Education Faculty & Staff

Elizabeth Dinkins, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Dinkins, Ph.D. (website and contact information) is Dean of the School of Education & Associate Professor of Literacy Education. She received her doctorate in English Education from the University of Virginia, her Master’s in education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and her Bachelor’s from The Evergreen State College. Before beginning her career in higher education, Dr. Dinkins taught middle school language arts and coordinated school-wide literacy instruction. Her research interests include writing instruction, instructional use of young adult literature, approaches to school-wide literacy, and how critical literacy can be used to help students read and write their world. Her work has appeared in English Journal and Middle Grades Research Journal. She teaches classes in literacy education and qualitative research methodologies.

Mary Ann Cahill, Ed.D.

Mary Ann Cahill, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Associate Professor of Literacy and the Chair of Undergraduate and MAT programs. She received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Literacy from Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, and her Master's degree in Literacy from the University of Dayton. Dr. Cahill taught elementary school (K-5) for eighteen years before becoming a professor for the last ten years. Prior to working at Bellarmine, Dr. Cahill taught at Boise State University where she coordinated the reading clinic and the Summer Literacy Academy. Her research addresses a focus on Early Literacy, specifically English Language Learners and Comprehension Instruction. Other scholarly interests involve critical literacy, dyslexia, and professional development for teachers. Research by Dr. Cahill has been published in The Reading Teacher and Young Children. At Bellarmine, Dr. Cahill teaches a variety of literacy courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Dr. Kristin Cook

Dr. Kristin Cook (website and contact information) is the Associate Dean of the School of Education. She received her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction specializing in Science Education and Environmental Sciences from Indiana University (Bloomington). Since 2012, Dr. Cook’s productivity includes over $600,000 dollars in externally funded projects, 2 peer-reviewed published books, 52+ peer-reviewed publications published or in-press, and 85+ peer-reviewed and invited international, national, regional, and state presentations. Dr. Cook is actively involved in the Association for Science Teacher Education, serving in an elected position and winning the Innovations in Teaching Science Teachers award. A former high school biology teacher, Dr. Cook serves as a professional developer and consultant for elementary, middle, and high school STEAM-focused school reform and project/problem-based learning development. Dr. Cook’s research focuses on engaging students and teachers with the community of science through the exploration of socio-scientific inquiry and transdisciplinary STEAM instruction. At Bellarmine University, she teaches Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Science Methods, STEAM Education, and School Health, Nutrition, and Physical Education.

Jessica Ivy, Ph.D.

Jessica Ivy photoDr. Jessica Ivy (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and STEM Education. Before joining the Bellarmine faculty, Jessica was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Mississippi State University. She received her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Secondary Education at The University of Mississippi (UM). She completed a graduate research fellowship at the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at UM working on projects funded through the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.

A former high school mathematics teacher, Jessica’s primary research area involves the integration of technology in teaching and learning explored primarily through the lens of technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK). She is a professional developer and consultant for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and is currently serving on the NCTM Professional Development Services Committee (PDSC).

Jessica is a 2017 Fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program, where her team worked on efforts to improve recruitment and retention of teachers in rural settings and explored solutions for improving education in underserved areas through policy advocacy. She has co-authored one book chapter and one handbook chapter. The most recent chapter, “Adding a New Dimension to Teaching Mathematics Educators” featured in Handbook of Research on TPACK in the Digital Age, is a chapter written in collaboration with Dr. Anna Wann, University of Southern Mississippi. Jessica has 14 published scholarly manuscripts, and has 37 presentations at the international, national, and regional conference levels. In 2017 Jessica received the Imagine, Innovate, and Inspire Practitioner of Distinction Alumni Award from The University of Mississippi. She was the recipient of the 2016 Lucinda Rose Teaching Award at Mississippi State University, and the 2014 Mississippi State Clyde Muse Service Award.

At Bellarmine, Jessica currently teaches Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Mathematics Methods Courses, as well as Foundations of Education.

Amy E. Lein, Ph.D.

Amy E. Lein headshotAmy E. Lein (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Special Education. Before coming to Bellarmine, Dr. Lein was a Master Coach for Minnesota Math Corps and adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she earned her PhD in Educational Psychology and won the 2016 Balow Dissertation Award. As a former public-school teacher, she taught special education and general education mathematics at the high school and middle school levels in both the Boston metro area and in Charlotte, Michigan.  Her research areas of interest include mathematics interventions for struggling students, student engagement, and teacher preparation and development. Her research has resulted in peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Preventing School Failure, Educational Research and Evaluation, The Journal of Learning Disabilities, Learning and Instruction, and The Journal of Educational Psychology. 

Christy D. McGee, Ed.D.

