Faculty and Staff

Michael Dale, Interim Director

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Email: dalemw@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 128
Phone: 828-262-3121

Michael Dale specializes in helping his first-year students in Watauga be(come) lost. Recognizing that learning occurs only when both teacher and student are willing to become vulnerable and share in the work of education together, Michael's classes are known for the spirit of curiosity and examination they inspire. Michael's frequent scholarship in leadership and educational studies has been published in numerous books and top-tier journals. He earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his Master of Arts in Teaching and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Clark Maddux, Director and Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

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Email: madduxhc@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 118
Phone: 828-262-2417

*Dr. Maddux is currently away until Summer 2019 on an off-campus scholarly leave. Please contact our interim director, Michael Dale, with any inquiries until then. 

Clark Maddux earned his PhD in American Studies from Purdue University in 2001. He has been a faculty member at Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN) and Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, TN) before coming to Appalachian in 2012 as the Director of Civic Engagement. Named the Director of Watauga Residential College in July of 2014, Clark is committed to student success and academic excellence and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from first year seminar to early American literature and philosophy. He is a volume editor of the Biblia Americana series, the first full-scale biblical commentary written in America. The publication of this series has been called by Dr. E. Brooks Holifield, Candler Professor of American Church History at Emory University, a work of "genuinely groundbreaking scholarship that deepens our understanding" of early America.  Dr. Maddux is the editor for Ezra through the Psalms and the co-editor, with Professor Rick Kennedy from Point Loma Nazarene University and Paul Peterson of the University of Heidelberg, for John and Acts.  A veteran of the United States Army, he has also been awarded with two colleagues in English and Communication a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to explore how the humanities can help us comprehend the experience of armed conflict. 

 Clark's CV

Joseph Bathanti, McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor

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Email: bathantijr@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 125
Phone: 828-262-2441

Joseph Bathanti is the inaugural McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor in Interdisciplinary Education at Appalachian State University.  As a result of this appointment, Professor Bathanti teaches full time in Watauga Residential College and develops new programs that will promote the College.  Bathanti is also our Writer in Residence and the former Poet Laureate of North Carolina. He is author of eight books of poetry: Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal, nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award; Land of Amnesia; Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Sonnets of the Cross; and Concertina. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina's Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. His new book of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is from Mercer University Press. A new novel, The Life of the World to Come, is forthcoming from University of South Carolina Press. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing as well as Appalachian State University's Watauga Residential College's Writer-in Residence.

Joseph Gonzalez

Joe Gonzalez

Joe moved into the Living Learning Center in July 2003. His mission: Serve as Watauga's faculty in residence and director of the "L," as it came to be known. For the next seven years, he lived with Wataugans, taught Wataugans, ate with Wataugans, and even travelled with Wataugans, taking groups wherever his classes seemed to lead him--because, as Joe quickly found out, Watauga is all about joining the academic to the experiential. In 2010 university reorganizations forced Joe to leave Watauga, but as of 2018 he has rejoined the faculty, eager to teach in this program that he loves so much.

Joe received his PhD in history from the University of Michigan.Since arriving at Appalachian, he has taught in Watauga, Interdisciplinary Studies, Global Studies, and the Honors College. He also teaches a short-term study abroad in Cuba every other year; the next will take place in May 2019. When not teaching, he is completing a history of Cuba's relationship with the United States, titled Facing the Sun: Cuba's Challenge to the American Empire, 1895-1917.

Patience Perry


Email: perryph@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 114
Phone: 828-262-7223

Patience Harrison Perry adopted the motto, "live to learn, learn to live." She enjoys grueling physical activity and dirt under her finger nails. She is mother to three hobbits and married to a giant. Her career history includes time as an inner-city elementary school teacher, an NCAA Division 1 Field Hockey Coach, an Outdoor Educator, and a Wilderness Therapist. Her academic interests explore Ecopsychology, Expressive Arts Therapy, Holistic Health and Wellness, Somatic Practice, Play, Indigenous Peoples, Biculturalism, and Spirituality. Pursuing these passions, Patience has volunteered and traveled in 16 countries while working with tribes in: South and East Africa, the Andes Mountains in South America, and the North American Southwest. Today, she lives on High Haven Farm and serves as a Faculty Member in Watauga Residential College at Appalachian State University. She offers summer study-abroad & study-away courses regularly. Patience is a certified fitness instructor (AFFA), a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCE) and Expressive Art Therapist (EXA) with a BA from Duke University (1996) and a MA from Appalachian State University (2004). Her art and essays have been published in Headwaters: Appalachian Journal of Expressive Arts Therapy (2011, 2007, 2005, & 2004). Additionally, she is a contributor in: Sourcebook of Expressive Arts Therapy (2007). And Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank about Faith, (White Cloud Press, 2013).

