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Faculty Stories


Dr. Roger Breland
Performing Arts

Dr. Lonnie Burnett
History

Mr. Steve Carey
Natural Sciences

Dr. William Carroll
Athletic Training Education

Mrs. Kathy Dunning
Accounting

Dr. Sue Gober
Education

Dr. Peter Kingsford
Education

Dr. Ted Mashburn
Humanities

Dr. Al Miller
Performing Arts

Dr. Sarah Noble
Biology

Dr. Douglas Wilson
Christian Ministries

Dr. Jay Robertson
Christian Ministries

Dr. Dwight Steedley
Mathematics

Dr. Dale Younce
Christian Studies
Biology

Dr. Roger Breland
Vice President
Director, Center for Performing Arts

In the year 2000 Dr. Breland was elected to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He traveled 3 million miles and recorded 60 albums with TRUTH. TRUTH presented 10,000 concerts in 26 nations in 31 years. He travels extensively throughout the United States and internationally as a workshop clinician and speaker. His Excellence on the Platform topic is in great demand. Many of his former TRUTH members are successful leaders in Christian music. Kim Noblitt, Russ Lee, Alicia, Avalon, 4HIM, Jason Breland, Anthony Evans are examples of his influence. Dr. Breland is the author of the book, IN SEARCH OF A LOVELY MOMENT. In May of 2003 Dr. Breland became the Director of the Center for Performing Arts at the University of Mobile. Presently the CPA has 15 performing ensembles and has presented concerts to SRO audiences in local churches, conventions, The White House and Europe.

Dr. Lonnie Burnett

Professor of History

You have to look beyond the obvious to find something important. Whether he's teaching history in a classroom or traveling in his down time, Dr. Lonnie Burnett is always exploring to find hidden treasures in unexpected places.

Dr. Burnett's interest in history came from his father, a World War II veteran who served at D-Day. This personal interest became a lifetime profession that has enabled him to explore the world through a perspective of the past and its relevance to the present.

Whether he's looking for a small local restaurant in an unfamiliar town or an enlightening historical document in the National Archives, Dr. Burnett is eager to experience the world and to bring the intrigue of exploration back into the classroom. It's the hidden treasures found in the journey that make the pursuit worthwhile.

Mr. Steve Carey
Associate Professor of Biology
College of Arts & Sciences

Steve Carey believes experience is an excellent teacher. That’s why you’ll find his students raising a net in the woods at dusk to catch bats for a bat census, or identifying plants and installing markers at a nature trail at the university’s Harrigan Learning Center.

Carey brings his own experiences to the classroom. His idea of fun is chasing tornadoes in the Great Plains, observing active volcanoes in Hawaii, climbing cliffs in the Mohave Desert, exploring caves in south Alabama to locate bat habitats, or consulting with business and government agencies on environmental impacts on endangered species. “I like to apply in the classroom what I’ve done in the real world,” Carey says.

“I want my students to develop an appreciation for the natural world and a sense of responsibility to take care of it,” he adds. “When you begin to see how miraculous life is, you have a better understanding of God and his creation.”

Dr. William Carroll
Professor of HPES
Director, Athletic Training Education Program
School of Education

When Dr. William Carroll speaks about athletic training, it's with the authority that comes from years of international experience in the field. Previously, he served as a consultant and athletic trainer for the French Olympic Development Team and as head athletic trainer for the World Hockey Association and the European Hockey League. Today, UM's Director of Athletic Training Education Program is working with the 2008 Chinese Olympic Delegation, evaluating their sports medicine program and involving students in this real-world exercise.

Dr. Carroll believes in practical experience. His students put classroom theories into practice at sports medicine clinics, high school and college athletic events, family practice offices, and traditional athletic training rooms.

"With four years of practical experience, you can hit the ground running when you graduate," said the Professor of Human Performance and Exercise Science. "You're taking theory and putting it into practice under direct supervision. The abstract becomes concrete."

Dr. Carroll's expertise in the field of athletics includes his own personal accomplishment in the boxing arena as the 1962 Golden Gloves Super Bantamweight Champion and 1963 Super Featherweight Champion and a member of the Chicago Golden Gloves Hall of Fame.

Mrs. Kathy Dunning

Chair, Department of Accounting
Assistant Professor of Accounting
School of Business

For Kathy Dunning, Assistant Professor in Accounting and an avid tennis player, beating the competition means seeing the big picture, figuring out your strengths and weaknesses, maximizing your potential, making each decision count. That's true in the business world - and on the tennis court.

