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Catawba Welcomes Four New Faculty Members


One is a Toastmaster and has authored four books, including one entitled, "Cows Are People Too: Lessons from Someone Out Standing in the Field." One signed his employment contract in Borneo and left his job at the Smithsonian Institution to come to Catawba College. Another is a nationally certified athletic trainer with a keen personal interest in motorsports. Then, there is one who can solve a Rubik's Cube in just two minutes and is interested in studying the sociology of religion.

Catawba College welcomes four new faculty members this academic year and their interests are as diverse as their academic disciplines.

Dr. Tom Appenzeller – Associate Professor of Sport Management
AppenzellerYou might say that Dr. Tom Appenzeller inherited his academic interest in Sport Law. His father, Herb Appenzeller, a coach and athletic director at Guilford College for 31 years, actually authored the first book in the United States on Sport Law in 1970. "Listening to his stories and coming under his influence were big factors in my own interest in Sport Law developing."

Appenzeller says Sport Law has evolved since he researched and wrote his dissertation on the topic of Youth Sport in 1986. "I spent a year at William and Mary Law School trying to find cases and I probably didn't find a dozen," he recalls. "Back then, people didn't sue volunteer coaches or recreation departments. Now if I look for cases, I can probably find 10 just from today. We're dealing with the same issues at the youth level that we are dealing with at the high school and college levels – gender issues, drug abuse, bullying, hazing, injuries, and eligibility – all of these topics have morphed down to the youth level."

A native of Greensboro, Appenzeller earned his bachelor's degree in History Education from Presbyterian College, his master's of education degree in History Education from UNC Greensboro, his master's of science degree in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts, and his doctorate in Physical Education from UNC Greensboro. Today, he has four books to his credit:   "Successful Sport Management" (third edition); "Youth Sport and the Law: A Guide to Legal Issues;" "Sports and the Courts;" and "Cows Are People Too: Lessons from Someone Out Standing in the Field."

He comes to Catawba after 22 years at Wingate University where he served Assistant Professor of Sport Management, Coordinator of the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, a Spivey Professor, and finally, Associate Professor of Sport Management. His prior work experience includes serving as Assistant Athletic Director at Chowan College; Athletic Director of Riverheads High School in Staunton, Va.; Head Football and Track Coach at Elkin High School in Elkin and East Montgomery High School in Biscoe, N.C.; and Sports Information Director at Presbyterian College.

Appenzeller says he crossed off the only thing on his bucket list when he visited the Alamo several years ago. "Being able to be there, I thought, was a great experience. It wasn't quite the Walt Disney story, but it was fascinating – you really don't know what happened to those guys and how they died."

A charter member of the Union County Toastmasters, Appenzeller says his Toastmasters' experience has helped him evaluate student presentations in class. "I use what I've learned in Toastmasters to give my students ideas or tips for their oral presentations." He also enjoys musical concerts and plays, and is a longtime season ticketholder to Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte. "My interest in Broadway type shows began when I took a group of students to London and we saw a performance of 'Cats.' I was blown away by the professionalism and the quality of the performance."


Dr. Jay F. Bolin – Assistant Professor of Biology
BolinIt is Dr. Jay F. Bolin who left his position as a Smithsonian Research Collaborator to join Catawba as an Assistant Professor of Biology. He was also in Borneo collecting plants and doing research this summer when he signed his employment contract.

Bolin, who grew up in Alexandria, Va., earned his bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Virginia Tech, and his master's degree in Biology and his Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences from Old Dominion University. He also spent more than a year living and teaching in Namibia on a Fulbright Fellowship associated with the University of Namibia.

Bolin has collected plants internationally from places as Borneo, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. The most interesting and botanically diverse area where he collected was Namaqualand, located in extreme southwestern Namibia and northwestern South Africa, an area straddling the Orange River. He describes the area as "an extremely arid, rugged and remote place with few trees, but a fantastically diverse assemblage of succulent plants, some of which have exquisite adaptations for collecting moisture from oceanic fog."

