Freedom of the mind
Through multiple lenses of history and art history, philosophy and literature, creative writing and the sciences, KCAI’s liberal arts program provides you with the kind of intellectual, civic, and aesthetic grounding that is both meaningful and lasting. “Chance,” said Pasteur, “favors the prepared mind.”
We offer our students a liberal arts education with no expiration date
- Small classes
- An accomplished faculty—practitioners themselves in their respective disciplines
- An opportunity for innovative student work grounded in fundamentals
- A mutually-supportive thoroughfare between liberal arts and studio practices
Students can double their career possibilities
- Major or Double-Major in art history
- Major or Double-Major in creative writing
- Earn your certificate in Asian Studies
- Earn your certificate in Social social practice
“Every single professor is an expert in their field. They proved to me how necessary a broad education is in a world where a highly- specialized education is more often made a priority. Now I have four years of conversations to return to and build upon in my research and studio practice.”Molly Dillon
Creative Writing/Painting, 2015
Michele Fricke, M.F.A.
The Ray Beagle Chair in Art History
Michele Fricke teaches ancient and renaissance art and the history of textiles and ceramics. A practicing artist, Fricke creates fiber work that has been shown in exhibitions across the country and which also is represented in many private collections. She has been published in Ceramics Monthly and Fiberarts and is a regular contributor to the Surface Design Journal. Her current research involves an investigation of historical architecture, interpreted in knitted form. Fricke received KCAI’s “Excellence in Teaching Award” in 1993. She has spoken at numerous venues including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the National Association of Colleges of Art and Design, the Red Star Studio in Kansas City, and recently, at Baylor University on “Fiber Art: The New Dynamism.” Before coming to KCAI in 1988, she taught at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.; St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind.; and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. At the last two schools, she also served as the director of exhibitions. Fricke earned a B.S. degree in education, an M.A. degree in art history and an M.F.A. degree in fiber from Northern Illinois University.
Phyllis Moore, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair
Dr. Phyllis Moore is the author of A Compendium of Skirts, a collection of short stories (Carroll & Graf, 2002). She is Chair of the Liberal Arts Department, Program Head of the Creative Writing Program, and co-director of the Paris Study Abroad Program. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her stories have been listed in the Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthologies. Her stories and poems have been reprinted in various anthologies and special editions, and she is the recipient of five arts council grants from the states of Illinois and Florida. She is presently at work on a book of minute fiction titled The City Wife. In 2011, she was honored with KCAI’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Reed Anderson, Ph.D.
Reed Anderson, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in American art from the University of Kansas and has taught a variety of classes since coming to KCAI in 2004. He specializes in the history of prints and printmaking, which inspired an exhibition and catalog sponsored by the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. Dr. Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in art history from the University of Washington, Seattle. His dissertation for the Ph.D. degree is entitled “An Epic of the American Farm: James Chapin and the Marvin Paintings.”
Anne Boyer, M.F.A.
A widely-published poet and essayist, Anne Boyer has been teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute since 2007. Her latest book, Garments Against Women (Ahsahta, 2015) spent four months as the Small Press Distribution number one bestseller in poetry. Recent essays have appeared in Guernica, Fullstop, The New Inquiry, and Mute Magazine. Her teaching areas include experimental writing, aesthetics, gender studies, and digital culture. Critical appraisal of Boyer’s contributions to poetry and poetics is discussed in Piotr K. Gwiasdá’s 2014 book, U.S. Poetry in the Age of Empire, 1979-2012. She was voted “Best Writer” of 2014 in The Pitch’s annual “Best of Kansas City” issue. Boyer earned an M.F.A. with distinction in creative writing in 1997 from Wichita State University and a B.A. degree in English literature in 1996 from Kansas State University. Before coming to KCAI, she taught creative writing and literature at Drake University in Des Moines. Author website: http://www.anneboyer.com
Cyrus Console-Soican, Ph.D.
Cyrus Console-Şoican is the author of Brief Under Water (Burning Deck, 2008), for which he received a Fund for Poetry award, The Odicy (Omnidawn, 2011), and Romanian Notebook (forthcoming from Faber/FSG). Recent poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Critical Quarterly, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Seattle Review, and No: a journal of the arts, where he served as contributing editor 2002-2009. He holds a B.S. degree in organismal biology from the University of Kansas, an M.F.A. degree in writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College, and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Kansas, where his poetry won several notable prizes.
