Course Faculty & Afternoon Seminar Staff

Mr. John Abel

John Abel is the interim director of the Boling University Center at UT Martin. He serves as the technical assistant for the Governor’s School for the Humanities (GSH). Mr. Abel served as the hall director for the 1999 GSH and returned in 2003 as the technical assistant and producer of the GSH video yearbook. He earned B.S. and MBA degrees from UT Martin. He and his wife Debbie reside in Martin with their sons, Jackson and Peyton.


Mr. Tim Barrington

Tim Barrington is the instructor/technical director and sound designer with the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts at UT Martin. While in graduate school at Memphis State University, he was selected as one of five honors students in theatre. A 35-plus year employee of UT Martin, he is also production coordinator for the office of student life, adviser to the Student Activities Council and technical director of the award-winning Miss UT Martin pageant. For the past 15 years, Mr. Barrington has also been entertainment/technical director of the Tennessee Soybean Festival. He has been the technical/sound designer for more than 250 theatre, dance and opera productions and has acted roles in more than 50 productions. He is a member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, The United States Institute of Theatre Technicians, Alpha Psi Omega National Honor Theatre Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha National Honor Music Fraternity, The National Association of Campus Activities and The Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. Mr. Barrington has worked with the Governor’s School for the Humanities for 20 years and is the public address announcer for UT Martin’s Skyhawk football and men’s and women’s basketball programs. He is also proud to say he is a 29-year veteran volunteer firefighter with the Martin Fire Department.


Dr. Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter is an associate professor of political science in UT–Martin’s Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science, teaching courses in public administration and American government. He graduated with a B.S. in political science from U.T.M. in 1994 and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Dr. Baxter also serves as a pre-law advisor. This is the eighth time he has participated in U.T. Martin’s Governor’s School for the Humanities. His research interests include constitutional law and judicial politics; his recent articles have focused on how interest groups attempt to influence judges’ decisions and the outcomes of judicial elections. In 2013 Dr. Baxter was one of two UTM faculty members to receive the Outstanding Teacher Award from the UT Alumni Association. His wife Lisa is also a UTM alumnus, and they have one son, Jake.


Dr. Charles Bradshaw

Dr. Charles Bradshaw, Associate Professor of English, has taught composition, American literature, Southern literature, folklore, and film in one form or another at Brigham Young University, The University of Missouri, Westminster College, and UT-Martin. As an early American literary scholar, he "geeks out" on conspiracy theories and their influence on the earliest American novels; as a writing teacher, he loves to help students combat procrastination and self-doubt! He has been honored with travel grants, research leaves, and UT-Martin's Coffey Outstanding Teaching Award in the past several years, and he has presented and published on various topics in American literature and writing at the university level.


Dr. Chris Brown

Christopher M. Brown is a professor of philosophy at UT Martin, where he teaches courses in ancient and medieval philosophy, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. He received the bachelor of music degree in percussion performance from Western Michigan University, the M.A. in humanities from Western Kentucky University, and the Ph.D. in philosophy from St. Louis University. Dr. Brown's recent publications include a book on St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophy of material objects and an article on God and the problem of evil in an anthology entitled, Star Wars and Philosophy. He enjoys living in Martin with his wife Merry Elizabeth and their three sons, Judah Christopher, Leopold Edward, and Thomas Patrick.


Mrs. Merry Brown

Merry Brown is a full-time lecturer in philosophy at UT Martin, where she introduces students to the history of philosophical ideas and encourages contemplation of what it means to lead a good human life. She received the Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and psychology from Azusa Pacific University and the M.A. in humanities from Western Kentucky University. She participates in the UT Martin Philosophy Forum and enjoys meeting with her students outside of the classroom to do thought experiments and service projects. She is the author of several young adult books, including Gold Manor Ghost House and The Knowers, and loves small town life in Martin with her husband Christopher and their three boys.


Dr. David Coffey

Born in New Mexico and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, David Coffey holds a Ph.D. from TCU. He is professor of history and chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he offers classes in US, military, and Latin American history. His books include John Bell Hood and the Struggle for Atlanta; Soldier Princess: The Life and Legend of Agnes Salm-Salm in North America, 1861-1867; and Sheridan’s Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan, His Generals, and the Final Year of the Civil War. He is a co-author of Historic Abilene: An Illustrated History. Additionally, he has contributed chapters to well-regarded anthologies on Civil War, Mexican, and Texas history. He has contributed to ten major historical reference works and served as an editor on three award winning multi-volume projects: the Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, the Encyclopedia of American Military History, and the Encyclopedia of the North American Indian Wars, 1607-1890. Coffey is the assistant editor of the new six-volume American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, to which he contributed more than forty entries. He is the 2012 recipient of UTM’s prestigious Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award.


