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Instructor of Nursing
(615) 547-1339
McFarland Hall
The Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions
B.S., Western Kentucky University
B.S.N., Belmont University
M.S.N. FNP-BC, Belmont University


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Professor of Art
(615) 547-1383
399 Phoenix Plaza, Room 2A
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., Lipscomb University
M.A.E., Edinboro State University
M.F.A., University of Tennessee, Knoxville
A nationally known artist and author, Ted Rose has, for nearly half a century influenced the field of arts through his role as an artist, author, consultant, and educator. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tennessee, a Masters of Education degree from Edinboro University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from David Lipscomb University. He has worked extensively for over 35 years in secondary education, colleges and universities, including Abilene Christian University, Union University, William Carey College, Lipscomb University, and is presently professor and chair of the art department at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee.   Ted’s artwork explores a diverse range of concepts and content, from highly detailed works to more creative and abstract pieces. He has had 21 solo exhibits in seven states, six international exhibitions, and received more than 50 awards for his work.  He currently has paintings on exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum in Boulder, Colorado, and recently had a one man exhibition at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. His artwork is displayed in over 200 private and corporate collections, including the collections of several Fortune 500 companies. Ted has several publications to his credit, including the top-selling secondary education textbook on drawing in the United States, "Discovering Drawing”,   currently in its third edition.  His students have also won numerous awards and have been recognized for outstanding work at the secondary, collegiate, and graduate levels, including the National Scholastic Art Competition, the Texas Collegiate Art Competition, the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition, the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Awards, international competitions in Mexico and Switzerland, and Artists of the 21st Century 10 state Collegiate Competition. Over 56 of his past students have gone on to receive terminal degrees with some of his former students currently enrolled in graduate programs at Arizona State University, Clemson University, Chicago Art Institute, and Harvard University.   In addition to his professional career, Ted Rose has lectured twice at the National Art Education Association Conference.  He has also served as keynote speaker for state art conferences in Nevada, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana and has also worked extensively with fine arts organizations as an instructor and board member. These organizations include The Tennessee Arts Academy, The Governor's School for the Arts and state fine arts programs in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana.  He and his wife, Kathy, make their home in Lebanon.


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Instructor of Mathematics
(615) 453-6308
Memorial Hall, Room 310C
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.S., State University of New York, Fredonia
M.S., Middle Tennessee State University
Milton Sager earned a Bachelor of Science from SUNY Fredonia College (2010) with a major in mathematics. He earned a Master of Arts from MTSU (2013) in applied mathematics. His thesis was the research and development of a Switched Reluctance In-Wheel Hub Motor which was the first interdepartmental thesis between the Math and Engineering departments at MTSU. The concept was to put an electric motor inside the rear wheel of a motorcycle eliminating the gasoline engine. He began teaching at Cumberland University in August 2015. Prior to this he had taught at MTSU, NSCC, and Belmont University.  Other than teaching math, his hobbies include backpacking, collecting vintage Star Wars memorabilia, and woodworking. He has consulted several small businesses such as B&B Metal Works, Paul’s Rocket Stoves, and a few cottage backpacking gear start ups on the math and engineering aspects of some of their projects. He runs a men's small group through his Church. He and his wife have two children and live in Murfreesboro.  


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University Chaplain and Assistant Professor
(615) 453-6347
Learning and Career Commons, Room 121
Academic Success Center
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., Rhodes College
M.Div., Emory University
D.Min., Emory University

Retiring after 40 years as a United Methodist pastor of churches in West and Middle Tennessee, Dr. Ripski serves as University Chaplain. He also has teaching responsibilities.

He previously taught courses in philosophy, Bible, and religion as an adjunct instructor at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

His publications include: Conversing with God, Abingdon Press, 1992; This Side of Easter, A Lenten Study for Adults, Abingdon Press, 1998; and numerous articles.



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Assistant Professor of Education
(615) 547-1285
Bone Hall, Room 204
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.S., Lipscomb University
M.S., University of Tennessee Knoxville
M.Ed., CArson-Newman University
Ed.D., Lipscomb University

Dr. Michael Pigg joined Cumberland University in Fall of 2021 as Director of the Master of Arts in Education Program and Assistant Professor of Education. Having spent the past fifteen years as a Tennessee educator, Dr. Pigg’s career combines successful university and secondary mathematics teaching experiences with consistently effective school leadership at the elementary and secondary levels.  Dr. Pigg began his career in K-12 as part of the Carter High School math department in Knox County Schools, where he served on the Leadership Team and chaired the school’s Grading Practices Committee.  Dr. Pigg also served as a math instructor in a variety of undergraduate settings, including Lipscomb University, the University of Tennessee, and South College.  For the last 10 years, Dr. Pigg has served as a building-level principal in Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District, most recently serving as principal of Castle Heights Elementary since 2017.  In that time, he has developed a broad network of relationships with local school teachers and leaders.  These relationships have been cultivated through a variety of collaborative experiences, including serving on district level committees, presenting at both the district and state levels, and supporting or leading various aspects of Wilson County Schools’ leadership development programs for aspiring leaders.

Dr. Pigg has an extensive background relative to teacher evaluation, assessment, and the use of data to foster improvements in student outcomes.  His initial training in the Tennessee teacher evaluation rubrics took place in 2011, the same year Tennessee schools first implemented the TEAM teacher evaluation model still in use today.  His background in mathematics allows him to consistently analyze evaluation and assessment data for the purpose of informing and improving teacher instructional practices over time.  Dr. Pigg’s dissertation research focused on retention and effectiveness of early career teachers, as measured by TEAM teacher evaluation data, as well as the impact of mentoring programs on the early career teacher experience.

