Irish Faculty

Billy MagFhloin Ph.D.

Instructor of CIT and Irish Folklore

Billy has a Ph.D. in Folkloristics, and a B.A. in Archaeology from University College Dublin. As well as lecturing and tutoring at university level, he also works with Irish television for RTÉ or TG4, but occasionally for international productions, including the BBC, PBS or the National Geographic Channel. He is also an accomplished musician and occasionally works as a tour guide in the Dingle Peninsula. Billy’s scholarly interests include pre-Christian religious practices and beliefs, prehistoric archaeology, and folk practices of early modern Ireland. In 2016 he published a book entitled Blood Rite: The Feast of St. Martin in Ireland

Ciara Barrett Ph.D.

Instructor of Communications and Media Arts

Ciara holds a doctorate in Film Studies from Trinity College Dublin in 2015. She has lectured in film studies and audio-visual culture at Trinity, Sacred Heart University in Dingle and NUIG, where she coordinated both the BA in Film Studies and the MA in Digital Media. She has published on a wide range of film-related topics, including performance and representation in Classical Hollywood Cinema, contemporary genre filmmaking and Irish animation.

Colm Ó Coileáin Ph.D.

Instructor of Chemistry and Mathematics

Colm is a post-primary teacher of Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science at Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne. He holds a B.Sc. in Science Education from Dublin City University, as well as an M.Sc. in eLearning. His doctoral research investigated the introduction of inquiry-based science education in Gaelscoileanna; his research interests also include minority-language immersion education, action research and teacher reflective practice.

Dáithí de Mórdha Ph.D.

Instructor of History and Anthropology

Dáithí is a journalist and broadcaster at Raidió na Gaeltachta [Irish-language radio service of Raidió Teilifís Éireann], and he teaches History and Archeology of Ireland and the Dingle peninsula at SHU in Dingle. He holds a M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnology from University College Cork. His Ph.D. thesis is a study of the impact RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta had on the life and especially the cultural life of the Gaeltacht communities. The story of RnaG is told in the context of folklore and ethnological studies. In 2013 he published The Great Blasket: A Photographic Portrait / An Blascaod Mór: Portráid Pictiúr with the The Collins Press.

Dara Jauch

Instructor of Communications and Media Arts

Dara Jauch holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Dublin City University and a Higher Diploma in Television and Video Production from Kerry College. Dara has been working as a co-producer and editor with award-winning production companies in Dingle, producing documentaries on Human Rights, art, culture and music for broadcasters like RTÉ, BBC and TG4. As well as working in the field, Dara has taught video production to all ages throughout her 14 year career. Dara is a fluent Irish and German speaker and a Cork native who loves living in Dingle.

Fiona Barton M.Sc.

Instructor of Nursing

Fiona is a Cardiology Nurse Specialist, Acute Medical Training, and Resuscitation and Cardiology Training Director at Critical Care Training Ltd. where she is involved in Resuscitation training with ACLS BLS Immediate Care; ECG workshops; General Practice workshops; Management of ACS and collapse; and Anaphylaxis training. She is also the Resuscitation Officer, Kerry General Hospital. Fiona has also worked in Cardiology CNS at the Dingle Medical Centre, and Cardiology at the Mater Hospital Dublin.

Jackie Ruttledge MA

Instructor of Health Psychology

Jackie is a lecturer in health science at Munster Technological University and was instrumental in setting up the Healthy Campus project. Her work includes lecturing in health and personal wellbeing and health behaviour change, designing, implementing and evaluating health promotion interventions, health policy development and health behaviour research. Jackie holds an M.A in Health Promotion from University College Cork and a B.Sc in Health, Fitness and Leisure Studies from the Institute of Technology, Tralee. Jackie is also a qualified yoga and meditation teacher and a yoga therapist.

John O’Connor M.Sc

Instructor of Anatomy & Physiology, and Nutrition

John is an SENr and AfN registered performance nutritionist currently working with Kerry GAA, Elevate Performance and his own business, Target Nutrition. This work allows him to keep on top of the latest nutrition research. He holds a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science from the University of Limerick and a MSc in Exercise & Nutrition Science from the University of Chester along with several speciality certifications such as Disordered Eating in Athletes from Loughborough University and Food as Medicine from Monash University, amongst others. John teaches The Fundamentals of Nutrition at SHU campus in Dingle.