Dr. Teresa Collard

Dr. Teresa Collard is an assistant professor in the Department of Communications, Director of the Women’s Center, and Coordinator of Women’s Studies at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She teaches courses in public speaking, interpersonal communication, voice and diction, business and professional communications, and women’s studies. Dr. Collard received her bachelor’s degrees in Speech Communication and Political Science and her master’s degree in Speech Communication from Eastern Illinois University. Dr. Collard received her Ed.D. in Leadership and Higher Education Administration from Union University. She has 45 doctoral hours in communications from Southern Illinois University. In addition to teaching, Dr. Collard devotes a great deal of time to consulting on interpersonal communication and its applications to educational and business environments. She has served as a consultant for state and regional organizations. She is currently writing an instructor’s manual for Women’s Choices Women’s Realities (4th edition) published by Oxford University Press. In 2002 and again in 2013, Dr. Collard was the recipient of the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association Outstanding Educator Award. Finally, she is the proud pet owner of rescued English Pointers, Smithey Piston and Westin Petey.


Dr. Carol Eckert

Carol Eckert, a professor of art at UT Martin, teaches all of the University's art history and several art education courses. She earned the BFA in sculpture from Austin Peay University, an M.A. in art history from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in art education from the Union Institute and University. Prior to coming to UT Martin, Dr. Eckert taught at Austin Peay State University and ran a private art studio for 10 years. She received the Higher Education Division Educator of the Year Award for 2005 and for 2013 from the Tennessee Art Education Association. In addition, she was recognized by the UT Martin College of Humanities and Fine Arts as Outstanding Junior Faculty Member of the Year for 2005. In 2010, Dr. Eckert published a text/workbook for introductory art appreciation courses entitled " Conversing in Art: Learning the Language of the Visual Arts." In 2013 she received the Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award at UT Martin.


Lane Last

Lane Last is a professor of art at UT Martin in the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts. He is an artist, graphic designer, and experimental filmmaker. Lane holds an M.F.A. and a B.S. degree in art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with primary concentrations in Painting, Digital Art, Video, and New Media, though he has worked in Film Production, Installation/Non-Static Forms, and Printmaking. He was previously on the faculty at Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin and Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois. Lane has been exhibiting his animations and media works in international venues and competitions for the past twelve years. He has also been exhibiting his paintings in international, national, and regional museums and galleries for the past twenty years. His works can be found in public and private collections across the United States, Italy, Korea, and Japan. In November 2012, Professor Last had a film shown in the competition program of PSSST! Festival of Silent Film in Zagreb, Croatia.


Dr. Robert Nanney

Robert Nanney, professor of journalism and Chair of the Department of Communications at UT Martin, teaches features/editorial writing, desktop publishing, and senior seminar. He received his master of journalism degree from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University. Prior to joining the UT Martin faculty, Dr. Nanney worked in the newspaper field for 15 years. He received the UT National Association Outstanding Teaching Award and has earned numerous other teaching recognitions at UT Martin. He has been with the Governor’s School as a faculty member or newspaper adviser since 1993. He and his wife, Jeanie, have two children, Emily, who is an Air Force flight nurse, and Ryan, who is a music writer, producer and performer in Nashville. Dr. Nanney and his twin are the youngest of seven children. He loves to travel and is a huge fan of “The Andy Griffith Show.”


Ms. Tomi McCutchen Parrish

Tomi Parrish is an instructor of communications at UT Martin. She holds two bachelor's degrees from UT Martin, in communications and geography, and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Alabama. She worked as a daily newspaper copy editor for more than 10 years, and she now teaches news writing, copy editing and reporting. As coordinator of the Office of Student Publications, Ms. Parrish advises the student newspaper, The Pacer, and the student magazine, The Spirit. She also coordinates the Department of Communications' internship program. She has received the 2004 UT National Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2005 Coffey Outstanding Teacher Award, and the 2012 Outstanding Advisor award. Ms. Parrish has a herd of cats and happily lives in the woods between Martin and Dresden.


All applications must be postmarked no later than December 6, 2014.

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General Information

The Governor's School for the Humanities is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Education.

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