Bluefield College

Font Size: A A A

Employees Earn Professional Distinctions (June 2013)

A host of Bluefield College faculty and staff earned a variety of professional distinctions during the spring 2013 academic semester.

Chris Shoemaker

June 26, 2013


Kayla Anders
Dr. Bob Boozer


Bryan Frazier
Mimi Merritt
Cathy Payne

Kayla Anders, an admissions counselor, was promoted to assistant director of traditional admissions. Before BC, Anders worked as an administrative assistant to the vice president of finance at Wytheville Community College. She is a graduate of The College of William and Mary, where she was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Planning for College Success Committee and the Student Mentor Program. In addition to her work with prospective students, Anders recently offered a presentation titled “College Admissions 101” at a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) regional conference.


Sarah Beamer, vice president for finance and administration, left the college to become the director of administrative services for the Mount Rogers Community Services Board, one of 40 locally run community boards established by the Virginia General Assembly. During her four years with BC, Beamer developed policies, procedures and budget models to strengthen the school’s financial and operational processes. As a member of the Leadership Team, she also provided oversight to human resources and facilities management. At Mount Rogers, she will be responsible for financial operations, facilities oversight, capitalprojects, information technology, data resource operations, and other general administrative services.


Dr. Bob Boozer, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, took on the added duties of director of the Center for Vocation and Calling. In this role, Dr. Boozer will assist students in taking responsibility for their spiritual formation, to being open to their calling, and to understanding the relationship between lifestyle choices and faith. Part of this mission will be accomplished through the creation of a new General Education Core Curriculum focused on inquiry, character, citizenship and wellness and strategically placed throughout students’ four years of study.


Dr. Scott Bryan, a professor and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science since 1986, departed the college for a similar position at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. During his nearly three decades of service to Bluefield College, Dr. Bryan designed the school’s first health and physical education teacher certification program, developed a sports medicine major, and grew the exercise and sport science major to the largest on campus. In addition, he served four years as BC’s athletics director, planted two churches in the community, and pastored multiple churches for 20 years.


Josh Cline, director of alumni relations, left BC to become the director of economic development for the City of Bluefield, West Virginia. A graduate of Bluefield College, he joined the BC staff as an advancement officer in 2009 before becoming director of alumni relations a year later and adding director of annual giving in 2012. During his four years of service, Cline led the Alumni Office in challenging graduates to increase their giving of time and resources to the school, to become an advocate for their alma mater, and to help recruit future students to take their place at the college.


Caroline Dixon, a human resources assistant, was promoted to benefits and compensation manager. A Bluefield College graduate, Dixon joined the BC staff in the fall of 2011after working several years with First Sentinel Bank and First Community Bank.


Bryan Frazier, manager of the Office of Enrollment Management, was promoted to director of institutional research. He will continue to support Enrollment with database management, but in his new role will fulfill the school’s various reporting requirements for institutional effectiveness.


Mike Gravier, head coach for football, left BC after being named the school’s first head football coach since 1941 and leading the revival of the program after a 70-year hiatus. During his three years with BC, Coach Gravier hired the first assistant coaches, recruited the first players, led the Rams in an exhibition season, and coached the first intercollegiate football campaign for Bluefield College since 1941. He is now an assistant head coach at Valparaiso University in Indiana.


Mark Hipes, director of traditional admissions, moved into a new role as director of alumni relations and annual giving. A graduate of Bluefield College, Hipes joined the BC Admissions Office as an admissions counselor in 2006, before working his way up to interim director of traditional admissions in 2009 and then director of traditional admissions in 2010. A Distinguished Staff Award winner in 2010 and a member of BC’s Alumni Council, he will now sink his leadership skills into building relationships with alumni and growing alumni giving.


Keith Jennings, assistant coach for men’s basketball, was inducted into the East Tennessee State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Jennings, who was a standout at ETSU from 1987 to 1991, earned NCAA All-America honors and led the Buccaneers during the glory years of its program. He also played three seasons in the National Basketball Association. He has been a coach with BC since 2009.


