Faculty Promotions Announced in the College of Education and Professional Studies
Posted on July 20, 2022 by Amber Day
Congratulations to the following faculty members who recently received promotion and/or tenure in the University of South Alabama College of Education and Professional Studies:
- Dr. Todd Johnson, granted tenure and promoted to associate professor
- Dr. Ryon McDermott, promoted to professor
- Dr. Benterah C. Morton, granted tenure and promoted to associate professor
- Dr. Christopher Parrish, granted tenure and promoted to associate professor
- Dr. Linda Reeves, granted tenure and promoted to associate professor
- Dr. Mitchell Woltring, granted tenure and promoted to associate professor
Dr. Todd Johnson was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Teacher Education. Johnson values the opportunity to teach future educators, preparing them to meet the challenges in K-12 classrooms, especially the effective inclusion of students with disabilities in general education settings. Prior to his university work, Johnson spent nine years teaching Geometry and Chemistry to high school students with and without disabilities, as well as servicing a caseload of students with emotional disabilities. Johnson’s research includes understanding cognitive processes that students engage in while negotiating mathematics and science curriculum and psychological self-constructs (e.g., self-efficacy, self-concept, interest, anxiety) that impact students and teachers during teaching and learning. Improving outcomes for struggling students, and in particular, secondary students with disabilities who access the general education curriculum, is an overarching goal.
Johnson teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in special education as well as various other courses within the College of Education and Professional Studies. He also enjoys teaching quantitative methods to doctoral students, helping them get over their apprehension and become more adept at both consuming and conducting research. He has served as methodologist on several student dissertation research projects.
Dr. Ryon McDermott was promoted to professor. McDermott is a licensed psychologist and serves as the associate director of clinical training in the Clinical and Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at South. McDermott, who studies men and different ideas of masculinity, is leading a national research project that examines how men think, feel and act in relation to their attitudes and behaviors toward COVID-19 vaccines. The $250,000 research project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Psychological Association (APA), will include faculty at Texas Tech University and the University of Akron, along with doctoral students at the University of South Alabama.
McDermott, who joined the South faculty in 2013, divides most of his time between supervising doctoral student clinicians and research. As a scientist practitioner, McDermott has been working with men for many years. Soon, he will start working as a consultant at VRR, Veterans Recovery Resources.
College student well-being is another passion of McDermott's. Prior to joining South, he worked in a variety of university counseling centers. Since he arrived at South, he has been involved with Jag Success, an academic resource for students that includes peer mentoring, homework help and learning workshops. McDermott has also contributed to a variety of campus-wide assessments tracking student psychological, social and academic well-being. He was the recipient of a $25,000 internal grant and has been a co-investigator on projects funded by the National Science Foundation. In August, McDermott will become president of the APA’s Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities.
Dr. Benterah C. Morton was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Teacher Education. Morton began his formal education career as a middle and high school science teacher. He has also served as an instructional leader (principal and assistant principal) for campuses with preK-8th grade students. As a campus level administrator and instructional leader, Morton worked within organizations to promote democracy in education by developing and leading campus improvement teams consisting of parents, teachers and community members that evaluated and informed campus policy, instructional programming and campus culture.
At the University of South Alabama, Morton has worked to refine the focus of his research to more closely align with who he is as an educator and researcher: a protagonist for students who intentionally strives to meet the diverse needs of students. His research centers on the roles of K-12 leaders in meeting the needs of diverse populations. Morton investigates these roles through examinations of mentoring practices and programs, leadership preparation and training, and the implementation of curriculum and instruction. Therefore, each of the scholarly activities he engages with (publications, grants, presentations, etc.) fits into one of three categories (i.e., mentoring, leadership preparation, or curriculum and instruction) all pointing toward meeting the needs of diverse populations.
Dr. Christopher Parrish was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Teacher Education. Parrish is a secondary mathematics teacher educator and focuses on the implementation of quality instruction in his own courses, as well as the classrooms of his students.
In addition to implementing team-based learning in his own instruction, he is co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant that supports faculty from across the nation implement team-based inquiry learning in their undergraduate mathematics courses. His other work examines the development and implementation of team-based learning in a variety of online settings with the goal of ensuring quality learning experiences for students, regardless of the course modality.
Parrish earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Auburn University at Montgomery, master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of West Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Auburn University.
Dr. Linda Reeves was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor. Reeves earned a Ph. D in Special Education with an emphasis on positive behavior supports from the University of Arizona, master's in special education with a specialty in behavior disorders from the University of Oregon and bachelor's in special education from Boston College. She has more than 25 years of experience as a special education teacher, autism specialist and district-wide behavior specialist mainly in public school settings.
Reeves also assists in the administration of the PASSAGE USA program and PEP Summer Camp. She is a co-principal investigator on the PASSAGE USA grant, and the program was awarded a $2.3 million U. S. Department of Education grant to expand in 2020.
Reeves has published in the use of task analysis to assess behavior when designing function-based interventions and factors that contribute to choosing a career in special education. Her research interests include the application of behavioral principles to support inclusive practices and the perceptions of peer mentors in post-secondary education programs.
Dr. Mitchell Woltring was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport. Woltring earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a master’s in sport management and Ph.D. in Human Performance from Middle Tennessee State University. He previously spent time working in high school, college and professional baseball, most notably with the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets.
Woltring's most recent research and class initiatives include two issues: student-athlete concerns and service learning for sport management students. In the area of student-athlete concerns, Woltring and his colleagues have researched and published articles that address transition from high school to college, life skills programming for student-athletes when they are in college, and particular areas of concern for international student-athletes. In the classroom, Woltring and his colleagues organize and operate an extensive service learning program that provides sport management students with opportunities to apply their classroom knowledge at various sport events held locally and regionally.