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Introducing New Faculty Members at Concord

By Savannah Cooper
On September 10, 2018
Many departments are welcoming new professors and members to the staff. A few of these departments include the English and Business Departments.
Dr. Maxwell C. Deaton joins the Business Department as an Assistant Professor of Economics. As an economics professor, he wants to inform and educate all students on his specialty in the business realm. He says, “I hope that they can understand how economics applies in their everyday lives.” This knowledge is not limited to his business students. He hopes to “generate a broader interest in economics.”
During his time at Concord, Dr. Deaton plans on introducing new classes and expanding on the basics to inform students about everything the field of economics entails. He also plans on making an impact to the economics sector by progressing it into an actual program at Concord. He explains, “I hope to progress the economics program because right now, it’s not a program. I hope to add new classes and hopefully make it a minor.”
Although the semester has just started, Dr. Deaton is already having conversations and meetings that have him optimistic for the future. He says, “I’ve had some conversations with the department that make me hopeful for the future of economics here. I am excited to see where that leads.”
Dr. Deaton also wants to be an approachable professor who encourages students to come and chat. “If I am here and my door is open, you [students] can come and talk to me.”
Another new faculty member, Dr. M. Blevin Shelnutt, is using her specialization in early American literature to advance Concord’s English department. Her expectations for students are being met early on in the semester. She says, “I’ve been excited about having students engage enough with the reading that we can have substantive conversations in class.”
She anticipates including all departments in her classes to teach students how to make connections. She explains, “I’m hoping to, in terms of the English department specifically, continue to build on interdisciplinary efforts, so bringing into literature courses ways of interacting with other disciplines.” By framing questions differently and encouraging diverse thinking methods, she hopes to broaden a student’s connecting abilities.
Dr. Shelnutt has been teaching for about six years but her time at Concord has opened her to a new environment. She says, “In the classes that I’ve had in the last three weeks, there have been some of the best discussions and the most insightful points that I’ve seen. That makes me excited to be here.”
She also says she can “identify” with Concord students through her educational background at a similarly small liberal arts college. Before attending New York University for her masters and Ph.D., Shelnutt received her undergraduate degree at a small college in North Carolina. She says she is “excited to return to that setting.”
Mr. Mark S. Botts also joins the English department this year as a Lecturer in English. Professor Botts has been an adjunct at Concord for a few years, but this is his first year as a lecturer.
He has an M.F.A. in creative writing, focusing on writing screenplays and stage plays. Botts hopes to use his passion for creative writing to enhance the department at Concord. He also wants to encourage students, even those not majoring in English, to take creative writing courses.
He says, “I used to have the mindset when I was much younger that all writers are English people. As I got older, some of that naivety has been knocked out by realizing that there are great writers out there coming out of science, theology, or another world.” He, like Dr. Shelnutt, wishes to bring students from different programs together in order to find deeper understandings in each discipline.
In his courses, specifically in the 101 classes, he wants to give students, “the freedom to exercise free speech.” He says his classroom should be a space where students “get comfortable with exercising rhetoric and engaging” with him.
Botts is enjoying his time at Concord and is excited to see what the future holds. He explains a few things that have made an impact on him and his teaching experience. 
His family takes priority in his life, but he makes time to work on personal writings. Besides preparing to enter a Ph.D. program, Professor Botts has been producing a memoir “focusing on the conflict between individuality and community within a religious culture group.” He is also in the process of revising a novella, first written as a short story two years ago.
Other new faculty members include Mr. Chase Bowman in the art department, Dr. Logan R. Browning in the business department, Ms. Robbin M. Durham in the social work department, Mr. Mark A. Mills as an instructor in criminology, Ms. M. Marie Newcomb-Lewis in the social work department, Dr. Kathryn L. Nutter-Pridgen in the sociology department, and Dr. Aaron C. Paget as an Assistant Professor of Physics.

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