Brevard College Announces New Division Chairpersons


Brevard College is pleased to announce the names of two new division chairpersons.

Dr. Tom Bell, associate professor of religion and sacred music, has assumed the duties of chair of the College’s Division of Humanities. The position was previously held by Dr. Mel Bringle, who will continue to serve as professor of religious studies.

Dr. Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, professor of biology and environmental science, has assumed the duties of chair of the College’s Division of Science and Mathematics. She replaces Dr. Ken Duke, who is retiring after 17 years of service.

“Dr. Bell and Dr. Frick-Ruppert have outstanding qualifications in the areas of leadership and consensus building that will serve their divisions and our campus well going forward,” said Brevard College Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Scott Sheffield. “We are truly grateful and appreciative of the responsibility they have undertaken on behalf of the College and its students.”

Dr. Bell joined Brevard College’s faculty in 1996 as a religion instructor. He has taught many courses in biblical studies, Christian history, philosophy, and ethics. Dr. Bell is the author of Peter Abelard After Marriage, a study of twelfth-century philosopher Peter Abelard as a composer, poet, and spiritual director of nuns. In recent years, Dr. Bell has applied his training in music to transcribing the solo recordings of renowned jazz guitarist Joe Pass into modern notation and guitar tablature. His music studies include a master’s degree in musicology from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a music performance degree from the University of Georgia. He furthered his study of religion by earning a master’s degree in the Duke University Divinity School and later earned a doctorate in religious studies from Emory University.

Dr. Frick-Ruppert joined Brevard College’s faculty in 1997. She teaches biology, ecology and environmental studies. In 2010, Dr. Frick-Ruppert authored a book examining the diverse ecology of the Southern Appalachians. Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians, is based on Dr. Frick-Ruppert’s popular Transylvania-Times column, Appalachian Almanac. It was a finalist for the Phillip Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment. Forthcoming in 2014 is her new book, Waterways: Sailing the Southeastern Coast, which explores environmental changes and interactions of plants and animals while she and her husband sailed from Charleston, S.C., down the coast to Florida, across to the Bahamas, and back. She earned her doctorate degree in zoology from Clemson University and frequently gives lectures and presentations in the area that focus on natural history.