Kevin J. Power Ph.D

Instructor of Philosophy

Kevin J. Power, Ph.D. (University College Cork) is a Cork-born philosophy teacher and musician, now living in Castlegregory, Co. Kerry. He has lectured in the philosophy of mind, environmental ethics, and philosophy of death and dying, as well as writing and delivering a unique module entitled 'The Philosophy of Interdependence' for UCC's Adult Continuing Education programme, as well as teaching Bioethics at the Dingle campus of Sacred Heart University. Kevin's writing and music is available through his website

Linda McCarthy MSN

Instructor of Nursing

Linda McCarthy has over 18 years of professional nursing experience in various medical environments including: critical care, orthopedics, medical, surgical, gynacology, long-term care, pediatric and over eight years of emergency nursing experience. Linda completed a Diploma and Degree in Nursing studies as well as a Higher Diploma in Emergency Medicine and a Masters in Nursing.

Michael Geaney M.Sc

Instructor of Exercise Science

Mikey, as he is known, has a solid experience in the GAA as a member of the senior team of the Kerry Gaelic Football team. His MSC degree is in Sports Performance from the University of Limerick, and he has training from Setanta College with a Certificate in Functional Movement and Resistance Training, as well as a QQI Sports Nutrition, Irish Training and Education Centre. He also holds a Bachelor of Business Studies University of Limerick. In addition to teaching in the SHU in Dingle campus, Mikey is a Video Analyst for the Munster RFC Academy.

Niamh Varian Barry MA

Instructor of Music

Niamh Varian-Barry holds a Masters in Music Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music and a Bachelors in Music Performance from the Cork School of Music. She is a skilled orchestral and ensemble composer and arranger and has written for the Irish Chamber Orchestra. She worked with top musicians in Ireland and abroad across all genres of music with a specific interest in classical, Irish traditional music and contemporary pop and singer-songwriters. She is a member of the groundbreaking dance music project SuperCéilí and orchestra leader of the Irish Memory Orchestra and has performed in prestigious venues worldwide including New York’s Carnegie Hall.


Abby Bender Ph.D.

Advanced Lecturer of Literature; Co-Director of Irish Studies Minor

Abby Bender teaches Experiencing Literature, First-year Seminar, and classes in Irish literature and culture, including Irish Women Writers, Irish Drama, and James Joyce. Her research has focused primarily on twentieth-century Irish writing, including a recent book on Irish-Jewish analogies during the literary revival, and essays on Irish women's writing. She earned her Ph.D. in English at Princeton University and previously taught at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and in the Irish Studies program at New York University. Her current teaching and research explore questions of disability, the body, and motherhood in Ireland in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Analisa Gagnon Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Dr. Analisa Gagnon is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Sociology, Criminology and Criminal Justice. A criminologist by title and victimologist by practice, Professor Gagnon focuses both her teaching and research on victimology, crime theory, and criminal justice systems. Professor Gagnon is a regular presenter at the American Society of Criminology appearing on panels for topics ranging from victimization, crime scene investigation, and corrections. Having assisted in reactivating the Criminal Justice Club on campus, she currently serves as its faculty advisor.

Christina Gunther Ed.D.

Chair of the Department of Health Science; Assistant Professor of Health Science

Christina Gunther is Chair of the Department of Health Science, with a focus on cultural development and conflict resolution. She also manages several global health programs to various regions around the world. Her current research focuses on students’ self-awareness of their own cultural habits and biases in global health programs, reducing gender discrimination through a human security paradigm by empowerment of the individual, and best practices for creating culturally appropriate health care curricula in developing nations.

Charles Gillespie Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies

Dr. Charles A. Gillespie’s research and teaching investigate theology, the arts, and culture with a focus on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, critical theories of creation and beauty, and theatre and performance studies. He is a member of the John Moriarty Institute for Ecology and Spirituality. Charlie completed his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, and he holds a B.A.H. in Humanities from Villanova University and a M.A.R. in Religion and Literature from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale University Divinity School. A longtime theatre-maker, Charlie spent time training in theatre-for-social-change with the Parapanda Theatre Art Lab in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and co-founded experimental ensemble Theatrum Sacrum. He is currently working on his first book, God on Broadway, under contract with Fortress Press.

Ciara Leydon Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Chair of the Department of Communication Disorders; Director of the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology

Dr Ciara Leydon is the Chair of the Department of Communication Disorders, and Director of the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology. She specializes in voice disorders which can challenge our ability to communicate effectively with one another. Her focus is on exploring factors that impact the success of voice therapy. She will teach a course that examines cross-cultural variations in language, drawing on differences in speech sound patterns and word choices across select dialects of English.

