New faculty join Transylvania University for start of academic year

New faculty (l-r): Daniel Bennet, Priya Ananth, Elizabeth Loh, Leslie Ribovich and Daniel Clausen.


As Transylvania’s new school year gets underway today, the university welcomes five new faculty members to campus.

These educators from a variety of fields — from religion to theater — bring a wealth of scholarship and experience to Transylvania.

“We are excited to welcome these new faculty to campus for the start of our 2019-20 academic year,” said Michael Cairo, interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. “Transylvania has always been committed to excellence in teaching, and I’m confident they will carry on this time-honored tradition.”

Over the years, Transylvania’s faculty have been recognized with numerous honors, including six Kentucky Professor of the Year awards. And because of the university’s emphasis on small classes — almost half have 10 or fewer students — a Transylvania education is defined by close interaction with faculty.

New faculty for 2019-20

  • Priya Ananth, instructor of Spanish, earned her Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in medieval Spanish literature. She has an M.A. in Spanish literature from UW-Madison and a B.A. in Spanish and history from the University of Connecticut. Also at UW-Madison, she taught classes in language and literature, and she has researched subjects including medieval kingship, medieval political theory and literature about Alexander the Great.
  • Daniel Bennett, instructor of theater/production technical coordinator, earned his M.F.A. in theater with an emphasis in technical direction. He taught Beginning Stagecraft: Scenery and was a scene shop supervisor at Southern Illinois University. He also served as technical director for McLeod Summer Playhouse in Carbondale, Illinois, built scenery for The Juilliard School in New York and was a stage crew supervisor for the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico.
  • Leslie Ribovich, assistant professor of religion, earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in religion in the Americas from Princeton University. She also has B.A.s from Barnard College and Columbia University. At Fordham University and Princeton, she was an instructor in various courses, including American Religious Texts and Traditions. Additionally, she was founder and coordinator of Princeton’s “The Ethics and Politics of Ethnography Series,” now “The Interdisciplinary Ethnography Series.”
  • Daniel Clausen, visiting assistant professor of English, earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his M.A. in English literature from Boise State University and a B.A. in English and German from Linfield College. His fields of research and teaching specializations include American literature, African American literature and 19th-century studies. Courses he has taught include Composition and Communication at the University of Kentucky and Literature and Environment at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Elizabeth Loh, visiting assistant professor of biology, earned her Ph.D. and an M.S. in biology from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, and she received a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish from the University of Kentucky. She has been an instructor at Eastern Kentucky University, teaching courses like Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Genetics — and she has conducted research for the EcoHealth Alliance and Wildlife Conservation Society.