Dr. Hans Schmeisser
Dr. Schmeisser, a Professor of Political Science, is excited to be involved with the Rural Studies Program. Recently having finished his Ph.D. in American Government and Institutional Development from the University of Florida, he is committed to bringing a political twist to the major. Born to bleed orange and blue, he is a die-hard Gator and lives for Saturday SEC football. His wife, Shelly, is a Tifton native and cheers for that other team.
Dr. Jordan Cofer
Dr. Cofer earned his MA in English at Virginia Tech and PhD at Texas Tech. His research and teaching interest lie in Southern Studies, American literature and Religion and Literature. He has published essays in various books and journals such as The Flannery O’Connor Review and The Southern Quarterly. He teaches the Introduction to Rural Studies Course, the advisor to the Rural Studies Club and teaches in the Rural Life Learning Community. He lives in Tifton with his wife, Rebecca, and dog, Fitzgerald. He loves to watch college football and eat his wife’s cooking since he is a terrible cook.
Dr. Sandra Giles
"Dr. Giles could make anyone love to write. She encourages her students, and ultimately makes us each more confident in our abilities."
Writing and Communications
Dr. Giles holds a Ph.D. in English, specializing in Creative Writing and Rhetoric/Composition. She was active in designing the new Writing and Communications Track for ABAC’s Rural Studies Program and is a faculty co-advisor to the Pegasus literary magazine. She’ll write poetry if she has to, but her first writing loves are fiction and creative nonfiction—in other words, storytelling, whether true or not. She’s also into yoga, singing, gardening, and the best of the vampire books (you know which ones).
Mr. Keith Perry, Interim Department Head of Fine Arts and communication, was a member of the committee that initially developed and proposed the Rural Studies program. He has a Master's degree in Communication and a Bachelor's degree in Interpersonal
Communication with a minor in Multicultural Anthropology. He teaches the Intercultural Communication Rural Studies course. He is a film buff, pop culture aficionado, volunteer firefighter and enjoys traveling and undertaking various home improvement projects.
Ms. Becca Turner was born and raised in the south and is proud that rural Georgia roots continue to impact her life. She received her Master’s degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and Non-profit Management and her Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communication - both from the University of Georgia. A third generation UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences graduate, she bleeds red and black. Drawing on her experiences in the field, Becca enjoys bringing a practical perspective to the classroom as she teaches the Professional Communication Methods course. Becca and her husband, Richie, call Moultrie home with their two children, Carolyne and Ret. Becca and her family enjoy the excitement of Friday night Packer football, cheering for the Bulldogs on Saturdays, and competing in the livestock show ring
throughout the year.
Dr. Darby Sewell
Dr. Sewell, Dean of the School of Human Sciences, joined the ABAC faculty in 2002 as a faculty member in Family and Consumer Sciences. She is an ABAC Alumnus and received her M.Ed. from the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies. The discipline of Family and Consumer Sciences uses an integrative approach to examine the relationships among individuals, families, and communities and the environments in which they function. By applying an integrative approach to the examination of everyday, practical problems, the profession seeks to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Dr. Sewell is excited about incorporating this approach into the Rural Studies curriculum when she teaches FACS 4100 Community Context of Individual and Family Well-Being.
Dr. Billy Reynolds
Billy Reynolds was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama (“The Rocket City”). His awards include the Tennessee Williams scholarship in poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and an Emerging Artist grant from the Greater Kalamazoo Arts Council. In 2007, he received the John Ciardi scholar in poetry from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems have been published in Iron Horse Literary Review, Hunger Mountain, Sewanee Theological Review, and Third Coast, among others.
Dr. Joseph Brown
Dr. Joseph Brown earned his PhD at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he learned to wrestle alligators and hurricanes. He enjoys bringing his interests in popular culture, media, and science fiction to his English and Rural Studies courses. His published work has appeared in Extrapolation, the Journal of Popular Culture, and Explicator. He and his wife have lived in Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana. They live in Tifton with their son, Benjamin, and daughter, Evangeline (coming in April 2013!), who are huge fans of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture steam train and the ABAC farm cows.
Ms. Etta Lee will be teaching Psychology in the Rural Community. The Rural Studies Program will enable people to deal with issues that are formed and influenced by the environment i.e., weather, terrain, and physical structures, economy, inherent characteristics, and often pronounced individualism of the rural population. The Psychology course will interrelate with the Sociology courses and other courses in the Rural Studies Program. For example, the Sociology courses will explain the social structure, but the Psychology course will explain the behaviors of the individuals who make up these structures.
To enhance future and current students' understanding of the inner workings of Ms. Lee's extraordinary mind, here we have an excerpt from an article she had published in The Community Psychologist: A Publication for Community Research and Action Winter 2013 Division 27 of the American Psychological Association Vol. 46 No. 1
"My academic and career background is in education with additional course work in psychology and sociology, but the largest influence on the course development was my personal background. I am the seventh generation to live in a rural South Georgia community. According to the 2010 census, my native county of Clinch has an average of four houses and approximately eight people per square mile. It has one of the lowest population densities in Georgia, and the population decreased from the 2000 census count. ABAC is located in the larger community of Tifton which is the county seat of Tift County Georgia. Tift County has approximately 154 people per square mile based on the 2010 census report, and is still considered a rural area. My personal background also led to a feeling of resentment toward well-meaning academics from metropolitan areas analyzing and dissecting my culture. The discipline of Community Psychology addresses concerns with research which paralleled my own. This again supported the Community Psychology direction for the class and allowed me to recognize myself as a participant-conceptualizer with a need to address my values when teaching the course. The active role played as teacher and individual living in a rural area hopefully serves as a model to the students to enable them to address their values and issues."
