Jon Sideriadis, M.F.A.

Jon Sideriadis

Practitioner in Residence

Jon has been an active freelance illustrator, author, and adjunct professor for fifteen years.  His specialty is mythological art and storytelling.  He teaches Intro to Illustration, Illustration I, Concept Art, World Building, and Digital Painting at Lyme Academy.  His work has been published in film, television, video games, novels, comics, album art, board games, and trading cards. His work is displayed in solo and group shows throughout the country, he is represented by Haven Gallery in New York, and he is internationally acclaimed in the illustration field. He is often invited as a Guest of Honor to illustration conventions and exhibits work with the finest fantasy and science fiction illustrators in the business.

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Jamie Slenker, M.F.A.

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Assistant Professor 
Art & Design 

An expert on sustainable design, Prof. Slenker joined the University of New Haven after working in the architectural field for five years in Virginia and Colorado. She has experience in corporate and government facility planning, healthcare design, and sustainable design for residential and missed-used commercial projects. 

I like that the University’s emphasis on experiential education plays directly into my personal teaching pedagogy.

She is devoted to bringing her experience into the classroom and to developing innovative ways for students to apply what they learn. 

“I feel it is an imperative, particularly in my discipline, to offer real-world opportunities for learning, working with local architects and existing buildings in our community,” she said. “I like that the University’s emphasis on experiential education plays directly into my personal teaching pedagogy.” 

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Tom Garrett, M.F.A.

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Associate Professor and Chair 
Communication 

As a University of New Haven student in the 1980s, Prof. Garret accompanied one of his professors to the Cannes Film Festival in France. 

“It changed my life,” said Garrett, who went on to becoming a successful producer of feature and documentary films and a founding partner of Circa Films, an international sales and distribution company, before returning back to his alma mater to teach the next generation about the film industry. 

An expert on the inner workings of Hollywood, Prof. Garrett has worked with a who’s who list of stars from Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino to John Travolta and Milly Ringwald. 

Find a local production company and get your foot in the door. That way, you’re not a small fish in a huge pond like L.A.

He has amassed years of contacts and expertise that he now shares with his students to give them a leg up. 

“What drives producers is one thing: money, and whoever is giving it away,” he said. “Some states pay 40 cents on the dollar. That’s why there are more movies being made in Georgia than in Hollywood, more in Louisiana than in Hollywood. I always tell students don’t go to Hollywood. Go to Louisiana or New Mexico or Connecticut. Go there first, and you’ll have a better chance. Find a local production company and get your foot in the door. That way, you’re not a small fish in a huge pond like L.A.”

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Jesse Peck, M.A.

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Lecturer & Coordinator
Interior Design

Fresh out of college, Prof. Peck, opened and ran a cutting-edge art gallery in a mixed-use neighborhood of Spokane, Wash., that received rave reviews from the locals. 

Later, she worked from a sustainability-focused design firm that specialized in the design of multi-family housing for underserved populations. 

I want students to see that affordability and beauty aren’t mutually exclusive.

She drew from those experiences in conceiving an opportunity for her students to create designs for Meriden 2020 – a mixed-used housing development in one of Connecticut’s largest cities – that were presented to the city planner. 

“I want students to see that affordability and beauty aren’t mutually exclusive,” she says. “Our focus is on not just making housing affordable but equitable, with the idea of bringing people of mixed incomes together and not isolating a particular population by their socioeconomic status.” 

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Randall Horton, Ph.D.

 

Randall Horton

Assistant Professor
English

A self-described prisoner turned professor, Dr. Horton never knew he had a talent for writing, until he was incarcerated after being convicted of being an international cocaine smuggler. He chronicled his downfall, his rise, and his ultimate redemption in his awarding-winning “Hook: A Memoir.”

“I became involved with a group therapy session at the Department of Human and Human Services,” he recalls.  “I was required to write essays every night based on writing prompts given that day. Many of these prompts asked deep, meaningful questions about behavior and responsibility, and I tried to answer them honestly. Writing those essays taught me the power of language.” 

He has received the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature.

“My life trajectory has differed from most people’s,” Horton says. “I wrote the book because of that and because I knew there are individuals within our society who needed to hear my story, to understand that a person can overcome difficult circumstances caused by bad decision making.”

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Robert Rattner

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Lecturer
Art

A freelance photojournalist and writer, Professor Rattner’s work has appeared in hundreds of national and international publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and The New Yorker.

He teaches courses in digital photography, lighting, Photoshop and pictorial journalism, and he leads study abroad trips for photography and writing classes.

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Joe Smolinski, M.F.A.

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Chair
Department of Art and Design

A mixed-media artist who works in drawing, photography, video, digital 3D modeling, and animation, Professor Smolinski’s work has been discussed in Art in America, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times, among other publications.

His practice engages with technology, environmental science, landscape painting, science fiction, and the eroding borders between the natural and human-made world. 

What we are doing is unique in that we offer everything from a focus that is completely digital, to fabrication, to virtual reality.

He helped create a course in digital fabrication that brought together students in art, graphic design, engineering and molecular biology to look more closely at the intersection of technology and fabrication. 

“What we are doing is unique in that we offer everything from a focus that is completely digital, to fabrication, to virtual reality,” he says.

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Jonathan Yukich, M.F.A.

Lecturer
Theater

A playwright who has been published across North America and in Europe, Hong Kong, and India, Prof. Yukich has been recognized for both his original works and his inventive theatrical applications of literary classics. He is passionate about creating opportunities for students to pursue their passions.

New work is the lifeblood of the theater, and these festivals show that the future is in good hands.

“Using our facilities and technology, we mentor students by giving them design opportunities with our productions,” he says. “This is a great way to extend their classroom training and mentorship into real-world experiences.”  

He has directed several “new works” student festivals on campus that feature student-created productions.

“New work is the lifeblood of the theater, and these festival show that the future is in good hands,” he says.

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Susan Campbell, M.S.

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Distinguished Lecturer
Communications, Film & Media

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Prof. Campbell is a widely read columnist and the author of two books.

Her work has been recognized by the National Women’s Political Caucus, the New England Associated Press News Executives, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Society for Professional Journalists, among numerous other organizations.

I think it’s important to examine the past to avoid repeating it.

The adviser for the student-run Charger Bulletin Newspaper, she is in the process of completing a book titled “Frog Hollow: Stories From an American Neighborhood,” a project about a Hartford community she has been working on for four years.

“I think it’s important to examine the past to avoid repeating it,” she says. “I’d like for this book to make people think – and rethink – what they think they know about immigration and its role in this country,” she says.

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Erica Haskell, Ph.D.

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Chair and Associate Professor
Performing Arts

An ethnomusicologist, Dr. Haskell is the co-founder of Free Dirt Records.

“We are good at noticing artists with unique sounds and a high level of sincerity,” she says. “Authenticity is important.”

Dr. Haskell joined the University in 2012 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Graz in Austria. An ethnomusicologist who has done groundbreaking research on the music of post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina, she also researches refugee music and has created courses including the “Politics of Music,” “Illegality in Music and Theater” and “American Roots Music.”

Our students arrive to our program with so many inspiring ideas about the impact they can have on the industry.

She’s energized by the artists she works with, just as she is by her students and colleagues. “Our students arrive to our program with so many inspiring ideas about the impact they can have on the industry,” she says. “I feel very passionate about our students and helping them to achieve their dreams.”

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