Faculty Focus

Kathy Dean Features, Learning, Spring 2022

Since Mobile College enrolled its first class in 1963, the University of Mobile has attracted expert faculty with a passion for integrating faith and learning. They invest in their students, both professionally and personally. That investment pays off in the lives of graduates such as UM President Lonnie Burnett ’79, who credits retired dean Dr. Hazel Petersen-Walter with seeing potential in him – then challenging and encouraging him to reach that potential.

Through the years, UM professors have encouraged, challenged, prayed with, nurtured and invested personally and professionally in the lives of their students. Chances are, there is at least one University of Mobile professor you can name whose influence you still see at work in your life today.

A Faculty Q&A series begun during this 60th anniversary year spotlights UM faculty and tells their stories. Following are excerpts. Read more at umobile.edu/qanda.

“We have been created on purpose and for a purpose. I believe that purpose is to fulfill Jesus’ command when He says in Matthew to ‘go and make disciples.’ How we live out this purpose looks differently depending on where we end up working and where we have the opportunity to serve others with excellence. I believe we train our students to be excellent at their vocation so they can spend a lifetime serving others and discipline well in whatever field they go into.”

– LORI GUY
Assistant ProfessorofMusic Alabama School ofthe Arts

“The thing I love about the University of Mobile is the same thing I loved when I was a student here, which is the sense of family and community. Here at UM, the professors and students are able to get to know one another and truly make connections. I had professors who invested their time and energy into me because they believed in me as a student. I am so thankful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to pay it forward to my students.”

– DR. MEGAN HARPER
Assistant ProfessorofKinesiology
School of Health and Sports Science
College ofHealth Professions

“UM is one big family. It’s a place where no matter your background or what part of the world you come from, once you step on campus as a student, you are a Ram for life. You join one big family that loves and fights for each, other no matter what.”

– RUSTY ROBERTS
Associate Professor of Accounting
Grace Pilot School of Business

“Sharing my love of Christ and of learning and teaching enables me to provide a foundation for future teachers to go out into the world and demonstrate, by example, the love of Christ.”

– DR. CYNTHIA ERICKSON
Associate Professor of Education
Special Education Specialist
School of Education

“I am passionate about disciple-making in every course I teach. I aim for students to grow in their relationship with Christ, their comprehension of biblical truth, and in their desire to proclaim the gospel of Christ.”

– DR. JAY ROBERTSON
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Center for Christian Calling

“At some point in each student’s trajectory in the MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner program, they have that ‘aha!’ moment where they realize what it means to step out of their role as nurse and into their new role of proving those moments is my favorite part of teaching.”

– DR. JESSICA GARNER
Assistant Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

“What does ‘Know and Be Known’ mean to me? Most campuses focus primarily on part one of this statement: know. We teach, and therefore, you have some knowledge as a result. What is unique about UM is the fact that you truly are known in the process of gaining this knowledge. I know each of the psychology majors on campus by name. This not only makes for a more pleasant workday, it also allows me to help them tailor their educational experience to their unique needs.”

– DR. KELLEY WILSON
Assistant Professor of Psychology
College of Arts & Sciences

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning media relations director and former journalist whose expertise has enabled the University of Mobile to gain national and regional attention. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University and worked as a journalist for 12 years, including 10 years at the Mobile Press-Register, earning regional and national awards for coverage of education, deadline reporting and feature writing. She joined the University of Mobile staff in 1993, earning awards for writing and public relations including the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing in 2015 and 2012. She is a charter member of Providence United Methodist Church, serves on the board of the John Will Scholarship Foundation, and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from the University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.