Faculty

Natalie J. Bourdon, Ph.D.

Chair of Women's and Gender Studies
Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Anthropology

Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Anthropology with a specialization
in Gender, Justice and Environmental Change
E-mail: bourdon_nj@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2384

I have been teaching in the WGS and Anthropology departments at Mercer since 2009. I receive my Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Anthropology with a specialization in Gender, Justice and Environmental Change. My research interests include women’s rights advocacy and legal pluralism in Tanzania, specifically exploring the ways in which Tanzanian lawyers and development practitioners reformulate and utilize international human rights laws to advocate for women’s land, inheritance and sexual rights. Recently, I have been engaged in a multi-sited research project in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Nairobi, Kenya.  This research examines the ways in which yoga practice affects how race and gender are experienced, reconfigured and articulated as central sources of selfhood.

Linda Hensel, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology
Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Email: hensel_ll@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2707

My Research Philosophy encompasses a wide array of projects, from working with undergraduates in a research setting to creating authentic research experiences in a classroom setting. My passion for science and for teaching have resulted in me placing student learning at the forefront with an overarching goal of instilling a passion for learning about science within my students.

Elaina Behounek, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice
Ph.D. from the University of South Florida in Tampa

Telephone: (478) 301-2937

My dissertation was an ethnographic examination of family law mediation in Florida. I earned my Master of Arts degree in Sociology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where I completed a thesis about burn out among sexual assault and domestic violence victim advocates. I continue to work on issues that concern violence in communities. I think social action and justice are important goals for citizens and work to make lasting social change in my community.

Virginia Young, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Biology

Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
Willet Science Center 111
Email: young_va@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2577 

In my work at Mercer, I have actively collaborated with others in my department to continue my studies on symbioses.  For example, my lab has recently confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria on the carapaces of a newly identified harvestman species, Prionostemma species 6.  I worked with Dr. Michael Moore to collect specimens from the Tobago rain forests, and we identified this species for further study based on its unique blue color on its carapace.

Lydia Masanet, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures
B.A., Universidad Central De Barcelona; M.A., University of Colorado; Ph.D., University of Southern California
Email: masanet_l@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2891

Dr. Lydia Masanet holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, M.A. from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a B.A. in Filología Hispánica from the Universidad Central de Barcelona.  Born in Barcelona, Spain, Masanet is currently a professor at Mercer University in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and an affiliated member of the Department of Women Gender Studies.  Her scholarly works include Hacia dentro en femenino, a collection of short stories, published by Círculo Rojo, which has received international acclaim, and La autobiografía femenina española contemporánea, published by Editorial Fundamentos, which has been catalogued in libraries around the world and is still widely cited by scholars.  She was asked to honor distinguished Catalan writer Mercedes Salisachs with a homage for her publication Espéculo, published by Universidad Complutense de Madrid.  In addition, she has published numerous articles and reviews for prestigious journals, such as, Romance Notes at UNC, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos at Washington University, and Los Habitos del deseo at the University Autonoma in Barcelona.

Her field of interest covers women’s contemporary Spanish writers, women’s autobiography, and issues related to women’s studies.  Most recently she has expanded her interests to language pedagogy, technology –applied to enhanced language learning, and Spanish language learning for specific purposes.

She has taught classes in Spanish at all levels of the Mercer curriculum, including a recent on-line course in Beginning Spanish.  She has directed Faculty Led study abroad programs to Spain for the past seven years and also pioneered programs in Spanish for Medical Purposes, internships abroad, and distance learning.

Mary Alice Morgan, Ph.D.

Professor of English, Senior Vice Provost for Service Learning
B.A., Duke University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Office: Godsey Administration Building, room 401
Email: morgan_ma@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-5422

Dr. Morgan earned a B.A. in English from Duke University (1977), and an M.A. (1979) and a Ph.D. (1992) in American literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She came to Mercer in 1997.

Dr. Morgan’s interest in Women’s Studies has been both personal as well as professional. Having grown up during the “women’s liberation era,” she witnessed the sexist strictures that were placed on women in their work lives and home lives.  Professionally, she saw the exclusion of women writers from the accepted literary canon and the difficulties that female academics and students often experienced with harassment or promotions. These experiences led Morgan into activism on  campus and eventually, to earn a post-graduate certificate in Women’s Studies.  Dr. Morgan is a former chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department where she developed service learning courses combatting violence against women and sex trafficking. She was a member of the team of students and faculty members who organized the STOP (Sex Trafficking Opposition Project) campaign in Macon.

