Michael W. Smith, Ph.D. is a native of West Virginia and a graduate of Virginia Tech (M.A.) and Florida State University (Ph. D.). He has taught courses in writing and literature at Bluefield State College for over 20 years and is a published author. He is a former Chair of the Humanities Department and recently served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the college from 2018-2020.
Sean P. Connolly, Ph.D. is Chair and Tenured Professor of Humanities in the Department of Humanities at Bluefield State, as well as the Assistant Director of the Honors College. He is a native of Long Island, New York, and the great-grandchild of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Lebanon. He pursued his undergraduate studies nearby as a student in the Honors College at Stony Brook University, where he double-majored in Philosophy and Literature (B.A.), graduating Phi Beta Kappa with honors. While at Stony Brook, he was fortunate to receive a fellowship from the Deutscher Akademisher Austauchdienst (D.A.A.D.) to pursue studies in German language and literature in Tübingen, Germany, which was his first experience abroad. With a fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, he continued on to his graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Paris VIII and comparative literature at Cornell University, tracing the intersections of European political thought with utopian/dystopian literature from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Along the way, he was fortunate to receive a position teaching English at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France. After his graduate studies, he was fortunate to receive his first faculty position at his alma mater, Stony Brook University, and his second position at Tulane University in New Orleans, coming to Bluefield finally in the fall of 2012. He is a recipient of a National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship an Advisor of the Year award from the Student Government Association. At Bluefield State, he teaches classes in writing, literature, philosophy—and occasionally French language—across the curriculum, and he enjoys working with students in a variety of ways to help them realize their potential.
Dr. Rodney Montague serves as a Professor of History in the Social Sciences Department, specializing in American History, African American History, and Race at Bluefield State College. Dr. Montague earned his Masters and Doctorate from Columbia University. His research focus is on American understandings of nationalism, political economy, and labor via the lens of class and race. His more recent research has been on examining the European philosophical underpinnings Black suffrage and scholarship in early 20th century America.
Dr. Michelle Taylor was born and raised in Princeton, WV. She attended West Virginia University (WVU) for her undergraduate degree in foreign language, concentration in French. After graduating, she worked as a regional sales manager for a Baltimore area company for three years; this time increased her interest in learning business and all that it encompasses. She returned to her home state to pursue a masters degree and quickly found her place at Bluefield State College in 2009. Dr. Taylor graduated WVU with an MBA in 2011 and began teaching as an Adjunct Instructor at Bluefield State College’s School of Business. In 2014, Dr. Taylor joined the full-time faculty in BSC’s School of Business and is now an Associate Professor and the Business Administration Department Chair. In May 2020, she completed her doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University with research focused on the needs and motivations of minority students.
James Walters, Ph.D. is a fifth generation Arizonan who was born in Tucson. He started his career with an A.A. in Biology from Phoenix Community College and a B.S. in Microbiology from Arizona State University. He was then awarded a two-year pre-IRTA Fellowship at NIH in the National Cancer Institute. From there, he earned a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. He was later awarded both an American Heart Association Fellowship and a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award post-Doctoral Fellowships for his studies in the field of lipid metabolism using the zebrafish model at the Carnegie Institute for Science at Johns Hopkins University. He is also the President of the West Virginia Academy of Science and is currently an Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of the Applied Science and Mathematics Department, Chair of the Pre-Health Advisory Committee, and the BioMed Club advisor at BSC. He employs several student fellows each year to do research in his lab that also participates in the community science outreach program.
Anthony M. Underwood, Ed.D. -Dr. Underwood currently serves Bluefield State College as the Chief Enrollment Officer, supervising admissions and financial aid. Dr. Underwood has formerly served as a vice president for student services and a dean of students in a higher education career of over two decades. He is a past winner of the West Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Rick Snow Award and was featured by the Appalachian Education and Workforce Network in October 2020 for innovations to financial aid and admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Underwood’s dissertation was entitled, “First-Year Seminar Delivery Method Effect on Student Success at an Appalachian Open-Enrollment Institution,” which provided a fact-based foundation for the effectiveness of mandatory first-year seminars for retention and student course load, provided in ways that were cost-effective for institutions.