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Faculty Advisory Council

The CAH Advisory Council provides guidance, feedback, and support to the directors. Its members are drawn from departments and units across campus in the arts, humanities, and adjacent fields.

Michael Whalen


Michael Whalen is a filmmaker who works in both fiction and non-fiction. His television credits include writing, producing, and directing for the hit series “COPS” and A&E’s “BIOGRAPHY.” He has also produced documentaries for The Discovery Channel, NBC, MTV, and The Learning Channel (TLC). Whalen has also produced multiple award-winning independent documentary films, including FRESH women (2007), A Christmas in Tent City (2008), A Question of Habit (PBS, 2011), and The Farmer & The Chef (2014). His documentary Gringos at the Gate (2012) explores US/Mexican relations and national identity through the intense rivalry of the two nations’ soccer teams and can be watched on the ESPN networks. Whalen is currently in production directing a five-part documentary series on the history of the American Catholic Church and writing an original television series about the impact of school desegregation busing in 1970s Los Angeles.


Brian Thorstenson

Theatre and Dance

Brian is a San Francisco based writer, teacher and occasional performer. Brian was a founding member of The Z Collective and one of the first resident artists of the Z Space. He is an alumni of the Resident Playwright Program of the Playwrights Foundation and one of the founding members of 6NewPlays. His last series of projects included Dearly Gathered with choreographers Rowena Richie, Christy Funsch and Chris Black, Fugue with Detour Dance and Wakefield with 6NewPlays. His poetry hasappeared in Foglifter, Burning House Press, Lambda Literary Review, and New American Writing. His next project is We Build Houses Here with Detour. He is a Senior Lecturer in Playwriting and Devised Theater at Santa Clara University and has an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.


Mythri Jegathesan

Mythri Jegathesan


Mythri is a cultural anthropologist who researches gender and work relations, plantations and contemporary minority politics in South Asia. She writes about gender and kinship investment, home-making practices, plantation studies, and state-industrial relations in Sri Lanka. Her book, Tea and Solidarity: Tamil Women and Work in Postwar Sri Lanka (University of Washington Press, 2019) is an ethnography of plantation life and work in the context of ethnonationalist violence and civil war in Sri Lanka. Her work has appeared in Himal Southasian, Cultural Anthropology, Feminist Anthropology, Anthropological Quarterly, Commoning Ethnography, e-flux journal, Colomboscope Interdisciplinary Art Festival, and Scroll Projects on Paper.


Angela Holzmeister


Angela teaches in the Classics Department, where she teaches courses in Greek and Latin at all levels, as well as culture courses. Her research areas are philosophies of friendship and ethics. She was a CAH Fellow in 2018-2019, while working on her continuing project on art, ethics, and cultural heritage.


Kai Harris

Kai Harris


Kai is an author and professor of creative writing who specializes in fiction, African Diaspora writing, and the slave narrative genre. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, What the Fireflies Knew (February 2022, Tiny Reparations Books) is a coming-of-age novel that explores family dynamics and generational trauma through the lens of Black Girlhood. In addition to fiction, Kai has published poetry, personal essays, and peer-reviewed academic articles on topics related to Black girlhood and womanhood, mental health, social justice, generational trauma, and Black identity.


Scot Hanna-Weir


Scot is Director of Choral Activities, conducting the University's two major choral ensembles and Artistic Director of the Santa Clara Chorale, an auditioned community choir celebrating its 60th anniversary season. In addition to his conducting engagements, Scot is also an active composer with particular focus on fusing electronics and choral performance and addressing issues of social justice and inequity through choral literature.



Lauren Baines

de Saisset Museum

Lauren is an artist, curator, and catalyst interested in interdisciplinary explorations and helping others find synergies between diverse subjects. Her projects with the de Saisset Museum focus on Indigenous and decolonization efforts at the museum and across SCU; bringing transparency and transformation to traditional processes of collecting and curating; addressing histories of racism, colonization, and exclusion within the field and beyond; and centering social justice and SCU’s undergraduate students in the work of the museum. She is also the Ohlone Initiatives Implementation Co-Coordinator at SCU, a Board member of the California Association of Museums, and a practicing choreographer/dancer.


Nicole Branch

Library/Learning Commons

Nicole currently serves as the Co-Interim University Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Learning and Engagement at Santa Clara University. Nicole’s decade-long experience working in non-profit organizations advancing educational justice in public schools and school districts informs her approach to academic librarianship. Nicole’s scholarship focuses on the intersections of critical theory, research methodologies, and information literacy. Her current research explores critical assessment practices as a means to confront neoliberalism and bias in higher education.



Justin Clardy


Justin Clardy is an assistant professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Arkansas. His recent publications have investigated the intersection of love & race, and has largely focused on both the ethicality of non-monogamous relationship styles and the unjust political consequences for non-monogamists.


Past Faculty/Staff Advisory Council Members

Kathy Aoki, Art and Art History (2020-22)

Aldo Billingslea, Theatre and Dance (2020-21)

Kristin Kusanovich, Theatre and Dance (2020-22)

Sharmila Lodhia, Women’s and Gender Studies (2020-22)

Danielle Morgan, English (2020-22)

Karen Peterson-Iyer, Religious Studies (2020-22)

Bruno Ruviaro, Music (2020-22)

Daniel Turkeltaub, Classics (2020-22)