Cumberland University Leadership
Dr. Paul C. Stumb
University President and Professor
Dr. Paul Stumb was named as the 26th President of Cumberland University in August 2015. He has served Cumberland University since 2003, when he became an Adjunct Professor for two years before being named Dean of the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business, a position he held for 10 years before he was named president. During his tenure as president, Cumberland has seen record enrollment and the addition of over 40 new faculty members.
Prior to joining Cumberland University, Dr. Stumb enjoyed a successful career in the for-profit business sector, serving in a variety of increasingly responsible positions including: Director of Marketing and Business Development for Georgia Pacific Corp, General Manager of American Corrugated, Vice President for Operations and Owner of One Coast Network, and Regional Vice President for Curtis 1000 Inc. Earlier assignments included work in the nuclear industry with Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, and 26 years of service in the US Navy Reserves, where he retired with the rank of Commander.
Dr. Stumb is a graduate of the Navy War College Strategy and Policy Program, and holds a BS in Engineering from Auburn University, an MS from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a Master’s in Education from Cumberland University, and earned his PhD at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Before joining CU, he served as an Adjunct Professor for the National Security Agency, Georgia State University, Shorter College, and Middle Tennessee State University. He is a member of a number of professional and honor societies, and deeply engaged in several civic and professional activities.
Dr. Stumb is married to Dr. Cristy Stumb, a CU alum and former faculty member, who now owns and operates Stumb Healthcare Professionals, a primary care clinic in Carthage, TN. Together; they have four children and four grand-children.
C. William McKee
Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor
Dr. C. William (Bill) McKee is currently Cumberland University’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education and Public Service Management. He has served the institution in a number of other administrative posts including Executive Vice President and Dean. Additionally, he was previously an administrator at Georgia Southwestern State University.
A Nashville native, Dr. McKee graduated from the University School of Nashville (USN) and then earned the B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), the M.Ed. in Counseling and Student Personnel from Auburn University, and the Ed.D. in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). Additionally, he is a graduate of the Carnegie-Mellon University Academic Leadership Institute, the American Council of Education/National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Stevens Institute on Leadership and Administration, as well as the University of Georgia Leadership Institute.
Believing that part of the responsibility of a great University is to impact the community, Dr. McKee practices as well as teaches public service management. He devotes many hours of volunteer service to provide leadership in a variety of governmental and not-for-profit agencies and organizations in middle Tennessee. His involvement in the campus community includes advising Alpha Lambda Delta (the freshman honor society) and Omicron Delta Kappa (the national leadership honor society).
Current teaching responsibilities for Dr. McKee include graduate courses in public service such as community issues, professional communications, and public policy, and an undergraduate class in the foundation and history of education.
Dr. McKee’s research interests and projects include researching with co-researcher Carolyn Bridges Gregory the political and biographical sketches of the 36 individuals who have served as Tennessee Secretaries of State, developing biographical studies on United States Supreme Court Justice Horace Harman Lurton (a Cumberland University graduate), and Rear Admiral Fran McKee (the first woman appointed as an unrestricted Admiral in the history of the United States Navy); working with co-researchers W. Mark Tew, Th.D., William F. Ritchie, Ph.D., and Susan M. (Mitzy) Johnson-Mills, M.S. on studying faculty development opportunities in higher education; and collaborating with Joshua M. Hayden, Ed.D. on both faculty leadership on college and university campuses.
Dr. McKee regularly serves as a consultant to institutions of higher education, is a workshop leader, and presenter at both local and regional conferences.
Vice President for Finance
Mrs. Jordan began working with CU part time in the Business Office in 1997 moving to Director of Fiscal Services and currently serves as Vice President for Finance. Prior to coming to CU, she was employed with Tidwell Industries in Haleyville, Alabama and Birmingham Nashville Express in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an alumnus of the University of North Alabama with a B.S. in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Mrs. Jordan oversees financial and administrative services in the areas of accounting, receipt and disbursement of funds, annual budgeting and accounting policies, supervising the University Campus Store, Post Office services, Business Office, Human Resources and Accounting Services. She is responsible for various monthly and annual financial reporting including financial reports to the President and Board of Trust.
Mrs. Jordan currently serves on the Wilson County Promotions (Fair) Board as well as the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Board. She is also a former member of the Lebanon Noon Rotary, having served as Treasurer for three years, as well as a former member of the Women in Higher Education where she also served as Treasurer.
She is married to James Jordan of Lebanon and they have two children, Dr. Bradley Jordan and Lauren Jordan Pack. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially with her grandsons AJ and Arlo Pack.
Dr. Ron Ford
Chief Operating and Financial Officer and Professor
Ron serves as Visiting Professor and Special Advisor to the President at Cumberland University. He also serves as a Graduate Education Fellow and Director of the Neel Corporate Governance Center at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee.
