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University Core Directory

Saint Louis University's Undergraduate Core is overseen by a team of associate directors. These individuals, each overseeing a distinct core component area, together lead SLU's shared efforts to implement our new undergraduate core curriculum. Five core-affiliated faculty teaching primarily in the core deliver key components of the core curriculum.  Additionally, our eight undergraduate core curricular fellows are dedicated to ensuring that SLU's core is shaped by the voices and perspectives of undergraduate students.

Associate Directors of the Core

Headshot of Ellen Crowell

Ellen Crowell, Ph.D.

Director of the University Undergraduate Core

Ellen Crowell has served as Saint Louis University’s director of the University core since June 2018. A SLU faculty member since 2004, Crowell has won multiple institutional awards for her teaching and has also been recognized for her extensive service in support of undergraduate education. She directed both the undergraduate English program and the English department’s research-intensive honors program, and has served on the College of Arts and Sciences Academic Honesty, Undergraduate Curriculum, and Core Assessment committees.

University-wide, she has served on the University Honors Program Faculty Advisory Board, the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee, and on Academic Affairs initiatives related to supporting and advancing integrative learning and undergraduate research.

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Headshot of Liz Burke

Liz Burke, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of the University Undergraduate Core

Liz Burke began as assistant director of the University core in July 2023. As a long-term faculty member in the ESL Program at SLU, she has extensive experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and was selected as a Reinert Center Innovative Teaching Fellow in 2019. Liz has also served on and chaired numerous committees and has led multiple curriculum development, revision, and assessment projects. She also coordinated the International Partnership Program with the Honors Program during her tenure in the ESL Program. Liz received her doctorate in higher education administration from SLU, and she is grateful for the opportunity to use her passion for education, research, and administration to help provide access to a world-class Jesuit education for all SLU students.

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Justin Keenan, MTS

Program Assistant of the University Undergraduate Core

Justin Keenan began as the core program assistant in May of 2024. Having studied as a Billiken, he is delighted to serve now as a staff member. He earned his Master of Theological Studies from SLU in 2022, as well as his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from SLU in 2020. Originally from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he is happy to adopt St. Louis as a new home city. His scholarly interests include LGBTQ+ theology and ancient church history. Casual interests include stargazing at the planetarium and collecting Hello Kitty memorabilia.

Headshot of Bobby Wassel

Bobby Wassel, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: Cura Personalis and Reflection-in-Action

Center for Social Action

Bobby Wassel serves as an assistant director in SLU's Center for Social Action. His passion for seeing the tremendous impact that community engagement experiences can have on a student's personal development, values clarification, and vocational discernment motivated him to be a part of the UUCC team. Believing that a college education should be focused not just on career preparation but also on good citizenship, Wassel's favorite quote is from James Truslow Adams: "There should be two educations. One should teach us how to make a living, the other ... how to live."

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Atria Larson, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: Theological and Philosophical Foundations

Department of Theological Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

A person committed to the integration of faith and academic rigor, Atria Larson is honored by the opportunity to influence how every SLU undergraduate comes into dialogue with the Catholic, Jesuit intellectual and religious tradition underlying the University. She says, “My goal is that the Ultimate Questions courses foster an environment where students can articulate their own burning questions, the objects of their faith, the assumptions they bring to the world, and the ways in which their understanding of what is shapes who they can and should be.”

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Nathaniel Rivers, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: Eloquentia Perfecta (Written and Visual Communication)

Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

Nathaniel Rivers’ work as associate director of Eloquentia Perfecta (Written and Visual Communication) is motivated by how he sees writing working in the world. As a scholar trained in rhetorical theory, Nathaniel sees eloquentia perfecta as an ideal motive force for the teaching of writing: as a course of study, it prepares students to enter the public arena. Paired with rhetoric (as perfect eloquence), writing is a form of participation in world. Importantly, however, this taking part is mutually informing. Our participation in the world through writing necessarily shapes us as the writers we become.

