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School ofEducation and Psychology

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The School of Education and Psychology at Southern Adventist University provides exceptional degrees in a wide variety of fields.

  • Teacher education programs prepare students for careers in diverse areas of instruction with tools to create an innovative learning environment.
  • The psychology program provides a solid foundation in the study of the human mind.
  • Southern's outdoor leadership program develops professionals skilled at connecting God and man through the multifaceted outdoor industry.


  • Bonnie EderBonnie EderAssociate Professor
  • Cathy OlsenCathy OlsenAssociate Professor
  • Cheryl Des JarlaisCheryl Des JarlaisAssociate Professor
  • Faith LaughlinFaith LaughlinAssociate Professor
  • John McCoyJohn McCoyDean
  • Krystal BishopKrystal BishopProfessor
  • Doug TilstraDoug TilstraProfessor
  • Marty MillerMarty MillerAssociate Professor
  • Michael HillsMichael HillsAssistant Professor
  • Charles D. BurksCharles D. BurksProfessor
  • Darlene KarstDarlene KarstAssistant Professor
  • Ileana Freeman-GutierrezIleana Freeman-GutierrezProfessor
  • Robert CoombsRobert CoombsProfessor
  • Ruth WilliamsMorrisRuth WilliamsMorrisProfessor
  • Freddy FuentesFreddy FuentesAssociate Professor

We have amazing
professors. You can
tell that they are
truly dedicated
to their students’
success. Erica Keeton, ’13Psychology major


Interesting Facts


  • In addition to be approved by the Tenneesse Board of Education, programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education as well as the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges and Universities. This gives students the option to qualify for teaching or school counseling licensure throughout the United States.
  • Southern students consistently score above state and national  averages on the Praxis II exams. 
  • Southern partners with local schools to provide teacher candidates with opportunities to work with students (pre-school through 12th grade) in both suburban and urban schools as well as multigrade classrooms. Students spend one full semester teaching and observing in at least two different classrooms while receiving guidance from seasoned teachers. 
  • Graduates consistently cite the relationships they develop with their education professors and the mentoring they receive as being strengths of the program. 
  • Discipleship for Educators is a three-phase initiative designed  to prepare educators to actively disciple children and youth.


  • The broad offering of emphases allows students to pursue health-related professions as well as careers as therapists and counselors. Graduates also compliment business majors with a solid knowledge of human relationships in organizational settings.
  • A strong practicum program allows for hands-on experience prior to graduation.
  • Each degree provides an emphasis on conducting and reporting individual research.
  • Southern students score well above the national average on comparative data exams in the areas of clinical and abnormal psychology and in research methodology.

Outdoor Leadership

  • Combining skills-based technical courses with academically rigorous core subjects provides one of the most versatile Christian outdoor leadership programs in the nation.
  • Southern is the natural choice for the outdoor enthusiast.  Without leaving the 1,000-acre campus, students can experience trails, rock climbing, and caves.


Classrooms and Labs

The School of Education and Psychology is temporarily located in Herin Hall while Summerour Hall is under renovation. In addition to classrooms and offices, the building houses:

  • Teaching Materials Center
  • EdTech Lab
  • Psychology Lab
  • Psychology Resource Room

Additionally, the Outdoor Education Center just off University Drive provides rustic yet modern offices and classrooms with nearby non-traditional spaces, including:

  • Cherokee Council House with outdoor meeting space for classes and large groups
  • Challenge Course with a 60-foot climbing tower to facilitate training and team-building
  • Student Park Cave with nearly a mile of passageways to explore and the Goliath Wall with a 200x50-foot natural rock climbing area
  • White Oak Mountain and Bauxite Ridge Trails providing miles of backcountry access
  • Outdoor Gear Rentals available to qualified students, employees and community members 

Faculty members practice industry recognized safety protocols to ensure student safety in outdoor setting.


  • Administrator 
  • Camp or Program Director
  • Counselor
  • Cultural Interpreter
  • Emergency Services Technician
  • Manager
  • Missionary
  • Naturalist
  • Neuroscientist 
  • Psychologist
  • Recreation Manager
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher
  • Therapist
  • Youth Minister


Asti Conibear


I am a part
   of Southern.
You should be too! Zanzabar JonesSophmore