Faculty in Residence
JoAnne Banks, RN, PhD is the Bertha L. Shelton Endowed Professor for Research and Professor of Nursing. She came to WSSU in 2008 from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she was an Associate Professor of Nursing and Women's Studies. Dr. Banks has been a registered nurse for 36 years and taught in higher education for 28 years. Her research focuses on storytelling and physical activity as strategies to promote the health and well-being of Black women. The desire to assist in the development of a more ethnically diverse nursing workforce is what led her to accept her first appointment at an HBCU. She has just completed her third year as a Faculty-in-Residence in Foundation Heights. Dr. Banks serves as the faculty liaison for WISH (Women in Science and Health). The purpose of this living-learning community is to facilitate the academic, social and professional development of undergraduates pursuing degrees in science and health fields. Dr. Banks is also the founder and facilitator of the Qualitative Research Interest Group which is open to students, faculty and staff interested in qualitative research. She is married to Dr. Russell Benjamin, who is a professor of political science and has one adult son, William who is an artist living in Philadelphia. Dr. Banks loves the ocean, trees, rocks and reading.
Dr. Tangela Towns serves as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Co-Advisor of Women Involved in Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) at Winston-Salem State University. The W.I.L.D. program is a residential Living-Learning community that strives to empower first year female students through leadership development.
Dr. Towns earned degrees in Sociology from the University of Central Florida (Ph.D. and M.A. in Applied Sociology) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (B.S.). Her research and teaching interests include medical sociology, health disparities, mental health, inequalities, class, race and ethnicity.
Mesia Moore Steed, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Cell & Molecular Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences. She is a native of Kentucky and received her Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Louisville, in Kentucky.
Dr. Steed has been the Faculty in Residence for Wilson Hall since Fall 2014 and serves as a positive role model, advisor, and mentor to all students she comes in contact with. On campus, she serves as a Faculty Mentor, Advisor to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and is extensively involved in K-12 STEM education and outreach. Though Dr. Steed’s research program focuses on the roles of matrix metalloproteinase in mediating vascular remodeling associated with vascular diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes; her goal is to create a research environment that holistically promotes creativity, confidence, and professional development. In the greater Winston-Salem Community, she is involved with the March of Dimes and serves as a Board Member at the Winston Lake Family YMCA.
Dr. Towns believes that learning reaches beyond the classroom. She enjoys working with students outside of the classroom in many capacities; to include reaching the students where they are most comfortable. Dr. Towns enjoys working with students through Living and Learning Communities such as the thematic learning community, Women Involved in Leadership Development. It is within this community and within the classroom that she employs her teaching philosophy:
“I believe that interaction and participation stimulates learning from student to student, fosters learning through practical examples, and allows me through facilitation to apply student’s learning and thinking styles to application and activities. I take pride and joy in cultivating, encouraging, and challenging students! I believe in the student’s potential and take their education seriously! My goals as an instructor are established to inspire students to continue learning throughout the life cycle. I strive to educate my students so that they may always think critically and apply their knowledge to every task they face. I cultivate leadership skills, advocacy, awareness, and empowerment!"