Honors Program Faculty | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Honors Program Faculty


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Sabrina Chesne received her B.A. from the University of Southern California. During her enrollment, she excelled at poetry writing, and was inspired to go to the University of Arkansas to obtain an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.P.A. (Public Administration). She currently directs the NWACC Honors Program and teaches English.

 

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In addition to being a music teacher, Dr. Steve Cooper is a composer and playwright. His doctorate is in composition and theory from the University of North Texas and he currently serves as Chair of the Department of Performing Arts at NWACC.

He has published two books: Six Months Walking the Wilds of Western Europe, and Santiago, Canterburt, Rome: Lessons from the Trails.  Musical compositions include seven musical theatre works, a chamber opera, art songs, and numerous choral works. 

 

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Ashleigh Davis completed a B.A. in English in 2003 and an M.A. in Composition & Rhetoric with emphasis in linguistics and discourse analysis in 2006. She has been teaching composition since 2004. She enjoys teaching writing classes that focus on language and social constructivism (socially constructed meaning).

 

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Jennifer Wheetley Cook received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a M.A. in English Literature from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She has been teaching at NWACC since 2004.

Professor Cook teaches primarily through discussion because she wants her students to form their own theories about the meaning of literature. Her favorite literature is southern, and enjoys philosophy, history, and forensic science. 

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Janet Dodd teaches General Sociology, Social Problems, and Sociology of Families, and gets excited about anything related to social (in)justice.

One of her favorite academic activities is facilitating and participating in intergroup dialogues where a diverse group of people (students, colleagues, and/or community workers) build understanding around social identity, such as race, gender, or religion.

 

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Ashley Edwards has a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Playwriting from the University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Louisiana Tech University.

She is an NWACC theatre coordinator and a professor, as well as the faculty advisor for the Associate of Fine Arts in Theatre. She works professionally as a playwright and a director, as well as a programmer for Bentonville Film Festival since 2015. Her work has been produced nationally and regionally. 

 

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Bethany Fitzpatrick has a M.A. in English from the University of Arkansas. While there, she studied creative writing as an undergraduate, and ecofeminism and 20th century Native American women writers as a graduate student. She's been teaching in NWACC's English department since 2009.

Professor Fitzpatrick loves to help her students make connections between what they learn in college and what they do in the real world. She is passionate about reading, writing, and teaching about social justice issues through the study of literature.

 

 

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Dr. Matthew Evans holds a M.A. from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in political science, and graduate certificates in Ethnic Studies and Women & Gender Studies from NAU.

He teaches the science of politics – or how to systematically examine power struggles between the collective notions of the good in our lives and the lives of others – as it applies to American government, international relations, and local government. Dr. Evans has taught political science at the University of Louisville, Kentucky State University, and Northern Arizona University.

 

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Dr. Sevin Gallo has a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East/World history from the University of Akron. Her research focuses on gender, nationalism, popular culture, and state-formation in the Kurdish regions---particularly Turkey. She studied electronic media and journalism at the University of Cincinnati as an undergraduate. She transferred to Kent State University, and earned a B.A. and M.A. in European history.

Dr. Gallo teaches world history through the lens of food. Her classes take place at NWACC's culinary school, Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food. In addition to teaching world history, Sevin works as the Global Studies degree coordinator and leads a study abroad program in Greece.

 

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Dr. Thomas Herrnstein received a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a M.A. at Northern Illinois University. He then earned his Ph.D. at the University of Utah. At Utah, he developed his interests in Ethics and Chinese Philosophy.

Dr. Herrnstein took a one-year position in Minnesota in 2011, and then started at NWACC in 2012, graduating with his Doctorate in Philosophy from Utah in 2013. His current research interests are analyzing business and medical issues using virtue ethics, and meta-ethical theory.

 


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Dr. Chris Huggard earned a B.S.Ed. in 1984, a M.A. in History in 1987 at the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in History in 1994 at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Huggard likes to challenge students to think critically, and hopes that students feel empowered through developing their analytical skills and their service learning projects.

He has also published two books: Forests under Fire: A Century of Ecosystem Mismanagement in the Southwest, and Santa Rita del Cobre: A Copper Mining Community in New Mexico.

 

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Dr. Lindsay Hutton received her M.A. in fiction writing from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She received her Ph.D. in nonfiction writing from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. 

Dr. Hutton looks for the following in her classes: creative risk, honest failure, and learning. She enjoys collaborating with students to improve their writing. 

 

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Long ago, Jeff Jackson turned his back on a lucrative career doing cartoon voiceovers but has never regretted his decision to become a professor and teach English courses at NWACC. 

