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‘Chance meeting’ brings Dr. Heather Kelly to EU’s Behavioral Sciences Department

January 21, 2015 | Michaela Smith

Is there any such thing as a chance meeting?

Ask Dr. Heather Kelly. After teaching eight years on the California coast, and seven more in sunny Florida, she moved to Springfield last summer to teach psychology at Evangel University.

Kelly first visited the EU campus several years ago for a professional conference, but it was a “chance meeting” last April at another event in Atlanta that started the conversation and ended with a move.

According to Kelly, it was “the wonderful faculty in the behavioral sciences department,” that first attracted her to Evangel, and it was the opportunity to serve under the leadership of President Carol Taylor that sealed the deal.

“She is a woman of God, highly qualified in higher education, and a rare type of leader,” says Kelly. “I could not imagine a better place to invest the second half of my career.”

Donna Washburn, Behavioral Sciences department chair, was at that event in Atlanta specifically to look for a new Evangel faculty member. While they may joke about a chance meeting with Dr. Kelly, she has no doubt that the Lord was directing her search. Washburn knew immediately that Kelly was going to contribute positively to the department.

“Heather’s passion for student learning and desire to spark interest in psychological research brings a unique and added value to the department,” Washburn says.

Washburn also says that Kelly brings crucial experience to the courses she teaches.

“Dr. Kelly’s teaching experience spans over a decade, and her commitment to Christian higher education is foundational to all she brings to the table,” says Washburn. “We have confidence in her ability to assist students towards publications and professional presentations.”

Despite her experience, Kelly’s workload the first semester at EU was exhaustive, but she said that she was thankful for her resources the university provides.

“I have really enjoyed the beautiful facilities at Evangel, from classrooms, to technology resources, to our lovely office facilities. I really appreciate the quality of spaces and resources.”

Kelly also was thankful for the students who helped and encouraged her throughout her fall semester.

“I love teaching, learning new things, and seeing the students grow,” Kelly says. “The students are what make my job the best in the world.”