HBU Celebrates 2021-2022 Piper Professor Nominees

The News Magazine of HBU

Higher education provides a unique opportunity to shape the knowledge and wisdom of students for the trajectory of their lives. Professors carry out the noble occupation of preparing learners for careers and personal lives filled with purpose and success. Each year, the HBU Colleges and Schools select their Piper Professor Nominee. These individuals represent the very best in teaching and professional development in each college. Nominees are recognized for their effectiveness in the classroom, their work with students in advising and mentoring, their dedication to teaching, admiration and respect from their colleagues, scholarship in their field, and contributions to the University. Congratulations to the HBU 2021-2022 Piper Nominees! 

Archie W. Dunham College of Business

YURI YATSENKO is an internationally- recognized expert in modeling and optimization of economic, industrial, and environmental processes, technological change and operations research. He published nine books and more than 200 papers in top-ranked scientific journals. Dr. Yatsenko earned his MS and PhD from Kiev State University (Ukraine) and a Doctor of Science degree from the USSR Academy of Sciences (Moscow). During his career, he was a professor at science, technology and business schools in Ukraine, Poland, Canada and the U.S. From 1997-2002, he held senior positions in data analytics and operations research at international companies in the U.S. and Canada. Since 2002, Dr Yatsenko has been a business professor at Houston Baptist University (HBU) teaching information systems, data analytics, business mathematics, statistics, economics and international business. At HBU, he played an active role in developing new undergraduate and graduate programs and courses in quantitative methods and international business, managed college accreditation by SACS and ACBSP, served on various university committees, obtained and accomplished a NATO research grant, organized international student trips and wrote textbooks. Professor Yatsenko has been engaged in a successful long-term research collaboration with scholars from leading universities in the U.S., France, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Ukraine, Japan and Kazakhstan. He presented plenary and sectional talks at more than 50 international and national scientific meetings and conferences. He has also given numerous lectures for faculty and students at universities in the U.S. and abroad. As a prolific researcher, Professor Yatsenko is highly active and visible on the web: see his accounts in Google Scholar, Web of Science, ResearchGate, Scopus, ORCID and Academia.


School of Christian Thought

PHILIP TALLON is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and the University of Saint Andrews. He is the author of “The Poetics of Evil” (Oxford, 2012) and “The Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith” (Seedbed, 2016) among other books. His essay “The Argument from Beauty and Play” appeared in “Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God” (Oxford, 2018). He frequently writes and presents on the intersection between theology and the arts – his favorite topic. His film reviews can frequently be found in The Christian Research Journal. Prior to joining HBU, Dr. Tallon worked in campus and church ministry. He currently serves as the chair for the Theology and Popular Culture section of the Wesleyan Theological Society. Dr. Tallon came to HBU 7 years ago as the Chair of the Apologetics Department. Dr. Tallon served as Chair of this vibrant department, and as an Instructor in the Honors College, until his appointment as Dean of the School of Christian Thought in March of 2021. Dr. Tallon helped to launch HBU’s first online program, the MA in Apologetics. He built classes and trained faculty, new to online, how to teach effectively in this new format. Dr. Tallon has also helped to launch remote-synchronous teaching at HBU through the construction of a prototype distance teaching room. As an Honors Instructor, Dr. Tallon particularly enjoyed mentoring his students, over 30 of whom have now graduated from HBU.


College of Education & Behavioral Sciences

DARBY HAWLEY, Associate Professor of Psychology, has been teaching at HBU for 9 years. She enjoys teaching both residentially and online in areas of behavioral neuroscience, pharmacology, cognition, scientific writing and research development. Since beginning her career at HBU, Dr. Hawley has had numerous publications and presentations at the international and local levels. Her research interests center on effective coping strategies for chronic stress that promote the integrity of the brain. Dr. Hawley enjoys serving on dissertation and master’s thesis committees at HBU and offering APA writing workshops. She currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Master of Arts in Psychology program, as well as the new Accelerated MAP program. Dr. Hawley is heavily involved in student success, with a passion for student advising, Freshman Year Seminar and Psi Chi. She was also one of the pioneering professors who began course development for online learning at HBU. In the classroom, she continuously brings innovative ideas to inspire and challenge students. In all of her courses, she is able to present complex subjects in an engaging, understanding, and relevant manner. As a result of her love for teaching, she was named one of Houston’s top psychology professors. Her courses are designed for students to learn how to ask thoughtful questions, critique the information that they are exposed to, sharpen their problem-solving skills, and be able to effectively and respectfully communicate their opinions. Her teaching goals are to increase the impact and saliency of course content, while being salt and light for her students.


