NWACC Honors


Photo of Sabrina Chesne, M.F.A., M.P.A.

Sabrina Chesne, M.F.A., M.P.A.

World Literature
Sabrina Chesne received her B.A. from University of Southern California, where she took a class in poetry writing and happened to be pretty good. Her writing led her to the University of Arkansas where she earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.P.A. (Public Administration). The U of A led her north to NWACC, where she currently directs the Honors Program and teaches English.
She reads whenever she can, and considers herself lucky that reading is a big part of her job, and one of the reasons she teaches Honors World Literature. How awesome it is to teach a class that makes connections between texts spanning three centuries seem obvious!
Photo of Steve Cooper, D.M.A.

Steve Cooper, D.M.A.

In addition to being a teacher of music, 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 NorthWest Arkansas Community College. He has published two books: SIX MONTHS WALKING THE WILDS (OF WESTERN EUROPE), and SANTIAGO, CANTERBURY, ROME; Lessons from the Trails. Musical compositions include seven musical theatre works premiered at the college, a chamber opera, art songs, and numberous choral works published by G. Schirmer, Southern Music, Trigram Music, Yelton Rhodes, G.I.A., Bourne Co., and others. Hear his music at www.coopermusic.us
Photo of Ashleigh Davis. M.A.

Ashleigh Davis. M.A.

First and foremost, I am a lover of all things language. I completed a B.A. in English in 2003 and an M.A. in Composition & Rhetoric with emphasis in linguistics and discourse analysis in 2006 and have been teaching composition since 2004. When people ask me what I do for a living, and I respond that I teach writing, I cringe at their inevitable appeal to "being bad at grammar" because language is much more complex than a simple set of rules that must be abided by (or broken, as the case may be). This is why I love teaching writing classes that focus on language and social constructivism (socially constructed meaning). But if this all sounds too nerdy, I also love a good movie that no one else gets, roots reggae music, and snowboarding in Colorado.
Photo of Jennifer Cook, M.A.

Jennifer Cook, M.A.

Jennifer Wheetley Cook received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She has been teaching at NWACC since 2004, and has been teaching at the college level since 1998. Reading has always been a favorite pastime for her, as well as screenplay writing. She believes that any student can enjoy reading and writing if it is taught in a thought-provoking way. Her favorite literature is southern, and she also enjoys philosophy, history, and forensic science. She teaches primarily through discussion because she wants her students to form their own theories about the meaning of literature.
Photo of Janet Dodd, M.A.

Janet Dodd, M.A.

Janet Dodd teaches General Sociology, Social Problems, and Sociology of Families; gets excited about anything related to social (in)justice; and one of her favorite academic/activist activities is facilitating and participating in Intergroup Dialogues where a diverse group of people (students, colleagues, and/or community workers) get together to build understanding around some social identity such as race, gender, or religion. In her free time, you'll find her fishing, riding her bike, meditating or shooting pool (has been thinking about writing an article about the Zen of pool), and oh, yes, she loves "who-done-it" novels especially police procedurals!
Photo of Ashley Edwards

Ashley Edwards

Ashley Edwards is the Theatre Coordinator and Professor at NWACC Theatre department. She is the faculty advisor for Associate of Fine Arts in Theatre at NWACC. She works professionally as a playwright and director, as well as a Programmer for Bentonville Film Festival since 2015. She is currently the playwright for the second year in the Latinx Youth Theatre Project, funded by the Walton Family Foundation and co-produced by NWACC, Arts Center of the Ozarks, and the Brown Chair of Literacy at University of Arkansas. Her work has been produced nationally and regionally. She is known for her play "Bear State of Mind" produced by Walton Arts Center and Trike Theatre For Youth that ran for three years in a row for young audiences around Northwest Arkansas. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Playwriting from UA, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Louisiana Tech University. She currently lives in Bella Vista with her husband, an artist, and four children.
Photo of Bethany Fitzpatrick, M.A.

Bethany Fitzpatrick, M.A.

