Fourteen Faculty Receive Promotion in Rank
The Lee University Board of Directors recently awarded promotion in rank from associate professor to professor to four faculty members and promotion in rank from assistant professor to associate professor to ten faculty members.
The faculty members promoted to professor include Dr. Shane Griffith, Dr. Hermilo Jasso, Dr. Brad Moffett, and Dr. Sara Ortega-Higgs.
Griffith, a Lee alumnus and professor of business, teaches Business Analytics, Futures and Options, and Strategic Management. He worked as an actuarial analyst for six years before returning to his alma mater in 2002 to teach. He serves as director for Lee’s Master of Business Administration program and as associate dean of Lee’s School of Business.
Griffith also serves on the board of directors for a local non-profit organization and is a member of the institutional review board for a local hospital. In 2009, he won Lee’s Excellence in Advising Award, and later won Lee’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015. He earned his Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University, his Master of Advanced Studies from Georgia State University (GSU), and his Bachelor of Science from Lee.
Jasso joined Lee’s business faculty in 1987 after a successful stint in the business world, working as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and as a financial analyst for Metropolitan Life. He has been listed multiple times in “Who’s Who Among American Entrepreneurs,” “Who’s Who Among Hispanic Americans,” “Who’s Who Among American Teachers,” “Who’s Who in North America Education,” “Sutton Who’s Who in Academia,” and “Two Thousand Notable American Men.”
A popular classroom lecturer, Jasso customarily teaches Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Investments, Social Issues in Economics, and International Business. He was the first recipient of the Janet Rahamut Faculty Award and has been a guest lecturer at multiple universities around the world as well as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a United States Department of Defense Institution. Jasso received his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from Universidad De La Empresa, Uruguay, his Master of Business Administration from Laredo State University, and his Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Lee.
Moffett, professor of music and director of graduate studies in music, joined Lee’s School of Music in the fall of 2006. He also serves as director of LeeU Worship and conductor of the Lee University Singers. During the past 11 years at Lee, Moffett has conducted more than 400 concerts with the Lee Singers throughout the United States and in Russia, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, Zambia, and South Africa. He has produced 15 music recordings with the Lee University Singers, Second Edition, LeeU Worship, and the Mount Paran North New Life Singers.
Moffett was honored by the National Religious Week Association as one of the Top Fifteen Ministers of Music during his tenure at the Mount Paran North Church of God in Marietta, Georgia, and he has received two Dove Award nominations for the SpiritSound recordings, “He is Great” and “One.” He earned his Doctor of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, his Master of Music from Georgia State University, and his Bachelor of Music Education from Lee.
Ortega-Higgs, professor of Spanish and French, joined the Lee family in 2005, her first teaching appointment in the continental United States. She is a believer in social justice and works as a translator for the Zion Project, a non-profit organization that fights for human rights and rescues sex trafficking victims. She also voluntarily translates medical and legal documents for families seeking to adopt children with disabilities overseas. A member of Lee’s Diversity Committee, Ortega-Higgs played a role in starting the celebrations of International Women’s Day (IWD) at the university in 2007. She has chaired the IWD committee for six years and participates each year.
A student of languages, Ortega-Higgs earned her PhD in Hispanic studies from the University of Puerto Rico and her PhD in romance languages studies from the Université Stendhal in Grenoble. She also earned her postgraduate diploma, her MA in Spanish literature, and her BA in Spanish and Latin-American literatures and civilizations from the Université Stendhal in Grenoble.
The ten faculty promoted to associate professor include Dr. Richard Albright, Dan Buck, Matthew Fisher, Dr. Andrew Harnsberger, Mary Mathias-Dickerson, and Drs. Brian Peterson, Mark Proctor, Randy Sheeks, Arlie Tagayuna, and John Wykoff.
Albright, associate professor of psychology who joined the Lee family in 2011, teaches many graduate and undergraduate psychology courses and is the director of the school counseling program. He is an American School Counselor Association certified bullying prevention specialist and a nationally-certified counselor. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Education (MEd), and Bachelor of Science (BS) from The Pennsylvania State University. Before coming to Lee, Albright worked for many years as a school counselor and high school football and wrestling coach in central Pennsylvania.
Buck joined the Lee Theatre faculty in fall 2010 and teaches classes in acting, directing, and dramatic literature. A current associate professor of theatre, he has worked as a professional actor and improviser in the Boston and Orlando areas. He created a high school theatre program for a private school, which he directed for five years. Buck directs many of the theatre productions at Lee, and he is the sponsor of Lee’s improv team, Shenanigans. He earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in directing from Baylor University and his Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Taylor University.
