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Faculty & Staff

  • Emily Alley Headshot

    Emily Alley, MA

    Assistant Professor
    Communication
    Office: 808
    Phone: 816-501-3646

    Strategic Communication 

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    Emily Alley’s career in strategic communication is comprised of freelance journalism and Air Force Public Affairs. She served as communication lead for the 2019 initial delivery ceremony of the KC-46 Pegasus, the culmination of an eight-year, $43 billion program which was the first AF mobility aircraft initial delivery in 27 years. Emily synchronized a team of 35 who comprised five communication functions:  live video feed of the event; photo and video documentation; social media posting and monitoring; media escort; and the first initial press conference following the aircraft landing, which included the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and three sitting members of Congress. Her team generated $9.6 million in equivalent media advertising.

    Her other major projects include working Public Affairs for multiple airshow events; assisting and documenting humanitarian work in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake; serving as the acting lead for the Air Force Public Affairs office in Kandahar, Afghanistan during the capture of Osama Bin Laden; and providing photo support for the 2012 presidential inauguration.

    Emily earned her master’s degree in Strategic Communication from KU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

  • nicole esquibel headshot

    Nicole Esquibel, MFA

    Associate Professor
    Interim Dean for the College of Profession Schools
    Office: 809
    Phone: 816-501-2404

    School of Visual and Communication Arts

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    Nicole Esquibel is an award-winning video and filmmaker, writer, and poet.  She is a graduate of the prestigious University of Iowa's MFA-Film and Video Production program. Her theoretical articles and written works of fiction have appeared in publications such as Sinister Wisdom and Our Voices. Ms. Esquibel's films and videos have screened both domestically and internationally, including winning the "Between the Lines" award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. hush, the first film created under her production company Flying Dragon Films, received tremendous critical acclaim and the project was a closing night selection for the Kansas International Film Festival and screened at the Hot Springs International Documentary Film Festival. Recently she completed, La Pucelle, an experimental retelling of the trial of Joan of Arc, shot on Super16mm. Tu Me Quieres Blanca (You want me White) 2010, is a found footage project inspired by a poem by Alfonsina Stori, which seeks to explore the secondary role of Chicana women and Machismo in 20th Century America. Esquibel is author of The Image and the Border: the Films of Willie Varela, a chapter in Experimental Film: The Missing Frames. Currently, in pre-production on a feature length documentary, Neva (working title), examining the death of Neva Arlene Romero, a 21year-old college student and a series of bombings that took place in Boulder Colorado in the spring of 1974.

  • Jose Faus Headshot

    Jose Faus, BA

    Adjunct Instructor
    Art + Design
    Office: 814
    Phone: 816-501-3657

    Visual Arts

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    José Faus is writer, performer and visual artist. He is an independent teacher/mentor with an interest in the role of artists as creative catalysts for community building. He received degrees in Studio Art/Painting and Creative Writing/Journalism from UMKC. He is a founder of the Latino Writers Collective and sits on the boards of the UMKC Friends of the Library, The Latino Writers Collective and Charlotte Street Foundation. He has executed a variety of murals locally and internationally. He has published a chapbook This Town Like That from Spartan Press and a full-length poetry collection, The Life and Times of José Calderon from West 39 Press. He is currently working on a mystery novel set in Kansas City.

  • Mary Fehr Headshot

    Mary Fehr

    Office Manager
    Office: 822
    Phone: 816-501-3653

    School of Visual and Communication Arts

  • paige illum Headshot

    Dr. Paige Illum, Ph.D.

    Adjunct Instructor
    Communication
    Office: Hodes Center
    Phone: 816-501-3760

    Fundamentals of Communication

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    Paige Illum has worked in higher education for over twenty-five years serving in a variety of enrollment and student life related positions at public and private institutions.  For the last thirteen years Dr. Illum has worked at Avila University and most recently in the role of Coordinator of Retention and the First Year Experience.  She has served the Department of Visual and Communication Arts as an adjunct faculty since 2008.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at Kansas State University and her Master’s in Higher Education Administration and Ph.D. in Foundations of Education and Communication Studies from the University of Kansas. 

     

    She has delivered numerous conference presentations including key-note addresses on issues related to higher education.  Her personal influences include her parents her showed her the value and example of hard-work and perseverance. 

