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Jan Furman, Ph.D., Program Director

Education: Ph.D. Florida State University, M.A. Bucknell University, B.A. Tuskegee Institute

Professor Furman’s teaching and research examine American thought and culture through the modern period.  In addition to essays on Toni Morrison, Civil War narrative, and slave narrative, Professor Furman has authored Toni Morrison’s Fiction (1996) and has edited Slavery in the Clover Bottoms: John McCline’s Narrative of his Life in Slavery and During the Civil War (1998); and Song of Solomon:  A Casebook (2003).  Her most recent book contribution is Toni Morrison’s Fiction, Revised and Expanded (2014).


Charles Apple, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Communication Emeritus

Education: Ph.D. Wayne State University, M.A. Wayne State University

Areas of expertise:
Ethics in Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Management, Rhetoric and Social Movements, Propaganda, Film Criticism, Media History

Current research focus:
Whistleblowers, Online cases and activities.

Emphasis Area: Speech Communication


Phillip Barnhart, MFA, MLS

Liberal Studies Lecturer

Education: MLS, University of Michigan-Flint, MA, Wayne State, MFA, Naropa University, B.A. Bennington College

Barnhart’s research interests include language poetry, critical regionalism, American pragmatism, American Theater (specifically O’Neill, Williams, & Wilson,) cultural studies, and African American literature and culture in the late 19th and early 20th century.  He has published in a collection of essays on the one act plays of Eugene O’Neill (Palgrave, 2010,) and is currently finishing his second collection of poetry, Papaya Hope, a full-length play, That Song of Allan Grey’s, and an historical study of the development of the Community School Model in Flint, Michigan.  He is a program director and grant writer for Flint Public Art Project, and he is currently a national service member at Doyle Ryder Elementary School in Flint where he serves as the Community Resource Developer.  He holds a graduate certificate in New Media Studies, has a decade of training in online pedagogy at several different universities, and is a certified assessor of online course delivery.


Thomas Foster, Ph.D.

Professor of English Emeritus

Education: Ph.D., M.A. Michigan State University, A.B. Dartmouth College,

Professor Foster is a leading scholar or twentieth-century English, Irish, and American literature; contemporary Irish poetry; modernism and postmodernism; literary analysis for general readers; and critical theory.  His teaching and research critically examined the works of Flann O'Brien, Henry Green, Seamus Heaney, and James Joyce.  He authored numerous books including Form and Society in Modern Literature (1988), How to Read Literature Like a Professor (2003),  and Twenty-five Books that Shaped America  (2011).  Professor Foster taught a wide array of popular courses that ranged from introductory courses in classical literature and literary genres to graduate classes on modern and contemporary British literature.  He played an instrumental role in the establishment of the English Department's Master of English Language and Literature Program.  He served as the program's first director from 2005-12.  Professor Foster was a frequent invited speaker at high schools across the state of Michigan where he shared his enthusiasm for great literature and inspired a generation.


Lauren Friesen, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus & David M. French Professor

Education: Ph.D., Philosophy and Theatre M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies, Playwriting B.A., Bethel College (Kansas), History, Psychology and Philosophy

Dr. Friesen is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for "Excellence in Theatre" and the Indiana Theatre Association's award for his "Outstanding Contribution to University Theatre." His recent publications include a translation of Hermann Sudermann's The Storm Komrade Sokrates (University Press of America) and the essay "Ritual, Race and Reconciliation in Anna Deavere Smith's Play Fires in the Mirror," (Munster: LIT Verlag). His monologue "Still Waiting for Rachel" was published in Monologues for Men by Heinneman Press. He just completed the translation of a novel...But Stones Can't Speak by the holocaust survivor Carlo Ross. In April 2007, Vertigo Productions in Flint produced his latest 2-act play Rothko.


Robert Houbeck

Director of the Thompson Library


Alicia Kent, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

Education: Ph.D., M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. (English and International Relations), Stanford University

Specializations/Areas of Interest

Multicultural Literatures, race and ethnicity, women's and gender issues

Publications/Current Research

African, Native, and Jewish American Literature and the Reshaping of Modernism. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Publications on N. Scott Momaday, Angelina Weld Grimke, Sherman Alexie, D'Arcy McNickle, Mourning Dove, Native American feminism and book reviews on related topics.

At work on an article about Monique Truong's novel, Bitter in the Mouth (2010).



Frederic Svoboda, Ph.D.

Professor of English

Education: Ph.D. in English, Michigan State University, Graduate, Radcliffe Course in Publishing Procedures, Harvard University, M.A. in English, Michigan State University, B.A. with honor in English, Michigan State University

Specializations/Areas of Interest

American Literature (beginnings to present)
British Literature (1800 to present)
Creative Writing (Esp. fiction)
American Studies/Popular Culture, including film

Dr. Svoboda is Professor of English at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan, where he has taught since 1980, focusing on American Literature and Culture and serving as both Chair of English and Director of the Graduate Program in American Culture.  He served as senior faculty advisor to UM-Flint’s chancellor and also served two terms as a director and treasurer of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, which sponsors a literary prize in honor of the author, organizes international conferences and is currently is involved in publishing a complete edition of Hemingway’s collected letters. He also is a past president and current vice-president of the Michigan Hemingway Society.

Dr. Svoboda holds the Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University and studied the publishing industry at Harvard University’s prestigious Radcliffe Course in Publishing Procedures.  He is the author or editor of several books.  The most recent, co-edited with Suzanne del Gizzo of Chestnut Hill College appeared this year from Kent State University Press, collecting criticism of Hemingway’s posthumously-published novel The Garden of Eden. Current projects include a book on American novelist John Updike for the University of South Carolina Press as well as a novel set during the American Civil War.

He teaches courses at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels, including multi-term courses open to both advanced undergraduate and graduate students and covering the American Novel and American Film. Several of his courses are taught completely on line, and most of his courses include significant on line elements to add flexibility and depth to students’ experiences.


Chris Waters, MFA

Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Education: M.A., B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Christine M. Waters was appointed Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies in July, 2011.  Professor Waters joined the faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint as a visiting assistant professor in 1987, was appointed as an assistant professor in 1988, was promoted to associate professor, with tenure, in 1994, and to professor in 2009.  

Associate Provost Waters was the founding professor of our current Art Program, now housed within the Department of Communication and Visual Arts and served several years as its Chair.  In addition she served as Interim Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Chair of the Department of Music and Art, member of the Executive Committee and several other committees in the College of Arts and Sciences.  She has served on the University Higher Learning Commission Self-Study Committee, Budget Priorities and Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, Space Committee, Chair of Governing Faculty, Bargaining Team University Member for LEO Negotiations, several search committees, and many other committees.