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New faculty, staff join College of Arts and Letters

Fall 2014 is well underway and as students begin to find their place at the College of Arts and Letters, so do several new faculty and staff. They will be introduced in more depth in the coming weeks, but to get these profiles started, here is a round up of the new faces that can be seen around campus. Let’s give them a big Bear welcome this week!


Art and Design


Adrienne Boulton-Funke, assistant professor

Adrienne Boulton-Funke completed a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of British Columbia and is finishing her PhD in Curriculum (Art Education) at UBC. She received the Killam Award for teaching excellence as a graduate teaching assistant. Her research explores contemporary art practices in research and pedagogy through arts-based educational research; she has presented her work nationally and internationally. Boulton-Funke said she wants to help future teachers reimagine curriculum and pedagogy to be able to go beyond the assessment-based learning found in classrooms today. “I hope to develop a methodology of visual inquiry that aims to disrupt our static perceptions of education and through arts-based inquiry and research processes, expand the ways in which we understand and perform curriculum and pedagogy in K-12 art education.”


Media, Journalism and Film

Harrison Witt, Assistant Professor

Harrison Witt, assistant professor

Harrison Witt earned a BA in English from the University of Kentucky and an MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to being an award-winning screenwriter and director, Witt brings more than 20 years of professional production experience in cinematography and lighting to the classrooms at MSU. He is eager to build on MJF’s strong foundation in digital film production, which he admired even before signing on as an assistant professor. “I was impressed with the ambition and execution the students brought to their productions. After seeing this work, I wasn’t at all surprised to find the faculty and staff in MJF to be open, energetic, and creative.”




Cameron F. LaBarr, Director of Choral Studies

Cameron F. LaBarr, director of choral studies

Cameron F. LaBarr comes to the College of Arts and Letters after serving in university choral positions in Tennessee and Texas. He was the founding artistic director and conductor of the Tennessee Chamber Chorus and has been a guest conductor and clinician for institutions and festivals across the United States, Europe, South Africa and China. He’s published articles and reviews in the Choral Journal and The Chorister and also edits a choral series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing. He was recently awarded a fellowship with the International Conductors Exchange Program to Sweden in 2015 and will be among 14 conductors from the United States to participate in the residency. Excited for the changes and additions expected this year, LaBarr encourages students to put themselves out there to see where the world takes them. “I hope to share my professional experiences with our students here on campus, and I plan to get our students out into the world, allowing for strong relationships and greater understanding among cultures.”


Modern and Classical Languages

Melanie Kleeschulte, Instructor

Melanie Kleeschulte, instructor

Prior to joining the MCL faculty, Melanie Kleeschulte was a full-time instructor of Spanish at Greenwood Laboratory School. She received her master’s in Spanish Language and Culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain, Master of Arts in Teaching from Missouri State University and Bachelor of Arts in International/ Multicultural Studies and Spanish from Evangel University. Kleeschulte also holds Missouri K-12 certification in Spanish.


Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega, Assistant Professor

Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega, assistant professor

Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega received her PhD from Texas Tech University and comes to MSU from Missouri Southern State University. She will be teaching a variety of courses, including introductory Spanish, Spanish Phonetics and Phonology, Spanish Peninsular Literature and more. She said she hopes to inspire Missouri State students this year, “by making them aware about the importance and practicality of studying foreign languages.” Her research focuses on postmodern historical fiction.


Theatre and Dance

Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Assistant Professor

Melanie Dreyer-Lude, assistant professor

Melanie Dreyer-Lude is a theatre practitioner and professor of performance, using theatre as a platform for cultural encounters that generate multiple nodes of inquiry. She specializes in international theatre collaboration. Fluent in German, Dreyer-Lude translates and directs contemporary German plays and has directed more than 60 productions throughout the United States, Germany and Turkey. Her continued love of learning and travel has taken her across the world and across disciplines. “I’m a perpetually curious person and I’m always seeking new intersections between theater practice and other disciplines.  I’ve learned about neuroscience, physics, cultural anthropology, business, linguistics, all things German and many things Turkish — all because I was willing to follow my interest into another’s world.”


