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Brian P. Butterfield, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Biological, Physical, and Human Sciences; Professor of Biology

Anderson Science Center, Room 112

Brian Butterfield holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harding University, a master’s in biology from Arkansas State University and a doctorate in zoology from Auburn University.

He began teaching at Freed-Hardeman in 1996 and currently conducts research in vertebrate biology, specializing in amphibian and reptile ecology, biogeography and conservation. Within this research, Dr. Butterfield is focusing on turtle community dynamics and invasive gecko behavior—a task he enjoys sharing with students active in research. 

He has authored or coauthored over 40 articles, four book chapters, and a book on herpetological subjects. In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Butterfield is also faculty sponsor of the FHU Bass Anglers, our nationally ranked intercollegiate fishing team.

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James W. Barr, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Anderson Science Center, Room 109

Jim graduated from Marietta High School (Ohio) in 1996 and enrolled at FHU that fall. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry (and a minor in mathematics) from FHU in 1999. He then went to the University of Nevada, Reno, and graduated with an M.S. in Chemistry (with a focus in Chemical Physics) in 2004. He began teaching at FHU in Fall 2005. In 2010, he started his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry through the University of Memphis and finished in 2020. Jim currently serves FHU as the Program Coordinator for Chemistry.

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Lee Barton, B.A., M.Ed., M.S.
Instructor in Biology

Associates Science Center, Room 126

Lee Barton is an FHU graduate (class of 2009) with a B.A. in Biology and master's in education (class of 2013). He finished his master of science in general biology at Mississippi State University in 2015.

Lee has been teaching labs at FHU since 2010 as a lab instructor and has since become an instructor of biology in 2015. He currently teaches courses and assists in many labs at the freshman and sophomore level. He is also involved in undergraduate research with aquatic salamanders and turtles. 

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Elise Chaffin, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Associates Science Center, Room 214

Elise Chaffin received her B.S. in Chemistry from Freed-Hardeman University in 2010 before earning her M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Memphis. She taught General Chemistry courses at the University of Memphis as postdoctoral fellow for a year before joining the faculty at Freed-Hardeman in August 2017. Her research has primarily focused on the optical-plasmonic properties of metal nanoparticles.

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LeAnn Davis, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Associate Vice President for Instruction; Associate Professor of Physical Science

Loyd Auditorium, 107B

LeAnn Self-Davis received both her bachelor's and her master's degree in Agronomy and Soils from Auburn University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas.

She began teaching in the Department of Chemistry and Engineering Sciences in 1999. While a faculty member at FHU, she has been active in water quality research of local systems. She served as the director of the Research Center for the School of Sciences and Mathematics from 2005 to 2009. In 2009, she began her new role as Dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics. Dr. Davis now serves as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Joe Deweese, B.B.A., Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry; Director of Undergraduate Research

Anderson Science Center, Room 110

Joe Deweese earned his B.S. in Biochemistry in 2004, from FHU and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University in 2009. He taught for Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy for 12 years in the areas of biochemistry, molecular biology, and anticancer pharmacology. During that time, he maintained an active research laboratory focusing on DNA topoisomerases and anticancer pharmacology. He now serves as Professor of Biochemistry and Director of Undergraduate Research for FHU. He and his wife, Liz, have two children. 

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Paul Fader, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Professor of Biology

Anderson Science Center, Room 131

Paul Fader came to teach in the Biology Department at FHU in 1993. He graduated from FHU with a B.S. in Biology and went on to Abilene Christian University to get his Master of Science Degree.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi. His research at Ole Miss focused on iron bacteria and its ability to form biofilms in water wells. He is an environmental microbiologist. His research areas at FHU's Research Center include water quality, water bacteria, wetland plants, and bacteria. He teaches Microbiology, General Biology, and Plant Taxonomy.

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Wendy Gean, B.S., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Biology

Associates Science Center, Room 128

Wendy currently serves as an instructor of biology, teaching primarily Human Anatomy and Physiology and is the director of the Pre-professional Health Arts Program. She earned her B.S. Degree from Freed-Hardeman University in May 2008 in biology and secondary education. Ms. Gean is also an alumnus of Mississippi State University where she earned a Masters of Science in General Biology in 2011. 

She served as an educator for five years at Chester County High School and has been a faculty member of FHU since 2013. Her passions include teaching beautiful minds about the Creator's design, running, and spending time at the center of God's creation, Maywood Christian Camp. Ms. Gean is married to Ben. Together, they have a daughter, Bennett, and they live happily in Savannah, Tennessee.

