At the beginning of the 2018 fall semester, John Brown University welcomed twelve new faculty members to various departments.
The nursing, business, education, and athletic departments each gained one new professor this semester. The counseling department introduced two new professionals, as did the engineering and construction management departments. The faculty with the most new faces is the communication and fine arts department since four new staff members their community.
Josiah Wallace is the new assistant professor of speech and theater in the communication and fine arts department. For the past six years, Professor Wallace taught at Dordt College, a private Christian college in Iowa.
Before coming to JBU, Professor Wallace lived as a missionary kid in Japan through middle and high school. There are twelve children in his family, some of them adopted from Japan and Hawaii. In 2000, he graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a Bachelor of Arts and received his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Baylor University in 2012.
Wallace’s passion for theater is built upon his appreciation for stories. “Real art occurs when we are able to tell a story, feel the story, and live the story,” Wallace said. He also pointed out that art provides an opportunity to emphasize other people’s stories, even when they may be different from our own.
Amongst other hobbies, Wallace dabbles in mask design, inspired by the Commedia dell’arte, a form of theater in which actors and actresses used stock character masks.
As a college student, Wallace struggled in classes and it is for this reason that he shared with the JBU community a piece of advice he once received during this stage of his life. “Every student has something to offer and something to bring to the table,” Wallace said
Wallace is currently designing and building the set for Hello Dolly, a musical that will take place in October.
The communication and fine arts department is not the only department to welcome new faculty members. This year, the family and human services faculty added two new professors.
For the last four years, Dr. Geoff Reddick, assistant professor in the Counselor Education department, worked full time as a couples therapist. He currently lives in Fayetteville with his wife and two children.
Reddick studied psychology at the University of Arkansas. In 2011, he received his master’s degree in counseling at John Brown University, and three years later got his doctorate in family therapy at Saint Louis University.
As an undergraduate student, Reddick says he never considered becoming a professor. Everything changed when he came to John Brown University to pursue his master degree.
“Being here at John Brown, the Lord really opened my eyes and my heart to this field. I don’t think I would be teaching if it wasn’t for the faculty I had here. They [professors] believed or saw things in me that I wasn’t paying attention to and they were able to call that out and to motivate me and encourage me,” Reddick said.
Reddick said that people often came to him for advice. “It is pretty common for a lot of us in this field, we like people to get along, and we do not want to see people hurt or in unhealthy conflicts. So, I was doing it [counseling] my family and friends, and now I just get paid for it,” Reddick said.
As a new member of the JBU community, Reddick has a clear sense of purpose on campus. “Part of my mission here at John Brown is to really just help these students to discover God’s call in their lives,” Reddick said.
The business department welcomed Dr. Kirk Jackson, associate professor for accounting. Jackson has twelve years of experience as a professor in higher education. Before coming to JBU, he taught in the graduate program for Finance and Accounting at Southern Nazarene University for three years.
Jackson obtained his Bachelor of Science in multidisciplinary studies with majors in business and philosophy at Southern Nazarene University in 2002. Four years later, he got his master’s degree in business administration. In 2015, he completed his doctorate in business administration with a concentration in finance. And just this year, Jackson obtained his second master’s degree in accountancy.
For Jackson, the field of education has been both personally and spiritually rewarding. “For the past twelve years, I have been thinking about how faith influences the business practice and how we can be the best Christians we can be after getting out of church on Sunday,” Jackson said.
Jackson quoted Dwight D. Eisenhower, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Jackson said this quote reminds him that it is important to plan, but people should never expect their plans to go exactly as planned. He said, “Once you get to the battlefield, you should adjust yourself according to the situation. Life changes so you need to be willing to plan and re-plan as life changes those plans for us.”
Dr. Brian Herndon joined the education department this semester. He, his wife and their four children moved from Missouri to Arkansas since June.
Herndon graduated from the University of Missouri in 1994 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. In 1997, he obtained his master’s degree in elementary education. In 2005, he got his education specialist degree in Educational Administration and finished his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 2007. This year, the University of Kansas accredited him with a Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Special & Inclusive Education
Dr. Herndon started his journey as a teacher in 1997 and now has more than twenty years of experience in the education field. His first job was as an elementary school teacher focused on reading and writing.
Dr. Herndon also did special education advocacy work for families with children with special needs. “I truly believe that everyone needs to be included in the maximum degree possible,” he continues, “God created us just the way we are. He does not make mistakes,” Herndon said.
He admits that he never thought about entering the field of education, let alone the field of special education. However, after his first job, he fell in love not only with education, but also with the opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless.
His journey with kids with special needs is very personal. Dr. Herndon has a ten-year-old son with Down’s syndrome. When his son started to go to school, Dr. Herndon noticed that kids with special needs were isolated. “I saw many kids with special needs that would be put in separated classrooms from non-disabled students and it bothered me,” Herndon said.
These experiences have helped him to accept his mission as a professional and understand that the work starts here in the classrooms. He said, “If we are doing high-quality work here and making sure that people who leave John Brown University are very well prepared to enter the profession of teaching, then they are going to make an impact in the kids from kindergarten and beyond.”