Other staff additions

Katie McMahon, Costume Shop Manager

Katie McMahon, costume shop manager

Katie McMahon is the costume shop manager for the theatre and dance department. She is an alumna of Missouri State University with a BFA in Theatre and an emphasis in technical theatre and costumes. She also worked as a designer and costume shop manager for Tent Theatre.



Greg Pettus, Distributed User Support Specialist

Greg Pettus, distributed user supports specialist

Greg Pettus served in the Marine Corps before getting a degree in engineering physics from Missouri State. During his time as a student, he was able to start working full-time and has been a distributed user support specialist for 17 years, helping to ensure the technology needed for faculty and students to succeed is in working order. He lives in Springfield with his wife, Julie, and daughters, Reagan and Kenzie.

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International guest scholar to present cross-cultural analysis of ‘Ugly Betty’ TV series, tour MSU facilities

The departments of communication and media, journalism and film will welcome international guest scholar, Dr. Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed, during the week of Sept. 18-22, with a formal research presentation at noon, Sept. 22, in the Plaster Student Union Parliamentary Room, as well as a film screening that night of his documentary, “Rito y Medio,” in the PSU Theater.

In his presentation, the Columbian communication professor will detail his cross-cultural analysis of the television series, Ugly Betty, whose American version was adapted from the Colombian telenovela soap opera, “Yo Soy Betty, La Fea.”

Connecting with Dr. Uribe-Jongbloed

Throughout his visit to Missouri State, Uribe-Jongbloed will also be made available to speak with students and faculty, both formally and informally. On-campus events are as scheduled:

  • Guest scholar office hours: Sept. 18 and 23, 1:30 p.m., Craig Hall 375
  • Class visits: Sept. 18, 9:30-11:20 a.m., MED 466 Advanced Editing; Sept. 19, 2:30-3:20 p.m., COM 307 Gender and Communication
  • Facility tour: Sept. 19, Ozarks News Journal, during production hours
International visiting scholar Dr. Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed will be on campus Sept. 18-22.

About the visiting guest scholar

Uribe-Jongbloed has been on the communication faculty at Universidad de La Sabana for more than seven years, teaching research methods at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. He is currently researching television and other audiovisual adaptations, especially looking at contraflow adaptation (those products from Latin America adapted in the U.S. and Europe), and leading a research group on audiovisual culture. He has also worked on projects involving identity, language and media.

Uribe-Jongbloed holds a BA in film and televisión production from the National University of Colombia, an MA in world heritage studies from the Brandenburg Institute of Technology Cottbus in Germany and a PhD from the department of theatre, film and television studies at Aberystwyth University in Wales.

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Prospective student reporters train with The Standard

Standard LogoStudents interested in becoming reporters with Missouri State’s student-run newspaper, The Standard, have been meeting with the paper’s advisor, Jack Dimond, for training at their Clay Hall offices on Cherry Street. The weekly information sessions, expected to last throughout the semester, are designed to prepare students for a job with The Standard. Dimond, who also teaches Introduction to Journalism and News Reporting and Writing, said he hopes the training will give prospective reporters the tools to be successful at the paper and beyond. This week’s session will discuss how to approach sources for stories as well as man-on-the-street interviews. Other topics covered in the training include ethics in journalism, using public records for information and writing workshops.

To sign up for The Standard’s spring orientation and training, contact Jack Dimond at 836-8467 or by email at JackDimond@MissouriState.edu.



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Recent media production grad takes job at ESPN

College of Arts and Letters alumnus Adam Egan recently accepted a position as an associate operator at ESPN Inc.’s studio location in Bristol, Connecticut. The spring 2014 media, journalism and film graduate was hired by the Walt Disney Company, who owns ESPN Inc., for a two-year program that will involve three 8-month rotations in various areas of training in the control room, master control room, camera studio and editing. Egan, who majored in media production with a certificate in screenwriting, will begin his post Sept. 22, 2014.

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Electronic arts graduate explores the world of human computer interaction

For Derek Parker, it all began with his first cell phone.

“I was never satisfied with what came out of the box,” explained Derek. “I always wanted to make it better.”

