Faculty

Resident Faculty
Andre Melvin Andre Melvin
Director of Prison Initiative
B.A., Carver Bible College; M.Div., Columbia International University   Andre was born in Washington, DC.  He committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1994, received, and accepted God’s call to preach the gospel in 1999.   Andre has served in various capacities in the local church.  He served as a Street Evangelist in DC, a Youth Pastor, Assistant Pastor...Read More...
A photor of Connie Mitchell, Dean of College of Education Connie Mitchell
Dean of the College of Education, Professor of Education
Dr. Mitchell serves at Columbia International University as Dean for the College of Education. She desires to support educators in their quest to serve as teachers and educational leaders, sustained with a Christian philosophy of education and a global vision. Read More...
A photo of Debbie Moore, M.Ed. Program  Director, Professor of Education Debbie Moore
M.Ed. Program Director, Professor of Education
Dr. Moore’s passion is to work with Christian educators to enhance classroom skills that use biblical integration and teaching with intentionality to develop spiritual formation in students.    Read More...
A photo of Linda Murdaugh, Director of Professional Education Field Experiences, Associate Professor of Education Linda Murdaugh
Director of Professional Education Field Experiences, Associate Professor of Education
Mrs. Murdaugh embraces the motto of “changed lives change lives”, she desires to train with excellence highly qualified Christian teachers who think, teach and lead biblically wherever God leads.   Read More...
Glenda Nanna, Professor of Counseling Glenda Nanna
Professor of Counseling
Dr. Nanna joined the faculty of CIU’s Seminary and School of Ministry in 2018, after serving as an adjunct faculty member since 2012. She coordinates the clinical program as well as the internships for the counseling program. Prior to coming to CIU, Dr. Nanna was the Director of Counseling and Disability Services at Charleston Southern University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor...Read More...
Bible Faculty Michael Naylor
Bible Studies Chair, Professor of New Testament
Biblical Studies Chair, Associate Professor of New Testament  B.A., Moody Bible Institute; M.Div., M.A., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Ph.D., University of Edinburgh Mike Naylor is a New Testament professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Originally from Iowa, Mike has also lived in Chicago, Edinburgh (Scotland), and Maryland. Mike joined the faculty at Columbia...Read More...
Ben Noonan, Professor of Old Testament Benjamin J. Noonan
Professor of Old Testament
Dr. Noonan joined the faculty of CIU’s Seminary & School of Ministry in 2014. He teaches Old Testament and Hebrew courses for CIU and is the faculty advisor for Grad Life Council (which creates fellowship opportunities for CIU’s graduate and seminary students) and CIU’s local chapter of Eta Beta Rho (a national scholastic honor society for students of Hebrew). He is a member of the...Read More...
David Olshine, Professor of Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture David Olshine
Professor of Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture
Dr. David Olshine came to CIU as the Director and Professor of Youth Ministry in 1993. Dr. David is a popular professor on campus. His interests and expertise are in the areas of communicating for life change, evangelism and discipleship along with counseling youth and families. Before coming to Columbia, he served as a youth pastor, associate pastor and lead pastor of a...Read More...
Rhonda Pruitt, Professor of Mission Care Rhonda R. Pruitt
Professor of Mission Care
Dr. Pruitt joined the faculty of CIU’s Seminary & School of Ministry in 2001 and has taught Missionary Care from that date until the present. Before coming to Columbia she taught, counseled, and provided member care services in Asia and Europe. She is licensed as a therapist and supervisor in South Carolina, is certified in REBT Therapy with the Albert Ellis Institute in New York, and...Read More...
Melina Rabon, Professor of Ministry Studies, Director of Internships, Assistant Dean Melina Rabon
Professor of Ministry Studies, Director of Internships, Assistant Dean
Melina Rabon joined the CIU faculty in 2015. She oversees internships for Columbia Biblical Seminary and the Seminary & School of Ministry. Melina teaches Spiritual Formation and Practical Ministry studies courses in the Seminary & School of Ministry. She is a member of the Society of Professors in Christian Education. Before coming to Columbia, she served as Children’s...Read More...