     

    Her professional influences include Dr. Ray Hiner, Emeritus Professor of History and Education who influenced her love of history and the value of good teaching and advising and Dr. Everett Rogers who developed the Diffusion of Innovation theory (http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/SB721-Models/SB721-Models4.html). 

     

    Dr. Illum enjoys teaching Fundamentals of Communication as she feels the need to possess stellar interpersonal communication skills, work within a group/team environment and deliver messages in a public forum are important to any career and a valuable to personal development.

     

    “Communication works for those who work at it.”

    • John Powell
  • Hong Ji Headshot

    Hong Ji ,Ph.D

    Assistant Professor
    Communication
    Office: 807
    Phone: 816-501-3680

    Advertising and Public Relations

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    Hong Ji received a Ph.D. in mass communication-journalism from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She teaches a variety of communication courses at Avila including public relations, mass media and society, and communication theory. Her research interests include strategic communications, media content analysis, and gender portrayal in media. She has taught at Ohio University and served as a senior methodologist at the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in Washington D.C.  

  • Teresa Johnson Headshot

    Teresa Johnson, MFA

    Thornhill Gallery Director/Instructor
    Art + Design
    Office: Thornhill Office
    Phone: 816-501-3762

    Thorhill Director and Art Instructor

  • susan lawlor headshot

    Susan Lawlor, MFA

    Professor Emeritus
    Art + Design

    Graphic Design

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    She has been Creative Director for Fleishmann-Hillard Public Relations, Woods Creative Group, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her graphic design work has won national awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as awards from the Kansas City Advertising Club and the Kansas City Art Director's Club.

    Susan earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. She also attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. Prior to joining the faculty at Avila University, she taught Graphic Design at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Kansas.

  • kathy mendenhall Headshot

    Kathy Mendenhall, MA

    Adjunct Instructor
    Art + Design
    Office: Dark Room
    Phone: 816-501-3657

    Photography

  • benjamin pascoe headshot

    Benjamin Pascoe, MFA

    Associate Professor
    Communication
    Office: 815
    Phone: 816-501-0425

    Film & Digital Media

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    Benjamin Pascoe is an award winning filmmaker who has written, directed, produced and edited a variety of films that have screened for enthusiastic audiences around the world. His foundation is in narrative storytelling, but Ben has developed a taste for both experimental and documentary works. His most recent feature film, LEAVE IT ON THE TRACK, a documentary exploring roller derby culture in Austin, Texas, enjoyed a lengthy run on the festival circuit, including a celebrated world premiere at the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival.   

     

    Ben has always been interested in teaching, but his spark was reignited while living and working in Austin, Texas. As an instructor for the Austin Film Society, he helped high school students develop and produce their own short films. Ben found this experience to be extremely rewarding and he decided on a career path that would offer him the best of both worlds: “Avila University encourages excellence in the classroom as well as professional development from their faculty. I fell into a wonderful opportunity here; one that will allow me to grow as an artist, and one that will enable me to guide our young filmmakers in their intellectual and creative development.”

     

    Ben’s current project is a biography about Radames Pera, the child actor who played the iconic character, Grasshopper, in the 1970s television series, KUNG FU (1972-1975). Ben is also a board member for the Kansas International Film Festival and he enjoys contributing to its continued success.

     

    Since joining the VisCom team at Avila University, Ben has come up with a set of priorities. On the very top of that list are his students: “I have spent my life developing a certain set of tools. Now I have the chance to share my knowledge and influence the next generation of storytellers, as we collaborate and discover new paths together.”

     

    Benjamin Pascoe’s Productions: http://vimeo.com/channels/pascoe

  • Dotty Hamilton Headshot

    Dr. Dotty Hamilton, Ph.D

    Professor Emeritus
    Communication
    Office: 814
    Phone: 816-501-3646

    Communication: Film and Digital Media

     
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    Scholarship & Teaching Interests:

    She received a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in film studies, a master’s from Webster University in media communication, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Missouri. Hamilton also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study black film history at University of Central Florida.

