College appoints new division chairs

Feb. 8, 2013
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications
865.981.8207; karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

The names of five new division chairpersons have been announced at Maryville College.

“In the last two years, several Maryville College faculty members have stepped into leadership positions in their divisions,” explained Dr. Barbara Wells, vice president and dean of the College. “These appointments are the results of retirement and other transitions in leadership at the College.”

In addition to teaching and advising students, faculty chairs maintain the high academic standards in the division’s program, evaluate faculty and other staff members, recruit new faculty in the division, assign teaching responsibilities, supervise student advising and manage the division’s budgets, among other duties.

“Chairing a division is a big responsibility, but it’s also an honor for the faculty appointed because it speaks to the confidence that the College and their colleagues have in them,” said Wells, who chaired the College’s Social Sciences Division for five years before being named interim dean in 2011. “I greatly appreciate the work they’re doing on behalf of the College and its students.”

Dr. Bill Swann, associate professor of music, assumed the duties of chair of the Division of Fine Arts in June 2011. The position was held previously by Mark Hall, who continues to serve as professor of art.

Bill Swann joined the faculty in 2000 and has a doctor of arts degree from the University of Mississippi. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Dr. Jerilyn Swann, associate professor of biology, was named interim chair of the Division of Natural Sciences in June 2011, following the departure of Dr. Ben Cash, who left to chair the biology department at the University of Central Arkansas. The “interim” status was dropped in January 2012 when her appointment became official.

Jerilyn Swann holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She has been a faculty member at the College since 1999.

The new chair of the Division of Social Sciences is Dr. Jenifer Greene, associate professor of management. Greene, who accepted the appointment in June 2012, succeeds Wells, who was chair of the division until her appointment as interim dean in 2011.

Greene is in her 11th year of teaching at the College. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she earned an M.B.A., master’s degree and doctoral degree from Clemson University.

With the retirement of Dr. Peggy Cowan in July 2012, the College appointed Dr. Brian Pennington, professor of religion, to chair the Humanities Division. Pennington, a member of the faculty since 1998, holds degrees from Georgetown University, Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Emory University.

Last month, Dr. Traci Haydu began her tenure as chair of the Division of Education. Haydu, associate professor of physical education, joined the faculty in 2004. She takes over for Dr. Terry Simpson, who continues as professor of secondary education and director of teacher education.

Haydu earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Maryville College’s other academic divisions, Behavioral Sciences, Languages & Literature, and Math and Computer Science are chaired by Dr. Lori Schmied, professor of psychology; Dr. Susan Schneibel, professor of comparative literature; and Dr. Jeff Bay, professor of statistics, respectively.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2014 semester is 1,213.