Faculty Directory

Nick  Nicholas Johnson, Artistic Director, Professor and Director of Dance at Wichita State University, Nick earned his MFA degree in Dance/Drama at the University of Arizona, training with Douglas Nielsen, Jory Hancock, Melissa Lowe and John Wilson. He trained in New York City with dancers Frank Hatchett, Richard Levi, and Ronnie De­Marco and Polish Mime Director Stefan Niedzialkowski. Johnson has dedicated his professional career to the fusion of mime and dance in artistic production and training. Johnson is a founding member of the School for Mime Theatre, a summer residency program based at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, where he taught for 25 years. During this time, the School for Mimes hosted numerous seminars with Marcel Marceau and Johnson cultivated a relationship with Marceau that would further inspire his vision for a physical theatre.  Johnson received a 1998 Kansas Arts Commission Fellowship for his multi-disciplinary vision. Johnson is the Artistic Director for the Alithea Mime Theatre, a professional company in Wichita and also an Artistic Director for the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, the student touring company from the WSU Dance Program. Alithea and WCDT have toured to Mexico, Italy, Taiwan, Shanghai, Poland, Arizona, Arkansas, and the state of Kansas. Alithea was invited to perform at the United Nations in 2006. Johnson won an Interdisciplinary/Performance Art Fellowship from The Kansas Arts Commission in 1999, the Mickey and Pete Armstrong Faculty Award for Special Fine Arts Endeavors 2015, the 2017 Art Educator of the Year Award from City of Wichita and the Dorothy Johansen Hauck Faculty Fellow 2017. Johnson creates original works each semester for the Dance Program, offers master classes in mime theatre and performs with Arts Partners for schools in the Wichita community.



Denise A. Celestin, Professor of Ballet at Wichita State University, received her early ballet training in New Orleans and the BFA/MFA in Ballet from Texas Christian University.  She performed with the New Orleans Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet and BalletMet Columbus, and served on the faculties of BalletMet Academy, Otterbein College, and the Ohio State University.  Ms. Celestin has participated as a coach in the USA International Ballet Competition, and she has choreographed a wide range of works for Ballet and Opera.  Several of her works have been presented on tours throughout Europe with Voyageurs International Kansas Ambassadors of Music, and to Taiwan, Italy and Mexico with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre.  Awards received include an Individual Artist Fellowship Award for Choreography from the Kansas Arts Commission, the WSU College of Fine Arts Excellence in Creative Activity Award and the WSU President’s Award for Distinguished Service. She is also a Dorothy Johansen Hauck Faculty Fellow in Dance.  She has presented research papers for the Society of Dance History Scholars, the World Congress on Dance Research, and at Leiden University in the Netherlands.  Her special interest in music and dance has led to the presentation of interactive sessions on historical dances with her colleague Dr. Sylvia Coats, at numerous national and international conferences, including Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Conferences in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, as well as International Society for Music Education (ISME) Conferences in Thessaloniki, Greece and Porto Alegre, Brazil.  Well versed in all styles of ballet, she has a particular love for Russian style and aesthetics, and has studied teaching methods at the International Vaganova Method Conference/Demonstration in St. Petersburg, Russia, in addition to studies with Russian teachers in the U.S.

 Sabrina  Sabrina Vasquez, Instructor of Dance
Cheyla  Cheyla Clawson Chandler, Instructor of Dance

