Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Faculty Advisory Network

The Faculty Advisory Network provides valuable insight to CPE’s president on state-level priorities.

The Council of Postsecondary Education announced the creation of the Faculty Advisory Network in October 2019. A group of 13 members from both public universities and community and technical colleges were selected to serve two-year terms. They will play a pivotal role in identifying and promoting innovative solutions to promote student success.

The purpose of the Faculty Advisory Network is to convey their perspectives on state-level policies and initiatives and advise CPE President Aaron Thompson on matters of interest to the faculty. The group will share information from their respective institutions and provide valuable insight to CPE’s president on state-level priorities. Members will also serve as a conduit of information between CPE and their institutions.



Robin Brown-Ayers

Robin Brown-Ayers graduated from Fort Knox Hight School in 1982. She holds several undergraduate degrees from Western Kentucky University including a Bachelor of Science in computer science, and Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, and a Bachelor of Science in secondary education. She has obtained two master’s degrees, one in education and the other in mathematics from Western Kentucky University. In addition, she has a doctorate (ABD) in mathematics education from Ohio State University. She has been an educator at in the Mathematics Department of WKU since 1991, specializing in courses from general math courses, mathematics education, and business mathematics courses. She is a proud mother of two children, both Kentucky college graduates. She loves sports, teaching, education, and the WKU Hilltoppers.


Monica Burke

Monica Galloway Burke is a professor in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs at Western Kentucky University. She also currently serves as a Fellow for the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning’s Community of Practice for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Teaching and as a Provost’s Fellow for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Burke has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals and authored or contributed chapters to various books. Additionally, she has conducted numerous workshops and presentations at the international, national, regional, state, and local levels, currently serves and has served on editorial boards of professional journals as a co-editor, associate editor and reviewer, and has supervised numerous research theses, dissertations, and research projects.


Katrina Eicher

Katrina Eicher is a professor of communication and theatre at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. She is currently the project manager for EduNav implementation in addition to her teaching responsibilities and enjoys her role as scholar and trainer with Kentucky Humanities’ Prime Time Family Reading Time. During her long tenure, Eicher directed its first Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), coordinated the first-year experience program, was twice named Great Teacher, served on the board of directors and the president’s leadership team, and founded the Toy Box Theatre. She completed her undergraduate studies at Chadron (NE) State College and earned her Master of Arts at the University of Nebraska; she also completed graduate work at the University of Louisville.


John Farrar

John Farrar is an associate professor of chemistry at Northern Kentucky University. A native of Tennessee, Farrar graduated high school from Williamsburg in southeast Kentucky before earning a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Western Kentucky University and an Master of Science and doctorate in organic materials chemistry from Vanderbilt University. Farrar has experience teaching general and organic chemistry and has served as a department chair and director of a STEM education center. He currently concentrates on collegial governance on faculty and university committees as well as serving as Faculty Senate President. Farrar’s professional interests target teaching and learning for every student in chemistry using technology and active-learning approaches.


Jay Gabbard

Jay Gabbard is a social work professor at Western Kentucky University. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Washington and Lee University (BA), a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate from the University of Alabama. A proud Samoan American, he teaches courses in cultural competency, human behavior, statistics, research methods, and forensic social work. He has conducted research and published in the areas of homelessness, diversity pedagogy, faculty and student mental health, and social work with Pacific Islanders. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of NAMI Bowling Green, Vice Chair of Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society International, and on the Board of Directors of the International Center of Kentucky.


Suk-hee Kim

Suk-hee Kim is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Northern Kentucky University, where she also serves as faculty fellow for both diversity and healthcare innovation. . Her research, which has been recognized nationally, includes neuroscience in aging and social engagement; healthy aging programming; opioid addiction and mental health; racial and ethnic diversity; human trafficking, health equity and academic collaboration. Kim holds a joint Ph.D. in social work from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, in addition to a graduate degree from Boston University and a baccalaureate from Han-il University and Presbyterian Theological Seminary (South Korea). Prior to joining NKU, she was a doctoral fellow at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.


