Samford University


Fellows Administration

Bryan Johnson, Director and Professor of English

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Before being named Director of University Fellows, Johnson was an Associate Professor of English at Samford University, where he has taught since 1995. While he is a specialist in creative writing (poetry) and literary theory, Johnson has also taught courses in 20th-century poetry, film, comparative literature, and the philosophy and literature of science. He is an active scholar-poet, and his work has appeared in the Paris Review, the Denver Quarterly, the Western Humanities Review, American Letters and Commentary, Free Verse, Thicket, and New American Writing. He was a semi-finalist for the Walt Whitman Award for his collection of poems entitled See, and in 2008 he was invited to attend the prestigious Sewanee Writers Conference. His scholarship on teaching creative writing was awarded the James Woodall Award for Pedagogical Scholarship from the Association of College Teachers of English in Alabama. Since collaborating with faculty at the University of Maastricht on a Problem-Based Learning Transatlantic Cooperation Grant, Johnson has lectured on the craft of teaching poetry in Denmark, at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and throughout the U.S. He has served twice as professor-in-residence at Samford's Daniel House in London, and he was a visiting professor at China's Anhui Normal University. As one of Samford's Latin American Studies Fellows, Johnson traveled to Ecuador to learn Spanish, and he has continued studying Spanish alongside students in Samford's classrooms. For the University Fellows Program he has taught Writing and Rhetoric and Western Intellectual Tradition (I, II, and IV). He was recently promoted to full Professor.


Caroline Williams, Assistant Director

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As an undergraduate at Samford, Williams studied English and religion and was one of the first graduates of the English Department’s film studies concentration. Post-graduation, she served as a regional coordinator for Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative, where she worked to provide service-learning opportunities for Alabama's college students. In 2009, Williams began an M.A. program in English at Georgetown. Here, she not only studied literature and film, but she also worked with the university's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS). At CNDLS, she collaborated with the Center for Social Justice to create a humanitarian action fellows position for undergraduates. After serving one year as Admission Coordinator for University Fellows, Williams was promoted to Assistant Director of the program.


Carlson Coogler, Admission and Program Coordinator

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Coogler graduated summa cum laude from Samford and the University Fellows program in May 2013. She majored in English with a minor in biology and a focus on other pre-medical sciences. After graduation, she attended the LEGACY School of Discipleship and taught at her high school alma matter. Teaching led to deciding not to attend medical school and accepting the position of admission and program coordinator. She is pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education at Samford’s Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education.


Christopher Metress, Associate Provost and University Professor

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After receiving his doctorate from Vanderbilt, Dr. Metress taught for three years at Wake Forest University before joining Samford's English Department. From 2003 to 2006, he directed Samford's participation in a national curricular project designed to promote innovative teaching of the liberal arts, a project which helped to seed the development of the University Fellows Program. In 2008, Dr. Metress became the director ofUniversity Fellows, and in 2009 he received the George Macon Teaching Award. The award goes annually to a faculty member who, through outstanding performance as a teacher, counselor, and friend to students, demonstrates the ability to inspire students to greatness. Dr. Metress's essays and reviews have appeared in such journals as South Atlantic Quarterly, Southern Review, African-American Review, and Studies in the Novel. He has published three books: The Critical Response to Dashiell Hammett (Greenwood, 1995), The Lynching of Emmett Till (Virginia, 2002), and Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination (LSU, 2007). The Lynching of Emmett Till was a university press bestseller and was featured in news stories in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Nation magazine, as well as on ABC World News Tonight and PBS. In 2003, the Association of American University Presses named the book among its "Best Books for Understanding Race Relations in the U.S.," and the collection has been used in courses in more than 100 colleges and universities. In 2012, Dr. Metress accepted the position of University Professor, the highest academic rank a faculty member can achieve.  


Shannon Flynt, Coordinator, Italy Study Program and Assistant Professor of Classics

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 Flynt returned to her Alma Mater in 2000 after a distinguished graduate research and teaching career in anthropology, art history, classical archaeology, and ancient studies. Her professional specialty—Roman archaeology—combines the history, math, art, and travel interests she refined as an undergraduate student at Samford. Now on the other side of the lectern at Samford, the Summa Cum Laude, Phi Kappa Phi alumna teaches in the Classics Department, Visual Arts Department, and the University Fellows program, serves as the university's Fulbright Program Advisor, and coordinates the University Fellows Italy program. Her courses include The Western Intellectual Tradition (I and II), Classics Senior Capstone, The Rediscovery of the Classical World, and Art History (I, II, and III). After earning her Master's degree in Anthropology at the University of Alabama, where she demonstrated exceptional aptitude in Latin and field archaeology, Flynt entered the doctoral program in Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, where she earned a Huggins Fellowship and the Donald K. Anderson Graduate Student Teaching Award. In 1999 Flynt was named a U.S. Fulbright Fellow to Austria, where she lived for a year while conducting research for her doctoral dissertation, "The Military Vici of Noricum." In addition to excavation at the Roman military site of Lauriacum in Austria she has served on excavation teams at Pompeii,Castell Henllys (Wales) and Clonmacnoise (Ireland). Closer to home, she has excavated at Alabama's Dust Cave and Moundville Native American sites and at the historic Hickman House in central Missouri. Flynt maintains her research interests in the Roman army and Roman frontier in Europe, the art and archaeology of the ancient Classical world and the Classical tradition, and is an active member of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and the International Roman Frontiers Congress.  


Wilton Bunch, Professor of Ethics

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A native of Walla Walla, Washington, Bunch came to Samford ten years ago to teach ethics in the Beeson Divinity School. After teaching seven years in the Divinity School, Bunch transferred to the philosophy department where he currently teaches. He usually teaches the Introduction to Scientific Inquiry in the Fellows Program, Christian Ethics, and Medical Ethics. In the spring semester of 2011, Bunch will begin teaching a new class called Medical Humanities. This class will examine literature that deals with medical situations in order to analyze the ethical implications in the medical field. Currently, he is researching the changes of moral reasoning of students within the Fellows Program during their time in college. He decided he wanted to teach in college after working under teaching-learning based environments. Influenced by other teachers he had throughout his education, Bunch now teaches classes in a discussion-based format.  

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