School of Liberal Arts | Faculty and Staff

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      Alan Difonzo

      Professor of Math and Science. Adjunct Professor

      Previously Mr. Difonzo taught mathematics for 36 years at Milford High School and was the mathematics department head for 25 years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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      Dr. David Brandon Dennis

      Associate Professor of History

      David DennisHe applies this global approach to specific areas of interest including masculinity history, maritime history, and the history of science and technology.  Professor Dennis received his Ph.D. in Modern European History from Ohio State University in 2011 with an emphasis on Germany.  Since coming to Dean College that same year, he has taught courses in German, European, and World history, as well as the history of gender and sexuality.  He also has served as an associate editor for the New England Journal of History since 2014.

      Among other honors, Dennis has received a Fulbright Research Award and a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Fellowship.  He has published in the Oxford journal German History and Blackwell’s Companion to German Cinema.  His current book project, Empire’s Prodigal Sons: Maritime Manhood,Citizenship, and Globalization in Wilhelmine Germany, investigates how German society navigated the pressures of increasing cross-border labor flows around 1900 by looking at merchant sailors, the world’s first globalized workforce, and the ways in which new ideas about masculinity sought to tie them to the German imperialist project. 

      Dennis has led Dean College’s Humanities Program since 2016.  His vision for the Program rests on the belief that the humanities—revitalized and reoriented for the 21st century—are essential for student learning.  In a diverse world, where memes and ideas flow readily across borders and a bewildering array of information and cultures are just a click away, the humanities offer the tools to think creatively and critically about how culture happens.  Such tools help prepare students for the promise and challenges of a connected world in careers ranging from marketing and government to education and the arts.     

      B.A., Texas Tech University 
      M.A., Ph.D., The Ohio State University

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      Dr. Ron Brown

      Assistant Professor of Psychology

      Ron BrownProfessor Brown received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras Campus in 2016 with a concentration in teaching and research. He teaches courses such as: general psychology, learning and memory, and introduction to liberal arts.

      Professor Brown’s current research interests include the exploration of variables within educational psychology that impact educators and student behavior management; such as teacher self-efficacy, resilience and dispositional optimism.

      B.A., M.Ed., MA:  University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus

      Ph.D.: University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus


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      Dr. Kristin Holster

      Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of Social Sciences

      Kristin HolsterProfessor Holster received her Ph.D. in sociology from Boston University in 2004.  Since joining the Dean faculty in 2005, she has developed both the associate and baccalaureate degrees in sociology, and has taught the full range of courses offered in those degree programs.  Dr. Holster has also created many new courses to enhance each degree. Professor Holster’s current research interest focuses on the sociology of teaching and learning.  Specifically, her research explores the most effective teaching methods for ensuring that students are simultaneously learning discipline content and preparing to graduate from college fully equipped for their next steps in life. 

      Professor Holster is the coordinator for the social sciences and also advises two of Dean’s honor societies,  Phi Theta Kappa and Golden Key.  She believes strongly that the social sciences are an integral part of a liberal arts education. The social sciences focus on human behavior and social organizations and how social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental forces explain the connection between our individual experiences and the larger society.  In addition, the social sciences teach many vital skills that are applicable to any occupation.  These include teamwork and diversity skills, quantitative reasoning, evidence based analysis, and writing.

      B.A., Wheaton College
      Ph.D., Boston University

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      Dr. Rob Lawson

      Professor, History
      Director, Honors Program

      Rob Lawson

      Dr. Lawson is a cultural historian whose work focuses on the history of performing arts as well as new ventures in the history of medicine (supported by an NEH grant). He is the author of Jim Crow's Counterculture: The Blues & Black Southerners, 1890-1945 (LSU Press, 2010) which won the Gulf South Historical Association's Thomason Prize for book of the year in 2011. His work has appeared in the prestigious New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, the LSU Museum of Art, and in the journal, Southern Cultures.
      In 2017, Lawson was granted the Hicks-Kennedy Award for service to the New England History Teachers Association (for his work as Associate Editor of the New England Journal of History) as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success Teaching Excellence Award, the third pedagogical award of his career.

      B.A., Louisiana State University
      M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

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      Rebecca Cameron

      Associate Professor of Communications

      Initially, she taught  courses in Public Speaking and currently teaches Communication Fundamentals. In addition to her teaching responsibilities,  Rebecca  is also an Academic Coach and a Tutor in the Writing Center.  Prior to arriving at Dean, she worked for a decade in the financial service industry for General Motors Acceptance Corporation.  Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and  holds a Masters Degree from Emerson College.  She studied a year on exchange at the University of South Florida and is a certified secondary educator.   
      Rebecca has been a resident of Franklin for more than twenty years and is very active within the community.  She has served in many capacities on both elementary and middle school Parent Communications Councils  and now is part of  the Franklin High School Boosters.   She has  volunteered with Franklin Pop Warner and Franklin Youth Hockey Associations.  Rebecca was a two term member of the Franklin Finance Committee, eventually being elected as  Vice Chair.  Furthermore,  she has been part of search committees, long term financial committees, and override committees. Outside of Franklin, Rebecca  served six years on the Christian Education Committee at Federated Church of Norfolk,  spending four years as secretary.
      Most recently,  Rebecca has become committed to health and wellness.  She completed the 2015 Kentucky Derby marathon  and the 2016 Patriot and a half ironman.  As a foundation, she practices Kokoro yoga.  Rebecca is described by students as a witty, energetic  fashionista. 
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      Greg Pano

      Professor of History - Adjunct

      Gregory PanoProfessor Pano has taught History at Dean for over thirty years. He graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in History, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts.

      The focus of his courses is the relevance of History, analyzing contrasting interpretations and conclusions, so that his students may face the world with knowledge, insight, and confidence.

      Professor Pano has a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and for a few years served Dean as a librarian and interim library director. He also has a Juris Doctor degree from New England School of Law and is licensed as an attorney in Massachusetts.

      Besides Dean College, Professor Pano has also taught at Salem State University, Endicott College, UMass Boston, and North Shore Community College. He has worked in the libraries of the Harvard Business School, MIT, and Simmons College and is a long-time member of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. He is on the Board of Directors of the Albanian-American Bar Association and until recently was a member of the Alumni/ae Council of the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School.


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      Dr. Dawn Mendoza

      Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center

      Dawn Mendoza

      Associate Professor Mendoza directs the Berenson Writing Center, teaches writing and literature courses, and serves as Dean’s Writing Program Administrator developing curriculum and assessing writing performance. Her literary specialties include US Latino writers and the graphic novel, and she teaches composition at the first year and upper division levels, including honors sections and sections for multilingual writers.  Her work in writing center studies led her to serve a term as the two-year college representative to the International Writing Centers Association.  Professor Mendoza holds a BA degree in English from the University of Michigan, and MA and PhD degrees in English from Tufts University.

      B.A., University of Michigan
      M.A., Ph.D., Tufts University

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      James McCallum

      Professor of Humanities and English - Adjunct

      Professor McCallum has taught freshman composition courses here at Dean since 2009. Prior to that Professor McCallum was an English teacher and department head at Milford High School. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s in Education from Framingham State University.


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      Joanne Hogan

      Assistant Professor, Education Director, Children's Center Coordinator, Early Childhood Education

      M.Ed., Bridgewater State University

      B.A., Assumption College


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