Meet the Rockwards, Husband and Wife Addition Expands School’s Reservoir of STEM Knowledge
Morgan’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS) announced the addition of two new faculty members – Willie S. Rockward, Ph.D., chair and professor of physics in the Department of Physics & Engineering Physics, and his wife Michelle L. Rockward, assistant to the chair and lecturer in the Department of Mathematics.
As a new member of the Morgan faculty, Dr. Rockward brings his experience, leadership and passion for education to SCMNS in an effort to help strengthen its infrastructure for effective recruitment, retention and graduation, and to also expand the School’s partnerships with public agencies and private industry, while enhancing the Physics Department’s research and scholarly activity. Professor Michelle Rockward, who will be assisting Dr. Asamoah Nkwanta the chair of the Mathematics Department, will lend her efforts to improving the operational efficiency of the department and serving Morgan’s students. Leveraging a distinguished track record of success in designing online courses and programs, she will also teach courses within the department.
“Dr. Rockward is passionate about student success and he is a compassionate, loving person. He has a wealth of experience recruiting, nurturing and graduating black physicists,” says Dr. Hongtao Yu, Dean of the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. “He possesses a rare blend of experiences as a physics faculty member, an educator, an administrator, a pastor, and a role model for our students. We are fortunate to be able to attract him to Morgan. We are also very lucky to be joined by his wife, an experienced mathematician and an administrator, who will teach mathematics and assist the chair of the Department of Mathematics.”
Prior to joining the SCMNS faculty, Dr. Rockward was a tenured professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, serving for the past seven years as the institute’s chair for the Department of Physics and Dual Degree Engineering Program and the past 20 years as the research director of the Materials and Optics Research & Engineering (MORE) Laboratory. Among his professional leadership experiences, he is the president of the National Society of Black Physicists and the immediate past president of Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society. He also has served for a combination of 23 years as pastor of the Divine Unity Missionary Baptist Church and Associate Minister of Antioch Baptist Church North in East Point and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively. Dr. Rockward holds a number of educational degrees including a doctorate and Masters of Science in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology (1997, 1994), a Master of Science in physics from the State University of New York, Albany (1991), and a Bachelor of Science in physics from Grambling State University (1988).
Professor Michelle Rockward recently served as an assistant chair and assistant professor in the Mathematics Computer Science and Engineering department on the Clarkston campus of Georgia State University’s Perimeter College. Prior to her time at Georgia State, she taught for 10 years in Mathematics Department at Morehouse College and before that at Clark Atlanta University. Her focus has been on teaching entry-level students: foundations mathematics, quantitative skills and reasoning (finite math), college algebra and pre-calculus, alternating between online and in-class instruction. Professor Rockward holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from South Carolina State University (1989) and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Clark Atlanta University (1994).