University welcomes new faculty this fall

Posted By Madeline Oden on Sep 14, 2017

New Provost Dr. John Vassar speaks to College of Humanities professors in the Davidson Building on Friday, Sept. 8.

UMHB welcomes more faculty this semester as the new Provost and 11 new Professors join the Cru Nation.

Dr. John Vassar is the new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. He previously worked as a provost at Louisiana State University for four years and was a professor there for 13 years prior.

Vassar explains that the role of the provost is essentially geared at serving the faculty and making sure that the programs the university offers are of the highest quality.

The provost has already started working with the faculty by holding meetings and setting up regular phone calls with the deans of each college.

Vassar announced his promotion of Arts and Science Dean Daniel Mynatt to vice provost in order to ensure support for faculty and accreditation.

The new professors will also be able to provide a diverse new perspective in the colleges.

Dr. Kim Bodenhammer has taught here at UMHB in the past but paused her professorship after the birth of her child.

She is the only new professor for the College of Christian Studies.

“Many students in my class come from a Christian background, but express that they are much more familiar with the New Testament than the Old Testament,” Bodenhammer said, “I want students to come away from my ‘Engaging the Old Testament’ class with a better understanding and appreciation for the Old Testament and what it can mean for their lives, as well as an appreciation for the art of reading texts.”

Ms. Laura Williams will also be returning to UMHB since leaving her position as Mayborn operations manager back in 2009.

Now, she will become an instructor for the College of Education under the Exercise and Sports Science department.

“I want to teach my students to think for themselves, to find their own paths, and to embrace the power of technology to achieve their goals and dreams. I want students to walk away from my classes with the knowledge and ability to ask the right questions and find the right answers. It seems so simple, but it’s a skill that’s often overlooked,” Williams said, “[I want them to gain] that personal drive and entrepreneurship that are pretty much necessities in today’s workforce. If you want to achieve something big, no one’s going to give you a trail of breadcrumbs to follow – you’re going to have to chart your own path.”

Dr. Todd Ferguson and Dr. John Snow are both new professors in the College of Humanities and Sciences. Ferguson will work with the social sciences while Snow will be working in the mathematics department.

Ferguson explains that his goals are to develop meaningful relationships with his students so he can help them succeed and to continue working on his research as a sociologist alongside his students.

“I want my students to have what is called ‘The Sociological Imagination.’ This is the ability to see that our lives consist of more than just personal choices and decisions. There are some powerful social forces that structure how we live. I want them to have this ability because it makes people more compassionate and aware about the world,” Ferguson said.

Snow also believes he has a lot to offer students who take his classes.

“One thing I want my students to walk away with is an appreciation and understanding of math. A lot of people fear math or think it’s boring when it can be beautiful and fun in certain aspects,” Snow said, “I want the students to embrace the gifts they have when it comes to math and learn how to develop and improve those gifts. They should know that it is okay to be a mathematician.”

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