CCPS Newsletter Winter 2014


Six New Faculty Members Join College

The College of Continuing and Professional Studies welcomed six new faculty members for 2013-2014:

Wesley Nan Barker, assistant professor of religious studies, with graduate degrees from Duke and Emory; Kristina Henderson, assistant professor of counseling and human sciences and program coordinator for the new master's degree in human services, with graduate degrees from Kansas State and the University of Kentucky; Theresa Reese, associate professor of counseling and program coordinator for the new master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, with graduate degrees from Florida State and the University of Georgia; Vik Baskaran, assistant professor of informatics, with a specialization in health informatics and graduate degrees from Coventry University; Kevin Williams, assistant professor of healthcare leadership, with graduate degrees from Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Georgia; and Suneetha Manyam, associate professor of counseling and research methodologist for the doctoral program in counseling, with graduate degrees from Georgia State and Acharyan NG Range Agricultural University in India.

Harris Retires, Named Emeritus Professor After 37 Years at Mercer

Upon his retirement last May, Mercer awarded Dr. Colin Harris, professor of religious studies, the rank of emeritus professor. Dr. Harris graduated from Mercer having received one of the University's highest undergraduate student honors: The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He served on the Mercer faculty for 37 years, receiving its first University-wide award for excellence in teaching: The Joe and Jean Hendricks Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Williams Appointed to State Board by Gov. Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Dr. Art Williams, chair of the College's Department of Counseling and Human Sciences, to the state's Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists. The 10-member board is charged with regulating professional practice to protect the health, safety and welfare of people in Georgia. The board enforces education and training requirements by adopting strict codes of ethics governing licensees, and establishing and enforcing continuing education requirements.

Students Awarded Scholarships
from National Organizations

Two CCPS students have been recognized with scholarships from national organizations:

Myrseane Caze, a third-year doctoral student in counselor education and supervision, received one of 15 $20,000 scholarships nationally from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) Cultural Minorities Fellowship Program.

Andrea Hodges, a student in the undergraduate organizational leadership program, received a scholarship from the Macon chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Counseling Students Present Research at Two Conferences

Nine students pursuing the master's degree in school counseling and one doctoral student in counselor education and supervision presented at this year's annual conference of the Georgia School Counselors Association, Nov. 13-15, on Jekyll Island.

All 12 members of the second cohort of counselor education and supervision doctoral students presented papers at the Sixth Annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy, Feb. 5-7, on the campus of Virginia Tech University. The conference focused on teaching excellence and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

College Looks to Build Off Success of Third Atlanta Research Conference

Thirty-two undergraduate and graduate students and 22 faculty members presented at the Third Annual Mercer University Atlanta Research Conference sponsored by the College last year. Dr. Thomas Bornemann, director of Mental Health at the Carter Center, delivered the keynote address, titled “An Unintentional Career: Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Pursuit of Solutions.” The fourth annual conference is set for Saturday, April 14, 2014, and all students, faculty and alumni are invited to attend. This year's keynote speaker will be Anna Lumpkin, school safety coordinator for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). Her office provides training and technical assistance on issues of school safety to the education, emergency management and public safety communities of Georgia. Her work includes use of research to guide development of school safety plans that involve students and parents as well as law enforcement, fire and emergency management professionals.

Students, Faculty Participate in International, Domestic Service Projects

Each year, students and faculty members contribute to the University's service and global outreach mission through travel and study, both abroad and domestically. 

This past year, students in Dr. Melanie Pavich's classes focused on the history of African Americans in coastal Georgia traveled to St. Simons Island to conduct oral histories of adults who attended the now abandoned Harrington School built in the 1920s to serve the educational needs of the African American community. Students are working to make available to the public the stories of the Harrington students and the rich history of African American education and community on the island. The project is conducted in partnership with the St. Simons Island Heritage Coalition.

Students from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing traveled to Jordan with Dr. Hani Khoury, professor of mathematics, and Dr. Duane Davis, emeritus professor of philosophy, as part of the Mercer On Mission program. In addition to completing two academic courses focused on the history and culture of the Middle East and on social and political challenges facing its inhabitants today, students completed a service-learning project in Amman involving orphaned and physically challenged children at the Al-Asriyya Schools campus.

Students from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies and the School of Medicine traveled to Malawi with Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, associate professor of science, Dr. Mike Smith, and Dr. Richard Kauffman, both from MUSM, where they installed a solar-powered water pump for a medical clinic established during an earlier Mercer On Mission trip. 

Dr. Vokhiwa led 10 master's-level teacher education students and graduates and two administrators from metro Atlanta school districts on a four-week study and curriculum development trip to Malawi supported by a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant awarded to the University and authored by Dr. Vokhiwa. Participants collected data for use in integrating environmental awareness and cultural competency into their area studies curriculum and plan to establish an ongoing collaborative online exchange program with Malawi educators.

Dr. David Lane, professor of counseling, Dr. Art Williams, professor of counseling and department chair for counseling and human sciences, and several Ph.D. students responded to a request by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and clergy in Newtown, Conn., for PTSD training and counseling related to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Dr. Lane and Dr. Diane Clark, coordinator for the counseling programs, along with doctoral students, returned to Newtown in November on the first anniversary of the tragic event.

