Behavioral Studies Faculty

Karen Thompson, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Psychology Program Coordinator
BSHI Division Head
(803) 786-3634

Dr. Thompson joined the Columbia College faculty in 2000. She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina. She teaches Statistics, Research Methods, Biological Psychology, Drugs and Behavior, and a Psychology Lab. Her research focuses on the biological bases of epilepsy and the application of neural transplantation or gene therapy to alleviate epileptic episodes. Dr. Thompson was the recipient of the Columbia College 2002-2003 Faculty Excellence Award. She and her husband Chris enjoy spending time with their two sons.

Robin Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Interim Provost | Professor of Psychology
(803) 786-3142

Joyce W. Fields, Ph.D.
Professor of Child and Family Studies
Child and Family Studies Program Coordinator
(803) 786-3688

Dr. Fields received her B.S. from Longwood College in Virginia, her M.S. from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and her Ph. D. from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Fields joined the faculty of Columbia College in the fall of 1999 and teaches courses in family development, sociology, child and family intervention, aging, and social policy. As program director for the Child and Family Studies program, she instituted a major track for students to graduate with required coursework and experiences to fulfill the child life specialist requirements. Experiential learning is embedded in all child and family studies courses allowing students at least six field experiences prior to graduation. Her collaborative work with students has resulted in international, national and regional presentations. In 2007 Dr. Fields received the SC Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Professor of the Year award. She won the Student Advisor of the Year Award in 2010 and has twice been recognized as Honors Professor of the Year. She brings to the college her clinical experiences as a Marriage and Family Therapist as well as training skills developed in academic work, and workshops and seminars for family members as well as for the development of other professionals. She has published in the areas of family in children’s literature, leadership development, service-learning and vocational exploration, and sociological pedagogy. She is currently collecting data in a collaborative effort to connect Servant Leadership to teaching in the helping professions.

Heather Hahn, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator for Philosophy minor program
Associate Professor of Philosophy
(803) 786-3489

Dr. Hahn is a Fulbright Scholar (Germany) with a Master’s and PhD from the State University of New York at Binghamton’s Program in Philosophy, Literary Theory, and Culture. She taught at the Universitaet Mainz and the Rheinisch-Westphaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen before moving back to the United States. Her areas of specialization include continental philosophy (specifically phenomenology), literary theory, gender and women’s studies (specifically Girls Studies), and ethics. Current projects include research on Heidegger and Comparative Religion and also ethics and gender theory as they intersect to inform American family law. As co-founder and co-editor of Girls Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Undergraduate Research (an online journal) and a certified yoga instructor, Dr. Hahn enjoys turning theory into practice, creating a yoga wellness mentoring program for middle school girls.

Shirley Huisman, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator for Social Work
Associate Professor of Social Work
(803) 786-3629

Dr. Huisman received her B.A. degree from Dordt College, her MSW from Syracuse University, and her PhD from the University of South Carolina. She has been teaching in social work education for over 20 years, in both undergraduate and graduate programs. She has been both program director and director of field education in her previous positions. She loves to teach across the social work curriculum, including Policy, Practice, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Research and Field Education. She has shepherded programs through initial accreditation and reaffirmation processes.

Her professional practice experience is in mental health, with services provided to individuals, couples and families, with special focus on trauma informed practice. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in South Carolina and Iowa. She is also a community educator for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, providing education and support to families experiencing mental illness, and providers of mental health services. She considers her work as Mom to her children her most important and finest work.

Sharon Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
Program Coordinator for Model United Nations
(803) 786-3628

Dr. Jones joined the faculty in August of 2006. She received a Ph.D. and MA in Comparative Politics from Syracuse University; plus a MA in International Relations from University of South Florida. She also received a BA in International Relations and BS in Business Administration from the University of South Florida. Raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Central Africa, Sharon has traveled the world, having had one son born in Italy and another born in Portugal. Her main interests are in comparative politics, immigration and international security. Some of her favorite classes to teach are East/Southeast Politics, Immigration Today, Politics and Multiculturalism, Comparative Politics, Middle East/ Latin American Studies, Terrorism and National Security. Some of Dr. Jones’ recent published articles include “Canada and the Globalized Immigrant” in American Behavioral Scientist, “Looking Back at Hiroshima: Dialogues” in Poliscithinking and “Assimilation, “Integration and Multiculturalism : The Making of an Australian Identity and Nationalism,” in the Maxwell Colloquium.


