Sep 15, 2022

College of the Ozarks welcomes new faculty members

Photo of Dr. Jim Anderson
Dr. Jim Anderson
Headshot of Laura Ashley
Laura Ashley
Headshot of Ashley Exendine
Ashley Exendine
Headshot of Tom Foley
Tom Foley
Headshot of Scott Hall
Scott Hall
Headshot of Dr. Amanda Holder
Dr. Amanda Holder
Headshot of Rebecca McGarry
Rebecca McGarry
Headshot of Dr. Aleshia O'Neal
Dr. Aleshia O'Neal
Headshot of Laura Paul
Laura Paul
Headshot of Jamie Rouch
Jamie Rouch

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks started the 2022-2023 academic year with 10 new professors.

Eric Bolger, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, said the number of new hires is somewhat higher than typical for the start of the academic year. Three of the new faculty members are alumnae – Amanda Holder, Rebecca McGarry, and Laura Paul.

“We are excited about this new group of professors,” Bolger said. “They bring diverse experience and expertise to their positions, which range from art to the behavioral sciences to nursing. All of them are great mission fits with the College. I expect them to contribute significantly to the College’s success in developing students of Christ-like character in the coming years.”

Dr. Jim Anderson – Anderson has worked in higher academia for 12 years, with four of those years serving as a dean at Southwest University. He also served in the Army as a research psychologist for eight years with a deployment to Afghanistan and has been working as a civilian research psychologist in the Pentagon for the past year. He holds a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University and will be using his skills to teach principles and practices of experiential education, introduction to sociology, and introduction to research methods at College of the Ozarks.

Laura Ashley –Prior to working at College of the Ozarks, Ashley worked as an instructor of studio art at the University of Mississippi and served as the executive director of the Gumtree Museum of Art in Tupelo, Mississippi. Ashley holds a Master of Fine Arts from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and will be teaching a variety of fine arts classes, including drawing, printmaking, fibers, and art history.

Ashley Exendine – Before coming to the College, Exendine worked as a conservation educator on a wildlife refuge in South Texas, served as an adjunct professor for two community colleges in Georgia, and operated as a dual-credit science teacher at a private high school. She is joining the wildlife and conservation management team at the college, and will be teaching her students plant taxonomy, forestry, and ecology.

Tom Foley – Foley worked in the I.T. department at Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) before joining College of the Ozarks. At OTC he held various positions including server systems administration, cybersecurity engineering, and networking infrastructure manager. He holds a Master of Science in cybersecurity from Missouri State University and will continue teaching computer science classes at College of the Ozarks, including programing fundamentals II, data structures, and operating systems.

Scott Hall – Hall has worked at the collegiate level for many years and has held a variety of positions at many universities. At Hannibal-LaGrange University he served as department chair, assistant professor of business, Moorman professor, and endowed chair. Previously, he taught adjunct classes for Spurgeon College at Midwestern Baptist University. Hall currently holds a Master of Business Administration and is pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration and Marketing from Anderson University. He will be teaching principles of management, marketing promotional strategies, and marketing strategy.

Dr. Amanda Holder – Holder is a College of the Ozarks alumna and is returning to her alma mater after teaching at Crowder College for one year. She completed her doctorate degree in ruminant nutrition at Oklahoma State University and performed extensive research on the intake of mature cattle. This semester, her classes are heavily anchored in the animal science department, including introduction to animal science, animal nutrition, and plant and animal genetics.

Rebecca McGarry – McGarry has worked for Awaken 360 for over a year as a clinical social worker while adjunct teaching for Ozarks Technical Community College’s human behavioral program. Additionally, she worked within community mental health as a direct care provider. McGarry is an alumna of College of the Ozarks and has taught as an adjunct professor in previous semesters. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas and is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She is currently in the process of finishing requirements to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She will be teaching introduction to social work, family systems I, critical concerns with adolescents, and principles of therapeutic interventions.

Dr. Aleshia O’Neal – O’Neal has extensive experience in English education, with a background in junior high and high school in all education settings. She also provided instruction at York University and Harding University in both English departments. O’Neal has a Doctor of Philosophy in humanities: heritage studies from Arkansas State University and will be integrated into the English and education departments at College of the Ozarks. She will be teaching composition skills, college composition, and plans to include a variety of literature genres and education classes for English education majors in future semesters.

Laura Paul – Paul has served as a nurse at Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri, while also serving at College of the Ozarks as an adjunct nursing instructor since 2018. She is an alumna of the College of the Ozarks nursing program and is returning to provide instruction in that same department. Paul has her master’s in nursing from Western Governors University and her certified acute or critical-care nursing certificate from American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She will be teaching health promotion and foundations of adult care in the fall semester.

Jamie Rouch – Rouch holds a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in finance. This semester, she will be teaching Accounting 101, finance, and corporate finance. Prior to working at College of the Ozarks, Rouch served as the director of finance for the city of Branson for 14 years, and before that served as an accountant for Baptist Bible College. She also was the internal auditor for Herschend Family Entertainment for four years.