Meadows Welcomes 14 Full-Time, 5 Visiting New Faculty Members for 2023-24
Join us in welcoming 19 new faculty members to Meadows, in divisions ranging from art and theatre to journalism and film, and learn more about these new members of our community.
N. Andrew Elliott | Advertising, Executive in Residence
N. Andrew Elliott joins Meadows’ Temerlin Advertising Institute (TAI) this school year as the new Executive in Residence. Prior to arriving at Meadows, Elliott garnered over 20 years of leadership experience at notable companies like Nokia and Microsoft. His work in the world of traditional and digital advertising elevated his reputation as a visionary strategist, and he is excited to join the TAI team in preparing the next generation of advertising executives for a lifetime of success. “It’s the chance to work with Hall of Fame Advertisers and overall rockstar advertising experts,” Elliott says. “This team is world class.”
Jer’Lisa Devezin | Art, Assistant Professor of Practice
Jer’Lisa Devezin is transitioning from her previous faculty position to being full-time as an Assistant Professor of Practice in Interdisciplinary Art this school year. Devezin, who is a Meadows alum (M.F.A. ’19), works in an interdisciplinary practice that has an emphasis in ceramics, metal, and video/performance, with influences coming from the aesthetics and culture of the diaspora, specifically African and Haitian art, Black culture, and nostalgic memories of New Orleans. The experimental investigations she creates through video and performance explore the relationships between physical labor, sexuality, and Black womanhood, while communicating ideas of strength, resourcefulness, beauty and power.
Ian Grieve | Art, Visiting Lecturer
Ian Grieve is a Dallas-based visual artist and SMU alum (B.F.A.’19, M.F.A.’23) who is joining Meadows’ Division of Art as a Visiting Lecturer. His work, which he says explores chance, suggestions, and the absurdity of time’s deterioration, spans many artistic mediums including ceramics, collage, sculpture, and, primarily, figurative painting. Grieve believes that a safe learning environment is essential for young artists. “I encourage student-driven, self-proposed projects where individuals and groups can lead and take ownership of certain portions of the course,” he says. “I find that this empowers each student to connect with their potential and fully immerse themselves.”
Kerry Maguire | Art, Visiting Professor of Practice
Kerry Maguire is an artist, sound creator, writer and educator from Canada who is joining Meadows as a Visiting Professor of Practice in the Division of Art. Her methods are rooted in printmaking, but her multidisciplinary approach also draws from sculpture and digital methods. Her goal in the studio is to encourage students to try as many media, ideas, perspectives and approaches as possible. Maguire says she also tries to learn alongside her students: “I am always learning as much from them as they are from me.”
Zoë Hess Carney | CCPA, Professor of Practice in Political Communications
Zoë Hess Carney is transitioning from an adjunct faculty position to being full-time as a Professor of Practice in Political Communications in Meadows’ CCPA program this school year. She was originally drawn to the program because of its emphasis on preparing students to be leaders in government and civil society through active local, national, and global citizenship practices. Carney designs her courses around the idea that communication is a citizen-making discipline and as such, her classroom is a prime location for discourses on race, gender, class, and the role of communication in forming and challenging systems of oppression. “It's exciting to see students learning in the classroom, and around the world, through Meadows programs,” she explains.
Silas Farley | Dance, Artist in Residence in Ballet
Silas Farley, a former dancer with the New York City Ballet, joins Meadows’ Division of Dance as the Armstrong Artist in Residence in Ballet. He has taught nationally and internationally, including a previous stint as a Visiting Artist at Meadows during the 2020-21 school year. Farley has choreographed numerous productions for institutions like the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, Slovak National Ballet, Colburn School, USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, the Kennedy Center, and more. During the fall semester, he will teach and choreograph a new ballet to the music of Francis Poulenc for undergraduate dance students in collaboration with Meadows musicians. “I am looking forward to connecting the concepts explored in ballet technique class with the movement vocabulary in this new choreography,” he says. “I also hope for the students to connect their personal journeys with the larger arc of ballet's history and development and to gain the skills to teach themselves.”
Michelle N. Gibson | Dance, Professor of Practice
Michelle N. Gibson is transitioning from her previous faculty position to being full-time as a Professor of Practice in Meadows’ Division of Dance this year. Gibson Is a self-proclaimed storyteller, employing body and mind to build a bridge between the arts and academia. She employs pedagogical practices deeply rooted in both her New Orleans upbringing and the Black church to provides cultural narratives and historical context for Diaspora and African American dance forms, music, and communal gatherings. On stage and in the classroom, Gibson’s dance, choreography, and associated scholarship evoke the social, political, economic and spiritual understandings central to building bonds within and across cultures.
