Lifestyles

Get to know the new faculty

Mrs. Gina Mayhew, Assistant Professor, Education

Where are you from?
I’m from Colorado; I grew up in the mountains.

What made you want to teach?
I mentored a lot of first-year teachers and I noticed that they had the right ideas behind teaching but the reality wasn’t there. Something that has been a passion of mine in mentoring first-year teachers is that I want them to have the reality and the joy of teaching in order to embrace the career. If they don’t understand the reality, they burn out quickly.

Why John Brown?
JBU is my alma mater, so I like to keep tabs and see how things are going. I know faculty love it here and stay here for a while, so I never thought a position would open up. I thought I should check it out anyway, so I started looking it up. The interview process went very quickly from there. I love being back. I miss Colorado, but my husband’s family is here in town.

What’s a goal you have while working here?
We are redesigning the education department and I came in at the ground level. I’m very excited about putting theory into practice and really connecting it for the students in their field experience. I’m also working on my PhD.

How do you like your coffee?
Decaf, unfortunately. Cream and Sweet’N Low.

Anything else?
If anyone misses their dog at home, we have three labrador retrievers they can come play with. The dogs need the exercise, and I remember missing my dog when I was here. We live really close to campus. I’m serious about the offer!

Mr. Tony Myers, Assistant Professor, Degree Completion Business Programs

Where are you from?
Originally born in Wichita, Kan.

What made you want to teach?
I share with my students that my mother went to school as an adult learner. A lot of times we’re influenced by our family. I think seeing her go to school certainly made going to college something that I thought would be fun and interesting. Once I went, my strength as a learner and curiosity about the world fed into my interest in both learning and teaching. Overall, I think it’s a combination of things.

Why John Brown?
John Brown was actually a really neat opportunity. I was working at the University of Arkansas doing recruiting and working on a doctorate in higher education when there was an opportunity to come and be a part of the John Brown family. It’s very similar to what I experienced as an undergraduate student; I went to a private, independent Christian college. The chance to get back into that setting was very appealing.

What’s a goal you have while working here?
Certainly while here at JBU I want to finish my doctorate in higher education. Also, I’ve been out of the classroom for a couple of years, I last taught undergraduate students at the University of Arkansas.
I now teach adult students with the degree completion program, a population that is very appealing to me. There’s a lot to learn about how we can be more effective and how we can see learning happening in a way that incorporates their background and experiences. The goal there is meeting the challenge of mastering how to do that very effectively.

How do you like your coffee?
This is a great question. I’m not a huge coffee lover, but I do drink it. My wife teases me because she likes hers straight black, but I have to doctor mine up. Cream and sugar, preferably sweetener.

Anything else?
I’m married with two kids, I have a high school freshman and a sixth grader. Siloam Springs has been a nice fit for us.

Dr. Jin Xu, Assistant Professor, Engineering

Where are you from?
Originally from Yangzhou, which is in eastern China. I moved here from Iowa, where I have lived since 2007.

What made you want to teach?
To be frank, even two years ago, I didn’t realize that I liked teaching so much. I thought most of my time and energy would be spent in doing research. Ever since I began teaching officially, I found that I like the feeling of interacting with students.

Why John Brown?
The main reason is that it is an inter-denominational institution. I really like hanging around and working with people who have the same faith. My former advisor is a Christian and is also one of my spiritual guides. It’s not like I chose Christians to be my friends, it’s like most of my friends happen to be Christians. Maybe that’s because God placed them around me on purpose.

What’s a goal you have while working here?
My number one goal is having a better integration of faith and learning. Sometimes it’s hard for educators to integrate them together. I want to improve my ability to do that.
The second one is, whether or not you admit it, engineering is very boring and students tend to be less engaged compared to other disciplines like human science. I want to make my classroom as vivid and engaging as possible. I also want to do research on renewable energy, especially wind energy.

How do you like your coffee?
I do like coffee, I have my own coffeemaker. I like putting creamer and a lot of sugar in it. But ever since I had a French colleague who told me that in France, people don’t drink coffee with a lot of cream and sugar together, I’ve changed my attitude toward this coffee thing a little bit. Now I just put in as little creamer and sugar as possible.