Holly Ambler, Academic Advisor and Lecturer

Holly Ambler

Email: amblerhp@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 116
Phone: 828-262-7746

After receiving a BS in Recreation Management, Holly worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School leading wilderness expeditions. Here she developed a passion for working with college age students. She returned to Appalachian to pursue a MA in Leadership and Higher Education and has taught courses in Recreation Management, Freshman Seminar and Watauga Residential College as well as worked as an Academic Advisor for University College and Watauga Residential College. Holly is involved in the community through service on nonprofit boards and coaching youth track and cross country. In her free time, she enjoys running, kayaking, skiing and spending time with family and friends.

Julia Kark Callander, WRC Teaching Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor

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Email: callanderjk@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 129
Phone: 828-262-7225

Julia Kark Callander earned her PhD and MA in English at UCLA, and her BA in music and English from Lawrence University. As a teacher-scholar and human being, Julia strives to forge connections between people, disciplines, places, and historical moments. Prior to coming to Appalachian State, Julia taught at Occidental College and UCLA in English, cultural studies, and an interdisciplinary history program. Some recent course titles include “Food, Culture, and Environment,” “Cannibalism and the Politics of Representation,” and “Contagion: From Plague Narratives to the Literature of Public Health.” Her Watauga classes address the program’s experiential and inquiry-based mission through student-centered pedagogy, adaptation and performance, and service learning.

As a scholar, Julia works primarily in eighteenth-century and Romantic British and transatlantic literature. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, authorship, medical humanities, and food studies. Julia’s current book project, "Perverse Incorporations: Authorship and the History of Sexuality, 1740-1820," examines how conflicting theories of masculinity and intellectual property played out in the work and reception histories of Thomas Gray, Charles Brockden Brown, Matthew G. Lewis, and their contemporaries. Her work has appeared in 1650-1850 and Studies in English Literature.

Elaine Gray

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Email: grayje@appstate.edu
Office: BH 250
Phone: 828-262-7545

Elaine teaches a First Year Seminar and a course on Contemplative Leadership for Watauga Residential College. She earned her master's degree in Liberal Studies from Rollins College and holds a Ph.D in Integral Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies.  She is current taking courses towards an Ed.D in the Educational Leadership doctoral program at Appalachian State University.  Elaine's publications include the textbook "Conscious Choices: a Guide to Self-directed Learning" (Pearson, 2004). Her research interests include  correlations between the students' sense of purpose and their academic engagement and the student's experience of authenticity in ePortfolio construction. Elaine serves the General Education program by assisting with faculty development and the programmatic assessment of General Education.

Marjon Ames Zimmerman

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Email: amesam@appstate.edu
Office: LLA 115
Phone: 828-262-2614

Marjon Ames Zimmerman earned her PhD in History from the University of Mississippi in 2009.  She has taught a wide range of courses that focus on cultural and social history.  Her book, Margaret Fell, Letters, and the Making of Quakerism was published in 2016 as part of the Readings in Material Culture Series of Routledge Press.  Also in 2016 she published a chapter in the edited collection Women and Epistolary Agency in Early Modern Culture, 1450-1690, titled “Quaker correspondence: Religious identity and community networks in the interregnum Atlantic World.” Marjon is contributor of Quaker Women’s Correspondence to the Women’s Early Modern Letters Online (WEMLO) database.   Her work focuses on communication networks created in early modern religious cultures that helped protect and promote sectarian identities.  Also, Marjon is Executive Director of the educational nonprofit, Achievement Through Liberal Arts & Sciences, which is partnered with Watauga Residential College and provides local high-achieving, first-generation students with the skills they need to successfully apply to and find funding for a liberal arts and sciences education. 

Damiana Pyles

Damiana Pyles

Email: pylesdg@appstate.edu
Phone: 828-262-2277

Damiana Pyles is an Associate Professor at Appalachian State University. Her background is in English-Literary Studies, where her Master's thesis focused on Oprah's Book Club and magazine. After teaching as a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Wyoming, she decided to pursue her Ph.d. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her doctoral research shifted to Literacy Studies, where her research interests focused on media production, identity, and media literacy practices in order to understand the intersections of the visual, the spoken, the written, and the performed in digital and print literacies in youth media production in non-profits across the U.S. With this work, she created an analytic methodology called multimodal microanalysis to understand the media products young people create, and she studied briefly at the Institute of Education in London to perfect this method. In her teaching at Appalachian State, she teaches courses for preservice and practicing teachers to learn how to integrate media and technology for teaching and learning as well as courses for the RCOE's Media Studies minor, including Narrative and Gaming, and the Instructional Technology Master's, including New Media Literacies, both courses she helped to create. Her current research projects include exploring literacy and science learning in kindergarten classrooms, understanding parent and teacher beliefs about preschool literacies, and exploring concepts of space and place around Instagram and local organic farming. She is also devoted to her husband, a local area teacher, and their three young kids, all who keep them very busy and happy. In her limited free time, she enjoys practicing yoga and watching all kinds of tv shows, especially cooking shows and Dr. Who.