BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College welcomes six new full-time faculty members to campus in time for the fall semester.

The new professors are:

  • Olga Blackledge joins Bethany as an assistant professor of communications and media arts. She has a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in cultural studies (gender studies) from European Humanities University in Belarus, and degrees in linguistics and English language and literature from Kharkiv National University in Ukraine. She has taught at the University of Pittsburgh and universities in Lithuania and Ukraine.
  • Chelsey Fletcher is an assistant professor of exercise science. She has a Ph.D. in instructional management and leadership from Robert Morris University, an M.A. in secondary education and reading from West Virginia University, and a B.A. in business and psychology from Muskingum College. She has taught English and social studies, served as athletic director, and coached volleyball, basketball and softball at Toronto City Schools. She also serves as volleyball commissioner for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.
  • Gary Hypes is an associate professor of business and accounting. He has a J.D. from West Virginia College of Law, an MBA from Phoenix University, and a B.S. in accounting from West Liberty State College. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner. He was most recently an associate professor of accounting at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa.
  • Kimberly Jo Lawless is an assistant professor of social work. She has an MSW and an M.A. in English from West Virginia University and a B.A. in English from Wittenberg University. A licensed graduate social worker, Lawless has been a vocational counselor at West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services, a therapist at Wellspring Family Services, and an adjunct instructor at Bethany College.
  • Michael Duncan Overton is a visiting professor of psychology. He has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in educational psychology and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. He was a visiting assistant professor in psychology at Wells College in Aurora, N.Y. He also taught qualitative research, judo and jujitsu at Tennessee.
  • Prem Raj Prasain is an assistant professor of mathematics. He has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Mathematics from Kansas State University and an M.A. in mathematics and a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. He was a graduate teaching assistant and a graduate research assistant at Kansas State, where he also co-founded the Directed Reading Program at the Department of Mathematics.

Bethany begins its fall semester on Aug. 17.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.