One of the most important strengths of the School of Health Professions is our exceptional faculty and staff. Our people are highly motivated and, themselves, answering the calling of their lives. They have deep professional experience, but equally as important, they are enthusiastic, passionate teachers — their commitment will make your time at Samford richer by far.
James B. Angel has experienced a lot of changes since coming to Samford University in 1984 to chair the kinesiology department, which was then known as the physical education and recreation department. "I was teaching at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in the exercise science department when I received a call from Dr. Jim Sharman (former chair of Samford's kinesiology department and the department chair at UAB where Angel completed his degree), I decided to apply because Samford University is a Christian school where I could share my faith," he said. He is proud he has had the opportunity to positively influence students' lives for Jesus Christ while helping prepare them for their careers. Even more rewarding is the time when Angel's personal and professional life have overlapped. "I have taught my wife, both daughters, both sons-in-law and now one of my granddaughters," he said.
When Shannon Ashe was recently offered a job as an instructor and clinical coordinator for athletic training education program at Samford University, she didn't hesitate to accept it. "I have worked with individuals from Samford since arriving in Birmingham in 2002. I have always enjoyed working with the faculty, staff and students. When the opportunity to work within these ranks presented itself, I am excited to say I was able to join. I have a passion for athletic training and sports medicine that I am excited every day to share with our students," she said. Her pride in her new job opportunity pales in comparison to that she has for her family. Ashe and her husband, Chris, have a son and twin daughters.
Dollie Grover Brice has had a job at Samford University for 34 years, but she believes she has never worked. "When you love your work, you will never work a day in your life," she said. As an undergraduate at Samford, Brice planned to major in nursing, but ultimately ended up graduating with a degree in accounting. During her time as a student, she participated in the school's synchronized swimming team, which ultimately led to her first job coaching Samford's team. During her time at Samford, Brice has overseen the school's water show, the children's summer swimming program as well as several dance classes, including the always-full ballroom dancing where she teaches a variety of dance styles. She also does private lessons for engaged couples to assist them with learning a first dance for their wedding. In recent years, Brice has added yoga instructor to her extensive repertoire. She is a certified registered yoga teacher with 200 hours of training. "Swimming is what I was hired to teach, and I no longer do that. No complaints. I love yoga, but swimming is what got me this job.
For Candia Cole, being a part of Samford University is a family affair, and her ties run deep. "I have been a part of Samford all my life. My parents attended Howard College. My father graduated in 1947. My mother worked as a student assistant for Dean Margaret Sizemore, and I too was her student assistant. My mother would bring groups to visit Samford during Step Sing. My first Step Sing was in 1969 and I did not miss a performance until 1984 when my daughter was born the night of dress rehearsal," she said. Her brother and sister also attended Samford. After graduating in 1978, Cole worked in several departments across campus before becoming the faculty/staff wellness coordinator in 2002. She also found time in December 1999 to make an appearance on Third Rock from the Sun. "My sister was working on the show as an actress and stunt woman, and the director picked me out of the stand to do a feature role with my own dressing room trailer." In her free time, Cole also addresses wedding invitations using calligraphy. Despite having a knee replacement in March 2013, Cole doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon. "I…still can teach kickboxing," she said.
Dr. Senobia Crawford has more than 30 years of experience as a clinical physical therapist and more than 15 years of experience in physical therapy education. Prior to joining the faculty at Samford, Crawford served on the faculties at University of Alabama Birmingham, Howard University and Alabama State University. She also served as an invited lecturer at George Washington University, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Temple University. She spent one year as a social policy fellow in the executive branch of government, bridging research and social policy. Crawford previously served as a program chair for a Doctor of Physical Therapy program and earned a reputation for recruiting faculty and students from diverse backgrounds to physical therapy programs. She is a credentialed clinical instructor and has experience as both a clinical instructor and an academic coordinator of clinical education. Her previous areas of teaching have included pediatrics, administration and management, education, clinical medicine, basic therapeutic exercise, cultural diversity, neurological rehabilitation, and pharmacology. A former Alabama Physical Therapy Association staffer, Crawford has a wide breath of knowledge of professionalism in physical therapy. Throughout her career, she has maintained active practice in serving children with motor impairments and /or developmental disabilities in acute care, rehabilitation, home, and school settings.
Matthew P. Ford is an Associate Professor, and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. Prior to joining the College of Health Sciences, Ford served on faculty at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a research associate at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham and for the past decade has been conducting research aimed at helping persons with physical disabilities. He is currently involved in three areas of research related to Parkinson’s disease: 1) Tracking the changes in physical activity and health; 2) comprehensive health and wellness programs; and 3) the use of music and external rhythms during mobility training. Ford lives in Homewood, Ala. with his wife, Kim, and their two sons, Dylan and Jack.
Dr. Darrell “D.J.” Gililland is a native of White Deer, Texas and joins Samford after 13 years at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. While at Hardin-Simmons he served as an assistant athletic trainer, the head athletic trainer and recently was the clinical coordinator for the athletic training education program. Prior to his appointments at Hardin-Simmons, Gililland served as the clinical director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, Mo. He is actively involved with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and was a recipient of the NATA National Service Award for contributions to the profession. Gililland and his wife Andrea have a two year old daughter Taylor and a six year old golden retriever G. Rollie.
Ralph R. Gold, Jr., has been a member of Samford University’s faculty for 21 years, and is a true believer in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." As a child, many might have never expected Gold to accomplish much. "Having been raised in a single-parent home, I never completed high school," he revealed. Despite this challenge, Gold ultimately went on to earn his Ed.D. in educational leadership and supervision from Samford and received the honor award, the highest professional award given by The Alabama State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. His hard work serves as a shining example to students as well as his daughter and son who are also alums.
