Honors College Faculty


Honors faculty are known for their teaching excellence and passion for working with students. Drawn from across Westminster's many departments, programs, and colleges, Honors faculty participate in the program because they enjoy teaching highly driven students, they find interdisciplinary approaches to their subjects satisfying, and they value the excitement that team-teaching provides.

Richard Badenhausen (Honors)

Richard's 2004 book, T. S. Eliot and the Art of Collaboration (Cambridge UP) Richard's 2004 book, T. S. Eliot and the Art of Collaboration (Cambridge UP) was called by one critic "...perhaps the most interesting critical study of Eliot in a decade." Currently the president of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Badenhausen is also the Founding Dean of the Honors College and has taught at Westminster since 2001. He received Westminster’s Gore Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014.

Karlyn Bond (Music)

Karlyn has taught in Honors since 1997. She holds a DMA in piano performance from the University of Southern California. Her other areas of interest are literature, religion, philosophy, and history.

Bill Bynum (Math)

Past recipient of the college's Excellence in Teaching award, Bill has taught in the Westminster math department since 1989—and thrives in an interactive classroom. He currently serves on the faculty team for QUARC (Quantitative Analysis and Research Co-op).

Peggy Cain (Education)

Peggy researches and teaches about learning, social movements, and social change, with a focus on indigenous knowledges and complexity/systems thinking. She has an MA in Latin American studies/economic development and a PhD in adult education. She has extensive experience in Latin America and directs the Master of Arts in Community Leadership and Master of Education programs.

Russell Costa (Honors/Neuroscience)

Russ is a cognitive scientist who studies the psychology and neuroscience of attention and perception of objects, of space, and of risk. In his classes, he explores the role of science in society, particularly issues concerning methodology, ethics, history, and philosophy of the social, behavioral, and brain sciences.

Alicia Cunningham-Bryant (Honors)

An award-winning teacher, Alicia holds the Kim T. Adamson Endowed Professorship in the Honors College and directs the campus-wide office of Fellowship Advising. Alicia has extensive experience as an archivist and curator at museums in Philadelphia and New Haven, Connecticut; and she has done archeological field work in Egypt and Jordan. Alicia earned a BA at University of California, San Diego (double majoring in history and archeology) and her PhD in near eastern languages and civilizations at Yale University.

Lesa Ellis (Neuroscience)

Lesa is a graduate of Westminster College and, after earning her PhD at the University of Oregon, returned to Westminster as faculty. The winner of the college's 2015 Gore Excellence in Teaching Award, she currently chairs the neuroscience program and studies genetic and cognitive contributions to anxiety.

Connie Etter (Honors/Global Studies & Justice Studies)

Connie is an interdisciplinary scholar with extensive experience in south India. She uses feminist, social justice, and anthropological lenses to think about, and with, experiences of oppression and pursuits of social transformation in everyday life. She explores these issues through ethnographic and literary texts, community engaged learning, and study abroad in India.

Kellie Gerbers (Outdoor Education & Leadership)

Kellie Gerbers completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Florida State University in 2017, where she studied organizational culture and legitimacy of college outdoor recreation programs. A huge proponent of global learning, Kellie has led study abroad expeditions in Costa Rica and Jamaica. Kellie is a Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator, AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor, PADI-certified diver, and a WMTC Wilderness First Responder (WFR). She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE).

Dave Goldsmith (Geology)

Dave Goldsmith is a paleontologist and chair of the geology program. In addition to his research on fossil clams and snails, he has also published several works on the nineteenth century origins of evolutionary theory.

Jo Hinsdale (Director, McNair Scholars Program)

Jo holds a PhD in philosophy of education and is interested in relational pedagogy, especially as it is expressed in mentoring across differences of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Her book Mutuality, Mystery, and Mentorship in Higher Education was published by Sense in 2015.

Julia Kamenetzky (Physics)

Julia is an astrophysicist with specialization in submillimeter spectroscopy of the molecular gas in nearby galaxies and, more locally, in the measurement and characterization of human-caused light pollution here on Earth. She has also published in the field of science policy.

Kimi Kawashima (Music)

Kim maintains a performing career of diverse interests and repertoire, regularly appearing as a pianist with the Grand Teton Music Festival, Utah Symphony, and NOVA Chamber Music Series. Her performances have taken her to the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Rothko Chapel. Kimi earned a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and DMA in Piano Performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Her interests include 20th century music and examining music as expressive texts within historical, cultural and political contexts.