Morgan currently serves as Senior Vice Provost for Service Learning and has been recognized for her leadership in the field.  She has been named a finalist for the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, a national award that recognizes outstanding leadership in fostering community partnerships, promoting community-based research, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. An advocate for social justice both on campus and in the community, she has initiated projects to raise awareness about issues such as LGBT rights, poverty and racial inequality. She has co-led several Mercer on Mission courses that work in high poverty townships in Cape Town, South Africa.  She and her husband have two children.

“Mary Alice Morgan’s leadership of Mercer University service-learning programs that have positively impacted the Central Georgia area, coupled with her own personal investment in service to our community, make her a worthy recipient of this award,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “She serves as an excellent role model for our students in how to give back to your community.”

Darlene K. Flaming

Associate Professor of Christianity 

B.Hum. Oklahoma Baptist University 
M.Div. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.A.
Ph.D. University of Notre Dame

Email: flaming_dk@mercer.edu

After seminary, I earned the Ph.D. in the History of Christianity from the University of Notre Dame. I focused on the periods of the Early Church and the Reformation. My dissertation is on John Calvin's uses of the Apostolic Church. I am fascinated by the ways in which we read church history through the lenses of our contemporary situations.

I began teaching in the Christianity Department at Mercer University in the Fall of 1998. I regularly teach the Old and New Testament Introduction courses, the History of Christianity, and Christianity in America. I have also taught a Women and Christianity course, the Baptist Tradition, and Gendered Lives.

Beth Stewart

Professor of Art, Francis Sewell Plunkett Chair

B.A., Plymouth State College; M.F.A.
Ph.D., Ohio University
Building: Hardman Fine Arts Hall

Email: Stewart_BE@Mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2592

Beth Stewart, Plunkett Professor in Art History at Mercer University, earned a BA in Fine Art with a concentration in painting, an MFA in printmaking, and a PhD in Comparative Arts.  She has taught art history and printmaking at Mercer University for the past 30 years.  Her research interests include Ancient Art & Architecture, relations of texts to art, especially science, mathematics, and philosophy, how they embody structures of time and space, the nature of representation, trompe l’oeil & mimesis, ancient and prehistoric origins of today’s world-view, language and visual art, the nature of creative thinking, the transition from the Archaic to the Classical period in Ancient Greece, and Leonardo da Vinci.  She took part in the NEH Research Institute Leonardo da Vinci: Between Science and Art held in Florence in the summer of 2012.  In the Spring of 2016 she took part in an international conference on The Flow of Ideas: Leonardo da Vinci and Water held at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UCLA.  Recent publications include an essay titled “Leonardo, Lucretius, and the End of All Things” on the Leonardo Research Institute’s website, and a review of Rocco Sinisgalli’s Perspective in the Culture of Classical Antiquity in the 2013 SECAC Review.  She also paints, makes prints, and occasionally builds musical instruments. 

Janell Johnson

Assiociate Professor of Christianity
B.S., Mars Hill College; M.A., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; M.Div., Union Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary 
johnson_ja@mercer.edu 
(478) 301-2759 

Email: Johnson_JA@Mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2759

Lori A. Johnson has been at Mercer since 2005. She is an Associate Professor of Political Science and directs the Law and Public Policy major. She is also Pre-Law Advisor and Faculty Advisor for the Mercer Mock Trial Team. She got her BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Georgia, her JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to Mercer she practiced law, clerked for a federal appellate judge and taught at Wellesley College. She has taught WGS 180 and currently teaches POL/WGS 332 Women, Law and Politics. Her research interests include American Politics, Law and Public Policy, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her dogs, cheering for Mercer sports teams and being an Aunt. 

Mary Ann Drake, Ph.D.

Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies 
B.A., M.A., Pacific Oaks College; Ph.D., The Fielding Institute 
drake_ma@mercer.edu 

My Mercer tenure began in 1982, arriving here with a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Fielding Institute, and an M.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. While at Mercer I received a M.A. in Liberal Studies from St. John’s College, Santa, Fe.

Professionally at Mercer, responsibilities covered a range from  teaching, advising and committee assignments.. Diverse teaching assignments include Great Books, Women and Gender Studies, Freshman Seminar Program, Honors, and Senior Capstone.

Besides my involvement in Great Books and the other interdisciplinary programs, my commitment to the Women and Gender Studies Program gave me opportunities to teach and develop the following courses: Gendered Lives; AIDS: Narratives and Disease; Gender and Sexuality; Fiber and Culture; and Women, Men and Work, among many others.

I participated in six study abroad programs, four of them Mercer on Mission.