Cheyla holds a BFA in Dance and MA in Sociology from Wichita State University (WSU). She has instructed dance at several colleges including the University of Oklahoma, WSU, Butler County Community College and Barton County Community College (BCCC). At BCCC Chandler founded/directed the resident dance company, Barton Dance Theatre, and constructed the first Associate’s Degree of Arts in Dance. Chandler has performed works of various artists including, Robert Battle (featured dancer), Derrick Minter, and Douglas Nielsen. Cheyla was the rehearsal mistress for Alvin Ailey’s Escapades, Mark Dendy’s Rituals, Fritz Ludin’s Fractured Memories, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Viscereality, The Zone and Two Sides of a Coin and had the honor of restaging The Zone at WSU. In the summer of 2008 Clawson created the duet Between including Dance Magazines Top 25 to Watch 2010, Caine Keenan (Cirque de Soleil/formerly Ririe Woodbury Dance Company). Cheyla founded Clawson Dance (currently Chandler Dances), a by-project professional dance company, in 2009 and has produced concerts at the University of Oklahoma, Wichita State University and Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. She was a company member of Alithea Mime Theatre touring to Poland in 2000 and Puerto Rico in 2001. She is ABT in Modern Dance from the University of Oklahoma.  Cheyla attended the Horton Dance Technique Certificate Program 2013-2016 at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School in NYC.  Additionally Cheyla has training in body somatics and Laban/Bartenieff techniques.  Her two duets, Anam Chara (2014) and nosuchSymbiosis (2016) performed at The National ACDA Conference at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC.  Cheyla sits on the Leadership Panel for Dance Vision 2050 through the National Dance Education Organization.  She is a Dorothy Johansen Hauck Faculty Fellow and Pete and Mickey Armstrong Excellence in Teaching Recipient.  Cheyla is currently on faculty at Wichita State University, teaching all levels of modern dance, choreography and the lecture class, Art of Dance

Research Interests 

  • Performing Arts in Community and Society
  • Performing Arts and Social Theory
  • Horton Dance Technique Paired with Somatic Practices
  • Creativity and Agricultural Practices

Current Service

  • Associate Artistic Director – Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre
  • Community Fellow, Harvester Arts Wichita, Kansas; Leadership Panel for Dance 2050, National Dance Education Organization
  • Artist Inc. Community Peer Facilitator; Chandler Dancers – By-project Dance Company
  • School of Performing Arts Curriculum Development Committee
  • College of Fine Arts Faculty Senator-At Large
  • University Committee for Academic Affairs.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   Jill Ewonus
 Amy B

Amy Baker Schwiethale, Associate Professor & Program Director of Musical Theatre

Amy is honored to be part of the School of Performing Arts at WSU.  In 2016, the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington D.C. honored Amy for her direction and choreography of SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ.  Professional Choreography Credits include:  Disney’s MY SON PINICCHIO, HONK! (Mary Jane Teall Award), GYPSY (Mary Jane Teall Award), and CAMELOT with MTWichita.  Amy’s choreography has been showcased in NYC at the New York Jazz Choreography Project (Alvin Ailey Studios) and Traditions in Tap, with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Prairie Reparatory Theatre in South Dakota, the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, Opera Kansas, across Northern Italy, and in numerous capacities at WSU as a Director/Choreographer.  Professional Performing Highlights include: Phyllis Dale on the First National Broadway Tour of 42nd STREET, the RADIO CITY CHRISMAS SPECTACULAR, receiving her Actor’s Equity card while doing SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, and performing in the resident MTWichita company for five summers and most recently playing the role of "Anytime Annie" in their production of 42ND STREET. 

Amy presents Master Classes across globe and is a proud member of the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Board, where she is the Coordinator of the Musical Theatre Dance Intensive. Amy is fiercely committed to the preservation of Original Broadway Choreography and preparing WSU Performing Arts students to make a living doing what they love. 

Educational Background

  • MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University
  • BFA in Musical Theatre from Wichita State University

Major Areas of Teaching

  • Tap Dance
  • Musical Theatre Dance
  • Musical Theatre Audition Class
  • Directing the Musical
  • Musical Theatre Laboratory
  • Musical Theatre Scene Study
  • Capstone Project
  • Performing Arts Seminar
   Linda Starkey

Danette Baker, Interim Program Director of Theatre

Danette is a frequent director and member of the acting company for Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in McCall, Idaho, a national conference focusing on new play development. She is a Society of American Fight Directors Certified Teacher, and founder of the Wichita Unrehearsed Shakespeare Society, a company dedicated to presenting the works of Shakespeare according to the First Folio technique.

