Chair of the English Department
Cheryl Collier serves as a professor of English and as the chair of the English Department at NGU. A graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned both her master's and doctorate degrees, Collier joined the NGU English Department in 1999, after serving as an assistant professor of English at Clemson University. Collier's special areas of academic interest are early, modern, and contemporary American literature; Southern Literature; William Faulkner; and creative writing. She loves working one on one with students and counts it a privilege
and a blessing to fulfill the call to teach at NGU. She is the recipient of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award. Collier is a board member of Palmetto Conservative Alliance, and she serves as a women's Bible study teacher at her church. When she's not grading essays or preparing for classes, Collier enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her husband Darryl and their son Ethan.
Rachel Roberts serves as an assistant professor of English at NGU. She holds a B.A. in English from Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA, 2009), an M.A. in English from Creighton University (Omaha, NE, 2011), and a PhD in English from Baylor University (Waco, TX, 2016). She specializes in early British literature, particularly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British women writers. During her graduate work at Baylor, she participated in the interdisciplinary Lilly Graduate Fellows Program (2011-14). She is also an experienced church pianist and has played in churches in Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas. As newcomers to South Carolina, Rachel and her husband Nathan enjoy exploring the Upstate, particularly through hikes in the beautiful local parks.
Deborah DeCiantis serves as an associate professor of English and as adviser to The Mountain Laurel at NGU. She holds a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester. DeCiantis’ special areas of interest include student literary/art publishing; T.S. Eliot; modern and contemporary drama; American modernist poets; Charles Dickens; 17th-century early modern poets, especially George Herbert, Shakespeare, and John Donne; French literature (particularly poetry and drama; rhetoric and apologetics; and the British Romantic period. When she’s not pursuing literary pursuits, DeCiantis enjoys writing, piano playing and choral singing, classical and sacred music, embroidery, cooking and baking, and reading a wide variety of books and articles, from newspapers to novels. Since 2012, spending time with grandchildren has been a blessed addition to this list.
Amanda Eron serves as an instructor of English at NGU. She received her bachelor's degree in English secondary education from Coastal Carolina University and her master's in English from Clemson University. Eron teaches Composition and Rhetoric and American Literature. Her husband Scott is an elementary physical education teacher, and they have three children: Rebekah, Matthew, and Micah. Eron enjoys serving with her husband as Sunday school teachers for a couples' class at their church and spending time with her family.
Haley Gambrell serves as an instructor in the English Department at NGU. She received her master's in English from Gardner-Webb University, where she wrote a thesis on language and religion in British science
fiction. Gambrell teaches a variety of courses, including Composition and Rhetoric, British Literature, and Multicultural Literature. She serves as the director of the Writing Center at NGU. She is also an avid baseball fan.
Jenna Garrett serves as an assistant professor of English at NGU. She earned her Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Bob Jones University. Following her graduation from NGU in 2004, she taught seventh-grade literature before moving on to teach English on the secondary level. During these years, Garrett earned her master's from Middlebury College. When the opportunity to return to her alma mater occurred, Garrett eagerly joined the NGU English department. She teaches a wide range of courses, such as Composition and Rhetoric, Multicultural Literature, American Literature, and Technical Writing. In her free time, Garrett enjoys reading mystery novels, traveling, and running after her rambunctious nephew.
Alicia Looper serves as an instructor of English at NGU. She graduated from North Greenville University in 2003 with her bachelor's in English. She then attended Clemson University, where she obtained her Masters of Arts in English in 2005. After finishing those degrees, Looper returned to her alma mater to continue her career. Currently, she teaches Composition and Rhetoric at NGU. Looper lives in Pickens, S.C., with her husband Jason and their three children: Abby, Jake, and Seth. She has lived in Pickens her whole life, and most of her extended family is there, which makes for wonderful holidays. When she isn't teaching, Looper enjoys reading good books, spending time with her family, and working at her church.