Alvon Reed | Dance, Artist in Residence in Jazz
Alvon Reed is a professional artist, performer, choreographer and instructor who is joining Meadows’ Division of Dance as the Artist in Residence in Jazz. He has choregraphed productions such as 9 to 5, American Idiot, Big Love, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, Rent, and more, and performed in productions like Iphegenia, Othello, and the first multi-ethnic production of Oklahoma. Reed has also taught his craft around the world and is guided by two principles in jazz dance in his teaching: the community and the individual. “I teach from these two principles because they help to create a strong sense of equity and inclusivity in the classroom,” he explains. “The community is established through a series of tasks and exercises geared toward creating a learning environment where different methods can be supported; the individual is then informed by the support of the community which leads the dancer to a deeper understanding of themselves.”
Michelle Glasby-Millington | Film, Professor of Practice in Screenwriting
Michelle Glasby-Millington joins Meadows’ Division of Film as a Professor of Practice in Screenwriting this school year. She comes to SMU after teaching screenwriting and film studies for nine years at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill, in Barbados. Glasby-Millington has written screenplays for both feature-length films and television series, and her feature-length screenplay Hurricane Summer was the first runner-up in the ABC/Disney Screenwriting Fellowship Competition in 2005. Her creative work centers on women, stories of the African diaspora, her native South Louisiana, migrants and historical events. Glasby-Millington is excited to join the Meadows faculty because it provides her with an opportunity to further research and grow creative projects aligned with her interests, which include migration and global Black stories. “As a teaching artist, I believe in immersing myself in my chosen medium,” she explains. “My aim is to encourage students to commit to their art – work on it every day – find their niche or distinctive voice, be open minded and take creative risks.”
Vonnie Smith | Film, Professor of Practice
Vonnie Smith, who joins Meadows’ Division of Film this year, is a self-proclaimed Afrofuturist whose creative practice is rooted in experimental film and video art, expanded documentary, curation, and zine making. He has created several short form experimental documentaries and music videos, some of which has shown at film festival around the country. Smith was originally drawn to Meadows because of its emphasis on teaching students to develop connections between art, entrepreneurship, and change, which he believes align perfectly with his goals as an artist, filmmaker and scholar. “Students should feel empowered by the material they are engaging with,” he says, and cites the classroom as a place of liberation. “My role is to present students with information and resources that they then engage with and decide how to best incorporate the knowledge in their lives and careers.”
Melissa Harrison | Journalism, Digital Media Executive in Residence
Melissa Harrison comes to Meadows’ Division of Journalism as the Digital Media Executive in Residence. Harrison, who is a bilingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience in television and radio news, has worked as both a news anchor and full-time professor at institutions across the country. When teaching, she thinks there is nothing more exciting than witnessing a student’s “lightbulb moment” as they discover their gifts and passions they have and begin to take ownership and pride in their work. “I believe that the best way to learn how to be a journalist is through practice, so I do my very best to give students as many opportunities as possible to put the skills they are learning in the classroom to use,” explains Harrison. “This helps to build their confidence and allows them to discover which aspects of the profession they are drawn to the most.”
Charlie Scudder | Journalism, Professor of Practice
Charlie Scudder is transitioning from an adjunct faculty position to being full-time as a Professor of Practice in Meadows’ Division of Journalism this school year. He has published work in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Dallas Morning News, USA Today, and more, and has won multiple local, state, and national reporting awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing and the Michael Brick Storytelling Award. Scudder, who is an SMU graduate (M.L.S. ’17), believes students learn best with hands-on, real-world experiences. “I give my students real-world reporting assignments that help introduce them to the newsgathering and newswriting process,” explains Scudder. “Working side-by-side with students to help them turn a ‘good enough’ draft into an excellent published clip is the best feeling.”
Sergei Babayan | Music, Artist in Residence in Piano
Sergei Babayan, renowned international pianist, joins Meadows’ Division of Music this year as the Joel Estes Tate Endowed Chair in Piano and Artist in Residence. Babayan, who is also on the faculty at The Juilliard School, is a winner of the Cleveland, Hamamatsu and Scottish International Piano Competitions and was a student of piano greats Georgy Sarajiev, Lev Naumov, Vera Gornostaeva and Mikhail Pletnev at the Moscow Conservatory. Along with his immense knowledge and experience in the art of piano, he will be bringing a talented group of students with him as he joins Meadows’ Division of Music. “Mr. Babayan’s dual abilities as concert pianist and educator are unparalleled,” said Carol Leone, Chair of Piano Studies. “He has a deep commitment to the growth of young pianists and his artistry will undoubtedly have great impact on the future of the Meadows and Dallas arts communities.”
