University News

African American Studies, Psychology Chairs Named

May 20, 2004

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MACOMB, IL - - Two new chairpersons have been named in the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Illinois University: Abdul-Rasheed NaÂ’Allah for African American Studies, and Virginia Diehl for psychology. Both positions are effective July 1, according to College Dean Tom Helm.

“I am very pleased that both Dr. Na’Allah and Dr. Diehl have accepted these important administrative positions in the college,” said Helm. “Both have outstanding records as scholars; both have demonstrated a strong commitment to their departments and the college; and both have a demonstrated talent for leadership. I am certain that they will work effectively with their faculty and the new dean in formulating creative responses that the challenges that face our college and University.”

NaÂ’Allah, an associate professor of African American Studies, replaces Michael Cooke, who will return to teaching in the department.

Na’Allah joined Western’s faculty in 1998, teaching comparative literature. A scholar and a poet, Na’Allah, who is listed in Contemporary Authors 2000-2002, has written numerous journal articles, poems and books. His latest poetry book, “Ahmadu Fulani: An African Poetry,” was published this month by Trenton: African World Press. He continues to serve the department, college and University on a variety of academic committees and is the adviser to Western’s Creative Writers Society and the Muslim Students Association. Na’Allah, who has led a travel-study program for WIU student to Ghana, Togo and the Ivory Coast, is a frequent presenter at international academic conferences. He also has received several international fellowships and grants.

NaÂ’Allah earned his bachelorÂ’s degree (1988) in English and education, a masterÂ’s degree (1992) in literature in English and a masterÂ’s degree (1992) in applied linguistics at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He earned his Ph.D. (1999) in comparative literature from the University of Alberta, Canada. He previously taught at both universities.

Diehl has served as interim chair of the psychology department since January, replacing James Ackil, who retired in December 2003 following more than 30 years of service to Western.

A teacher and researcher of cognitive processes, Diehl joined the Western Illinois psychology faculty in 1988. She earned professor status in 1997. Diehl has published several articles in professional journals and has given numerous presentations at regional and national conferences. She also is actively involved with departmental, college and University committees.

Diehl earned the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award in 2000 and has received Faculty Excellence and Professional Achievement awards at Western.

She earned her bachelorÂ’s degree (1978) in psychology at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), her masterÂ’s degree (1984) in experimental psychology at Towson State University and her doctorate (1987) in cognitive/quantitative psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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