School Briefs
Quarterly Highlights from NCU

In every issue of Higher Degrees, we highlight accomplishments and updates about our Schools, faculty, staff and administration.

School of Business

  • Brian Bridgeforth, PhD, MBA, MA, is drafting a dissertation development guide. This tool offers function description and content counsel on each section of each chapter of the dissertation, as well as noting chapter and verse reference to APA Manual, and instruction on how to use Word as editor while writing. He continues to draft a book on leadership as social construct and psychological contract, and is organizing a research agenda to establish the professional discipline of management psychology.
  • Edward Maggio, JD, authored “Discord - How an Internet Platform Galvanized the Alt-Right/Neo-Nazi Movement in America" for the Journal of Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security, pages 26-31. The article discusses how the tragic events of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally was planned a year in advance using gaming technology.
  • Carissa Smock, PhD, is a reviewer for the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. She is also chair elect for the American Public Health Association, Physical Activity section. Dr. Smock is also conducting research, along with colleagues, on the following: “Linking parks to primary care through place-based referrals,” to develop a mechanism for parks to receive primary care place-based walking referrals; “Linking primary care place-based walking referrals to community/home resources,” to develop a convenient, easy to use mechanism for primary care place-based walking referrals to community or home walking locations; and “Evaluating the utility of the Garmin Vivoactive HR activity tracker for physical activity interventions with pre-chronic individuals,” to explore the usefulness of one specific fitness tracker - the Garmin Vivoactive HR - for exercise research from the view of participants and researchers.
  • Melody Rawlings, EdD, and a colleague, presented “Socially Aware Authentic Leadership Development through Student Philanthropy”at the International Leadership Association's 20th annual global conference, Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace & Prosperity, in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Student Engagement Teaching Excellence Award for the School of Business.
  • Patricia Steiner, EdD, was awarded a grant from Brandeis University to further her groundbreaking research on diversity and self-awareness. An article about her paper entitled “About Face” has been published in the New England Journal for Higher Education in 2018. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Steiner is an award winning International Business Adviser.
  • David Wade, PhD, MBA, was elected as a board member of Leadership Dixie, a community education program that immerses new and seasoned leaders of Washington County, Utah, in business and civic issues facing the region. His current research topics are artificial intelligence and online learning effectiveness. He is a volunteer leader for the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Kelly Walters, PhD, MBA, Dean of NCU’s School of Business, published “Fostering Multiple Levels of Engagement in Higher Education Environments,” in January 2019. The 12 chapters bring together experts in the field to provide multiple perspectives on improving engagement practices with online faculty, staff, and students. The book is designed for educators, practitioners, academicians, and researchers seeking coverage on successful engagement in higher education.