John Logan Schell
John Logan Schell serves as an instructor of English at NGU. He studied at North Greenville University before attending Appalachian State University, where he completed his master's in English. He also received a certificate in rhetoric and composition during his graduate studies. Schell's interests include literary theory, popular culture, and comic book studies. He enjoys the guilty pleasure of online gaming and fiction writing in his spare time. Schell is married to the love of his life, Emma Sobczak Schell, who also has a master's degree from Appalachian State.
Hiewon Shin serves as an associate professor of English at NGU. She has worked in higher education for nearly 20 years. Shin has taught various classes, including Composition and Rhetoric, Shakespeare's Tragedies, Shakespeare's Comedies/Histories, Asian American Literature, and Women in Literature. Shin has been very active in service at NGU, and she is one of the founding members of the Faith, Race, and Culture committee. Before joining NGU's English department, Shin received her doctorate in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Pennsylvania State University. Her essays have been published in prestigious scholarly journals such as Renaissance Studies and Studies in English Literature. Shin actively attends domestic and international conferences, such as Shakespeare Association of America, Asian Shakespeare Association, and Korean Shakespeare Association. She lives in Greenville with her husband Dongjai Lee and two sons, Brendon and Juni.
Sarah Strawhorn earned her Master of Arts in English at Bob Jones University and began teaching as an instructor of English at North Greenville University in 2007. Strawhorn teaches freshman composition courses, as well American, British, and Multicultural literature courses. In addition, she tutors students in writing and grammar at the
university Writing Center. A native South Carolinian, Strawhorn enjoys living in the Upstate and spends her free time baking, hiking, and reading. She is also involved in her church and serves in the youth ministry, often going on mission trips both in the United States and internationally.
Becky Thompson serves as a professor of English at NGU. She earned her doctorate in English education from Bob Jones University in 2006. Thompson has held a variety of positions at NGU, including faculty secretary, faculty vice chair, and faculty chair. Additionally, she is the coordinator of the English language arts secondary education degree and one of the advisors of the Alpha Kappa Rho chapter of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. In her free time, Thompson enjoys spending time with her family (specifically her nephews and nieces); reading (especially all types of American literature); and traveling (particularly to noteworthy literary locations like prominent American authors' homes). One interesting fact: you can find pictures of many of her travels both in her office in White Hall as well as outside her office on the walls and office door. Most of all, Thompson enjoys her ministry of teaching.
James Washick, professor of English, has been at NGU since 2001. A specialist in British literature, he teaches courses in Victorian literature, modern British literature, and the British novel, in addition to courses on literature and film, history of the English language, and C.S. Lewis. As part of his graduate studies, he also specialized in young adult materials, and he has since served on the SCASL Junior Book Award Committee. His interest in intertextual relationships has led to published articles on the connection between Katherine Paterson and C. S. Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson and Valerie Martin, and Charles Dickens and J.K. Rowling. Beyond his academic work, Washick is also a fan of random trivia, Alfred Hitchcock films, and graphic novels.
H. Paul Thompson Jr.
Dean of the College of Humanities
Chair of the History Department
Paul Thompson serves as dean of the College of Humanities, chair of the History Department, and a history professor at NGU. He received his doctorate in American history from Emory University and a Certificate in
Nonprofit Management from Duke University. He is a diversity fellow of The Riley Institute at Furman University. Prior to teaching at NGU, Thompson had a 13-year career as a public school teacher and taught history at Lander University. His teaching and research interests include the 19th-century temperance movement, African American history, and the history of Christianity in America. He is also the 2015 NGU recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award, given by the South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities. He is author of A Most Stirring and Significant Episode: Religion and the Rise and Fall of Prohibition in Black Atlanta, 1865-1887. Thompson also considers himself a foodie and enjoys eating at fine restaurants and traveling in his spare time.
