About the College of Professional Studies

Our Mission

Carson-Newman’s College of Professional Studies helps adults and working professionals reach their full potential by preparing them for meaningful careers and thriving lives.

Our Vision

For over 150 years, Carson-Newman has provided an exceptional educational experience. Yet as the higher educational landscape continues to change, many adults and working professionals are seeking an affordable, distinctly Christian, transformational educational experience, one that will help them advance their careers, find meaning in their profession, and help them reach their full potential. Many adults and working professionals value this type of educational experience, yet they need flexible, innovative learning experiences that can fit into their work & life balance. Many of them may never be able to come to Jefferson City for these learning experiences. Whether a student is in west Knoxville, within the state of Tennessee in Nashville, outside the state in Atlanta, Austin, Lakeland, Tampa, or Orlando, or around the world in Brazil, India, or Vietnam, Carson-Newman’s College of Professional Studies exists to help students reach their full potential by preparing them for meaningful careers and thriving lives.

Carson-Newman’s College of Professional Studies’ vision is to:

  • Extend programs to reach and serve new students
  • Enhance the Carson-Newman educational experience
  • Empower students to thrive throughout their lives

As the contemporary world continues to change at an unprecedented rate, adults and working professionals face new challenges every day. The College of Professional Studies exists to serve students throughout their lives, providing them with flexible, innovative, and transformational learning experiences that equip them to shape their future.

our vision is to…

See graduates who are…by being a force that…
Equipped to meet the professional & workforce needs of our societyOffers innovative, purposeful, transformative, and results-driven education that meets the present and future needs of our world
Embodying meaning, values, and character in their personal and professional livesProvides education that integrates Christian values in learning, leading, and serving
Engaging in lifelong learning to serve the present & future needs of our societyServes students at every stage of their lives in whatever formats that best fit their needs

The College of Professional Studies Team

The College of Professional Studies consists of a variety of expert leaders, faculty, and staff. Learn more about our exceptional team below.

College Leadership


Ryan is an experienced leader, educator, and innovator and the founding Dean of the College of Professional Studies. Prior to joining Carson-Newman, he previously served as an executive leader at both Miami University and William & Mary. With a “teaching first, technology second” mentality, he has led two different institutions to become nationally recognized and award winning for their excellence in distance education.

Ryan holds a Post-Doctorate in Management and Marketing from the University of Florida’s Warrington School of Business. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis on Teaching & Learning from the University of South Florida. He also holds two graduate theological degrees–a M.Div. and a Th.M.

In addition to leading innovation and growth efforts in higher education, Ryan has served in a variety of church and para-church organizations.


Dr. Alicia Corts comes to Carson-Newman most recently as an associate professor and director of the theatre program at Saint Leo University, where she wrote and launched a successful theatre major. Prior to that position, Alicia worked as an instructional designer in the newly opened Office of Online Learning at the University of Georgia, helping to bring a multitude of courses and programs online.

An accomplished director and media designer, she has worked both nationally and internationally, including two off-Broadway productions. An active researcher, Dr. Corts is primarily interested in performance in virtual spaces, specifically how societal issues are regulated by online performance mediums. She is also one of the primary investigators on the Kutiyattam Project, an effort to bring the experience of this ancient Indian performance form into virtual and augmented reality. She has been published in Theatre Journal, Ecumenica, notches, and Rebus as well as a number of book chapters.

When she isn’t busy with a show, Alicia likes to get to the beach as often as possible, go for long bike rides, hike in the east TN mountains, and take on a plethora of crafting projects. She is happily married to her partner in crime, Scott.

Elvis has 20 years of full-time experience in higher education. Fourteen of those years were spent as the Dean of Health Sciences and included stints as Interim Dean of Business and Technology and Interim Dean of Nursing. Prior to becoming dean, Elvis spent six years as Associate Professor and Clinical Coordinator in a Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Before moving into higher education, Elvis spent 11 years working in outpatient physical therapy. He is also licensed as an athletic trainer and a physical therapist assistant.
Elvis has a diverse educational background. He holds a Doctor of Education from Union University, a Master of Exercise and Sport Sciences from the University of Florida, a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University, and an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant from Volunteer State Community College.
Elvis has been married to his wife, Lori, for 29 years. He has two sons, Cody (a Carson-Newman alumnus) and Noah. Elvis’ personal interests include biking, hiking, running, lifting weights, and being at the beach as often as possible.

Steven Boldt is the Associate Dean Online and Distance Learning. In his role, he will provide strategic leadership that helps foster the Carson-Newman experience through online and innovative learning. He is responsible for leading a team of instructional systems designers, learning technologists, and student support personnel who assist colleges, departments, programs, and faculty in the creation of online programs and courses.

Steve has over twenty-five years of experience in directing, designing, developing, and delivering online degree programs, certificates, courses, workshops and trainings in both the public and private sectors.

Steve earned his BS and MS in Education and holds Professional Master’s Certificates in Innovative Product Design and Development, Project Management and Leadership. When not at work, Steve has a passion for coaching, educating, and mentoring as evident in his twenty years of athletic coaching at the youth, high school, collegiate, and semi-professional level.

Originally from Kentucky, Nicole Drewitz-Crockett has lived in East Tennessee for most of her adult life. She is a 2000 graduate of Carson-Newman University where she majored in English; she earned both the M.A. and Ph.D. in English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Nicole returned to CNU as a member of the English Department from 2008 – 2012. She spent the last ten years at Emory & Henry College as the director of the school’s annual Literary Festival and the editor of The Iron Mountain Review. “D-C,” as she is often known to students and colleagues, also served as the Division Chair for the Humanities at E&H. Nicole and her family are thrilled to be returning to Carson-Newman and its satellite campus in west Knoxville. She has two children, Ethan (11) and Hyla Brook (5), with husband Bradley Crockett.

