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Adjunct Instructor / Lecturer of Public Service Management
Adjunct Faculty
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., University of Nebraska at Omaha

Since 1970 Bill R. Phillips, senior partner with Windrow Phillips Group, has been involved in and around government at the Federal, State, and Local levels. He has served in executive leadership positions at the local, state, and federal levels as well as a top executive in higher education, journalism, and government relations.

Prior to entering government relations consulting in 2007, Phillips served as Nashville, Tennessee’s first deputy mayor during the Administration of Mayor Bill Purcell. In 2000, Phillips returned to serve in the same position for Mayor John Cooper.

In 1994 he moved to Nashville from Washington, D.C. to assume the position of associate vice chancellor for university relations at Vanderbilt University at the conclusion of a year-long fellowship at The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

As associate vice chancellor Phillips established a Washington, D.C. based government relations office for Vanderbilt as well as expanded government relations with Nashville and the State of Tennessee. As a fellow at the First Amendment Center he co-authored the book “Nothing Sacred” which examined the relationship between the media and political leaders with an emphasis on privacy and fairness issues. He currently is an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University, teaching public policy and politics. He has been a guest lecturer at Cumberland, Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, and Harvard universities.

Prior to moving to Nashville Phillips served in a variety of positions in the Administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Positions included chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Education, deputy director of U.S. Office of Personnel, chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, executive director of the political action committee, Fund for America’s Future, and CEO of the 1988 Republican National Convention. He was assistant campaign manager for operations of the 1992 Bush-Quayle Campaign Committee.

In Nevada Phillips was chief of staff for Gov. Robert List as well as campaign manager for his election committee. From 1970 to 1978 Phillips was a political reporter and editor for Gannett newspapers in California and Nevada, where he was member of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorials at the Nevada State Journal.

Phillips has served as a political organization instructor and international elections observer in Russia, Republic of Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, East Timor, and Grenada.
He and his late wife, Candy, have three grown children and seven grandchildren. A native Texan, he is a Vietnam veteran where he served on Advisory Team 1 of MACV.


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Assistant Professor of History, and Associate Editor for the Martin Van Buren Papers
(615) 547-1351
Vise Library, Presidential Papers of Martin Van Buren
Presidential Papers, Martin Van Buren
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
M.A., Indiana State University
Ph.D., University of Calgary (Canada)

Andrew Wiley started his work at Cumberland University in January 2018 when the Papers of Martin Van Buren hired him as the new associate editor. In addition to his editorial work, Dr. Wiley teaches introductory level courses on United States History and will occasionally teaches upper level history courses. His research interests are Civil War Era politics (particularly conservatism), military history, Cold War History, and the history of Baseball. Prior to his work at Cumberland University, Dr. Wiley worked as an editorial assistant for the Frederick Douglass Papers in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Civil War History, an academic journal published by Kent State University Press. He had also taught a course on U.S. History at the University of Calgary in Canada, and has recently published an article for the Essential Civil War Curriculum based at Virginia Tech. Not isolated to printed works, Wiley has also presented his research at several nationally recognized history conferences. 

Wiley currently holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in history from Indiana University at Indianapolis, a Master of Arts in history from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, and a PhD from the University of Calgary.

When not on campus you can find Andrew Wiley playing guitar, at a baseball game, or touring the numerous historical sites in Tennessee and other surrounding states.


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Associate Professor of Physical Education and Athletic Coaching
(615) 547-1213
Bone Hall, Room 200
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.S., Tennessee Technological University
M.A., Tennessee Technological University
Ed.S., Tennessee Technological University
D.A., Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. George Walker began at Cumberland University in the Fall of 2003. Prior to his arrival at the university, he was an elementary/middle school principal within the Jackson County School System. Dr. Walker gained experience in the area of education by serving many years as a physical education teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school levels as well as a coaching football at the middle and high school levels. Along with his administration and teaching at K-12 level, he has taught at both Tennessee Technological University and Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Walker holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in the areas of Health and Physical Education from Tennessee Technological University. He also earned at Tennessee Technological University a Specialist in Education degree in the area of Educational Leadership. He holds a Doctor of Arts degree in Physical Education from Middle Tennessee State University. He holds memberships in many professional organizations most notably Phi Delta Kappa, where he served as the Vice President for Membership. He has received educational honors from the Tennessee State Department of Education, Tennessee Academy for School Leaders as well as the educational peer mentoring program from the Tennessee Army National Guard Special Award (Bee Like Me Program). Along with his duties at Cumberland University, Dr. Walker serves as the Director of Tennessee Special Olympics for Area 27, Wilson County. His area of research deals with all areas adaptive physical education along with the impact of physical fitness on academic performance.



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Assistant Professor of English
(615) 257-2007
Memorial Hall, Room 200C
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.S., Tennessee Technological University
M.A., Tennessee Technological University

Summer Vertrees earned a B.S. in Secondary Education English from Tennessee Technological University in 2004. After earning her degree and beginning her public school teaching career, she later pursued her M.A. in English, which began her collegiate teaching experience.  

As an educator, Vertrees has spent her time teaching students ranging from 7th grade summer school and high school dual enrollment, to seniors at four year universities as well as online college enrollees. Her main focus is in the realm of English Rhetoric and Composition, where she has spent most of the past decade instructing and inspiring students to be better writers. Recently, she has instructed the Advanced Composition and Grammar course for CU. In way of literature, she has taught many courses, from classes on Shakespeare to Utopian and Dystopian Literature, as well as general survey courses covering American Literature. 

