The Western Program
at Miami University
Meet Our Faculty and Staff
Our faculty includes professors from:
... making for a lively blend of perspectives from different disciplines.
This mix offers you an opportunity for integrating your varied interests as you build an intellectual community with faculty, as well as your fellow students. Western has a long and vibrant tradition of close interaction among faculty and students who seek to enrich their teaching and learning by extending them beyond the classroom.
Kevin Armitage (Assistant Professor) has worked as a research scientist, bus driver, teacher, bouncer, bartender, and commercial fisherman in Naknek, Alaska. His PhD is in American history and his research interests include American environmental and cultural history, and modern social theory.
Ann Elizabeth Armstrong (Associate Professor of Theatre) specializes in directing, community-based theatre, feminist theatre, and intercultural theatre. She received an Ohio Humanities Council Grant for her Freedom Summer walking tour and co-directs an interdisciplinary project that culminated in the 2009 world premiere of the play Down in Mississippi. Armstrong is faculty advisor for the Walking Theatre Project, a student-led activist theatre company.
Hays Cummins (Professor) earned his PhD in oceanography and has led courses to the Bahamas, Florida Keys, Netherland Antilles, and Costa Rica. His research focuses on the reconstruction of past ecological communities in marine systems and understanding ecological change, particularly the impacts of global change on coral reefs. He also has a passion for weather and astronomy. [Personal Website]
Kim Ernsting (Assistant Director) has over 25 years' experience in academic advising, career and leadership development, internships and cooperative education, student activities and residence life.
Carolyn Haynes (Director of the University Honors Program) earned her PhD in American literature, with a specialization in teaching writing, and since coming to Miami, she has taught over 40 courses on a range of interdisciplinary topics. She is currently an affiliate of the Western Program. Her passion is helping students to develop as scholars, thinkers and persons.
Sally Harrison-Pepper (Professor) has degrees in comparative religion, anthropology and performance studies. She is also a director and performance artist, a jeweler, and a second degree black belt. Her current research interest lies within the vast interdisciplinary intersections of baseball and American culture, with special interests in baseball and religion, baseball and issues of integrity, and baseball and patriotism. She teaches courses on Baseball & American Culture (of course), Rites of Passage & Liminality, Politics & Art, Ritual, Play & Performance, and Art & Healing in Bail, among others.
Katie Johnson (Associate Professor of English) specializes in theatre, film, and gender studies. While teaching at Western in the 1990s, she designed creativity and culture courses and directed plays for the Western performance group. Katie also directed and acted in productions of The Vagina Monologues. Katie is writing a book on race and gender performance in early 20th-century theatre.
Xiuwu Liu (Assistant Professor) has been teaching at Western since 1994, and is a jack of all trades—including pingpong—and master of none. Recently he's taught Self and Place, Science and Faith, and Chinese Satire. He has published three books.
Nicholas P. Money (Director and Professor of Botany) has studied fungal biology since graduating from the University of Bristol in England in 1983. At Miami he has worked on a variety of research projects with students that have included experiments on fungal development and the amazing mechanisms that catapult fungal spores into the air. He is the author of a quartet of popular books on fungal biology, including Mushroom published by Oxford University Press in 2011.
[See The Man Who Studies the Fungus Among Us (NPR author interview).]
He says: "My research and teaching are defined by my love of science and belief in its power to make sense of life, the universe, and everything else." His engagement in the Western Program has allowed him to explore his wider interests in the relationship between science and the arts.