Dr. Ford most recently served as CFO at Armstrong. There, he restructured the dramatically improved operating results, helping deliver a 45% increase in stock price. In a career spanning over 30 years, Ron achieved similar results in a range of public and private corporate officer roles – including CEO, President and CFO – for businesses like Silgan Containers, St. Clair Vision, Wells Real Estate Funds, and Media Arts Group. Dr. Ford received his Doctor of Executive Management from Case Western Reserve University, his MBA from Vanderbilt University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee. Ford also served as a faculty member at UCLA and at Pepperdine University. As the associate dean at Pepperdine, he led the school to a national ranking for its EMBA program. In 2017, the Haslam College of Business presented Dr. Ron Ford with its Accomplished Alumnus Award. He was recognized as Global CFO of the Year in both 2018 and 2019.
Ford believes that the role of a 21st century leader is to encourage others to reach their greatest potential, both to make the world a better place and to bolster a firm’s competitive advantage. He demonstrates that passion both within organizations and through his own commitment to ethics, excellence and civic engagement.
Ford’s has served on the boards of Vanderbilt University, ThinkThin, Quixote, Smashbox, the UT Advisory Board and Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School. His civic and community involvement has included Leadership Atlanta, past president of the American Cancer Society Board in Atlanta, Young Presidents’ Organization Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Atlanta Rotary Club.
Vice President for Enrollment Services and Director of Athletics
Ron Pavan enters his 12th year as Director of Athletics at Cumberland University in 2019-20 after serving in the same capacity for 14 years at Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, W.Va. Pavan begins his 34th year in college athletics with experience in coaching basketball, soccer and softball, as well as serving as intramural director. He also begins his fifth year as the Vice President for Enrollment Services with the University.
During his tenure, Pavan has earned numerous awards and honors. In 2008, Ohio Valley University created the Ron Pavan Athletic Award that is given to a meritorious student-athlete every year in Pavan’s honor. He was inducted into the Ohio Valley University Hall of Fame and and named the Wilson County Sports Person of the Year in 2016. Pavan has also won the 2018 Mid-South Conference Athletic Director of the Year Award.
In 11 years at Cumberland, Pavan has successfully added eight sports to the program. two Assistant Athletic Director positions, a Strength and Conditioning Coach, an Assistant Wrestling Coach and a Sports Information Director. He has overseen the building of a new weight room, a resurfacing of the tennis courts and added a new athletic training room. During the Summer of 2011, Cumberland added new bleachers and a press box at Lindsey Donnell Stadium-Kirk Field.
Pavan took on his biggest project to date during the Spring and Summer of 2012, coordinating the takeover and renovation of Nokes-Lasater Field, the old Lebanon High School football facility. The locker room facilities and coaches offices were both completely renovated with new paint, carpet, central heat and air, new lockers and meeting room space added. An old track locker room was turned into an athletic training department, new fencing was added to the south and east sides of the stadium, and the playing areas surrounding the field were resurfaced. The facility includes two 70-yard practice fields, restrooms on both the home and visitors sides of the stadium, a concession stand and dressing areas for visiting players and coaches.
During the spring of 2018 Pavan oversaw Cumberland’s first fundraiser for athletics, spearheading an effort to raise $500,000 for softball, baseball and the gymnasium, adding stadium seating and a new press box at softball, chairback seating in the gym and new chairback seats and scoreboard at baseball.
The Pittsburgh, Pa., native has implemented a student-athlete attendance policy and community service program and instituted the use of the NAIA’s Champions of Character (Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Servant Leadership and Sportsmanship) brand throughout the department. Cumberland was named a Five-Star Institution on the Champions of Character Scorecard in six of the last seven academic years.
Pavan has raised the awareness of Cumberland University through the Community Service Program and made one of his main objectives the effort to reconnect with local businesses and corporate sponsorships.
He signed an exclusive apparel and equipment contract with adidas in his first three months on the job at Cumberland, a move which benefits the entire athletic department as well as the University community, and has reconnected with the Coca-Cola Company on new programs. Having partnerships with local sporting goods company SportsWorld and building the new weight room with the mayor of Lebanon, Phillip Craighead, have also improved the image of Cumberland Athletics.
The additions of full-time staff members have all added greatly to the improvement of the department, raising the image and quality of publicity locally and nationally and improving student-athlete attendance and graduation rates. Pavan completed the Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development Summer Fellow program and the Peabody Professional Institute for Higher Education Management course during Summer 2010.
Cumberland has enjoyed unprecedented success both on-and-off the field during Pavan’s tenure, winning 24 conference regular season and tournament championships, two team national titles and four individual national championships during his 11 years. CU has also earned 952 Conference Scholar-Athlete honors, 261 NAIA Scholar-Athlete accolades and 86 All-American awards.
Before arriving at Cumberland, Pavan spent the previous 14 years at Ohio Valley University. While at OVU, he successfully added seven varsity programs to the athletic department, oversaw creation of a booster club and moved OVU Athletics from NAIA to NCAA Division II. He also oversaw development of an indoor baseball/softball complex, new fitness center, and improvements to the gym, soccer and softball fields.
