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Columbia College Chicago


Lott Hill
Executive Director

Lott Hill has been teaching at Columbia College Chicago since 1997. During this time, he has taught numerous classes in the Fiction Writing Department and the First Year Seminar, and developed and instructed service-learning classes for the Cultural Studies Program.

Lott originally relocated to Chicago to study Creative Writing at Columbia because he was impressed and inspired by the faculty he found here, as well as the innovative approaches to teaching that engaged students in active learning. After receiving his MFA from Columbia, he directed the Writer’s Voice program at the Duncan YMCA/Chernin Center for the Arts and conducted extensive research on the practice and impact of various approaches to academic civic engagement such as community-based learning, service-learning, and other forms of experiential learning. Since then, Lott has led many civic engagement initiatives on campus including Critical Encounters.

Lott is active in local and national dialogue around teaching, learning, and civic engagement.  He is a member of the Executive Board of Illinois Campus Compact, a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, Imagining America, POD Network, Associated Writing Programs and various organizations.  He regularly presents at national and international conferences and is a long standing member of the planning consortium of the International Institute for SoTL Scholars and Mentors.

Lott’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in multiple issues of Hair Trigger, Columbia Poetry Review, Fish Stories, B-City, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Metropolitan Universities, Demo, Adbusters, and the Association for Higher Education’s Peer Review.   He is also a regular contributor to the monthly reading series 2nd Story.

Soo La Kim

Soo La Kim joined Columbia College Chicago in 2007 as Associate Director in the Center for Teaching Excellence.  She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Irvine in 2000, where she taught courses in expository writing, English literature, and Humanities. Before coming to Columbia, she was Assistant Director for Faculty and Tutor Development in the Princeton Writing Program, where she also taught an interdisciplinary writing seminar called "The Social Life of Things."

Soo La believes that if you're not constantly learning through your teaching, you're not doing it right. At Columbia, she develops and facilitates a range of faculty development programs that combine practical ideas for teaching with opportunities to reflect more deeply on the learning process, both our students' and our own. Most recently, she has focused on leading CITE's department-specific initiative, collaborating on workshops tailored to the needs and interests of departments like AEMM, Film & Video, Theatre, and others. Teaching in the First-Year Seminar program, she is continually impressed by the range of creative talent among her students, and she hopes to expand her teaching repertoire soon. 

Megan Stielstra
Associate Director

Megan Stielstra teaches creative writing and writing & performance at Columbia College, where she talks all day with talented, dedicated people about what makes a good story; and is the Assistant Director of Columbia’s Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence, where she talks all day with talented, dedicated people about what makes good teaching.

Her story collection, Everyone Remain Calm, was a Chicago Tribune Favorite of 2011 and a CBS Chicago Editor’s Pick for Best Chicago Books; her fiction and essays have appeared in Other Voices, The Nervous Breakdown, Fresh Yarn, Pindeldyboz, Swink, Shareable, Monkeybicycle, Hypertext, Cellstories, Perigee, Annalemma, and Punk Planet, among others, and have been performed by Theatre Seven of Chicago and Bohemian Archeology in NYC. She serves as the Literary Director of the 2nd Story storytelling series, and has told stories for The Goodman, The Steppenwolf, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Chicago Poetry Center, Story Week Festival of Writers, Wordstock Literary Festival, The Neo-Futurarium, Victory Gardens, Chicago Public Radio, and regularly for 2nd Story, The Paper Machete, and Write Club, along with all sorts of theaters and festivals and bars.

A finalist for the 3Arts Teaching Artist Award, Megan is currently a teaching artist with 2nd Story and a Lecturer in creative writing at The University of Chicago, and has worked with students of all ages at The Goodman Theatre, Lake Forest College, and CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. Additionally, she has discussed her work as a storyteller and teaching artist at Associated Writing Programs, Theatre Communications Group, Young Chicago Authors, Story Week, Creative Nonfiction Week, Printer's Row, Imagining America, and the National Association of Writing in Education.

