Mark Doerffel, assistant professor of music
Originally from the Florida Keys, I am the director of instrumental activities at Grand View. I also teach Applied Brass, Music Theory and direct the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. Prior to my arrival in Iowa, I was on the faculty at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Fla. I also taught in the secondary schools of Florida and North Carolina for 15 years. I am working on my Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Florida, my Master of Music Education from Appalachian State University, and my Bachelor of Music Education from Louisiana State University. I currently live in Ankeny with my wife Amanda, and our two sons, Charlie and Brooks.
Dr. Kathryn Pohlmann Duffy, professor of music, department chair
Welcome to Grand View! I chair our music department, direct the Grand View choir and teach courses in Theory and History of Music, Music Appreciation, and Conducting. I believe in challenging students to explore the richness of music and to claim this richness in their own life – whether as a part of a career in music, an avocation, or just as an informed and interested listener. To that end, I seek out ways to help students nurture their intellectual curiosity and allow themselves to be fully engaged by their subject matter. Beyond the academic arena, I enjoy a good mystery, traveling, needlework, and spending time with my husband, Steve, and our two sons, Paul and Mark. See you in rehearsal! Faculty Website
James Ewald, assistant professor of art & design
As a designer, I believe attention to concepts should underpin every aspect of design work. I prefer a clean design style - the Swiss style embodies my design preferences. I appreciate how computers as tools can contribute to the design process, and I have made it a point to become conversant with the existing software applications important to the graphic design field. At the same time, I don’t see computer technology as the be-all-end-all of design. I believe in a holistic approach to the design process that involves not only electronic work, but also handcrafted elements such as hand-worked typography and hand-drawn illustration.
Mary Jones, professor of art & design
I teach a variety of courses, including Graphic Design, Typography, Printmaking and Bookbinding. My background includes many years of professional experience as a designer and illustrator. Lately, I've enjoyed working on collaborative projects with other printmakers and book artists. I enjoy working with students in both fine art and graphic design, and in helping them make connections between the two areas.
Kristin Larson, professor of speech and theatre, department chair
Hello and welcome to Grand View's Theatre Department! I'm the chair of the department and I teach classes in the areas of acting and directing, including classes like Acting Styles, Performer's Voice, Script Analysis and Theatre History and Appreciation. In my courses I consider it my highest goal for students to discover their unique abilities. I enjoy working with the hardworking and dedicated theatre students to develop those abilities in our very active department. I also enjoy welcoming students who may not be theatre majors into the process of playmaking. It's my hope that, regardless of their ultimate career path, all students who become involved in theatre classes or productions find their curiosity awakened and their passion for the art of theatre kindled. Faculty Website
Rachel Merrill-Schwaller, assistant professor of art & design
My work deals primarily with my internal processing of everyday life, often translating into a physical representation of my emotional state. Ideas are often about (but not limited to) the fake, ridiculous trudge toward the ideal, whether conscious or unconscious. Often this act of seeking manifests itself into a performance within a performance, when one puts on an act that they begin to believe is truth. Each piece is specifically designed for participation with the viewer and questions the ideas of perception. How perception of oneself alters and changes by those they encounter through manipulation, distortion, and play.
Aaron Powell, instructor of guitar
Hello! I have a Masters of Music Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (2003) where I studied with Douglas Niedt. I'm also an alumni of Simpson College (1999), graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education. I've been an instructor of guitar at Grand View since the fall of 2005. I have performed as a guitarist with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Des Moines Playhouse and Des Moines Symphony. I appear in recital in various fine arts series and forums throughout the state and in the midwest. I've appeared as a performer in the master classes of notable guitarists such as the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Sergio and Odair Assad, Antigoni Goni and Christopher Parkening.
Aaron Tinder, professor of art & design
I primarily teach in the areas of painting and drawing, as well as art education. I enjoy working alongside students in studio courses, helping them find ways to present ideas in new and challenging ways. My background includes experience teaching art in the public schools, which helps me bring an important perspective to future art educators as well.
Cyndi Wiley, assistant professor of art & design, department chair
I am a citizen designer. I am a feminist. I am human. Although feminism has become the new "F" word in the U.S., it is still relevant and this viewpoint is reflected in my work. As such, I continually question power structures that lead me to design for the betterment of people. This is what is considered a citizen designer. Remembering that I am human is the most important part of my identity. I know my place in the world and I know that a higher power exists. As humans, we crave to be in relationship. For me, this is how I image God; through relationships with others.
Doug Wells, professor of photography
I’m the new addition to the Communication Department, teaching digital photography classes after 28 years as a staff photographer for The Des Moines Register newspaper. It’s been an exciting transition. I love all types of photography, though my professional background is heavily weighted towards the publications aspect of the medium. You will see my photo classes all around campus with our cameras, looking for the perfect shot. Learning is hands-on here. And no one leaves school without taking that staple of the Grand View photo experience, the jump shot. Come see what I mean. Taking photographs makes the world seem somehow more real, more interesting, and more personal. I can’t just watch life flow by; I feel a need to document it in pictures. Faculty Website