  • Mark Raymer Headshot

    Mark A Raymer, MFA

    Adjunct Instructor
    Art + Design
    Office: 814
    Phone: 816-501-3657

    Drawing

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    Mark Alister Raymer was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1983, and was raised in Allover Texas.  Raymer still maintains his strong connections with New Zealand that make their way into his attitude, attire, and art.  He received his BFA from the University of North Texas in 2009 and his MFA from the University of Kansas in 2016.  He has been an artist in residence at the Charlotte Street Studio Foundation, exhibited his work nationally and abroad, and participated in a number of exchange portfolios.  Raymer currently resides in Kansas City, making art and teaching printmaking, drawing and design.   

  • donald simon headshot

    Donald Simon, JD

    Adjunct Professor
    Communication
    Office: 814
    Phone: 815-501-3657

    Media Law, Fundamentals of Communication

  • Jeff Slutsky Headshot

    Jeff Slutsky, BA

    Adjunct Instructor
    Communication
    Office: 814
    Phone: 816-501-3657

    Advertising

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    With a background in both advertising and public relations, Jeff Slutsky had an opportunity to practice what he preached when he became part owner of a night club and later a health club.  With the marketing dollars now coming out of his own pocket, he soon began to discover and develop result-oriented, low-cost tactics to build sales. 

    His grassroots marketing program has received a great deal of national media attention including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Inc Magazine, and CNN.  Jeff has presented and consulted with many organizations including AT&T, American Express, Chevron, Walt Disney, Pizza Hut, Honda, Sony, Goodyear, The US Army, Marvel Entertainment and McDonald’s. 

    He’s the founder of Street Fighter Marketing which specializes in teaching businesses how to market, promote and increase sales on a shoe-string budget.   He has authored and published 10 books including Street Fighter Marketing Solutions.  Plus he’s produced three audio albums and six video training programs.  But his most successful production to date . . . is the birth of his triplets.

  • joseph anthony snorgrass Headshot

    Dr. Joseph Anthony Snorgrass Ph.D., MCRP, AICP

    Professor
    Communication
    Office: 806 Dallavis
    Phone: 816-501-2494

    Communication, Advertising, Branding & Strategic Media Advisor: Talon Media Network, Talon Advertising Group (TAG), AAF Student Chapter, and Avila BSU

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    influences: Gordon Parks, Paul Robeson, Frank Lloyd Wright, E. Simms Campbell, Marshall McLuhan, Al Reis, Howard Luck Gossage, Daniel Burnham

    Dr. J. Anthony Snorgrass is a recognized and awarded professional in the fields of advertising, management, administration, and brand development. He is also a credentialed photographer and mixed-media artist. He received his Ph.D. from Walden University's School of Public Policy and Administration focusing on emergent media communications in public policy environments and non-profit management. He also holds two Master's degrees from the Ohio State University and a B.A. from the University of Kansas. He is certified as an Economic Development Specialist (EDS) by the National Development Council and has national certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Snorgrass specializes in new media, augmented reality applications, accessibility, universal design strategies, brand cultivation, and diversity marketing.

    As an educator, Snorgrass describes his teaching style as intellectually demanding, introspective and visionary. He expects students to develop an appreciation and understanding of both the art and science of advertising, media, technology and communication mediums then to become confident in this knowledge and it's applications in the real world. He teaches with a "bottom-line" orientation and a genuine sensitivity for the holistic nurturing of his students. His teaching philosophy is geared to prepare students not just to react to the world, but prepare them to change the environment and society in which they exist through forces of their own.

    Snorgrass is a change driven, rule-bending creative thinker, deeply invested in using digital technology and the design process to elevate community engagement, institutional innovation and participatory problem solving.

    Links:

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/janthonysnorgrass

    www.jasa-media360.com

    http://advertologist.blogspot.com

    http://zzzzroots.blogspot.com

     

  • linda strelluf Headshot

    Linda Strelluf, MLA

    Professor Emeritus
    Communication

    Advertising, Public Relations

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    Linda Strelluf has been engaged in the study and practice of oral and written communication for more than twenty-five years. Following this passion, she received a BA in Speech from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and earned a Master's degree in both Film and Literature from Baker University. 

    Before coming to Avila, she was employed as a company agent for Starlight Theatre, worked on promotions for a national theatre chain, taught classes in communication, English, and theatre, lectured on how to overcome audience anxiety and conducted seminars on how to access creativity. In 1986, Strelluf founded a small company and in 1998, affiliated with Country Sampler Group. 

