news-category: Faculty

Nine Gardner-Webb Faculty Members Retiring

a campus shot of the angel statute with bell tower in background

Dr. Tom Jones has Most Years of Service with 42

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—With the end of the 2022 Spring Semester, nine faculty members of Gardner-Webb University are retiring. Dr. Tom Jones has the most years of service with 42, and four others have 20 or more years of service.

The retirees are:

Ken Baker – 23 years of service, chair of the Department of Health, Sport and Physical Education since 2005. Baker taught organization and administration, instructional strategies, techniques of coaching, outdoor education, personal wellness and a variety of one-hour physical education courses. His undergraduate degree is in social studies from Southern Wesleyan University, in Central, S.C. He has a master’s degree in health and exercise science from Furman in Greenville, S.C., and a Ph.D. is in physical education from the University of Georgia in Athens.

Kent Blevins – 24 years of service, professor of religious studies. He taught Christian Theology, Christian Ethics, Science and Religion, Christian Perspectives Toward Violence and Baptist Heritage. Blevins served for over 15 years as a missionary, first with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and then with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. During those years, he taught at the Portuguese Baptist Theological Seminary in Queluz, Portugal, the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, and the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic.

Mark Cole – 11 years of service, associate professor of  music, director of bands. Before becoming an educator, Cole served as a musician in the United States Navy, as the Director of Navy Band Memphis (Tenn.), Director of the Sixth Fleet Band (Naples, Italy), and served as the Assistant Director/Associate Conductor of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. In 2020, he led the effort to rebuild the Marching Bulldogs band.

Homer Craig – 8 years of service, criminal justice internship coordinator, instructor and enrollment liaison. Craig is 32-year law enforcement veteran. Retired as an Assistant Chief of Police with the Winston-Salem Police Department. His career in Winston-Salem included numerous assignments and accomplishments such as commander of a multi-agency state and federal task force, and member of an organized crime drug enforcement task force.

Tom Jones – 42 years of service, professor of biology and director of honors program. His areas of interest include botany, ecology, biogeography and general biology. He taught physical geology, environment, general biology, general botany, plant systematics and ecology.

C. Mickey Metcalf – 20 years of service, professor of business administration. He taught primarily graduate management and law courses, such as managerial economics, organizational behavior, organizational staffing, HR management, business law, employment law, health care law, labor relations, and leadership, motivation and rewards systems. He also taught undergraduate microeconomics, business policy and managing human resources. He has experience as a  senior operating and financial executive in major oil, major commercial banking, major multi-unit conglomerate and small to mid-size computer services, multi-unit retail, and manufacturing and consulting businesses.

Deborah Ware – 17 years of service, professor of health, sport and physical education and graduate program coordinator. She completed her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Physical Education at the University of Central Florida. Prior to coming to Gardner-Webb in 2005, Dr. Ware taught at the University of Central Florida and Palm Beach Atlantic University. She is a certified REFIT® Instructor and an Instructor Trainer in First Aid, CPR, and AED for the American Red Cross.

Danny West – 20 years of service, director of Doctor of Ministry program, director of Ministry Leadership Development and professor of preaching and pastoral studies. His primary area of research is preaching and story. West’s articles on the subject have appeared in publications including “From Our Christian Heritage: Hundreds of Ways to Add Christian History to Teaching, Preaching, and Writing”; “The Minister’s Manual”; “John Killinger: Celebrating 75 years”; “Next Sunday Resources”; and “Preaching Magazine.” He has written a compilation of published newspaper columns in a book entitled, “This, That, and Other Kingdom Stories.”

Pam Dennis – Seven years of service, four years as dean of the John R. Dover Library. Before being named dean, Dennis was a reference and instruction librarian, and professor. Prior to coming to Gardner-Webb, she was Learning Commons coordinator and associate professor at the University of Memphis for four years and library director for 10 years at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in musicology from the University of Memphis.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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