Fine Arts Faculty

One of the greatest strengths of the Division of Fine Arts at Friends University is our impressive faculty. Faculty members take a personal interest in their students and work one-on-one to help students achieve their best.

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Division of Fine Arts

Dr. Mark Bartel
Choral Music

Dr. Mark W. Bartel, associate professor of music and director of choral music, has been with Friends University since 2005. Dr. Bartel conducts the Singing Quakers, Madrigal Choir, Women's Chorus and Choral Union. He also teaches in the areas of applied voice and conducting. He has held positions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (N.Y.), University of Western Ontario and Canadian Mennonite University. His choirs have performed at Kansas Music Educators and regional American Choral Directors Association conventions and toured the United States, Canada and Germany. He also serves as the artistic director of the Wichita Chamber Chorale.

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Dr. Stephen Eaves
Chair of Fine Arts

Dr. Stephen R. Eaves, chair of fine arts and professor of music, has been with Friends University since 2011. Dr. Eaves comes to Friends from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas where he served as director of choral activities. Other appointments include serving as department administrator and director of choral activities at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas and Roane State College in Harriman, Tennessee. Since 2000, Dr. Eaves has been recognized regularly for outstanding teaching in “Who's Who Among America's Teachers.” His choirs have toured internationally and throughout the United States, along with performing by invitation for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Conference and the Texas Music Educators Association Convention. Dr. Eaves has prepared choral and orchestral works for collaboration with professional orchestras in Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas. Dr. Eaves holds degrees in music education and conducting from Union University, the University of Mississippi and the University of South Carolina. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Arkansas Choral Directors Association, Chorus America and the College Music Society.

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Rolaine Hetherington
Music/Applied Voice

Rolaine Hetherington, assistant professor of music and applied voice, has been with Friends University since 1993. She has been the conductor of the Concert Choir since 2003, when she also formed Kantorei, a small chamber ensemble from within the Concert Choir. She also serves as the music director and vocal coach for musical productions. As a graduate student she was a Rotary Graduate Fellowship recipient and studied in Austria for a year.  She is an alumnus of the Dale Warland Singers and the Minnesota Bach Society and is active as an adjudicator and soloist throughout the upper mid-west.

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Lisa Hittle

Lisa Hittle, assistant professor of music, has been with Friends University since 1995. She is the director of the jazz department and instructor of saxophone. Lisa directs two full jazz ensembles and several jazz combos and teaches jazz improvisation classes and applied saxophone. Hittle is an alumna of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, an active jazz musician in the Wichita area and adjudicator/clinician throughout the Midwest. The Wichita Arts Council selected Lisa as the 2006 Wichita Arts Educator of the Year.

Contact Lisa Hittle at 316-295-5616.

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Dr. James Knight

Dr. James H. Knight, assistant professor of piano, has been with Friends Univeristy since 1995. He began piano lessons at the age of 10 with Lucille Hayden of Sedgwick. During high school, he studied with Guy Johnson of Friends University and later received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance in 1988 from Friends. He won the Naftzger Piano Award and the Kansas Cultural Trust Award, enabling him to study under Constance Keene at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. In 1990 and 1996 respectively, he earned his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He took master classes from John Perry, Aube Tzerko, Bela Nagy, Byron Janis, Karl Ulrich Schnabel and Joaquin Soriano. Dr. Knight was a finalist in the Leschetizky Piano Competition and has performed at Steinway Hall in New York City. Dr. Knight is now in his 13th year of teaching at Friends University, where he is an Assistant Professor of Piano. He also teaches Twentieth Century Music and Analytical Techniques. Dr. Knight is a member of the Kansas Arts Commission Touring Roster, as well as the Mid-America Arts Alliance Touring Program.

Contact Dr. Knight at 316-295-5532.

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Ted Krone

Ted Krone, professor of art, has been with Friends University since 1989. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Fort Hays State University, and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Wichita State University. He taught art at Newman University before teaching 14 years at Cloud County Community College and has taught at Friends University since 1989. Ted exhibits regularly in group and solo exhibits and has shown his work in New York and Los Angeles.

Contact Ted Krone at 316-295-5657.

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Toni Libhart

Toni L. (Absher) Libhart, assistant professor of music, has taught at Friends University since 1995. She teaches music theory and piano class and is an academic recruitment coordinator. Toni has 13 years of experience teaching instrumental music in the Wichita public schools, including two years as instrumental music teaching specialist. A native of Wichita, Libhart studied music education and percussion performance at Kent State University and completed Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music Education degrees at Wichita State University with an emphasis on percussion performance and minors in piano and voice. In addition to her duties at Friends, Toni has also served as worship coordinator/musical director at area churches for 37 years and is currently orchestra director and percussionist at Central Christian Church.

