Friday, August 31, 2012

SBU Announces New Faculty and Newcomer Awards at Convocation

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 /

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist University recently began its official academic year with a formal convocation in Pike Auditorium on the Bolivar main campus. The annual convocation address was presented by Dr. Dwight Haun ‘81, associate professor of education, and recipient of the 2012 Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award.

The Distinguished Teacher Award is chosen by the current and three previous graduating classes and is presented annually to a faculty member for “outstanding teaching ability and personal guidance.”

Dr. Donald Denton, associate professor of theology, was recognized for receiving the 2012 Parkway Distinguished Professor Award. The Christian College Education Committee of Parkway Baptist Church in Saint Louis awards this honor annually to faculty members from each of the four Missouri Baptist colleges who have made outstanding contributions to Christian education.

Dr. Dwight Haun
2012 Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher

Dr. Dwight Haun joined the SBU faculty in 1998 as assistant professor of teacher education.  Currently, Dr. Haun is the director of teacher education, chair of the department of education, and associate professor of teacher education.   He served a term as president of the SBU Faculty Senate, is a double recipient of the Orien B. Hendrex Distinguished Teacher Award for 2005 and 2012, a Faculty Life Beautiful Award recipient, and he has received the SBU Faculty Newcomer of the Year Award.  

An alumnus of Southwest Baptist University, Dr. Haun earned his Bachelor of Science in mathematics and physical education in 1981.  He earned a Master of Science in secondary education and mathematics from Southwest Missouri State University and in 1990 a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Dr. Haun is a member of the National Middle School Association, Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Missouri Association for Colleges of Teacher Education.  In 1995, he was awarded the Master Teacher Award for the Bolivar R-I Schools.

Dr. Haun and his wife, Verna, also a graduate of SBU, reside in Bolivar and have two sons, Kendall, who is married to Leigh Anne, and Grant.  The Haun family attends First Baptist Church in Bolivar

Dr. Donald Denton
2012 Parkway Distinguished Professor
Dr. Donald Denton joined the faculty of Southwest Baptist University in 2003.  Dr. Denton has made significant contributions to his discipline.  His dissertation was published by the prestigious T. & T. Clark Publishers and was recently included in the digital Logos Library for scholars.  He has presented research papers to national and international meetings of biblical and theological scholars.  He has contributed several articles to top-level referred journals.  He also has submitted his research to a book of essays produced by international scholars.  In short, Dr. Denton is a recognized scholar in gospel studies, cited often in major books and journals of biblical scholarship.

An invaluable member of The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry faculty, he was instrumental in developing a new academic major in the Redford College.  Recently, he established a new chapter of the national honor society for theology students, Theta Alpha Kappa. 

Dr. Denton received his Bachelor of Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University, a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

Dr. Denton and his wife, Diane, have one son, Joshua.  The Denton family is active at their church, serving their community by participating in mission trips, service organizations, and ministries to women and children.  In addition, Dr. Denton leads Bible studies at home and preaches for churches in southwest Missouri.

The faculty and staff Newcomer of the Year awards also were introduced during the formal convocation.

The 2012 Faculty Newcomer of the Year is Bethany Messersmith
Messersmith has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts degree in Journalism, and Master of Science degree in Library Science from Indiana University. She currently serves as an assistant professor of library services on the Bolivar campus.

Prior to coming to SBU in June of 2011, she was a library assistant at Ephrata Public Library in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, an office assistant at R.E. Sutton & Associates in Brownsburg, Indiana, and an intern in the University Libraries and Communication Department at Indiana University.

Her dean, Mr. Edward Walton, said the following about her:  “She has been an inspiring member of the University Libraries faculty—bringing enthusiasm, energy, and professionalism to every project she undertakes.  She has a passion for information literacy—enabling students to be lifelong learners.  She has revitalized the University Libraries’ information literacy program.  She has worked closely with the University Success Center in developing a stronger information literacy program to help students critically evaluate information and transfer information literacy skills to other courses.”

She has a deep desire to mentor young women. When the request for Small Group Leaders for the Community Life and Worship was announced, she immediately responded.  In each semester since, she has mentored a group of students.  She is an active member of First Evangelical Free Church in Springfield where she serves on a women’s ministry team, a greeter team, and in the nursery.

The 2012 Staff Newcomer of the Year is David Marsch
Marsch graduated from SBU in 1997 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in secondary education, and received his master’s degree in elementary education from SBU in 2008.   He is currently a help desk technician.  Prior to working at SBU he was employed by the Bolivar school district as an elementary teacher at the Exceptional Pupil Cooperative Alternative School.

He came to SBU highly trained in repairing computer devices.  Since he is an SBU graduate, he knows our campus and was able to help employees from day one.  He provides exceptional computer support with kindness and grace.  If he does not know the answer, he will go out of his way to find a solution.  He is known by his colleagues to exemplify the University mission statement.

He attends First Baptist Church of Bolivar.  He is married to Charlotte, the editor of the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, and has two daughters: Rachel, who is in first grade; and Gloria, who is 3 years old.

The following new faculty members also were introduced during the formal convocation: 

Dr. Nathan Wright, is the new assistant professor of economics. Dr. Wright holds a B.A. from Southwest Baptist University and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

see caption below
Dr. Jennifer Fox, joins SBU as instructor of education. Fox holds a B.S from Southwest Baptist University, an M.A. from Dominican University and an Ed.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Mr. Kevin Day, is the new instructor of exercise science & athletic training. He has a B.S from Southwest Baptist University, and an M.S from University of Central Missouri.

Jane Berg, joins SBU as  assistant professor of music. Berg holds a B.M. from Louisiana State University, and an M.M. from Manhattan School of Music.

Rebecca (Koe) Godsey, is the new instructor of communication arts. She has a B.A. from Southwest Baptist University, and an M.A. from Missouri State University  

Dr. Bev McNeal, is the new associate professor of physical therapy. She holds a B.S. from Baylor University, an M.S. from Texas Woman’s University, and a D.P.T. from Southwest Baptist University.

Dr. Becky Schoeneberg joins SBU as assistant professor of physical therapy. Dr Schoeneberg, has a B.S. from Hannibal-LaGrange University, and a D.P.T. from Southwest Baptist University.

Dr. Tao Wei, is the new associate professor of biology. Dr. Wei holds an M.D from Henan Medical University, and a Ph.D. from Uppsala University.

Karlae Callahan is the new health professions coordinator (Salem). Callahan holds a A.S from Columbia College, a B.S. from Barnes School of Nursing, and an M.S. from Sinclair School of Nursing. 
Ms. Bethany Woods, Assistant Professor

Rebecca Carlson joins SBU as assistant professor (Springfield). Carlson holds a B.S. from Concordia University, and an M.L.S. from University of North Carolina.

PHOTO: New SBU faculty 2012
From left to right, front row: Jennifer Fox, Dr. Becky Shoeneberg, Dr. Beverly McNeal, Bethany Woods
From left to right bottom row: Dr. Nathan Wright, Rebecca Carlson, Jone Berg, Karlae Callahan, Dr. Tao Wei
Not pictured: Kevin Day, Rebecca (Koe) Godsey.

Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. At SBU, the faculty and staff create a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. For more information, visit

SBU’s Office of Marketing and Communications is available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 399-7918.