Danette has acted in theatres across the country, appearing with the Aegean Theatre Company, American Globe Theatre, and the Director's Company in NY, Monomoy Theatre on Cape Cod, Cleveland Playhouse in OH. In Wichita, Danette's appeared with Cabaret Oldtown, Chamber Music in the Barn, Prairie Pines Festivals, Wichita Center for the Arts, Guild Hall Players, Signature Theatre, Wichita Shakespeare Company and Wichita Community Theatre.
Danette has presented workshops in acting and stage combat at area high schools, colleges, state high school festivals and the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for Region V.
Danette is a 8-time recipient of the Mary Jane Teall Theatre award for Outstanding Acting, a recipient of the 2012 Ruth McCormick Outstanding Theatre Educator Award, twice recognized as the Outstanding Female Performer in the Society of American Fight Directors Advanced Actor Combatant Workshop, received Certificates of Commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V for her direction of A Hedda Gabler and her fight choreography for Twelfth Night.

Educational Background

  • Ohio University, M.F.A.
  • Wichita State University, B.A.
  • Society of American Fight Directors Certified Teacher

Major areas of research or creative activity

  • Acting
  • Stage Combat
  • Stage Movement
  • Theatre Studies

Danette's Creative Agenda centers on the art of theatrical violence. She is a Fight Director/Stage Combat Choreographer. She holds certificates of proficiency in eight forms of stage fighting: Unarmed, Broadsword, Rapier & Dagger, Smallsword, Sword & Shield, Knife, Single Sword and Quarterstaff, as well as a certificate in Theatrical Firearms Safety.

Select fight choreography includes Amahl and the Night Visitors (Opera Kansas), OrphansNoises Off, The Grapes of Wrath, Picnic (Wichita Center for the Arts), Wait Until Dark and Man of La Mancha (Forum Theatre), Cyrano de Bergerac(Signature Theate), Macbeth (Guild Hall), Othello and Julius Caesar (Wichita Shakespeare Company),

Crazy For You, Violet, Twelfth Night, Children of Eden, Fool for Love, Freezeframe, Desdemona...handkerchief, (Wichita State University), Hamlet (Newman University), The Three Muskeeters (John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AK), Peter Pan(Cowley College in Arkansas City), Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet (Bethany College in Lindsborg), Macbeth(Hutchinson High School), Romeo and Juliet (USD259 District-wide show), She Kills Monsters (Northwest High School and Heights High School), Romeo & Juliet (Maize High School), Oklahoma (Trinity Academy), and theatrical violence consulting for id Theatre/Seven Devils Playwrights Conference.
Major areas of teaching
  • Art of the Theatre
  • Stage Movement
  • Acting I
  • Advanced Acting
  • Stage Combat

Major areas of service

  • Member Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD)
  • Member Association of Theatre Movement Educators (ATME)
  • Board Member id Theater
 Bret  Bret Jones
 Judy  Judith Babnich
 Jeannine  Jeannine Saunders Russell

Catherine Wieck, Assistant Professor of Costume & Technology

Cate Wieck is Assistant Professor of Costume Design & Technology at Wichita State University.  She creates costumes and mentors young designers & technologists for theatre, musical theatre, dance, and opera.  In 2012, Cate was the Wardrobe Supervisor for Flipside: the Patti Page Story that performed Off-Broadway at 59E59, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 6  Festival, and the Oklahoma State Tour.  She has costume design and technology credits for over 100 productions at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, the Black Hills Playhouse, the Omaha Community Playhouse, the Lincoln Community Playhouse, Wichita State University and the University of Central Oklahoma. Favorite productions include High Society, Ragtime, Man of La Mancha, Not About Nightingales and All My Sons.  As a part of Broadway Tonight! in Edmond, OK, Cate worked as the local wardrobe assistant to Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain; Olympia Dukakis in Rose; Shirley Jones, Patrick Cassidy, and Lauren Nelson (Miss America 2007) in Carousel (concert version); Tommy Tune; Betty Buckley; Frank d’Ambrosio, Judy Kuhn, and other Broadway and Disney stars.   A Nebraska native, Cate holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Costume Design & technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

 David  David Neville

Ed Baker, Associate Professor, Technical Director

Ed serves the School of Performing Arts by heading up the Stage Management Certificate in the Theatre Program and as the Technical Director for School Productions. He has spent the majority of his career as a professional entertainment technologist in theatre, film/television, concerts, and convention/exposition venues.
Professor Baker has developed and put into place a new program of Stage Management Studies. Students are now able to pursue a Certificate in Stage Management along with their Baccalaureate degree. The Certificate in Stage Management consists of a balanced combination of required courses that provide a wide range of knowledge in management, sociology and theatre, as well as practical training essential for a stage management professional. Workshops, seminars and lectures by guest professionals provide an essential component in the program progression.