Dawn Melzer Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Psychology; Associate Professor of Psychology

Dawn Melzer teaches at both the graduate (MSAP) and undergraduate levels. She teaches Child Development in Dingle, and has been instrumental in the development of the current project-based course format. Her current research projects involve investigating the role of executive function in the motor development of children and a comparative study focused on assessing creativity in dolphins and preschoolers.

Enda McGovern Ph.D.

Professor of Marketing

Enda McGovern teaches Tourism Marketing in Dingle that enables students to work directly with local tourist businesses. He is a native of Donegal, Ireland. His primary interests are Social marketing and bringing a better understanding of commuter behavior to travel demand management and in engaging in persuading commuters to consider alternative modes of transport. More recently, he has focused in examining the public's perception of assessing carbon emissions and how consumers can relate to their carbon footprint as a means of informing themselves more about global warming concerns.

Gerry McCloghry M.A., M.Ed.

Adjunct Instructor of Business Economics

Gerry McCloghry and Dr. Mamun designed the Issues in Irish Economics course in Dingle. He has visited Ireland for decades, visiting family, cities and villages, where he has experienced the Irish economy first-hand prior to the ‘Celtic Tiger’ and the changes since that time. In addition to teaching Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, he maintains a strong focus on monetary policy and is the advisor to the Fed Challenge Team. This team participates in the annual Fed Challenge competition at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As an avid cyclist he has done extensive touring in the USA, Canada and Ireland.

Heather Ferrillo Ph.D., MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE

Clinical Assistant; Professor of Nursing: Director,1st Professional Degree/2nd Degree

Heather Ferrillo teaches in both the undergraduate and Family Nurse Practitioner program. Her current areas of focus include Adult nursing I and II, Pathophysiology and Nursing Leadership in Ireland. She maintains a current practice as a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner in the Bridgeport area and coordinates/precepts nurse practitioner students that take part in the yearly clinical immersion trip to Kingston, Jamaica, as well as teaches in Dingle, Ireland.

Jacqueline Vernarelli Ph.D.

Master of Public Health Program: Director Associate Professor

Dr. Jacqueline Vernarelli is a nutritional epidemiologist and public health nutritionist who studies how diet and lifestyle behaviors influence health status. Prior to coming to Sacred Heart, she held academic appointments at Fairfield University and Penn State, where she was also a member of the Penn State Population Research Institute. She professionally consults, and has served as an expert witness for various statistical and nutrition-related projects. She currently serves as the Director of Research Education and Consultation for the College of Health Professions at Sacred Heart University. She teaches the course 'Food, Nutrition & Society' during the short-term Winter program.

Jennifer McLaughlin MA

Executive Director of Student Advising and Success

Jennifer is the Executive Director of Student Advising and Success, working with students across the University. She is also a member of the history department. Her research and teaching focuses on topics in the history of Early America, the American Revolution, African American history, U.S. environmental history as well as the British Empire.

Jonathan Hudak MS, EP, CSCS

Clinical Exercise Scientist

Jonathan Hudak is Clinical Exercise Scientist in the Pioneer Performance Center at Sacred Heart University. Jonathan has worked as a certified strength and conditioning specialist in both academic and industry capacity for the past 14 years. Prior to SHU, he was a performance coach, collegiate strength & conditioning coach and personal trainer. He has an MS in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology from Ithaca College and several specialty certifications.

Joshua A. Shuart Ph.D.

Professor and Director of Sport Management

Joshua A. Shuart, Director of Sport Management, teaches “Sports Marketing” in Dingle. In addition to his long-term research interest in celebrity heroes and endorsements, he is currently engaged in multidisciplinary grant applications focused on Dingle, tourism, sustainability, and the economy with several SHU in Dingle faculty.

Kate Anderson M.S., CCC-SLP

Clinical Assistant Professor

Kate Anderson is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders, within the Graduate Program of Speech-Language Pathology. Kate comes from 16 years of clinical practice in Connecticut-based acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation units, and short-term rehabilitation facilities. She specializes in adult diagnostics and treatment approaches for swallowing, communication, and cognition, as a result of neurogenic injury or degenerative neurological conditions, occurring in the adult population. In May 2023, Kate taught in Dingle Ireland, providing undergraduate students exposure to the field of Speech-Language Pathology and foundational knowledge for culturally responsive practice, from the U.S. and Irish perspective.

