Faculty of Distinction

Appalachian State University faculty members are known for using innovative, interdisciplinary and integrative curricula. They are dedicated to research and student mentorship and invested in new strategies and technologies. Meet a few of our extraordinary faculty who create life-changing experiences in the classroom and beyond.

  • 99% - percentage of full-time faculty who hold terminal degrees
  • 16:1 - student/faculty ratio
  • 27 - average class size
  • 85.8% - freshman-to-sophomore retention rate

(2014-2015 data)

  • Alice P. Wright, award-winning young scholar
    Faculty Member of Distinction
    College of Arts and Sciences – Assistant Professor, Anthropology

    “Teamwork makes the dream work” is the motto of Anthropology Assistant Professor Alice P. Wright’s team of researchers on the PEARL Project, a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort tackling the Middle Woodland archaeological record of west Tennessee.

  • Michael Mayfield, champion of General Education
    Faculty Member of Distinction
    Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

    Dr. Michael Mayfield, vice provost for undergraduate education at Appalachian State University, never meant to be a teacher. According to his wife he “fell into it by accident.” It’s true: at his first conference presentation as a graduate student, he actually fell from the stage. He tells folks, she said, the humbling experience of climbing back up and carrying on resonated and he’s been on stage as an educator ever since.

  • Ray Christian, telling stories to integrate his life, to teach and to entertain
    Faculty Member of Distinction
    University College – Instructor

    Ray Christian, a storyteller and instructor at Appalachian State University, compartmentalizes his life of 55 years into three disparate segments: an impoverished childhood in a Richmond, Virginia, ghetto, 20 years serving his country in the U.S. Army, and the past two decades “doing nothing but going to school.”

  • Dr. Scott Marshall, studying earthquakes from space
    Faculty Member of Distinction
    College of Arts and Sciences – Associate Professor, Geology

    Geophysicist Dr. Scott Marshall studies earthquakes from space. His satellite data helps map fault lines in Southern California’s subsurface.

  • Dr. Rob Brown, cultural geographer
    Faculty Member of Distinction
    College of Arts and Sciences – Associate Professor, Geography

    Dr. Rob Brown is a cultural geographer who researches aspects of the Deep South – for example, black in-migration patterns since the 1970s, New Deal farm settlement and blues music.

  • Vachel Miller, Faculty Member of Distinction
    Reich College of Education
    Associate Professor, Leadership and Educational Studies

    As a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholar, Appalachian’s Dr. Vachel Miller influenced the training of future educators at Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar University (BDU).

  • Joseph Gonzalez, Faculty Member of Distinction
    College of Arts and Sciences
    Assistant Professor, Cultural, Gender, and Global Studies

    What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveler? If you ask Joseph Gonzalez, he might tell you it comes down to the sort of bus you’re riding in.

  • Fred Hay, Faculty Member of Distinction
    University Libraries
    Librarian of the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection,
    Anne Belk Distinguished Professor and Professor of Appalachian Studies

    Fred Hay grew up with the son of legendary singer James Brown in north Georgia. He also knew original members of The Famous Flames, the band that James Brown began his career fronting.

  • Jennifer Snodgrass, Faculty Member of Distinction
    Hayes School of Music
    Associate Professor of Music Theory

    The first chapter of Jennifer Snodgrass’ new book “Contemporary Musicianship” is about Billy Joel. Why? Because in 2012 she noticed that her 8 a.m. music theory class students were sleepy. She used the piano man to wake them up, announcing: “You’re going to study Billy Joel. You’re going to write like Billy Joel. You’re going to learn everything you can about Billy Joel’s life and career!”

  • Karen Epermanis, Faculty Member of Distinction
    Walker College of Business
    Associate Professor of Finance, Banking and Insurance,
    Director of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center

    Karen Epermanis – or, as her students call her, Dr. E – was nervous when she watched four mentees field questions from risk management professionals at the national Spencer Risk Management Challenge in spring 2015. It was the culmination of a semester’s worth of research. Their assigned task: Analyze company risks and make recommendations for The Walt Disney Corporation.

  • Ece Karatan, Faculty Member of Distinction
    Associate Professor, Department of Biology

    Dr. Ece Karatan, recently awarded her second National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, said her cholera research may not cure the disease – “that is ultimately a sanitation issue” – but it may introduce a new paradigm.

  • Faculty of Distinction: Scott Ludwig
    Associate Professor, Department of Art

    For Scott Ludwig, the “moment a student discovers something about their artistic abilities is the most rewarding. It keeps me coming back to the classroom.” In turn, he’s rewarded his students by making the printmaking process safer.

  • Faculty of Distinction: Jeff Goodman
    Senior Lecturer, Department of Curriculum & Instruction

    Jeff Goodman ’93 is not above sticking his head in a bucket of water to illustrate the principle of displaced volume. Or, to teach about light and color, to turn his classroom literally into a camera obscura, blocking all but a pinpoint of light and flipping his students’ viewed world upside down and backwards.

  • Faculty of Distinction: Dr. Libby Puckett
    Associate Professor and Forensic Science Program Director, Department of Chemistry

    A high school science teacher encouraged Dr. Libby Puckett to forego a career in law and pursue science — a major life changer. Puckett combined her passion for chemistry and law by pursuing a degree in forensic science and has been paying it forward ever since.