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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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Administrative Assistant for The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
(615) 547-1259
Labry Hall, Room 103
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
A.A., Cumberland University

Connie Sink is a twenty plus year resident of Lebanon with three children. Connie worked, for over ten years, as a guest relations representative in a corporate environment as well as an administrative assistant in the religious, non-profit sector.  Her career at Cumberland University began in 2009. She recently completed her AAB here at Cumberland, and will continue working toward earning her BBA. Connie is active in the Cumberland University community, serving on committees as well as partnering with faculty and other staff members in event planning on campus. Along with her CU community involvement, she and her husband have served as ministry leaders for Celebrate Recovery, an addiction recovery ministry, in their local church for the last ten years. 



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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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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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Professor of Business
(615) 453-6309
Bone Hall, Room 205
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.S., Houghton College
M.B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo
Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Paul Matthew Percy, Ph.D. joined Cumberland University as Professor of Business in the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business in Fall 2019 where he serves as director of the MBA program and teaches leadership, management, and strategy courses.

Dr. Percy holds a Bachelor’s in Communication and Business Administration from Houghton College, an MBA from the University at Buffalo, and a PhDin Business from the University of Kentucky. He has over 30 years of professional, teaching, entrepreneurial, and administrative experience. Dr. Percy has taught leadership and management, business ethics, organizational behavior and development, HR, entrepreneurship, finance, research methods, marketing, and strategic management at several colleges and universities including the University of Kentucky, Liberty University, Transylvania University, Central Virginia Community College, King University, and Carson-Newman University.

Dr. Percy served as Interim President and Executive Vice President, Provost, and Ted Russell Distinguished Professor of Management at Carson-Newman University; leading the school in new program development and record enrollments.

Prior to joining Carson-Newman, he was the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Management at King University, where he served for a total of 19 years in various roles and responsibilities. During his tenure with King, Dr. Percy developed new academic programs and strategic partnerships that helped the university grew by over 400 percent.

Prior to his career in education Percy worked for M&T Bank in Retail Product Management  and Mortgage Banking.

Dr. Percy is a retired officer (Major) of the Tennessee Air National Guard, graduate of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, and led the Military Equal Opportunity office.

He has been married for over 40 years to Janet and they have three children, Paul (Jennifer), Rachel (Chase), and Sarah (Tommy), and four beautiful grandchildren. And a Chocolate Lab named Murphy.

Paul Matthew Percy is a team builder and leader who empowers and develops people to their fullest potential. A strategic thinker, problem solver, relationship builder, financial manager and transparent leader who has God given abilities to effectively steward intellectual, human, financial, and spiritual resources.


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Professor of Economics and Finance
(615) 547-1260
Labry Hall, Room 110
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.S., Dnipropetrovsk National University , Ukraine
M.S., Dnipropetrovsk National University , Ukraine
M.A., Middle Tennessee State University
D.A., Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. Melnikov earned his doctorate degree in Economics and Applied Mathematics at Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, TN) in June 2004.

Prior to the service at Cumberland University, he worked as an Instructor and an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Actuarial Sciences at MTSU for five years. He also worked as a Research Associate at the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center in May 2000 – August 2001.

As a teacher, Dr. Melnikov has taught a variety of courses in business, economics, statistics, mathematics, and actuarial sciences. The areas of his research expertise are financial mathematics, computational methods in financial economics, and macroeconomics.

Since the beginning of his academic career in the United States Dr. Melnikov has published more than 20 articles and papers in journals and conference proceedings both nationally and internationally. In 2012 he co-authored a book titled “Green’s Functions” published by De Gruyter. Dr. Melnikov also presented his work at 15 regional, national, and international conferences; he has “hands-on” business experience trading currencies for FOREX Consulting, Inc. in New York City, NY and in Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Melnikov has been a member of the American Economic Association and the Tennessee Academy of Science since 1999, a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honor society since 2000, and a member of Delta Mu Delta honor business society since 2006.