Vasile Stanescu

Assistant Professor of Communication and Rhetoric
Director; Program in Speech and Debate
B.A., University of Texas at Dallas; M.A., University of Texas at Dallas; M.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., Stanford University.
Email: stanescu_vt@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2976

Vasile Stanescu serves as Assistant Professor and Director of the Program in Speech and Debate. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in the program of Modern Thought and Literature. He currently serves as Co-Senior Editor of the Critical Animal Studies Book Series published by Brill/ Rodopi Press.

When not teaching, Vasile loves learning new magic tricks; perfecting new cooking recipes; and hanging out with the wonderful people who make up his department. Areas of interest include: Rhetoric, Cultural Studies , Continental Philosophy , Critical Animal Studies, Posthumanism, and Environmental Rhetoric.

Anya Silver, Ph.D.

Professor of English

B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Haverford College
Ph.D. in English from Emory University

Office: Groover 210

Email: Silver_AK@Mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-5641

I grew up in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia.  I received a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Haverford College and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Emory University.  I’ve taught at Mercer since 1997.  I enjoy reading, music, films, art, attending St. Francis Episcopalian Church, and living in downtown Macon with my husband and son.  I am committed to making Mercer University a place of transformative and challenging learning within an inclusive atmosphere that values students of all racial, cultural and religious backgrounds, sexual and gender orientations, and beliefs.

My teaching and research interests include Victorian British literature, Children’s and Young Adult literature, Literature by women authors, Poetry, and Women’s and gender studies, specifically in the fields of literature and cultural studies

Kevin Cummings, Ph.D.

Department Chair and Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts
B.A., University of Texas at El Paso; M.A., Ph.D., Denver University
Email: cummings_k@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2875

I am Professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre at Mercer University and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Women and Gender Studies.  My undergraduate degree is from the University of Texas at El Paso and I completed my PhD at Denver University.  In my free time, I enjoy riding roller coasters and reading (and watching) science fiction and fantasy.  My academic research explores intersections between rhetoric and media, including scholarship on artificial intelligence, invasive species, and Twitter.  I have been awarded grants from the NEH, AT&T, and the International Debate Education Association.  My prior work in argumentation studies was featured in Controversia and Critical Problems in Argumentation and my most recent publications are a co-authored chapter in The Handbook of Media and Mass Communication Theory on the subject of citizenship and consumption in the age of Twitter, a co-authored chapter in the book Communication and Control on chatbots and affective labor, and a co-edited volume titled The Ethics and Rhetoric of Invasion Ecology.    

AmyNichols-Belo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Global Health and Anthropology
Department of International & Global Studies

PhD in Anthropology from University of Virginia

Email: nichols-belo_a@mercer.edu

Telephone: (478) 301-2848

I am an anthropologist interested in the intersections of health, tradition, and gender and wrote my dissertation on anti-witchcraft practices in Mwanza, Tanzania. I hold a PhD in Anthropology from University of Virginia, a MS in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech, and a BA in History and International Affairs from James Madison University. In addition to WGS courses, I teach in the Global Health Studies and Anthropology programs. Recent WGS courses have included  WGS/GHS 375: Maternal and Child Health and WGS/GHS 345: Gender and Health. 

Rosalind Simpson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies

B.A. Philosophy, Yale University 1973
Ph.D. Philosophy, Yale University 1979

Office: Knight 215

Email: simson_rs@mercer.edu
Telephone: (478) 301-2796

In recent years, Dr. Simson has authored two articles at the intersection of gender, philosophy and law. Her article, “The Title IX Athletic Regulations and the Ideal of a Gender-Free Society” appeared in the fall 2011 issue of the Denver Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law.  Her article, “What Does the Right to Life Really Entail? A Framework for Depolarizing the Abortion Debate,” appeared in the fall 2014 issue of the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal.   She is currently working on a project analyzing the moral obligation to try to help others, with a focus on whether we have special obligations to help those with whom we stand in particular sorts of relationships.  In the past, Dr. Simson has also published articles on various topics in epistemology, including the epistemic regress problem, the role of values in epistemic justification, and feminine thinking.

Michelle Beverly, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Media Studies
Department of Journalism and Media Studies

Ph.D. Communication - Moving Image Studies, 2012 from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Michele Prettyman Beverly is a scholar of film, media, and visual culture. She has worked on independent film productions and for National Geographic’s PBS Specials and the Explorer series.

A former teacher, Michele is an advocate for education, the arts, and spiritual development. She served as a founding and governing board member of a start-up charter school and has volunteered with a number of arts/non-profit organizations including the Tubman Museum, the Macon Film Festival, Sisters Together and Reaching (STAR), and the African American Breastfeeding Alliance (AABA).