By Bria Isaacson and Hannah Stafford, News Editors

Asbury University welcomes 18 new faculty and staff for the 2016-17 academic year.

Social Work Department

Sarah Bellew has worked in cancer care, intensive mental health treatment and service coordination, international adoption and many other settings that have prepared her to be Asbury’s new assistant professor of social work.

Andrew Reynolds has served as Asbury’s bachelor’s of social work field director. He is now transitioning to a new position as an assistant professor.

Education Department

Sharon Bixler has worked as both a middle school teacher and will be an assistant professor of education.

Joe Blackbourn’s specialty is in Special Education, and he has worked in Special Education at the University of Mississippi as well as with the Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies.

Carmen Dixon has 14 years of teaching experience in chemistry and physics. Now, she is an assistant professor in middle/secondary education.

Brittany Worthen has taught in elementary classrooms and at Asbury for the Adult Professional Studies (APS) program in education. She is serving as an instructor.

Christian Studies and Philosophy Department

Chris Bounds is returning to Wilmore after receiving a degree from Asbury and his MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is professor of Wesleyan studies and department chair for the Christian studies and philosophy department. Bounds is also the scholar-in-residence.


Kirk Sims has served for 17 years as a pastor and missionary in Georgia, Ghana, the United Kingdom and Germany. He said he has returned here because “as a missiologist, I am very aware of the rich mission heritage of Asbury University, and I am thrilled to help stoke the fires for mission here.”

Business Department

Alesha Graves is an assistant professor of accounting. She has taught university accounting courses, held positions as a financial controller for a church, an auditor and a tax professional.

Michael Ross has over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurial, marketing and sales positions in Fortune 500 companies.

Communication Arts Department

Heather Hornbeak has been a graphic designer for Griffin Technology, owned a photography studio and taught at Union University. She is now assistant professor of media.


Kate Sweeney has worked with National Geographic, helped launch the Smithsonian Channel and worked on film projects in the Middle East and North Africa. She is joining Asbury as the producer-in-residence.

Todd Wold has served as director of the School of English and Communication Arts at North Central University and worked at Ameriprise Financial. He is a new assistant professor of communication and public relations.

Ancient and Modern Languages Department

Adriana Rivera Vargas, a native Spanish speaker from Mexico, is joining Asbury to teach Spanish.

Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department

Michelle Smith, the new director of the Sports Management program, has served as coordinator and professor of the Sports Management program at Midway University.

Vinson Sutlive is coming to Asbury this year as a professor and the department chair of the Natural Science and Applied Health department.

Resident Directors

Kim-Kresge RD

Kimberly Martin, the new Kresge RD, graduated from Asbury in 2012. She said that she remembers being a freshman and “listening to my RD at the time speak and I thought, ‘I want to be that someday.’” Martin is also the new victim advocate and safe-relationships educator.

Ethan Engelhardt, the new Trustees RD, studied and lived at Asbury, graduating in 2013.

“I love to see how the individual halls within the Trustees Residence Hall continue to flourish and grow together in community,” Engelhardt said.

“It excites me to know that this is a place where students can connect and grow with each other spiritually, physically, emotionally and relationally in such a way that it will impact the way they see the world and interact long after leaving Asbury,” he said.