Educational Background

  • Ohio University, M.F.A.
  • Wichita State University, B.A.

Major areas of research or creative activity

  • Production Design
  • Technology
  • Theatre and Stage Management

Professor Baker's research agenda is rooted in applied curiosity as a guiding principal for the creative worker and artist. By giving them the tools of creativity, innovation and invention along with the skills of the entrepreneur he provides students with more than the technical ability to work for a living. He provides them with the tools to build a career while creating the theatre culture of the twenty-first century. 

His fundamental academic philosophy is best summed up as: "We may not always be comfortable with what the future holds. We will very likely laugh, and mock and miss-identify the next big innovation in art, culture or technology… We may already be doing it! Think, though; If we live in fear of the unknown, how will we be able to embrace future innovations? If we are to grow our stake in the world and answer the demands of continued innovation and growth we must be brave and follow our curiosities with passion."

Major areas of teaching

  • Theatre Management Practicum
  • Stagecraft: Applied Technology
  • Stage Management
  • Drafting and Visual Standards for the Theatre
  • Applied Materials and Process Lab for Production 
  • Theatre Internship

Major areas of service

  • Active member of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT)

 Jason Flanders

An innate hatred of cubicles has led Jason Flanders to a lifetime search to defeat his arch nemesis. . .Boredom.

Jason has held many jobs. Jobs as diverse as USAF Heavy Equipment Operator, Day Care Provider, Combat Engineer and Life Drawing Model. These jobs lasted (some longer than others) until boredom settled into the pores of his existence and those paths were all eventually abandoned. This aversion to boredom eventually led to Art and Theatre where, if boredom were to rear its dull head, it would soon be defeated by new challenges; new skills to learn, new styles and mediums to explore and new messages to be conveyed. The excitement of these new challenges quickly defeated Boredom and its cubicle minions.

The ongoing struggle to keep boredom at bay led Jason to earn the BA in Theatre from Arkansas Tech University and to continue his education with the Scenic Design MFA from the University of Oklahoma.

Teaching and exploring Art and Theatre as the Scenic Technology Specialist and Scene Shop Manager for the School of Performing Arts at Wichita State University has proven to be the perfect weapon to insure Boredom’s defeat. The variety of Design and technical requirements inherent within the realms of Musical Theatre, Theatre, Opera and Dance has all but guaranteed that Boredom will remain subdued.

However, lest Boredom sneak, thief like, into the corners of Jason’s soul, he continues to challenge himself to remain vigilant by branching out into Printmaking, Sculpture, wood working and other areas in order to keep boredom at bay.

By the way, this is the first Bio Jason has written that he wasn't bored with. . .mostly.

   Melissa Penkava Koza
 Karen  Karen Robu
   Paula Maker
   Amy Chisman
 Stacy  Stacy Salters
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Name Title Email Phone
Chisman, Amy move to theatre? amy.chisman@wichita.edu 316.978.5166
Flanders, Jason move to theatre? jason.flanders@wichita.edu 316.978.6667
Mattek, Xan Student Assistant  performingarts@wichita.edu 316.978.
Salters, Stacy Assistant to the Director stacy.salters@wichita.edu 316.978.3360
Starkey, Linda Director of the School of Performing Arts linda.starkey@wichita.edu 316.978.3368
Dance Program
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Name Bio Link Email Phone
Celestin, Denise Bio denise.celestin@wichita.edu 316.978.3047
Chandler, Cheyla Bio cheyla.chandler@wichita.edu 316.978.3378
Johnson, Nick (Program Director) Bio nick.johnson@wichita.edu 316.978.3645
Vasquez, Sabrina Bio sabrina.vasquez@wichita.edu 316.978.3531
Dance Office     316.978.3530
Musical Theatre Program
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Name Bio Link Email Phone
Row One  same as a normal table with <td>    
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Theatre Program
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Name Bio Link Email Phone
Babnich, Judith Bio judith.babnich@wichita.edu 316.978.6054
Baker, Danette (Program Director) Bio danette.baker@wichita.edu 316.978.3414
Baker, Ed Bio ed.baker@wichita.edu


