AddRan College of Liberal Arts is proud to recognize our newest faculty members. As we continue celebrating TCU’s 150th anniversary, AddRan’s faculty continue to prove that the liberal arts form the core of education at TCU. Meet the newest faculty members of AddRan here:
Benjamin Comer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Dr. Benjamin P. Comer holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. Dr. Comer previously earned a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Boise State University, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from SOU, and an Associate of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from RCC. Dr. Comer’s research focuses on gun violence and gun carrying, school gun violence, mass shootings, spatial criminology, and data accuracy and comparability. His research has been published in several academic journals, including the “American Journal of Criminal Justice,” “Preventive Medicine, Social Science and Medicine,” and “Crime and Delinquency,” among others.
“Critical and analytical thinking, methodological inquiry, scientific literacy and competency in communication, both spoken and written, are all essential components of a liberal arts degree,” said Comer. “Such a pursuit is about engaging in reasoned thought, rationalism, empiricism and good ethic in the application of those things. Perhaps most important, it is about the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, for such a pure pursuit will inevitably lead to wisdom. The next generation of professionals, scholars and social advocates must have these skills in order to promote the values and virtues that are integral to a functioning society. A liberal arts degree is a pathway to achieve these great things.”
Ana Marcela Fuentes Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English - Creative Writing (Prose)
Marcela Fuentes, PhD, comes to TCU from Texas A&M University. Fuentes is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she studied creative writing. A fiction writer and essayist, Fuentes’s work can be found in literary journals such as “Ploughshares,” “The Rumpus,” and “Texas Highways Magazine.” Her debut novel, “Malas,” is set to release June 2024 from Viking Books. Fuentes said that a liberal arts education “is so important for the development of creative and critical thinking practices vital for understanding and thriving in modern society.”
Keith Gaddie, Ph.D., Hoffman Chair of the American Ideal and Professor of Political Science
“At TCU, I’m looking forward to continuing my career mission, in and out of the classroom, of working with smart, capable, curious students and engaging, active alumni,” Keith Gåddie, Ph.D. said.
Gåddie comes to TCU from the University of Oklahoma, where he worked for more than 25 years. In addition to duties as a political science faculty member, Gåddie held numerous executive leadership positions, including interim associate dean of the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture and executive faculty fellow, an advisory position to the president of the university. As a scholar, Gåddie focuses on issues of the built environment and democratic values. He is the author of “Democracy’s Meanings: How the Public Understands Democracy and Why It Matters” (2022, Michigan) with Nick Davis and Kirby Goidel, which explores the question of how Americans conceive of democracy and tests the fragility and resilience of the American civic experiment. Another of his works, “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Democratic Spaces” (2021, OU Press), written with research partner Jocelyn Evans, explored the evolution of the Supreme Court’s physical spaces, its institutional evolution and its changing culture as a political and social organization.
Graham Gardner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics
Graham Gardner, Ph.D. earned his doctorate from Michigan State University in 2023. He researches at the intersection of economics and public policy, and his work primarily focuses on the effects of restricted access to abortion in the United States. Alongside his research, Gardner has a particular passion for teaching in an interdisciplinary environment.
"The liberal arts provide students the unique benefit of moving beyond simply learning facts, allowing them to the opportunity to be good citizens and stewards of their knowledge,” Gardner said.
Jacqui Haynes, Ph.D., Instructor of English
Jacqui Haynes, Ph.D. was born and raised in Fort Worth and graduated with a doctorate in rhetoric from Texas Woman's University. Her research interests include Native American and Chicano/a traditional foodways and cultural practices, as well as cultural rhetoric studies in American horror cinema.
“A liberal arts education for me resembles a sacred path,” Haynes said. “One that asks us to widen our perspectives, fosters empathy and equips us with the wisdom to contribute to a more just and inclusive society, honoring diverse traditions and cultures.”
Lisa Nikolidakis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English – Creative Writing
Lisa “Dr. Nik” Nikolidakis, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She’s a genre-fluid writer who returns often to themes of trauma, mental health, chronic illness/disability, queer identity, music and nature. Dr. Nik is the author of the memoir “No One Crosses the Wolf,” and her work has appeared in “The Best American Essays,” “Los Angeles Review,” “Orion,” “LitHub,” “McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,” “The Rumpus,” “Gulf Coast” and elsewhere.
“I believe the power of a liberal-arts education lies in the ways it challenges and expands our interests and knowledge, thereby fostering the growth of our creative thinking and empathy,” said Dr. Nik.
Ismeal Quiñones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English
Fernando Ismael Quiñones Valdivia, Ph.D. joins the English Department at TCU after graduating from Pennsylvania State University. After six years in colder weather, Quiñones is happy to return to a warmer region of this world closer to his hometown of Chihuahua. His research focuses on rhetorical theory, migration, and postcolonial, decolonial and anticolonial futures. In the classroom, he engages students with questions about time, technology, rhetoric and composition.
"As part of the liberal arts education since antiquity, a study of rhetoric allows students and teachers alike to reimagine how organizing practices in politics, relations and nature can be changed for a collective better," Quiñones said.
Juan Morilla Romero, Ph.D., Instructor of Spanish
Juan Morilla Romero earned his Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures and Cultural Studies from Indiana University and comes to TCU from Marian University, Indianapolis. He joins the department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies as an instructor. His scholarship focuses on the emergence of diverse types of counter-narratives that different agents of contemporary Mexican civil society have created in the context of the so-called War on Drugs. According to him, "a liberal arts education is essential since current societies are avid of citizens who can think critically, provide a broad and multidisciplinary approach to the most complex issues and challenges of our global world, and behave responsibly."
Alnica Visser, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Alnica Visser, Ph.D. earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy, history, and political science and her master’s degree in philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She earned her doctoral degree in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Visser’s primary research interests are in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind.
“I think the liberal arts are important because they allow us all the opportunity to reflect on and deepen our understanding of ourselves, our relationships with one another, and our place in the world,” Visser said.