During the last decade, Mace Archer crisscrossed the country performing as an actor and director. The stage is still a focal point for him, but as Randolph College’s newest assistant professor of theatre, he is now able to establish roots.
“The main draw of Randolph to me is the intimate size of the campus. Knowing that there is a close-knit relationship between students and professors is a great thing, particularly in theatre training,” Archer said.
Archer is one of nine new, full-time faculty members hired this year, including four for new positions in theatre, communication, business and economics, and art.
“By hiring nine new faculty, Randolph College is taking a strong stand in support of the quality of its academic program,” said Dennis Stevens, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “These faculty members have brought new excitement to an already strong faculty; they have energized students and have shown that they want to make their own, unique contribution to the future of the College.”
Archer earned his master of fine arts in directing from Illinois State University. He was an assistant professor of theatre at Montana State University before co-founding and serving as artistic director for Venture Theatre in Billings, Montana. He then traveled across the country as a freelance actor and director. He also taught classes in improvisation and classical acting.
At Randolph, Archer wants to help theatre students polish their craft. One vehicle for that will be a No Shame Theatre. This popular forum features original, five-minute performances.
“With No Shame, we want an environment of creative energy and a community of artists who make performing part of their weekly lives,” said Archer. “It’s a wild and exciting event for Randolph.”
Mark Harrison relies on his background working in the petroleum industry to teach his students about real-life business situations.
Before coming to Randolph as an associate professor of business and economics, Harrison was a business professor at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire and an online adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland. He has also taught at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire and at the University of Texas in Austin, where he completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in economics. Prior to that, Harrison spent 10 years working as an engineering and management consultant for petroleum companies in Southeast Asia.
In 2009, he served as a Fulbright Scholar to Indonesia, teaching economics and business courses at the Bandung Institute of Technology in Bandung.
“The point of the Fulbright is to build international relations, and I couldn’t have been treated better,” he said. “I really enjoyed and felt comfortable living in a predominantly Muslim society.”
He has been impressed with the Randolph students he has met.
“We have good students here,” said Harrison. “I feel a lot of positive energy. I look around, and I see a lot of good stuff going on.”
Standing in a gallery of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Leanne Zalewski clearly enjoys her new job as an assistant professor of art. The College’s art collection is a big part of why she came to Randolph, and she plans to use the artwork in her classes.
Zalewski earned her Ph.D. in art history from City University of New York. She taught there and at the Pratt Institute in New York and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. She has also completed a fellowship at the Center for the History of Art Collecting in America at the Frick Art Reference Library and the Frick Collection in New York.
“I have a unique background because I’ve worked at an auction house and a commercial gallery, as well as in academia,” she said. “I’ve touched on all the different areas of the art world.”
While Zalewski is most interested in 19th-century art history, “I love art, period,” she said. “I’m enthusiastic about all of it, so I hope my enthusiasm is infectious.”
Chad Beck comes to Randolph as an assistant professor of communication studies after spending three years in the largest city in North America: Mexico City. Beck received a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Abroad Fellowship to conduct research in Mexico and taught communications courses at Anáhuac University. He also used the time to complete his dissertation on the Mexican television industry.
He earned his Ph.D. in communication and culture from Indiana University. Beck holds masters’ degrees in English and film studies and in cinema and media studies. He has taught at Indiana University, North Carolina State University, and New York City Technical College.
Beck’s academic specialties include media industries, film, television, and digital media. Within those subjects he incorporates race and ethnicity, globalization, cultural identity, and political economy.
At Randolph, Beck has been impressed with the diversity of students on campus, including their backgrounds and perspectives on a variety of issues.
“Students are really intellectually curious here,” Beck said, a trait he hopes to encourage in his teaching. “My style is much more interactive, participatory, rather than the lecturer standing at the podium. I try to get students more involved and give them the sense that they have their own voice, that I’m not the only expert in the room. We all debate together as a community in my classroom.”
Teaching at Randolph was a welcome opportunity for Kelley Deetz to return to Virginia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in black studies at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg and became a fan of the Commonwealth’s vast historical resources.
Deetz has a master’s degree in African American studies and a Ph.D. in African Diaspora studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on enslaved cooks working for Virginia plantations.
“I love the small classes at Randolph, which allow me to work more closely with students. The location is ideal, since it’s close to local archives, museums, and historical sites,” she said.
Deetz’s courses incorporate visits to local historic attractions like Poplar Forest, where her students get to do hands-on archaeology, as well as Monticello in Charlottesville. Her latest research examines the aesthetics, functions, and history of African Diaspora gaming traditions.
Caroline Mann uses discussions about current events and a variety of multimedia such as videos, movies, and photographs in her psychology courses to help students relate to topics like conformity, obedience, and prejudice.
“My number one thing is to be engaging and spark students’ curiosity,” she said.