Chris graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology from C-N. From C-N, Chris served on staff in local churches for 18 years, while earning 2 master’s degrees (in Divinity and Theology). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Columbia International University. Before coming to Carson-Newman, Chris was the Vice President for Student Services at Truett McConnell University in Northeast Georgia. Chris oversees that enrollment efforts of the College of Professional Studies.

Chris (’93) and his wife Ginger met at C-N. They were the 4th generation to meet and marry at C-N on Ginger’s side of the family. Chris and Ginger live near Gainesville, Ga and have three children, Caleb 26, who is married to Mary, works as the asst. director of admissions at Lagrange College, Daniel 22 is a middle school social studies teacher and basketball coach, and Charis 14 who loves animals and Krav Maga.

CPS Staff

Hope serves as the Director of Academic Operations and Outreach for the College of Professional Studies. A Kingsport native, she graduated from Carson-Newman University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education in 2018 followed by a Master of Science in Higher Education College Administration and Leadership from Purdue University in 2021 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She returned to Jefferson County as a Niswonger Scholar in 2019 and has worked for the past three years in the Carson-Newman Office of Advancement. In her spare time, Hope enjoys spending time with friends, snuggling her two dogs, Newman and Neyland, and reading historical fiction books. 

Taylor Anne has lived in Jefferson City, TN the majority of her life. Growing up with Carson-Newman in her backyard, she has always had a special connection to the University and the people who were employed here. Earning her bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University, and then her master’s from Carson-Newman University. Taylor Anne joined the staff 5 years ago as the Help Desk Coordinator, later transitioning into Online. I am honored and excited to watch God work through CPS. When not at work, Taylor Anne enjoys time with family and friends and especially spending time with her dog Cooper. 

Lori Thomas is the Learning Designer for the College of Professional Studies. She previously worked in public education in New Jersey and South Carolina for 19 years as a high school special education and social studies teacher. In addition to her special education and social studies teaching certificates, she holds endorsements in Online Learning, Read to Succeed, Advanced Placement Human Geography, and Gifted and Talented. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in History with a concentration in International Studies from Rowan University in 2002 and a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Homeland Security from Wilmington University in 2015. She is currently working towards her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Liberty University. Lori and her family moved to East Tennessee in May of 2022.

Angie Shaffer is an Advanced Certified Academic Coach and holds a BA in Business Management and a THM in Christian Education. Before joining CPS as a Student Success Coordinator, she worked as a Career and Academic Advisor with the Carson-Newman Student Success Department. Angie is also an Adjunct Interdisciplinary Professor for the University.

Angie has over 18 years of experience in the education field, where she most recently served ten years as a 6-12 ELA and Math teacher at The King’s Academy in Seymour, TN. She loves working with students and guiding them to reach their God-given potential. When asked about CPS, Angie said, “I am excited to help a new demographic of Carson-Newman students find their calling and succeed academically.”
Angie and her husband, Ed, have two sons, Austin, a recent graduate of ETSU, and Zac, a Junior at Carson-Newman. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, reading, and having family time around a campfire.

Angie’s life verse is Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Adam Collins earned his MBA from Carson-Newman University. He has a beautiful wife Katie, and son Judah. He also runs a wedding videography business in the Knoxville area. Adam is very involved as a volunteer leader in Young Life, a ministry reaching high school kids where they are and building authentic relationships with them to point them to Jesus Christ. Adam is eager to see what God is doing at Carson-Newman and the College of Professional Studies. 

CPS Faculty

Dr. Henry Suters has been teaching mathematics and computer science at Carson-Newman University since 1994. He was born and grew up in central Kentucky where he attended Berea College, majoring in mathematics and physics. Next, he went on to graduate school at Duke University where he earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in mathematics. His area of research in mathematics is computational fluid dynamics which involves creating computer algorithms to simulate the flow of gasses and liquids. After receiving his degrees from Duke he started teaching at Carson-Newman where he taught mathematics and introductory computer programming.

To expand on his interests in computer science,  he decided to return to graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he received an M.S. in computer science in 2004. His research in computer science is in graph theory and involves proving theorems about fixed-parameter tractable problems. He helped establish the computer science major at Carson-Newman and is its current program coordinator.

He married his wife Leslie in 1999 and they have three children, triplets (two girls and a boy). They live in Knoxville, TN, and attend Church Street United Methodist Church.

Mary “Robin” Van Huss is an entrepreneur with a passion for teaching. Robin joined the Carson-Newman faculty in the Fall of 2021, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Management. She is also currently serving as the Director of the new Entrepreneurial Leadership program, working on building an exciting and impactful curriculum. She received an MBA from King University and is currently working on her doctoral study researching small business profitability in Asheville, North Carolina. She and her husband, William, own and operate their own business specializing in sci-fi and Appalachian folklore novelties. Robin and William live in Bristol, Tennesse with their loving but lively cat, Snopes.

Join the CPS Team!

Join the CPS Team! yes!

Are you interested in shaping the future of Christian higher education? We have the following open searches:

Director of Social Work Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Director of Admissions Operations Various Adjunct Instructor Positions

Why Carson-Newman's College of Professional Studies?

We know that juggling work, home, and family is tough. Adding an educational goal makes it even more challenging. Choosing Carson-Newman to move you forward in your calling and career makes it possible to have the balance you’re looking for without sacrificing any of the quality and rigor you’d expect from a world-class institution. Our programs work on an accelerated schedule that allows you to work in the way that you study best: in-person, online, or a mixture of both.