David Noffs
Instructional Specialist

David Noffs is a native Australian who has lived and worked in the Chicago area most of his life. During the 1970‘s and early 80‘s he was involved in the Avant-Garde Music movement in Chicago and was an early innovator of the “Performance Art” genre. He was a founding member of Musica Menta, New Music Chicago and served for a time on the Board of Directors of Links Hall Studio. In the late 1980’s and 90’s, David was a co-founder and United Nations delegate for a non-government organization (NGO) that helped expand worldwide substance abuse prevention education efforts. During that time he oversaw the development of interactive programs, printed materials, and music and computer software for children ages 5 to 15. He also helped create NGOs now operating in England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Since 2001, he has worked at Columbia College Chicago as an adjunct faculty member in the Interactive Arts and Media department teaching Computer Applications, Sound for Interaction and Web Design courses. In 2005 he joined Columbia College Chicago full time as an Instructional Specialist in the Center for Instructional Technology as part of a Title III grant to oversee the development of online interactive tools for incoming and transfer students and improve retention through better faculty advising and use of online Learning Management Systems. In this capacity, he specializes in teaching faculty and staff how to use on-line coursework, grade books, portfolios and advising tools like those found in Moodle (Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment). He is also responsible for the installation, administration, maintenance and updating of Moodle at Columbia College Chicago.

David holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Roosevelt University and Master’s Degree in Public Health from Benedictine University. He is married to Laurie and has three sons, Sam, Harry and George.

Brian Block
Systems Specialist

Brian Block is a sound designer, composer, game designer, artist, and video game enthusiast. He has been involved with the Columbia community since 2009, when he enrolled as a student in the Interactive Arts and Media department. In 2011, he began work for the Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence as a part-time assistant, working on projects with the CiTE staff ranging from web development to audio/visual media production. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design from Columbia College Chicago. His experience with teaching art at the high school level and his proficiency with creative technology made him a fit to join the CiTE staff as a full-time Systems Specialist in 2013.

Brian is responsible for maintaining all CiTE technology systems as well as continually preparing the department for innovations in education technology. He also leads Moodle workshops and serves as a resource for faculty seeking to improve their teaching and learning by using technology in the classroom. Brian provides graphic design support and media production for the CiTE, as well. You can hear music composed by Brian on the monthly CiTE podcast, “Classroom Connections,” and all of the CiTE’s promotional videos produced since 2012.

As an active participant in the independent video games industry, Brian serves as the Lead Sound Designer for the Florida-based studio, Vespyr Games. He is also a freelance sound designer/composer and produces regular work for groups like TRPP Associates (an educational research foundation) and Honesty is Not Contagious (a Chicago-based online comedy site).

Ashley Kennedy
Digital Media Technologist

Ashley Kennedy joined Columbia College Chicago in 2009. As the CITE Digital Media Technologist, she designs and delivers technology-focused workshops and courses for campus-wide faculty and staff. She is also an adjunct professor in the Columbia College Television Dept., where she regularly teaches the Advanced Post Production and Post Production Techniques courses. When she's not teaching, she is often writing; she has two published textbooks to her name; they are both on the topic of film and video editing. Additionally, she has designed several extensive e-course on for the online training site, lynda.com—again, on the topic of video editing.

Ashley came to higher education from the corporate training world—as former Principal Instructor and Certifications Program Manager at Avid Technology, Inc., she taught and developed the Avid Certified curriculum, creating more than a dozen in-classroom and e-learning courses. She also managed the Avid Certified Instructor and co-managed Avid Authorized Training Partner worldwide programs.

Ashley holds a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois, and an M.F.A in Film from Boston University. She, and her husband, Nate have a baby daughter, Nora.

Maggie Ritter
Program Manager

Maggie Ritter graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in English and minors in Sociology and Photography. Please contact Maggie if you would like more information about any CITE programs!