School of Arts + Humanities
The School of Arts and Humanities is a leading example of Stephens College’s mission to Communicate. Collaborate. Create.
Our mission is not just teaching students, but instilling in them a lifelong love of learning and an appreciation for the pursuit of knowledge and creativity. At Stephens, we are proud of our legacy and take great pride in the cultural, educational and artistic gifts, and the opportunities we offer our students.
The School of Arts and Humanities offers programs in a wide range of academic disciplines in the creative arts and humanities. The arts and humanities truly thrive in Columbia, Missouri, as dozens of on- and off-campus performances take place year-round at Stephens, making the College one of Columbia’s premiere centers for the performing arts.
Led by an accomplished and dedicated faculty who are well respected and nationally known artists, educators, researchers and writers in their disciplines, the courses and programs of the School of Arts and Humanities offers includes: Education, Digital Filmmaking, Fashion, English and Creative Writing, Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts, and our Los Angeles-based, low-residency MFA in Television and Screenwriting.
Read about our faculty, explore our programs, and learn how the School of Arts and Humanities can help you to build your own unique future. If you have any questions about majoring, minoring or taking courses in the Arts and Humanities at Stephens College, please reach out at any time.
Faculty + Staff
Christina Gilbert, Instructor
Fran Patrick, Instructor
Erica Pefferman, Instructor
Gillian Tracey, Instructor
Associate Professor of Digital Filmmaking
M.F.A., Savannah College of Art and Design; B.A., University of Kansas
Steph Borklund has more than 15 years of experience as a producer, director and editor. Her works include documentaries, narratives, and corporate and industrial videos. She previously worked as director of postproduction for Left Coast Productions in California, where she won several Telly, Aurora and Summit Creative editing awards for her corporate and industrial work. Currently, she is working with Kerri Yost on a short documentary about Helen Stephens, a poor farm girl from Missouri who went to the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and became the fastest woman in the world. Other works include producing and directing “Chasing AllieCat” (Citizen Jane Film Festival and Oregon Shorts Film Festival), a short narrative about three mountain biking teens who find a priest in the woods, beaten and near death; producing, directing and editing “I Am One” (Citizen Jane Film Festival), a short educational film about bullying; and working as an assistant camera operator for “Getting Away Together,” a PBS television series. Her most rewarding job has been teaching at Stephens and having the opportunity to teach the next generation of female filmmakers.
Associate Professor, Digital Filmmaking Program Chair
M.F.A., Stephens College; B.S., Columbia College
Chase Thompson is an associate professor of digital filmmaking at Stephens. An independent filmmaker, Thompson is a fourth-generation teacher with a passion for helping students find their creative voice through digital filmmaking and photography. His feature length documentary “Zielinski” was selected into Slamdance, True/False Film Fest and Radar Hamburg International Independent Film Festival, and it received Best Political Doc at Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and the Golden Reel Award at the Nevada Film Festival. Thompson’s essay “Writing Around Lois Weber” was featured in the book “When Women Wrote Hollywood,” which went on to be runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award. In 2018, Thompson directed the Stephens Film Institute, which produced his pilot episode “Tampsen Air.” In April 2019, “Tampsen Air” premiered at the Kansas City Film Festival International and went on screen at the Denver Pop Culture Convention and the New York City Independent Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best TV Pilot.
Associate Professor of Digital Filmmaking
M.A., Central Missouri State University; B.A., University of Missouri-Columbia
Kerri Yost is an associate professor of digital filmmaking at Stephens. She is an independent filmmaker who learned filmmaking overseas while teaching abroad. After returning home to Missouri, she focused on films about people in the Midwest. Her feature film “Neither Here Nor There” documents Bosnian refugees starting new lives in Missouri, which played on PBS and was nominated for an Emmy. Her short documentary films “Billy” and “X-Ray Man” both focus on the long-term effects of being a soldier.
Dr. Sean Travis Clouse
Associate Professor and Education Program Chair
Ph.D., M.A., B.S., University of Missouri-Columbia
Dr. Sean Travis Clouse earned his B.S. in psychology, M.A. in human development and family studies, M.A. in counseling psychology and Ph.D. in counseling psychology all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. A member of the Stephens faculty since 2006, he teaches courses in the Education, Psychology and Counseling programs. His courses focus on lifespan development, multicultural aspects of learning, social justice issues and counseling. He also serves as the certification officer for the early childhood and elementary education and school counseling programs. Clouse is a licensed psychologist in the state of Missouri and focuses his clinical work on adolescents and young adults.
Director of the Children’s School at Stephens College
B.A., Stephens College; M.Ed., University of Missouri-Columbia
Watson’s passion for education has been shaped over the past 16 years as a classroom teacher in both preschool and elementary and as an instructor in the college classroom. She started her career at Stephens College as an undergraduate student from Minnesota and received her early childhood degree and teaching certification. After her first year of teaching, she continued her education at the University of Missouri and received her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in reading. This year, she will continue as a doctoral student at the University of Missouri in learning, teaching and curriculum with an emphasis in reading. As an early childhood and elementary educator, she believes the best way to enhance learning is to provide students with hands-on experiences which will create thought-provoking experiences for students to become independent creators.