Dr. Pigg’s other passions include supporting the College Hills Church of Christ and other nonprofits including the Sara Walker Foundation and Compassionate Hands.  Dr. Pigg previously served as a board member of the Sara Walker Foundation and traveled to Malawi, Africa as a part of multiple mission teams focused on providing training to local Malawian teachers as well as tutoring and support services for students housed at Mtendere Orphanage.

Dr. Pigg lives in Lebanon with Stephanie, his wife of 16 years, and their four children Carter, Alex, Lucas, and Bailey.  



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Assistant Professor of Biology
(615) 547-1262
Memorial Hall, Room 309B
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.S., Middle Tennessee State University
M.S., Middle Tennessee State University
Ph.D., University of California, Merced
Dr. Julie Baker Phillips is an assistant professor of biology at Cumberland University. She joined the faculty in fall of 2017. Prior to coming to Cumberland, she completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics at Middle Tennessee State University. After completing her baccalaureate, she stayed at MTSU to complete her masters degree in biology, studying reproductive and stress physiology of the eastern fence lizard under the supervision of Matthew Klukowski. She then moved to California to complete her doctorate in Quantitative and Systems Biology at the University of California, Merced, under the supervision of David Ardell. Her dissertation, entitled "Evolution of Eukaryotic Transfer Ribonucleic Acid|" searched for footprints of functional constraints highlighting patterns of evolutionary change in transfer RNA (tRNA) in Drosophila. Upon returning to Tennessee, she started as a postdoc in the Rokas lab at Vanderbilt University, where she focused on uncovering genes associated with variation in birth timing as well as molecular evolution of gene families associated with negative pregnancy outcomes under a grant from the March of Dimes. Dr. Phillips is currently conducting research evolution of reproductive life history traits as well as continuing to investigate the evolutionary history of interesting gene families. She is always seeking motivated students to mentor in research. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Phillips enjoys providing theatrical science demos free of charge to elementary schools. Students interested in participating in the Phoenix Science Theater should contact her to join the program. Professional and organizational affiliations include Sigma Xi, the Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health, and the Tennessee Academy of Sciences.  


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Director of Student Retention and Tennessee Promise Support, and Instructor
(615) 453-6344
Learning and Career Commons
Office of Enrollment Services
B.S. Berry College
M.A., Shorter University
Ms. Abby Pitts began at Cumberland University in fall of 2018 as the Director of Student Retention and TN Promise Support. She also teaches Foundations of Scholarship and Learning. Prior to arriving at Cumberland, Ms. Pitts served as the Associate Director of Financial Aid at University of the Cumberlands, where she oversaw reconciliation efforts as well as financial aid administration across all campus populations. In addition, Ms. Pitts taught Career and Leadership courses. Prior to her arrival at the University of the Cumberlands, she was the Advising Coordinator at Shorter University, where she coordinated all academic advising efforts on campus and worked with first year students. Her own advising efforts centered on ensuring success of the academically at-risk student population. Ms. Pitts’ experiences in assisting incoming freshman with financial aid completion, as well as advising students while completing degree requirements, fueled a lifelong passion for ensuring all students have the opportunity to reach their goal of being a college graduate. Ms. Pitts holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Marketing Concentration. Her graduate education is a Master of Arts in Leadership, which encompassed organizational leadership across disciplines. She has been a member of various professional academic advising and financial aid associations.  


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Professor of Chemistry
(615) 547-1233
Memorial Hall, Room 301A
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.S., University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
M.A.E., Cumberland University
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Dr. Sarah Pierce is the program director of the Biochemistry program.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.  Her postdoctoral work focused on breast cancer research with the Biomedical Engineering Department at Vanderbilt University. She began at Cumberland University in the Fall of 2008.  She teaches the Fundamentals of Chemistry, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Chemistry Senior Seminar. Dr. Pierce is passionate about chemistry in art and includes many art based laboratory experiments in her classes.  Dr. Pierce serves on the General Education Core Committee, the Assessment Committee, and is the chair of the Colloquium Committee. She is also the advisor for the Pre-professional Society. Dr. Pierce focuses her research interests on analytical chemistry and chemical education.  Specifically, she is interested in the analysis of mixtures using visible spectroscopy.  Dr. Pierce has had several publications in various scientific journals and has made presentations at many chemistry conferences to discuss her education research. Recently, her research titled “Supplemental Learning in the Laboratory:  An Innovative Approach for Evaluating Knowledge and Method Transfer” was published in the Journal of Chemical Education.


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Instructor of Music and Director of Athletic Bands
(615) 257-2005
Phoenix Plaza, Band Room
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., Cumberland University
M.M.E., Old Dominion University
Adron Wayne Ray III is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, the Tennessee Bandmasters Association, and the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association. Mr. Ray holds an active teaching license in Tennessee with endorsements in instrumental music teaching and vocal/general music teaching. Additionally, he holds certification level II in Orff Schulwerk.  As a saxophonist/vocalist primarily, Mr. Ray has performed with jazz greats such as John Toomey, Justin Kauflin, and Billy Williams. While finishing his Master of Music Education, he also performed as part of the Virginia Wind Symphony under the direction of Dennis Zeisler. This group was featured as a session at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. While performing in this group, Mr. Ray had the pleasure of being conducted by Terry Austin, Colonel Arnald Gabriel, and Samuel Hazo. Research interests include Curriculum Design in Higher Education and Pre-service Teacher Training and Self-Efficacy.