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School ofEducation and Psychology

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Why Education and Psychology?

The mission of the School of Education and Psychology at Southern Adventist University is to prepare effective Christian professionals who demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of truth, wholeness, and a life of service in a diverse society.

The School of Education and Psychology 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. Our graduates are in high demand in both public and private institutions.
  • The psychology program provides a solid foundation in the study of the human mind and behavior, preparing students to thrive in graduate school.


  • Southern's outdoor education program develops professionals to effectively use God's book of nature in teaching and outdoor programming.
  • The clinical mental health counseling program trains counselors to work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to provide optimum mental health.
  • The school counseling program trains counselors to address students' academic, career, personal and social development and help maximize their achievement.

Interesting Facts


  • In addition to being approved by the Tennessee Board of Education, programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as well as the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges and Universities. These accreditations qualify completers in teaching and school counseling to obtain licensure throughout the United States.
  • Southern students consistently score above state and national  averages on the Praxis II exams. 
  • Southern partners with local public, private, and Seventh-day Adventist 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 mentor teachers. 
  • The teacher education program emphasizes both the art and the science of teaching. Faculty are intentional in providing preparation that enables students to meet the rigorous demands of early entry into the profession.
  • Graduates consistently cite the relationships they develop with their education professors and the mentoring they receive as being strengths of the program.
  • Outdoor faculty practice industry recognized safety protocols to ensure student safety in outdoor settings.


  • The broad offering of emphases allows students to pursue health-related professions as well as future careers as therapists and counselors. A solid knowledge of human relationships in organizational settings also benefits graduates who work in business 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.
  • Since 1994, Southern has had an active Psi Chi chapter that inducts students each year. Psi Chi is an international honor society that encourages, stimulates, and maintains excellence in Psychology. Psi Chi members work to bridge academic excellence and community needs.

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  • Tammy Overstreet, PhDTammy Overstreet, PhDDean and Professor, Education
  • Krystal Bishop, EdDKrystal Bishop, EdDProfessor, Education
  • Gary Bradley, Jr., PhDGary Bradley, Jr., PhDAssociate Professor, Education
  • Liane De Souza, PhDLiane De Souza, PhDAssociate Professor, Counseling
  • Bonnie Eder, EdDBonnie Eder, EdDProfessor, Education
  • Ileana Freeman, PhDIleana Freeman, PhDProfessor, Counseling
  • Faith Laughlin, EdDFaith Laughlin, EdDProfessor, Education
  • Kathryn McGrath, MEdKathryn McGrath, MEdAssociate Professor, Education
  • Monty Murdoch, PhDMonty Murdoch, PhDAssociate Professor, Outdoor Education
  • Tami Navalón, MATami Navalón, MAAssistant Professor, Counseling
  • Cristy Pratt, MACristy Pratt, MAAssociate Professor, Psychology
  • Matthew Tolbert, PhDMatthew Tolbert, PhDAssociate Professor, Psychology
  • Tron Wilder, PhDTron Wilder, PhDProfessor, Psychology and Counseling
  • Ruth Williams, PhDRuth Williams, PhDProfessor, Psychology

We have amazing
professors. You can
tell that they are
truly dedicated
to their students’
success. Erica Keeton, ’14Psychology major



Classrooms and Labs

The School of Education and Psychology is located in the recently renovated Summerour Hall. In addition to classrooms and offices, the building houses:

  • Teaching Materials Center, with more than 15,000 curriculum guides, textbooks, teachers' resources, literature for children and young adults, videos, CDs, educational games and activities, as well as many artifacts from around the world; it inspires creativity and makes preparing bulletin boards and other teaching materials easy
  • Summerour Computer Lab
  • Psychology Lab
  • Summerour Counseling Center, providing counseling services to the local community under the supervision of licensed professionals

Several outdoor spaces provide non-traditional settings for classes and other activities:

  • Amphitheater next to Summerour
  • 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


  • Teacher: Elementary, Secondary
  • Language School/ ESL
  • Manager
  • Missionary
  • Camp or Program Director
  • Activities Director
  • Psych Tech
  • Case Manager
  • Museum/Aquarium Educators
  • With additional training:
    • Administrator
    • Professor
    • Counselor: Clinical Mental Health, School Counselor
    • Psychologist
    • Neuroscientist


Asti Conibear, Office Manager


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