That drive to improve technology led him to his passion: human computer interaction. For his senior project, Derek developed an interactive display, featuring programs in the College of Arts and Letters, to be installed in Craig Hall.

“That project is really the epitome of what I’m interested in. It’s touch-based. It’s interactive. It’s about the user and the experience they are having with that device,” said Derek.

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The Standard, Ozarks News Journal recognized for excellence

The Standard, Missouri State University’s student-run newspaper, and the Ozarks News Journal, a student-produced television news show, were honored with regional and national awards from College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers Inc. (CNBAM), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Region 7 and the Missouri Broadcast Educators Association.

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“I know the world has so much to offer” – Reflections on a semester abroad.

MSU-MJF-AtOxfordBrookesDuring my semester at Oxford, I spent 113 days away from home, traveled 13,625 miles by plane (32 hours and 25 minutes spent in the air), 5,456 miles by bus/car, 453 miles by train and 160 miles by ferry boat. I went to over 30 cities in Europe, saw 18 World Heritage Sites, went to 13 airports, 12 hostels, 9 countries, saw one wonder of the world, walked an uncountable number of miles, met hundreds of people and made so many friends from all over the world.

I have learned so much and don’t regret anything I did (even the amount of money I spent). I am so sad to go home but know it is time.

I loved my semester at Oxford Brookes University and would highly recommend it to anyone. I learned so much inside and outside of the classroom. I am going to miss all of my friends that I made and cherish the many, many memories that were made this past semester. I know this will not be the end of my travels and in fact they are only the beginning.

This experience has opened my eyes to different countries and cultures, pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and taught me how much I can do if I truly have the desire. I know the world has so much to offer, and I have so much to see. Oxford Brookes was like a second home to me, and I will never forget this amazing experience I was so lucky to have.


The top left is in Paris touching the top of the Louvre. Top right is in Barcelona, Spain, at Parc Guell. Left middle is a fellow Brookes student, Jill Rouse from Boston, Audrey Davis, student at MSU, and myself kayaking through sea caves in Lagos, Portugal. Bottom left is in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Bottom right is in Glencoe, Scotland.

Thank you for reading,

Andrea Welker

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”- Anonymous

Read more about Andrea’s time at Oxford Brookes University.

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Standard honored with national and regional awards

The Standard has been honored with four national awards from College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers Inc. and five regional awards from the Society of ProThe Standardfessional Journalists Region 7 .

CNBAM awards

  • Best Newspaper Promotion Campaign, 4th place
  • Best Newspaper Promotion Multimedia Campaign, 1st place
  • Best Group Promotion, Free Standing Section, 3rd place
  • Best Back to School or Orientation Issue, 4th place

SPJ Region 7 awards

  • In-Depth Reporting (Large Schools), Finalist: “$1,163,237: Bookstore director admits to stealing for 10 years” by Megan Gates
  • Best All-Around Non Daily Student Newspaper, Finalist
  • Feature Photography (Large Schools), Finalist: “Not quite ready” by Steph Anderson Chambers
  • Sports Photography (Large Schools), Winner: “My ball!” by Steph Anderson Chambers
  • Sports Photography (Large Schools), Finalist: “One last lap” by Steph Anderson Chambers
The MJF department would like to congratulate everyone for their hard work and making the Standard the success it is.


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View student works during the Electronic Arts Student Showcase

TogetherThe MJF department is excited to present the 2014 Electronic Arts Student Showcase from 7-9:30 p.m. Monday, May 12 in the PSU Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.
The showcase will feature
  • “MARA” – a dystopian tale of love set unfolds in this beautifully shot science fiction film
  • “Fido’s Wake” – a coming of age story and black comedy
  • “Pointe of Contact” – a young dancer brings new life and hope to a slowly dying dance company
  • Grim Weeper, an interactive comic book
  • “This City’s Got Talent, a computer animated short
  • An interactive touch-driven website
  • Experimental short animated films and music videos


Free parking is available in Lot 24 (enter off National Ave. just south of Grand) or in the North Bear Parking Garage (behind Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts).



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