Kirk Bartholomew Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

Kirk Bartholomew teaches a wide range of topics from our introductory biology sequence, to microbiology and plant biology, to genetics and tropical biology. His specialty is molecular genetics and applies molecular genetic research techniques to a wide variety of biological questions. Current projects are the molecular evolution of sexual development in fungi, genomic investigations of the bacterial communities in Dingle, Ireland, and developing genetic screens to discriminate between and identify different strains of yeast used in brewing beer.

Mark Congdon Jr Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies

Mark Congdon has a Ph.D. in Communication with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship, Communication Pedagogy, and Educational Leadership. Dr. Congdon’s scholarly interest considers the ways in which community partnerships and pedagogical praxis (i.e., teaching & learning) can work together to advance social justice initiatives in communities

Mark Jareb Ph.D.

Associate Dean College of Arts & Sciences Associate; Professor of Biology

Mark Jareb is the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Strategic Planning for the College of Arts and Sciences. He specializes in Neurobiology/Cell Biology and examines primary cultures of embryonic chick forebrain neurons as a model system to study the development and maintenance of neuronal polarity. His work focuses on how proteins that make the axon functionally unique are trafficked to the correct location. He co-teaches Experiential Models of Psychology and Neuroscience that explores applications of environmental enrichment in Dingle, Ireland.

Maura McCarthy Rhodes LCSW, MS

Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work

Maura McCarthy Rhodes teaches in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her teaching includes the Human Behavior & the Social Environment series, Human Diversity and Social Justice, Children & Families, and Field Seminar. She was the founding director of the Field Education Office in the school during the MSW program development and initial accreditation and served as the Director of Field Education for five years. She was responsible for developing the field placement structure to meet the fast-growing pace of the school for both on campus and online program options as well as the existing Baccalaureate in Social Work program.

Nathan Lewis MFA

Professor of Art; Chair of the Department Art & Design

Nathan Lewis is Professor of Art, Chair of Art & Design, and the curator of the A&D Gallery at the Edgerton. Nathan teaches painting, drawing, printmaking, design, and art history. His artwork is shown in museums, galleries, and universities throughout the United States and Abroad. SHU has three murals by Nathan. His work has been published and reviewed by the Boston Globe, the New York Times, International Artist Magazine, and the Huffington Post. Recent exhibitions have been in New York, Miami, California, Connecticut, and Venice, Italy. He loves road-tripping, travel, and art history, but really loves teaching newcomers how to paint and helping them find the artist within them.

Rachel Bowman Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Rachel Bowman, Professor of Psychology, co-teaches Experiential Models of Psychology and Neuroscience that explores applications of environmental enrichment in Dingle, Ireland. Her research focuses primarily on anxiety and learning and memory in a rodent model and examines how these processes are altered by experiences such as stress exposure, environmental enrichment, and environmental toxin exposure.

Robin Hands Ed.D.

Director of Clinical Practice, Isabelle Farrington College of Education

Robin Hands is the Director of Clinical Practice at the Farrington College of Education. Before coming to SHU, she was the Director of School-University Partnerships at the University of Connecticut. Her scholarship focuses on teacher education, clinical practice, and school-university partnerships. She was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the National Center for Clinical Practice and Education Preparation (NCCEP) and is a member of the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) and the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER).She is currently the arthritis media spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association, a Board Member for the Easter Seals of Massachusetts and consultant to the Singapore Ministry of Health.

Tina Miller MS,RDN

Clinical Instructor, College of Health Professions

University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Heather Jeffries MS

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Heather Jeffries is Program Director and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has 25 years of experience as a criminal justice practitioner, serving as chief investigator for the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and as a drug court probation/field officer for Allen Superior Court. She holds a master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. Some of her consulting work includes conducting a jail population evalulation for Criminal Division Services, a recidivism study for the Allen County Drug Court Program and creating the administrative policies for Allen County Community Corrections’ Residential Services Program. Her teaching areas of interest include criminal justice and criminology, forensic psychology, violence and victimology, drugs and society, and law enforcement. She is the recipient of the Leepoxy Award for Teaching Excellence.

