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21 new faculty members join Union University

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 5, 2006 – Twenty new full-time faculty members and one part-time faculty member will join Union University for the 2006-2007 academic year.

The new full-time faculty members are:

-- Beverly Absher, assistant professor of business, chair of the department of continuing studies and program director of the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership degree on the Jackson campus. Absher has served as Union’s human resources director since 2004.

-- Michele Atkins, associate professor of education. Atkins returns to the Union faculty after a year of consulting work. She was associate professor of education from 1998-2005 and also served as director of Union’s graduate studies in education program. She was also director of Union’s Education Specialist and Doctor of Education programs.

-- Kevin Barksdale, associate professor of business. Barksdale has been vice president of human resources and general manager of Chuck Hutton Toyota and assistant general manager of Chuck Hutton Chevrolet in Memphis since 1998.

-- Jay Bernheisel, assistant professor of engineering. Bernheisel recently completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Northwestern University. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees came from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

-- Mark Bolyard, professor of biology and department chair. Bolyard, who will begin at Union in January, has been a professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville since 1991.

-- Jeannie Byrd, assistant professor of library science. Byrd has been coordinator of serials and electronic resources for Union since 2002.

-- Kathie Chute, associate professor of communication arts. Chute will return to Union in the spring semester. She is currently associate professor at Virginia State University, and previously served as Union’s associate vice president for university communication and enrollment services.

-- Michael Chute, professor of communication arts. Chute will return to Union in the spring semester. He has been publishing director at the International Mission Board since 2005. He previously served as associate professor of communication arts at Union.

-- Kathryn Cooper, assistant professor of nursing. Cooper has been with the medical response team at Methodist LeBonheur in Germantown since 2002.

-- Judy Cravens, visiting instructor of English. Cravens previously served as children’s librarian at the Jackson Madison County Library and as developmental reading lab assistant at Jackson State Community College.

-- Kendell Easley, professor of Christian Studies and program director for the Master of Christian Studies degree program in Germantown. Easley has been chairman and professor of New Testament and Greek at Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary since 1988.

-- Jonathan Gillette, assistant professor of art. Gillette, a 2002 Union graduate, previously was an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

-- Rhonda Hudson, assistant professor of social work. Hudson has been a senior research associate at the University of Miami since 2000.

-- Lisa Medlin, assistant professor of nursing. Medlin is a 1995 Union graduate who earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University. She has been a family nurse practitioner with Dr. Thomas McDonald since 2004.

-- William Nettles, professor of physics. Nettles comes to Union from Mississippi College, where he has been a professor of physics since 1983.

-- Stephanie Nikbakht, instructor of nursing. Nikbakht has been a registered nurse at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 1989.

-- Lori Nolen, assistant professor of Art. Nolen, a 2002 Union graduate, recently completed her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia, where she also was a teaching assistant.

-- Kathy O’Connor, assistant professor of nursing. O’Connor has been a registered nurse and nurse manager at Jackson Madison County General Hospital since 1988. She is soon to complete her Master of Science degree in nursing at Union and also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Union.

-- Stacey Pirtle, visiting instructor of English. Pirtle previously was an adjunct instructor at Hardin-Simmons University and Texas A & M University.

-- Molly Wright, assistant professor of nursing. Wright has been a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with Jackson Anesthesia Perioperative Consultants since 2002.

In addition to the full-time faculty members, Kelly Harden is joining Union’s faculty part-time as assistant professor of nursing. Hardin has been a family nurse practitioner with Family Care since 1999.


Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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