Fisher, associate professor of digital media studies, joined the Communication Arts faculty in 2011. He teaches classes on screenwriting, directing, film theory, and film criticism. He holds an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a BA from Lee University. Fisher has written and directed several short films, which have screened at festivals such as the Nashville Film Festival, Cannes Court Métrage, and the Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo. His 2015 film “Pilgrim” was shot in Reykjavik, Iceland, and screened at the Cine Gear Expo and the Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival.
Praised by Percussive Notes Journal as “a master of musical nuance,” Harnsberger joined the Lee faculty in 2012. He has performed in musical venues across North America, South America, Australia, Japan, and Europe, and presents numerous solo recitals and clinics throughout the United States each year. Harnsberger also presents clinics and masterclasses at as many as 40 universities per year. His compositions have been performed at the Percussion Arts Society International Convention and around the world. Currently an associate professor of percussion, Harnsberger earned his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he also received the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. He earned his Master of Music (MM) and Bachelor of Music (BM) from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mathias-Dickerson, associate professor of art, joined the Lee family in 2011 to help launch the new art major. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums at local, national, and international levels. She has conducted painting and drawing workshops and demonstrations in the United States, and abroad in Mexico and France. She created and coordinates the Atelier Neo Medici Semester Abroad program for Lee, which allows art students interested in traditional drawing and painting techniques to study abroad with a master painter. Mathias-Dickerson earned her MFA from Bradley University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Bowling Green State University.
Peterson, associate professor of Old Testament, joined the School of Religion faculty in 2011 after spending over a decade as a licensed carpenter. He currently teaches a variety of Old Testament classes and Hebrew at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He previously taught at Gambia Theological Institute in West Africa, as well as spending a year as an assistant professor of Old Testament at Prairie Bible College in Alberta, Canada. Peterson spends a portion of his summers involved with archaeology in Israel where Lee students often join him for a dig.
Peterson received his PhD in Hebrew Bible from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, his MA in theological studies from Beeson Divinity School, his Master of Theological Studies in Old Testament from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and his bachelor’s in biblical studies from Zion Bible College.
Proctor, associate professor of New Testament, joined the Lee family in the fall of 2009. Before coming to Lee, he taught biblical studies and philosophy at Houston Baptist University for over six years. Proctor values scholarly writing and actively participates in the scholarly guild. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and frequently presents papers at professional meetings. He graduated from Baylor University with a PhD in religious studies in 1999, where he studied under renowned Luke-Acts scholar Mikael Parsons. He earned his MA from Marquette University and his BA from Evangel University.
Sheeks is an associate professor of music and the coordinator of the undergraduate music and worship program at Lee. He came to the university in fall 2010 after spending 23 years in local church music ministry. His outstanding leadership in the music and fine arts ministries at three different churches has made him a well-known voice in the world of church music. In 2004, Sheeks received the Distinguished Musicianship Award from the Church of God, recognizing his work at the Metropolitan Church of God in Birmingham, Alabama, where he served for 16 years and built a large, effective music program. His passion for the local church continues as he instructs students at Lee in the church music curriculum. Sheeks earned his DMA from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, his MM from Samford University and his BA from Lee.
A native of the Philippines and Hawaii, Tagayuna joined Lee’s Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in 2011. His research and teaching stands at the intersection of inequalities, crime, race and ethnic relations, culture, and community development, among similar topics. His current research documents the opioid epidemic in Southeast Tennessee. He is also doing some preliminary research in Southeast Asian Pentecostalism. Tagayuna, in partnership with the City of Cleveland, is currently involved in capacity building and community organizing of East Cleveland communities, particularly in the Blythe Bower and College Hill areas. He earned his PhD and MA from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and his BA from the University of the Philippines.
Wykoff, associate professor of music theory and composition, has composed works for solo piano, small ensemble, voice, choir, orchestra, and more. A composer and music theorist, he composed two pieces for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. His chamber music has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Cygnus, Second Instrumental Unit, and the MIVOS Quartet. Additionally, his sacred music, including choral works and congregational song, is sung in churches across the United States and in Canada.
Wykoff received the “George Perle Award” for music composition from Queens College, was a Chancellor’s Fellow at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in Manhattan, and has been a featured speaker for the Alliance of Christian Musicians and the Tennessee Huguenot Society. He earned his PhD in music composition from the CUNY Graduate Center, his MA in music composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, and his BA in music and philosophy from Covenant College.