Academic Affairs Staff
Dr. Carol A. Scheppard
Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs
Office: Flory Hall 102
Carol Scheppard grew up in the small clock-manufacturing town of Thomaston, nestled in Connecticut's industrial Naugatuck Valley. She first encountered the transformative power of the liberal arts at Wesleyan University where she majored in anthropology and minored in history. Committed to awakening in others the new voice and new self-awareness the academy revealed in her, she embarked on a career in education. After graduation Dr. Scheppard spent 10 years as a teacher and administrator at Landmark School and Landmark College, schools with curricula designed specifically for students with dyslexia.
In 1989 Dr. Scheppard returned to the academy, earning a masters of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary before moving on to doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Scheppard was awarded several fellowships, including the School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship and the Pennfield Scholarship in Diplomacy, International Affairs and Belles Lettres. Her dissertation, Keepers of the Faith: Irish Exegetes and Psalter Study in the Eighth Century, consolidated her research, conducted in Ireland, on Irish approaches to biblical interpretation in the early middle ages.
Dr. Scheppard joined the department of philosophy and religion at Bridgewater College in 1998, teaching such courses as history of the christian church, medieval women's spirituality, history of biblical interpretation and biblical themes in lLiterature. She was the 2002 recipient of the Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award. Her current research project is a critical edition of the Eclogae Tractatorum in Psalterium, an eighth-century commentary on the Psalms. The text is scheduled for publication in the Corpus Christianorum Series Celtigenae, a section of the Corpus Christianorum specifically devoted to the works of the early Irish church. Her other areas of research include early medieval Celtic Christianity, medieval monasticism and late antique and medieval exegesis; she has prepared numerous articles and presented papers on these topics at national and international conferences. Her most recent publication, Exiles in the Empire: Believers Church Perspectives on Politics, is a collection of papers she edited with Dr. Nathan Yoder of Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
Dr. Scheppard has served as vice president and dean for academic affairs at Bridgewater College since June 2007. She is chair of the board of trustees for Bethany Theological Seminary and is an active council member of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mt. Sidney, Virginia. Dr. Scheppard is serving her third term as a Virginia public servant, both as a councilwoman for the Town of Mt. Crawford and as a chair of the Harrisonburg Rockingham County Municipal Planning Organization (HRMPO). She began her term as chair of the HRMPO in June 2009.
Assistant to Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs
Office: Flory Hall 102
Courtney Ritchie has been the assistant to the vice president and dean for academic affairs since March 2012. She graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor of arts in psychology and earned a master of arts in forensic psychology from Marymount University.
Prior to joining Bridgewater College, Courtney worked in the Washington D.C. area as an intelligence analyst for a private defense company, with a focus on counterterrorism and extremism. In addition to her analytical duties, Courtney served as the leader of the company’s colleague engagement team as well as community and involvement team. She also spent several years as a program coordinator at the YMCA Loudoun County and previously worked for Rockingham County Schools.
Edward W. Huffstetler, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Office: Rebecca Hall 208
Edward W. Huffstetler is associate dean for academic affairs. In that capacity he coordinates a variety of student academic issues as well as directs the general education curriculum and portfolio development program. Dr. Huffstetler came to Bridgewater in 1988 and was a professor in the English department until 2008. He received a B.A. from Coker College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature from The University of Iowa.
Most of Dr. Huffstetler's recent scholarship has concentrated in the field of nineteenth-century American literature, American Indian literature and children's literature, areas in which he has written a number of articles for scholarly journals and presented numerous papers at conferences. His latest article, "Spirit Armies and Ghost Dancers: The Dialogic Nature of American Indian Resistance" appears in a recent edition of Studies in American Indian Literatures. He has also published a collection of American Indian stories entitled Tales of Native America (Michael Friedman Publishing, 1996).
Dr. Huffstetler also writes and publishes creatively. He has several short stories published in various magazines and journals, as well as a dozen or so poems. He has also published a novel entitled Künstler and the Terrible Monster (James Rock Publishing, 2007) and is currently working on a sequel tentatively entitled Künstler Learns the Hard Way. Recipient of the Ben and Janice Wade Teaching award in 2006, Dr. Huffstetler currently teaches the freshmen skills course PDP 150: personal development and the liberal arts and English 243: Native American literature and culture.
Abir Qasem, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Computing
Office: McKinney Hall 227
Dr. Abir Qasem, assistant professor of computer science received a Ph.D. in computer science from Lehigh University. VA. He has more than 20 refereed publications. He has been involved with government-funded research projects, working with government agencies/departments such as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and US DOE, as well as universities, such as the Carnegie Mellon University, and private sector companies such as Tech-X. He was part of the FAA project team that developed a Software Engineering Body of Knowledge for the FAA. This was published as a Software Engineering Institute (Carnegie Mellon) Technical Report (CMU/SEI-99-TR-004) and has been widely used by FAA and other agencies in developing software engineering training programs for their employees. Dr. Qasem is committed to integrating technology into the DNA of higher education. It is his belief that technology has transformed the world in unprecedented ways in almost every field except higher education. However, if higher ed re-engineers its pedagogy using the needs of technology-native students as a starting point, itshould be able to catch up and come up with improved learning outcomes in the process. As director of academic computing at Bridgewater College, he has the opportunity to put his belief into practice.
Cynthia K. Howdyshell
Office: Flory Hall 101
Cynthia K. Howdyshell has been the registrar at Bridgewater College since August 1988. She graduated from Bridgewater College with a Bachelor of Science and a major in business administration.
Cynthia earned a Master of Business Administration degree from James Madison University and later completed doctoral course work in higher education administration at the University of Virginia. She is currently a member of the Philomathes Society.
Sherry Talbott, M.S.Ed.
Director of Career Services and Internships
Office: Flory Hall 10
Sherry Talbott has been the director of career services since February 2006. She received her Master of Science in Education degree from James Madison University where she studied human resources development. Sherry has worked in career development for educational, private and public sectors including implementation and operations management of the federal- and state-mandated Workforce Investment Act within a six-county area for improving services to job seekers, incumbent workers and employers by integrating, streamlining, developing and coordinating all services through Virginia Workforce Centers. She is an active member with the National and Virginia Associations of Colleges and Employers and the Virginia Foundation of Independent College’s CAREER15 program.
Sherry lives in Staunton, Virginia and is a member of community and civic groups including Oak Grove Theater and the Staunton-Augusta Rotary Club. She is currently serving as assistant Governor for District 7570, spanning western Virginia into Tennessee. She served as an ambassador of peace and goodwill to New Zealand as part of Rotary’s Group Study Exchange program where she engaged in discussion of career development issues faced in the United States and New Zealand.