With several new majors and new programs starting this fall, Thomas University also welcomed several new faculty members.

Dr. Amanda Bittner joined TU as an affiliate assistant professor of Counseling. She has special interests in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Prolonged Exposure. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Arts Degree in Community Counseling from Loyola University in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Originally from Bethalto, Illinois, Dr. Bittner now lives in Richmond Heights, Missouri. She said that she chose TU because of the opportunity to teach a variety of graduate counseling coursework in an online environment. 

So far, what Dr. Bittner likes best about TU is the students, who refer to her as “Dr. B.”

Dr. Theresa Corker joined TU as an affiliate assistant professor of Nursing. A Thomasville native and current resident, she earned an Associate of Science in Physical Therapy from Southern Regional Technical College; an Associate of Science in Nursing from Albany State University; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science Degree in Nursing and a Certificate in Nursing Administration, all from Thomas University; and a Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She said she likes TU’s communal atmosphere and “the genuine care for the students as well as the faculty and staff.”

When asked why she chose TU, Dr. Corker said, “It is my alma mater, and I feel privileged to be able to give back to the place that gave me so much. I am honored to share knowledge that I have gained over the years with others right here in my hometown.”

Dr. Kaye Halavaty joined TU as an affiliate professor in the Division of Education teaching graduate level Education courses and serving as a field supervisor for the newly created Master of Arts in Teaching program. She had been an adjunct faculty member with TU since 2016. Originally from Warner Robins, Dr. Halavaty now lives in Macon. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and a Specialist in Education Leadership, all from Georgia College and State University; and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia. She is also a retired principal from the Bibb County School District.

When asked what she likes best about TU, Dr. Halavaty said, “I really like the personal connections that the faculty at TU builds with our students!”

Dr. Ekpen Owie joined TU as an assistant professor of Business teaching classes in Management and Marketing at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His teaching research interests include leadership, sustainability strategy, sustainable supply chain management and global value chains. Dr. Owie has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented papers at various conferences on management and leadership topics. He holds an Associate of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Benin in Nigeria; a Master of Science Degree in Management Information Systems from De Montfort University in the United Kingdom; a Master of Business Administration Degree from Clayton State University; a Master of Philosophy in Management and a Ph.D. in Management, both from Walden University in Minnesota. Dr. Owie’s hometown is Atlanta, but he now lives in Alpharetta. 

He said he chose TU because of its history and student focus. Dr. Owie said what he likes best about TU are the dynamic learning environment and the student population.

 Dr. Carlos Santamaria joined TU as an affiliate assistant professor of Biology teaching introductory biology and biology for non-majors. He is especially interested in evolutionary genetics, especially the processes that produce and maintain biodiversity in coastal organisms. A resident of Tallahassee, Florida, Dr. Santamaria holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, both from Texas A&M University. He said he chose TU because he wanted “an opportunity to continue teaching at an institution where students and faculty work closely together to develop future professors.”

When asked what he likes best about TU, Dr. Santamaria referred to the other members of the Biology faculty. “It’s a close-knit faculty that works together to address issues and to do what’s best for the students, program and university,” he said.

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