Christy D. McGee, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is a Professor of Education. She taught at both the elementary and high school level  before beginning her career in higher education. Before coming to Bellarmine in 2005, Dr. McGee was an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas. She was also a visiting assistant professor at University of Indiana and she directed student teaching at the University of Louisville. She has published over 20 articles in her career exploring children at risk for failure, teacher education reform, student empowerment, and gifted students. She is a national consultant in the process of differentiated instruction. As an active member of the National Association for Gifted Children, she served as chair of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, chair of the Parent and Community network, a Parent Advisory Committee member, and one of the developers of the highly popular “Mile Marker” CD. She also wrote a column for the journal Parenting for High Potential from 2011-2013.

Dr. McGee is very involved in service to the university. She has served on Faculty Council for extended terms at the University of Arkansas where she served in a variety of positions including secretary, president-elect, and president. She was also a university senator and received the College of Education and Health Sciences award for service. At Bellarmine, she has continued in that tradition by serving on a variety of committees including Rank and Tenure, Handbook Committee, President-Elect of Faculty and Faculty President.

Dr. McGee received her bachelor’s degree from Murray State University in theatre arts and communication with a minor in secondary education, her master’s degree from the University of Louisville in science education, and her doctoral degree from University of Louisville with concentrations in urban studies and science education.

Donald "DJ" Mitchell Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Donald "DJ" Mitchell Jr. (webpage and contact information) is professor of higher education leadership and chair of the M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership and Social Justice Program at Bellarmine University. DJ's research and scholarship focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education contexts, primarily using qualitative methodology. More specifically, his work theoretically and empirically explores race, gender, identity intersections, and intersectionality within higher education contexts.

DJ's research and scholarship have received local and national recognition. He is recipient of the Association for Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and Sigma Phi Epsilon's 2018 Dr. Charles Eberly Oracle Award (with Dr. John Gipson, Jakia Marie, and Tiffany Steele); the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference's 2016 McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award; the American College Personnel Association's 2015 Emerging Scholar Award; Grand Valley State University's 2015 Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award; the Multicultural/Multiethnic Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association's 2014 Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Emerging Scholarship; the American College Personnel Association’s Standing Committee for Men and Masculinities 2014 Outstanding Research Award (with Dr. Darris Means); and, the Michigan College Personnel Association's 2013 John Zaugra Outstanding Research/Publication Award. He was also awarded the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity's 2012 Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award for his dissertation, "Are They Truly Divine?: A Grounded Theory of the Influences of Black Greek-Lettered Organizations on the Persistence of African Americans at Predominantly White Institutions." He currently serves as associate editor for Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and as an editorial board member for the Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity and the Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research.

DJ earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Shaw University, the first historically Black institution in the South, a Master of Science in educational leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a Ph.D. in educational policy and administration with a concentration in higher education from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.

Caitlin Murphy, Ph.D.

Caitlin Murphy, Ph.D. Caitlin Murphy, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Adolescent Literacy. She received her doctorate in Teaching and Learning at the Ohio State University, her Master of Arts in Education from Wake Forest University, and her Bachelor of Science in Integrated English/Language Arts Education from Miami University in Ohio. Dr. Murphy, a JCPS graduate, taught high school English for nine years in Shelbyville, Ky. and McLean, Va. Her research interests include the relationships between love, care, and literacies as well as adolescent literature, particularly works exploring issues of identity and marginalized youth.

Grant Smith, Ph.D.

Grant Smith, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is Chair of Doctoral Programs and Associate Professor of Research Design and Statistics. Grant spent over 20 years in the private sector working in operations management, mergers and acquisitions and the design and execution of feasibility research and process improvement studies.  His research interests include accountability measurements, and the relationship of educational outcomes and economic opportunity.  He received a B.A. from the University of Florida, a Ph.D. in measurement and statistics from the Florida State University and is currently completing postdoctoral studies at Harvard University where he works with the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  At Bellarmine Grant teaches courses in statistics, research methods and evaluation.

Alexandra J. “Ali” Taylor, Ph.D.

Alexandra J. “Ali” Taylor,Alexandra J. “Ali” Taylor, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Special Education. She received her Doctorate in Education and Social Change with an emphasis on special education from Bellarmine University. Dr. Taylor completed her Master of Arts in Science in Education (Elementary) from Indiana University Southeast, as well as additional coursework in Education Leadership. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education (Elementary Education and Learning/Behavior Disorders) at Bellarmine. Her research interests include children with emotional disturbances, and behavior intervention and modification through the teaching of social skills.

