Meet Our Faculty

Merle Bachman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, English
Office: Mansion 217
(502) 873-4425
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Dr. Merle Bachman believes strongly in the vitality of liberal studies as a way to engage the creative, as well as critical, intellect, and prepare students for life-long learning, as well as a world of fascinating work. Her teaching interests encompass creative writing, poetry as literature, cultural and gender studies, and film. As Director of the Spalding BFA in Creative Writing, Dr. Bachman oversees a studio program that encompasses the study of varied writing genres and involves Writers in Residence who have significant publications and national reputations.  She is, however, particularly passionate about poetry and believes in its power to transform the way people think and see the world.

A working poet, she regularly gives poetry readings and has had more than 40 poems published in over 20 literary journals as well as two books of poetry (the most recent being “Diorama with Fleeing Figures,” Shearsman Books, 2009). Her book of research into American Yiddish literature and translations from Yiddish poetry, entitled “Recovering ‘Yiddishland’: Threshold Moments in American Literature,” was published by Syracuse University Press in 2008.

Patricia Dillon, Ph.D.

Chair, Associate Professor, History
Office: Manson 219
(502) 873-4428
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Dr. Pattie Dillon 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, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, English
Office: Mansion 214
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Dr. Lynnell Edwards directs and teaches first year writing at Spalding as well as other creative writing and literature courses.  She enjoys working with students just beginning their academic careers in order to help them be successful in their college writing projects. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Louisville in Rhetoric and Composition and took a position with Concordia University in Portland, Oregon for ten years where she taught writing, literature and directed the Writing Center before returning to Louisville.

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, Pleiades, and others. She writes a monthly books 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, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, English
Director, University Writing Center
Office: Mansion 216
(502) 873-4431
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Youn-Kyung Kim, Ph. D., is Associate Professor of English in the School of Liberal Studies, 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), and directed the Spalding University Writing Center.  Her main research interests are in discourse analysis in educational settings and world Englishes.  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, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Office: Mansion East 213
(502) 873-4432
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An urban anthropologist, Christopher Kolb conducts fieldwork with long-time users of crack-cocaine, the homeless, and the formerly incarcerated, primarily in a highly-segregated African American neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Prof. Kolb argues that the residents of such neighborhoods are systematically exposed to a “cultural violence” that often causes people to perceive their status as  “living” or “alive” as radically in question rather than a self-evident certainty.  Central to this cultural violence is institutional racism, which Prof. Kolb seeks to understand as a form of “primitivist” mythology that possesses the continuing ability to affect policy, structure perception, and create meaning in people’s lives, though frequently without their knowledge or desire.

Because Prof. Kolb attempts to convey the experience of cultural violence that results from these forces, his ethnographic writing often seeks the limits of conventional scholarly discourse in a desire to fulfill the liberating potential of anthropology in which, in his own way, he fervently believes.

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.

Prof. Kolb is also working to create opportunities for members of the Spalding community, especially students, to engage in projects that promote peace and social justice by combining community service, first-hand research, and rigorous intellectual inquiry in Louisville and, one day, in Latin America.

Kathleen Nesbitt, Ph.D.

Professor, English
Office: Mansion 218
(502) 873-4435
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Kathleen Nesbitt earned her Ph.D. in literary theory and late 19th/early 20th century English literature from Michigan Sate University. She teaches courses in modern world literature and composition. Her travels to Central America, Europe, the Middle East and particularly 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.

Dr. Nesbitt also teaches expository writing courses. Small, process-centered classes make it possible for each student to make significant progress over the course of a term. Individualized instruction, supported by tutorials through the University Writer Center, creates a dynamic learning environment in composition courses.

Joyce Ogden, MFA

Professor, Art
Office: Mansion 211
(502) 873-4436
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Joyce Ogden earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in fibers and sculpture at Indiana University (Bloomington) in 1990. She has been teaching studio art at Spalding since 1993. Her teaching bridges interests in studio production and community-based art making. In the traditional studio classes (three-dimensional design, sculpture, hand built 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 making, their daily lives, and other academic disciplines. Community and collaboration as well as real-life experience in art making are the core of the public art class in which students engage in projects in and with the community. Past projects include a sculptural playground for the visually impaired, the revitalization of an inner-city park, a clay mural for a day care facility for adults with disabilities and mosaics in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Professor Ogden is a practicing sculptor who works in her own studio generating large-scale sculptures that explore time and process. She 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.

Professor Ogden also directs Spalding’s Huff Gallery, which hosts eight exhibitions per year that bring a diverse range of contemporary art work to Spalding’s campus and the Louisville community.

Dorina Miller Parmenter, Ph.D

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Office: Mansion 218
(502) 873-4438
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With a background in religion and art, Dr. Dorina Miller Parmenter is right at home in the interdisciplinary humanities, and enjoys teaching and research surrounding the creative responses that humans have had and continue to have when they contemplate the human condition.

Dori studied art and religion at a small, Midwestern, liberal arts college and went on to earn a M.A. in Studio Arts from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Her thesis project in bookbinding and metalsmithing that involved research into Medieval Christian art and history led her back to a study of religion. In graduate studies in religion at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, her interdisciplinary interests coalesced around early Christian history in general, and religious uses of books in particular. Her dissertation was on “The Iconic Book: The Image of the Christian Bible in Myth and Ritual,” and emphasized the Christian Bible as a material object rather than a text to be read.  While most of Dori’s on-going research lies within Christian history, she is also involved in the Iconic Books Project, a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration with scholars of many different religious traditions who focus on the ritual uses of religious scripture.

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 Spalding’s Study Abroad in Ireland program, which involves planning trips to Ireland for Spalding students every other year in addition to teaching The Ireland Experience and Irish Religion and Culture.

John Wilcox, Ph. D.

Professor, Philosophy
Office: Mansion 318
502 873-4439
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John Wilcox has been teaching philosophy at Spalding since 1987. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame. Since 1993, he has taught philosophy during the summers at the Centre College campus of the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program. In the spring of 1997 he returned to Notre Dame for a semester as a Fellow in the Center for the Philosophy of Religion. His philosophical interests are in the History of Western Philosophy and the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. From an interdisciplinary perspective, he is especially interested in the connection between theology and philosophy, and the relation between faith and reason. He also enjoys watching classic movies and studying ancient languages, including Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He presently serves as Chair of the School of Liberal Studies. For the past two seasons, he has helped to keep the statistics at all Spalding home basketball games.

His primary teaching interests are in ethics, logic, and the philosophy of the person. In ethics he tries to help students to search for the foundation of right and wrong by asking such questions as: How do we know that our moral judgments are not just unfounded prejudices? and How can people with different moral beliefs grow together in their understanding and respect for one another? In logic he helps students to develop their abilities to think clearly and consistently. And in philosophy of the person, he asks what does it mean to be a person, or what is the ultimate meaning of human life? He also enjoys teaching advanced philosophy courses that develop the students’ abilities to read, understand, discuss, critique, and write about difficult philosophical texts.


Tiffany Thompson, MSW

Administrative Assistant, School of Liberal Studies
901 South 4th Street
(502) 873-4434
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