"So many people are under the misconception that if you can add and subtract, that's accounting," said the Chair of the Department of Accounting.

Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of a company means much more than looking at numbers - it's a blend of accounting, management and common sense that also requires the highest of ethical standards.

Whether the topic is corporate tax, managerial and cost accounting, or finance, Mrs. Dunning teaches her students to think critically, play by the rules, and give it their best shot.

It's a lesson that applies to the business world, to the tennis court - and to life.

Dr. Sue Gober

Professor of Education
Director of Professional Laboratory Experiences
School of Education

Dr. Sue Gober’s college classroom is a lot like the kindergarten classroom where she taught for 16 years. There is constant motion – students move from table to table, working on projects, laughing. When it’s time for “go-around,” Dr. Gober reaches into a jar, pulls out a popsicle stick, and reads the name written in marker.

“What did you learn today?” she asks.

For School of Education students, the answer is easy. They are learning first-hand about the lifelong joy of learning – and the joy of teaching. It’s a lesson this Professor of Education believes to be as important in a college classroom as it is in preschool, elementary, middle and high school.

“There are so many things you can do as a teacher to make learning come alive,” said Dr. Gober. She teaches the next generation of educators to be independent thinkers and problem solvers, to be risk takers and to think outside the box, to create interactive classrooms with a warm environment, and to have a passion and enthusiasm for teaching.

Dr. Peter Kingsford

Dean, School of Education
Chair, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Associate Professor of Education

As a veteran in education -- he worked in the public school system as a special education teacher for 10 years and as a principle for 15 years -- Dr. Peter Kingsford knows that educators must have a passion for teaching. But he also knows that passion will only take a teacher so far. “Our students come into the School of Education with a passion for children, for teaching. We take them beyond that passion and give them the skills to make a real difference in a child’s life,” says Dr. Kingsford.

Being effective is important to Dr. Kingsford, whether it is in the classroom or beyond. That’s why you’ll find him working in a variety of community service organizations, from Rotary and Civitan to associations for the blind or retarded. He may be swinging a hammer to build a playground at a school, reading to first graders, or taking a day each April to show some of his students the joy of volunteering with the local Special Olympics games. Finding a need and finding a way to meet that need -- that’s how Dr. Kingsford finds satisfaction.

Dr. Ted Mashburn

Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Chair, Department of Humanities
Professor of Philosophy

To think critically, comprehensively and compassionately; to ask the big questions and to attempt the journey toward answers; to be bold, honest and, most of all, authentic – that’s what Dr. Ted Mashburn expects of his students. It’s also what he expects of himself.

“I like the challenges of stretching minds, including my own,” said the professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.

His specialties include hermeneutics (the interpretation of ancient and biblical texts), Platonic dialogues, world religions and critical thinking. His personal studies resulted in the publication of articles on early and medieval Christian writers, as well as scribe and scripture in the New Testament. Through courses like “God, Evil, and Suffering” and biennial trips to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Dr. Mashburn encourages students to discover who they are in relation to God, others and the world.

Ask our students about Dr. Mashburn, and you’ll hear words like “energetic” and “passionate” – qualities that extend beyond the classroom. This former college linebacker believes in keeping physically fit as well as mentally sharp. When class is over, invite him to join you and a few friends for a quick pick-up game of basketball at Pharr Gym.

Dr. Al Miller

Dean, Center for Performing Arts
Professor of Music
Center for Performing Arts

In high school, Al Miller was a decathlete. He loved the variety - training for 10 different events, honing muscles needed to throw the discus, developing endurance to leap hurdles, overcoming earth's gravity to soar ever higher on the pole vault. It was his passion.

Then he joined a college male chorus and discovered music.

Now, music is his passion - one that he's glad to share with the talented students in the Center for Performing Arts.

"I believe God gives us a gift and the desire to develop its fullest potential," Dr. Miller said. "There's an inward satisfaction you achieve when you know that God has given you something special, and you develop it to the point where it really communicates."

Dr. Miller has used music to communicate with a variety of people. His church choir performed for President George W. Bush at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and he has worked with such outstanding Christian musicians such as Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Twila Paris, Avalon and Phil Keagy.

Variety is still important to Dr. Miller. The Center for Performing Arts has a broad focus which encompasses traditional music education, contemporary styles and commercial training.

"That's part of our mission here - not only to develop the gifts each student has, but to discover ones they didn't know they had," he said.