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 has recently published poetry inspired by the ups and downs of motherhood. She has taught in the English department for Northwest Arkansas Community College since 2009. Bethany 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 issues of social justice through the study of literature.
Photo of Matthew Evans, Ph.D.

Matthew Evans, Ph.D.

Political Science
Dr. Evans teaches the science of politics – or how to systematically examine power struggles (insides and outside the government) about collective notions of the good in our lives and the lives of others – as it applies to American national government, international relations, and state and local government. He holds an MA from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University in political science, and graduate certificates in Ethnic Studies and Women & Gender Studies from NAU. His dissertation "Writing/Righting Sovereignty: Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Israel" examines the relationship between state sovereignty and conscientious objection to military service in Israel to re-conceptualize state violence and legitimacy from the vantage point of the soldier. His dissertation research has been presented at the International Studies Association, the American Political Science Association, and Arkansas Political Science Association meetings. He has taught political science classes at the University of Louisville, Kentucky State University, and Northern Arizona University.
Photo of Sevin Gallo, Ph.D.

Sevin Gallo, Ph.D.

Sevin teaches world history through the lens of food for the Honors Program. Her classes meet at the Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, NWACC's new culinary school, and at local restaurants. In these non-traditional environments students examine many different historical processes while considering how food systems and food culture shape the human experience. Sevin has a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East/World history from the University of Akron in Ohio. Her research focuses on gender, nationalism, popular culture, and state-formation in the Kurdish regions of the Middle East---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. In addition to teaching world history, Sevin works as the Global Studies degree coordinator at NWACC, and she leads a study abroad program in Greece.
Photo of Tom Herrnstein, Ph.D.

Tom Herrnstein, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas Herrnstein was born and grew up in Southern Ohio. Then he moved to Alaska, and while working in the fishing and tourism industries, completed a B.A. in philosophy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After receiving his M.A. at Northern Illinois University, he entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Utah. At Utah he developed his interests in Ethics and Chinese Philosophy, while enjoying the area's opportunities of hiking, camping, and canyoneering. He took a one year position in Minnesota in 2011-2012, and then started at NWACC in the Fall of 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.
Photo of Christopher Huggard, Ph.D.

Christopher Huggard, Ph.D.

Chris Huggard (B.S.Ed. in 1984 and M.A. in history in 1987 at University of Arkansas and Ph.D. in history in 1994 at University of New Mexico) is a free-spirited professor who likes to challenge students to think critically. He hopes to instill in students the value of contemplating their place in the world and what it means to them. He hopes that his students feel empowered through guidance on the development of their analytical skills and through their service learning projects. He marvels at how honors students do amazing things in advancing their educations and in making a difference in the world. He feels privileged to teach honors students and sees them as the difference makers at NWACC. Dr. Huggard also has published two books: Forests under Fire: A Century of Ecosystem Mismanagement in the Southwest (UofArizona, 2001) and Santa Rita del Cobre: A Copper Mining Community in New Mexico (UPress of Colorado, 2012), winner of the Howard Bryan Western History, Southwest, and Clark C. Spence awards.
Photo of Lindsay Hutton, Ph.D.

Lindsay Hutton, Ph.D.

Lindsay Hutton received her MA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. All of the stories that she wrote during the MA program were failures. The first one, the biggest failure, was about an animal cracker horse named Hank. She received her PhD in nonfiction writing from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Most of the essays she wrote during the PhD were failures. The last ones, however, were better than the story about Hank; some learning did take place. This is what Lindsay looks for in her classes: creative risk, honest failure, and learning. She is still working on writing good essays, and enjoys collaborating with students to improve their writing. She is also interested in the game of football, bicycles, and kinetic energy.
Photo of Jeff Jackson, M.A.

Jeff Jackson, M.A.