Han Kim (Public Health)

An epidemiologist, Han’s research focuses on global health, particularly in the social determinants of health as it pertains to social justice issues. He is also the director of the public health program.

Matt Kruback (Art)

Matt Kruback's interests include landscape theory, the history of landscape art in Northern Europe and the United States, and the politics of landscape and culture. See his work.

Chris Lecluyse (English)

Chris LeCluyse directs the Writing Center and regularly teaches academic writing, writing pedagogy, and the history and structure of English. He is also a professional singer specializing in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music and is the co-founder of Utopia Early Music.

Hikmet Loe (Art)

Hikmet is an expert on Utah earthworks "Spiral Jetty" and "Sun Tunnels." Her book, The Spiral Jetty Encyclo: Exploring Robert Smithson's Earthwork through Time and Place was co-published by the University of Utah Press and Tanner Trust Fund in 2017. She teaches art history and is actively engaged in regional and national art programs related to Land Art.

Nick More (Philosophy)

An expert on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Nick received Westminster College's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007 and was named Utah Professor of the Year in 2008, for which he was honored in Washington, DC. His book, Nietzsche's Last Laugh, is published by Cambridge University Press.

Jeff Nichols (History)

Jeff specializes in Utah, western, and environmental history. He is the author of Prostitution, Polygamy and Power and co-author of Playing with Shadows: Voices of Dissent in the Mormon West . He co-directs the Institute for Mountain Research with Brent Olson.

Kristjane Nordmeyer (Sociology)

Kristjane Nordmeyer is an associate professor of sociology and current chair of gender studies. Kristjane's teaching interests include gender, sexuality, food, cats, and study-abroad in Scandinavia.

Brent Olson (Environmental Studies)

Brent is an interdisciplinary scholar who uses approaches from environmental history and geography to consider the political economy of natural resources in the American West. He is also co-director of the Institute for Mountain Research at Westminster.

Giancarlo Panagia (Justice Studies)

Giancarlo studies the intersectionalities of gender with "other" isms, including ableism, while also utilizing a critical analysis approach to crime and deviance, especially the school to prison pipeline and the sociopolitical construction of migration. He adds his expertise to the learning of issues of environment, justice, and nature in the interdisciplinary environmental studies program with courses like environmental, food and climate justice.

Michael Popich (Philosophy)

Founding director of the Honors program, Michael is an expert on the Holocaust, genocide in Africa, and violence in the Middle East. His current research focuses on social justice and poverty. He coaches Westminster's nationally known ethics bowl team and serves on the national executive committee for promoting ethics bowl. He is the 2017 winner of Westminster’s Gore Excellence in Teaching Award. Michael is the chair of the selection committee for Westminster’s nationally-known “Tanner-McMurrin Lecture Series in the History and Philosophy of Religion.”

Sean Raleigh (Mathematics/Data Science)

Sean Raleigh received his PhD in mathematics from U.C. San Diego, specializing in geometric topology and knot theory. Lately, Sean has been active in data science, advocating for Bayesian methods in data analysis, chairing the Data Science program, and co-directing QUARC, the Quantitative Analysis and Research Cooperative.

Christy Seifert (Communications)

Christy Seifert has a PhD in English with an emphasis in rhetoric and professional writing, and is a professor of communication. She is the co-director of the Master of Strategic Communication program and is the author of The Predicteds (a novel published in 3 languages); Virginity in Young Adult Literature after Twilight ; Whoppers: History's Most Outrageous Liars; and The Factory Girls: A Kaleidoscopic Account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire . She's written articles and essays for Business Communication Quarterly, International Journal of Self-Directed Learning, Inside Higher Ed, Bitch Magazine, and The Atavist Magazine.

Julie Stewart (Honors)

Julie is an award-winning teacher and scholar of globalization and displacement. She seeks to better understand how people re-build community, engage in politics, and strive for upward mobility following displacement. She has published more than a dozen scholarly works on Guatemalan refugees, Mexican immigrants, and US migration policy.

Heidi van Ert (Education)

Heidi has a background in the arts, arts education, and gifted education. She is passionate about creativity and working collaboratively with other people on challenging and creative projects.

Michael Vought (Theatre)

Michael chaired the theatre program at Westminster for two decades. During that time he has directed over 50 productions. He recently founded the Great Salt Lake Fringe festival and serves as its executive director.

John Watkins (Economics)

John's teaching and research interests focus on the history of economic thought, political economy, and economic crises. He is a winner of the college's Gore Excellence in Teaching Award.


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