Jeffrey Cook serves as a professor of history at NGU. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in American history from West Virginia University. Prior to teaching at NGU, Cook worked as a lecturer at West Virginia
University; a visiting assistant professor at West Virginia State University; and an adjunct at Fairmont State College, University of Maryland, and Marshall University. His teaching and research interests focus on 20th-century American history. He is also author of Harry S. Truman: Continuity and Change and the Dictionary of Literary biography: American World War II Correspondents. When not teaching, Cook loves spending time with his family.
M. Dujon Johnson
M. Dujon Johnson serves as an assistant professor in the History Department at NGU and is also an adjunct instructor in Mandarin in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. Dr. Johnson earned his Master of Arts from the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies, his Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law, his doctorate from the of Institute of China, Asia & Pacific Studies at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, China and his Master of Laws from Washington University School of Law in Saint Louis, Missouri. Dr. Johnson is currently a visiting China scholar (affiliated) at the Asian Legal Center at the University of Washington Law School and is a faculty member in the Intellectual Property law department at Chongqing University of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s teaching and research interests focus on modern Chinese history, politics and security as well as intellectual property law. In his spare time Dr. Johnson loves to spend time with his family.
Robert Boggs serves as an instructor of history at NGU. He earned his master's degree in history education from Furman University and his Master of Divinity from Duke University. Prior to teaching at NGU, Boggs worked in banking and the nonprofit sector, as a Methodist minister, and in teaching at other area schools. His teaching specialties include ancient and medieval history and European history. Besides teaching, Boggs enjoys gardening.
Rosemary Thrasher serves as an instructor of history at NGU. She holds a master’s degree in history from Clemson University and a Master of Education in history education from Bob Jones University. Before teaching at NGU, Thrasher had an 11-year career as a high school teacher and also taught at Spartanburg Community College. Her teaching and research interests include geography, American women’s history, and European history. Thrasher's favorite activities are reading and traveling. Two of her remaining life goals are to visit every continent and all 50 states.
Paul Yandle serves as an assistant professor of history at NGU. He earned his doctorate in American history from West Virginia University. Before his time at NGU, Yandle served as visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University. His teaching and research interests include the mountain South and 19th-century African American history. He has published several articles and chapters about late 19th-century North Carolina. In his spare time, Yandle enjoys hiking and spending time on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
More History Faculty Members
David Bell - Affiliate Instructor
Kayla Black - Adjunct Instructor
Rachel Larson - Adjunct Professor
Scott Withrow - Adjunct Instructor
Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.) Department
Dr. Gregory Bruce
Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.) Department
Gregory Bruce serves as the chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies
(B.A.) Department at NGU. He holds a doctorate in literature and
religion from Emory University's Institute of the Liberal Arts, as well
as master's and bachelor's degrees from Georgia State University in
downtown Atlanta. Bruce has received numerous teaching awards, and his
scholarship ranges from Christianity and culture to poetics and
pedagogy. He also teaches in the English and Honors Programs at NGU, and
he has a long-anticipated book of poetry on the way. Bruce continues to
commute from Atlanta, where he lives with his wife Stephanie and where
they spend as much time as possible with their five grandchildren.
Bruce, a long-time athlete, remains an avid tennis player.
Modern Languages and Linguistics Department
Dr. Victor M. Prieto, Ph.D.
Chair of the Modern Languages and Linguistics Department
Victor Prieto is the Chair of the department and an associate professor of linguistics and Spanish. He holds a doctorate from the University of Florida in
linguistics with an emphasis in Spanish, a master’s degree from the
University of Florida, a Bachelor of Arts from the Baptist Theological
Seminary in Venezuela, and a Bachelor of Science from the Carabobo State
University. He has taught Spanish and linguistics in a wide variety of
settings. Biannually, he teaches summer linguistics courses at the
University of Peru in Lima for SIL. He is also deeply involved in a
local Spanish-speaking church. He is a certified OPI interviewer for
ACTFL and holds South Carolina teacher certification.
