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Nine ETBU faculty members receive promotions

February 21, 2024

Nine faculty at East Texas Baptist University recently received promotions, including Dr. Angela Anima-Korang (Associate Professor of Communication), Dr. Zachary Beck (Professor of English), Dr. Jennifer Mobley (Professor of Psychology), Dr. Festus Obi (Associate Professor of Criminal Justice), Dr. Derek Royer (Associate Professor of Biology), Dr. Robin Rudd (Professor of Mathematics), Dr. Teresa Salazar (Associate Professor of Mathematics), Dr. Chris Smith (Associate Professor of Worship Leadership), and Dr. Lynette Vincent (Associate Professor of Music). The impact these individuals have made on campus and in the classroom has been seen by the ETBU community, and these promotions are celebrated by students, faculty, and staff.

In order to receive a promotion, requirements established by the ETBU Faculty Promotion Committee must be met and evaluated. After reviewing the committee's recommendations, portfolios from the candidates, and recommendations from the Deans of the respective schools, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs provides the President with their recommendation. Then, under the authorization of the Board of Trustees, academic ranks are assigned by the President.

“The faculty promotion process is a peer review process where faculty hold each other accountable for teaching and leading in ways that support the mission of ETBU at the highest level,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said. “The critical areas of evaluation are Teaching and Student Development, Scholarship and Research, University Leadership, Christian Commitment, and Community Service. These individuals are all role models in these areas for students, faculty, and staff.”   

Dr. Anima-Korang was promoted to Associate Professor of Communication. Dr. Anima-Korang joined ETBU’s Department of Communication as Assistant Professor of Communication and Director of the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication (MASC) program in 2019. Prior to joining the ETBU community, she served as Sustainability Specialist Research Assistant with the Sustainability Office of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She holds a Master of Science in Mass Communication and a Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communication & Media Arts, from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, respectively. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the Catholic University College of Ghana. Dr. Anima-Korang’s research focuses on using communication strategies to improve health outcomes for underserved populations.

Dr. Zachary Beck was promoted to Professor of English. Dr. Beck attended the University of Florida for his undergraduate and master's programs. His research interests lie in American literature, modernism, and Christian literary theory. He received his Ph.D. from Baylor University with a specialty in American Modernism. For his dissertation, he examined the decline of virtuous friendship in the novels of Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein. Dr. Beck joined the ETBU community in 2015 as an Associate Professor of English. Before coming to ETBU, he taught as an Assistant Professor of English for LeTourneau University.

Dr. Jennifer Mobley was promoted to Professor of Psychology. She joined ETBU’s Department of Behavioral Sciences as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ouachita Baptist University and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Mobley has taught in some capacity since 2004 and has been teaching full time since 2010, teaching a number of classes from Introduction to Psychology to Research Methods to Social Psychology. Prior to joining ETBU she taught as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Howard Payne University. She is a published author and typically presents her research at annual conferences such as SWPA where she is a member and reviewer. Dr. Mobley has also served as an advisor for Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology, from 2012 to the present.

Dr. Festus Obi was promoted to Associate Professor of Criminal Justice in ETBU’s Department of Behavioral Sciences. Prior to joining the ETBU community, he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Administration of Justice at Texas Southern University, Houston for four years. He also held supervisory roles in various operations of the United States Postal Service, Houston District, for about 20 years culminating in his last position as Learning Development and Diversity Specialist. Dr. Obi's research interest is in alternative administration justice system like restorative justice, identity theft, cyber-crime, and terrorism. He is a professional member of the American Criminal Justice Sciences and American Society of Criminology. Dr. Obi earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Columbia College; Master of Arts in Behavioral Science from California State University Dominguez Hills; and Ph.D. in Administration of Justice from Texas Southern University.

Dr. Derek Royer, who also serves as the Chair for the Department of Biology at ETBU, was promoted to Associate Professor of Biology. Prior to joining the ETBU faculty, he worked in biomedical research and held positions at the National Institutes of Health, Duke University School of Medicine, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Royer obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He has received numerous awards for his research and has published many articles in the fields of microbiology, immunology, and vision science. Dr. Royer utilizes his front-line research experience to help cultivate students’ understanding of biological concepts and their ability to think scientifically. Importantly, he sees the biological sciences as a way to appreciate the intricacies of God’s creation and the magnificence of the Imago Dei.

Dr. Robin Rudd, who currently serves as Chair for the Department of Mathematics at ETBU, was promoted to Professor of Mathematics. Before joining the faculty at ETBU, she taught mathematics at Marshall High School for 27 years. Dr. Rudd earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from East Texas Baptist University, a Master of Science from the University of Texas at Tyler, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, and School Science and Mathematics Association. She was named the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor nominee for ETBU (2017-18).

Dr. Teresa Salazar, who joined East Texas Baptist University in 2018, was promoted to Associate Professor of Mathematics. She has a varied background of service in church ministries, mathematics education, and accounting. Her experience in mathematics education includes public, private, and international settings, including Bolivia and Germany. Dr. Salazar completed her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at Texas State University, Master of Science in Mathematics at Texas A&M International University, and Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Mathematics, and Social studies Education from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Dr. Chris Smith was promoted to Associate Professor of Worship Leadership. Prior to joining the ETBU faculty, he taught guitar and music technology at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to this academic post, he was the Minister of Music and Youth at Cedar Grove Baptist Church, also in Birmingham. Dr. Smith holds a Ph.D. in Worship and Hymnology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Music in Church Music and Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance, both from Samford University. Having an active role in church music for over two decades, Dr. Smith has led worship for numerous churches, conferences, and retreats, and is currently the Associate Worship Minister at Oakland Heights Baptist Church in Longview.

Dr. Lynette Vincent was promoted to Associate Professor of Music Education. Dr. Vincent has experience teaching preschool and elementary music, children’s choirs, secondary choirs, private piano and voice, and undergraduate and graduate music education courses. In addition to teaching at the university-level, she has taught in Texas public and private schools and in the National Music Conservatory in Amman, Jordan. She was a teaching fellow at the University of North Texas during her Ph.D. studies and previously taught as an Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Dr. Vincent has a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music Education from Lamar University, and a Bachelor of Music from Lamar University. Additionally, she is a Kodály endorsed teacher, has three levels of Kodály training from the Kodály Institute of North Texas-based at UNT and SMU, and Orff Level I from SMU.