Faculty & Staff

All bios are sorted alphabetically.


Phyllis Hildreth

Associate Professor

Phyllis Hildreth joined the Institute for Conflict Management in May 2010 and now serves as Academic Director and Adjunct Professor, as well as Adjunct Professor for Lipscomb’s Institute for Law, Justice & Society. Her experience includes serving as a Chief Counsel in the Office of the Public Defender for the...

Contact via email
615.966.5695 (ext. 5695)

Steve Joiner

Dean, College of Leadership and Public Service
Director, Institute for Conflict Management

Steve Joiner is the Dean of the College of Leadership & Public Service and also Managing Director of the Institute for Conflict Management. He is a professor in areas of systems design, negotiation, conflict in religious settings, and leadership. Joiner has extensive experience conducting management and staff trainings, courses, and...

Contact via email
615.966.7141 (ext. 7141)

John Lowry

Vice President for Development and External Affairs
Associate Professor

John Lowry is senior vice president for advancement. As such, he oversees the university’s fundraising activity as well as alumni, community and governmental relations. Lowry is also the founder of Spark, Lipscomb’s technology-rich, off-campus learning and community/corporate executive education facilities downtown and in Cool Springs. Lowry has a Juris Doctorate...

Contact via email
615.966.5687 (ext. 5687)

Nancy Magnusson Durham

Professor of Psychology, Counseling and Family Science

Nancy Magnusson Durham, a clinical psychologist, began her career at Pepperdine as an assistant professor. Magnusson has more than 35 years of experience in higher education and in helping students be prepared for their tomorrows. Before bringing her expertise to Lipscomb, Magnusson was senior vice president for planning, information and...

Contact via email
615.966.5343 (ext. 5343)

Matt Milligan

Academic Director, Institute for Conflict Management
Assistant Professor of Conflict Management

Contact via email
615.966.2502 (ext. 2502)

Jim Thomas

Executive Assistant to the President

Thomas serves as the Executive Assistant to the President of Lipscomb University. In addition, he teaches in the Graduate Education and Communication programs at Lipscomb University. He has also served as Instructor in Speech, Director of Advance, Director of University 1101, Director of Student Retention, Assistant Registrar, Registrar, Dean of...

Contact via email
615.966.5828 (ext. 5828)


placeholder for Sherrie Guenther

Program Manager

Contact via email
615.966.7140 (ext. 7140)

Randy Lowry


Connecting the university to the Nashville community is a hallmark of Dr. L. Randolph Lowry’s presidency at Lipscomb University. He views the city of Nashville as the university’s campus and the world as its classroom. Not long after his arrival on the Lipscomb campus in September 2005, Dr. Lowry proposed...

Contact via email
615.966.1787 (ext. 1787)

placeholder for Sara Oeser

Director of ICM Events, Partnerships, Alumni and Rule 31

Contact via email
615.966.5085 (ext. 5085)

Adjunct Faculty

Tracy Allen

Tracy Allen is an international professional mediator, arbitrator and ADR trainer. As a litigator and business tax attorney for many years, she now specializes in conflict resolution and ADR. Allen acts as a neutral service provider in other ADR areas such as early neutral evaluation, summary jury trials, special master,...

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Larry Bridgesmith

Larry Bridgesmith serves as a Senior Fellow and associate professor at the Institute for Conflict Management at Lipscomb University. He is the President of Creative Collaborations LLC a consulting and training organization. He is also Of counsel with Miller & Martin, PLLC. In these roles, Bridgesmith brings over 30 years...

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Beth Morrow

Contact via email
615.966.2502 (ext. 2502)

placeholder for Leigh Ann Roberts

Contact via email
615.966.7140 (ext. 7140)

Additional Adjunct Faculty

Steve GroomSteve Groom
Adjunct Professor  

Steve Groom serves on the adjunct faculty of Lipscomb University’s MBA program, teaching corporate governance and the legal and regulatory environment of business. Groom, a Nashville attorney, has joined Neal & Harwell, one of the premier litigation firms in the U.S. 

Groom served for 27 years in executive leadership and general counsel roles with two large public companies, as well as spending a decade in private law practice. 

Groom was formerly executive vice president and general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America (now CoreCivic), and prior thereto served as senior vice president and general counsel for SunTrust Bank. Prior to joining Neal & Harwell, Groom served in dual roles with Butler Snow LLP as Of Counsel with the Firm and as Principal in the Nashville office of Butler Snow Advisory Services.

Groom is also a Rule 31 Mediator approved by the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and provides training and counsel in the areas of negotiation, mediation and conflict management. He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the Risk Management Association, the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators, the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, the Association for Conflict Resolution, the Bank Lawyer's Committee of the Tennessee Bankers Association, the Nashville Bar Association, and the Tennessee Bar Association.

Groom received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Memphis, where he was a member of the Law Review, and a bachelor of arts degree from Lipscomb University. Additionally, he has completed extensive executive education programs from Harvard University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. 

He is on the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society and is also a and board member of Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management. He also works with Men of Valor prison ministry, providing conflict management training to inmates and men who were formerly incarcerated.