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Caleb M. Kersey, B.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology

Anderson Science Center, Room 123

Caleb Kersey graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in 2005 with a B.S. in Biology. He then attended Tennessee State University where he earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences.

His current research centers on the functional genomics of a bacterial plant pathogen, Pectobacterium carotovorum. He currently teaches Principles of Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, General Biology I, and Science Seminar.

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Gayle McDonald, A.A., B.S., M.Ed., M.S., C.A.T., ATC/L
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology; Associate Director, Mid-South Youth Camp

Associates Science Center, Room 201

Gayle McDonald received her bachelor's degree from Freed-Hardeman University and her master's degrees from the University of Memphis. She became a certified athletic trainer in 1988 and served as an athletic trainer and instructor at Murray State University and the University of Memphis prior to returning to FHU in 1999.

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Jana Meninno, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Associates Science Center, Room 202

Jana earned a B.S. in Exercise Science with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning from Appalachian State University in 2010. She then went to Montana State University and graduated with her M.S. in Health and Human Development (concentration in Exercise Physiology) in 2012. From there, she went to East Tennessee State University where she earned her Ph.D. in Sport Physiology and Performance in 2015.  

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Ashley Prentice, B.A., DPT
PTA Program Director; Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Associates Science Center, Room 119

Ashley Prentice received her B.A. in Biology from Freed-Hardeman University in 2012, prior to attending Harding University where she obtained her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2015. Ashley has been a practicing clinician since 2012, expanding her skill set to include skilled nursing, outpatient, acute care, and home health rehabilitation settings. She is certified as a Credentialed Clinical Instructor for students who are currently in PT/PTA Programs. Ashley earned her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Freed-Hardeman University in May 2021. 

Ashley began her teaching career at FHU in 2018 by serving as an adjunct human anatomy and physiology lab instructor. She has since taught undergraduate courses in the Biological, Physical and Human Sciences Department and serves as the program coordinator for the B.S. Major in Kinesiology. Ashley earned her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in May 2021. Ashley, her husband, Michael, and their son, Parker, reside in Henderson. 

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Meagan Spencer, B.A., M.S., Ed.D.
Assistant Professor in Communication Sciences & Disorders

Associates Science Center, Room 200

Meagan Spencer received her B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Harding University and her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership in Higher Education from Abilene Christian University. She is a certified and practicing speech-language pathologist with a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Tennessee Professional Educator and Health Board licensures. She is also certified in Lee-Silverman Voice Treatment for patients with Parkinson's disease.

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Charles J. Tucker, B.S., B.S., M.S., P.E., Ph.D.
Professor of Engineering

Associates Science Center, Room 106

After completing the pre-engineering program at Freed-Hardeman, Charles Tucker received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Tennessee Technological University.

After receiving his degrees, he worked for Carpenter Wright Engineers where he served as the lead structural engineer for the Opry Mills Mall located in Nashville, Tennessee. After obtaining his professional engineering license in 2000, he began teaching in the pre-engineering program at FHU. He completed a Ph.D. in the fall of 2007. His dissertation, "Predicting the In-plane Capacity of Masonry Infilled Frames," has led him to be active in the Masonry Standards Joint Committee that writes the masonry code.

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Brian Vaughn, PT
Clinical Coordinator for PTA Program; Instructor of Kinesiology

Associates Science Center, Room 120

Brian Vaughn attended the University of Florida as a student athletic trainer. He continued his undergraduate studies at MTSU and completed his B.S. in Physical Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in 1998. Brian has been a practicing clinician for the past 21 years, specializing in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine.

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Maurice Williams, B.S., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology; Main Street Gym Fitness Coordinator

Associates Science Center, Room 203

Maurice Williams has a BS in Sports Medicine with an emphasis in Exercise/Sport Science from Elon University and an MS in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sport Physiology and Adult Fitness from Ohio University. He has eight years of teaching formal fitness education and 25 years of experience in fitness overall. In addition to teaching full time, Maurice owns Move Well Fitness, a virtual fitness studio specializing in 30-minute sessions, and Move Well Fit Academy, a fitness education company focused on helping people pass their NASM-CPT Exam. He is married to his beautiful wife LaTeisha, and together, they have four children. In his free time, Maurice loves teaching Bible classes, exercising, playing and watching sports, eating out with LaTeisha, and spending quality time with his children.
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Natalie Zlatovich, B.S.
Administrative Assistant

Anderson Science Center, Room 113