Dr. Birch is a versatile performer and educator in both voice and collaborative piano. She has been teaching private voice, piano, and music theory lessons for over 16 years; first with OrchePia School of Music based in Orange County, California, then with the Kansas City School of Music in Lenexa and Overland Park, followed by graduate teaching at UMKC, and now at Avila University. She is a member of good standing with the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She regularly accompanies singers, instrumentalists, and churches across the Kansas City Metro Area in lessons, recitals, competitions, auditions, and religious/holiday services.
An active operatic and concert performer, Dr. Birch has sung regularly with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City since 2015 and with Musica Sacra since 2016. She performed Gustav Mahler’s
Dr. Staves is a licensed professional counselor, specializing in psychological trauma, compassion fatigue, attachment in children and adults, family systems, child abuse and prevention and ethics. Her interests include child development, specifically emotional and brain development, psychopathology, social issues impacting children and society and restorative justice. Dr. Staves is active in our community as an advocate to prevent child abuse and neglect and also to support restorative justice in our community. She currently serves on the board of the Missouri Children's Trust fund, where she is a former board chair. She has worked in residential treatment, psychiatric hospital, and private practice; and has also mentored adults reentering society post incarceration. Dr. Staves currently teaches undergraduate and graduate classes and facilitates workshops in her areas of expertise, including compassion fatigue and child sexual abuse prevention.
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2002: Kansas City, Missouri Mayor’s Recognition Proclamation Award; The United Minority Media Association's Leadership Award from the Midwest-
Southeast Regional Conference; The Special Exhibit of Stanley E. Banks’ Life and Literature at the Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc. 2000: Writers Place Award in Kansas City, Missouri 1989: The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship/Grant for Creative Writing 1987: Future Playwrights of America Institute Playwriting Award from the University of Missouri-Kansas City 1981: The Langston Hughes Prize For Poetry from BookMark Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City 1979: The English Department Award at University of Missouri-Kansas City
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Dr. Haverhals enjoys teaching a wide variety of mathematics courses, which he has been able to do during his time at Avila. His research interests include undergraduate mathematics education and any open question accessible to undergraduates. When he’s not working, Dr. Haverhals enjoys spending time with his wife, three young sons and dog, watching sports, reading (mostly non-fiction) and small home improvement projects.
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Professor Harris designs, builds, and/or supervises all design and technical aspects for the main stage shows. He teaches all the Theatre: Design and Technology courses offered at Avila University. While at Avila, his students have won awards for their work at the American College Theatre Festival and have internship opportunities. After graduation, they are prepared to work professionally and/or advance to highly-selective graduate programs.
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She has been Creative Director for Fleishmann-Hillard Public Relations, Woods Creative Group, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her graphic design work has won national awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as awards from the Kansas City Advertising Club and the Kansas City Art Director's Club.
Susan earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. She also attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. Prior to joining the faculty at Avila University, she taught Graphic Design at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Kansas.