He is fluent in Russian and Ukrainian languages; his hobbies include soccer in sports, science fiction in literature and movies, and spending time with his family.



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Assistant Professor of Marketing
(615) 547-1277
Labry Hall
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.B.A., Belmont University
M.B.A., Belmont University
D.B.A., Argosy University

Dr. Valerie King, DBA is a Professor of Marketing for both Undergraduate and Graduate Business programs. Prior to teaching full time, she was a Marketing Specialist at a major global healthcare organization with specific responsibilities for developing marketing strategies for public health education initiatives. Additional experience includes management and oversight of a Marketing and Media department at a non-profit organization located Nashville, Tennessee. During this time she managed a team of 40 staff members and over 50 volunteers will full strategic development, implementation, budgeting and people management responsibilities. Further, she has a strong background in Healthcare Finance particularly in the area of pricing and relationship management. She is a Marketing Consultant specializing in strategic marketing, branding and social media management for non-profit organizations, ministries, and small business organizations.

Dr. King received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Belmont University. Dr. King completed her Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing at Argosy University, Nashville. She has also earned a Graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management from Tennessee State University.

Dr. King actively volunteers in various community organizations in her local community with a focus on healthcare, education, and poverty initiatives. Dr. King is a graduate of Young Leaders Council and regularly supports various non-profit initiatives. She is an avid sports person with a strong interest in women’s basketball, football and hockey. In fact, she is a former student athlete as a member of the collegiate Women’s Basketball team.


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Associate Professor of Management
(615) 547-1263
Labry Hall
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.A., University of Alabama
M.A., University of Alabama
D.M., University of Phoenix

 Dr. Landis began working at Cumberland University in the spring of 1999. Dr. Landis earned his doctoral degree in Management from the University of Phoenix.  He earned his BA and MA in Communications at University of Alabama. While at Cumberland, he served as President of the Faculty Senate and was awarded SGA Teacher of the Year in 1998 and 2017. Dr.  Landis is the Program Director of Management in the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business. He teaches business courses in the MBA program. He also teaches undergraduate courses including Introduction to Business, Organizational Theory and Design, and Principles of Management.  Dr. Landis has owned and operated several businesses, including a talent agency. He has managed businesses as diverse as software education, a technology college and a restaurant.


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Instructor of Chemistry
(615) 547-1276
Memorial Hall, Room 310A
The Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business
B.A., University of Mississippi
M.A., University of Mississippi

Vichuda Hunter is the instructor of Chemistry.  She received her Bachelor of Art degree in chemistry from the University of Mississippi, her Master of Art in Curriculum and Development from University of Mississippi. She is currently working on her Ph. D. in Mathematics and Science Education (MSE) concentration in Chemical Education.

While working on her Master degree, she taught Chemistry and Physical Science at Northwest Mississippi Community College and continue teaching there after she received her Master Degree.  During that time, she spent two summers teaching Chemistry for the Higher Opportunity Program at Columbia Engineering – Columbia University in New York.

Ms. Hunter began teaching at Cumberland University in the Fall of 2017 as an adjunct faculty in the Biochemistry department and became a full time faculty in the Fall of 2018. She is interesting in the teaching and learning in the analytical chemistry, instrumentation analysis, and chemistry laboratory. She spent 13 years in the analytical laboratory working in various capacities: as a quality control chemist, analytical chemist, senior chemist, organic laboratory supervisor, and the laboratory manager. She worked with the routine analysis using EPA and Underground Storage Tank Program protocol as well as non-routine analysis, special projects, research projects and setting up new testing methods. She routinely trained chemists and technicians on instrumentation and analytical technique. With her background and with her passion on teaching and learning in the laboratory, she is pursuing her doctoral degree in the MSE program at Middle Tennessee State University. Her research on teaching and learning in Chemistry laboratory has been recently published in one of the Royal Society of Chemistry’ s Journals.