Cristina A. Bejan is an affiliate professor in the History Department and the Theatre and Dance Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Topic: Literature and Theatre
Jenn Zukowski-Boughn, MFA, is an affiliate professor in the Department of Theatre at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her areas of expertise include children’s literature, fantasy and science fiction, folklore (fairy tales, mythology), theatre and performance of literature, and Harry Potter. She currently teaches Staging Culture: Theatre.
Zukowski-Boughn teaches courses in writing, literature, visual arts, performing arts, movement and stage combat. She also has been working as a freelance fight choreographer for 22 years, consulting, directing, choreographing and coordinating stunts and theatrical fight scenes for theatre productions and film companies in metro Denver.
She is the author of “Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film,” published by Allworth Press. She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ. Her work also is archived on the defunct sites Nerds in Babeland, Your Boulder and Sherlock’s Home.
She received her master’s in Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in 2001. She received her bachelor’s in English and Theatre from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1995.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Ph.D.; JD, an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is a professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
His academic scholarship involves Native American issues, law and political science, and he’s an attorney, licensed to practice in all Colorado state courts. Weiden is an alumnus of Vona, a Tin House Scholar, a 2018 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a 2019 Ragdale Foundation resident. He received the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship. He is the fiction editor for Anomaly, journal of international literature and arts (www.anmly.org), and he teaches writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.
Weiden novel Winter Counts is forthcoming August 2020 from Ecco/HarperCollins, as is the second book in the series, Wounded Horse. Winter Counts is the story of a local Native American enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation who becomes obsessed with finding and stopping the dealer who is bringing increasingly dangerous drugs into his community. It’s a Native thriller, an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations and a meditation on Native identity. Both novels will be published in France by Gallmeister Editions.
He’s published or has work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal and other magazines. His children’s book, Spotted Tail, will be released in 2019.
A first-generation college student, he received his MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his J.D. from the University of Denver Strum College of Law and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., is the provost and executive vice President of Academic Affairs and professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has over 18 years of higher education experience and is passionate about relationship building and inclusive leadership. He is a leading authority and one of the nation’s prominent education scholars of African American boys’ literacy development.
Tatum currently oversees academic activities throughout MSU Denver, with direct responsibility for developing, delivering and evaluating academic program policies and procedures. He is also responsible for the promotion, tenure, retention processes as well as other faculty related plans within the university.
Prior to becoming provost at MSU Denver, Tatum was the dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2013-2020 and directed the UIC Reading Clinic from 2007-2020. Also during that time, he hosted Boys College for three years aimed to advance the literacy development of Black boys in elementary school. Additionally, he led two Post-Release Education and Preparation projects for young men on intensive probation with Cook County after convincing the juvenile court judges to assign the young males to the UIC Reading Clinic instead of jail. Tatum’s most recent research project, focused on the roles of texts and writing to advance the literacy development of African American males in elementary school. His most recent scholarship focuses on moving U.S. students to advanced levels of reading, writing and intellect development across the academic disciplines.
Tatum has co-authored three books, four major reading and writing programs and 77 academic papers and publications. He authored the award-winning book, “Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap” in 2005. His second book, “Reading for Their Life: (Re) building the Textual Lineages of African American Males” was published in 2009. His third book, “Fearless Voices: Engaging a New Generation of African American Adolescent Male Writers” was published in 2013. A fourth book, “Teaching Black Boys in the Elementary Grades” is scheduled to be released by Teachers College Press in November 2021.
Tatum received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Chicago and his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University.
Craig Svonkin, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His expertise is in amusement parks and children’s literature.
In addition to teaching, Svonkin is an executive director of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. He has quite a few publications including “A Southern California Boyhood in the Simu-Southland Shadows of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” published in the Disneyland and Culture: Essays on the Parks and Their Influence journal and “From Disneyland to Modesto: George Lucas and Walt Disney,” chapter 3 in Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology. Svonkin has also done many presentations including “Theorizing Multicultural and Multiethnic Children’s Fantasy” at the Children’s Literature Association Conference in 2008 and “Muggles & Giants & House-Elves, Oh My!: Harry Potter, Liberalism, and Evil” at the National Popular Culture Association Conference in 2003.
