Dr. Leslie Swanda Willey ’83

Vice President for Academic Affairs 

Leslie became vice president for academic affairs in June 2016. She previously taught at Stephens for 19 years. She also served as dean of the Stephens College School of Interdisciplinary Studies and as director of The Children’s School at Stephens College. Leslie also has served as director of the undergraduate Education department and as director of the Master of Education program.

Prior to Stephens, Leslie taught in both public and private early childhood and elementary classrooms. She has served as an educational consultant to schools, providing professional development to teachers throughout the United States. She has also worked as a consultant and provided professional development through the Ministry of Education in New Zealand.

Leslie earned a Ph.D. and an M.Ed. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. from Stephens College.

Meet the Arts and Humanities Faculty >


Dr. Trish Parsons

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Trish Parsons has served as the associate vice president for academic affairs since April 2019. She has been an educator at Stephens College since August 2015, first as a coordinating tutor with the Margaret Campbell Student Success Center, and later becoming the assistant director of the center. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor in the School of Health Sciences.

Before following her passion to work with students, Dr. Parsons was a research scientist. She directed research studies in pathobiology at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine before coming to Stephens. Prior to moving to Missouri, Dr. Parsons held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics at the School of Dental Medicine at University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Parsons earned her Ph.D. in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Her research focused on the evolutionary development of the mammalian skull. She earned a B.S. in Biological Anthropology from Penn State.


Dr. Monica McMurry

Faculty Chair

Dr. Monica McMurry has 30 years of teaching and administrative experience in the fashion field. She previously served as dean of the Stephens College School of Design, and chaired the fashion programs at both Stephens and Columbia College. McMurry graduated summa cum laude from Stephens College with a B.F.A. in Fashion Design. She received her Master of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri’s Textile and Apparel Management program and attended a design thinking workshop at Stanford. In her dissertation, "Jacqueline Kennedy’s Effect on Women: A Content Analysis of Her Style, Role and Thought as First Lady, 1958-1963," McMurry reviewed the most popular women’s magazines of the early 1960s and looked at how Jacqueline Kennedy was portrayed to the average woman via media mentions.

During her teaching career, McMurry has taught both studio and lecture courses for fashion design and product development and fashion marketing. Her areas of expertise include fashion history, curating and executing fashion exhibitions, menswear design, tailored design and couture and bespoke techniques. Other interests include sustainability, fair trade and textile upcycling. She is a member of the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA), the Costume Society of America (CSA) and Fashion Group International. McMurry has presented both national and international juried fashion designs and scholarly research. Her work with the Costume Museum and Research Library at Stephens College has given her the opportunity to speak across the nation about historic dress.

Contact Us

Office of Academic Affairs

Alycia McGee,
Administrative Assistant
(573) 876-7213, Ext. 4213 [email protected] Lela Raney Wood Hall 357

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