Instructor of Spanish
Rebecca Deal serves as an instructor of Spanish at NGU. She earned her bachelor's degree from Carson Newman College, her master's from Arizona State University, and her ESL certification from the University
of Phoenix. She also studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Deal grew up in Colombia, South America, in her Christian missionary family. She brings a unique understanding of faith and the Spanish language due to her background as a non-Hispanic native Spanish speaker. She is active in missionary work in the South Carolina Upstate.
She has taught both Spanish and English as a second language at a variety of private schools, public schools, community colleges, and universities.
Instructor of Spanish
Keris Suttles serves as an instructor of Spanish and linguistics at NGU. She
holds a Master of Arts in linguistics with a minor in Spanish from the
University of South Carolina Columbia, as well as a Bachelor of Arts
from North Greenville University. She is active in the Spanish Club and
the Spanish Honors Club.
Instructor of Spanish
Heard serves as an instructor of Spanish at NGU. She holds a Master of
Arts in teaching languages with an emphasis in Spanish from the
University of Southern Mississippi. She served as the director of
TESOL Department at the Instituto Bíblico in Chihuahua, Mexico, from
2007 to 2012. She and her husband were tribal missionaries in Pepeina,
Venezuela, with New Tribes Mission from 1999 to 2006.
Coordinator of the Spanish Education program
Burl Walker serves as an instructor of Spanish at NGU. He holds a Master of
Arts in Spanish from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Arts from Evangel
College. He has additionally studied at the Southwest Missouri State
University and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He has been very
active in Upstate churches, both as a guest preacher and as an elder. He
is the department’s Spanish education coordinator and language
Dr. Ben Coates
Associate Professor of Spanish Education Coordinator
Ben Coates serves as Associate Professor of Spanish and
Spanish Education Coordinator at NGU. He
holds a doctorate from la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain)
in Hispanic literature, a Master of Arts in Spanish from the University of
Northern Iowa, a Master of Educational Leadership from Converse College, and a
Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education – Spanish from Clemson University. His dissertation, El teatro representado en español en Los Ángeles durate los años
2000-2010, earned the Award for Outstanding Dissertation from la UNED. His research interests include Hispanic Theater and 20th century Spanish literature, and he has published articles in journals
in the United States and Spain. He holds South Carolina teacher certification and has taught Spanish in a variety of settings, from middle school through the graduate level. He taught Advanced Placement Spanish Language and now is an AP Table Leader. He is also an Examiner for
International Baccalaureate. In 2016,
while serving on the faculty at Gardner-Webb University, Dr. Coates received
the Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Liliane Ayed Toss
Professor of French
Ayad Toss serves as a professor of French in the Modern Languages and
Linguistics Department at NGU. She earned her master’s and doctoral
degrees from Ain Shams University in Egypt. Prior to teaching at NGU,
Toss taught French and French studies at her alma mater Ain Shams.
Today, she remains active in research, as well as a local Arabic
Adjunct Instructor of French and German
Carrick serves as an adjunct instructor of French and German at NGU. He
earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in preaching from Westminster
Theological Seminary and his master's in modern languages, bachelor's
degree, and Certificate of Education from Oxford University.
Dr. William Steurmann
Adjunct Instructor of German
William Stuermann serves as an adjunct instructor of German at NGU. He is a retired professor, and he served as the Chair of the Dept for 17 years. He holds a doctorate and Master of Arts in German language and literature, with a minor in German linguistics, from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Tulsa. He also holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and he is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
Adjunct Instructor for TESOL & Linguisics
Grant Henning serves as an adjunct instructor in linguistics at NGU. He holds
a doctorate in educational psychology, a Master of Arts in applied
linguistics (TESL), and a Certificate in Applied Linguistics (TESL) from
the University of California at Los Angeles, where he has also
previously served as an adjunct assistant professor. He also
previously worked as a college instructor at Damavand College, Teheran, Iran.
Henning served as a missionary to Iran from 1966 to 1975, a missionary
to Egypt from 1977 to1983, and a missionary to Taiwan from 2003 to 2011.