Contact Toni Libhart at 316-295-5536

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Dr. Charles Parker

Dr. Charles Parker, associate professor of drama and director of theater, has been with Friends University since 1989. He teaches courses in acting, directing, dramatic history and literature, and public speaking, and annually directs one or two major stage productions. In addition, he performs professionally as a voice and stage actor. He writes plays and has taught creative dramatics to disadvantaged young people for the Legacy Camp. In October of 2007, Parker received the Teall Award as Educator of the Year.

Contact Dr. Parker at 316-295-5577.

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Kurt Priebe
Drama and Media

Kurt Priebe, assistant professor of drama and media, has been with Friends University since 2000. Kurt teaches technical theatre, film and digital video production, and speech communication courses at Friends University. He directs and designs dramatic and music theatre productions in the University theatre season, coaches co-curricular forensics and debate collegiate competition in the academic year, and serves as faculty sponsor and artistic director of the University drama ministry team, ACTS of FAITH, which presents original inspirational performance materials to local and regional churches and schools.

Contact Kurt Priebe at 316-295-5601.

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Dan Racer
Instrumental Music

Dan Racer, instructor of music, joined the Fine Arts faculty in 2000. He currently teaches bass, music theory, composition and directs the Chamber Orchestra at Friends University. He is an active musician in the Wichita area performing as principal bassist for the Wichita Grand Opera and as a jazz bassist with many groups in the Wichita area. He also is an active composer with works in a variety of genres from classical to jazz and beyond. Many of his works have been premiered by Friends University ensembles as well as musicians in Wichita and around the world.

Contact Dan Racer at 316-295-5857.

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Sharon Rogers
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Stan Rogers

Stan K. Rogers, associate professor of dance and director of ballet, has been with Friends University since 1988. He has a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City. He was assistant program director at Columbia University, teaching in the graduate division, as well as an assistant in choreography at Julliard. He is currently the artistic director of Wichita Ballet Theatre, the only professional ballet company in Kansas. A prolific choreographer, he has taught and choreographed extensively throughout the U.S. and in Mexico, Holland and France. Rogers has performed as soloist with the Fort Worth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Béjart Ballet of the Twentieth Century in New York, and as principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Kansas. His students include dancers with the New York City Ballet, Twyla Tharp, Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and on Broadway. Rogers was awarded Arts Educator of the Year in 2008 by the Wichita City Council and Arts Council.

Contact Stan Rogers at 316-295-5848.

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Karen Scroggins
Graphic Arts

Karen Scroggins, Assistant Professor Graphics Arts and Director of Visual Arts Program, began her work at Friends University in 2000. Scroggins teaches graphics, portfolio, computer print technology and advanced studies and oversees the communications internship program. As a designer and artist, Scroggins currently works on freelance projects for clients in Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. She participates in art shows and donates artwork to various charities. Previous employers include Butler County Community College as graphic designer/publication coordinator and Gilliland Printing as a graphic designer. Within the community, Scroggins is a member of the University and College Designers Association, Wichita Ad Federation and has also served on the board of the local chapter of American Institute of Graphic Arts 2002-04.

Contact Karen Scroggins at 316-295-5913.

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Paul Smith
Applied Music/Voice

Dr. Paul Brodene Smith, assistant professor of applied music/voice, has performed in more than ten countries. His concert and operatic career has brought him to important venues including engagements at Her Majesty’s Theatre (London), the Deutsches Nationaltheater, the Prague State Opera. His repertoire includes some fifty roles. In addition to his stage career Dr. Smith has also directed and conducted operas and musical theater works. 

Dr. Smith holds degrees from Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois Champaign –Urbana. His doctoral thesis Target Training: an Approach for a more efficient vowel production is a cross disciplinary comparison of foreign vowel articulations. The impetus for the thesis stemmed from the more than eleven years spent in Europe. Vowel production, including aspects of linguistics, phonology, physiognomy and its aero-acoustic properties, is the concentration of his research. 

Prior to accepting the position at Friends Dr. Smith has taught at Wichita State University, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Blackburn College, Prairie State College and the Stella Musical Academy in Hamburg Germany.

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Dr. John W. Taylor
Instrumental Music

Dr. John W. Taylor, professor of music and director of music education and instrumental music, teaches music education, band and tuba. He served on the board of KBA and is past-President and Executive Director of KMEA. Dr. Taylor is a published author, clinician and guest conductor. Ensembles directed by Dr. Taylor have performed at the NBA, KMEA, CIDA, at the U. S. Capitol, in Mexico, Canada, and Europe, on television during the Miss USA pageant, and with nationally-renowned guest artists. Dr. Taylor’s Wichita Wind Ensembles have won national and international awards.

Contact Dr. Taylor at 316-295-5535.

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