Faculty Research Interests

Dr. Katherine Anderson
Dr. Anderson’s current program of research is focused on health sciences (specifically, epidemiology, health education, and public health), methods of analysis of large data sets, Parkinson’s disease, gerontology, health economics, pharmacoeconomics. Dr. Anderson’s research is often quantitative in nature.
Dr. Sandra Birchfield
Dr. Birchfield’s research interests include supervision and administration dealing with students, time management and organizational procedures of the organization.
Dr. Lynn Stevenson-Burger
Dr. Stevenson-Burger’s research focuses on the extent to which the collection of process data related to specific management tasks can inform, direct and predict effective school management.; The extent to which principals, in their role of instructional leaders, can mine data from decision-support systems to inform and direct staff development such to positively impact student learner outcomes.; What is the "state of the art" in implementing data driven / performance based decision-making by school administrators. What tools are available? Are there any tools that are truly system-wide (enterprise wide resource managers)? Can these tools be classified? How are these tools being implemented - e.g., SIS, Finance, HR, are usually married to some data-mining tool. What are the costs and problems associated with such tools? Costs and problems associated with each. Do any of these tools collect process data?; What skill sets do administrators need in order to provide the right guidance to long-range technology plans that do not trap them in current models, but inform them on how to improve practice and discover new approaches to managing teaching and learning?; What methodologies could be used to enlist professional staff in the adoption of a decision-support system? How could issues related to union policy, accountability, information sharing and collaboration be addressed?; What impact will and should the newer technologies have on K-12 school administration - e.g., social networking; Web 2.0 approaches (for staff and students); distance education, virtual classrooms; and others?; How could new information technologies promote and support research across traditional intra- and inter-organizational boundaries?
Dr. Michael Burger
Dr. Burger’s research focuses on enabling the transformation of instructional systems through the effective design, development, and implementation of information technologies. The design and implementation of instructional systems that are student-centered, standard-based, and highly accountable by empowering practitioners in education to develop their skills as decision-makers and researchers. He is also interested in the involvement of all stakeholders in instructional programs. In addition to curriculum design, development assessment (especially in standards-based instructional systems), and organizational change.
Dr. Rebecca Burleson
Dr. Burleson’s research interests include early childhood education, special education, early childhood special education, Family Systems Theory (as it relates to service delivery in special education), and family, agency, and professional collaboration to support students with exceptionalities. Dr. Burleson’s research also focuses on the use of mobile learning technologies in P-12 environments and in higher education, internet safety for students in P-12 environments, and supporting the emotional schema of students and families in P-12 education.
Dr. David Burrell
Dr. Burrell’s current research interests focus on coaching strategies for continuous improvement of teaching. His research interests also include the relationship between improved children’s health and the subsequent improvement in academic achievement.
Dr. Margie Carico
Dr. Carico’s specializes in research centered on curriculum, action research, and learning theories.
Dr. Shannon Collins
Dr. Collins’s primary research interests are how people experience writing as well as the teaching of writing. He is also interested in the topics of young adult/adolescent literature, literacy development through the communicative, visual, and performing arts, identity and achievement, language education and social advantage/social disadvantage, and the professional development of teachers. Beginning with his dissertation, Compelled to Connect: A Phenomenological Study of the Experience of Writing, Dr. Collins has shared his knowledge with colleagues at conferences such as the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research in Education and the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. After researching the writing experiences and writing identities of pre-service teachers, the Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative, Visual, and Performing Arts—Volume II published the resulting article: “Awakening Voice and Losing Sleep: When Adult Southern Learners Become Writers.” Dr. Collins founded and directed the Upper Cumberland Writing Project (UCWP), funded by the National Writing Project (NWP). To date, Dr. Collins has accounted for half a million dollars in grants for literacy research projects including the following:
  • Institute for Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking: When Arts and Sciences Collide (2011-2012)
  • Upper Cumberland Institute for Writing and Critical Thinking (2009-2010)
  • Improving Middle School Students’ Reading Attitudes and Motivations Through Engaging Teachers’ Literacies (2008-2009)
  • Write ON! Developing Teachers of Writers and Readers (2007-2008)
  • Empowering Literacy Instruction (2007-2008)
  • TTU Reading and Writing Institute (2006-2007)
Dr. Collins has served on the editorial review boards of three prominent journals: International Reading Association’s Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, the National Council of Teachers of English’s English Journal, and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescent’s The ALAN Review. Dr. Collins currently writes as a columnist for The ALAN Review, a peer-reviewed academic journal published quarterly by the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council Teachers of English.
Dr. Andrew Courtner
Dr. Courtner’s current research interests focus on the area of higher education. This includes student engagement, faculty engagement, student-faculty interaction, leadership theories and models, student success, academic support, retention theories and practices, student development theory, service learning, accreditation standards, institutional effectiveness, academic administration, learning communities, quantitative statistics, and secondary data.
Dr. Joel Effler
Dr. Effler’s current research interests focus on Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG) as a measure of brain functioning for learning /performing efficiency and identification of psychopathologies and disabilities.
Dr. Cherie Gaines
Dr. Gaines’ current program of research is focused on teacher/leader burnout, school climate/culture, Middle school practices, and teacher leadership efficacy.
Dr. Susan Gratz
Dr. Gratz’s research interests focus on technology and the use of technology in the public schools that LMU Harrogate serves.
Dr. Deborah Hayes
Dr. Hayes’ research interests center around teacher leadership, integrated arts programs, service learning, and the impact of stress on learning.
Dr. Michael W. Hayes
Dr. Hayes’ research focuses on alternative dispute resolution, collaborative conferencing, and mediation/negotiations.
Dr. Roger A. Holt

