Faculty Bios

Katherine J. Bailes, JD, PhD is a practicing attorney and an adjunct professor of mythological studies

Dr. Bailes holds a BFA in drawing & painting from the University of North Texas and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas, School of Law.  She later obtained a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology.  Her dissertation topic entitled “The Themis Principle: Mystery and Irrationality in the U.S. Legal System” focuses on the mythological aspects of the law as expressed in ancient cultures through goddesses such as Athena, Themis, Inanna and Maat.  She enjoys engaging aspects of art, law and teaching, to cultivate an understanding of story and the human capacity for myth making.


Sam Bell,  Professor of English

I have been teaching Honors Composition I for many years. I have previously taught Honors Composition II and Honors Creative Writing (and may teach the Honors Creative Writing class again in the future!).

My research interests and PhD are both in creative writing, creative nonfiction, memoir (specifically trauma and recovery), Ralph Waldo Emerson, post-modernism and post-modern literature.

My latest publication is an essay called “The Empty Set” in the April 2020 edition of The Sun magazine.

I have also published two books; memoir/writing guides:

Beyond the Blank Pages (Kendall Hunt)

Ink & Edit: Making Research Matter in Writing and in Life (Cognella)

I grew up studying dance at a local studio in NY. I am oddly good at tap dancing, but I was too shy to pursue performance as a career, and I love ballet more than tap but it’s really painful. I like to run for fun today. I run by a pond and count the number of frogs I see. Last week, I saw two foxes! (Not in the pond).


Michael Carriger, Professor of English

I arrived at JCCC in 2017, but I have been teaching since 1995.  Currently, I teach Honors-Composition II.

My primary study is 20th century American poetry.  Particularly, I am researching John Berryman, most remembered for The Dream Songs, beginning in 1964.  It is a long poem that highlights the dream-life of a man named Henry.  I am currently chasing a theory that might change what we know of the poem’s and Henry’s origins.

When I am not working, I enjoy tracking down my own family’s history and writing poetry.  This allows me to travel and buy books.  Those are fairly low-level vices.  When I can escape the town and city, I enjoy fishing and just being beside moving water.  That, too, is a low-level vice, if a vice at all.  My wife, who is also a poet, and my daughter, a graphic designer, tether me to this world.


Anne Dotter, Director of the Honors Program and Assistant Professor (Cultural Studies, Film & Media, American Studies)

My first day at JCCC was a Friday, in November 2019. The very next day, I was taking a group of JCCC honors students to a conference at Emporia State. Things have not slowed down since!

My research interests have evolved over the past two decades from representations of American princesses, to translations of American teen-girls films. If I am still very passionate about questions of transnational representations of gender and race in film, I have carried over many of these questions to my day to day as an administrator. In this role, I have enjoyed asking the hard questions of inclusion and diversity and working to make our environment more just. My publications of late all focus on social justice and higher education, in one way or another.

When I don’t work or write, I enjoy spending time with my two boys (Ziggy, 7 and Louis, 9), reading and baking. I have few skills, but enjoy cooking and baking things for others. Of late, I have developed an interest in mindfulness practices, such as qi gong and the Taoist philosophy more generally.


Dr. Terri Easley-Giraldo, Professor in the Communication Studies Department

Hello!  I have been teaching at JCCC since 2005.  In the Honors program I teach:  LEAD 130: Leadership and Civic Engagement, HON 250: Honors Forum on Political Campaigns and COMS 180: Honors Intercultural Communication.

Having been involved with Honors at JCCC for over 12 years I have many great memories of honors experiences but seeing my leadership students present their projects at the end of the semester to upper JCCC administration groups always stands out to me.  Most students would see this as an incredibly intimidating experience, but every leadership class has excelled in this opportunity.  Administrators would say that these students opened their eyes to issues and concerns in a different light and provided potential solutions they had not considered.

My research focuses on gender, political communication and leadership.  I am particularly interested in campaign communication (advertising, social media, direct mail, debates).  I also focus on visual communication – the way in which we use images as arguments and persuasive tools in a variety of mediums.  When I’m not chasing my tiny humans around, I enjoy being crafty, creative, traveling and exploring new cultures.


Dr. Nancy Holcroft Benson, professor of organismal biology

I have taught Honors contracts for BIOL 150: Biology of Organisms plus Honors Special Topics: Black Hills Biodiversity and hope to have the opportunity to continue engaging with Honors education in the future.

In a former life (before a heavy teaching load plus the arrival of my twins), I was a systematic ichthyologist. I researched evolutionary relationships between groups of fishes using both DNA and morphology (body form). My last published paper (with E.O. Wiley), published in 2015, was “Variation in the posttemporal-supracleithrum articulation in euteleosts.”

I have many hobbies but no time to pursue them! I am a modern quilter, a knitter, and a student of ikebana (Sogetsu school).