Steve Cromwell teaches history of photography, history of film, contemporary European art, Latino art of the 20th century, 19th century painting, aesthetics and art criticism, women in contemporary art, modern sculpture and American art since 1945. Formerly an exhibiting artist, Cromwell’s mixed media photographic work has been shown in many solo, invitational, group and juried exhibitions throughout the United States. Cromwell has been a visiting artist and lecturer for a number of special programs and colleges. He has served as photo editor of The Cottonwood Review literary magazine at the University of Kansas, and as editor of Words, a literary magazine at Kendall College. He has been a member of the KCAI faculty since 1972, and he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas.
Rebecca Dubay, Ph.D.
Rebecca Dubay, Ph.D., joined the KCAI faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor of art history, specializing in contemporary art and theory. Her teaching interests include global contemporary art, art theory and criticism, art and gender, and more. Previously, she taught in the M.F.A. in studio art program at Moore College of Art & Design. As a graduate student, she received outstanding teaching awards at Bryn Mawr College and Tufts University. Dubay received a B.A. degree in art history and business management from the University of South Florida, an M.A. degree in art history from Tufts University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the history of art from Bryn Mawr College.
Milton Katz, Ph.D.
Professor & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Milton Katz teaches American studies; art, literature, and peace and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Ban the Bomb: A History of SANE, the Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy,” 1957-1985 (Greenwood Press, 1986); and more than two dozen articles, book chapters and reviews on peace and social justice issues in contemporary American history. He consults and is a visiting professor at the Institute for Creative Conflict Management at Syracuse University. He worked with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education in its “Witnesses to the Holocaust” project served as its Vice President of Education. He has presented lectures on art of the Holocaust in educational and religious institutions throughout the U.S and Europe. In 1998, he received the KCAI Special Projects Award; in 2001, the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award; and in 2007, the KCAI Distinguished Achievement Award. A member of the KCAI faculty since 1974, Dr. Katz earned a bachelor’s degree from Rockford College in Illinois and holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees from St. Louis University.
Jan Kennedy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Program Head of the Asian Studies Certificate Program
Jan Kennedy joined the faculty at KCAI in 2006, previously working as a lecturer at KCAI and adjunct assistant professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. She received a B.A. in the history of art and English literature, an M.A. in the history of art, and a Ph.D., all from the University of Kansas. Her major area for her Ph.D. was 17th Century Dutch and Flemish paintings and prints, and her minor areas were Venetian Cinquecento painting and Japanese painting of the Edo period. More recently, she was a keynote speaker presenting her current area of research on the Christian art of Japan. Kennedy is a member of the College Art Association, the Historians of Netherlandish Art and the Association for Asian Studies.
Eleanor Lim-Midyett, Ph.D.
Eleanor Lim-Midyett, Ph.D., has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute since 1994. She received a B.A. degree in English literature from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in East Asian languages and literature from Yale University. She was also a writer for AMagazine: Inside Asian America.
Jordan Stempleman, M.F.A.
Jordan Stempleman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he was a Leggett Schupes Fellow in Poetry. In addition to lecturing at KCAI, he is the author of eight books of poetry including Wallop and No, Not Today (Magic Helicopter Press). He co-edits The Continental Review, a video-only forum for contemporary poetry and poetics, and serves as the faculty advisor for KCAI’s literary magazine, Sprung Formal. Since 2010, he has curated A Common Sense Reading Series, which pairs KCAI creative writing students with established writers. In 2013, The Huffington Post listed Stempleman as one of “The Top 200 Advocates of American Poetry.”
Erin Dahl is an adjunct professor with the Kansas City Art Institute and Metropolitan Community College. Dahl has previous experience teaching with the University of Kansas and Rockhurst University in Kansas City. Dahl’s teaching philosophy is centered on the context for art in terms of motive, significance and impact of social, political, historical and cultural underpinnings.
Deborah Dickson has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute since 1999. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biology and, in 1997, a Master of Arts in art history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the last decade, she has published more than 100 art museum and gallery exhibition reviews in the local publications The Pitch and Review.
