Department chair: Scott Olinger | Contact info


  • Photo of Scott Olinger

    Scott Olinger

    Professor of Theatre

    Teaches courses in scenic, lighting, and projection design. His work has been seen at Burning Coal Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Pennsylvania Center Stage, Penn State Altoona, Theatre Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Juniata College, Cornell College, and on DirecTV’s Nick and Artie Show/The Dan Patrick Show and Iowa City Cable Television. He currently serves as the assistant to the vice president of conferences for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. M.F.A., design, Penn State University; B.A., theatre, University of Northern Iowa.

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  • Photo of Jim VanValen

    Jim VanValen

    Associate Professor of Theatre

    Teaches courses in acting, voice, and movement, Stanislavski, Meisner, and auditioning. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, Jim spent three years as a resident actor with the historic Barter Theatre and has performed throughout the country in such regional theatres as The Fulton Opera House, Florida’s Riverside Theatre, and The Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble. He has studied voice and text work with Patsy Rodenburg, OBE, and he received his Meisner Certification from the True Acting Institute. M.F.A., acting, University of Iowa; M.A., theatre arts; B.A., English, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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  • Photo of Janeve West

    Janeve West

    Associate Professor of Theatre

    Teaches courses in the areas of theatre history, devised theatre, and directing. Janeve spent three years as a director/actor for the Omaha Theatre Company. She has directed a variety of world premieres, devised pieces, and fully scripted productions for The Llano Estacado Institute for the Performing Arts, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and at multiple venues in western Illinois, Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas. Janeve is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. M.F.A., theatre with a dual emphasis in directing and acting, Texas Tech University; B.A., theatre and English education, Southwestern College.

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  • Photo of Jody Hovland

    Jody Hovland

    Distinguished Artist in Residence

    Teaches acting courses at Cornell and is a founder and co-artistic director of Iowa City's Riverside Theatre. She has appeared at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution, and toured in many plays. M.F.A., acting, University of Iowa; M.A., English, University of North Dakota.

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  • Photo of Jenny Nutting Kelchen

    Jenny Nutting Kelchen

    Costume Shop Supervisor and Lecturer in Theatre

    Teaches costume design, stage make-up, and costume construction at Cornell. In addition to being the resident costume designer and supervisor for all Cornell productions, she has performed costume work for The University of Iowa, Iowa Summer Rep, Old Creamery Theatre, Riverside in the Park, Coe College, Grinnell College, and Riverside Theatre. M.F.A., costume design, University of Iowa; B.A., studio art, University of Northern Iowa.

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  • Photo of Don Schneider

    Don Schneider

    Technical Director and Lecturer in Theatre

    Teaches courses in stagecraft and sound design. A.A., Kirkwood Community College; B.A., theatre arts, University of Iowa; M.F.A., theatre technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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  • Photo of Cathy Schonhorst

    Cathy Schonhorst

    Academic Program Assistant

Additional instructors

  • Amy Barr, Lecturer
  • Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski, Lecturer
  • Jennifer Fawcett, Lecturer
  • Kristen Geisler, Projections Designer for Man of No Importance
  • Steven Marzolf, Visiting Director of Glass Menagerie
  • Lindsay Tornquist, Lecturer
  • Julia West, Musical Director for Man of No Importance