head shots of Deborah Fleming, Raymond Jacobs, Khushwant Pittenger and Debra Westerfelt

Four faculty achieve emeritus status

Published on March 02, 2023
College of Arts & Sciences

ASHLAND, Ohio – Four former Ashland University faculty members have received emeritus status, as announced by the Office of the President. Emeritus faculty status can be granted to faculty members who completed at least 15 years of full-time service at AU.

Receiving emeritus status recognizes the individual’s long-term contributions to AU in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service, and it takes effect immediately.

Those granted emeritus status are Deborah Fleming of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the late Raymond Jacobs, Khushwant Pittenger and Debra Westerfelt of the College of Business and Economics (COBE).

Fleming, a professor of English, retired last May after 29 years of service at AU (1994-2022). She began her scholarly career as a specialist in 20th century British and American literature, and later developed a publishing program in creative writing that culminated in her winning the prestigious PEN-America Diamonstein-Spielvogel Art of the Essay Award in 2020 for her essay collection, “Resurrection of the Wild.” She also worked with the Ashland Poetry Press, serving as associate editor, then editor and director since 2016, and received AU’s Excellence in Scholarship award in 2019.

Jacobs, a professor of business management, held several leadership positions within COBE during a 32-year tenure before passing away on April 6, 2022. He was a long-time associate dean of COBE and chair of the MBA program, and was actively involved in accreditation work. He helped COBE reach its specialized accreditation and secured a second 10-year reaffirmation from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. In the classroom, Jacobs taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, ranging from computer information systems, to operations management, to electronic commerce and decision support systems.

Pittenger joined the AU faculty in 1987 as an assistant professor and steadily rose to associate professor in 1990, full professor in 1996 and Jepson Endowed Chair in 2006 before retiring in May 2022 after 35 years of distinguished service. As a Fulbright scholar, she taught at Birla Institute of Technology in India in 2012. At AU, Pittenger taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, ranging from freshman seminar to MBA seminars in leadership, diversity management, emotional intelligence, interpersonal communication and power and politics. Additionally, she designed or played a key role in the development of business curricula in multiple disciplines and degrees, was highly involved in COBE’s accreditation processes, activated initiatives that resulted in donations of more than $500,000 to AU and served in a number of faculty leadership positions.

Westerfelt, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Ashland, first joined the AU faculty as an adjunct instructor in the MBA program in 1995. She joined the business management department as an assistant professor in 2007 and later became an associate professor before retiring in May 2022. Westerfelt was the first COBE faculty member to become Quality Matters Certified, and she was also the lead professor for Organizational Design, Development and Change Management in the International MBA program, the Online MBA program and Business Communications in the BSBA program. She developed a course and taught in the Correctional Education program as well.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.