Jeff Jackson is a legend in his own mind. He puts his pants on three legs at a time. He once ate twelve tacos in one sitting (a feat he does not care to replicate). He knows a rhyme for "orange." His alphabet contains thirty-two letters, including three vowels not recognized by stuffy philological circles. He constructs string art inspired by the plot points of James Bond movies (Sean Connery only). He is -sheveled and -gruntled with nary a dis- in sight. He's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lot of klezmer. Long ago he turned his back on a lucrative career doing cartoon voiceovers but has never regretted this decision. He can be mercurial, brandishing a daisy one moment, flinging his hairnet across the room in a fit of pique the next. He walks between the raindrops without getting wet. Jackson is a riddle cloaked in an enigma shrouded in a comfy green cardigan.
Photo of Jacqueline Jones, M.A.

Jacqueline Jones, M.A.

I have climbed a 14,000 foot mountain at the age of 11. I have swum above a sunken ship off the coast of Bermuda at the age of 17. I have lived in Denver and Houston. I have received an AA from Kingwood Community College, a BA from the U of A, and a MA from the U of A. I have been teaching since 2003 and love the thrill and challenges of making composition exciting and relevant for students.
Photo of Cindy King, M.F.A.

Cindy King, M.F.A.

Cindy King teaches H8umaities and Languages classes and earned her M.F.A. form the University of Arkansas. She drove to Arkansas in July 1992, alone and sight unseen, in an old blue pick-up baptized The Dizzy Petunia, a sheet of composite wood tied down to the truck bed to keep the rain, squirrels, and whatnot out of my belongings. I stopped at what was then the Deluxe Café in Fayetteville for rice, beans, and blackberry cobbler. I knew no one within a thousand miles, save for a traveling musician who had promised me use of her cabin outside Tahlequah while she was away. As the sun set on Dickson Street, I thought, This is a place I could live. I did not find the cabin that night in the dark Cookson Hills and ended up at a motel room for $14 a night with a cluster of cockroaches. But I made my way back the next morning to Kimpel Hall to meet Jim Whitehead, all 5'2" Yankee me, all 6'8" Mississippi him. I was a stranger to the Ozarks, he could see, and he told me it would be all right. It has been. Mostly. Since that day, I have made my living as a teacher—at first, of writing and literature. Now of French and humanities. I feel a part of this place, albeit with an outsider's eye. As my husband says, "You've been Southern fried."
Photo of Doug Krueger, Ph.D.

Doug Krueger, Ph.D.

Philosophy – World Religions (HIST)
Doug Krueger has a B.A. in philosophy from Grinnell College, an M.A. in philosophy from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Arkansas. In his philosophy research, Krueger specialized in philosophy of language, especially the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. However, Krueger has a long history of studying world religions as well as philosophy. He has taught the World Religions class for NWACC since 1998, and has also taught special classes on related topics, such as Islam. His religion interests prompted visits to see Native American petroglyphs in the southwestern United States, Mayan ruins in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, historical cemeteries in New Orleans as well as many other sites around-- and off-- the North American continent. Krueger is also known for his extensive Tarot card collection. His enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the subject matter make his World Religions class interesting, educational, and challenging.
Photo of James Laughton, M.A.

James Laughton, M.A.

Jim Laughton has been a faculty member in the English department since 1999 and teaches composition and literature courses. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and an 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. In 2003, he was recognized with the AATYC Outstanding Faculty Award for NWACC, and in 2007 he was the recipient of a NISOD Teaching Excellence Award. He believes that all students should acquire the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that will allow them to thrive as members of a democratic society and a global community. He works to create a student oriented learning environment—one in which students will feel comfortable and encouraged yet responsible for their own learning, one which has the flexibility to adjust to the diversity of the students and their situations, and one in which instruction, as much as possible, is tailored to the individual student.
Photo of Megan Looney, M.F.A.

Megan Looney, M.F.A.

Megan Looney is a full-time faculty member in the English department. After growing up in Northwest Arkansas, Megan moved away for a B.A. in English with a journalism concentration and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a fiction emphasis. Shortly after graduate school, she made her way back to NWA but leaves frequently to travel both inside and outside the U.S. One of her desires for students is that they are interesting individuals—people who are passionate about something and able to communicate that passion clearly and eloquently. Her 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.
Photo of Don Merrell, Ph. D.

