Arts & Sciences Featured Faculty

Dr. Chris Dula Dr. Chris Dula, Associate Professor of Psychology, is the recipient of the East Tennessee State University 2011 Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching.  In the nomination documents supporting Dula for the award, Dr. Wallace Dixon, chair of Psychology, characterized Dr. Dula's teaching style "as far outside the box in that he teaches in a performance mode that attracts students like a magnet, often recruiting them as psychology majors."  Dr. Dixon also commented on his "overwhelming supportiveness and commitment to undergraduate mentorship" in his Applied Psychology Laboratory and that he invites students of any competence level to participate, providing them "a learning opportunity they cannot gain in any other context." 

Since joining the ETSU faculty, Dr. Dula has served as a member or chair of seven undergraduate honors thesis committees, and has held those same roles on more than 25 graduate student committees.  During his career, he has presented at approximately 226 conventions, research forums, and meetings.  Dr. Gordon Anderson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, noted in his nomination letter that student comments describe Dula as "outstanding, colorful, funny, engaging, motivational, approachable and, of course, awesome."  Anderson added that this feedback documents "a rare talent for teaching and connecting with students at all levels."  A former student who is now completing her doctoral studies said he "encourages independent thinking and pursuit of individual interests and goals, all while fostering a sense of community and teamwork among his research students."  In fall 2010, ETSU students voted Dr. Dula as the inaugural recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Choice Award, presented during the Centennial Opening Celebration.  He currently holds the Heyward Memorial Faculty Excellence Award presented by the ETSU Department of Psychology to an "outstanding department member who demonstrates excellence in teaching, research or service."  His scholarly work has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals and includes several papers on the issue of aggressive and emotional driving. 

Dr. Dula received his B.S. degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, followed by an M.A. in clinical psychology from Appalachian State University.  In 2003, he was awarded his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, and spent one year as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Memphis.  His professional memberships include the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Association for Behavioral Analysis, Tennessee Psychological Association, Virginia Psychological Association, and the Intermountain Psychological Association.


Dr. Roberta Herrin Dr. Roberta T. Herrin, Chair of the Department of Appalachian Studies and Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services (CASS) is recipient of the East Tennessee State University 2011 Distinguished Faculty Award in Service.  Dr. Herrin earned the award based on what ETSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Bert C. Bach called "a broad, impressive, and widely acknowledged record of service that is ... astonishing in light of her concurrent record of teaching and maintaining an uninterrupted record of scholarly achievement."  She is currently serving a three-year term on the board of directors of Humanities Tennessee and has also held leadership roles with the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Appalachian Consortium, Appalachian Studies Association, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Jonesborough/ Washington County Heritage Alliance, Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau Council, and other organizations.  Since 2003, she has been program director of the Appalachian Regional Commission-sponsored Appalachian Teaching Project.  ARC Executive Director Thomas Hunter noted that in this role, Herrin has "guided the development of over 1,000 students and future leaders of Appalachia, all working to meet critical service needs in their communities."

"I don't think she [Herrin] ever turns any request down because she views each engagement as a way to promote the missions of CASS and East Tennessee State University," Dr. Anthony Cavender, an ETSU anthropology professor, said in support of her nomination.  Fred Sauceman, ETSU executive assistant to the president for University Relations, wrote: "I have observed the work of CASS since the 1980s, and from that long perspective, I clearly believe that the organization has never been more closely and beneficially tied to the region it interprets and celebrates."  Three colleagues who joined in nominating her noted that she practices the "fundamental life maxim" of "Lead by Example," and pointed out that "Under her leadership, the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services is the first Center of Excellence in the state to generate an academic department – a department that includes the Appalachian, Scottish and Irish Studies Program; a minor in both Appalachian Studies and Environmental Studies; and the nation's first Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music."  CASS also encompasses the Archives of Appalachia, the Carroll Reece Museum, and Now & Then magazine. 

"Behind the scenes, Dr. Herrin gives to others in selfless ways that are not expected of someone in her many leadership positions," wrote Dr. Anderson.  "Each summer, CASS sponsors the ETSU Tennessee Governor's School for the Scientific Exploration of Tennessee Heritage.  One residential counselor stated, 'I was impressed each weekday morning when Dr. Herrin would take the time to eat breakfast with the counselors ... and following this, attend the daily plenary meeting of students and counselors. Her relentless presence communicated to both students and counselors her genuine concern for their success and growth as well as her passion for the Appalachian region and related studies.'"

Dr. Herrin earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in English at ETSU and her Ph.D. in English at the University of Tennessee.