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Meet Liberal Studies Faculty

Merle Bachman, MFA, PhD

Professor of English; Director, BFA in Creative Writing

The courses Dr. Merle Bachman teaches reflect the eclectic breadth of her scholarly interests and include creative writing, modern American poetry, British literature surveys, science fiction in film and interdisciplinary subjects such as “The Monstrous in Literature.” The students she mentors develop a life-long curiosity and love of learning.

Bachman is a poet and translator with four books out, the most recent being the poetry collection Blood Party (Shearsman Books, 2015). She maintains a scholarly interest in American Yiddish literature; her monograph Recovering “Yiddishland”: Threshold Moments in American Literature, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2009, and she was named a Fellow of the National Yiddish Book Center for 2015-16. Bachman’s interest in literatures of cultural identity has led to her research and publishing on a “lost” Scottish Jewish poet, A.C. Jacobs. She is currently lead editor on Jacobs’ Selected Poems, which is expected to be published by Northern House, an imprint of Carcanet Books in England, in 2018.

Patricia Dillon, PhD

Chair, Associate Professor

Dr. Pattie Dillon serves as the Chair of Liberal Studies and Associate Professor of History, having completed her B.S. in Sociology at the University of Florida, her M.A. in History at the University of Central Florida, and her Ph.D. in History at Mississippi State University (Starkville). Her doctoral research focused on the connections between race, gender, and religion during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. Dr. Dillon teaches courses on Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Gender History, and U.S. History Since 1945. Within these courses, students use primary sources to explore the dramatic events, exciting personalities, and complex underlying forces that create historical narratives. Students are also encouraged to become their own historians by collecting and presenting oral interviews.

Lynnell Edwards, PhD

Associate Professor

As associate professor of English, Dr. Lynnell Edwards directs and teaches first year writing as well as other creative writing and literature courses.  She enjoys working with students as they begin their academic careers in order to ensure they are successful in their college writing projects. Her most recent collection of poetry is King of the Rock and Roll Hot Shop (2014, Accents). She is also the author of the poetry collections, Covet (2011), The Highwayman’s Wife (2007) and The Farmer’s Daughter (2004), all from Red Hen Press.  Her short fiction and book reviews have been published in literary journals such as New Madrid, Connecticut Review, Cincinnati Review, and Pleiades. She writes a monthly book column for Louisville Magazine and serves on the boards of Kentucky Women Writer’s Conference and Louisville Literary Arts, which produces the monthly InKY Reading Series and The Writer’s Block Festival.

Youn-Kyung Kim, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Kim is Associate Professor of English and currently teaches courses in linguistics, humanities, and composition. She taught TESL courses (e.g., second language acquisition theory, TESL methodology, teaching grammar, and introduction to linguistics) in the TESOL Endorsement Program for public school teachers (K-12). Her main research interests are in discourse analysis in educational settings and world English. She has presented papers at TESOL national convention, AAAL (American Association for Applied Linguistics), AILA, CCCC, and International Writing Center Association (IWCA) Conference. Her dissertation was published as a book, titled Frame Analysis of Writing Center Interactions. She also has written a chapter, entitled “Frame Analysis,” in Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics published by Blackwell Publishing.

Christopher Kolb, PhD

Associate Professor

Urban anthropologist Christopher Kolb passionately works to create opportunities for students to engage in projects that promote peace and social justice by combining community service, first-hand research, and rigorous intellectual inquiry. Dr. Kolb conducts fieldwork with long-time users of crack-cocaine, the homeless, and the formerly incarcerated. In addition to W. E. B. Du Bois, the most important influences for Prof. Kolb include German Idealist philosophy, Judeo-Christian theology, psychoanalytic theory, and many literary figures, including Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, Russell Banks, Mark Twain, and, of late, Roberto Bolaño.

Kathleen Nesbitt, PhD


Kathleen Nesbitt teaches courses in modern world literature and composition. Her travels to Central America, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia have led to the development of courses in magic realism, Irish drama, Palestinian and Israeli fiction, and Chinese film. She finds students are eager to learn about cultures through literary studies, an interdisciplinary discipline, and encourages participation in study abroad opportunities. Her current research interest is in Chinese language and literature. Also teaching expository writing courses, Dr. Nesbitt believes our small, process-centered classes, individualized instruction and tutorial support make it possible for each student to make significant progress over the course of a term.

Joyce Ogden, MFA


As the driving force behind Spalding’s Huff Gallery and a practicing sculptor with numerous credits, Joyce Ogden has been teaching studio art since 1993. Her teaching bridges interests in studio production and community-based art. In the traditional studio classes (three-dimensional design, sculpture, ceramics) students practice the formal principles of form and design, explore the individual creative process and nurture the development of ideas. Students are also encouraged to make connections between art, their daily lives and other academic disciplines. Joyce exhibits her work in Louisville and throughout the region and is a founding member of ENID: Generations of Women Sculptors, a local organization of professional sculptors. She is the recipient of grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Arts Council.

Dorina Miller Parmenter, PhD

Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Dori Parmenter is right at home in the interdisciplinary humanities with a background in religion and art. She enjoys teaching and research surrounding the creative responses that humans have had and continue to have when they contemplate the human condition. Dr. Parmenter teaches Introduction to Religion, The Old Testament, The Christian Tradition, The Synoptic Gospels, World Religions I and II, Religion in America, and Religion and Art.  She is also the director of our Study Abroad in Ireland program in addition to teaching The Ireland Experience and Irish Religion and Culture.

John Wilcox, PhD

Professor, Philosophy

John Wilcox has been teaching at Spalding since 1987 following completion of his Ph.D. from Notre Dame. Since 1993, he has taught philosophy during the summer for the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program. Presently serving as Chair of the School of Liberal Studies, his primary teaching interests are in ethics, logic, and the philosophy of the person. In ethics he encourages students to search for the foundation of right and wrong. In logic he helps students to develop their abilities to think clearly and consistently. He also enjoys teaching advanced philosophy courses that develop the students’ abilities to read, understand, discuss, critique, and write about difficult philosophical texts.