Dr. Michelle Raven, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, International Community Development, and Disaster Relief and Emergency Management Michelle L. K. Raven
Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, International Community Development, and Disaster Relief and Emergency Management
Michelle L. K. Raven joined CIU in 2017 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020.  She is a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel (JAG Corp) and was a missionary with Christar International for five years.  She has ministered in over 15 countries and continues to train and lead teams in outreach efforts around the world.  Dr. Raven has led and developed training and course...Read More...
Jonathan Reibsamen Jonathan Reibsamen
Associate Professor, Director of Philosophy
B.A., Columbia International University; M.A., Biola University; Ph.D, Saint Louis University Read More...
Ken Rife Ken Rife
Professor of Communication/Digital Media Production
A.A., Southwest Virginia Community College; B.A. Radford University; M.A., Regent University; Ph.D., Regent University Ken brings a unique blend of academic training in communication and media along with over 35 years of media production experience specifically within ministry settings. He served in media production for Campus Crusade for Christ, and most recently directed a media...Read More...
Andre Rogers, Professor of Preaching, DML Program Director Andre Rogers
Professor of Preaching, DML Program Director
Dr. Rogers joined the faculty of CIU’s Seminary & School of Ministry after teaching Pastoral Ministries in the Bible College until 2010; he has taught Church Ministry from 2010 until the present. Before coming to Columbia, he served as associate pastor, assistant pastor, and director of youth ministries in South Carolina and Texas. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he has...Read More...
Sam Rubinson, Professor of Adventure Education Sam Rubinson
Professor of Adventure Education
Dr. Rubinson joined the faculty of CIU's Seminary & School of Ministry in 2011 and has taught Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture from that date until the present. Before coming to Columbia, he was a children's pastor, a youth pastor, a senior pastor, and a summer camp director. He also started his own non-profit ministry using the wilderness as a platform for discipleship. Dr. Rubinson...Read More...
Seth Scott, Professor of Counseling Seth Scott
Professor of Counseling
Dr. Scott joined the Graduate Counseling Program faculty of Columbia International University in 2019 as an Associate Professor. He teaches primarily in the Clinical Counseling program in areas of research and practice and is an active member and participant of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the American...Read More...
Dr. Ed Smither, Dean, College of Intercultural Studies, Professor of Intercultural Studies and History of Global Christianity Edward L. Smither
Dean, College of Intercultural Studies, Professor of Intercultural Studies and History of Global Christianity
Ed Smither joined the Columbia International University faculty in 2012. Previously, he taught church history and intercultural studies at Liberty University (2006-2012) and spent fourteen years in intercultural ministry in North Africa, France, and the USA. Smither enjoys studying and teaching theology and history of Christian mission.  Since 1999, Smither has been married to Shawn...Read More...
Sarah Thomas
Associate Professor of Human Services
  B. S., Benedict College, MS, South Carolina State University, PhD., Capella University   Dr. Thomas worked with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (2004-2016) as Director of Children and Family Services. Prior to working with the SC Department of Mental Health, Dr. Thomas was employed with the South Carolina Department of Social Services/Managed Treatment Services...Read More...
Director of Choral Activites Bryce Thompson
Director of Choral Activities, Associate Professor of Music
Director of Choral Activities, Associate Professor of Music B.S. Music Education, Indiana Wesleyan University; M.M. Choral Conducting, Michigan State University Bryce Thompson serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Columbia International University.  Professor Thompson joined the faculty at CIU in 2019 after building a top-tier choir program in Lake Orion, MI. ...Read More...
Associate Professor of Psychology Tom Vessey
Associate Professor of Psychology
  B.A., Wheaton College, M.T.S., Vanderbilt University Tom is a Psychology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.  He has taught at the undergraduate level in a variety of institutions for 30 years, first while a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where he directed the undergraduate psychology program during the summers.  Tom has also taught at a...Read More...