Anything else?
I think God has a specific purpose for me and JBU. Before I was hired, my on-campus interview was scheduled for a Friday, and I wasn’t as well prepared as I wanted to be. But due to a rare engine problem, my flight was canceled so I got three extra days to prepare for the interview. I really think that those three days made a huge difference.

Dr. Jessica Wilson, Associate Professor, English and Associate Director, Honors Program

Where are you from?
That’s a tougher question than it sounds. I was born in Alaska, and lived there until elementary school. I was in London for junior high and Houston for high school. I went to college in California, and then came back to Texas. I spent my last five or six years in Austin.

What made you want to teach?
It was a surprise to me. When you’re a creative writer, everyone says ‘oh, you’re going to be a teacher.’ People assume it, so I got this hesitancy where I thought I would never teach, no matter what. Then I graduated college and realized that getting a job was a good idea. So I applied for a teaching position and spent my first year in 4th grade. I remember that first week, discovering that I really loved it. I have a natural ability to teach. I’ve had to craft it over the last 10 years and develop it further, but I had a natural skill and really enjoyed it. I had never felt more like I knew who I was as I did in front of that classroom.

Why John Brown?
Honestly, because they were kind enough to want me. I wasn’t really looking at John Brown, and even after I made the decision I wasn’t sure whether or not God wanted me here. Within the first few days on campus, I came home elated every day. When we heard the president’s delivery at the beginning of the school year where he announces everything that the faculty, students and alumni have accomplished, it was amazing to see what God has been doing in this place. I had never heard of the school a year ago, now I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

What’s a goal you have while working here?
I did the faculty institute, where they have new and old faculty come in and we learn pedagogical (teaching) techniques. I always thought I was a pretty decent teacher, but I learned so much from Grace Davis, Margo Turner, Cary Balzer and Patti Kirk. It made me want to become a better teacher, to learn more about how to do that and to excel in that way.
Personally, I just had a baby 11 weeks ago, so if I can survive working and being a good mom, that would be a blessing.

How do you like your coffee?
In large amounts. I like to do the quick shots, the double espressos and macchiatos. Those are my favorite.

Mr. Michael Orf, Director, Faculty Development and Recruitment, Degree Completion

Where are you from?
Calico Rock, Ark. Three and a half hours from Siloam Springs.

Why John Brown?
Because of the people I knew who worked here. They talked very highly of it. They talked about the community and the sense of purpose that everyone has. Coming from a state school, it was different especially in terms of the integration of faith and learning. You don’t get that at a state school as much as you do here. That really intrigued me.

What’s your favorite part about working at John Brown?
Working with the faculty. In degree completion, most of our faculty are practitioners, they work in their fields. They’re working on a day-to-day basis in business or in their industry and having that connection helps them bring real-world experiences into the classroom. I also enjoy getting to know each of them and why they want to teach at John Brown.

What’s a goal you have while working here?
One of my goals is to increase the knowledge of the online programs that we have, and to increase the knowledge of online education in general. Another goal of mine is to have a very sound and successful faculty development program that will pour back into the faculty as much as they pour into our students in degree completion.

How do you like your coffee?
I don’t drink coffee.

Kathleen Paulsen, Head Coach, Women’s Soccer

Where are you from?
Littleton, Colorado

What made you want to be a professor/coach?
After I looked back in my life and I saw who had some of the greatest influences in my life, I realized that a lot of them were my teachers and coaches. Their impact inspired me to hopefully be that in someone else’s life.

Why John Brown?
I chose John Brown because I think I can fulfill my vision for college soccer and teaching at JBU as we seek to put Christ in the middle of all things – including sports and academics.

Favorite part about teaching/coaching?
The people – Getting to live life with an awesome group of young men and women is the best job in the world.

What’s a goal you have while working here?
My goal is that students and players would walk away from JBU saying I have seen and known the Lord in a way that has forever changed my life.

How do you like your coffee?
Black with honey!

Anything else you’d like to add?
I love being a part of JBU!