WKU has a number of fabulous part-time faculty members. We want to celebrate their contribution to the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. Find below some information about their backgrounds and passion for teaching.
Christopher Antonsen began teaching in 1989 as a part-time faculty member at WKU while working on his M.A. in Folk Studies. While he pursued his Ph.D. at Ohio State University, he continued teaching literature and folklore courses. Also while at OSU, he and fellow folklorist Larry Doyle founded the AFS Graduate Student Section.
In 2001, Chris returned to WKU as a full-time professor teaching Cultural Diversity in the U.S., Urban Folklore, Ethnographic Research Methods, Folk Narrative, and Folklore Genres. He was also the founding faculty advisor for the WKU Folklore Club and an active member of the Women's Studies faculty.
Two years later, Chris began teaching web-delivered courses for WKU. He says that he loves teaching online courses, which require much more intensive forms of preparation and "class time" management. His approach to teaching Cultural Diversity "boils down to a specific focus on the nature and mechanics of culture itself. Exploring types of difference, then, functions to reveal and reinforce the fundamental understanding that all people are cultural beings and, as such, interpret the world around them according to the beliefs and priorities of cultures that influence them."
In 2009, Chris left Bowling Green and switched to teaching online classes for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology part-time. In addition, he now teaches middle school literature and composition full time at Countryside School in Champaign, Illinois, his wife's and his home town. Little did he realize it before taking that job, but he absolutely loves teaching and spending time with learners at that age. As one should be able to expect, though, he slyly (and often not so slyly) works folklore into his middle school literature curriculum. Folklore is, after all, everywhere.
Jacob Lorrin Buechler spent his undergraduate years (all 14 of them!) at five different universities, finally receiving his BA in Anthropology at the University of Arkansas in 2012. His specialization was in Cultural Anthropology with a mixture of religious studies and philosophy. After graduation Jacob decided to pursue a Masters in Folk Studies at Western with a concentration in supernatural folklore.
Jacob's research interests are mostly centered on construction of spaces of fear in connection with supernatural or paranormal phenomenon, how those spaces manifest, and how they are nourished culturally through narratives and belief systems. Nicknamed Ghostboy by his fellow graduates, Jacob is constantly trying to connect the extraordinary experience held within culture with professional academic standards – which isn't always the easiest task. For Jacob, the unknown is not to be taken lightly or foolishly, even with a great sense of humor Jacob takes his work very seriously.
In his spare time Jacob enjoys playing his guitar, walking his dog "Pockets" and hanging
out with friends. His office is in Cravens Library room 601. Office hours are M,W,F
10-11am. Classes he teaches: FLK 280: Cultural Diversity in the United States FLK
275: Supernatural Folklore
A native of southern Indiana, Nic Hartmann graduated from the Folk Studies program in 2009 with an M.A. in Public Folklore. A doctoral candidate in folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Nic is currently writing his thesis on gender and family life of offshore oil workers in Newfoundland, and currently works as the Public Scholarship Coordinator for WKU's Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility.
Having previously taught folklore courses at Memorial, Nic began teaching for the department in the spring of 2013, teaching both Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Ethnomusicology. He is currently teaching the Cultural Diversity course as a service-learning course, and incorporates the $100 Solution™ Project into his classes as a way for students to engage in community work while learning the fundamental concepts of both folklore and diversity. He is an active part of the Community-Based Folklore working group, as well as a contributor to The Boiled Down Juice, a folklore publication started by WKU Folk Studies alum Meredith Martin-Moats.
Outside of teaching and service work, Nic is highly interested in gardening and dance, and is working to incorporate both into his research. He has also collaborated with his ethnomusicologist wife, Jen, on a cultural sustainability study of community music spaces in Nova Scotia. They live in Bowling Green with their daughter, who shares her parents' passion for dancing and can often be seen tagging along at conferences.
Theresa Osborne is a 2004 graduate of the WKU Folk Studies graduate program, where her focus was on public folklore. She has been teaching an online section of Cultural Diversity in the US for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology as an adjunct part-time faculty since 2005.
Born and raised in central Kentucky, Theresa moved to mountains of southeastern Kentucky in the early 1990's. "I fell in love with the people and then place, and I decided to make my home here. But when I decided to go back to graduate school I chose Western. I first came to WKU to study journalism. I was impressed with the caliber of the faculty and the quality of instruction." After completing her graduate studies she was offered the opportunity to teach an online course as an adjunct. "I jumped at the chance. I consider it to be an honor to be a part of Western's faculty even in a part-time position. I came to Western as a non-traditional student. I had spent several years living and traveling in Europe. I also worked for several years as a community journalist. I think I bring a unique and different perspective and set of experiences to my online students."
In addition to her work at WKU, Theresa has been involved with a community performance project called Higher Ground for the past seven years. "This project allows me to use the skills I gained from Western's Folk Studies program. Our theater productions are all created out of stories gathered from local people and address the actual issues and problems that face each of us on a day to day basis, while celebrating what is unique and valuable in our culture." The Higher Ground project was the subject of a KET documentary that continues to be aired periodically. Theresa is also a professional storyteller. "I have a sons, daughters, grandchildren and an egg-sucking dog. They all provide me with material for my stories."
For the past three years she has worked in partnership with Phyllis Sizemore the curator of the Kentucky Coal Museum in Benham, KY, to produce a weekly radio show called History Alive. The show airs on WMMT and its online radio program. "Phyllis and I both have a love of local history as told through the stories of local people. With this in mind, we began to record weekly radio shows with local people telling their stories and, in the process, the stories of our place. These programs are informal discussions that often result in laughter and sometimes tears. Our goal is to always show through these interviews that our history is alive and held in the hearts and stories of everyday people. To learn about this history, in most cases all you have to do is ask them to tell their story."
In her spare time, she and her family make regular trips to Belize Central America to continue mission outreach work they began there 13 years ago. "While I love my mountains here in Kentucky. I have a second home and family in the people of Belize." Theresa is a Kentucky Community Scholar and member of the Kentucky Oral History Commission.
Born and raised in Louisville, Alice Shaughnessy-Begay is a graduate of the WKU Folk Studies graduate program, where she focused on Health Belief Systems and Folk Medicine. She now teaches the undergraduate class Cultural Diversity in the US for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology as an adjunct part-time faculty.
Teaching Cultural Diversity in the US offers Alice the opportunity to engage students in the commonwealth of cultures in the U.S. She says that she arranges her classrooms to create a talking circle, allowing students direct engagement with each other. Her teaching approach also includes class activities outside the classroom, saying that "The $100 Solution service learning project is an exciting addition to the study of cultural diversity at WKU." One of the challenges that Alice faces is keeping her students focused during her evening classes, "I wish I could serve supper with this course; most students complain of being hungry."
Her work for WKU is not the only thing that fills Alice's time. Alice is a registered nurse and works in a rural health clinic in western Kentucky. With her husband, she co-owns a non-emergency medical ground transportation company on the Navajo Nation. She says that living and working among the Navajo people has been a wonderful experience and has enhanced her understanding of identity and worldview. In addition to her other jobs, Shaughnessy-Begay is also a speaker for the Kentucky Humanities Counsel, a freelance writer for The Record Newspaper in Grayson County, a member of the Kentucky Women in Agriculture, a Master Gardener for the state of Kentucky, and writes creative non-fiction and fiction.