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Newsletter Fall 2023


A welcome message from the Dean

Dean Mercy Cannon

Dean Mercy Cannon

The College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences is thriving. Enrollment in the college has reached over 3,000 students, and the faculty are working hard to provide students with an outstanding education that will equip them for lifelong success in a rapidly changing world. CLASS is known for supporting students, and the Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos Bilingual Peer Mentor and Tutoring Center (“El Centro”) has fresh energy and visibility with its new space on campus and a new director, Dr. José Juan Gomez-Becerra.

We are especially proud of the college’s collaborative work in the creative arts and communication through ICCA. With new faculty and programming, EKU has set itself apart as a destination for the arts. We look forward to connecting with our CLASS alumni and celebrating the excellent work of the college.



The Institute of Creative and Collaborative Arts (ICCA)

ICCA is pleased to announce a sampling of the many projects, performances, and events for Fall 2023. For more information and a calendar of events, click here.

The inaugural theme of the Institute for Creative and Collaborative Arts is Kaleidoscope. For the 2023-24 academic year, ICCA envisions itself as an endlessly fascinating movement of form, contrast, color, and light. Encompassing the three schools of Art and Design, Music, and Communication, ICCA combines and recombines the creative arts in unexpected ways. The kaleidoscope provides a metaphor for the ways in which these areas retain their distinct identities while coming together to create new possibilities.

ICCA provides a diverse range of relevant and comprehensive curricula rooted in student-centered learning, collaboration, communication, technological applications, and creativity. Our community strives to make the arts and communication accessible, inclusive, and meaningful. With over 300 majors, ICCA’s undergraduate and graduate students are provided with rigorous, transformational, innovative, and experiential education aligned with skills that match industry requirements. We empower our students to become educated global citizens and leaders in the twenty-first century.

ICCA Projects and Events

The White Hall Enslaved Peoples Rememberance

The White Hall Enslaved Peoples Rememberance

The White Hall Enslaved Peoples Remembrance

The White Hall Enslaved Peoples Remembrance is a collaborative project among faculty from the ICCA Schools of Communication and Art & Design, as well as the Department of History, African and African American Studies, Anthropology, and the Library Archives.

We are working toward these community action steps:
● Recognizing the enslaved people who built White Hall and acknowledging their current descendants.
● Creating an environment where people will come back again, through more complex experiences and interactivity.
● Positioning EKU as conscientious stewards of White Hall.

To do this, we are removing archival material from White Hall into a climate-controlled environment. From there, we can coordinate research efforts and collaborate to improve exhibit space in the historic site. In Summer 2023, the EKU documentary film team recorded some of the archive removal and the Archeology field school. Next steps include identifying classes to engage in White Hall, developing collaboration opportunities, and exploring grant possibilities.

Orchestra Concert, November 13, 2023, 7:30 pm
EKU Center for the Arts

ICCA School of Music Orchestra

ICCA School of Music Orchestra

ICCA School of Music welcomes Dr. David Michael Galant as the new Director of Orchestra. Dr. Galant graduated from the Glenn Korff School of Music at University of Nebraska-Lincoln with high honors while earning a Doctor of Musical Arts and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting. He is known to be an energetic and passionate conductor on the podium and has guest conducted internationally with the Dohnányi Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Holland Symphony, among others. He has conducted highly acclaimed productions of Carmen, The Magic Flute, The Tender Land, and Elixir of Love, and enjoys making opera accessible to a wide audience.

Dr. Galant will lead the EKU Symphony Orchestra at the EKU Center for the Arts on Monday, November 13 at 7:30 pm. This performance is free to the public.

Wind Ensemble and Concert Band Concert, November 14, 2023, 7:30 pm
EKU Center for the Arts

Dr. Rebekah Daniel

Dr. Rebekah Daniel

ICCA School of Music welcomes Dr. Rebekah Daniel as the new Director of Bands. Dr. Daniel completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University (MSU). She maintains an active schedule with engagements throughout the United States as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. She has led performances of regional and world premieres, most recently the winner of the 2022 Walter Beeler Memorial Composition Prize, Matsuri by Eric Guinivan, and has collaborated in rehearsal and performance with several composers including Sally McCune, Dana Wilson, Zhou Tian, and Henry Dorn.

