Dr. Charles “Al” Pilant
Dr. Charles “Al” Pilant, a member of the University of the Cumberlands’ faculty since 1987, attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, earning a B.S. in History in 1978, followed by an M.A. in History in 1980. For his doctoral studies, he moved on to Marquette University, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in History in 1989.
Since coming to UC, Dr. Pilant has frequently been recognized for outstanding achievement in teaching and in community service. He has received the William T. Miles Memorial Award for Community Service and has been named Honored Professor by the Student Government Association, for which he serves as faculty advisor. In 1996, 1999 and 2004 , alumni selected him to receive the J.B. Fuqua Excellence in Teaching Award. He has also been selected to appear in Who’s Who of American Teachers in 1993, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005. Dr. Pilant is also faculty advisor of UC’s Academic Team which is a member of the Kentucky Quick Recall League and competes numerous times each semester.
Dr. Pilant is a member of the Organization of American Historians. His principal area of interest is American social and intellectual history to 1840.
Dr. Michael Dickman
Dr. Michael Dickman earned a B.S. in General Studies at Southeast Missouri State University in 1982, followed by an M.A. in Speech Communication at Wichita State University in 1985. He joined the faculty of Cumberland College in 1993 and, while teaching full time and directing the Forensics Team, he began work on a doctorate in Philosophy of Communication at Southern Illinois University, successfully defending his thesis in 1997.
Dr. Dickman has been honored with awards for his work with students in competitive debate. In 1988, he was named Top Debate Coach at Duke University, and in 1996 he was recognized as Top Debate Critic at a tournament at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He has served as Vice President for the Kentucky Forensics Association and is presently a member of the National Communication Association.
Dr. Gina Herring
Honored by Billboard Magazine as one of the most dedicated and long time listeners to the top forty play-list, UC’s own Gina Herring (Dr. Diva) got her start in the music business singing along with the heroes of rock in front of her bedroom mirror and performing regularly at preteen sleep-overs and birthday parties. But it was her attention to the musical nuances and showbiz strategies of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand that gave her a critical edge in the competitive music industry. Although briefly captivated by gimicky acts like “The Monkees” and “The Partridge Family,” Herring recognized early the power of danceable music, slick choreography, gold lame, big hair, and sex appeal. Her rendition of Diana Ross’s “You Keep Me Hanging On” won her first place in her high school talent show, only the first big moment in a career that led to a weekly gig as female singer for “Desperate Measures,” a graduate English Department cover band. “She’s a really cool teacher, although a rabid feminist” said a local reviewer, “but I find her cover of “I’m Every Woman” truly inspirational.” Although she misses performing (especially the groupies), Herring claims that her true gift is in discovering and nurturing talent, along with crushing the dreams of those who “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” or “try to shift the spotlight from me.” And she’s conversant in all musical styles, having followed the tabloid scandals of everyone from Janis Joplin to Amy Winehouse. Since her taste tends to outsized musical personalities like Elvis, Aretha, and Dolly Parton, Herring is all about artifice, illusion, and performance. But “soul,” she says, “can’t be faked.” Herring may have given up her turntable and 45s for the sophistication of YouTube, but “it’s still her party.” She can make you or break you, so if you want to see yourself on the cover of The Patriot, sing your song for UC’s “diva professor.”
Coach Melissa Irvin
Coach Melissa Irvin came to Cumberlands after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Rio Grande. Coach Irvin earned her degree from Cumberlands in 1994 in Business Administration and Secondary Education and has also completed her Masters of Education degree from Cumberlands as well. She recently was inducted into the University of the Cumberlands Phi Beta Lambda Hall of Fame.
While attending Cumberlands, she was a four-year letterman for the Patriots. Coach Irvin’s list of accolades includes Cumberlands career records in assists (734 in 124 games) and 3 point shooting percentage (.375 or 153/408) and three years as captain at Cumberlands. Irvin is a member of the Cumberlands 1000 Point Club, the 9th All-Time leading scorer and was a member of the Mid-South All Region Team and KIAC All- Conference Team. In recognition of her outstanding athletic achievements, Cumberlands recognized Irvin by inducting her into the 2007 Athletic Hall of Fame.
Since her debut in 1997 at Cumberlands, Irvin has led the Patriots to eleven 20 win seasons and ten National Tournament appearances. In addition, her teams have been ranked among the top ten in the nation. In fourteen years, Coach Irvin has coached 25 Mid-South Conference All-Conference recipients, 18 Mid-South Conference Honorable Mention honorees, 35 Mid-South Conference Academic All-Conference students, 1 Mid-South Conference Freshmen of the Year, 8 WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, 13 NAIA Academic All-Americans, 3 NAIA All-American, 1 NAIA All-Tournament Team member, 1 Second Team NAIA All-American, 4 Third Team NAIA All-Americans, and 8 NAIA Honorable Mention All-Americans.