Initiative Encourages Campus to 'Reach Out, Speak Out' Against Suicide

Dr. Kathy Robinson, assistant professor of counseling, working closely with doctoral students in the counseling program, conceived and implemented a weeklong, campuswide suicide prevention initiative – “Reach Out, Speak Out” – on the Atlanta campus. In addition to tables and events throughout campus staffed by students from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, the College of Health Professions, the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology and Tift College of Education, the week included a suicide prevention training seminar led by Dr. Mary Bartlett, LPC, a well- known expert on suicide prevention, resilience and risk reduction, as well as a seminar by Dr. Carol Koplan from Emory University's Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education.

Several New Programs, Including Gen. Ed., Debut During Current Academic Year

The College launched two new graduate programs this year, the M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling and the M.S. in Human Services. The Department of Leadership Studies launched the M.S. in Organizational Leadership/Organizational Development and Change Leadership at Robins Air Force Base. The Department of Liberal Studies, with emphases in religious studies, literary studies and historical studies, expanded to Mercer's Atlanta campus. For information on any of these programs, contact Stephen Jenkins at, and for the undergraduate program in liberal studies, contact Amanda Bentley at The College implemented a new general education program this fall that supports the University's overarching general education outcomes and competencies and focuses on developing citizens for the 21st century. Courses for the new program assist students in developing the capacities of interpretation, explanation, communication and integration.

Bachelor of Science in Informatics Offered at Douglas County RAC

The College began offering its Bachelor of Science in Informatics program at the Douglas County Regional Academic Center in January. The program is also offered in Macon, Atlanta and Henry County. For more information, click here.

Office of Distance Learning Launched

The College launched its Office of Distance Learning this fall. Under the leadership of Dr. Ken Revels, interim director and associate professor of information systems, the new office will develop initiatives to accomplish its four goals:

To expand the College's online presence; To increase student success in online and hybrid courses and programs; To increase faculty capacity in exemplary and innovative distance teaching and learning; and To encourage scholarship related to exemplary teaching and learning.

The College now has well over 100 courses offered in online and hybrid formats, a fully online degree completion program in public safety leadership and hybrid master's programs in organizational leadership and human services.

Mercer to Host Metropol Meeting in May 2014

Mercer and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies will host the May 2014 meeting of Metropol on the University's Atlanta campus. Metropol consists of law enforcement command officers and security professionals who work together to discuss mutual security issues and seek solutions to provide a safer metro Atlanta community. Ray G. Moore, SAC, U.S. Secret Service, is the current chair of the board.

Grads in the News

Dr. Jim Sams, graduate of the College's master's in organizational leadership program, is the newly appointed head of Piedmont Healthcare Southern Region. Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, organizational leadership graduate, lecturer at the University of Georgia and president and general manager of WTLV/WJXX First Coast News in Jacksonville, Fla., authored a book, titled “The Reason of Fools.”  David Curry, organizational leadership graduate, is the tax commissioner for Henry County, Ga., and his office recently received the Oglethorpe Award of Excellence in recognition of low-cost, high-value operations; and Paul Guerrucci, graduate of the master's in public safety leadership, is Atlanta Police Homicide Unit Commander and is often seen as a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department on television. 

Non-credit Training and Certificate Offerings Increase

The College continues to build its non-credit training and certificate offerings with a new certificate in health coaching and multidisciplinary care coordination offered to Piedmont Medical Care Corporation and Piedmont Heart Institute employees; ongoing executive leadership training of individuals identified as future leaders of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; substance abuse counseling training and certification for addiction counseling; leadership training for public safety officers; leadership training for physicians and medical directors with Piedmont Medical Care Corporation and Piedmont Heart Institute; and executive coaching for physicians enrolled in Piedmont Healthcare's Physician Leadership Academy.

Williams Honored with Trailblazer Award from FAMU

Dr. Kevin Williams, assistant professor of healthcare leadership, was presented with the Trailblazer Award from Florida A&M University's Center for Disability Access and Resources (CeDAR) at its fourth annual CeDAR Honors program in celebration of Disability Awareness Month on Oct. 25. The Trailblazer Award is the highest honor that CeDAR gives. Williams received the award for his advocacy for students with learning disabilities. As the keynote speaker at a “Brunch & Learn Workshop,” Williams also had the opportunity to speak about his study, titled “A Study of Self-Determination Skill of Students with Learning Disabilities at Selected Historically Black Universities,” in which he featured Florida A&M, his alma mater. Dr. Williams also has graduate degrees from Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Georgia.

Harris Crafts Mace for Use at Formal Academic Processions

Professor Emeritus Colin Harris crafted a mace to be used to represent the College at all formal academic processions. Made from different species of native wood, it bears the following inscription:

“This mace is symbolic of the mission of the College in a number of ways: The diversity of wood represents the unique make-up of background and gifts of the diverse community of learners and teachers who are united in a common purpose. The specific woods represent the geographical scope of the College: The head is North Georgia Black Walnut, one of Georgia's most beautiful native woods. The top collar is Dogwood, representing Atlanta as the northern center of the College's life. Joining North to South, the shaft is Red Oak, one of the strongest and most durable of Georgia's woods. The bottom collar is Cherry, representing Macon, the southern center of the College. The lower end of the mace is South Georgia Yellow Pine, the backbone of the building industry and one of the state's most valuable renewable resources – symbolic of the minds and lives of the people who are the College.”