Another interesting fact about Bolin is that he spent four years, from 2004 to 2008, as a volunteer Wildland Firefighter in southeastern Virginia, working with an interagency prescribed fire team setting controlled burns.

"I am always thrilled by the wild diversity of plant forms, their evolutionary relationships, and how they interact with their ecological communities," he explains. "I'm really crazy about plants with modified modes of nutrition such as parasitic plants, plants that steal water and sugars from other plants, and mycoheterotrophic plants, plants that use fungi to do their stealing for them."

On Bolin's bucket list is a wish, of course, dealing with botany in far-flung places. He wants the chance to search for parasitic plants in Angola and on the isolated island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea.


Dr. James W. Hand - Assistant Professor of Athletic Training & Director of Athletic Training Education
HandDr. James Hand says that although motorsports is a personal interest of his, sports medicine is his passion. He believes that the more opportunities students have to participate in service learning and project-based learning within the sports medicine field, "the better providers (better citizens) they will become."

This California native, who considers Camarillo as his hometown, traveled to the Midwest to earn two of his degrees. He received his bachelor's degree in Recreation Management with a minor in Sports Medicine from Culver-Stockton College and his master's degree in Physical Education from Ohio University. He returned to California, to California Lutheran University to earn his doctorate of Education in Education Leadership.

Hand leaves a position at Winston-Salem State University as an Assistant Professor of Motorsport Management to join the faculty at Catawba. His prior teaching experience includes five years at California Lutheran University serving first as Coordinator of Clinical Education and later, as Director of the Athletic Training Education Program, and five years at Wingate University serving first as Instructor in Sports Medicine and Assistant Athletic Trainer, then Director of Athletic Training Services and an Instructor, and finally as Director of Athletic Training Education Program.

Hand notes that he is proud of the opportunity he had at Winston-Salem State University to help develop the first Bachelor of Science degree in Motorsports Management in the country.

Since 2010, Hand has served as editor of "International Journal of Motorsport Management."   He has also published a wide variety of scholarly articles and made numerous presentations related to motorsports. He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association and a member of the N.C. Athletic Trainer's Association.

Although he has traveled with his students on educational trips to China (during the Beijing Olympics), London, France, Canada, and Barbados, Hand says that there are a few items on his bucket list that he hopes to cross off in the future. These items include travel to Rome and Spain, salmon fishing in the Canadian mountains, and backpacking in Yukon, Alaska.

Hand enjoys spending time camping, hiking, boating and other outdoor activities with his wife, Kelli, and children Amber, 12, and Cody, 10.


Dr. Buster Smith – Assistant Professor of Sociology
SmithSolving a Rubik's Cube in two minutes happens to be in Dr. Buster Smith's repertoire, along with his serious side – the study of the sociology of religion. Smith joins Catawba's Sociology Department this fall as an Assistant Professor. He departs Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he has worked for the past two years as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Institute for Studies of Religion.

Smith, who grew up around Boston, in the suburbs of Newton and Brookline, earned his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Religion from Middlebury College. He then moved to Baylor University where he received his master's degree and Ph.D. in Sociology. He says that he was a math and religion major as an undergraduate until he "happened to take a sociology of religion course and was hooked."

"I loved the way that I could combine the statistical analysis (of math) to better understand how people have different views of the world and reality (of religion)."

Smith says his research focuses on "the interactions that take place between people and groups with different worldviews." He notes he has studied Buddhism in the United States, the attitudes people have toward religions that are different from their own, and "the exchanges between people who are religious and irreligious."

To that point, his master's thesis was entitled: "Inequality and Religion: The Importance of Economic Surroundings on Religious Adherence," while his doctoral dissertation was entitled: "American Buddhism: A Sociological Perspective."

Smith is a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, an interdisciplinary society that includes scholars from sociology, anthropology, economics, religious studies, history and psychology. He is also a regular reviewer for the "Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion," "Sociology of Religion," and the "Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion." When not busy within his academic discipline, he enjoys cooking, playing chess and any outdoor activity.