Edward Sharkey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
Program Coordinator for Political Science
(803) 786-3807

Dr. Sharkey has been part of the Columbia College faculty since 2000. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Montana and his Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Sharkey teaches a range of courses including The Modern Presidency, Politics and Film, Political Participation, Constitutional Law, Environmental Policy, and Political Philosophy. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Student’s Choice for Teaching Excellence Award (2002 and 2007), the Honors Student Association Teacher of the Year Award (2002), the Student Organization Advisor of the Year Award (2005), and recognition of Outstanding Teaching in Political Science from the American Political Science Association (2002 and 2008). His recent publications include “Terrorism, Security, and Civil Liberties: The States Respond,” “Education and Political Tolerance: A State Level Perspective” and Understanding American Government. Dr. Sharkey and his wife Rene enjoy spending their leisure hours with their two children – Libby and Dylan.

Katrina Spigner, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership
Organizational Leadership Graduate Program Director
(803) 786-3776

Dr. Spigner joined the Columbia College faculty as the director of the graduate program in Organizational Leadership. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters degree in Social Work and a doctorate of Education with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership, where her reserach focused on the experiences of women working in faith-based organizations where ogranizational silence is present. She has certification in Clinical Pastoral Education as well as Personal and Executive coaching. She is a media contributor and has been featured in and written articles for numerous magazines, most recently for Fast Company. She is the author of two books: This is for You!: 31 Days of Life-Changing Discoveries (2008, Pleasant Word) and G.I.F.T.: Growing in Faith Today! (2010, Wine Press). Dr. Spigner is the founder and CEO of Re-Source Solutions, LLC, a personal and professional growth and development company dedicated to providing “Real Answers, for Real People, with Real Questions.” Dr. Sprigner enjoys spending time with her two children and one grandson.

Debra M. Stayner, M.A.
Senior Lecturer of Behavioral Studies
(803) 786-3445

Ms. Stayner graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina with an undergraduate degree in Anthropology. She later earned Master’s degrees in Geography (1984) and in Anthropology (2003) at USC. She taught geography and/or anthropology courses as an adjunct at various campuses for over fifteen years, including USC, USC- Aiken, Midlands Technical College and Columbia College. Since 2005, she has been employed full-time at Columbia College. Ms. Stayner is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 2004 she won the Social and Behavioral Sciences Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year award at Midlands Technical College.  Ms. Stayner also owned Pangaea Earth Store from 1991 until 1998, and was awarded DHEC’s Friend of the Environment Award in 1996. Her interests are in globalization and its effects on indigenous populations, fair trade, and cultural aspects of conflict.

Catherine Unterseher, Ph.D.
E. Wright Spears Professor of Religion
(803) 786-3755

Dr. Unterseher received a B.A. in history (double major in English, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Texas at Austin. She received a M.Div (Master of Divinity), also magna cum laude, from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Dr. Unterseher also received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies, with a concentration on the History of the Christian Tradition, from Southern Methodist University. Her areas of interest include early Church history and theology (Patristics), the theology of Augustine of Hippo, women in the Christian tradition, and Jewish-Christian relations. Dr. Unterseher has published a book on Augustine’s theology of the Jews entitled, The Mark of Cain and the Jews: Augustine’s Theology of Jews and Judaism (Gorgias Press, 2009). Currently, she is completing a work on the theology of Harry Potter, tentatively entitled A Theology of Hogwarts: The Journey of the Soul in Harry Potter.

Jennifer Dollar, LISW-CP
Director of Social Work Field Experiences
Lecturer of Social Work
(803) 786-3635

Professor Dollar is a graduate of Carson Newman University.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1986 and obtained her MSW from the University of South Carolina in 1992.  Ms. Dollar became a Licensed Master Social Worker in 1992.  She was chosen as the 2014-2015 Support Employee of the Year for School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties.  Her professional practice experience began as a medical social worker in home health followed by 16  years as a school social worker.  Ms. Dollar became a Licensed Independent Social Worker – Clinical Practitioner in April 2014.  Her professional practice focus is with children, adolescents, young women, and families, with an emphasis in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  In practice, she supervised social work interns for 14 years and is thrilled to serve as Director of Social Work Experiences.  Her desire is to equip students for practice in the social work field upon their graduation.

D’Michelle P. DuPre, M.D.
Criminal Justice Program Coordinator (on-campus (B.A.) and online (B.A., M.A.)