Research – Peer-Reviewed Professional / Scientific Articles:
Co-authored with Dr. Jack McCann:  “Perceived Leadership Integrity in the Manufacturing Industry” Published by the Journal of Business Ethics online: DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1444-x, will appear printed edition.

Presented with Dr. McCann at the 100th SAMS Conference, March 31, 2012.  “Perceived Leadership Integrity in the Manufacturing Industry”                        

Lead Discussant – “Employee Perceptions of Workplace Diversity in the Manufacturing Industry” By Dr. McCann and Aravamudhan, March 31, 2012 100th Society for Advancement of Management Conference, Las Vegas, NV

Co-authored with Dr. Jack McCann: “Sustainable Leadership:  A Manufacturing Employee Perspective,” Published in Society for Advancement of Management (Advanced Management Journal), Vol. 76, No. 4, 2011, pp. 4-14.

Co-authored with Dr. Jack McCann: "Defining sustainable leadership," Published             in Int. J. Sustainable Strategic Management (IJSSM), (Inderscience),Vol. 2, No. 2, 2010, pp. 204-210.

Co-authored with Dr. Jack McCann: “Servant and Sustainable Leadership: An Analysis in the Manufacturing Environment,” presented at the Spring 2009 Society for the Advancement of Management International Conference at Las          Vegas, NV, and published in the conference proceedings. Published in the International Journal of Management Practice (IJMP), (Inderscience), 2010 Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 134-148.

“Assessing Burnout in Higher Education Online Instructors,” by Dr. Jack McCann             and Dr. Roger A. Holt. Research presented at Lincoln Memorial University’s Spring Scholar’s Forum 2009. Presented at Fall 2009 presentation at the Appalachian College Association Annual Conference. Publication in the October, 2009, Journal of Distance Education / Revue de l'Éducation à Distance,Volume 23, Number 3.

Co-authored with Dr. Jack McCann: “Ethical Leadership and Organizations: An Analysis Based on the Perceived Leadership Integrity Scale.” 2009 Journal of Business Ethics. The original paper was available online in September 2008 at "" and the online publication is the first official publication of this paper. DOI number 10.1007/s10551-008-9880-3. The paper was published in volume 87, issue 2, June (III) 2009. This paper was originally presented at the 2008 Society for the Advancement of Management International Conference Presentation at Arlington, VA, and published in the conference proceedings.                      