 


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Jaqueline Jones received an A.A. from Kingwood Community College, a B.A. from the University of Arkansas, and a M.A. from the University of Arkansas. She has been teaching since 2003, and enjoys the thrill and challenges of making composition exciting and relevant for students.

 

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Cindy King teaches Humanities and Languages and earned her M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas. Since 1992, Cindy has lived in Arkansas and has made her living as a teacher. She has taught writing and literature, but now teaches French and humanities. 

 

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Doug Krueger has a B.A. in Philosophy from Grinnell College, a M.A. in Philosophy from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Arkansas.

Although he specialized in the philosophy of language, he has a long history of studying world religions and has taught NWACC's World Religions class since 1998. His enthusiasm for the subject matter makes his World Religions class interesting, educational, and challenging.

 

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Jim Laughton holds a B.S. in Political Science and a M.A. in English from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In the doctoral program at the University of Arkansas, his principal research areas were literary theory, modern Irish and British literature, Irish-American literature, and post-colonial literature.

He has been a faculty member in the NWACC English department since 1999 and teaches composition and literature courses.

Professor Laughton works to create a student-oriented learning environment where students feel comfortable and encouraged, yet responsible for their own learning, and where instruction is tailored to the individual student.

 

 

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Megan Looney holds a B.A. in English with a journalism concentration and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a fiction emphasis. She is a full-time faculty member in NWACC's English department. 

Professor Looney's composition and literature classes are designed to help students sharpen their communication skills, expand their understanding of the world, and learn to better relay their passions and ideas to others.

 

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Don Merrell has a doctorate in Philosophy with research interests in philosophy of mind and ethics. He has been on NWACC's Social Sciences faculty since 2010 and regularly teaches Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Ethics, and Critical Thinking.

 

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Dianne Phillips has advanced degrees in Physics and Geology. Her professional expertise is in the areas of petroleum and economic geology (mining), with specializations in igneous and metamorphic petrology, field mapping techniques, structural geology and geophysical, structural and petrological methods for characterizing oil and gas reservoirs.

Professor Phillips has taught at NWACC for 10 years and has over 20 years of experience in teaching in a broad variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines and courses. 


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Dr. Deirdre Slavik has a doctorate in experimental psychology with research interests in social cognition and motivational theory. She has been a member of the NWACC Behavioral Sciences faculty since 2004, and teaches General Psychology, and Human Growth and Development.

Dr. Slavik currently serves as the department chair of the Behavioral Sciences department overseeing Anthropology, Social Work, Sociology, and Psychology.

 

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Wendy Staten earned an architecture degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She has been a part of the Adjunct Art faculty at NWACC since 2006, and finds it fulfilling to open the eyes of unsuspecting students to the wonders of the visual art world. 

 

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Melody Thomas received her A.S. degree in 1985 in pre-engineering from a community college in Wisconsin. She then transferred to UW-Milwaukee and studied electrical engineering for a little over a year and transferred her credits to Carroll College in Waukesha, WI. She completed her B.S. in Physics with a Math minor.

Professor Thomas began teaching Physics at NWACC in the Spring of 2000 through an internship program offered by the Physics and Higher Education Departments. Since completing her M.A. in Physics Education in 2002, she continues to teach physics full-time and act as a physics coordinator. For twelve of those years, she was also actively involved with the Upward Bound Program teaching physics, astronomy, and mathematics to high school students.

 

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Marc Turner received his B.A. from Arkansas Tech University in 1984, where he double-majored in Speech and English Ed. He earned a M.A. from University of Arkansas - Little Rock in Technical and Expository Writing in 2001. He taught English Composition and Theatre classes at University of Arkansas Community College at Hope from 2002-2007. Professor Turner joined the NWACC faculty in 2007, teaching communication and theatre classes.

Much of his experience in theatre and music comes from his 17 years in Little Rock (1986-2002) as a musician and sketch-comedy performer. He feels fortunate to be able to share what he learned with NWACC student performers in plays and jam nights.

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Dr. Gene Vinzant holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Arkansas. His dissertation topic was: "Little Rock's Long Crisis: Schools and Race in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1863-2009."

He has taught U.S. and Arkansas History at NWACC since 2006. He loves history and thinks everyone else should too.

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Darney Willis earned a M.F.A. in painting and years later a M.A. in Digital Media. He started teaching in the Art Department at NWACC in 1990.

Professor Willis began a serious commitment to understanding visual art as a means of dynamic expressive communication in the summer of 1967 and has passionately continued through this day in either painting, thinking about painting, teaching painting, or any of the above.