Affiliated Faculty

Diane Brewer

Dr. Diane Brewer, BA, PhD


Theatre History and Criticism / John David Lutz Distinguished Professor of the Arts

Room 109A, Hyde Hall

Dr. Diane Brewer, professor of theatre, teaches three Honors courses for theatre majors – Dramaturgy I and II and Survey of Theatre Histories. In describing the classes, she explains, In Dramaturgy I, we look at plays that fall within the Aristotelian tradition and those that intentionally deviate from those conventions. As we do so, we engage in intensive discussions and writing assignments that help students learn to identify and understand their personal reactions to plays. In Survey of Theatre Histories and Dramaturgy II, we throw ourselves into the gap between past and present, holding ourselves to rigorous standards of research, writing, and critical thinking."

"I want my students to feel challenged and inspired to continue exploring the connection between their own values and the theatre they create," Dr. Brewer notes. "I enjoy teaching UE Honors students because they keep me on my toes. They often ask questions I've never considered and come up with solutions I've never imagined. In that way, they reaffirm why I teach – to keep learning."

Dr. Brewer holds a BA in drama from Tufts University and a PhD in theatre from UCLA. Her areas of expertise include theatre history and dramatic criticism, and she also dramaturgs and directs productions for the UE theatre department. Her articles have been published in The Dramaturgy Protocol, The Dramaturgy Sourcebook (vol. 4), Theatre Topics, PAJ: Performing Arts Journal, and HowlRound at the Center for Theater Commons. She has received such honors as the Dean's Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Evansville and a Certificate of Merit for Dramaturgy from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Robert Dion

Dr. Robert Dion

Associate Professor of Political Science / Igleheart Chair

Room 53, Schroeder School of Business Building

Robert Dion firmly believes that citizens need to understand and be involved in the political system. He has taught American politics courses at the University of Evansville since 2001. Before he came to the University of Evansville, he taught at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and at Wabash College. Outside the classroom, Professor Dion serves as the chairperson of the local civil rights commission and on the boards of several organizations. He is regularly quoted in news stories about political developments in Indiana or in the United States, and he has appeared frequently on radio and television news programs, including several French-language broadcast outlets.
Jennie Ebeling

Dr. Jennie Ebeling

Associate Professor/Archaeology

Room 410, Olmsted Hall

Jennie Ebeling earned a Doctor of Philosophy in the archaeology of the Near East from the University of Arizona and specializes in the archaeology of Israel and Jordan. A former Fulbright scholar, Ebeling has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Lady Davis Trust and was appointed Annual Professor of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem in 2015-16. She co-directed the Jezreel Expedition survey and excavation project with Norma Franklin (University of Haifa) 2012-2018 and is currently preparing the results for publication. A popular public speaker, Ebeling lectures for the Biblical Archaeology Society as well as the Archaeological Institute of America and numerous other organizations. She is co-editor of The Woman in the Pith Helmet (Lockwood, 2020), The Old Testament in Archaeology and History (Baylor, 2017), Household Archaeology in Ancient Israel and Beyond (Brill, 2011), and New Approaches to Old Stones: Recent Studies of Ground Stone Artifacts (Equinox, 2008) and the author of Women's Lives in Biblical Times (T&T Clark, Int'l, 2010). She recently contributed to the fourth edition of Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple (Biblical Archaeology Society, 2021). More information about her publications can be found on her Amazon author page.
Lisa Hale

Dr. Lisa Hale


Assistant Professor of Education

Room 323, Graves Hall

Dr. Lisa Marie Hale is an assistant professor in the School of Education. Prior to coming to the University of Evansville, she worked for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation serving ten years as an elementary or middle school teacher, four years as a district literacy coach providing professional development for elementary and middle school educators, and then finished her career with EVSC serving twelve years as an elementary school principal.

During her tenure with EVSC, Lisa Marie was admitted to the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute and participated in a Leadership Cadre with Brown University. She has presented at the Indiana State Reading Association Conference and the Indiana Urban Schools Conference. She served as an Indiana Association of School Principals Board Member for District 11 and as a member of the State Superintendent Advisory Council. She was awarded the Evansville Area Reading Council's Celebrate Literacy Award in 2002, the University of Evansville Outstanding Elementary Educator of the Year Award in 2003 and the University of Evansville Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award in 2011.

Dr. Lisa Marie Hale earned both a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement (1991) and a Master of Education (1995) from the University of Southern Indiana. She completed a degree in Elementary Supervision and Administration from Indiana State University in 2002. In 2020, she received a PhD in Educational Leadership from Indiana State University. She belongs to numerous professional organizations including the International Literacy Association, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Delta Kappa Gamma.
Kristina Hochwender

Dr. Kristina Hochwender


Room 330, Olmsted Hall

Kristina L. Hochwender received her BA from Cornell College, and her MA and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. Since 2007, she has taught literature at the University of Evansville. Alongside her interest in literature for children, her research centers on the Victorian clerical novel, and particularly the ways in which the clergyman--in the words of Samuel Butler, "a kind of human Sunday"--mediates national and religious identities and crises in novels that captured the Victorian imagination throughout the latter 19th century. She has published work in the Journal of Victorian Literature Online, The Victorian Web, and Religion and Literature. Dr Hochwender teaches courses in Children's and Young Adult literature, as well as courses in the British Novel, the novels of Jane Austen, Eighteenth Century literature, and Victorian literature. She received the Dean's Teaching Award in 2017.