Christopher Mason | Music, Interim Director of Choral Activities and Visiting Professor of Practice
Christopher Mason steps into the role of Interim Director of Choral Activities in Meadows’ Division of Music this school year while also acting as a visiting professor of practice. Mason, who is a Meadows alum (B.M. ’06), has taught all levels of secondary choral education and AP Music Theory, and is the Founding Artistic Director of Vox GR, a premiere professional choir in Grand Rapids, MI. He is delighted to return to his alma mater, a place he says changed his life forever through the incredible professors, to continue that special legacy with his own students. “My teaching philosophy is that great art is created at the intersection of the brain and the heart,” he says. “I want to empower my students to be excellent craftspeople and to make musical choices driven by the heart-filled passion to connect, communicate and express.”
Michael Scarola | Music, Visiting Professor of Practice
Michael Scarola joins the Division of Music at Meadows as a Visiting Professor of Practice, specializing in voice. Scarola has been on the directing staffs of the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera and New York City Opera. He has worked extensively with numerous Young Artist and university programs around the country, and is excited to have the opportunity to share his extensive professional experience in the opera world with his new SMU students, as well as his love and passion for this art form. “I have been very fortunate to have worked in some of the greatest opera houses in the country and with some of the greatest opera singers of my generation,” says Scarola. “I feel that it is now my responsibility to pass that knowledge on to the next generation of singers as I help prepare them for the rigors of a professional career.”
Eric J. Schmidt | Music, Lecturer in Musicology
Eric J. Schmidt comes to SMU Meadows’ Division of Music as a Lecturer in Musicology with a unique musical background in ethnomusicology, an interdisciplinary field that strives to engage music from multiple holistic perspectives. His specific research focuses on the entanglements of music and global capitalism across northwest Africa’s arid Sahel and Sahara regions, and he is excited to share this globally-minded passion with his students. “I see my role as a teacher to be that of a learning facilitator, someone who is knowledgeable and experienced who can help guide students to learn something, but who can’t do it for them,” shares Schmidt. “An exciting and challenging dimension of this approach is remaining curious to learn alongside and from students, too.”
Leon Turner | Music, Visiting Professor of Practice
Leon Turner joins Meadows this school year as a Visiting Professor of Practice in the Division of Music. He is an opera singer and has starred in performances of Carmen, Faust, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Porgy and Bess, and more. Due to his operatic talents, Turner was also cast as a gospel singer in the movie Leap of Faith, starring Steven Martin, Liam Neeson and Debra Winger. Turner, who is a Meadows alum (M.M. ’92), says that his time at the school inspired him to come back and join the faculty. “My wonderful educational experiences as a student and the desire to share the knowledge that helped propel me to professionalism drew me back to Meadows,” he explains. “I have an opportunity to guide very smart, dedicated students with phenomenal talent to their full potential.”
Joel Ferrell | Theatre, Professor of Practice
Joel Ferrell, a new Professor of Practice in the Division of Theatre, comes to Meadows from the nationally-recognized Dallas Theater Center. Ferrell is a seasoned director, choreographer, educator, and consultant, who has directed and choreographed extensively around the country as well as taught at many Texas educational institutions including Texas Wesleyan University, The University of North Texas and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. In the classroom, Ferrell works to set a “high bar” for students while actively supporting them as unique individuals. “My job is to lift and celebrate the already exemplary work by adding new opportunities for growth, development and recognition,” he explains. “There is nowhere else I'd rather be to launch a new, forward-thinking musical theater program than here at SMU Meadows.”
Cole McCarty | Theatre, Professor of Practice in Costume Design
Cole McCarty joins Meadows’ Division of Theatre as a Professor of Practice in Costume Design. As a professional costume designer, associate, and assistant designer, he has worked with some of the top directors, actors, and designers in the professional world, both nationally and internationally. He serves as the resident costume designer for the Brooklyn-based theater and media company, Fake Friends, and his work has also been seen on film at various festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, New Director/New Works, the Switzerland International Film Festival and the Amsterdam International Film Festival. At Meadows, he will be teaching first-year and advanced courses in Costume Design, History of Costume, Text Analysis for Designers and Textiles.