Jones, Bret Bio bret.jones@wichita.edu 316.978.3646
Neville, David Bio david.neville@wichita.edu 316.978.3418

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Syllabus Requirements

Wichita State University has provided University syllabus template (Face-to-Face Class Syllabus Template) (Online Classs Syllabus Template), which include guidelines for information that should be included on every course syllabus including Title IX, Academic Honesty, the University Grading Scale, and other resources for students.

Blackboard Orientations

Wichita State’s Learning Management System is Blackboard. Whether you are new to Blackboard or have years of experience, we encourage you to work with our Instructional Design & AccessTeam (IDA) to prepare for the upcoming semester. Please contact IDA to schedule a Blackboard Orientation.

Classroom Technology

Classrooms across campus are equipped with uniform technology and media equipment. Attend one of the scheduled Classroom Technology Training sessions to be able to receive keys to your scheduled classrooms.

Online Teaching

The Office of Online Learning and the Instructional Design & Technology group have many resources for online teaching at WSU, including best practice guidelines, procedures, and an Online Faculty Fellows group.

Tenure Resources

University Tenure, Promotion, Full Professor Incentive Review, and Post Tenure Review information can be found on the Faculty Senate website. Policies are also posted for individual colleges.

Universal Design in Courses

The standards for course accessibility are evolving and codifying through practice and legal action. To ensure that you are always providing the most accessible course you can, read about our Accessibility Responsibilities, and contact Instructional Design & Access for consultation.

Academy for Effective Teaching

The Academy for Effective Teaching recognizes the importance of effective teaching to the successful education of students and, thus, to the mission of the University. Members of the Academy assist new and existing faculty as well as graduate teaching assistants by offering confidential mentoring or sharing of resources and experiences. This is a wonderful resource for any teaching professional on campus.

Guest Artist Information/Request Form

Please submit this form at least one month prior to the event. More time is better when airline travel is required.

This information is reviewed by the Director of SPA then used by the Dean's office to generate a contract for the artist.

Request for Expenditures

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This must be submitted to the Director of SPA before items are purchased. If your item has not been pre-approved, SPA may not be able to reimburse you, or pay the vendor, for the expense.


This form is needed for all vendors or guest artists when requesting reimbursement, honorariums or contract fees.

****Please allow for adequate time to complete all steps in order to ensure reimbursement.****
Each traveler must fill out the Department Travel Request Form before any travel arrangements are made to ensure reimbursement.

Travel documents are filled out by the department to obtain a TA (travel authorization) number which is used to book flights & connects all travel expenses to approved departmental funding requests.


Complete travel reservations after obtaining a TA number.


Department Travel Request Form

*REQUIRED* or all travel regardless of where you are going or if you are requesting funding.

Form must be submitted to the Assistant to the Director of SPA at least 3 weeks, or budget requests will not be approved.

If you are using Sunflower Travel, contact Laurie O'Leary for rates and to book your airfare: loleary@sunflowertravel.com : (316) 733 2753.

If you are requesting airfare and not using Sunflower Travel, you must include 2 quotes of complete listings from different sites, showing that what you are requesting is less than both the sites' lowest rate listed.  Here is an example of an acceptable quote.

Per Diem is not reimbursed by the SPA.

Travel Reimbursement Form

Complete this form *AFTER* within one week of your trip and submit all receipts.

State Travel Website

Useful information about reimbursement rates and high-cost areas.

Student Travel Form

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This form *MUST* be completed when traveling with students.

Travel Handbook

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Student Time Sheet