New Teachers at BC
Four new faculty members joined BC faculty for the 2011-2012 school year.
September 26, 2011
Bluefield College welcomed four new faculty members as the 2011-2012 academic year unfolded.
Kevin Downer accepted the position as professor of exercise and sports science; Dr. Carolyin Lewis accepted the position as professor and chair of nursing; Dr. Martin Offield accepted the position as associate professor of biology, and Dr. Irene Rieger accepted the position as assistant professor of English.
"I am gratified to have been able to appoint the caliber of faculty that Mr. Downer, Dr. Lewis, Offield
Kevin Downer, Assistant Prof of Exercise & Sports Science
and Rieger represent,” said Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs. “We are in the process of bringing to our students faculty who are well-trained in their disciplines, and who are committed in their Christian faith. They are here to help and to serve while they teach students, and equip them with the wisdom to help them discover who it is that God is calling them to be."
Each of these new faculty members has their own story. Through telling their story they offer a hint to what success really is, how happiness is achieved, and the advantages that come from learning.
Follow this link to view Dr. Lewis’ article and more on the nursing program.
Downer Shares His Plan to Integrate His Experience with Learning in the Classroom
Downer has a master’s in sports management from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s in geography, with a minor in business, from California University of Pennsylvania.
Before coming to BC, Downer worked at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa. During his time there, he worked five years in golf operations and helped organize and coordinate four PGA tournaments.
Downer has been in business for the last 25 years, and about 20 of those years were spent in the sports industry. He has owned a business, built a sports recreation facility, worked in retail sporting goods, and he has even been a coach, an umpire, and a referee.
“I have a lot of business experience and that’s what I bring to Bluefield College more than anything,” said Downer.
Currently, he works as a sports consultant through his online website, Sportangles.com. There he offers consulting and motivational services to sports organizations by informing, educating and entertaining.
One of his goals this year is to get his sports communication class involved with working on the website. He wants them to have the opportunity to add to it and learn more about sports consulting.
“I have a lot of great ideas that I’m putting together to try to make the sports management program at Bluefield stronger academically, as well as to make it interesting,” said Downer. “With the football program here, I’m expecting the sports management program to grow. I see plenty of room for improvement and potential. Great potential.”
Downer provides the students at BC with a little bit of advice, quoting Mark Tedrow, a friend of his, who was selected to the 2012 Blue Angels Team:
“Throughout my years involved in athletics and my time spent in the military, I’ve learned a very simple recipe for success: If you maintain a positive attitude and work hard enough, anything is possible.”
Offield Shares His Hope to See Students at BC Desire God
Offield has a doctorate in biology from Vanderbilt University, and a bachelor’s in biology from Liberty University.
He taught general biology, embryology, biochemistry and other related courses at Liberty for nine years before coming to BC.
Born with spin bifida, doctors told his parents that he wouldn’t make it.
“They actually told them they should just put me in an institution because they didn’t expect that I would make it more than a few years,” said Offield.
But his parents did not do that, and so he spent the first few years of his life traveling to different medical institutions.
When Offield was twelve years old, he was in the hospital for an extended period of time.
“It was during that time that I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up,” said Offield. “I decided that I wanted to be a doctor because I felt like that was the one profession I knew more about than anything else due to experience on the other side.”
Around his sophomore year of college, pastor-teacher John MacArthur spoke at LU during a spiritual emphasis week. He focused on Isaiah 6 and the holiness of God.
“God really got a hold of my heart during a Wednesday night service,” said Offield. “I basically decided that all the plans were mine and God wasn’t really controlling my life; that I was pretty much running my life.”
That night, Offield rededicated his life and started to think about teaching.
“All of my reasons for wanting to go into medicine were primarily prestige-based, monetary-based, and pride-based,” said Offield. “Teaching was actually the one area that God had consistently used me during my growing up years.”
Offield is excited to be a part of the BC family and small town environment.
“The personality of the town translates into the college,” said Offield. “The students, the faculty and the staff all really like each other and they get along with each other and treat each other well. It’s nice to work in a Christian college that’s actually Christian in its behavior.”
Offield sees growth for the biology department and more of an emphasis on the medical area at BC as the nursing program is established.
“We’re going to share a lot of the same classes and background,” said Offield. “As the nursing program comes in and gets going, one thing that it’s going to do is provide a lot of incentive for us to add classes that the nurses might want to take as electives. I see that we will ultimately begin to have even more folks coming here to go into the health sciences than what we already do.”
Like Downer, Offield offered a few words of advice for students, referring to a book called “Desiring God”.
“The thing that will make you happy is God,” said Offield. “So if you quit wasting so much of your time pursing stuff that’s not going to make you happy anyway, you’ll actually find that you’ll be a lot happier in the end. We come to college, I think, as teenagers and young adults with the idea that it will help us make more money, but money doesn’t really make you that happy.”
Offield said he hopes when students come to Bluefield they would see there are bigger and better things in the world than just making money or having a job of prestige. He said the most lasting things in life often don’t have a monetary value.
“It’s people and God, and how those things come together, how we server each other, and in serving each other serve God,” Offield said.
Rieger Shares Her Passion for Learning
Rieger has a doctorate in English from Case Western Reserve University. Before coming to BC she taught at Concord University where her husband is also a professor.
Rieger is excited to be at Bluefield and looks forward to new opportunities.
“[Professor of English] Dr. [Rob] Merritt mentioned that he’d like me to be in involved with Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society and that’s something I’d like to do,” Rieger said. “Taking students to national conferences sounds good to me.”
As the Global Education Committee at BC continues to grow, Rieger looks forward to being a part of it.
“I’ll be working a little bit with Dr. Cummings on the Global Education Committee,” Rieger said. “I know that students and a professor are coming from China and I’m excited about being involved with the study abroad programs here at Bluefield.”
Rieger studied abroad in France and England, and she encourages students to do it as well.
“Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you and study abroad if you can,” Rieger said.
Rieger brings more enthusiasm and diversity to BC as she has also been a part of theatrical plays.
“We moved to Athens three years ago and my husband started the Appalachian Shakespeare Project,” said Rieger. “So I acted in that the last couple of summers, and the way I understand it, next year Bluefield is going to be involved in that too.”
The BC community has welcomed these distinguished faculty members and look forward to getting to know them better.