Alanna Keenan

Dr. Alanna Keenan, DMA

Associate Professor of Music

Room 33, Krannert Hall of Art and Music


Evan McCracken

Dr. Evan McCracken

Assistant Professor of Psychology


Julie Merkle

Dr. Julie Merkle


Assistant Professor/Biology
Co-Director of the Eykamp Center for Teaching Excellence

Room 219, Koch Center for Engineering and Science

Developmental Biology, Genetics, Stem Cell Biology, Reproductive Biology
Front of Olmsted Hall

Dr. Annette Parks

Adjunct/History & Society

Sara Petrosillo

Dr. Sara Petrosillo


Associate Professor/English

Room 326, Olmsted Hall

Sara Petrosillo received her BA in English and Italian Literature from Colby College, and her PhD in English from the University of California, Davis. Her scholarship focuses on medieval literature and feminism and she has published articles on medieval poetry and drama in the Journal for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory, Medieval Feminist Forum, and in a 2018 essay collection, Animal Languages in the Middle Ages: Representations of Interspecies Communication (Palgrave-Macmillan). Her book about the cultural influence of falconry on medieval reading practices, Hawking Women: Falconry, Gender, and Control in Medieval Literary Culture, will be released in 2023. She teaches first year seminars, the first half of the British literature survey, world classics, renaissance and 17th century writers, the Romantics, and medieval literature. She also chairs and teaches the introductory class to the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies program. She received UE’s Exemplary Teacher Award in 2021.
Mari Plikuhn

Dr. Mari Plikuhn



Room 55, Schroeder School of Business Building

Dr. Mari Plikuhn received her PhD from Purdue University in 2010 in sociology with a graduate minor in gerontology. She also holds graduate degrees in sociology and marriage and family therapy. Her area of research specialization is in family sociology, specifically in the success of first-generation college students. In addition to her research, Dr. Plikuhn teaches a variety of courses in sociology, including: Marriage and Family, Gender and Sexuality, Death and Dying, Environmental Sociology, and Research Methods. Dr. Plikuhn was named the University of Evansville Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2012, presented the Berger Award for Service in 2016, and awarded the Eykamp Prize for Extraordinary Contributions to the University in 2022. Currently, she is the Director of the Gerontology Center at UE, and serves as the Director of Sociology Programs, coordinating the Sociology and Gerontology majors and the Social and Human Services minor, as well as advising for Pre-Social Work.
Sarah J Smith

Ms. Sarah J Smith, BFA, MEIM

Costume Design / Assistant Professor

Room 118 A, Hyde Hall

Ms. Smith joined the UE Theatre faculty in 2017, after over a decade of professional work as a costume designer, stylist, and project manager in New York City, Los Angeles, and regional theatres across the country, Ms. Smith brings her professional work to the classroom while continuing to pursue professional projects. Her theatre work ranges from small-scale new works to opera and Broadway musicals. Sarah has worked at Disney/ABC Television Studios, styled photo shoots for national print campaigns, and designed costumes for television.

Ms. Smith received her Masters and BFA in Drama/Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a proud member of IATSE—United Scenic Artists Local 829 and Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764.

Valerie Stein

Dr. Valerie Stein

Professor of Religious Studies / Program Director, Ethics & Social Change / Program Director, Race & Ethnicity Studies

Olmsted Hall, Room 341

Professor of Religious Studies, is the Program Director of the Ethics & Social Change program and Race & Ethnicity Studies. Dr. Stein has been at the University of Evansville since 2002. She teaches a wide range of courses situated at the intersection of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and social change. Dr. Stein earned her ThD in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from Harvard University. Her research centers on the use, influence, and impact of religion on issues of gender, sexuality, colonialism, and race.| Stein's book, Anti-cultic Theology in Christian Biblical Interpretation: A Study of Isaiah 66:1-4 and Its Reception grounded the discussion of Christian anti-Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in the analysis of a particular passage. She shows that the widely held Christian interpretation of Isaiah 66:1-4 as an indictment against the Jerusalem temple and cult - and thereby God's rejection of Judaism - is motivated by a theology of substitution that sees the Church as the new Israel. Stein has also presented and published on how interpretations of biblical women reflect social attitudes and beliefs with respect to gender (see, for example, her articles “Know*Be*Do: Using the Bible to Teach Ethics to Children” and “Gender Components in Dramatic Retellings of Judith”). Her current research (see “Privileging God the Father: The Neoliberal Theology of the Evangelical Orphan Care Movement” in The Politics of Reproduction: Adoption, Abortion, and surrogacy in the Age of Neoliberalism) uses postcolonial and feminist methods of biblical criticism to show how evangelical Christian theology interprets the Bible to align the adoptive parents with God and thus effectively to allow for the dismissal of ethical concerns associated with adoption and foster care. In the case of international adoption, this “Gospel-centered” adoption takes advantage of Western privilege to victimize women in developing nations as a form of Christian neocolonialism. She problematizes the role of transracial adoption in the Evangelical orphan care movement as a visual evangelism.