Dr. Susan Roe
Dr. Roe, Associate Professor of Voice, was included from the adoption of the Rural Studies program at ABAC, lending her expertise to music courses for the program. Growing up in the “low country” of South Carolina with a father who was a barbeque restaurant owner and farmer by hobby, she was raised knowing the musical tastes of the South and its culture. Having earned graduate degrees in vocal pedagogy and voice performance with an emphasis in musicology, Dr. Roe is excited about teaching American Music for the Rural Studies program. Her interests include teaching the high school senior Sunday School class at First Baptist Church of Tifton, reading good books, and listening to and performing music. She also enjoys doting on her husband, Wayne, and daughter, Catherine, as well as their three pets. Diana, the blind and deaf cocker-spaniel, Beau, the frisky maltipoo, and Sassi, the cat rescued from ABAC, frequently make her feel like a modern-day Noah. You can always find her trying to plan a trip to Disney World, NYC, or Europe.
Dr. Niles Reddick
Dr. Reddick grew up in the small town of Hahira, Georgia. He graduated from Valdosta State University with a B.A. in Philosophy, University of West Georgia with a M.A. in Psychology, and Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Humanities and an emphasis in English and Literature. His dissertation, Eccentricity as Narrative Technique, included interviews with Lee Smith, Clyde Edgerton, and Janice Daugharty. Reddick taught English and Psychology at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia, and Georgia Military College at Moody AFB, Georgia, before accepting an English teaching position at Motlow College in Lynchburg, Tennessee. At Motlow, he coordinated the Writer’s festival and secured such renowned writers as Michael Lee West, Manette Ansay, Jerry Bledsoe, and Sharyn McCrumb. Reddick lives in Tifton with his wife Michelle, children Audrey and Nicholas, and two dogs, Harper Lee, named for the author and Anna Appolonia, named for his great-great-great-great-great aunt.
Dr. Bonnie Asselin
Dr. Asselin, Assistant Professor of English, will be teaching Literature of Rural America for the first time this fall (2010). She thinks that the Rural Studies program offers a fascinating way to understand history and the relationship we have to the land and is looking forward to hearing how students respond to the material. She received her Ph.D. in English from Northeastern University. While she loves Tifton’s fall harvests, mild winters, and super spring blooms, she always looks forward to school breaks at her Massachusetts home where she enjoys deep snow in the winter and cooler weather for gardening in the summer.
Mr. Earl Denham is a lecturer in the Stafford School of Business teaching Rural Economic Development, Community Development Strategies, American Economic History, and Contemporary Economic Issues in Rural Society. He has taught at ABAC for nine years. He was the President of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Tift County Development Authority where he negotiated the establishment of 500 new jobs for the Tifton area. As an independent consultant and grant writer, he was successful in obtaining funding for over $10 million in economic development and community development grants for several communities in South Georgia. He holds a M.S. in Business Management, a M.A in History, and has been designated a Certified Manager by the Institute of Professional Certified Managers. He is a retired Air Force major specializing in logistics-supply/fuels management and was the chief architect of the fuels resupply concept during Operation Desert Storm. He lives in Tifton with his wife Teddie and two puppies Pepe and Pixie.
Dr. Joseph Njoroge
Dr. Njoroge is a professor of Political Science, and the interim head of the department of History & Political Science. He holds graduate degrees in Political Science with emphasis in international relations, research methods and in public administration, a background that has given him an opportunity to contribute to the burgeoning Rural Studies program. He has been involved in the Rural Studies program right from the beginning, and teaches two courses: an introductory course in research methods, and an advanced seminar in Rural Public Program Analysis. His hobbies include reading political philosophy, playing tennis and travelling.
Interesting fact about Dr. Njoroge, he has recently (2012-2013) been acting as a political consultant to one of the Kenyan presidential candidates and was asked, should his candidate become elected, to return to his native Kenya as a presidential cabinet member, complete with his own limousine and police escort. It's nice to know that if you ever find yourself in Kenya needing some political influence that there is someone right here at ABAC ready, willing, and very able to lend a helping hand.
Dr. James Galt-Brown
ABAC's resident, "Master Roshii," (find him on Facebook or talk to him in person to get the joke) Dr. Galt-Brown is among the most interesting and entertaining history professors a student may ever come across, at ABAC or anywhere else. He has earned his Ph.D. in history from Mississippi State University. Because of his extensive knowledge, along with teaching regular classes, he also responsible for teaching HONORS history courses.
Ms. Wendy Harrison, assistant professor in the School of Liberal Arts, is a newcomer to the Rural Studies Program, but not to rural studies. From a childhood spent in a small South Georgia town and a college degree in journalism financed by many hot summers as a peanut scout to newspaper jobs covering rural affairs and agriculture, she has been awash in rural. She still gets excited counting deer on the edges of peanut fields while jeep riding at dusk, and seeing wild turkeys rise up always makes her heart beat faster. She teaches a course in professional writing because her background in public relations and
communications allows her to share real-world experience about life outside of college. She presides over a household that includes one husband, two daughters, two dogs, and five cats, a lively combination indeed.
Dr. Bobbie Robinson
Dr. Robinson is a Professor of English and Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. She received the PhD at Baylor University, deep in the heart of Texas. She has been closely associated with the Rural Studies program since its inception as a glimmer on the horizon at a summer administrative retreat several years ago. A highlight of her career was teaching the first Rural Studies class at ABAC. Having bounced around a good bit while her husband completed a career as an Army officer, she spends an inordinate amount of time planning the next big trip and devising ever new schemes to finance it. She has 3 children who love the academic life also and 2 current cats, Bill Annette and Gwyneth Fred. She walks 3 brisk miles at 5:30 or 6:00 every morning and is an avid reader of techno-thrillers and Nazi fiction and history. Rural life is in her blood.