Professor of American Sign Language (ASL)
Fike serves as a professor of American Sign Language at NGU.
She holds a Master of Education from East Carolina University, with a
professional specialization in adult and continuing education with an
emphasis in deafness. Her Bachelor of Science is in deaf education from
the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also taught deaf
subjects in the Upstate public schools. She currently serves as a deaf
interpreter at First Baptist Spartanburg and, in addition to teaching,
works part-time at Purple.
Adjunct Instructor for American Sign Language
Catherine Holst serves as an adjunct instructor in American Sign Language at NGU.
She holds a Master of Arts from West Maryland College and a Bachelor of
Arts in psychology from Gallaudet University. She has previously served
as an associate teacher and American Sign Language coordinator at the
South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, and also as an American
Sign Language instructor at Spartanburg Community College.
Mary Nance Joseph
Adjunct Instructor of American Sign Language
Nance Joseph serves as an adjunct instructor in American Sign Language
at NGU. She holds a Master of Arts in teaching social studies from
Converse College and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Lenoir-Rhyne
College. She has served as a residential teacher and also as a
residential advisor at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and
Adjunct Instructor of American Sign Language
May serves as an adjunct instructor in American Sign Language at NGU.
He holds a Master of Arts in instructional technology from East Carolina
University and a Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts education.
Political Science and Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Department
Staci M. Rollins
Department Chair of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
Staci Rollins received an associate’s degree in theatre and
a bachelor’s in English from NGU. She then received her Juris Doctor
degree from Roger Williams University School of Law. In private
practice, she focused on family law and served as an attorney for
guardians ad litem in DSS abuse and neglect cases. In her spare time,
Rollins enjoys gardening and watching movies with her family.
James Batson serves as an adjunct instructor in criminal justice and legal
studies at NGU. He received his bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman
College and his master’s in criminal justice education
from Eastern Kentucky University. Batson has over 35 years experience in criminal
justice with the State of South Carolina and the Greenville County
Sheriff’s Office. He enjoys outdoor activities, shooting sports, and
playing with grandkids.
Mark Roeder serves as an assistant professor of political science at NGU. He
received his bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University, his master’s
in international affairs from the University of Drayton, and a master’s
and doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. Roeder has worked in a
number of local, state, and national campaigns. Before coming to NGU in
2008, Roeder taught at Patrick Henry College and the University of
Cincinnati. He is an avid music-lover, sports fan, and car guy.
Joshua Styles has a full-time appointment in the Christian studies program at
NGU and also teaches courses in criminal justice and legal studies.
Styles graduated from NGU with a bachelor’s degree in Christian studies
and earned his master’s in Christian ethics from Southeastern Seminary.
After graduating from Southeastern, Styles worked for the Raleigh Police
Department before earning his Juris Doctor from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to spending time with his family,
Styles enjoys watching college sports and playing Spikeball, Settlers of
Catan, and other strategy board games
David Tyner serves as an associate professor of political science at NGU. He
received his bachelor’s degree from Wofford College; his master’s in
U.S. history from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and
his doctorate in political science, also from UNC Chapel Hill. Tyner
taught at Wofford College and served as chair of the
Government Department. After receiving his Juris Doctor from the University of
South Carolina, he was in private practice before resuming his teaching
career at NGU. He enjoys natural history and trips to the beach and the
mountains with his wife.
Garry Smith earned his bachelors degree from the University of South
Carolina-Aiken, and his Masters in Public Administration from the
University of South Carolina.
Since then he has been the Assistant Administrator for Aiken County, the
Administrator for Bamberg County, and the Administrator for the City of
Simpsonville. He currently is Senior Vice President for Burkhold-Smith
Planning and Management a governmental and economic development
consulting company, and has been a member of the South Carolina House of
Representatives since 2003, where he Chairs the House Operations and
Management Committee and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.
He, and his wife Brenda have two children, Michael and Dana, and five
grandchildren, Kenton, Mason, Catherine, Addison and Claire.