Ben Furnish, PH.D.
Ben Furnish (Ph.D., theatre and film, University of Kansas; M.A., English, University of Missouri-Kansas City; M.Ed., Harvard University) is the author of Nostalgia in Jewish-American Theatre and Film, 1979-2004 (Lang), and he has contributed to such journals and books as Studies in Jewish Civilization, Holocaust Literature, Yiddish Poets and the Soviet Union, Jews & Sex, and Dictionary of Literary Biography. He has presented conference papers at Film & History, Literature & Film Association, and at international symposia sponsored by Oxford, Heidelberg, and Harvard universities. He is managing editor of BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and books he has edited have received attention from major awards and reviewers. His grant proposals in literary publishing have received funding from the Missouri Arts Council, ArtsKC, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lisa Haney, Ph.D.
Lisa Saladino Haney holds a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her major area of focus was the art and archaeology of ancient Egypt, particularly that of the Middle Kingdom, and her minor area was the art and archaeology of the Ancient Near East. She earned her M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian Studies at New York University and her B.A. in Antiquities at Missouri State. Lisa has presented her research at the annual conferences of the American Research Center in Egypt and has worked as an archaeologist and epigrapher in Egypt and Oman. Her interests include in royal self-representation during Egypt’s Twelfth Dynasty, the development of seals and sealing technologies, and interconnections between Egypt and the Near East from the Predynastic Period through the Second Intermediate Period.
Kara Heitz teaches American history and history of thought at KCAI. Her main academic interests revolve broadly around 20th century American history, popular culture studies, and critical theory. Her current research projects are about: 1) representations of the Great Depression in American mass culture, and 2) WPA and other New Deal agency art projects in Kansas. Before coming to KCAI, she taught history and politics at Northern Virginia Community College and cultural studies at George Mason University. She has Master’s degrees from George Washington University and The London School of Economics and pursued her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from George Mason University.
Michael Hessel-Mial earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Emory University in 2016. His interests include poetry and poetics, media studies, Jewish mysticism, and science fiction. He is co-editor of the digital poetry anthology, MACRO: an anthology of image macros (Boost House, 2016), and author of the ebook treatise on digital lyric, VITA NUOVA II (Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2015). His image macro poetry and related writings have appeared in Columbia Journal, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Real Life Magazine, The Fanzine, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Brent Jackson will be a Lecturer in Liberal Arts at KCAI this fall and is also English faculty at Johnson County Community College. He received a B.A .in English and History and an M.A. in English Literature from Kansas State University. Brent has done scholarly research in the fields of history, literature and art history and worked as a Graduate Curatorial Research Assistant at the Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State along with teaching in the English Department there. In addition to writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction, Brent is also a visual artist centering on painting and printmaking. This fall Brent has partnered with fellow KCAI faculty member, Trey Hock, for an Open Spaces KC piece that will debut this fall.
Kevin Kilroy teaches Bop Prosody and the Beat Generation, History of Thought, and Continuing Education Creative Writing. His books The Escapees and Dead Ends or Laughing Gas are published by Spuyten Duyvil Publishing. Other work can be found online with Masque & Spectacle, Dispatch, Fact-Simile, Hot Whiskey, Poets & Artists: Chicago Issue, Summer Stock, Sherlock Holmes & Philosophy. His play The Silence of Malachi Ritscher was produced in Chicago by Theatre 5.2.1. He is a judge for the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award. For 2018/2019, he is a Writer-in-Residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation.
Tracie Whiting Kipper
An alumna and former coordinator of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, Tracie formerly served as an economic analyst with the Consulate General of Japan in Kansas City. She has lived in Japan, taught Japanese, and offers Japanese-English translation services. She provides her students with insights into Japanese customs and culture as well as instruction in Japanese language.
Hui Wang Martin, Ph.D.
