As New Mexico State University rings in the new academic year, the College of Arts and Sciences welcomes five fresh faces as department heads.
These academics will spearhead departmental initiatives from a variety of disciplines: theatre arts, history, creative media, criminal justice and interdisciplinary studies.
“I am confident this dynamic group of leaders will work with our outstanding faculty to continue our student-centered focus and build on our successes in the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Christa Slaton, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The new theatre arts department head, Wil Kilroy, joins the NMSU community from the University of Southern Maine, where he served as a professor of theater and theater director.
“I am looking forward to highlighting the impressive Center for the Arts as a cornerstone of quality education in theater by working to expand our outreach to students and the community,” Kilroy said. “The NMSU Theatre Arts faculty and staff are extremely talented and dedicated, and I look forward to collaborating with them in order to build the best program possible.”
Kilroy originally majored in accounting, but upon realizing more artistic passions, headed for the Big Apple to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the National Shakespeare Conservatory. Kilroy earned a BFA in theater from the University of Rhode Island, and later his MFA in theater from the University of Illinois.
No stranger to the stage is the interim department head for history, William Storm. Storm is a professor, and former interim department head, for the NMSU Department of Theatre Arts. He is a specialist in dramatic literature, theater history and theory, with particular interests including dramaturgy, the history and theory of the tragic form and sensibility, and science in connection with theater and literary studies.
“The History Department is strong on research and scholarship as well as teaching, and as someone who has historical as well as theoretical and literary research interests, I look forward to working with colleagues with that specialization and in connection with many periods and geographies,” Storm said.
Storm received his doctorate from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his bachelor’s and MFA degrees from the University of Southern California. Storm has authored books, plays and essays in literary criticism and drama theory. His latest publication, “Dramaturgy and Dramatic Character: A Long View,” is due from Cambridge University Press in 2016.
Sharing a background in the fine arts is Amy Lanasa, new department head for the Creative Media Institute for Film and Digital Arts. Lanasa received her BFA in acting from the University of Oklahoma, and attended Florida State University to earn her master’s in theater studies and MFA in professional writing and film.
Lanasa was recruited to NMSU by Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff to be one of the first faculty members for the Creative Media Institute, where she has been teaching since 2006.
“We’re a creative group who know how to think outside the box,” Lanasa said. “I am most looking forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to provide an educational environment for our students to grow and thrive into the next generation of award-winning filmmakers and animators.”
Timothy Ketelaar, associate professor of psychology at NMSU, will take the helm as the interim department head for criminal justice.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to serve the students and faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice,” Ketelaar said. “We’re one of the most popular majors at NMSU with more than 700 students in our undergraduate and graduate programs. Our faculty are amazing scholars and teachers who prepare our students for careers in the criminal justice profession.”
Ketelaar received his doctorate in personality psychology from the University of Michigan. His research and teaching focuses on the science of human emotion. Ketelaar has been teaching in the NMSU Honors College since 2003, and was the 2009 recipient of the Donald C. Roush Teaching Award for Excellence. He is currently working on a book proposal, “Mapping the Emotional Mind: A journey through the past century of scientific scholarship on emotion.”
Ketelaar also serves as associate dean of the Honors College and director of the Office of National Scholarships and International Education.
Rounding out the group is interim department head for interdisciplinary studies Patricia Wojahn. Wojahn, an NMSU professor of English, received her doctorate in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University, with specializations in computer-mediated communications, research methodologies, peer review and collaborative writing and assessing technologies for writing and reading.
“I’m delighted to be working with colleagues from various disciplines, as well as students who are creating unique paths for learning,” Wojahn said.
Wojahn brings to the department expertise in technology and communication, document planning and testing, usability, small group communication and collaboration, writing in the disciplines, as well as technical, scientific and professional communication.