School of Fine Arts

TIFFANY BERGERON is the Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and the Program Coordinator for the Graduate MFA Studio Art program and BA/BFA Studio Art programs. Her teaching experiences include courses in Art History, Art Education and Studio Art including Life Drawing, Design, Experimental Painting, Color Theory and Printmaking for undergraduate and graduate students for the College of Arts and Humanities. Bergeron has been a Clinical Supervisor and Intern Supervisor for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, designed all the online courses for the Department of Visual Arts, created an Art History Online Certificate for students and created the first interdepartmental degree in Graphic Design in conjunction with the Department of CNMA and Creative Writing. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts degree with a focus in Art History, a terminal MFA Studio Art degree specializing in Printmaking from Houston Baptist University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sam Houston University in Painting. This year The Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, Texas has selected her work entitled, “The Barred Owl,” (2021, mixed media painting, 30” x 24”) for their permanent collection. Bergeron has been invited to feature one of her paintings in the Ground Zero 360 exhibit which includes artwork from 50 world-renowned artists that explores their experiences of the events of 9/11 in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks. Tiffany Bergeron’s mixed media painting “The Nest,” is part of this exhibit on display at the Museum of Biblical Arts in Dallas, Texas, and will remain part of the Ground Zero 360’s permanent art collection which will travel nationally and internationally.


College of Arts and Humanities

JEREMY NEILL, Associate Professor of Philosophy, joined the HBU faculty in 2011. His teaching specialties include business ethics, medical ethics and political philosophy. Dr. Neill regularly receives high teaching marks and has been nominated for the Opal Goolsby Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Neill became a teacher out of his love for students and his desire to reach young people for Christ and His Kingdom. An academic advisor for the Athletics Department, Dr. Neill is also the Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Studies degree, a program which has graduated over 400 students since its inception at HBU in 2014. Among Dr. Neill’s publications are over 25 articles for peer-reviewed journals, edited books, and popular publications. A longtime German speaker, Dr. Neill has translated several academic articles from German into English. Scholarly publications for which he has written include Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia Christi, Res Publica, and Philosophy and Social Criticism. His popular contributions have appeared in The Federalist, The Notre Dame Review of Books, Ethika Politika, Public Discourse and other venues. Dr. Neill’s writings have covered topics as diverse as faith and politics, racial reconciliation, Christian sexual teachings, the ‘New Atheism’ and the life of Christian virtue. Dr. Neill regularly speaks at colloquia and conferences, having delivered over 50 academic presentations in recent years around Texas and the United States. Nothing makes him happier than to promote the Christian letters among his students, in academia, the church, and the culture, more generally.


School of Nursing & Allied Health

SHONTA BELL joined the faculty of HBU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health in 2012 where she teaches across all academic nursing programs, including traditional BSN, RN-BSN and MSN. She has since been promoted to Associate Professor and holds the position of Department Chair for the School of Nursing. Dr. Bell brings with her 30 years of nursing experience which extends from caring for patients at the bedside to various leadership positions, and now, academia. She brings a broad background in nursing to her role as an educator. Dr. Bell received her PhD from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where her research focus was mental health of adolescents. Her Naturalistic Inquiry exploration of school nurses’ experiences working with adolescents who self-harm was extremely timely and her findings are important, with implications on the local, state, and national levels. Dr. Bell is committed to raising awareness of mental illness not only with adolescents but across the lifespan through service to HBU and in the community. Dr. Bell is a dedicated nurse and educator who believes that all roles in life should be approached with zest and commitment. She is truly one who role models (to students and colleagues) the program’s core values: honor, integrity, glorification of God, humility, excellence and respect.