Don Merrell, Ph. D.

Don Merrell has been on the social sciences faculty since 2010. He has a doctorate in philosophy with research interests in philosophy of mind and ethics. He regularly teaches Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Ethics, and Critical Thinking.
Photo of Dianne Phillips, M.A., M.S.

Dianne Phillips, M.A., M.S.

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. She has a special love of volcanoes and has visited several of the more active ones in her career. 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. She is an expert in "Project Based Learning" and has been the Facilitator of the EMPACTS Program since 2005.
Photo of Deirdre Slavik, Ph.D.

Deirdre Slavik, Ph.D.

Dr. Deirdre Slavik has been an enthusiastic member of the NWACC Behavioral Sciences faculty since 2004. She has a doctorate in experimental psychology with research interests in social cognition and motivational theory. Dr. Slavik currently serves as the department chair of the Behavioral Sciences department overseeing Anthropology, Social Work, Sociology, and Psychology.
When not teaching General Psychology or Human Growth & Development, Dr. Slavik spends her time contemplating the likelihood of a zombie apocalypse, reading horribly depressing dystopian fiction, and consuming excessive amounts of diet soda. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, three small children, and two dogs.
Photo of Wendy Staten, M.Arch

Wendy Staten, M.Arch

Wendy Staten originally hails from Rogers, Ar, where she spent a blissful childhood picking wild blackberries, fighting off chiggers and building doll houses for her sisters' dolls. Her family relocated to Idaho, where she graduated high school with a class of 14 students. Her love of architecture and art led her to an architecture degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. Wendy 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. In her spare time she designs residential architecture and serves as taxi driver for her five children. Wendy and her husband, Dan Koster, live in Bentonville.

Melody Thomas, M.A.

Melody Thomas received her A.S. degree in 1985 in pre-engineering from a small community college in northwest Wisconsin. She then transferred to UW-Milwaukee and studied electrical engineering for a little over a year. After taking a seven year break from her educational pursuits to start a family, she transferred her credits to Carroll College in Waukesha, WI and completed her B.S. in physics with a math minor. She then worked for two years doing fluid automation design and support for the manufacturing industry in Milwaukee. Not being fond of Wisconsin winters, she and her husband along with their four young sons moved to northwest Arkansas in 1997. While becoming acquainted with the area, she noticed the newly established community college in the Bentonville area and decided to look into UA graduate programs that would qualify her to teach introductory physics at the community college level. Melody developed and taught her first physics class at NWACC during 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 physics coordinator here at NWACC. For twelve of those years she was also actively involved with the Upward Bound Program teaching physics, astronomy, and mathematics to high school students along with assisting the program in various other capacities.
Photo of Marc Turner, M.A.

Marc Turner, M.A.

Marc Turner joined the NWACC faculty teaching communication and theatre classes in 2007. He got an MA from UALR in Technical and Expository Writing in 2001. He taught English Composition and Theatre classes at UACCH (in Hope) from 2002-2007. In 1984 he got his BA from Arkansas Tech University where he double-majored in Speech and English Ed. Much of Marc's experience in theatre and music comes from the 17 years he spent in Little Rock (1986-2002) as a musician and sketch-comedy performer. He feels fortunate to be able to share what he learned from those years with student performers in NWACC plays and Jam Nights.
Photo of Gene Vinzant, Ph.D.

Gene Vinzant, Ph.D.

Dr. Gene Vinzant was born in Brazil, grew up in Texas and Oklahoma, and has proudly called Prairie Grove, Arkansas home since 2000. He hold 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.
Photo of Darney Willis, M.A., M.F.A.

Darney Willis, M.A., M.F.A.

Darnéy Willis began a serious commitment to understand 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 at the same time through many different seasons of his life. Along the way he 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 when the College was born in 1990. Darnéy is developing a body of painting in his home studio and seeking avenues to place this work in significant places all over the world. He and Norma Jean, his wife, have seven children, now grown and pursuing their own life adventure.