School of Education

  • Maggie Broderick, PhD, presented “Doctoral Students in 2018 – Observations and Data,” at the Ashford Teaching and Learning Conference, ( in November 2018. She also presented “Stalled Graduate Students – Mentoring for Momentum,” at Purdue Global Village, ( in November 2018.
  • Bob Bulik, PhD, and two colleagues, collaborated on submitting a rural residency planning and development program grant to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in February 2019. The grant is for creation of a new family medicine residency training program at the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, a small rural hospital in a medically underserved area (MUA) of southern New Mexico.
  • Linda Bloomberg, EdD, and a colleague, published “Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation: A Road Map From Beginning to End,” (4th ed.), Sage (2018). She also published, along with a colleague, “Teaching in Graduate Distance Education: Perspectives on Evaluating Faculty Engagement Strategies,” in the International Journal of Online Graduate Education,1(2), 1-24 (2018).
  • Linda K. Cummins, PhD, presented “Doing Policy Practice Within An Ethics of Care Framework,” interactive session, at the Council of Social Work Education 64th Annual Program Meeting, Orlando, FL in November 2018.
  • Beverly Griffin Little, EdD, and a colleague, presented a short professional development training on using MyON® (a personalized digital library for students) in the classroom, with Union County Public Schools, North Carolina in February 2019.
  • Barbara M. Hall, PhD, presented "Realizing the Possibilities of Collaborative Learning: Design Guidance from Research" at the annual conference of the North Carolina Association for Research in Education (NCARE), in Charlotte, North Carolina, in March 2019. In addition, Dr. Hall was elected as the awards manager for the division of distance learning within the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). She will assume her duties at the annual conference this fall.
  • John Johnson, PhD, and a colleague, presented “Women Entrepreneurship Studies in Ukraine, Poland and Mexico,” at a November 2018 conference on small and medium entrepreneurship development trends in Ukraine, at Kiev National Shevchenko University, Kiev, Ukraine. The in-person presentation was given in Russian. Dr. Johnson also presented “Bringing Positive Social Change via Research in Three Countries: Ukraine, Poland, Mexico, at America House (Cultural Department of the United States Embassy in Ukraine), Kiev, Ukraine. The presentation was made in person in November 2018.
  • Tina Pitt, EdD, and three graduate students, presented an online workshop titled, "Uncovering the Fourth Component of Student Success and Persistence on Adult Learners in Crisis,” at Walden University in October 2018.
  • Robin Throne, PhD, published a study of Sauk warrior Black Hawk's great-great-granddaughter, "The Letter: Fidelity in Researcher Positionality to Exhume Dispossessed Voices for Leavy's Concept of Coherence in Feminist Narrative Research," in Gender and Women's Studies 2(1), 3, in October 2018. She also presented, along with a colleague, an alumni and a doctoral candidate, a research poster session, "Practice Implications of Online Dissertation Research Supervisor Agency to Foster Doctoral Researcher Positionality", at the Conference on Academic Research in Education, in Las Vegas in February 2019.
  • Laurie Wellner, EdD, was appointed to the editorial board for the International Journal of Teacher Education and Professional Development in November 2018. She and a colleague, had a chapter entitled, “Types of Case Studies,” accepted in the text Case Study Methodology in Higher Education in December 2018. In addition, she and a colleague had a chapter entitled, “Faculty Professional Development in Creating Significant Teaching and Learning Experiences Online,” accepted to the Handbook of Research Creating Meaningful Experiences in Online Courses in January 2019. In February 2019, she presented “Educate not Litigate – Understanding the Nature of Conflict from Meta-Analysis to Structured Paradigm,” at the 3rd Annual Conference of Academic Research in Education in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Marcia Wratcher, PhD, and a colleague, presented “Five in Five: Engaging Students in Online and Blended Courses,” at the University of Idaho Virtual Conference, Transforming the Teaching and Learning Environment, February 2019. She also published, along with a colleague, “Informal Assessment Activities for Blended and Online Courses,” in The Teaching Professor newsletter, Magna Publications, November 2018.

School of Health Sciences

  • The Master of Health Administration program received the 2019 annual award for New Program of the Year from the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). The program holds an associate graduate program membership with AUPHA and was selected for cumulative faculty participation through meeting attendance, presentations, and engagement online, among other activities. The program will receive the award in June at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
  • Robert Clegg, PhD, was promoted to lead faculty of the MHA and DHA programs in February 2019.
  • Larry Goins, DNP, EdD, RN, APN-BC, NE-BC, professor, participated in a number of continuing education activities. Presentations – “Creating an Exceptional and Successful Nursing Program,” Cleveland State College Department of Nursing, Cleveland, TN, November 2018. Webinars – “Leveraging Technology to Scale Student Success,” Portfolium (online), Atlanta, GA , January 2019; “Readiness to Integrate Behavioural Health,” AACN (online), January 2019, Washington, DC; “Seismic Shift in Higher Education,” AACN (online), Coronado, CA, January 2019; “Social Media and the Law,” AACN (online), Washington, DC, December 2018; “ETSU Responds to the Opioid Epidemic,” AACN (online), Washington, DC, December 2018; “Medical Marijuana-Part I-Current Legislation, Scientific Literature, Review & Implications for Nurses,” AACN (online), Washington, DC, December 2018. Symposiums –2019 Annual Chattanooga Cardiovascular Symposium, Chattanooga, TN, February 2019.
  • Judy Palmer, PhD, MSN, RN, PHN, program director, nursing, participated in a live AACN webinar in October 2018 on understanding the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. She also attended the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Doctoral Education Conference in Coronado, California in January 2019.
  • Laurie Shanderson, PhD, MPA, FACHE, founding dean of the School of Health Sciences, has earned Fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). She will be inducted during convocation at the ACHE Congress in Chicago, March 2019. Dr. Shanderson also presented “How to Field Complaints” at the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) 75th Annual Meeting, in conjunction with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, January 2019. She will also attend the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress in Chicago in March 2019, along with Wittney Jones, PhD, MHA program director, and Robert Clegg, PhD, professor, NCU School of Health Sciences.
  • Robert Wade, PhD, MSN, RN, professor, participated in higher education nursing professional development webinars on managing clinical placements, creating engaging and meaningful online discussions, and preparing for the next generation of NCLEX®: applying clinical judgment in the classroom through NurseTim, Inc.’s faculty development for continuing education in December 2018.