Pavan raised OVU’s profile in the local community not only by elevating the quality of sports within the program but also by bringing in major sports personalities to conduct fundraisers and corporate sponsorships, including Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Bilas among others.
He spent nine years at Northeastern Christian Junior College in Villanova, Pa., serving in a variety of capacities, including head coach for men’s soccer, women’s basketball and softball as well as working in the admissions office and as the intramural director. He was also an instructor in the Art and Physical Education Department at NCJC.
Pavan earned his bachelor’s in Art and Physical Education from Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas, and received a master’s in Athletic Administration from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.
He is married to the former Tammi McGhee of Lynchburg, Va., and the couple has three children – Madison, Jenna and Mason.
Vice President for Enrollment Services
Dr. S. Christopher Fuller
Dean of the Labry School of Science, Technology and Business, and Professor
Dr. Fuller joined the faculty at Cumberland University in the fall of 2010. He has taught most of the math classes offered at CU, as well as programming and statistics in the Information Technology and Master of Public Service Management programs. His area of interest in mathematics is linear algebra and its applications, specifically over an indefinite inner product space, but includes other areas of applied math.
After serving as Interim Dean for a year, Dr. Fuller was named Dean of the Labry School of Science, Technology and Business in 2016.
In 2005, Dr. Fuller graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Physics. He was a University Honors Scholar and was chosen by the faculty of the two departments as the top graduate in math and in physics. In 2006, he completed a Master of Applied Mathematics for his work concerning the convergence of the iterative Jacobi method when solving a tri-diagonal system. He received his Ph.D. in May 2010 working with Frank Uhlig. As part of his dissertation, Dr. Fuller solved one of a dozen “Challenges in Matrix Theory” problems published a decade ago. None of the other challenges have yet been solved. While at Auburn, he received the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Teaching Award, the E. Haynesworth Fellowship, and several undergraduate scholarships.
Other than math, Dr. Fuller enjoys traveling and music. He participated in marching and concert bands in high school and college as well as with community groups and was selected for several honor bands including the Alabama All-State concert band playing oboe. He has taught music lessons for piano, woodwinds, and percussion and served as a church pianist and organist for over ten years.
Dr. Fuller and his wife have one son and live in Lebanon.
Dr. Eric Cummings
Dean of the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts, and Professor
After completing his B.A. in Political Science, Dr. Cummings worked for five years with adolescents as an outdoor educator and Head Climber at the North Carolina Outward Bound School, before pursuing his M.Ed. He completed his Ph.D. in Education Theory and Policy in December 2006, focusing on the history of education, measuring cognitive demand in the curriculum, and educational policy. He came to Cumberland in 2007 and resides in Nashville with his wife and three children.
At Cumberland, he has taught courses in Education and Public Service Management, at the undergraduate and graduate level, online and on ground. He became Associate Dean for two years before becoming Dean of the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts.
Dr. Cummings is involved in accreditation and approval of Education programs through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the State Department of Education, and serves in an advisory role to the State Department on the strengthening of University-P-12 partnerships. He currently serves on Representative Mark Pody’s Policy Advisory Board, and as a board member for the 15th Judicial Advocacy District Child Advocacy Center. In the past he has served on the executive committee for the Tennessee Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (TACTE), as Government Relations Liaison, and was a member of the Lebanon Special School District Pre-K Council Advisory Committee. On campus Dr. Cummings serves or has served on multiple university committees including Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, and the Strategic Planning Committee, and served as NCATE Chair.
Dr. Mary Bess Griffith
Dean of the Janette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions, and Associate Professor of Nursing
Dr. Mary Bess Griffith became Dean, Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions, in 2018. She was previously employed as Director of the Nursing Department and Associate Professor of Nursing at Bethel University. Prior to that, Dr. Griffith worked for several years in the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation as Director of Market Services for West Tennessee and East Arkansas. Her experience in academia includes Nursing Lecturer at Murray State University; Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Tennessee at Martin; and Chair (Dean), Department of Nursing, and Associate Professor at Dyersburg State Community College. A licensed registered nurse, Dr. Griffith has practice experience as a Family Nurse Practitioner and hospital ICU Charge Nurse and Staff Nurse.
Dr. Griffith holds Bachelor Science and Master of Science degrees in Nursing from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in Memphis, Tennessee, where she also completed Family Nurse Practitioner post-masters work. Her doctoral work (Ph.D. in Nursing) was done at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Dr. Griffith is a Certified Nurse Educator and holds a Certificate in Simulation from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a member of Nursing’s honor society, Sigma Theta Tau, the National League for Nursing, and the American Nurses Association.
Active in her profession, Dr. Griffith has served as the Tennessee Nursing Association’s Treasurer and on the Tennessee Nursing Foundation Board of Directors. She has also served as Treasurer for the Tennessee Nursing Program Deans and Directors. Prior to joining Cumberland University, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the McKenzie (TN) Community Hospital. Dr. Griffith has published scholarly articles in peer-reviewed professional journals and has presented her research at national and international health sciences conferences.