To borrow, as Rivers often does, from Walter Ong, S.J., “We can now view in better perspective the world of writing in which we live, see better what this world really is, and what functionally literate human beings really are — that is, beings whose thought processes do not grow out of simply natural powers but out of these powers as structured, directly or indirectly, by the technology of writing.” To teach writing, even humbly, is to open students up to the worlds they inhabit. 

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Headshot Tim Huffman

Tim Huffman, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: Eloquentia Perfecta (Oral Communication and Creative Expression)

Department of Communication
College of Arts and Sciences

Tim Huffman is an associate professor in the Department of Communication. He is a scholar-activist in the area of homelessness and uses collaborative inquiry to help build structures that are more equitable and liberating. Huffman has been involved in the community-based design of the core and is excited to see it put into action. He believes that oral and visual communication and creative expression are ways to express the depth of our humanity and to help create a world worth sharing.

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Headshot of Allen Brizee

Allen Brizee, Ph.D.

Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

In his role as director of writing across the curriculum, Allen Brizee collaborates with SLU faculty members in St. Louis and Madrid to develop writing-intensive courses offered in both the core and for credit within major and minor programs of study. To help develop these courses, Brizee uses his research on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm as well as his experience as a technical writer for the private sector and for the federal government.

Brizee comes to SLU from Loyola University Maryland, where in his role as faculty director for community-engaged learning and scholarship he worked with community partners, faculty members, students, and administrators to develop cross-curricular writing projects focused on racial justice. His award-winning research explores the intersections of rhetoric, technology, writing pedagogy and civic engagement.

Headshot of Joya Uraizee

Joya Uraizee, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: Equity and Global Identities
Professor of English 
Saint Louis University

Joya Uraizee, an English professor, loves African literature and is passionate about social justice. She believes that SLU students should make connections between their own disciplines and racial, gendered or class-based injustices around the world. They should also be empowered to stake out their own positions as global citizens. 

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David Kaplan, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: Collaborative Inquiry

Department of Management
Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

David Kaplan’s educational background in industrial relations relied heavily on collaborative inquiry. He continues to harness the lessons and values of collaborative inquiry to address research questions as well as exciting and expanding the curiosity and knowledge of his students. The goal of collaborative inquiry, to rephrase an old adage, is for students to recognize that they have more tools than a hammer and that not all problems are nails. 

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Headshot of Hamish Binns

Hamish Binns, M.A.

Associate Director of the University Undergraduate Core: SLU-Madrid

Department of Modern Languages and ESL
Reinert Center Online Teaching Fellow
(+34) 91 554 5858

Hamish Binns is the program director for ESL, modern languages and education at SLU-Madrid and coordinates the community ESL program and other EFL service-learning projects. As his title and multiple roles indicate, he thrives in a creative, cooperative and cross-curricular setting, and this is what drew him to the undergraduate core. To coin the words of Pedro Arrupe, he is a “pathological optimist” and hopes to be able to infect others with his passion for education and the need for collaborative development within and between the two campuses to help construct a truly unique and meaningful learning experience for all undergraduates at Saint Louis University.  

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Core-Affiliated Faculty

Mary Maxfield

Mary Maxfield, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

University Undergraduate Core and Women's and Gender Studies

LGBTQIA+ and feminist community formation, social justice activism, space and place, internet and technology studies

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Katherine McKenna

Katherine McKenna, Ph.D.

Teagle Postdoctoral Fellow

University Undergraduate Core and College of Arts and Sciences

Katherine McKenna is a historian of early modern Europe and the Teagle Postdoctoral Fellow at SLU, where she co-leads the Confluence program. Confluence aims to revitalize undergraduate education in the humanities through transformative, text-based pedagogy. McKenna has extensive experience developing curricula that center interdisciplinary methods and intensive primary-source work, and she is excited to draw on her expertise to offer courses at the intersection of history and the sciences to SLU students. For more about her teaching and research, see her faculty page linked below. 