School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Psychology

  • Pam MacDonald, PhD, presented “The Use of Academic Integrity Education in an Early Foundational Course to Assist Psychology Majors in Becoming Better Scholars and to Help Prevent Plagiarism,” at the 2019 meeting of The National Institute of the Teaching of Psychology Conference. She presented with a former student of hers, Meredith McKee, PhD, currently with Walden University.
  • Maria Antonia Rodriguez, PhD, co-authored a chapter in the book “The Politics of Traumatic Literature: Narrating Human Psyche and Memory,” Rodriguez, M.A. & Garcia-Rodriguez, A., Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2018). The chapter was entitled “Suicidality and Survival in Puerto Rican Literature,” Ö. Çakırtaş, A.C. Trinidad and Ş. Kızıltaş (Eds.), (pp. 88-98).
  • Mary Streit, PhD, was accepted to present on the topic “Is Telecommuting a Sustainable Practice?" at the New England Psychological Association’s 2018 annual meeting in Wocester, MA. She also served on SIOP's program committee in 2018, where she was responsible for rating and reviewing presenters for the upcoming 2019 annual meeting. Most recently, she participated in SIOP's visibility committee in their efforts to predict the top 10 workplace trends for 2019.
  • Donna Smith, PhD, led a series of roundtable discussions with a colleague on the topic “Building the Perfect Pracademic: Bridging the Gap between Higher Education and Communities of Practice,” at the 20th Anniversary International Leadership Association Global Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Department of Marriage and Family Sciences

  • Elizabeth Banks, PhD, and collaborators, recently had an article published in Family Medicine, called “Essential Skills for Family Medicine Residents Practicing Integrated Behavioral Health: A Delphi Study.”
  • Dale Bertram, PhD, presented "Paul Watzlawick: A Conduit Between Older and Newer Models of MFT," with three colleagues at the 2018 AAMFT Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in November 2018.
  • Charles West, PhD, is being honored for his service as president/past president (2015-2019), by the Texas Association of Marriage & Family Therapy at their annual conference.

School of Technology

  • Jennifer Twilley, EdD, has joined NCU's School of Technology as curriculum director. She began her new role in January 2018.
  • David Van Over, PhD, MBA, MA, has joined NCU's School of Technology as professor and lead for the technology innovation management programs. He began his new role in February 2019.

J. Robert Sapp, EdD, Dean of the School of Technology is pleased to announce the following appointments:

  • Tony Costanza to the School of Technology’s Professional Advisory Committee. Mr. Costanza is a business leader and information technology executive with extensive experience in global technical management, systems integration and infrastructure transformation. He has served as the head of information technology at ReminderMedia and vice president for global IT operations and support at Laureate, Inc.
  • Larry Leak, PhD, to the School of Technology’s Professional Advisory Committee. In addition to holding tenured positions in several institutions of higher learning, Dr. Leak was also vice provost for academic affairs and acting provost at the University of Maryland University College, until his retirement in 2007.