Kevin Thomas, Ph.D

Kevin Thomas, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Thomas taught high school English for 15 years in Tennessee. His research examines teacher and student perceptions regarding the instructional benefits and barriers related to the classroom integration of personal mobile devices. Additional research interests include exploration of the use of Web 2.0 tools to expand the traditional boundaries associated with the classroom through online interaction. Dr. Thomas has been published in Computers & Education, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education and TechTrends. At Bellarmine Dr. Thomas teaches courses related to the integration of instructional technology in the classroom to support student learning.

Dr. Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Trinity College of Vermont in Burlington, VT; his master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN; and his doctoral degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Mike Vetter, Ph.D.

Mike Vetter HeadshotDr. Mike Vetter (webpage and contact information) is Associate Professor and Chair of the Leadership in Higher Education program at Bellarmine University, having served as an adjunct faculty member in the department since 2013 before joining the faculty full time in 2017. Dr. Vetter has had a distinguished career in student affairs serving at small colleges, regional mid-sized universities, and a large flagship university. He served 20 years at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky primarily in the role of Vice President of Student Affairs. His previous roles have included Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students and Director of Housing and Residence Life.

Dr. Vetter has served as an adjunct faculty member at Bowling Green State University, National University, Transylvania University, University of Florida, and Western Illinois University. He also regularly serves as a consultant to colleges and universities and as a presenter at conferences on a variety of higher education issues. He is active in state, regional, and national professional associations and served on the National Board for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) representing small colleges and universities from across the country.

Mike received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Ohio Wesleyan University, his Master of Education in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University, and his Doctorate in Education Administration at the University of Florida.

Mike’s wife, Deb, and their daughter and son all are college educators in their respective fields of study.

Tommy Wells, Ed.D.

Tommy WellsTommy Wells, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Education. He received his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. He earned a Master of Science in Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Purdue University, a Master of Science in Education as well as a Specialist in Education degree in Counseling and Counselor Education from Indiana University, and a Master of Education degree in Educational Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Lastly, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Voice Studies from Northwestern University.

Before coming to Bellarmine, Dr. Wells served as a school counselor for public schools in the Indianapolis area as well as an associate faculty member in the School of Education at Indiana University, Indianapolis. His research interests include education policy as related to equity, school leadership, and trauma-informed practices. At Bellarmine, he currently teaches classes in trauma-informed practices and research methodology.

Will Wells, Ed.D.

Will Wells, Ed.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Leadership and School Administration. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Louisville in Educational Leadership and School Administration. Before joining the faculty at Bellarmine in 2016, Dr. Wells was Superintendent in the Oldham County Schools. His experience as a successful assistant superintendent, school principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, and middle school teacher, in both urban and suburban districts, provided him a broad base of experience and expertise as he served in this role. His current research interests are systems, structures, and policies that improve teacher quality vis-à-vis job embedded professional learning such as the academy structure and other means of building teacher capacity in order to ensure the learning of ALL students. Wells teaches a variety of instructional leadership and administration courses to graduate students at the masters, specialist, and doctoral levels.

Winn Crenshaw Wheeler, Ph.D.

Winn Crenshaw Wheeler, Ph.D. (webpage and contact information) is an Assistant Professor of Literacy. She received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on literacy and instructional coaching from the University of Louisville. Dr. Wheeler holds a Masters of Education in Elementary Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Elementary Education and History from Elon University. Additionally, she is a National Board Certified Teacher (Middle Childhood Generalist). Prior to her work at Bellarmine, Dr. Wheeler worked in public education for twenty years where she served as a classroom teacher and literacy coach. Her research interests include adolescent literacy, fluency development, writing assessment and instruction, professional collaboration, instructional coaching, and curriculum design. At Bellarmine, Dr. Wheeler teaches courses in literacy at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Rosie Young, Ed.D

Rosie Young, Ed.D., (webpage and contact information) serves as the Advanced Education, Graduate Programs Chair at Bellarmine University. She worked in the Jefferson County Public Schools for 38 years, 28 years as an elementary school principal before coming to Bellarmine in 2013 as the Field Placement Coordinator. She also served as the chair of the Ed.S. Program before assuming the chair of Graduate Programs. She holds certification in elementary education 1-8, school guidance counselor, principalship, ECE supervisor, and superintendency. She serves as a lead and site team member for CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation). In 2011, she was named Kentucky’s National Distinguished Principal for 2012. In addition, she was a Bellarmine Alumni award recipient in 2006 and received the Caritas Medal from Spalding University in 2011. Rosie was selected to serve on a national committee that developed the NELP (National Educational Leadership Preparation) Standards for Building and District level leadership. She co-chaired the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) committee that developed the Accomplished Principal Standards. Rosie also serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals. She volunteers her time in support of this association’s mission to lead and serve all elementary and middle level principals in Kentucky. She earned her B.A. from Bellarmine University, her M.Ed from the University of Louisville, and her Ed.D. from Spalding University.