Dr. DuPre is a retired medical doctor with a specialty in forensic medicine and forensic pathology.  She is formerly a certified law enforcement officer and worked as a police officer for the City of Columbia where she walked a beat. She then became the first female detective for Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. She also has experience working undercover narcotics operations.  Dr. DuPre graduated from the University of South Carolina, Ross University School of Medicine, and Duke University School of Medicine. She completed her forensic pathology training in San Antonio and Miami and has worked for the Department of Justice in the Caribbean where she was Medical Examiner for the U.S. and British governments.  She has worked as an investigating medical examiner in seven U.S. jurisdictions.  Most recently she has been a law enforcement training instructor at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy where she taught basic and advanced law enforcement courses in Crime Scene Investigation, Sexual Assault, Abuse and Neglect, Basic Detective, Narcotics Undercover Techniques and many others. In addition, she has taught at the South Carolina Coroner’s School and in numerous law enforcement jurisdictions throughout the Caribbean and in Europe. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of South Carolina Criminal Justice Department and is an Associate Professor at the University of the West Indies School of Medicine where she teaches Forensic Pathology to physicians, students, and law enforcement. She is a certified Child Forensic Interviewer and a published author with two recent textbooks entitled, Homicide Investigation Field Guide and Sexual Assault Investigation Field Guide. She has been a Forensic Consultant for CNN Headline News since 2006 and appears regularly on the network.

Emily Bentley, J.D.
Community and Organizational Leadership and Human Services A2B Program Coordinator
Disaster and Emergency Management Online Program Coordinator

Professor Bentley is the Associate’s-to-Bachelor’s (A2B) degree completion program coordinator for two majors in the division, Community and Organizational Leadership and Human Services. She is also the director of the online Disaster and Emergency Management bachelor’s degree program. Before joining Columbia College, Professor Bentley was the coordinator of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management program at Savannah State University for eight years, where she led a research project examining preparedness challenges for vulnerable populations in Chatham County, Georgia. Professor Bentley served as executive director of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), a national standards and assessment program for state and local government emergency management, from 2000 to 2006. She previously served as associate general counsel of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and worked in professional regulatory law. A former journalist and lawyer, Professor Bentley has a broad background in public policy, particularly in emergency and continuity planning and emergency management program development. Professor Bentley received her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and juris doctorate from the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University.

Harry Cooper Jr., J.D.
Director of Online Programs

Prior to his current position, Professor Cooper was the Coordinator of the Business Program and Lecturer for the Evening College. He taught courses including Business Law, Business Ethics, Constitutional Law and Federal Taxation. Until October 2013, he served as The Executive Deputy Director of the South Carolina Department of Revenue for over eleven years. Prior to being appointed as Executive Deputy Director, Professor Cooper served as General Council, Director of Policy, and Director of Criminal Investigations for the Department of Revenue. He was also an Assistant Attorney General for the State of South Carolina. In addition, he was employed by the Internal Revenue Service for over eight years – five of which were as an attorney. Professor Cooper was the South Carolina Correspondent for The State Tax Notes for many years. He received specialized training at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 1983, allowing him to be certified as a state law enforcement officer. He has continuously maintained this certification. Professor Cooper also received training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glencoe, Georgia. He was selected and trained by the U.S. Justice Department to be a federal Summary Witness. Subsequent to the Summery Witness Training, Professor Cooper has been qualified by the Federal District Court as an Expert and has testified as such in various criminal cases. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC). The goal of this committee is to improve cooperation and coordination among law enforcement groups, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. The LECC program has become a cornerstone of joint federal, state and local law enforcement efforts. He served as Chair of the Tax Litigation and Criminal Enforcement Sections of the Federation of Tax Administrators. He served on the Executive Committee of the SEATA. He has served as Chair of the Internet Gaming Committee for the NAGRA.

Mary Jon Barrineau, Ph.D.
Lecturer of Psychology

Dr. Barrineau completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at Columbia College in 2006. She earned a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Radford University and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Before returning to Columbia College, she was a data analyst for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on families and chronic illness, specifically understanding the emotional experiences of both the patient and their family members. Her dissertation sought to examine the affective experience of chronic illness patients and their family members through an investigation of the good (positive affect), the bad (negative affect) and the balanced (relationship between positive and negative affect). Dr. Barrineau teaches Introduction to Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Family Development, Statistics and Research Methods.