Faculty Stories

With a passion for the subjects they teach, our faculty inspire you, challenge you, and invest in you. They advise academic clubs and honor societies. They suggest internships. They invite you to work with them on research projects. And most important of all, they introduce you to opportunities you never knew existed.

Ron Rybkowski

Theatre Department

RonFor 31 years, Ron Rybkowski has been a fixture in the Theatre Department, however, casual fans of Truman productions can be forgiven if that sometimes slips their minds. Rybkowski does not long for the spotlight, but relishes in helping others succeed. He is the technical guru of the department and has helped design, build and light stages for so many productions there is not enough space to list them all here.

Michael Barnes

Accounting Department

Deb Kerby presented award to Michael BarnesDr. Michael Barnes was awarded the 2019 School of Business Excellence in Teaching Award. “Some of my favorite moments have come from talking to students about important lessons in my life and career; such as my Accounting Capstone class visits every semester and my presentation with Dr. Kaden on shortcuts at the Beta Alpha Psi banquet this year.”

Sana Camara

Classical and Modern Languages Department

Sana CamaraOriginally from Senegal, a country in West Africa, Sana Camara has chosen to make Kirksville his home for nearly 30 years. He enjoys small-town life, finding it less stressful and more affordable than living in a big city. While Camara and his wife welcomed their third child in the fall, his kids are not the only people he is helping find their way in the world. He actively works with the increasing number of Congolese immigrants relocating to Kirksville.

Vayujeet Gokhale

Physics Department
Vayujeet GokhaleAn associate professor of physics, Vayujeet Gokhale oversees the Truman Observatory located at the University Farm and teaches subjects including astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology and meteorology. “No matter what the level of the class, my aim is always to create an environment in which the student feels motivated and excited about learning the material,” says Gokhale.

Sheila Garlock

Communication Disorders Department
Sheila Garlock and studentsSheila Garlock has been a presence in the  Communication Disorders Department for 20 years – even longer when counting the time she spent earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Truman in 1977 and 1978, respectively. In addition to supervising students in the Speech and Hearing Clinic, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. Some of her students have been known to call her mom, a not uncommon moniker for Garlock to hear on campus considering all three of her daughters attended the University.

Jerry Mayhew

Exercise Science Department

Jerry MayhewJerry Mayhew, professor of exercise science, has seen the University come a long way in his 42 years on campus. When he first arrived, the school had no exercise science labs or equipment. Today, he views Truman’s premier teaching and research labs as on par with any other university, which is one of the reasons he enjoys coming to work every day.

Lucy Lee

Department of Classical and Modern Languages
Lucy Lee
Counting the time she spent “play teaching” as a child in her rural Georgia home, Lucy Lee has been an educator most of her life. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is working to create new opportunities for our majors and minors. I also very much enjoy meeting with prospective students and parents to share all that Truman and CML have to offer. I find those kinds of interactions very exciting and inspiring. They remind me of why I’m here.”

David Gillette

Department of Economics
David Gillette

David Gillette has taught more than a dozen varieties of economics classes at Truman, and has overseen numerous independent study courses. He also has made a difference outside of the classroom, volunteering for multiple student organizations.

Michael Seipel

Agricultural Science Department
SONY DSCMichael Seipel, professor and chair of the Agricultural Science Department, finds it gratifying to hear about the difference that our Truman alumni are making in their careers, their families, their communities, but to also hear the sometimes surprising things that they remember about their time in Kirksville.


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Matvey Gorbunov, Russia, 2015

My professors are ready to help me at any time. It is magnificent! I can easily come after class and ask about any doubts or concerns I might have. I also really appreciate the tutoring hours available for students. I can ask the student tutors about anything that confuses me, and they will help me to understand the material.

Matvey Gorbunov, Russia