Allison Jackson has learned the truth of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Jackson, who has been employed by Samford University for eight years, started as an adjunct professor in the department of kinesiology and completed her Ph.D. while teaching full time and raising her sons. "I . . . fell in love with the students, faculty and campus atmosphere so much that I wanted to be full time rather than a stay-at-home mom," she said. "I enjoy juggling my work and home life because I love what I do outside my home."
Prior to coming into academia nearly 20 years ago, Margaret Johnson served adult patients with primarily traumatic brain injury and stroke in acute care hospitals and rehabilitation centers. She continues to practice clinically today and feels that it is truly the only way to be successful in teaching students the science and art of speech language pathology. She has found a passion and a love for working with students and enjoys sharing her passion of the profession. She loves water sports, gardening, and reading. Originally from Mississippi, Johnson is a self-proclaimed “die-hard Ole Miss Rebel."
Dr. Carol Koch comes to Samford from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. where she served as the Director of Hearing and Speech for the past 20 months. Prior to that appointment, she was an associate professor for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Rockhurst University for nine years. Her clinical, teaching, and research interests include: pediatric speech sound acquisition and speech sound disorders, assessment and intervention for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, family and sibling experiences with a child who has special needs, early intervention, trauma-informed care, and clinical education/supervision. Currently, she is writing a textbook on assessment and intervention for pediatric speech sound disorders. Koch enjoys travelling, photography, reading, and scuba diving. She is also an active member of her faith community.
Mallory Marshall joined the Samford faculty in fall 2014 after completing her PhD in Exercise Physiology at Michigan State University. Her research experiences include coordinating the Reliability and Validity of Physical Activity Measurement During Pregnancy study at MSU and conducting her dissertation research on physical activity during pregnancy and epigenetic effects on offspring. She is passionate about teaching and mentoring undergraduate students and believes that involving undergraduates in the research process provides an invaluable learning experience. She is married to Dave and they have two young daughters.
John Petrella joined the Department of Kinesiology in 2007. Since then, he has mentored three projects that have received recognition from the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine. Petrella, a professional soccer fan, loves Colossians 3:23–24, "Whatever you do, work it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Prior to joining Samford as the director of clinical education in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Laura Promer provided diagnosis and treatment of language, reading, writing and related disorders to children and adolescents in a private clinic setting. Promer’s career began at the Roosevelt Institute in Warm Springs, Georgia where she completed her clinical fellowship training. She later served patients in acute care and rehabilitation settings at Trinity Medical Center and UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. Promer founded Communication and Reading Therapies in 2001. Promer received training in multisensory reading evaluation and instruction at the Chrysalis Academy in Atlanta, Georgia and she’s also received training in Lindamood Bell and Wilson Language reading programs. Promer became an Associate in the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners in 2003 and she has completed course work toward the Educational Specialist master’s degree in Instructional Leadership at Samford University. Promer and her husband, Scott, a mechanical engineer, live in Vestavia and have three children. They are active members of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church where she serves as a First Light Shelter liaison.
Dr. Hollea Ryan comes to Samford University from the Department of Communicative Disorders at the University of Alabama where she served as a part-time instructor. Her professional interests include pediatric audiology, cochlear implants, aural rehabilitation and attachment development. Her personal interests include reading, photography, softball, ballroom dancing and traveling. Ryan and her husband have two young children.
New to Samford University, Karen Thatcher recalls the decision to move to Birmingham and join the Samford faculty as an “easy” one. “I felt the presence of something more when I first came to Samford for my interview,” she said. “The passion that faculty and staff have for their students was evident. I wanted to be a part of that. I feel blessed to wake up every day and do what I love – teach my students about speech pathology.” A native of Indiana, Thatcher taught at Ball State University for 13 years. She has two daughters, Danielle and Abigail and is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild, Tyler Aaron.
Lydia A. Thurston serves as Assistant Professor, and Director of Clinical Education of the Department of Physical Therapy. Thurston possesses more than a decade of clinical experience builton her passion for clinical education, inter-professional practice,clinical research, and health advocacy. Her foundation in outpatient orthopedic sports physical therapy and inpatient acute care pediatric practices affords a broad understanding of physical therapist practice. Thurston lives in Vestavia Hills,Alabama, with her husband, Michael, and their three children.
Nick B. Washmuth has developed a comprehensive clinical skill set while working in private practice. He is skilled in mobilizations and manipulations, vestibular rehab, Pilates, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, and exercise prescription. In addition to Washmuth’s clinical attributes, he has practice management experience and is able to blend clinical product, business efficiency, and customer service to ensure productivity, profitability, and optimal patient outcomes. Washmuth’s role as a clinical instructor and mentor has led to his passion for teaching and education. He lives in Homewood, Alabama, with his wife, Kathleen, and twins, Finn & Chloe.
*Effective April 29, 2015 Samford University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone: 703:706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the programs is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.
**Graduation from an athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), 6836 Austin Center Blvd. Suite 250, Austin, TX 78731; phone; 512-733-9700; email@example.com is necessary for eligibility to sit for the Board of Certification Examination (BOC) , which is required to be licensed in all states.
Samford University is seeking accreditation of a new master of athletic training program from the CAATE. The program will submit an Application for Accreditation including a Self-Study and on-site visit. Submission of this document and completing the site visit does not assure that the program will be granted Accreditation. Students who graduate prior to the program’s achievement of accreditation will not be eligible to sit for the BOC examination.