Hui Wang Martin will teach the course of Survey of Asian Art in the Fall semester, 2016. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Kansas. Her major area for her Ph.D. studies was later Chinese Buddhist art, and her minor areas were Western collecting of Chinese art and later Chinese Buddhism. Recently she has submitted an article to Artibus Asiae. She was the recipient of Harvard-Yenching Doctoral Scholarship from Harvard University and the Doctoral Research Scholarship from the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Kyoto, Japan. Before she moved to the United States to pursue her doctoral study, she held positions of assistant professor and lecturer in the Department of Eastern Art and Culture at Nankai University, Tianjin, China, where she received her B. A. and M. A. in Museum Studies.
Karen Staehling teaches the course “How DNA Stuff Works: The 4 Letters That Define You.” A full-time scientist, Karen is currently the head of Molecular Biology at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City where she oversees a team of 17 scientists that do DNA sequencing, CRISPR genome engineering and automation. She has published over 20 articles in various scientific journals including Nature, Genetics and the American Journal of Human Genetics. Before coming to the Stowers Institute & KCAI, she worked in the biotechnology industry in Seattle and taught laboratory courses at Harvard University. Karen received her B.A. in biology and chemistry from William Jewell College where she graduated summa cum laude with honors in Biology. She earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did post-doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Michele Valentine is an adjunct professor with the Kansas City Art Institute, Metropolitan Community College, and Kansas City Kansas Community College. She works at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as the Local Program Coordinator for the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship and the Department Assistant for South and Southeast Asian Art. Michele earned an MA degree in Art History from the University of Missouri–Kansas City in 2010. She specializes in art of the ancient world with teaching interests in appropriation and spolia, gender, and technology.
Loren Whittaker, Ph.D.
Loren Whittaker earned her Ph.D. and M.A. at the University of Kansas. At UMKC, she earned a B.A. in art history and history and two minors (German and Ancient Classical Studies). Loren has presented at annual conferences for the Renaissance Society of America and for the International Congress on Medieval Studies. She has been an instructor of record at Rockhurst University and KU, where her favorite course taught was the Study Abroad program in Florence and Paris. Loren is interested in the iconography, contextualization, and phenomenological interpretation of fourteenth through eighteenth-century, continental European paintings, sculptures, and works of religious and/or liturgical significance.
Teri teaches World Religions. Her background is in Communication Studies, with a B.A. from Montana State University Billings, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Univers.ity of Kansas. Her specialties are in Family and Gender Communication and in Perceptions of the Self. Before coming to KCAI she taught at the University of Kansas, Missouri Western State University, Normandale Community College in Minnesota, Metropolitan State University in Minnesot., Linfield College in Oregon. and Johnson County Community College in Kansas. She also served as Dean for a total of 14 years at Normandale, Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota and Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
Art History Major
The art history program stimulates and enriches critical thinking, intellectual inquiry, investigation, research and analysis between liberal arts and the studio disciplines. Investigating art historical methodology and scholarship within the context of a studio-based environment provides the student with insights and perspectives regarding the relationships between concept and practice. Read more about art history.
Studio Art in Creative Writing Major
The creative writing program encourages contemplative, broadly educated artists whose training and work in visual media and literary genres will be mutually supportive. Here, the visual arts and the literary arts share the goal of accuracy of vision. The strength of the program lies in its interdisciplinary and multi-contextual nature. Read more about creative writing.
Whether you major or double-major in creative writing, you will have over 50 courses to choose from to meet your requirements. For additional electives and liberal arts courses download the complete Course Catalog.
Lower-division required core courses:
- Art History I
- Art History II
- History of Thought I
- History of Thought II
Upper-Division required electives:
- Art History
- The Sciences
- Liberal arts electives
At least 5 of these upper-division classes must be taken at the 3000 level or the 4000 level.
At least 1 of these upper-division classes must be a class in global/comparative studies.
Other Choices Students Have to Fulfill their liberal arts requirements
Study Abroad Program to Buenos Aires – This program offers a course in art history. For more information, e-mail Dr. Reed Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Abroad Program to China – This program offers a course in art history. For more information, e-mail Dr. Jan Kennedy at email@example.com.
Study Abroad Program to France – This program offers a course in art history and a course in creative writing. For more information, e-mail Dr. Phyllis Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Abroad Program to Vietnam and Cambodia – This program offers a course in history. For more information, e-mail Dr. Hal Wert at email@example.com.
Even More Choices
- Directed Individual Studies
- Mobility programs to other colleges in the U.S. and abroad