New faculty, staff join the College of Education in 2013

Counseling and Higher Education

Mark Fincher

Mark Fincher, Visiting Lecturer, Higher Education

Fincher's professional background includes being an entrepreneur, a researcher and professor of business administration, the chief executive of a university satellite campus, an executive dean position at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Texas, and most recently as an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Graduate Program Coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Doctoral Program Director at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

His research record includes publications in Academic Leadership, Competitiveness Review, The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Journal of Research in Education, and The Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

Current research interests include Higher Education Finance, Working Adult Education, Higher Education Strategy, Retention Strategy and Planning, Economic Development, Learning Acceleration and Community College Leadership.

Sue Young

Sue Young, Administrative Coordinator II, Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education

Sue is returning to UNT where she previously worked for the Faculty Senate for two years and the North Texas Community College Consortium for five years. During her time at UNT, Sue served as the Secretary for Staff Council and was awarded the UNT Staff Excellence Award. Prior to UNT, Sue worked at Texas Christian University in the School of Business and the University Development Office.

Sue brings to the position valuable university work experience, a love for UNT, and a familiarity and deep appreciation for area community college faculty and administrators.

Educational Psychology


Rania Salman, Recruiter and Undergraduate Program Advisor, Educational Psychology

Rania Salman currently serves as the Department of Educational Psychology's Recruiter and Undergraduate Program Advisor. She works with prospective and current undergraduate students on matters related to admissions, advising, and scheduling, and coordinates recruitment events for prospective students in Educational Psychology. She is also actively involved in recruitment and professional development for two campus organizations, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and LIFE, Leaders in Family Education.

After graduating from Baylor University with a B.S. in Education, Rania taught elementary school in Houston before beginning her graduate studies at UNT. Rania was a Lead Teacher in the university's Child Development Laboratory for 2 years and recently taught undergraduate EC-6 courses for the Department of Teacher Education and Administration. She received her M.S. Degree from UNT in Human Development and Family Studies and will graduate later this year with her Ed.D. in Early Childhood Studies. Her dissertation is entitled, "The Misrepresentation of the Middle East and Its People in Elementary School Social Studies Textbooks: A Postcolonial Analysis." In addition to her passion for diversity in education, her research interests include bullying and its impact on student's social competence and the role of media on children's gender and sexuality development.

Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation

Cherilyn Cox

Cherilyn Cox, Lecturer

Cherilyn Cox earned her MA in Education with a concentration in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a graduate certificate in Public Health from The University of Texas School of Public Health. She has worked in various aspects of the fitness industry for the past 15 years and has taught kinesiology and health courses at UTSA and various community colleges in San Antonio. Most recently she earned tenure at Northeast Lakeview College where she also served as Assistant Chair of the Kinesiology Department. She has completed 2 half-marathons and enjoys yoga, reading, and sewing.


Jennifer Edwards

Jennifer Edwards, Lecturer

Jennifer Edwards has a background in community health, specifically concerning chronic disease and women.  She believes in access to healthcare for all populations through community advocacy, partnerships, and systems.  Jennifer has worked at the federal, state, and local levels to improve the health of communities.  She has also served as a healthcare consultant with national non-profit organizations on program evaluation and planning projects as well.  Jennifer looks forward to engaging students in practical approaches to community health improvement based on these experiences.  She is a trained dancer and enjoys yoga to stay healthy and well.  Jennifer earned a PhD specializing in Health Communication and a Certificate in International Studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C.  She has an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in Chemistry/Pre-Health from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Xiangli Gu, Assistant Professor

Dr. Gu earned her PhD in Kinesiology at Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2011 with a concentration in Sport Pedagogy and Psychological Sciences. Previous to her experiences at LSU, Dr. Gu was a full-time lecturer and coach at Shanghai Business College where she led her women's aerobics dance team to win several championships. Dr. Gu's research interests include students motivation in physical activity and psychosocial well-being. She has made numerous research presentations at international and national conferences, and published articles in numerous physical education and psychology journals in U.S. Dr. Gu has been a reviewer for Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, and International Journal of Sport Psychology, American Educational Research Association (AERA) and AAHPERD conference abstracts, and 2008 International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport conference abstracts. Armed with the dedication and zeal, she hopes to be exemplary educator and researcher focusing on promoting individuals' physical activity and health.

Whitney Moore

Whitney Moore, Assistant Professor

Dr. Whitney Moore's primary interest is in helping coaches and teachers maximize their positive motivational impact with youth, so youth participate and enjoy physical activity more. Her research is centered on the principles of Nicholls' Achievement Goal Perspective Theory and Deci & Ryan's Self-Determination Theory. Dr. Moore was advised by Dr. Mary Fry while completing her Health and Psychological Aspects of Physical Activity at the University of Kansas.  Before starting her PhD, Whitney owned and operated the start-up MOORE TRAINING, which primarily brought collegiate level athleticism training to youth and adolescent athletes in Tucson, Arizona.



John Bellon, Academic Advisor, Student Advising Office

Bellon is a native Louisianan and moved to Texas to pursue his bachelor's degree in 2003. In 2009, he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology from Dallas Baptist University. At DBU, he worked as a work-study employee for the first three years and then full-time staff for the next three years. These years of work proved formative to his career and his desire to purse work in higher education. After nearly two years of other endeavors, he became a member of the UNT community in 2011 as he started his master's degree and began working as the graduate assistant for the Greater Texas Foundation Scholars Program. In May 2013, Bellon received a Master of Education in Higher Education and joined the College of Education as an Academic Advisor.


Jill Denniston

Jill Denniston, Teacher Certification & Undergraduate Graduation Coordinator

Jill was born and raised in Illinois and transferred to UNT from a community college near her hometown. She graduated from UNT with a Bachelor's degree in 2010 and started working for the university soon thereafter. She has enjoyed working with the students, faculty, and staff at UNT as well as the campus atmosphere. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends.


Kimberly Howell, Administrative Specialist, TExES Advising Office

Kimberly was born in Dallas and grew up in Argyle, TX. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas. During her time at UTD, she worked as a Peer Adviser where she realized that she truly loves working within the college environment.  She also spent time working at TWU before coming to UNT in August 2012.  In her spare time, she enjoys being outside and active, as well as spending time with family and friends.  She and her husband have an orange tabby cat named Turtle.

Katie Johnston

Katie Johnston, Academic Advisor, Student Advising Office


Jessica Powell

Jessica H. Powell, TExES Advisor, TExES Advising Office

Ms. Jessica Powell is the TExES Advisor for the College of Education at the University of North Texas, Denton. She received her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Tarleton State University in 2009.  Moving to Denton County upon the completion of her degree, Jessica spent time employed with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters before coming to UNT in 2011 as a Testing Specialist with Counseling and Testing Services. Jessica later joined the College of Education and currently serves as the testing advisor for Teacher Education candidates.  Jessica lives in Lewisville with her beau, Adam.  Together, they have two dogs, Davros and Luigi, and a hedgehog named Thibbledorf Pwent.  Jessica's hobbies include writing and gaming. Her biggest ambitions in life are to pursue her Doctorate degree and publish a novel.