Dr. Cynthia Harper is the Dean of the College of Education and Professional
Studies at Jacksonville State University. She earned her doctorate from the
University of Alabama with a major in Special Education.
As an educator for the past 35 years, Cynthia takes her work very seriously
and often takes it home with her. A significant component of her professional
effort is to promote programs offered through the College of Education and
Professional Studies at JSU and to educate and inspire as many students as
possible. Cynthia’s teaching field expertise is in Special Education.
Cynthia began her teaching career as a special education teacher in the
Madison County Schools, near Huntsville, at Farmer’s Capital Junior High School.
Later she taught in the Gadsden City School System as an Itinerant Teacher
serving children experiencing Emotional Conflict.
In 1975 Cynthia joined the faculty in the College of Education at JSU to
coordinate Project Outreach, a federally funded project that provided in-service
education for special education teachers employed in the public schools located
in the JSU service area. She later became a faculty member in the Department of
In 1989 Cynthia was appointed Department Head for the Department of
Curriculum and Instruction. After serving as Department Head for 10 years,
Cynthia was selected as the Associate Dean for the College. Following a national
search in 2003, she was named Dean of College and Professional Studies at JSU.
Outside the office Cynthia enjoys spending time with her husband of 36 years,
Randy Harper. Randy is employed at JSU as the Vice President for Information
Technology. They have one daughter, Julie Harper Houck. Julie is married to
Randy Houck and works as the school nurse for the Piedmont School System. Randy
is a civil engineer at Anniston Army Depot. They live next door to Cynthia and
Randy in White Plains.
Cynthia’s hobbies include collecting crystal, china, Rowe Pottery, and
antiques. In addition to various collections, she enjoys reading professional
journals related to teacher education. For spiritual reading she enjoys
inspirational books written by Beth Moore and Kay Arthur.
Cynthia was born in Etowah County and grew up in Piedmont. She graduated from
Piedmont High School where she was a cheerleader. Her parents are the late Odom
A. and Willie Jane Hulsey. Her mother and father-in-law are the late Hubert and
Evelyn Harper of White Plains.
The Harpers are members of First Baptist Church of Piedmont where Cynthia has
taught the Faith Ladies Sunday School Class for the past year. Prior to that,
she taught in the church’s Children’s Department for 28 years.
“Teaching children in Sunday School involves pulling together many fun
activities so that they are actively involved during the Sunday School hour,”
said Cynthia. “Teaching adults, however, is totally different and involves much
more in-depth study. I have thoroughly enjoyed my new Sunday School Class. The
ladies who attend are my friends, many of whom I knew as a child and young
Cynthia’s undergraduate degree at JSU was in Family and Consumer Science
where she learned a lot about foods and nutrition. Even before that though,
Cynthia enjoyed cooking, thanks to her mother and mother-in-law.
Cynthia shares some of her favorite recipes
FESTIVE CHEESE BALL
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
pkg. shredded cheddar cheese
½ - 1 whole chopped onion
½ - 1 whole chopped
green bell pepper
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ small jar pimento
and pepper to taste
Pecan pieces or almond pieces
In a large mixing bowl,
combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, onion, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce,
and pimento. Mix well. Shape the mixture into a ball and cover with pecan
pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
1 small can tomato sauce
½ to 1 cup
crushed saltine crackers
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell
¼ t. salt
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 T. brown sugar
In a bowl, beat the egg. Add tomato sauce,
cracker crumbs, onion, salt, and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Shape into a loaf and place in a shallow baking dish. Combine the ketchup and
brown sugar; spoon over meat loaf. Bake at 350-400 degrees for 45 minutes or
until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees; drain.
GRANNIE’S PECAN PIE
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white Karo
1/3 t. salt
1/3 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup pecans
(or more if desired)
Combine sugar, salt, syrup, butter, and vanilla. Add
beaten eggs. Pour into pie crust shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Cook at 350
degrees F for 45 minutes.
EVELYN’S SWEET POTATO PIE
1 lb. sweet potatoes (can be fresh cooked
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Mash sweet potatoes in a mixing
bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg,
cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling
into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees 55-60 minute, or until knife
inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a soufflé, and then
will sink down as it cools. Top with Cool Whip if desired.
REBECCA’S TASTY POTATOES
5 lbs. potatoes
1 to 2 packets of dry
Ranch Dressing Mix
Salt and pepper
Olive oil spray
Peel potatoes. Pour
Dry Ranch Dressing Mix in large zip-lock bag. Add potatoes. Shake well to
thoroughly coat potatoes. Spray baking dish with spray olive oil. Pour potatoes
into baking dish and bake about 30 minutes or until tender at 400 degrees.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com