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Cedarville professor Dr. Mark Caleb Smith on a television newscast.

New Department Chairs Named

by Ryan Bower

Cedarville University has named three new department chairs who are set to begin their duties on July 1, 2016. 

Mark Caleb Smith, Ph.D., professor of political science and director of the Center for Political Studies, has been named chair of Cedarville University’s Department of History and Government. Smith replaces Tom Mach, Ph.D., professor of history, who was recently appointed assistant vice president for academics.

Derrick Green and Dr. Melissa Faulkner have been named chairs of the Communication and English departments, respectively. Both served in an interim capacity during the 2016-17 academic year. 


Smith begins his new duties July 1, 2016, for the start of the 2016-17 academic year. He will continue teaching and serving as the director of the Center for Political Studies. 

“This is certainly going to be challenging, but I’m really looking forward to building upon the great foundation we have in the department,” said Smith. “Dr. Mach, along with other past chairs such as Murray Murdoch and David Rich, has done a fantastic job building our program.”

As the new chair of history and government, Smith will be responsible for the overall direction of the department, including student engagement and internal program reviews.

“We’re definitely going to put an increased focus on our digital media efforts,” said Smith. “We’ll do that through blogs, podcasts, videos and other avenues. It’s important to engage students where they are and the digital realm is the best way to reach them.”

Smith also hopes to increase stand-alone experiences for students outside the classroom, such as study-abroad opportunities. The new programs will complement Cedarville’s current D.C. Semester program.

"It's very important to give our students unique, off-campus opportunities that will help them become even more competitive as they enter the job market or seek post-graduate education,” said Smith.

Smith has been at Cedarville since 2004, and is a highly sought-after political commentator. During the 2015-16 academic year, he’s appeared in more than 140 interviews around the country on topics such as the presidential election and the Supreme Court.

As chair of the department of Communication, Green desires increased collaboration with leaders from various departments and programs throughout the university. He believes enhanced communication will lead toward an increased effectiveness for his students, and the university in general. 

“It’s not just our goal to train students to be excellent communicators, but to help the campus community, as a whole, achieve its communication goals,” said Green. “My hope is to position the department in a way that we are able to assist anyone on campus in the areas of public speaking, digital communication, social media or any other need they may have in the area of communication.”

Like Green’s vision for his department, Faulkner hopes to expand the influence of the department of English, literature and modern languages. Faulkner wants to bring more attention to the humanities and continue promoting excellent writing skills.

“It’s my goal to bring more speakers to campus to really engage our students and the campus community on the humanities,” she said. “We also want to continue to find more ways to promote good, college-level writing and be able to work with all areas of campus to create an environment where good writing thrives.”

Both Green and Faulkner also see opportunities to increase engagement with prospective students through social media and other avenues. 

The department of English, literature and modern languages currently produces an annual anthology of undergraduate writing, which it gives to prospective students during campus visits and CU Friday events.

“The anthology is a great way to highlight our department to prospective students, but I also want us to expand our efforts to recruit students at off-campus events,” said Faulkner. “I’d like to get our faculty more involved in actively recruiting students through visits to area schools.”

The department of Communication currently provides all prospective students and their families with department T-shirts on their visits, something that’s proven to be a big hit.

“We like to joke that everyone loves a free shirt, but it’s really a valuable recruiting tool,” said Green. “It provides something tangible to prospective students and when someone sees them in one of the shirts, it’s free advertising for us.”

Both Green and Faulkner are also planning to increase the use of social media in their respective departments by promoting academic programs, campus visit days and other special events to increase interaction with prospective students and the surrounding community.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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