Larry Wagner, Professor of Counseling Larry R. Wagner
Professor of Counseling
Dr. Wagner is a professor of clinical mental health counseling in CIU’s Seminary and School of Ministry.  Larry began his walk with Christ at thirteen when he went forward at a Billy Graham Crusade. His desire for ministry germinated during his years at Wheaton College. Inner-city ministries in Chicago and Los Angeles solidified God's call on his life to help people who are...Read More...
A photto of James E. Watson, Ph.D./Ed.S. Program  Director, Professor of Education James E. Watson
Ph.D./Ed.S. Program Director, Professor of Education
Dr. Watson currently serves Columbia International University as a professor in the College of Education. He has served churches, Christian schools, and colleges as pastor, teacher, coach, school administrator, and professor.   Read More...
James Whitaker
Associate Professor and Program Director, Sport Management
Ph.D., Sport Management & Leadership, Concordia University Chicago M.A., Health & Exercise Science, Furman University M.S., Educational Leadership, Bob Jones University B.S., Mathematics Education, Bob Jones University Read More...
Paula Whitaker
Associate Professor of Psychology
Paula K. Whitaker, Ph. D. Associate Professor of Psychology B.A. in Psychology with a Music minor, The University of Tampa (UT) M.A. & Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, The University of South Florida (USF) Paula began her educational journey as a pastoral ministries student at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL. Along the way, God called her toward the counseling ministry to...Read More...
Zhiqiu Xu, Professor of Theology Zhiqiu Xu
Professor of Theology
Dr. Xu joined the faculty of CIU's Seminary & School of Ministry in 2014. He teaches Theology and coordinates the Chinese Seminary Studies program. He is an executive director of Chinese Pastors' Fellowship; he also serves as editor of Blessings Cultural Mission Fellowship. He had served as a pastor to local Chineses churches in Philadelphia, PA and Worcester, MA for about 15 years...Read More...
Dr. Sandra Young Sandra Young
Liberal Arts Division Chair, English Program Director, Professor of English
B.A., George Fox University; Certificate in Bible, Columbia International University; M.A.T. in English, The Citadel; Ph.D. in English, University of South Carolina; teacher, Charleston County School District, 1999-2001; Faculty member, Columbia College, 2006-2013; Faculty, Columbia International University, 2013 – present.Read More...
Adjunct Faculty
Thomas Barbian Thomas Barbian
Adjunct Counseling Professor
B.A., Southern California College; M.S., California Lutheran University; Ph.D., Cambridge Graduate School of Psychology Read More...
Trish Bates
Adjunct Counseling Professor
B.S., Liberty University, M.A.,  Columbia International University, SC Licensed Professional Counselor Intern.Read More...
Marybeth Bigelow Leavell, Online Instructor at Columbia International University Marybeth Bigelow Leavell
Online Instructor
Education Credentials Ed.D.,Grand Canyon University, 2016 Organizational Leadership Specialization: Organizational Development Ed.D. coursework, University of Northern Colorado, 1984-1985 Major: Psychology - incomplete degree M.A.,University of Northern Colorado, 1981 Major: Rehabilitation Counseling - Psychiatric Emphasis B.A., University of Colorado, December, 1979...Read More...
TESOL Adjunct Faculty Alisha Biler
TESOL Adjunct Faculty
Alisha Biler joined the CIU Faculty in 2016. She has taught English as a Foreign Language for over a decade, both in the U.S and abroad. Currently, Alisha is an Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics at Boyce College. Her past EFL experience has included instruction, teacher training, research, and curriculum development. The focus of her dissertation is on second language...Read More...
Alison Branham
Voice Instructor
B.Mus., Columbia College; M.Mus., University of South Carolina; doctoral candidate, University of South CarolinaRead More...
Dr. Trevor Castor, Director, Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies Trevor Castor
Director, Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies
Dr. Castor and his wife, Katie, served as YWAM missionaries in South Asia before coming to CIU.  He started working at the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies in 2008.  His research interests are in Muslim-Christian relations and cognitive anthropology.  The process of identity formation for Muslim immigrants in America was the focus of his PhD research.  Dr. Castor teaches...Read More...

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