Dr. Sarah Marie Noble
Assistant Professor of Biology
Department of Natural Sciences

Dr. Noble has a life-long fascination with the intricacies and beauty of the natural world. She says that exploring and discovering the intricate details of nature instills a sense of wonder and responsibility to appreciate and care for our planet. The knowledge that we gain today is supported by a strong foundation of research by the scientific giants who came before us, she said.

Dr. Noble’s love for exploration and discovery still motivates her to engage in research, learn, and share her knowledge to help others discover the awe-inspiring natural world in which we live. When she’s not in the classroom, you can find her studying bryophytes and algae, conducting research in caves, snorkeling, or leading nature walks during the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Dr. Douglas Wilson

Dean, School of Christian Ministries
Professor of Christian Ministries

As a young man, Doug Wilson never thought he would be a teacher. But God pulled together the pieces of Dr. Wilson’s calling to teach, through one step of obedience at a time.

In addition to being a husband and father of six children, Dr. Wilson’s experiences in music ministry, pastoral ministry, church planting and international service cultivated his desire to help others understand God’s call on their lives. Dr. Wilson also directs the intercultural studies program and regularly leads international service projects for his students.

As Dr. Wilson helps students become involved in putting together the pieces of the Kingdom of God around the globe, he is delighted to see students understand how God is putting together the pieces of their lives for an eternal purpose – one step of obedience at a time.

Dr. Jay Robertson

Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries
School of Christian Ministries

Cooking pancakes and teaching college classes may not seem to be related pursuits, but for Dr. Jay Robertson, these -- and all -- activities have a link: the opportunity to live out his Christian faith. And he wants his students to see those opportunities, too.

“I love seeing the truth connect with students’ minds,” he said. “I love to see them realize that the truth being taught in the classroom impacts them and their relationship with God, and also it guides them in how they are to live their life, whether they are going to be a nurse, a teacher, a pastor, a missionary or a youth worker. Thinking from a Christian worldview means applying Christian truths to all aspects of our lives, and that includes how we do our jobs -- from art to zoology.”

Personally called both to teaching and to ministry, Dr. Robertson combines the two callings into one mission: to focus on changing the world for the glory of God and the good of humanity. Robertson’s hands-on approach to ministry means that, in addition to teaching, you will find him preaching in a local church, leading a University Missions trip to Macedonia, and walking on campus in the evenings with his wife, Pam, while talking with UM students.

You may also find him teaching these students more about Christ-likeness by ministering to them off campus, helping them satisfy their spiritual and physical hunger. Dr. Robertson regularly invites small groups of students to his home for singing, prayer and dessert. And the annual highlight of these extracurricular activities occurs when Dr. Robertson takes spatula in hand and invites international students to join him at his self-styled restaurant, R-HOP -- Robertson’s House of Pancakes.


Dr. Dwight Steedley

Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

As the owner of property on Mobile River officially designated a “Treasure Forest,” Dr. Dwight Steedley has one goal – to take something God has created, preserve what is good, and help make it all that the Creator intended. It’s a land management philosophy that extends to the classroom.  Whether it’s basic college algebra or calculus, Steedley believes the answer lies not simply in the solution, but in the personal growth that comes with the journey.

It’s a journey Steedley knows well. As a student in the first class to enroll at the University of Mobile in 1963, he knew the school was something special. Years later, when he returned as a mathematics professor, he discovered there is only thing better than being a student at UMobile – it is to teach here.

Dr. Dale Younce

School of Christian Studies

When Dr. Dale Younce was a boy, he worked each Saturday for $1 a day in his father’s hardware store. Sometimes, when the workday ended and the front door was locked, a customer would tap at the window. His father always unlocked the door, welcoming the customer in. “We’re here to serve,” he told his son.

“The idea of serving people to meet their needs, even at personal inconvenience or sacrifice, is important – and I learned that from my dad,” said Dr. Younce.

It’s a lesson he has applied throughout his 18-year career as a church pastor and now as Associate Professor of Religion at UM. Through the University Missions program, which offers college credit for mission experience, he has led teams of students to China, Australia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Israel, Canada, Spain, Germany and Siberia. His teams have worked with missionaries in each nation, including with UM graduates now serving as missionaries to Japan and Ireland.

“These trips open their eyes to the need for the Gospel to be preached and churches to be established in other cultures,” said Dr. Younce. “I want them to have a passion for Jesus, a hunger for God’s word and a desire to spread that word. I want them to live a life that honors God and benefits others. I want them to be mission-oriented, focused on serving others whether they make their living as a pastor or youth leader, or as a nurse or computer analyst.”

Or as the owner of a hardware store.