Congratulations to our four newly promoted and/or promoted and tenured faculty for fall 2020! 


Dr. Nancy Delich has been tenured and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Social Work Education, where she brings over 30 years of clinical experience to the graduate program as a licensed clinical social worker and credentialed school social worker. Her research utilizes interprofessional collaboration to study self-efficacy and quality of life among older adults with hearing loss and their communication partners – as well as with K-12 Deaf and hard of hearing students. This work is personal for Delich, who lost her own hearing when she was 11. 

Currently, she is co-developing an app that embeds her research findings regarding effective communication strategies with reminders to improve quality of life for both older hard of hearing adults and their communication partners. 

Delich holds many professional memberships and is highly active on campus at the department, college, and University level. Outside of the social work realm, Delich can be found in the deep blue sea, where she also a professional scuba diver, among many other talents!


Dr. Cheryl Hickey has been promoted to professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and is currently the longest serving full-time faculty member. Since 2008, she has served in different capacities within the department, including as coordinator of clinical education. She has also chaired various committees on campus, most recently the President’s Committee on Disability and Access. 

Hickey is passionate about research, particularly in the area of neuroplasticity and orthopedics. She has even published nine articles in the past four years on these topics. In addition, she has co-authored six peer-reviewed publications with three of them as first author. 

Hickey, who is a proud Central Valley native, was raised in a local farming community. As a first-generation college student, she holds two master’s degrees in Physical Therapy and Counseling, and a Doctorate in Education.  Clinically, she was a therapist in rehab at Community Regional Medical Center as well as the ICU, outpatient neurology and orthopedics.  Aside from her profession Hickey loves her church, serving the community and spending time with her  husband and their three children.


Dr. Monica Rivera has been tenured and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, where she has been teaching since 2014 primarily in the area of neuroscience. She leads the Infant Motor Perceptual Lab on campus, which investigates the association between motor skill acquisition and cognitive-perceptual development. 

Most recently, Rivera has been active in the Parkinson’s community, where she developed a community exercise program and provides community conversations around this topic. This allows her to work closely with graduate students on research, while providing the local community with evidence-based activity programs. She is also actively involved in student research around spatial cognitive acquisition and self propulsion in infants and toddlers with spina bifida. 

In 2018 and 2019, Rivera’s students received the “CHHS Outstanding Doctoral Project Award” – a testament of her commitment to teaching and student engagement.


Dr. Deborah Walker has been tenured and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. Since joining the faculty in 2014, she has founded and directed the Optimal Aging Pro Bono Geriatric Clinic at Fresno State, and has accumulated vast research in the area of geriatric and orthopedic physical therapy, which are her two specialty areas. In particular, her work takes a look at body composition in older adults in the pursuit of sarcopenia prevention.

Walker is strong proponent of collaboration and has worked with many campus and community entities including Fresno State Athletics, the Fresno State Health Center, and the San Joaquin Valley Geriatrics Interdisciplinary Group. She teaches continuing medical education courses with area physicians, and provides body composition scans for Fresno State athletes. In addition to her many certifications, Walker also holds a license in Bone Densitometry.

Outside of campus, Walker values serving the Fresno and Madera communities in various capacities, including as a board member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness. She currently resides in Coarsegold with her family.