The Stephens College M.F.A. in Television and Screenwriting, established in 2014, has named Dr. Rosanne Welch as the new executive director. Program founder and former director Ken LaZebnik will serve as Writer-in-Residence, while Khanisha Foster ’17, a graduate of the M.F.A. program, will serve as associate director. The program also features 15 faculty mentors and a rotating group of guest lecturers, all working writers, members of the Writers Guild and successful industry professionals.

Rosanne.Welch headshotWelch has served as a faculty member in the M.F.A. program since its start, creating a set of courses around the history of screenwriting, and teaching courses in one-hour drama. Her television writing credits include “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Picket Fences,” “ABC News Nightline” and “Touched by an Angel.”

She edited “When Women Wrote Hollywood,” a book of essays published in 2018 that was named runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award honoring the best anthology, multi-authored or edited book in feminist studies by the Popular Culture Association. She co-edited “Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia,” which was named to both the 2018 Outstanding References Sources List and the list of Best Historical Materials by the American Library Association, and authored “Why the Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Popular Culture.”

Welch serves as book reviews editor for the Journal of Screenwriting and on the editorial board for Written By magazine. She was elected to the executive committee of the international Screenwriting Research Network this year for a two-year term.

Ken Headshot small 2 copyLaZebnik is best known for his work as a screenwriter, television writer and playwright. He co-wrote Robert Altman’s last film, “A Prairie Home Companion,” with Garrison Keillor. He also wrote the popular holiday film “The Christmas Cottage,” starring Peter O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden. Over the past 25 years, he has written primarily for one-hour television, including more than 20 episodes of “Touched by An Angel.” He also has written for “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Army Wives,” “Providence” and “When Calls the Heart.”

LaZebnik’s plays have been performed across America. He has written three plays on the subject of autism. “On the Spectrum” earned him a Steinberg Award from the American Theatre Critics Association. His newest play, “Autonomy,” premiered at The Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis in Spring 2019. He wrote for Garrison Keillor’s radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” for eight seasons, and currently is a writer and producer for Paula Poundstone’s podcast, “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.”

LaZebnik also has taught television writing and screenwriting at the Long Island University TV Writers Studio in New York, the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark M.F.A. program, Pepperdine University, the University of California-Riverside and the Writers Guild of America Veterans Writing Program.

Khanisha FosterFoster is a writer, performer and director, the associate artistic director of 2nd Story, an ensemble member of Teatro Vista, a TCG Young Leaders of Color member, and a resident teaching artist at Center Theatre Group. She also has collaborated with the Citizens Theatre in Scotland. She directed Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” the adaption of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Intimate Apparel.”

Her writing can be found in the anthologies “Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low Flying Duck” and “A Mixtape of Words,” in which she chronicles an attempt to learn all of Beyoncé’s dances. She also was a featured storyteller on NPR’s “The Dinner Party Download.”

She is working on a show called “Code Switching” and hosts the podcast “How I Wrote That,” which focuses on women who write for TV and film. In addition to being on faculty at Stephens College, Foster is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts.


Tags : Faculty Excellence, Alumnae Achievement, College & Campus, School of Creative & Performing Arts

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