Victoria Arbizu-Sabater is a Senior Lecturer of Spanish at Rice University. In her 30 years of teaching Spanish, she has taught at schools and universities in Europe and America. She received her B.A. in Elementary Education with a Minor in English for Secondary School and later her M.A. in Spanish Linguistics, both from the University of Seville, Spain. She also obtained an M.A. in Spanish in 1999 from Rice University. She is currently working on her doctorate dissertation at the University of Seville, on the Spanish language competence of Stephen. F. Austin. She is a former president and current member of La Casa de España in Houston, where she has enthusiastically worked to introduce and educate the Houston metro area on the cultures of her native Spain. Her latest professional recognition at Rice was the Outstanding Faculty Associate at Wiess College awarded in 2016.
Nancy Gisbrecht Bailey received her undergraduate degree in music from the University of Redlands (California) and her MA and PhD in musicology from the University of Southern California. She moved to Houston in 1983 where she has taught for various departments at Rice University since that time; she began teaching at the Women’s Institute in 1996. Her research areas are Richard Wagner, and French music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Lisa Balabanlilar is an Associate Professor of History at Rice University. The focus of her research is the Timurid-Mughal dynasty of Central Asia and India, sixteenth-century empire builders who were descended from Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Her broader research interests encompass comparative imperial court culture, movement and procession, power and the landscape. She received her PhD from The Ohio State University in 2007. Her first book, Imperial Identity in the Mughal Empire: Memory and Dynastic Politics in Early Modern South and Central Asia, a study of the Central Asian legacy of the Mughal dynasty of India, was published by I.B. Tauris/Palgrave in 2012.
Dr. Balabanlilar teaches a history of South Asia, a global history of Imperial Pleasure Gardens, Conquest Empires of Central Asia and Comparative Early Modern Islamic Empires (Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal). She has won three teaching awards while at Rice, the most recent (2016) the George R. Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching, Rice’s highest teaching honor.
Dr. Balabanlilar is currently working on a biography of the seventeenth century Mughal Emperor Jahangir and is developing a textbook for the comparative study of imperial pleasure gardens.
Hannah M. Biggs received her B.A. in English Literary Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Otterbein University, and she is currently a PhD candidate in English at Rice University. Her research interests include 20th-century rural and farm writing, agricultural studies, modernism, Midwestern regionalism, the history of veterinary medicine, and human-animal studies. She has published on the works on Louis Bromfield, wrote the critical introduction to the re-release of Irvin S. Cobb’s The Abandoned Farmers, and writes extensively on literary agrarianism. She is the proud doggy parent to four rescue dogs and is an avid equestrian.
David Brauer is the former head of the History of Art Department of the Glassell School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and is a native of Scotland. He was educated in England at the Sir Christopher Wren School and St. Martin’s School of Art from which he received his degree. After extensive travel in Europe, Russia, Turkey, and North Africa, Mr. Brauer returned to England where he worked at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, and taught at the North Oxfordshire College of Art and Technology. Since moving to Houston, he has curated numerous art exhibits: Houston Art in Norway in 1982; Artists’ Progress: Seven Houston Artists 1943-1993 in 1993; Landscape without Figures in 1994; and Images from Space, 1995; Charles Schorre 1925-1996: A Retrospective, 1997, which opened at the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi and traveled to several Texas museums; and he co-curated a Pop Art exhibition at the Menil Collection in 2001. He has taught at the University of Houston and Rice University, and has guest lectured at Columbia University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Texas at Austin, the San Antonio Art Museum, the World Business Council’s conference in Brussels, and the Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado.
B. Jill Carroll, Ph.D., a noted expert on issues of religious tolerance and the philosophy of religion, served as Executive Director of the Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance at Rice University for five years. She holds a doctorate in religious studies from Rice and she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theological and historical studies from Oral Roberts University. She has taught classes and lectures on religion, philosophy, and humanities at Rice University, the University of Houston, and the Jung Center, Houston. Her recent book A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gulen’s Islamic Ideals and Human Discourse was a Publishers Weekly bestseller in religion. A frequent guest on radio and television programs, she has been interviewed by the New York Times, PBS, and “Good Morning America.”