Mann has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Her research incorporates clinical and social psychology, focusing on prejudice, attitudes, and the ways people perceive one another.
Katrin Schenk comes to Randolph from the University of California, San Francisco, where she conducted research on theoretical neuroscience and biology at the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology. While Schenk enjoyed her research, she missed teaching and sought a position where she could work directly with students.
“I just really missed it,” she said of having a regular teaching schedule. “I love research, but research with no teaching is not for me.”
At Randolph, Schenk is teaching courses in astronomy and physics and continuing her research in computational neuroscience. She also runs the monthly public open houses (Star Parties) at Randolph's Winfree Observatory.
For Christopher Otwell, the satisfaction of designing a good set for a play is just as fulfilling as giving a good performance.
“You get to create the world that a play unfolds in,” he said. “So for actors that think they get the biggest ego trip on stage with applause, I would say it’s at least as much of an ego trip to be behind the scenes creating this world.”
Otwell earned his MFA in scenic design from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. This fall he is teaching scenic design and stagecraft, courses that introduce students to lighting, sound, and scenery construction.
“As a scenic designer you have to know a little bit about everything,” he said. “Any knowledge that you can soak up in life is going to help you.”
An Ohio native, Jeff Heinfeldt earned his Ph.D. in finance from Kent State University and his undergraduate degree and M.B.A. from Bowling Green State University. He has professional experience in banking and corporate accounting and most recently taught at Ohio Northern University before coming to Randolph.
Heinfeldt enjoys teaching business, accounting, and finance classes for a small, liberal arts college like Randolph.
“I try to be energetic and enthusiastic about the subjects I teach. I think that reflects the sense that I like what I do,” he said. “I also like student participation. It’s their time, their class. They should feel free to speak up and interact.”
The fall sports season marked Jamie Campbell’s return to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), this time as the women’s and men’s head tennis coach at Randolph College. As an undergraduate at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, Campbell was the top ranked women’s tennis player at the school for three years and an All-ODAC team selection throughout her undergraduate career.
For the past seven years, Campbell led the women’s tennis team at the University of Texas at El Paso, a Division I school. The program posted 48 wins from 2007–10, the most successful stretch in the school’s history.
Campbell earned a B.S. in sport medicine at Guilford and an M.S. in kinesiology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she was an assistant tennis coach. She spent five years as the women’s head tennis coach at Binghamton University in New York as the school grew from Division III to Division I status.
“I want to teach students here to take what they think they can do to a much higher level,” she said.
New Head Softball Coach Caroline Cubbage is also no stranger to the ODAC. She is a 2007 graduate of Lynchburg College, where she was a three-time Division III All-American in softball.
“I love this conference, and I’m very familiar with the region,” Cubbage said, adding that her knowledge of the area will help with recruiting efforts.
She was the head softball coach last year at Concordia University in Nebraska, which finished the season with a 24-18 record. Cubbage earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Lynchburg College and a master’s degree in sport administration from Ball State University in Indiana.
Cubbage will lead a growing WildCat team that ended last season with 21 victories and a second consecutive trip to the ODAC tournament.
Josiah Bunting III currently serves as president of the Lehrman American Studies Center at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Delaware and The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation in New York City.
A graduate of Virginia Military Institute and a Vietnam War veteran, Bunting attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and Columbia University as a John Burgess Fellow. A sought-after lecturer, Bunting holds honorary degrees from several colleges. Bunting previously served as president of Briarcliff College and Hampden-Sydney College. He also was superintendent of Virginia Military Institute for eight years during the school’s transition to coeducation.
“I have always been impressed by the stature of the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College graduates I have known,” Bunting said. “The school’s academic reputation has always been high, and I sense that is continuing in its new iteration as Randolph College. I am proud to serve the College in any way I can be useful.”
An accomplished author, Bunting’s publications include Ulysses S. Grant, which was part of Arthur Schlesinger’s American Presidents series; All Loves Excelling, a novel set at a boarding school; The Lionheads, which was selected as one of the “Ten Best Novels of 1973” by Time Magazine; and An Education for Our Time, which was a main selection of the Conservative Book Club in 1998.
Bunting and his wife, Diana, have four children and live in The Plains, Virginia.
Elizabeth Earle Kojaian ’84 is a longtime arts enthusiast and volunteer fundraiser who lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with her husband, Michael, and their three children.
“ Randolph-Macon Woman’s College was an open, warm community that built up your confidence,” Kojaian said. “It was an atmosphere that encouraged participation at any level. That is still true today.”
Kojaian, a psychology major, is involved with a variety of political and arts organizations, including the Michigan Counsel of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Joffery Ballet, the National Republican Party, Detroit Country Day School, and Lighthouse PATH, a Michigan organization that helps women and children.
“I am at a stage in my life where I want to start really giving back,” she added. “I want to bring awareness of what a treasure Randolph College is.”