By Aaron Evans, Features Editor
In addition to the Merciful Class of 2019, Asbury also welcomes four new members to its faculty team this year. While some may be familiar faces to students, they are all thrilled to be a part of the Asbury family and look forward to the rewarding years ahead as professors.
Corrie Merricks returns to Asbury with a doctorate and twelve years of teaching experience after having graduated from the university in 2001. Aside from being an Assistant Professor of English, Merricks will also fill the shoes of the now-retired Teresa Jenkins as the Director of the Center for Academic Excellence.
However, Merricks is enthusiastic for more than fostering academic development in students. More than anything else, she looks forward to coming to a Christian university where she can work with students to better understand their faith. “I am married to a pastor, and I also see myself as a minister,” she said. “I love to talk with students about academics, their classes and what they’re learning, but I also love it when students share about their faith or ask me questions about mine.”
Jim Shores is no stranger to most students, as he and his wife, Carol, run the Christian theatre company Acts of Renewal and have performed in chapel several times over the past 20 years. Along with a doctorate in Communication Studies and a master’s in Environmental Science, Shores has 18 years of teaching experience under his belt from Montreat College. At Asbury, he will chair the new Department of Communication, Worship Arts and Theatre.
Shores is excited to be a part of the closely knit community of Asbury and hopes to use this opportunity to foster mentor relationships with students. “[My wife and I] always felt that if we were going to be any other place than Montreat, it would be Asbury,” he said. “The sense of community here is wonderful. I want to get to know you and come alongside you in any way I can to help you on your walk with Jesus, your professional development, and with your career choices. I love helping students get a vision for where God is calling them.”
Miriam Stroder found her place at Asbury through ties with Sherry Powers, the dean of the School of Education, whom she met during the completion of her master’s degree. This year, Stroder will teach literacy courses for undergraduates and graduates in the Adult Professional Studies and Graduate Education programs.
“I am honored to be working with the educators and students of Asbury University,” Stroder said. “I am very excited to be working with preservice and inservice teachers as they continue their growth as Christians in roles of current and future educational leadership.”
Lewis Willian joined Asbury as a Partnership Coordinator in 2013, working with school districts to identify and recruit candidates for the Asbury University Principal program, and taught 15 graduate hours in the School of Education. This year, Willian has been transferred to a full-time teaching load in the program.
“[I] live in Winchester, married to my childhood sweetheart, [and I’m] a very avid disc golfer,” Willian said of what students should know about him. “I have fallen in love with the campus and the people at Asbury University.”