Amanda Jordan, director of institutional research and effectiveness, was promoted to registrar. A graduate of Bluefield College, Jordan joined the BC staff in 2008 as an admissions counselor, before becoming the director of institutional effectiveness in 2010. In addition to her BC bachelor’s degree, Jordan holds a master's degree from East Tennessee State University.


Steve Kessinger, director of information services and technology, and Chip Lambert, director of applications development, earned a Jenzovation Award and $5,000grant from the Jenzabar Foundation for their online technology tutoring project. The annual award recognizes information technology staffers who demonstrate innovation with Jenzabar technologies to improve a business process or meet an institutional goal.


Crystal Kieloch, director of academic support services, won three awards during the2013 West Virginia Writers Contest. Kieloch, a Blue Ridge Writing Project Fellow, won first place in Appalachian Writing, second place in Emerging Writers, and first honorable mention for a second entry in the Emerging Writers category. A graduate of Bluefield College and Union University, she serves BC not only in academic support services, but also as an instructor of English, an instructor for the Fine Arts Community School, and an advisor for the New Opportunity School for Women.


Kathy Kish, instructor of English, published an e-book titled “Ooops! Memoirs of a Cat Lovin’ Home-Repair Addict.” Kish worked 16 years as a Lifestyles writer and editor for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph before becoming an adjunct Englishcomposition professor at various colleges throughout the area. She is also a freelance journalist and a writer of comical home repair articles.


Mimi Merritt, assistant professor of communication, took on the added duties of interim vice president for academic affairs in light of the departure of VP for Academics Robert Shippey. A member of the BC family for 17 years, Merritt has served as faculty president, a member of the Campus Leadership Team, director of Student Success Committee, and chair of the Faculty Committee. She also is the faculty advisor for the student newspaper, The Rampage.


Dr. Rob Merritt, dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of English, received a Faculty Fellowship grant from the Appalachian College Association for a yearlong research and writing project. The tentative title for the eventual book on poets of the Appalachian region is “Cross-Culture Poetics: Re-imagining the Geography of Home.” In addition to the fellowship, Dr. Merritt earned BC’s Distinguished Faculty Award this spring for his “energetic passion for students” and his “zeal for life and learning.” A member of the faculty since 1990, he is also director of the Honors Program and faculty advisor for student literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.


Cathy Payne, director of online admissions, won BC’s 2013 Distinguished Staff Award for her “sacrifices” and “dedication” to the school. A recruiter of adult degree completion students since 1999, Payne was also recognized for her church and community involvement and her “strong Christian character.” She works countless hours, said President David Olive, both in and out of the office, for current and prospective students. She, he added, is a “true model of a leader and servant.”


Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs, departed BC after four years of service. During his tenure as academic dean, he led the development of the school’s first online degrees, a new nursing program, and BC’s first master’s degree in education. Dr. Shippey was also instrumental in restructuring thecollege’s institutional effectiveness process, reforming the general education curriculum, overseeing the reaffirmation of accreditation, and renewing an emphasis on faith in learning. In addition, Dr. Shippey was a key player in the development of BC’s plans to launch a new dental school and search for the inaugural dean of that school.


Dr. Larry Sinsabaugh, dean of the College of Professional Programs, was awarded the Scott E. Streater Educational Award by the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE). The forensic award is designed to recognize ABVE members who have made significant contributions to the learning and educational base of the ABVE membership through research, publication, and participation in conferences or continuing education.


Karen Thurmer, director of human resources, retired from the college after 10 years of dedicated service. Thurmer joined the BC family in 2003 as a financial aid counselor, a position she held for three years before becoming a personnel coordinator and accounting assistant and eventually the HR director.


Dr. Shawn White, assistant professor of Christian studies, took on the added duties of director of spiritual formation. In this new role, Dr. White will be the creative force behind the spiritual development of the campus community, especially with students. He will coordinate weekly chapel programs that incorporate worship and faith formation and will invite the campus community into dialog about matters of faith outside of chapel and in the classroom, dining hall, residence halls and other campus life situations. A member of the BC faculty since 2009, Dr. White also completed his dissertation this spring and is scheduled to graduate with his Ph.D. in July.




amanda jordan


Leave a Comment: