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Faculty

Dr. Doug Bennett Professor of Education
Office:6429 College Station Drive
Phone:606-539-4122
Email:doug.bennett@ucumberlands.edu

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Dr. Doug Bennett has served in a multitude of capacities in the education profession. He has been a high school teacher, coach, and counselor. In addition, he has worked as an elementary principal and a director of instruction. As Director, he served in a variety of roles including: District Assessment Coordinator, Professional Development Coordinator, KTIP Coordinator, Textbook Coordinator, SBDM Coordinator, School Improvement and Comprehensive Planning for District Improvement Coordinator.

He completed his BA at Cumberland College, MA and Rank I at Union College, MA in Counseling Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, and his Doctorate of Educational Leadership at the University of the Cumberlands.

Dr. Bennett currently serves as the Superintendent for a school district in Southeastern Kentucky.

Dr. Bennett presently serves as the Vice Chairman for the Southeastern/South Central Educational Cooperative and serves as a Superintendent Representative on the Interagency Advisory Group for the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC).

Dr. Luke Smith Assistant Professor of Historical and Religious Leaders and Movements
Office:6429 College Station Drive
Phone:
Email:luke.smith@ucumberlands.edu

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Dr. Luke Smith completed his undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of the Arts in English Literature (pre-1700) and earned dual minors in History and Asian Studies. Before attending University of Kentucky, he earned a certificate of Japanese conversation and culture at Eastern Kentucky University. Dr. Smith studied Mandarin as an area of interest in support of his minor in Asian studies. Upon graduation from UK, he relocated to China where he lived for seven years working in the education, legal, and publishing sectors while studying Chinese language and culture. Upon returning to the US, he completed his MBA and PhD in Leadership at the University of the Cumberlands. His areas of interest include historical leadership, new religious movements, and East Asian studies and their relationship to the authority and leadership.

Dr. Bobbi Jo Taylor Adjunct professor of Higher Education
Office:6429 College Station Drive
Phone:606-539-4122
Email:bobbi.taylor@ucumberlands.edu

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Bobbi Jo Taylor loves working with students! After earning her BA and MA in Secondary Ed. Mathematics from the University of Kentucky, she went on to complete her Ed.D in Educational Leadership through University of the Cumberlands. She has a background teaching high school mathematics, and has taught math, statistics and education classes at the collegiate level since 2012. In addition to her work here at UC, she has experience in training, mentoring and leadership capacities by serving as Department Chair for math and science at her full-time institution.

Dr. Taylor is married with two children and two dogs. She considers herself blessed beyond measure with her loving family and a career that she loves as well.

Dr. Derek L. Markley Professor of Higher Education
Office:
Phone:
Email:derek.markley@ucumberlands.edu

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Derek currently serves as the Executive Director of University of Mississippi regional campuses in Tupelo, MS and Booneville, MS. He holds a baccalaureate degree in History and an M.B.A. from Lincoln Memorial University. Derek completed his doctoral degree at Vanderbilt University in Higher Education Leadership & Policy. His previous positions in higher education include Chief of Staff at Eastern Illinois University, also serving as chief legislative officer with responsibility for state governmental affairs, and Director of Foundation & External Relations at Lincoln Memorial University. Derek also holds a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Leadership & Counselor Education at the University of Mississippi.

Prior to entering higher education administration, Derek held business development and sales management positions with a start-up apparel firm and a petroleum corporation with over $3 billion in annual sales. He has also worked as a consultant for a firm specializing in acquiring funding from $3M to $9M from private equity investors.

While at LMU, Derek led collaborative efforts that increased the number of private foundations funding university initiatives by 25%. He also revised indirect cost recovery policy to support the university’s first institutionally funded mini grant program, chaired the first Grants and Research Committee, and managed a student volunteer initiative with over 500 undergraduates participating. Tasked with strengthening relations with elected officials and federal agencies, Derek’s efforts also assisted in LMU receiving over $900,000 in federal appropriations, obtaining LMU’s first National Science Foundation grant in over 15 years, and gaining Workforce Investment Act funding for graduate nursing students. He was also a co-author on a successfully funded grant application for over $800,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the largest grant ever received by LMU at the time.

