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What Emerson Professors Do in The Summer

What do Emerson faculty members do when classes end in the spring? We were curious, so we handpicked several profs and asked them to let us in on their summer plans. There were the obvious things, like catching up on academic work, presenting at conferences, and workshopping plays, but there were also some surprises—from ukulele jams and following vintage baseball teams to touring Japan with an independent film. Scroll to read more.

Mark Leccese

Associate Professor, Journalism

Associate Professor of Journalism Mark Leccese is also an amateur jazz trumpeter.

Mark Lecesse’s summer features a trio of goals: Launching a new writing project, teaching an online journalism course, and making music.

He is currently writing an open-source textbook with the working title of Public Affairs Reporting in the Digital Age, and he’ll teach an online introductory course—Reporting and Writing—for the entering class of Journalism graduate students from all over the world. “When I taught the course last summer, I had students who were taking the course from their homes in India, China, Myanmar, Florida, and Maine,” he says.

Leccese is also an amateur jazz trumpeter and plays in a local combo. “Summer gives me the opportunity to go to the woodshed, as musicians say, and practice for a couple of hours every day.” This summer he’s added even more music to his life with plans to take lessons on the electric bass and play in a student rock band at a local music school. “I’ll spend half of every day teaching and the other half practicing the trumpet and the bass,” he says.


Melia Bensussen

Professor and Chair of Performing Arts

Composer Mark Bennett, playwright Melinda Lopez, and director Melia Bensussen spent a week workshopping a new play at the Huntington Theatre.

Composer Mark Bennett, playwright Melinda Lopez, and director Melia Bensussen spent a week workshopping a new play at the Huntington Theatre.

“Lucky” is how Melia Bensussen, an Obie Award-winning director, describes herself as she anticipates taking part in two “theater camps” where “new plays get developed in the heat of the summer.” She is working with writers and projects at the Huntington Theatre here in Boston, and later at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. She says the team at the Huntington planned “an extraordinary week trying out music, changing lyrics, and developing staging.”

The project is a collaboration between the Huntington Theatre and American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. It’s slated for production in 2018-19 and includes Flamenco/Ladino singer Tamar Ilana and guitarist Juanito Pascual.

Theodore “Regge” Life, Jr.

Senior Distinguished Director-in-Residence in Visual & Media Arts

Regge Life has been touring Japan with his independent feature film Cocktail Party.

Regge Life has been touring Japan with his independent feature film Cocktail Party. Later in the summer, he’ll run rehearsals for a production of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage that he’s directing at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts.

“I’m looking forward to working with a top-flight cast and mounting a provocative play that’s so fitting for the times we’re living in today,” he says. The show takes the stage from September 14 to October 8.


Kelly Farquharson

Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders

Assistant Professor Kelly Farquharson with Ziggy

Assistant Professor Kelly Farquharson’s husband plays in a vintage baseball team.

Kelly Farquharson has planned a “productive” summer, starting by teaching her favorite class: Speech Sound Disorders. Then she’ll complete a proposal for a National Institutes of Health grant with a colleague from the University of Montana, and is also slated to present at a few conferences—first in Ottawa, Canada on children’s speech, language, and literacy development, and then in New Orleans on literacy in children who have speech sound disorders.

She plans to spend her leisure time camping in Maine, hanging with her cats Zoe and Zambuca and her yorkie-poo Ziggy, and traveling with her husband’s vintage baseball team which “plays by the original mid-19th-century rules and wears uniforms of the period.”


Cynthia Miller

Senior Affiliated Faculty, Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies

Senior affiliated faculty member Cynthia Miller is calling Summer 2017 “the summer of the ukulele.”

Summer is cultural anthropologist Cynthia Miller’s chance to complete the scholarly work that “doesn’t always happen during the school year.” The author or editor of books on a wide variety of topics—steampunk, horror, Westerns, and sci-fi flicks—she is working on several new horror projects, as well as reviewing submissions to a book series she edits for publishing house Rowman & Littlefield. But this season isn’t all about sitting at a desk—Miller also declares this “the summer of the ukulele.”

She’s already spent three days “playing uke and learning really cool things like Afro-Cuban uke” at the annual Ukulele Camp at Ashokan Center in upstate New York. And in June, she attended Ukulele Melee, an annual gathering held outside of Boston. She also performs with the Zukes Ukulele Orchestra in New Bedford and is teaching beginner ukulele classes in a community education program in Plainville, with students ranging from ages 18 to 75.

When she’s not being scholarly or playing the uke, she’s also an usher for the Brockton Rox, a summer baseball team. “It’s just the perfect summer job, because I can watch all the baseball I could possibly want, and get lots of fresh air and sunshine,” she says.