Fernando R. Casas received his B.A. from Colorado College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University. He currently teaches classes at Rice University and the University of Houston. A native of Bolivia, he is also an artist whose works have been exhibited all over the world in numerous group and individual shows. He has received several teaching awards as well as awards for his art.
Ruth Chow-Kneese is a private clothing stylist. She focuses on organizing her clients’ closets as well as dressing them for their every day lives. The ability to pack for a trip with one piece of carry-on luggage is her specialty. She is the former owner of a retail store in Houston that she sold in 2004. She received her degree from Tobe-Coburn School of Fashion in New York and was a member of the Executive Training Program at Joske’s of Houston (now Dillards).
Rebecca D. Cubberly, Ph.D., LMFT, LPC, is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in private practice in Houston for more than thirty years. She received her doctoral degree from Texas Women’s University, following her graduation (magna cum laude) from the University of Houston. Dr. Cubberly has served as president of the Houston Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and as an adjunct clinical professor at the University of Houston, where she supervised interns studying marriage and family counseling. Dr. Cubberly also was a part-time lecturer in psychology at both the University of Houston Clear Lake and at the main campus.
Roberta M. Diddel Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of Disability 101, a non-profit organization providing high quality, consistently available programs to help people with disabling medical conditions and their families learn to adapt and thrive. She also teaches part-time in the Psychology Department at Rice University and at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. As a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Houston, she helps patients meet the challenges of major life transitions, loss and bereavement, chronic illness, brain injury, chronic pain and other disabling conditions. Dr. Diddel received her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and her PhD. in clinical psychology from Boston University.
Terrence Doody received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1970 and joined the faculty of Rice University where he is now a professor in the Department of English and teaches courses in modernism, the novel, and contemporary literature. His publications include Confession and Community in the Novel (Louisiana State University Press, 1980) and Among Other Things: A Description of the Novel (LSU Press, 1998) as well as recent essays on Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, architectural theory, and the poets Eavan Boland and Robert Hass. He is the recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a eight-time winner of a George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching. In 1997 he was also voted the Outstanding Associate of Lovett College and he was awarded the Allison Sarofim Distinguished Teaching Professor for 2002-2003. He has taught for many years in Rice’s program of Continuing Studies and at the Women’s Institute of Houston since 1973.
William E. Frisco, Certified Financial Planner®, and Investment Advisor, is a Senior Vice President at one of the world’s largest global asset management firms. He has more than 20 years of experience managing growth and retirement portfolios for individuals, trusts, corporations, and foundations and is a retirement consultant for 401(k)s and other corporate retirement plans. Mr. Frisco is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Financial Planning Association. He holds a B.A. in economics from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Tulane University. In 2014, The Financial Times included him in their “National List of Top 400 Financial Advisors”.
Susan Fruit, ASID, is a licensed interior designer with over 30 years of professional design experience, has designed homes in Texas, California, Florida, the Midwest and South America. The author of numerous articles on interior and landscape design, Ms. Fruit is a state registered remodeling contractor and member of the Greater Houston Builders Association and its Remodelers Council. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design from the Purdue University and is the founder and former director of the Interior Design Certificate Program at the University of Houston. In addition she has lectured throughout the U.S. and Canada and is one of only three interior designers in the country who has attained professional membership in the National Speakers Association.