Dr. Daniel will lead the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band at the EKU Center for the Arts on Tuesday, November 14 at 7:30 pm. This performance is free to the public.

Trauma-In-Place: Chautauqua National Juried Exhibition

Giles Gallery Trauma-in-Place Chautauqua National Juried ExhibitionThe newly renovated EKU Giles Gallery, in partnership with EKU Libraries, School of Art & Design, and the Institute for Creative & Collaborative Arts hosted Trauma-In-Place: Chautauqua National Juried Exhibition, October 5 – November 3, 2023.

Trauma-In-Place derives its title from the cold war era idiom “shelter-in-place.” The exhibit theme provided an open-ended platform for artists working in the United States that inclusively explore the shared fears and unrest that in many ways unite us. Trauma is a universal human experience. Trauma-In-Place encourages broad interpretation on how art and artists can help us analyze, reconcile, and heal from trauma. As the world sheltered in recent years, not surprisingly artists and designers continued their hard work under the influence of difficult and unparalleled global events. The distinctive ways in which artists examine these shared struggles have the power to bond us as we move past isolation towards progress and healing.


EKU Dedicates New Space to the Campus’ Growing Bilingual Student Population


El Centro neon sign

El Centro neon sign

From its beginnings less than a decade ago, the campus space, “El Centro,” has quickly become a key component of the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) experience. The Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos Bilingual Peer Mentor and Tutoring Center, more commonly referred to as El Centro, started as a room in McCreary Hall in 2016. Recently, El Centro has relocated and upgraded to a more centralized campus location, in the Crabbe Library.

With about 700 Latino students currently enrolled at EKU, there has been a 45% increase of more than 200 Latino students in the last five years. El Centro provides a welcoming and immersive environment for students to practice language skills with other students and language professors, as well as tutoring, mentoring and study spaces.

“El Centro supports students’ academic performance, particularly in the languages, because learning a language in Kentucky—which is majority English speaking—is hard,” said Dr. José Juan Gómez Becerra, director of El Centro. “El Centro provides that social context.”

The decision to relocate and renovate El Centro stemmed from the need for greater visibility and accessibility.

Read the full story

Colonel Gains an Inside Look of Politics Through Colonels at the Capitol Internship Program

Jeffrey Bates and Representative Patrick Flannery

Jeffrey Bates and Representative Patrick Flannery

The Colonels at the Capitol Internship Program (CCIP) allows Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) students the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge of the state’s political process while developing professional skills through research, communication and networking. Participants work alongside Kentucky legislators, spending Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort throughout the spring semester.

One of this year’s CCIP interns is Jeffrey Bates, a political science and international relations major from Grayson, Kentucky. Through the internship, Bates works with Representative Patrick Flannery.

“Everything that we’ve been taught at EKU about how the government functions at the state and local level created a strong background for this internship,” said Bates. “It has helped me understand the process that I’m watching now as an intern.”

Read the full story

Alumni Spotlight: Corrin Joyce, Animal Studies


Corrin "corrie" Joyce, CLASS Animal Studies

Corrin “Corrie” Joyce

Corrin “Corrie” Joyce, EKU Animal Studies alumna, is currently the head trainer and animal care specialist at the Salato Wildlife Center in Franklin County, Kentucky. In an interview, Corrie reflects on her educational experiences, current work, and perspectives.

What specifically do you do as an animal care specialist?

As an animal care specialist, I make sure all of the animals at the center are clean, happy, and healthy. I keep their pens, tanks, pastures, and enclosures in clean and working condition. I administer vaccines, preventative medication, and monitor behavior for unusual activities. As the animal training and enrichment program coordinator, I train the animals to voluntarily participate in their own vet care through daily training sessions and schedule daily enrichment activities to keep their minds working and their bodies moving; engaging in behaviors that they would be doing out in the wild.