Robert Koerpel Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Theology

Dr. Robert is Assistant Professor of Theology in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN. He received his doctorate in historical and systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He has published numerous articles, chapters, and reviews about Catholic theologians and philosophers, the history, nature, and development of tradition in Catholicism, fundamental moral theology, theological aesthetics, and liturgical theology. He is co-editor of Contemplating the Future of Moral Theology (Wipf & Stock) and author of Maurice Blondel: Transforming Catholic Tradition (University of Notre Dame Press).

York College of Pennsylvania

Renee Tacka Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Dr. Renee Tacka has extensive experience in the media, research, consumer goods, and retail industries. She is also a well-known educator throughout the media industry, having trained many newspaper and media clients in sales, advertising, and market research techniques. Dr. Tacka holds a BS and an MBA in Marketing from York College of Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Business Administration from Wilmington University in Delaware. Her dissertation, Consumer Impulsivity and Attitude: A Quantitative Study of Instant Consumable Snack Food (ICSF) Purchases, focused on how attitude-based ICSF product marketing offers an opportunity for marketers in both the consumer and shopper marketing fields to grow the category by increasing the knowledge base around cognitive-affective shopping behavior. The results showed high-purchasing behavior among the affective shoppers and less frequent consumption behavior among cognitive shoppers.

Alvernia University, Reading, PA

Angela Salio MSN, RNC-OB

Professional Specialist of Nursing

Angela Salio is certified in in-patient obstetrics and is passionate about education and ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare. She has taught transcultural, obstetrical, psychiatric, leadership, and medical-surgical nursing in the classroom and the clinical environment. In addition to teaching at the collegiate level, she has worked in acute care nursing for fifteen years with a diverse patient population. She holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is a member of the Transcultural Nursing Society, Sigma Theta Tau, the American Nurses Association, and the National League for Nursing. She has published an article in The Nurse Educator. Angela Salio is also in a doctoral program working to earn a Ph.D. in Nursing with a focus on education.


Gary Delaney

Executive Director and Company Secretary of Sacred Heart in Dingle, Ltd

Originally from the city of Dublin, Gary located to Dingle at the age of 23. One of Gary’s most remarkable achievements in Ireland has been the development, as one of a team of four, of a multimillion-euro business which he sold at the age of 36, and which is still trading and continues to provide long term sustainable employment. Since his retirement from this business, Gary has gone on to have a distinguished career in community and business development, before taking over the general management and strategic planning of the Sacred Heart University’s Dingle Campus.

John B. Roney Ph.D.

Co-Director SHU in Dingle; Professor of History

John B. Roney is a historian of French history, with a consideration of how smaller European regions interacted with France but sought independence from traditional monarchies, namely Geneva, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland. He was written about religion in society and the interaction of Catholic and Protestant communities and the cultural heritage of coastal communities with a focus on the history of artisan fishing, and the history of tourism in the west of Ireland.

Grace Flannery Ph.D.

Co-Director, SHU in Dingle ; Academic Coordinator, SHU in Dingle

Grace, a native of Dingle, holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University College Cork. Since 2015, she has played a vital role at SHU in Dingle, where her primary aim is to help American students understand and appreciate Irish culture while using education to benefit the local community. Her role extends beyond overseeing all academic and student experience aspects of the campus. She is also responsible for recruiting new academic talent, forging partnerships with local industries and Irish academic institutions, and collaborating closely with other U.S. colleges and universities to develop the diverse array of programs that SHU in Dingle offers.

Ciara Barrett Ph.D.

Student Coordinator, SHU in Dingle; Adjunct Instructor of Communications and Media Arts

As Student Coordinator, Ciara oversees student life and wellbeing at the SHU in Dingle Campus. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Ciara moved to Ireland to attend Trinity College Dublin, where she later earned her doctorate in Film Studies. Having experienced the cross-cultural transition from American into Irish life as a young adult, Ciara knows firsthand the benefits and challenges of studying abroad. She is students' first port of call for any questions or concerns they might have about living in Dingle and is passionate about extending this transformative life experience to a broad range of students from both Sacred Heart and partner universities.

Declan Devane A.C.C.A.

Manager for Accounting and Administration, SHU in Dingle

Declan is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and has a wealth of experience working previously as Assistant Financial Accountant for Fexco of Killorglin, Co. Kerry; as Finance Administrator for Irish Life Investment Managers of Dublin; as an Accountant for SEB Life International of Dublin; as well as several other institutions. His Bachelor of Business Studies degree is from the University of Limerick.