As a writer, Vertrees has published many pieces in local magazines and newspapers; she has worked alongside excellent student writers to help them get their work published as well, in order to highlight the exceptional work and progress they have accomplished while in her classroom.  

Personally, Vertrees enjoys spending time with her husband and three children foremost. Participating in Crossfit workouts, writing with brightly colored pens, drinking coffee, playing word games, and completing any adventure that involves running all serve to make her happy. Currently, she is training for her second triathlon.



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Coordinator of E.P.P. Programs and Associate Professor of Special Education
(615) 547-1327
Bone Hall, Room 101
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.S., Tennessee Technological University
M.A., Tennessee Technological University
Ed.S., Tennessee Technological University
Ed.D., Tennessee State University

Prior to becoming a higher education faculty member, Dr. Sandy Smith taught twenty years in the P-12 setting.  She served as an elementary, special education, gifted and adult education teacher. Her areas of interest include special education, diversity, assessment, and literacy.  She has co-authored a number of college-level texts including The Student Teaching and Field Experience Handbook (7th edition), Teaching Reading in the Today’s Middle Schools (1st edition), Teaching Through Stories, Yours, Mine and Theirs (1st edition), and Teaching Reading in Today’s Elementary Schools (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th editions). 

Dr. Smith is actively involved in a variety of professional organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), The Tennessee Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (TACTE), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (ASCD), the International Literacy Association (ILA), and the Literacy Association of Tennessee (LAT).  Currently in LAT, Dr. Smith is a member of the Board of Directors holds the state leadership position of Treasurer.    

At Cumberland University, Dr. Smith teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses for candidates seeking teacher licensure.  She teaches courses related to collaboration, special education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and literacy and provides support for candidates in numerous field and clinical experiences.  She advises licensure candidates seeking endorsements in special education, elementary education, and ESL. Dr. Smith serves as the program director for the Masters of Arts in Teaching program. She participates in a number of campus-wide committees, including the CU Colloquium Planning Committee.  Dr. Smith often presents professional development programs for area school systems and serves on a number of state-level committees organized by the Tennessee State Department of Education.  

Dr. Smith lives in Overton County with her husband of 47 years, David.  They have two sons, Dustin and Tyler, a daughter-in-law, Mandy, a grandson, Marek, one Siberian Husky dog and four cats.  


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Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
(615) 547-1229
Labry Hall, Room 230
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., University of Central Florida
M.A.E., Central Michigan University
D.C.J., California University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Dan Rousseau is an Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice program at Cumberland University. Prior to joining the Cumberland University faculty, Dr. Rousseau was part-time faculty in the criminal justices programs at Columbia Southern University and University of Maryland Global Campus. 

Prior to becoming a university professor, Dr. Rousseau was a Supervisory Special Agent with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His last assignment at the DEA, he was assigned as the Supervisory Special Agent in Charge of the Domestic Training Section, Quantico, Virginia. In that capacity, he was responsible for all entry level Special Agent, Intelligence Analyst and Diversion Investigator training programs. In addition, he was responsible for the oversight and management of the DEA Firearms, Tactical Raids, Defensive Tactics, and other specialized criminal investigations training programs. Dr. Rousseau retired from the DEA with 29 years of federal service. 

Dr. Rousseau is also a retired U.S. Army Reserve commissioned officer. In his last assignment, he was assigned as the Chief of Operations, Training, and Logistics at the U.S. Army Terrorism and Criminal Investigation Unit (TCIU), a law enforcement organization chartered by the Secretary of Defense to conduct worldwide investigations of terrorist and war criminals, leading to trials by Military Commission, U.S. Federal Courts and Host Nation Court systems. He retired from military service with approximately 25 years of military service. 


AA in Criminal Justice, College of Central Florida

BA in Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida

MA in Education (Adult Learning), Central Michigan University

DCJ in Criminal Justice, California University of Pennsylvania



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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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Associate Professor of English
(615) 547-1329
Memorial Hall, Room 210B
The School of Humanities, Education and the Arts
B.A., Sam Houston State University
M.A., Texas A & M University, College Station
Ph.D., Wayne State University

Michael Rex, PhD Dr. Michael Rex’s areas of interest fall mainly in British and World Literature particularly 16th, 17th, & 18th-century British Literature and Culture. In addition to British Literature courses and First Year Composition, he teaches courses in Creative Writing, Women’s Literature, Queer Theory, Classical and Early Modern World Literature, Linguistics, Native American Literature, Science Fiction, Fantasy, as well as Harry Potter, and Superheroes in Literature and Film. Lots of Reading – Exercise for the Brain, but Massive Fun!

Dr. Rex holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, with a Master of Arts in English with concentrations in 17th century British Literature, Rhetoric & Composition, and ELL from Texas A&M University. His PhD, concentrations in 17th & 18th century British and Medieval and Arthurian Literature, comes from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.

As a playwright, Michael Rex has had several plays locally produced. Letters to God was part of Out Front on Main’s Anti-Gay Bullying Campaign Bully This! In April 2013, Nice Girls Don’t played to sold out houses for three weeks at Lakewood Theatre and again at Encore Theatre in the Spring of 2015. My Mama Says, a play about 11 African American women in the Civil Rights Era was produced at Encore Theatre Company in May 2014. A Merry Little Christmas was produced at Out Front on Main in Dec 2015. His adaptations of Shakespeare – The 12th of Whatever, Something’s Up, Maybe?, The Merry Wives of Nashville, and, We’re Even Now – are all well received. Somebody’s Baby – a play about five African American women dealing with losing family members to police violence won the Best Original Play in Middle TN 2017. Current projects include A Newer Way to Pay Old Debts and The Red Queen’s Dilemma.


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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.


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