigrant and minority identity with academic achievement, dialogical self, and intersectional perspectives of education.

Dr. Michael Y. Lau, Graduate Counseling Psychology 

Dr. Michael Y. Lau received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Counseling Psychology from the University of Notre Dame (APA Accredited), with a minor in Quantitative Psychology. He has served as a faculty member at Teachers College, Columbia University, and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. His research interests are in mental health of racial and ethnic minorities, and in philosophical and methodological issues in psychology. Having served on the editorial boards of The Counseling Psychologist and Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, Dr. Lau recently began his tenure as Associate Editor with Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development. As a clinician, he considers himself a generalist, though he has particular interest and experience providing services to sexual minorities, clients of color, and Chinese speaking clients.

Dr. Rachel Rengifo, Graduate Counseling Psychology 

Dr. Rachel Rengifo is a licensed psychologist in the states of New Jersey and New York. Currently, she maintains a private practice in Rutherford where she treats adolescents, couples, and adults across the lifespan. She specializes in working with mothers with postpartum and perinatal mood disorders and overall adjustment to parenting. Previously, Dr. Rengifo worked as a staff psychologist at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and as a consultant for CHE Senior Psychological Services. While her primary theoretical orientation is psychodynamic, she has advanced training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) from Behavioral Tech. Dr. Rengifo has taught at Felician as an adjunct at the undergraduate and graduate levels since 2008. Her research interests include perinatal and postpartum mood disorders, affect regulation and infant attachment for parents in the NICU, adolescent sexuality and efficacy, and adult attachment across the lifespan.

Dr. Melany M. Rivera-Maldonado, Graduate Counseling Psychology 

Dr. Melany M. Rivera-Maldonado is currently the Clinic Coordinator at the Youth Consultation Service – Dr. Helen May Strauss Clinic in Union City, New Jersey. She received the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico. In addition to providing psychotherapy and evaluation services for Hispanic families, she is the Project Manager of the Entre Familias Program, a bicultural prevention program dedicated to strengthening the parent-child relationship while reducing acculturation stress in parents and increasing social and self-regulation skills in children. Her areas of research and teaching interest include: psychopathology, child and adolescent psychotherapy, biculturalism, and multicultural issues.


School of Education

Dr. John C. Burke

Dr. Burke is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral, obtained his Ph.D. from a Joint Doctoral Interdisciplinary Program in the Speech and Hearing Sciences with emphasis on educational, psychological, and neurophysiological aspects of communication and social development in children with autism at the University of California, Santa Barbara and University of California, San Francisco Medical School. He has served as a lead researcher with an established team under Vice President Gore’s National Reinvention Initiative through the U.S. Department of Defense. In February, Dr. Burke joined Felician University as the Executive Director of the International Center for Autism and Disabilities Research. His current research emphasis is on developing an Infant Eye-tracking and Child Learning Program with a focus on assessing underlying factors that influence attention, social reciprocity, gaze shifting, receptive and expressive communications, joint attention and social skills.