What are some of the specific things you learned that have helped you develop your career?

Learning how to create and implement ethograms and behavior sampling has helped me to better understand the animals I work with and keep up with their mental and physical health based on how they are behaving. The basic understanding of the evolutionary history of animals’ minds and behavior has helped me create trainings and enrichments specifically designed for the animals that receive them.

What unexpected benefit has your college degree given you? That is, in what ways has your education prepared you for life beyond work?

The skills I’ve developed while working for my degree have allowed me to see the world from animals’ points of view. This helps me to create a healthy environment for my own pets and help friends who struggle with relationships between themselves and their animals. This perspective has given me a newfound respect for the natural world around me.

Corrie has been working at Salato for seven years and offers continued support for her EKU Animal Studies family! CLASS is proud of Corrie and her fellow alums who are putting their education to work as animal care specialists, lead zoo curators, marine mammal trainers, science teachers, and more.

EKU students in Dr. Radhika Makecha’s conservation education class observed Corrie’s work on a recent fieldtrip to the Center. She gave student a rare chance to glimpse the behind-the-scenes tasks that she does.

Dr. Radhika Makechas' Conservation Class (image 2)Dr. Radhika Makechas' Conservation Class (image 1)






Student Spotlight: Jackson Morgan, History


Jackson Morgan and his partner stand within "Weatherbreak", a geodesic dome reconstructed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Morgan participated in the reconstruction during his time with the Museum.  Photo courtesy of Jackson Morgan

Jackson Morgan and his partner. Photo courtesy of Jackson Morgan

The summer between semesters serves as a pause at Eastern Kentucky University, a routine that students welcome with open arms. For some students, it presents a unique opportunity to explore career opportunities outside of the bounds of Richmond.

Jackson Morgan, a senior history major, took advantage of this downtime. During the summer 2023 term, Morgan earned the opportunity to intern at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

Morgan’s path within the history department wasn’t always as clear. He described his struggle during his freshman year, attributable to the measures put into place by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was actually a psychology major and my first semester on campus, to be completely candid, did not go very well一it was COVID and I was trapped in my room” said Morgan. “I just completely, you know, flubbed it up.”

Carolyn Dupont, a professor in the department of history, philosophy, and religious studies, taught Morgan’s first class within the department. Specifically, a course in American history.

“I took a history course that semester with Dr. Dupont一she really did inspire me to kind of chase it because it is something I’m really interested in. And I didn’t think of it at first as being kind of my career.”

Read the full story


Faculty Spotlight: Professor Rachel “Rowe” Moser, Art and Design

Rowe Moser, Image Source:

Professor Rachel “Rowe” Moser: Image Source:

Professor Rachel “Rowe” Moser started EKU in the Fall of 2021 as an Assistant Professor. She teaches Digital Media and Graphic Design. As an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in central Kentucky, Moser’s works feature an array of natural and manufactured materials presented through sculpture, video, installation, and sound. Professor Moser’s work is an ongoing study of climate change and human impact on the planet.

In her artist’s statement Professor Moser writes, “In my work, I explore ideas of nature and its transformation over time. Addressing matters of ecological concern, my work frequently stems from field exercises both close to home and in remote locations with acute geophysical identities, such as rivers, ice fields, oceans, and forests.”

As one of the nine recipients of The South Arts State Fellowship, Professor Moser demonstrates an understanding of the human experience, reflecting her unique ability to convey complex emotions and ideas through her creative endeavors. This remarkable achievement inspires not only our students and faculty at School of Art and Design, but also ICCA as a whole.

The  South Arts State Fellowship is a state-specific prize awarded to artists whose work reflects the best of the visual arts in the South. A national jury selects one winner per eligible state, for a group of nine-state fellows, based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of artistic expression of the region. Each of the nine-state fellowship winners are awarded a $5,000 state fellowship and will compete for one of the two Southern Prizes. The work of the selected fellows will travel and be shown throughout the southern region.

Congratulations, Professor Moser!

College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences

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103 Roark Bldg.
Richmond, Kentucky 40475
Phone: 859-622-2222