During his tenure at EIU, Derek’s work focused on strengthening state government relations, accreditation, shared governance initiatives, and board relations. He successfully developed and led passage of legislation to create over $1 million in new financial aid for students. When implemented, the program increased enrollment yield by almost 20% for students coming from households earning $35,000 to $70,000 annually. Derek created and managed numerous efforts to engage the university community and local community members in institutional governance issues. He created the Manager’s Meeting Series, an effort involving over 100 mid-level managers in ongoing open discussions with the President. Derek also managed the existing President’s Breakfast, a quarterly meeting with select business leaders, and created the Our Town breakfast series, a series of breakfasts allowing leaders from business, education, non-profit, and municipal entities to engage with the President and senior administrators. In support of shared governance initiatives, he was selected to act as convener of the University Shared Governance Committee and as administrative lead for an institutional cost containment effort developed in collaboration with the Faculty Senate. During his time at EIU, Derek also served as the report writer for NCAA recertification, assisted in creation of report content for Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation, and served as a member of the university’s Strategic Planning Committee. Finally, he created a three-stage orientation process to assist new members of the Board of Trustees and authored the discussion documents used to guide both the 2012 and 2013 Board of Trustees Retreats.

Derek is active in community efforts outside of higher education. He has served as a board member for two chambers of commerce, was selected as a member of the 2016 Jim Ingram Community Leaders Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors at the Community Development Foundation in Tupelo. In addition, Derek has also been contracted as a consultant to assist in the solicitation of federal funds to support capital projects at the municipal level. Derek has also served as a youth soccer coach in Tennessee, Illinois, and Mississippi. He is married to Ashley, an elementary school math teacher, and has two children (Abbey & Owen).

Dr. Joy Levine
Office:
Phone:
Email:

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Joy Levine, a resident of Texas, completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy and Master of Science in Health Education from Texas Southern University and Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University. Additionally, she holds dual doctoral degrees: Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Temple University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands. Her dissertation at UC, “Preferred Leadership Styles of Faculty in American Physical Therapy Programs and the Impact of Demographic Factors on Leadership Styles”, investigated whether institutional and faculty related demographic factors played a role in the preferred leadership styles of faculty. Dr. Levine achieved certificates in Online Teaching with an emphasis in Online Management and Online Learners from the Sloan Consortium. She also completed a certificate in the Fundamentals of Human Resource Management from the Society of HR Management and is a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Dr. Levine has over a decade of experience teaching online at the graduate level. In addition to traditional faculty teaching responsibilities, she has experience with online course design, program planning, assessment and curriculum mapping, and serves on assessment committees in preparation for regional accreditation. As a Certified Higher Education Quality Matters Peer Reviewer, she works on teams assessing the quality of online courses in higher education. She also serves as a reviewer with the Federal State Boards of Physical Therapy in the review and approval of continuing education courses. Prior to academia, she served in various leadership roles in health care organizations in Texas, including the Corporate Director of Human Resource Development overseeing education for a large multi-site health care system. Dr. Levine’s research interests are in the areas of leadership styles, assessment of student learning outcomes, academic integrity, and online learning.

Mrs. Debbie C. Wood Office Manager and Assessment Coordinator
Office:Cordell Building 6429 College Station Drive
Phone:1-800-343-1609 ext. 4122
Email:debbie.wood@ucumberlands.edu

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Office Manager Debbie Wood is originally from Lexington, Kentucky. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Campbellsville College with a double major in Social Work and Psychology. Prior to working at University of the Cumberlands, she was the program manager for a community based mental health program and regional billing coordinator. Along with her husband, Debbie served as a home missionary in Virginia where she was the assistant director of Church and Community ministries. While her husband served as pastor of churches in Virginia and North Carolina, Debbie assumed the leadership role in several areas including ministries for women, middle school students, and younger children. Debbie wears a number of hats at University of the Cumberlands. Her most important roles are serving as a liaison between faculty and students and assisting with assessments and overseeing the management of student records.

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