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Carolyn O'Laughlin

Carolyn O'Laughlin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Education

University Undergraduate Core

Practice areas include: higher education and student affairs administration, neurodivergence and autism, college student belonging and persistence, qualitative research methods

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2023-2024 Undergraduate Curricular Fellows 

Head and shoulders shot of Ana Patricia Romay Febre

Ana Patricia Romay Febres

Ignite Seminar

Ana Patricia Romay Febres is from Caracas, Venezuela, majoring in political science and international studies and minoring in performing arts at SLU’s Madrid campus. Her interest in the arts and humanities made her wish for an education that goes beyond traditional learning and targets academic growth and personal fulfillment. With the Ignatian values of academic rigor and personal development, she hopes to make this wish a reality for all SLU students through the Ignite Seminar.

Headshot of Antron Reid

Antron Reid

Cura Personalis and Reflection-in-Action

Antron Reid is a senior studying international studies and political science with a minor in foreign service. He is committed to being involved in decisions that will make a direct impact on the learning of all students at Saint Louis University, as well as on the St. Louis community. As the Undergraduate Core Fellow for Cura Personalis and Reflection-in-Action, Antron is dedicated to help educate the whole student, and develop their sense of community. 

Headshot of Carina Swogner

Carina Swonger

Theological and Philosophical Foundations

Carina Swonger is a junior pursuing a double major in theological studies and Catholic studies with a minor in education. She is active on campus through Micah, the University Honors Program, and the ministries of the Catholic Studies Center. Drawing from the rich Catholic tradition, Carina hopes to work with the UUCC to help create theology and philosophy classes that encourage students to best understand God, themselves, and each other. Carina believes that the goal of Jesuit education should be to create spaces for intellectual curiosity and compassionate dialogue so that each student can encounter beauty, truth, and goodness for “the glory of God and the service of humanity.”. 

Head and shoulders shot of Grace Blouin

Grace Blouin

Eloquentia Perfecta: Written and Visual Communication

Grace Blouin is a junior from Bloomington, Indiana studying nursing. She is honored to serve as a core fellow and eager to contribute to the progression of visual/writing-based learning and engagement at SLU! Grace is a strong believer in adaptive communication and believes that working alongside diverse groups of individuals, including the representation of concepts through verbal, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning styles maximizes the learning potential among students.

Head and shoulders shot of Anna Godlewski

Anna Godlewski

Eloquentia Perfecta: Oral and Visual Communication and Creative Expression

Anna Godlewski is a junior majoring in communication concentrated in journalism and media studies with minors in English and urban poverty studies on the pre-law track. She believes that strong communicative skills are foundational to the development of all students, and she is excited to work toward enhancing this curriculum.

Headshot of Faith Abrams

Faith Abrams

Equity and Global Identities

Faith Abrams is a junior pursuing a double major in social work and sociology with minors in both urban poverty studies and anthropology. She is a passionate student committed to justice and equity. Her numerous contributions to SLU and the St. Louis area include Micah Learning community mentor, Micah Retreat intern, Cornerstone Center for Early Learning intern, as well as participating in the pilot program for the new University Undergraduate Core. In her role as a core fellow, she hopes to assist in helping Saint Louis University create a curriculum that has the power to encompass the full humanity of its students.

Headshot of Jessie Headley

Jessie Headley

Ways of Thinking

Jessie Headley is a senior pursuing a double major in history and American studies. As a core fellow, Jessie is excited to put her curiosity and creativity to work for SLU as she helps to recommend core courses that will interest students and encourage critical thinking. In her role as the Core Curricular Fellow for Ways of Thinking, she looks forward to having multiple opportunities to develop a curriculum that will enrich the SLU experience. 

Headshot of Jackie Barnes

Jackie Barnes

Collaborative Inquiry

Jackie Barnes (she/her) is a junior from Omaha, Nebraska, majoring in social work with minors in public health and psychology. She believes that interdisciplinary education and practice are crucial for realizing a better world because no one identity or field of study defines who we are.