Honors Staff


Richard Badenhausen, Honors College Dean

Honors Director Richard BadenhausenA leader in the national Honors community, Richard Badenhausen is vice president of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), a member of the NCHC Board of Directors, and an editorial board member of HIP: Honors in Practice. He has served as an Honors consultant at more than a dozen colleges and universities around the country.

Badenhausen has delivered more than 40 national presentations on Honors education and regularly publishes in journals like JNCHC: The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. In 2011, he was named an NCHC Fellow; and in 2016 he received NCHC’s Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four-Year Institution.

Over the past 25 years, Professor Badenhausen has published widely on the work of T. S. Eliot and modernist literature, including T. S. Eliot and the Art of Collaboration (Cambridge UP). At Westminster, he teaches classes in the humanities, theories of place, and trauma studies. He is the 2014 recipient of the college's Gore Excellence in Teaching award and two-time winner of Westminster's Manford A. Shaw Publication Prize.

He is married to an attorney and has two children, though he seems to spend most of his time with his devoted golden retriever Scout. He received his BA from Colgate University and PhD from the University of Michigan.

Alicia Cunningham Bryant, Director of Fellowship Advising

AliciaAn award-winning teacher, Alicia holds the Kim T. Adamson Endowed Professorship in the Honors College and directs the campus-wide office of Fellowship Advising.

Alicia has extensive experience as an archivist and curator at museums in Philadelphia and New Haven, Connecticut; and she has done archeological field work in Egypt and Jordan. Her research interests are wide ranging and include public history, museum curation, digital humanities, Africa, Egyptology, Old World archaeology, ancient religions, The Hellenistic World, and art history, among other topics. Alicia earned a BA at University of California, San Diego (double majoring in history and archeology) and her PhD in near eastern languages and civilizations at Yale University, where she wrote a dissertation entitled Engraved in Stone: The Role of Offering Tables in Meroitic Funerary Religion.

Whether hiking with her dog, Joey, traveling the world, keeping up with the latest action movies, or ferreting out local hidden gems, Alicia is always game for new adventures and is open to recommendations!

Stephanie Santarosa, Assistant Director of Honors and Fellowship Advising

Stephanie SantarosaIn addition to supporting the operations of the new Honors College and Fellowship Advising Office, Steph helps guide some of the student-centered, co-curricular programming in Honors such as the peer mentor program, first-year programming, and advising.

Stephanie holds a PhD in education with a focus on higher education, earned two MA degrees (in college student personnel and guidance and counseling), and has valuable experience at seven different colleges and universities in the areas of student development, advising, residence life, and admissions. She has taught a wide range of courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in leadership, student development, first-year experience, and career planning. Stephanie has presented widely at national conferences on student development and is the co-author of a forthcoming essay on student success.

After living in seven different states and a province of Canada before moving to Utah in 2012, Steph has grown to love living in Utah, enjoying its natural beauty and the cultural opportunities available in a small city like Salt Lake. She enjoys exploring the state by planning camping trips and outings for her husband, son, two daughters, and anyone else that wants to come along!

Julie Stewart, Assistant Director of Honors Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

Julie StewartJulie serves as assistant director of Honors teaching, learning, and assessment, a position in which she is active in student programming, assessment, and teaching/learning initiatives. After earning her PhD in Sociology at NYU and teaching at the University of Utah for seven years, Julie joined the Westminster faculty in 2013. She is currently an associate professor of sociology and director of the college’s customized major program. Julie’s teaching and research interests include sociology of inequality, social movements, globalization and migration, Latin America, public policy, and social theory, among others. In addition to publishing widely in these areas, Julie has helped successfully launch one of most popular new Honors seminars, Data/Society/Decision-Making, and will continue to play a central role in helping Honors offer an innovative curriculum to students.

When she’s not obsessing about sociology, Julie enjoys skiing with her two sons, practicing piano sonatas, taking care of her pit bull, and talking politics, but not necessarily in that order.

Kael Weston, Honors College Writer-In-Residence

Kael WestonA native Utahan, Kael joined Westminster in 2017 for a two-year term as Honors College Writer-in-Residence, during which time he will be researching and writing about themes tied to America and its post-9/11 role and policies.

The author of last year’s acclaimed The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kael represented the United States for more than a decade as a State Department official. Washington acknowledged his multi-year work in Fallujah with Marines by awarding him one of its highest honors: the Secretary of State's Medal for Heroism. A 1996 graduate of the University of Utah, Kael has an MPhil in European Studies/Politics from the University of Cambridge, did doctoral coursework at the London School of Economics, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Amsterdam. He has published in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. NPR has regularly asked him to comment on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and US foreign policy. In addition to working on his next book while at Westminster, Kael is eager to participate in the War Room discussions, visit classes, help with the new campus-wide fellowship advising initiative, give campus-wide lectures, and offer seminars.

Away from the keyboard, he enjoys spending time in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and Red Rock deserts and looks forward to becoming an active member of the Westminster and Salt Lake City communities. 

The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan by Kael Weston

Scout, Unofficial Honors Mascot

Honors unofficial mascot Scout in the snowThe unofficial mascot of the Honors College, Scout is a 'senior' Golden Retriever who was adopted from Companion Golden Rescue in 2005. Scout is named after the intrepid and plucky heroine of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. She comes to the Honors office almost every day and gets lots of attention from Honors students who miss their own dogs while they are away from home. Although Scout prefers tennis balls to a good book, she is always available to keep Honors students company, especially during the stressful time of final exams.

Honors Council

The Honors Council works in conjunction with the dean of the Honors College to oversee and support the administration of the college on topics including:

  • Curricular matters
  • Recruitment, admissions, and retention
  • Selection and distribution of grants and awards
  • Enhancement of the student experience in Honors

Composition

Seven faculty members—appointed in consultation with the chair of the Honors Council—for two-year terms: three from Arts and Sciences (Dave Goldsmith ’19, Kristjane Nordmeyer ’18, Russ Costa ’18), staggered so that not all of the positions come up for reappointment each year; one each from the Gore School of Business (Cliff Hurst ’18), the School of Education (Peter Ingle ’18), and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences (Han Kim ’19); and one at-large faculty member (Heidi Van Ert ’19).

Ex Officio (Voting) Members

  • Dean of the Honors College, who also serves as chair of the Honors Council
  • The Assistant Director of Honors and Fellowship Advising
  • The Director of Fellowship Advising:
  • The Assistant Director of Honors Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
  • Representative from the Advising Staff
  • Assistant director of Admissions, or whichever Admissions position oversees the recruitment of high achieving students at the college.
  • Two students, who are the president and vice president of the Student Honors Council, for one-year terms.