Faculty & Staff

Dana Steil, Ph.D.
Dean, Honors College
Associate Professor of Computer Science

Phone: 501-279-4056
Ph.D., University of Alabama

About Dr. Steil

Dana Steil is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean of the Honors College, and an Associate Professor of Computer Science.  Since 2000 he’s served Harding students and faculty, either as an administrator, data analyst, or in his favorite role:  a classroom professor.  Whether teaching, mentoring students, leading research grants, or administrating, he’s motivated by his love for the community and his confidence in their positive impact on society and the Lord’s kingdom. As Dean, Dana aims to support the college’s faculty, champion the academic programs, advocate for the liberal arts, teach at least one course per semester, and serve wherever else needed. Dr. Steil has won the University’s Teacher Achievement Award twice.

Away from work, Dana values time with his wife (Mandy) and four children (Emma, Eli, Eden, and Ezra) and enjoys woodworking, hiking, running, and other outdoor activities. The family’s experiences as foster parents and hosting their church small group continue to shape them in immeasurable ways.

James (Jim) Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean, Honors College
Professor of Communication
Ph.D., University of Tennessee

About Dr. Miller

Dr. James Miller earned a Ph.D. in communication in 2008 from the University of Tennessee, where he was named the Dr. Herbert H. Howard Fellow and taught in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. He has published and presented research at dozens of conferences across the country and received multiple awards for his scholarly work in media effects and communication law and ethics. He was a keynote speaker on crisis communication at Harvard in 2016.

Dr. Miller served as chair of the Department of Communication at Harding from 2014 to 2019.  During his tenure as chair, the department successfully completed a $100,000 fundraising campaign, grew in enrollment by 35 percent, and developed two new interdisciplinary majors. Dr. Miller received the university’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and the Teacher Achievement Award in 2012.

He is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honors society for recognition of scholarship in mass communication. He has worked as a writer and reporter for multiple news media outlets, including the Knoxville News Sentinel. Dr. Miller's role as a faculty fellow in the Honors College includes curriculum design, advising the Honors Student Council and Trustee Scholars, alumni relations, recruiting, and related assessment. Dr. Miller and his wife, Sara, have two children.

James Huff, Ph.D.
Senior Faculty Fellow, Honors College
Associate Professor of Engineering
Principal Investigator, Beyond Professional Identity Lab
Ph.D., Purdue University

About Dr. Huff

Dr. James Huff is an Associate Professor of Engineering at Harding University and teaches courses in identity and design thinking. In the context of his research lab Beyond Professional Identity (BPI), Dr. Huff has mentored undergraduate students, doctoral students, and academic professionals from more than 10 academic disciplines in using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) as a qualitative research method to examine identity in a variety of contexts. He has served as a principal investigator of a National Science Foundation grant to examine how engineering students experience shame during their pre-professional education and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, many of which he has presented at national or international conferences. Dr. Huff received his Ph.D. in Engineering Education and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University. He also received his B.S. in Computer Engineering as an Honors Graduate with Distinction from Harding University.

Russell L. Keck, Ph.D.
Faculty Fellow, Honors College

Phone: 501-279-4613
Ph.D., Purdue University

About Dr. Keck

Dr. Keck is an Associate Professor of English and an Honors College Faculty Fellow, specializing in the literatures and cultures of the early modern world (c. 1400-1800). His scholarly interests center on the English Renaissance, Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama, Arthurian Literature, the Golden Age of Piracy, and the History of the Book. He regularly teaches first and second-year composition along with a wide array of literature courses, including World Literature, British Literature, Early Modern Literature, and Shakespeare. He also teaches two courses with an industry focus: Introduction to Publishing and Writing Game Narrative. Since 2018, he has directed the internship for Shapes and Names, Harding's annual literary journal. For the Honors College, Dr. Keck teaches Honors 2010: Communication and Critical Thinking, chairs the Harding Undergraduate Research Conference Committee, and serves as the National and International Fellowships Advisor.

Jamie Murphy, Ph.D
Faculty Fellow, Honors College
Assistant Professor Bioinorganic Chemistry
Ph.D., Clemson University

About Dr. Murphy

Dr. Murphy has a diverse background in education, industry, and service. After completing her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of South Carolina – Aiken, Dr. Murphy worked as a process control scientist at the Savannah River Site in the Aiken, South Carolina area.

Dr. Murphy’s education career began during her family’s time in American Samoa. She taught high school science and math at Pacific Horizons School in Tafuna, AS. When her family returned stateside, she continued her teaching career in Greenville, SC. She completed her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry in 2018 from Clemson University. Dr. Murphy has been at Harding University since then, teaching a wide range of classes including Inorganic Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, College Chemistry, and HNRS The Physical World.

Dr. Murphy’s research has focused on the synthesis and characterization of inorganic metal complexes with biological implications. She has recently begun a collaborative water quality project, analyzing local water systems for water contaminants including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and PFAS. She has worked with Honors students on Honors Thesis projects related to her research and is now serving as an Honors Faculty Fellow.

Anessa Westbrook, D.Min
Faculty Fellow, Honors College
Associate Professor of Bible
D.Min, Fuller Theological Seminary

Nathaniel Wiewora, Ph.D.
Faculty Fellow, Honors College
Associate Professor of History
Ph.D., University of Delaware

About Dr. Wiewora

Nathaniel Wiewora is a historian of early American history. He specializes in the study of American religious history and culture, with interests in the histories of evangelicalism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and religious intolerance. He received a PhD in American History from the University of Delaware.

Kristina Chance, B.A.
Program Coordinator, Honors College

Office: Honors College
Phone: 501-279-4056
B.A., York College

About Mrs. Chance

Kristina has been a member of the Honors College staff since 2018 and serves as the Honors College Program Coodinator.  She manages the day-to-day functioning of the Honors College as well as the Honors Symposium enrollment process and facilitation of Honors College student activities.

Mrs. Chance has a degree in Oral Communication Theory and is currently pursuing a M.A in Education with licensure. Married to Jared, they have two school-age children, and are active members of Westside Church of Christ.

Faculty Assisting from Other Departments

Scott Adair, D.Min.

Professor of Bible and Ministry 

Kristi Bond, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor of Spanish 

Heath Carpenter, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

Patrick Garner, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication

Larry Hunt, Ph.D. 

Professor of English 


Jesse Robertson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Bible and Ministry

Mac Sandlin, Th.D.

Associate Professor of Bible and Ministry   

National Science Foundation Career Award

Contact Us

Honors College


Fax: 501-279-4016

Mailing address:
Harding University
Honors College
HU 10782
Searcy, AR 72149-5615

Office hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (closed for the noon lunch hour)