Nancy P. Geyer, novelist and playwright, is the author of two novels, Flying South (Scribner) and Frailties (Little, Brown). Sonia and Suzy, the national winner of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea Festival of Firsts Playwriting Competition was presented at Houston’s Country Playhouse during its 2010-2011 season. All the Pretty Little Horses, one of three plays selected for the debut of Wordsmyth Theatre Company’s annual Playwrights Reading Series, was presented to a capacity audience at Houston’s Stages Repertory Theatre in 2009. I Would Give You Violets, received not only from Live Oak Theatre, an equity theatre in Austin, the New Play Award for the Best American Play but also an option contract for a Broadway production. Versus was one of three finalists in the national 50th Anniversary Stanley Drama Competition and Dust was one of three winners in The Festival of Southern Theatre Competition.The Reflection Pool received a reading by NY Artists Unlimited. Ms. Geyer, who has taught in the English department of the University of Houston and Rice’s Schools of Continuing Studies, received two master’s degrees from the State University of New York. She has also edited a newsletter for a professional theatre, produced and anchored in-house television programs for a major energy corporation, developed and written informational material for a maritime museum, served as a consultant on award-winning scripts for a major symphony orchestra, created and taught in a government-funded program for gifted children, and conducted seminars for lawyers, civic and social groups, and hospice volunteers.
Barry Greenlaw is a private consultant, appraiser and lecturer specializing in the decorative and fine arts of England and America. He received his undergraduate degree from Bates College and his master’s degree from the University of Delaware as a Winterthur Fellow. Before coming to Houston in 1974 as Curator of the Bayou Bend Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, he served as Curator of Furniture and Assistant Director of Collections at Colonial Williamsburg. For three years he was a dealer in antique maps and prints. Mr. Greenlaw has lectured throughout the United States and has taught at several institutions including the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to the publication of numerous articles, he is the author of New England Furniture at Williamsburg.
Irene Guenther received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in modern European cultural history. While on the faculty of Marquette University she received the 2009 Way Klingler Award, a university-wide award for research and teaching. Before moving to Wisconsin from Texas, she taught at the University of Houston, Houston Community College, Rice University and is the recipient of five “teaching excellence” awards. She has published numerous articles and essays on the fashion industry in Nazi Germany, the plight of French and German cultural emigrés during World War II, and the Emergency Rescue Committee that helped rescue cultural luminaries from Nazi-occupied Europe. Her book, Nazi Chic: Fashioning Women in the Third Reich, won the Costume Society of America’s Millia Davenport Award for “the best fashion history book” of 2005, as well as the Sierra Prize, given by the Association of Women Historians, for the best history book written by a female historian. Dr. Guenther currently teaches in the honors program at the University of Houston.
Ronald L. Hatchett, Ph.D., is the immediate past Director of the Center for Global Studies at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. He held similar positions on the faculties of the University of St. Thomas in Houston and Texas A & M University at College Station, the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C., and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. During the Reagan administration, Dr. Hatchett served as a senior civilian official in the Department of Defense working arms control and international security issues. Prior to taking his position in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he served for 20 years as an Air Force officer working in intelligence and politico-military affairs in fighter and reconnaissance wings; he also served on the staffs of Headquarters 7th Air Force, the Republic of Vietnam, the USAF in Europe Headquarters, and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon where he was a Middle East analyst. His academic specialties are foreign policy, European Studies, and Middle Eastern Affairs. Dr. Hatchett holds a bachelor’s degree from the United States Air Force Academy; a Masters of Arts from California State University, San Diego; a certificate of Balkan studies from the University of Zagreb in Croatia; and a Ph. D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Terry Hausner has been a freelance calligrapher, graphic designer, and instructor for more than sixteen years. She specializes in teaching many basic lettering classes. She extended her own studies for the past seven years through membership and classes at the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting, as well as local workshops through the Houston Calligraphy Guild. She has served on the board of the Guild for more than twenty years.
John Keating received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and his master’s degree from George Washington University. He subsequently served 20 years as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. Early in his career, he spent three years on assignment in Spain, and it was that experience that launched a lifelong interest in wine. After retirement from the Air Force, he turned this interest into a second career. As the manager of fine wine sales for a major distributor in Virginia, he wrote wine and lifestyle articles for newspapers, travel, food, and golf publications. For many years he hosted “a best of wine” feature on local television and taught wine classes at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and at Johnson and Wales, a national culinary school in the region. Mr. Keating is a charter member of the Society of Wine Educators.
