DEAN Jennifer Prough
We are pleased to announce that Jennifer Prough ’91, Ph.D., associate professor of humanities and East Asian studies, will serve as interim dean of Christ College. Prough earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Duke University in 2006. She joined the Valpo faculty in 2005 and previously served as interim dean of Christ College in 2017–2018.
In her role as dean, Jennifer Prough is responsible for the strategic leadership, management, and guidance of Christ College. As a Christ College and Valparaiso alumna, Prough is deeply devoted to the transformative experience that a cohort-based, interdisciplinary honors education, delivered by a dedicated faculty, can provide. In recent years, Christ College has built momentum through a curriculum revision process, ensuring students hailing from all colleges are primed for success in at Valpo and beyond. Moreover, Prough aims to continue the work of developing a high caliber and more diverse community in the college.
Prough’s research and teaching interests focus on issues of representation and the ways that cultural meanings are produced, managed, experienced, and interpreted through mass culture. Her first book entitled Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shōjo Manga (University of Hawai’i Press, 2011) examines the production of Girls’ comics in Japan through ethnographic analysis. Her forthcoming book Kyoto Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Contemporary Kyoto (spring 2022) seeks to understand the ways that tradition, history, and culture are produced, packaged, promoted, and consumed in the Kyoto tourist industry.
In addition to teaching in the First Year Program and Interpretation: Self, Culture, Society, Prough has taught seminars on: urban Japan, Japanese visual culture, anime and ecology, tourism, living together with difference, and what robots teach us about being human. Throughout her time at Valpo she has also been involved with the Chinese and Japanese Studies program.
Jennifer Prough is married to CC alumnus Andrew Richter Ph.D. ’90, professor of physics and astronomy and chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Valpo.
Susan VanZanten, Ph.D.
Consulting Dean and Professor of Humanities and Literature in Christ College
In July 2021, Dean VanZanten stepped down from her positions as assistant vice president for mission and spiritual life and dean of Christ College. She continues to serve the university on a part-time basis to ensure a smooth transition before retiring in May 2022. In her part-time role, Dean VanZanten oversees the Lilly Fellows program; promotion and tenure for Christ College; and the senior retreat.
Assistant Dean of Christ College
Anna Stewart joined Valparaiso University in 2012 as a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow and has taught courses for the English department, Christ College, and the College of Arts & Sciences. Stewart received her B.A. in English and Spanish from the University of South Carolina (with honors from the South Carolina Honors College). She went on to complete her master’s and Ph.D. in English at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on African American literature, book history and textual studies, and race and gender studies. Stewart serves as the CC academic advisor and enjoys working with students as they consider opportunities on campus as well as competitive fellowships, graduate programs, and other possibilities beyond their undergraduate education.
Assistant to the Dean
Brett M. Calland joined Valparaiso University in 2004 serving as a Lecturer specializing in first-year courses critical to the student experience. He has taught for the CORE first year program, the Academic Success Strategies course, the exploratory discernment course, and for the History Department. He is joining Christ College from the College of Arts and Science, where he worked as an Academic Advisor, helping students build and navigate their four year plan to graduation. He received his B.S. in History and 6-12 Education, from Manchester University, before going onto Ball State University to earn his first Master of Arts in History. Brett has also earned a second Master of Arts, in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, from Valparaiso University. Calland serves as the CC assistant to the Dean and enjoys working with prospective students as they join campus, current students while they engage on campus as well the alumni as they continue to support and connect to campus.
Sharon Dybel provides valuable administrative support to both the CC Dean’s staff and the CC faculty. She implements and monitors programs, procedures and policies that enhance the workflow of the College. Sharon additionally assists with the CC First-Year Program.