“Coaching Online:  How Peer Mentors Can Use the Internet to Improve Online Faculty Performance” by Dr. Larry Flegle, Dr. Roger Holt, Kaplan University 2007

“Invasion of Privacy” by Kathleen Goolsby, Senior Writer, Roger Holt, Outsourcing Journal, December 2000
Dr. Kevin Jones
Dr. Jones’ research interests focus on substitute teaching and teacher training, in-service/professional development and workshops, value of standardized testing, non-traditional instructional strategies, embracing non-STEM content areas, benefits of less government involvement, case for classroom teacher autonomy, EQ vs. IQ, Socio/cultural competence vs. content knowledge, and the impact of student/teacher relationships on academic outcomes. Dr. Jones’ research interests also include the importance of play, recess, sports, music, extra-curricular activities, and pet/animal therapy for students in school.
Dr. Sylvia Lynch
Dr. Lynch’s research interests focus on language arts
Dr. Patricia Murphree
Dr. Murphree’s research interests focus on educational issues involving students and curriculum.
Dr. Cynthia Norris
Dr. Norris’s research interests center on servant leadership, authentic and transformational leadership, learning communities (in organizations and academic settings), cohorts, women in leadership, leadership styles, brain-based leadership, and creative thinking and leadership.
Dr. Howard Norris
Dr. Norris’s principal research interests include educational leadership and educational law.
Dr. John O’Dell
Dr. O’Dell’s research interests center on updates on school law, school improvement and finance in Tennessee and surrounding states.
Dr. Katherine Pebworth
Dr. Pebworth’s current program of research is focused on physical education and physical activity.
Dr. Toby Rogers
Dr. Roger’s research interests include qualitative interview research and working with doctoral students whose dissertations are centered in this area.
Dr. Bill Russell
Dr. Russell’s research interests focuses on elementary level education, differentiated teaching strategies, working with children from poverty, student/teacher relationships and the effect on student achievement, and administrators as instructional leaders and the effects on student achievement.
Dr. Dennis Smith
Dr. Smith’s research interests focus on the role of principals within the school as instructional leaders, their leadership styles and strategies used in administration, and their relationship to faculty, staff, and community.
Dr. Terry Stevenson
Dr. Stevenson’s research interests include:
  • Literacy
  • Common Core implementation
  • Engaging students and motivation
  • Grit
  • Program Design for Higher Education Programs
Dr. Christopher Underwood

Research and Teaching Areas
I am a biogeographer with research interests in forest and disturbance ecology (primarily forest fires) and environmental change during the Holocene—the present geological epoch that began ca. 11,700 years ago. I use natural proxies, such as tree rings and soil charcoal, to explore past environmental change in order to provide knowledge that can better prepare humans to predict, lessen the impacts of, or adapt to future global change.

One of the best parts of my job is that this type of research is often conducted in some of the most beautiful places in the world. I have worked on projects based in the mountains and high-elevation desert of the Pacific Northwest, the Appalachian Mountains, the bayous of Louisiana, and arctic Sweden. My research has always provided opportunities for student collaboration, and I invite you to inquire about current projects in which you could participate.

My teaching interests include introductory geography, physical geography, environmental geography, biogeography, weather and climate, Appalachian geography, and natural hazards.

Scholarly Highlights

Co-principle investigator for a recently funded research project ($170,000 from the United States Geological Survey) that will use tree rings from centuries-old oak trees to establish the long-term range of variability in drought conditions for the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin

During the past ten years, I have participated in the dendroarchaeological dating of some of the oldest log structures in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, including the cabin at President Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historic Site.

Recent publication on carnivorous plant research: Horner, J.D., Cross Steele, J., Underwood, C.A., and Lingamfelter, D. 2012. Age-related changes in characteristics and prey capture in seasonal cohorts of Sarracenia alata pitchers. The American Midland Naturalist 167: 13–27

My research has been recently presented at multiple professional conferences (e.g., Ecological Society of America, Association of American Geographers, Geological Society of America).