English + Creative Writing
Dr. Kate Berneking Kogut
Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, English and Creative Writing Program Chair
Ph.D., M.A., B.A., University of Missouri-Columbia
Dr. Kate Berneking Kogut is an associate professor of English and creative writing, specializing in scriptwriting and new script development. Her plays have been produced, showcased and workshopped in California, New York, Chicago and in venues in the South and the Midwest. Kogut also writes, directs and produces short films through her production company, Envelope Sky Creative. Her current research interests include character development, fictional world-building and transmedia storytelling, which explores ways a story unfolds through various media. She earned her Ph.D. in theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. Ann Breidenbach
Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing
Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia, M.F.A., Pine Manor College, M.A., Western Michigan University, B.A., Central Michigan University
Dr. Ann Breidenbach is an assistant professor in the English and Creative Writing programs and teaches classes for the Women’s Studies minor. While working on her qualitative dissertation about the experience of menopause for second wave feminists living on women’s land in the Ozarks, she rediscovered her passion for writing. Breidenbach began taking seminars in creative nonfiction writing and eventually enrolled in an M.F.A. program. She brings an interdisciplinary approach and her identity as a writer to her teaching. She is working on a manuscript titled “Girlhood Cache,” which is a memoir told through a series of flash non-fiction essays. Her current research project, “Feminist Activism and the Women’s Film Festival: a Site for Social Change,” explores women’s film festivals as a means of feminist activism. Most recently she has presented her research at the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference and the University Film and Video Association annual conference. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the Solstice Low-Residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Boston. She earned her Ph.D. in rural sociology with a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. Carli Sinclair
Ph.D., University of University of California, Davis, M.A., California Polytechnic State University, B.A., University of Missouri
Dr. Carli Sinclair teaches undergraduate courses in American literature, women’s literature, and writing. She earned her Ph.D. in 19th century American literature from the University of Missouri. Her research interests include American landscape writing, women’s nonfiction and American Gothic writing, and she recently published a biography of Sarah Josepha Hale in “Writers on Women’s Rights and US Suffrage: Dictionary of Literary Biography.” Her current writing project, which was supported by a grant from the Maine Women Writers Collection, analyzes the diaries and accounts of 19th century seafaring women.
Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing
M.A., University of Missouri; B.A., College of the Ozarks
Kristine Somerville teaches contemporary literature, advanced composition, language ethics, nonfiction workshop, fiction workshop and the Harbinger publishing internship at Stephens College. Her short stories and prose poems have been published in various magazines, including The North American Review, Passages North, River City, Zone 3, The South Carolina Review and Quarterly West. Her essay "Katie Suber" received notable mention in Best American Essays, and her fiction has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Her visual and “Found Text” features and omnibus reviews appear regularly in The Missouri Review. Somerville is the co-editor of TMR Books and faculty advisor of Harbinger and Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.
M.A., University of Missouri-Columbia
Kirsteen Buchanan, a Stephens alumna, has taught at Stephens for over 20 years. Her broad fashion industry experience in New York, Chicago and Dallas includes retail product development, branded design, product development for a sweater factory, domestic and offshore manufacturing, trend surveillance, creative fashion design and technical design. She also has designed costumes for the Okoboji Summer Theatre in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and for dance company productions in Dallas.
Buchanan has a Master of Arts specializing in visual communications from the Missouri School of Journalism. Buchanan's design practice aims to fuse beautiful product design with meaning. She focuses on the intersection of fashion, visual communication and language, using surface design and mixed media art to explore design concepts and a range of questions that center on transformation, connection, communication and storytelling. In 2019, Buchanan won the Next Generation Award in the Surface Design Association Exhibition in Print for her digitally printed designs: Borders That Unite, and Best Overall at the sustainable fashion show ScrapsKC ReVision for her dress made from contact lens packaging. She has exhibited work at several Surface Design Association international conference runway shows. She was a 2003 finalist in the GenArt/Florida Grapefruit Juice National Handbag Design Challenge, a 2002 finalist in the “Inspired by Threads” competition and a 2001 finalist in the Beefeater Bold Spirits Design Competition.
Assistant Professor of Fashion, Fashion Program Chair
M.F.A., Savannah College of Art and Design, B.F.A., School of Visual Arts and Design of Puerto Rico.
Stephanie Carlo is a fashion and textile designer. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, her fashion design aesthetics are influenced by her background in fine arts and her interest in art history. As Carlo has expanded her skills as a textile designer and as a fashion illustrator, she has never set aside her practice as a fashion designer. She is designing textiles as a freelancer for apparel and accessories designers in Puerto Rico, the United States and Germany. Carlo earned an M.F.A. in Fashion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.F.A. in Fashion Design and Printmaking from the School of Visual Arts and Design of Puerto Rico.
Dr. Monica McMurry
Ph.D., M.Sc., University of Missouri-Columbia, B.F.A., Stephens College
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.
Dr. James Terry
Ph.D., M.A., University of Missouri-Columbia, B.A., Wesleyan University
Dr. James Terry is an archaeologist and art historian. He holds a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has participated in archaeological field work in Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and Tunisia and, as a Fulbright Scholar, spent a year living in North Africa researching Late Roman and Early Byzantine tomb mosaics. His research interests include human sacrifice in ancient Greek art and the paleolithic roots of artistic pleasure.
Dr. Leslie Swanda Willey ’83