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College welcomes two new faculty members

January 5, 2016

Stephens will welcome two new faculty members this semester. 

Dr. Ann Breidenbach has been named Sara Jane Johnson Scholar and will be on faculty in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies this semester in a full-time, tenure-track position. Broadway actor Lisa Brescia will join the School of Performing Arts this semester as a visiting guest artist for acting.

Breidenbach, who has served as an adjunct for three semesters, will teach women in film, a literature course focusing on memoirs and a women’s studies course, “Women and the Military.

Breidenbach earned her undergraduate degree in language arts and taught in public schools in California before returning to her home state of Michigan, where she taught junior high. That sparked an interest in counseling, so Breidenbach went back to school to earn a M.A. in Counseling Psychology. When she and her late husband moved to Columbia in 1994 to allow him to return to school, Breidenbach worked at the Family Counseling Center. She became interested in writing while earning her doctorate and took a creative nonfiction writing class to spruce up her doctorate. She enjoyed the class so much that she took it twice. That’s when she went on to earn a M.F.A. in creative writing.

Stephens is allowing all of my experiences to come together,” she said, adding that after she taught her first class here as an adjunct, “I immediately fell in love with it.

Breidenbach described her teaching style as reflective. “I take cues from my students and learn from them along the way, adjusting my teaching based on their interests,” she said. “Ultimately, I hope I’m teaching them how to see the world through a new lens, to think critically and examine the world around them.

Brescia will direct “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in February while teaching four acting classes throughout the semester.

Brescia has an incredible resume of credits, including playing Donna Sheridan in “Mamma Mia!,” Cleo in “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and Amneris in “Aida” on Broadway. Regional theatre credits include Victoria in “Victor/Victoria,” the Witch in “Into the Woods,” Elphaba in “Wicked” and Hermione in “A Winter’s Tale.”

Brescia is also head teacher and founder of The Actor’s Playgroup in New York. She has an M.F.A. in Classical Acting from the Academy for Classical Acting, George Washington University.

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