    Currently, she is an assistant professor at Avila University in Kansas City. She teaches a variety of classes including communication fundamentals, public relations, corporate communication, film studies, American pop culture, mass media and society and promotional writing. She works with “real world" clients to give students the opportunity to practice the high standard that professionals expect in the workplace. Her students have worked with the WW I. national museum, the Kansas City Toy and Miniature Museum, and a variety of retail and health related organizations, winning numerous local, regional national, and international awards for their work. Strelluf is also the faculty adviser for the campus chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/AU). 

    Linda Strelluf was elected by the national membership to the Association for Women in Communication (AWC) Board of Directors. Strelluf served a three year term on the board and was board liaison to 36 student chapters at universities.across the United States. She was also Chairman of AWC's Clarion Award Committee and has been a judge for the past Ten years. Strelluf is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the adviser to Avila University's IABC student chapter. She is a past member of the St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf Advisory Board, and served as Secretary/Treasurer on the executive committee. 

    Specialties: Strelluf specializes in using current popular culture trends, which enhance public relations messages. 

    By using interactive communication methods, she facilitates student enthusiasm that results in academic and personal growth of students.

  • Shaun Teamer headshot

    Shaun Teamer BFA

    Adjunct Instructor
    Communication
    Office: 814
    Phone: 8165013657

    Animation and Design

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    Shaun Teamer is a multimedia freelance artist currently residing in Kansas City, MO. He is a 2008 graduate of NSCDS and received his BFA in Animation and Design from The Kansas City Art Institute in 2012. Shaun has since managed web content for the Kansas City Public Library System and worked with numerous companies and individual's on creative content development and marketing campaigns including Sprint; Scholastic; NFL; Reading with Roman, a state-wide reading initiative funded by Roman Harper of the New Orleans Saints; and animated character development for the children's book, Chocolate Me, authored by television/screen actor Taye Diggs, to name a few. Shaun's work in the digital medium reflects within a wide range of illustration, animation, graphic design, video, sound and music, writing, and overall storytelling. Teamer currently teaches Video Editing and Animation as a professor at Avila University, Kansas City MO.

  • Michele Watley Headshot

    Michele Watley, MS

    Adjunct Instructor
    Communication
    Office: 814
    Phone: 816-501-3657

    Public Relations

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    Michele L. Watley is a communications and political strategist with substantive experience representing issues and candidates from a vast range of political ideologies across the US and at all levels of government. She is the founder and owner of The Griot Group LLC, a strategic communications and political advocacy consulting practice. She is also the founder of Shirley's Kitchen Cabinet, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization located in the Midwest dedicated to amplifying the voices and power of Black women through education and advocacy, so they can be effective advocates for the issues that matter to them and the communities they serve.

  • Eric Winter Headshot

    Eric Winter, MFA

    Associate Professor
    Art + Design
    Office: 810
    Phone: 816-501-2445

    Graphic Design

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    ERIC WINTER, MFA

    Associate Professor

    eric.winter@avila.edu
    816.501.2445


    Eric Winter is a visual communicator with a varied professional background in print, environmental and interactive design. He has specific interest in the areas of design activism, sustainability, and design's affect on both built and natural environments. As an educator, Eric strives to prepare students for professional practice by providing a constructive foundation in graphic design, and inspiring a passion for responsible design and its significant role in society.

    Prior to joining Avila, Eric worked as an environmental graphic designer for Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. His experience at Gensler involved a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, team approach to designing branded environments and signage/wayfinding systems for a variety of retail and corporate clients.

    A small-town Kansas native, Eric balances his passion for design with a life-long passion for the outdoors. He holds a M.F.A. in Visual Communications from Kansas State University and has studied abroad at the Norwich University College of the Arts, Norwich, England.

  • Valerie Zell Headshot

    Valerie Zell, MA

    Adjunct Instructor
    Art + Design
    Office: 814
    Phone: 816-501-3657

    Art History

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    Valerie received her M.A. in art history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a B.A. in art history from the University of Kansas. She has taught art history for over 11 years and began teaching at Avila 2 years ago. She worked at The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art for over 10 years in the Asian, American, and European departments. She served as the Assistant Curator of European Painting and Sculpture for 5 years. She has also written art reviews for the Kansas City Star, worked as a free-lance curator and at a private gallery in the Crossroads district.  Her academic interests include the Swiss German 20th c. artist Paul Klee and American art of the 1960s and 70s.

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