Dale McIntosh

Warren (Dale) McIntosh is a faculty member in the College of Business' Information Systems, Analytics, and Operations Department at the University of Louisville. He also serves as the Director of the Bachelor of Business Administration Degree program and is in his second term as one of four elected business senators in the faculty senate. He has also served on numerous committees throughout the institution. McIntosh earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Louisville. Students have nominated him many times over the twelve years for the "Faculty Favorite" award. The College of Business bestowed the 2023 Jane Goldstein Faculty Award for Service and Collegiality "for a demonstrated strong commitment to service."

Tamara O'Callaghan

Tamara O’Callaghan is a professor of English at Northern Kentucky University, where she teaches medieval literature, historical linguistics, and the digital humanities. She has published on medieval literature, manuscript studies, and the digital humanities. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, she co-directed The Augmented Palimpsest, a digital humanities tool that employs augmented reality to teach medieval literature. In 2023, she and a colleague were awarded a Cornerstone: Learning for Living Implementation Grant ($250,000 over two years) to support humanities-based undergraduate teaching at NKU.


Viren Patel

Viren Patel is an associate professor of mathematics at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. He has his Bachelor of Science in middle school education and Master of Arts in secondary education mathematics and statistics from Eastern Kentucky University. He is of South Asian descent, born in India, moving to the United States in 1993. When he arrived here in the U.S., he did not speak any English, but considers himself fortunate to have amazing teachers along the way in middle and high school who did not give up on him. He chose this career path, which includes serving as a middle school math instructor at Danville Bate Middle School,  because it gives back to the community, and what better way to do that than educating America's youth.


Rheanna Plemons

Rheanna Plemons is a pedagogical assistant professor in the School of Leadership and Professional Studies at Western Kentucky University. She has served as an assistant, associate, and interim Registrar, a Special Assistant to the Provost and transitioned to full-time faculty in 2021. Locally, Rheanna has served as the President for Down Syndrome of South Central Kentucky (DSSKY) and New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding (NBTR). She is current serving on the NBTR Board as well as the board for the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex at WKU. Plemons received her undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from WKU.


Frank Romanelli

Romanelli is the Paul F. Parker Endowed Professor of Pharmacy and holds joint appointments with both the Colleges of Medicine and Health Sciences. He also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Chief Academic Officer for the College of Pharmacy. He has been recognized by the American Association of HIV Medicine as an HIV Pharmacist, and has served as a fellow for the American Pharmacists Association and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Romanelli received both his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston.


Evelyn Thrasher

Evelyn Thrasher is the Associate Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business and a professor of information systems at Western Kentucky University. Thrasher was a first-generation college student and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from East Tennessee State University and an MBA and PhD in Management of Information Technology and Innovation from Auburn University. Thrasher is a member of the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Business Administration Advisory Board, a member of the Warren Central High School Business Advisory Council, a 2021 Bluegrass Academic Leadership Academy Fellow, and a member of the Leadership Kentucky Class of 2018. As part of her role as associate dean, Thrasher oversees the AACSB accreditation processes for the Gordon Ford College of Business and is also serving as an AACSB accreditation mentor for Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, in Bogota.


erica Whitaker

erica Whitaker is Director of Service Courses and a Senior Lecturer for the Mathematics Department at the University of Kentucky. She has bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and music from Birmingham-Southern College, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from The Ohio State University. Previous experience includes visiting positions at Wittenberg University and Otterbein University in Ohio. She is active locally and nationally in the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and serves on the editorial board of MAA’s FOCUS magazine. Her teaching has been recognized by her college and university, including a Provost’s Outstanding Teaching award and an award from the office of Disability Services. She is interested in placement, training of graduate TAs, and mentoring of faculty.


Last Updated: 1/22/2024