Lynda Harper Kelly received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in French from Rice University. In 1974 her doctoral dissertation received Rice’s Gardner Award given to the graduate student doing the best piece of research and writing in the humanities and social sciences. Her romance with France began in 1961 when she spent a summer in Paris studying at the Alliance Française School and she later returned to Paris for a year to study at the Sorbonne. She and her husband, architect Frank Kelly, return to France almost every year to explore and photograph different regions. They have given many lectures on their travels at the Alliance Française de Houston. Dr. Kelly has taught French at Southern Methodist University, Houston Community College, and Rice University. In 1995 she organized and conducted a six-week travel/study program in Burgundy for Rice University. She also loves French cuisine and has studied at both the Cordon Bleu and the Ecole Ritz in Paris.
Carol Louise Munn is from Fort Worth, has traveled around the world, and now lives and writes in Houston. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan where she received an Academy of American Poets prize, two departmental prizes for poetry, and two fellowships for her poetry manuscript. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Poetry. Her work has been published in ten anthologies, including Untameable City from Mutabilis Press. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has given many public readings and radio interviews in Houston and throughout the country.
Richard W. Murray is a native of Louisiana with B.A. and M.A. degrees in government from Louisiana State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and has taught at the University of Houston since 1966 where he is currently Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Public Policy. His principal academic interests are in political parties, campaigns and elections, public opinion, and interest groups. The author of numerous articles and books, Dr. Murray’s most recent book isProgrowth Politics: Change and Governance in Houston. Professor Murray consulted in over 200 political campaigns in the 1970s and 1980s (he has since given up the sport) and has conducted over 50 polls for local media. In addition he is a political analyst for Channel 13.
Scott Pett is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at Rice University. He is a Peer Consultant Fellow at the Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication and a certificate student at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He specializes in issues of citizenship in 19th- and 20th-century American literature and culture. Most importantly, he is the father of two mischievous girls, ages 7 and 4.
Kate Emery Pogue received her undergraduate degree in Theatre from Northwestern University and her master’s from the University of Minnesota. She was founder of the drama program and writer of the theater curriculum for Houston Community College where she taught for over 20 years. During this time she was the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare by the Book Festival in Fort Bend County and a founder and Artistic Director and Resident Librettist for Opera To Go, the educational outreach performance company for Houston Grand Opera. Both a stage director and librettist, she has directed plays for numerous organizations and colleges and has had commissions for writing the librettos for several opera companies. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A frequent lecturer on Shakespeare, her research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and her books on Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Friends (Praeger, 2006) and Shakespeare’s Family (Praeger, 2008) have established her as a world authority on Shakespeare’s private life. She currently teaches at UH Downtown.
David Rainbow is an Assistant Professor in the Honors College at the University of Houston. He teaches and writes about modern Russian and Eurasian history. Prior to coming to Houston in 2015, he held postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University and New York University, and was a writer in residence at the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at NYU. He holds an M.A. in European intellectual history from Drew University, and a Ph.D. in Russian history from New York University (2013). Before becoming a historian, he worked as an engineer aboard a merchant ship on the Pacific, a rancher in western North Dakota, and has lived in Russia and Siberia several times.
Laura Richardson is a postdoctoral fellow with Rice University’s Program in Writing and Communication. She earned her BA from Vanderbilt in 2007 and her PhD in English from Rice in 2015. Laura has been teaching literature, writing, and film at Rice since 2013, and in 2016 she became a Resident Associate at Rice’s Lovett College. Laura’s areas of research include modernism, poetics, literary theory, contemporary literature, and science fiction. She is an avid reader and karaokist, as well as a budding soccer fan.
Rabbi Seymour Rossel’s teaching career began at the age of three when, according to legend, his mother stood him on a table during a party and fed him lines to recite. He has been lecturing ever since. Seymour is the author of thirty-six books, including The Wise Folk of Chelm, Bible Dreams, The Torah: Portion-by-Portion, A Child’s Bible, and A Thousand and One Chickens. He has edited and published over 300 books, working with dozens of distinguished authors. He is presently CEO of Rossel Counseling and Consulting, Inc. He lectured for eight years at The Women’s Institute of Houston, during which time, for five years he was Rabbi at Congregation Jewish Community North of Spring. In earlier incarnations, he served the American Reform movement (URJ) in a number of national positions and served as Dean of the School of Education of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, NY.