Svonkin is often called upon to share his expertise on pop culture topics related to amusement parks, Disney, Sesame Street and The Muppets. He is a member of Children’s Literature Association, Modern Language Association, Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, American Studies Association, Popular Culture Association and Oceanic Popular Culture Association. His research interests include American literature, children’s literature; and American film and visual culture.
Svonkin received his doctorate in English from University of California, Riverside in 2008, a masters in English from California State University, Los Angeles in 1997 and a bachelor’s in English from University of Southern California in 1986.
Renee Ruderman teaches the Art and Craft of Writing, poetry and creative nonfiction writing workshops, poetry and memoir writing studios and the Senior Experience course, Advanced Writing. She has been a full-time faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver for over 30 years.
Ruderman has two books published: “Poems from the Room Below” and “Certain Losses,” a chapbook. Some of her award-winning poetry may be found in the Bellingham Review, I-70 Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and the Raleigh Review.
Vincent Piturro, Ph.D., is a professor of film and media studies in the Department of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
He hosts an annual science fiction film series in conjunction with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Film Society. Piturro writes a film review column for The Front Porch, a neighborhood Denver paper with a circulation of about 30,000. In addition to teaching, he is also the general studies chair on the Faculty Senate Standing Committee at MSU Denver.
Piturro published several works including a book chapter on “The Ballad of Little Jo” in the edited collection of “Love in Western Film and Television,” an article in the International Academic Forum journal titled “Documentary Film Rhetoric: Saving Face and the Public Sphere” and a book chapter on gays in Westerns in the upcoming edited volume “The New Western.” His areas of research include Westerns, science fiction, documentaries, Italian cinema and Italian-American cinema.
Piturro received his doctorate in film studies from University of Colorado Denver in 2008.
Born and educated in Uruguay, Cristina Miguez Cruz completed a B.A. in Letters in 1999, an M.A. in Literary Studies in 2002 in Venezuela and a doctorate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a focus on 20th Century Latin American Crime Narrative and Cinema in 2009.
Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of English and director of the Writing Center at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
She began her teaching career at Red Rocks Community College in 2001 where she worked as a writing center coordinator while also addressing writing curriculum, tutoring and composition.
Kleinfeld conducts research on academic rhetoric, composition pedagogy and theory, digital rhetoric, intellectual property, and multigenre and multimodal composition. She has co-authored two textbooks: “The Bedford Book of Genres: A Rhetoric” and “The Bedford Book of Genres: A Rhetoric and Reader.” Kleinfeld has also written numerous essays, peer-reviewed journal articles and edited handbooks. She has done many presentations at conferences and held work’shops. Kleinfeld is a member of: International Society for Humor Studies, Alliance for Computers and Writing, International Writing Centers Association, Colorado and Wyoming Writing Center Association and eLearning Consortium of Colorado.
Kleinfeld received her doctorate in English studies and master’s in English from Illinois State University and a bachelor’s in history from Bradley University.
Rebecca Gorman O’Neill was born in Akron, Ohio. She started writing plays at Dartmouth college, where she earned her BA in Drama and English. When she won the Eleanor Frost Playwriting award her junior year, she was very relieved to have an excuse to stop acting. Rebecca went on to earn her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
After working at Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Glimmerglass Opera, she finally landed at the Denver Center Theatre Company, where she held titles ranging from Assistant Props Master, to Member of the Playwrights’ Unit, to “unofficial dramaturg.” She remains a member of the Higher Education Advisory Council for the DCTC.
Since 1994, Rebecca’s original plays have been produced in across the country and in Canada. Her plays “Tell-tale” and “The Greater Good” are available from Eldridge Publishing and Next Stage Press, respectively.
Currently (2015), her play “Mynx and Salvage” is part of the Edge Theatre’s “On Your Feet” development series, and her play “The Ghost of us” is being produced by Athena Project, both in Denver.
O’Neill is an professor of the English Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she serves as the teaching playwriting, screenwriting, cinema studies, and the graphic novel.