URC Members

The University Research Council consists of both appointed and elected members.

Becoming a URC Member

The Chairperson of the University Research Council is responsible for choosing the appointed members. The Faculty Senate Elections officer conducts an annual election for the elected members of the University Research Council at the same time as other University elections, such as the election of members to Faculty Senate, to the Faculty Grievance Committee, etc. 

Role & Benefits of URC Membership

Participate in Ad Hoc Projects

University Research Council members work collaboratively on projects to inform and advise the Vice Provost for Research on the state of research and creative endeavors at Appalachian State University, as well as to recommend areas of improvement in the research support, infrastructure, and culture on campus. Time is typically provided during URC meetings to focus on these projects, yet some projects may require that members spend time outside of URC meetings to gather information or contribute to the topic.

Review URC Grants

Once a semester you will be placed on a review panel to review URC grant proposals in a similar discipline as yours. You should anticipate not being an expert in all of the grant project areas and you should review these grants from an interdisciplinary perspective. URC members are expected to find time to review the proposals outside of the regular URC meeting time.

Participate in the Annual Research and Creative Activities at Appalachian Event

Each year the Office of Research and Innovation celebrates all research, scholarship, and creative endeavors of Appalachian faculty and staff. The one-day event consists of sessions during which talks, posters, art pieces, and performances are presented by faculty and staff. URC members are responsible for assisting in advertising the event in their college, providing the Office of Research and Innovation with information on how to best support their colleagues in an university-wide event, encouraging their colleagues to present at the event, and volunteering and/or attending the day of the event.

Attend Meetings

Meetings are typically the third Tuesday of each month from 4:00pm - 5:00pm. If you are unable to make a meeting, please invite one of your departmental colleagues to sit-in for you during the meeting in order to contribute their knowledge and experiences so the council maintains inclusiveness and is always represented as broadly as possible. Members should review the meeting minutes prior to each meeting. Meetings will focus on varying topics around stimulating, encouraging, and supporting research across the University community. URC members should acquire a working knowledge of research- related policies by participating in meetings that present policy information, and URC members should provide feedback on policies as requested.

Disseminate Information

As a representative of your college, you should disseminate the information that is prepared and shared with you during URC meetings to your entire college; this will include a monthly email update as well as some ad hoc announcements. Each URC member is responsible for determining the best way to communicate the information to their college (this may be by providing the email/information to chairs for dissemination to their departments, to the college admin, or other way(s) you deem appropriate). As an URC representative, your name and contact information will be at the bottom of each URC email update so that colleagues can bring areas of concern or suggestions to the attention of the Vice Provost through contacting you as a liaison. URC members will be instructed on how to best submit their colleagues' comments to the URC and VP at the beginning of each academic year.

Directory of Current URC Members

Office of Research and Innovation


Karen Fletcher
URC Deputy Chair


Kate M. Hoffman
Business Officer


College of Arts and Sciences


Bob Swarthout, Ph.D.
Chemistry & Fermentation Sciences


Ellen Lamont, Ph.D.


Xiaofei Tu, Ph.D.
Languages, Literatures, and Languages


College of Business


Dennis Guignet, Ph.D.


College of Education


Jennifer McGee, Ph.D.
Leadership and Educational Studies


Chauntee Thrill, Ph.D.
Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education


College of Fine and Applied Arts


Reza Foroughi, Ph.D.
Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment


Andres Tellez, Ph.D.
Applied Design 


College of Health Sciences


Ashley Marshall, Ph.D. 
Rehabilitation Sciences


School of Music


Nicholas Cline, Ph.D.


University Library


Ashlea Green


Administrative Members


Becki Battista, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Student Research


Elaine Berry 
Director, Office of Contracts and Grants Accounting


Gabe Casale, Ph.D.
Faculty Fellow, Office of Research and Innovation


Ashley Colquitt, Ph.D. 
Dean, Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies


Ross Gosky, Ph.D. 
Interim Associate Dean, Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies


Christine Hendren, Ph.D. 
Vice Provost, Office of Research and Innovation


Charna Howson 
Director, Sponsored Programs
Office of Research and Innovation


Shanté Mathes 
Director, Research Protections
Office of Research and Innovation


Gary McCullough, Ph.D. 
Associate Dean, Research & Graduate Education
Beaver College of Health Sciences


Grace Marasco-Plummer
Interim Managing Director, Research Institute for Environment, Energy & Economics


Heather Waldroup, Ph.D
Honors College


Twila Wingrove, Ph.D. 
Director, Research Design & Analysis
Office of Research and Innovation