Dominique Royem is the Music Director of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra. An active guest conductor, she has worked with ensembles such as the Ukrainian State Orchestra (Kiev, Ukraine), Plevin Philharmonic (Plevin, Bulgaria), Galveston Symphony, Moores Opera Center, Sugarland Opera, HBU Opera Theatre, and the Houston Civic Orchestra, and was Music Director for Houston Grand Opera’s Opera to Go! during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons. She is also the Resident Conductor of Bayou City Concert Musicals and was the Conducting Fellow for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 season. She currently serves on the board of the Conductors Guild, a national organization dedicated to the art of conducting. She has a doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Houston Moores School of Music.
Anna Dodson Saikin received her Ph.D. from Rice University in 2015 where she studied silence and sentimentalism in the British Romantic novel. Her publications include stories and reviews in literary journals such as Gravel, Pleiades, Vinyl Poetry, and Concho River Review. She is a recipient of the prestigious Bruce Dunlevie Teaching Grant and was a Diana Hobby Editorial Fellow for SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500–1900. Dr. Saikin has taught courses on the history of the novel and on gender and sexuality in British literature.
Anna Tahinci, Ph.D., is Professor and Area Coordinator of Art History at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. A native of Greece, she studied History and Archaeology in Athens, and spent a total of eleven years in Paris, where she studied Art History and Comparative Literature at the Sorbonne (Ph.D. on Rodin’s collectors), and Museum Studies at the Ecole du Louvre. She has worked at the Musée Rodin, the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre and the Harvard Art Museums. She has taught at Boston University Paris, at the University of Minnesota, at Macalester College, and at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She co-curated the sculpture exhibition that was organized in Athens for the Olympic Games in 2004 and the exhibition Rodin and America at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University in 2011.
Hector Urrutibeheity has a B.A. in English Literature from the National University of La Plata, Argentina, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University. He is a Professor Emeritus from Rice University, where he taught Spanish, Romance Linguistics, and foreign language methodology in Spanish and French. He also served as chairman of the Department of Hispanic Studies for 15 years. He is currently an adjunct professor of Spanish and French at the University of St. Thomas. He is the co-author of The Lexical Structure of Spanish, Mouton, The Hague, two college Spanish textbooks, Peldanos and Tierra del Feugo,and the French series entitled “Echelons.” He recently completed a book on French phonetics entitled La prononciation du français contemporain.
Liz M. Weiman has trained thousands of individuals since the early 1990s in computer/digital software, and has additionally created instructional/technical manuals, e-learning modules, and Web content for Hewlett-Packard and other companies. Ms. Weiman is also the author of The Lawyer’s Guide to Concordance published in 2010 by the American Bar Association. In addition she served as a fiction reviewer for the Houston Chronicle and other national newspapers, and as senior editor of Southwest Art Magazine. She has worked as a journalist, editor, instructional designer, and technical writer. She is also a healing arts provider – Reiki master, Healing Touch energy worker, and Pranic healer, and additionally teaches classes on spirituality and self-development. Ms. Weiman, a Boston University graduate, provides private instruction on iPhone/iPad/Macs, Windows computers, and more.
Susan Briggs Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her facility with business and personal stories reflects her strong background of award-winning TV journalism, public relations, and corporate communication. She produced radio and TV News programs at WOR in New York, and at KPRC-TV in Houston, covered consumer affairs, medicine and courts. Ms. Wright was a journalism instructor at University of Houston, a columnist for The Houston Business Journal, and managing producer/anchor of On The Record, a documentary-style weekly show on Houston Public Television. Recently, as editor, she led a memoir-writing group to produce Coping With Transition: Men, Motherhood, Money, and Magic—Memoirs From the Lives of Professional Women, published by Texas Review Press. She delights in the growing number of books fostered by this class that adorn her bookcase.