Humanities Faculty

Charles Andrews - Assistant Professor


Charles joined SNHU in 2013 as an assistant professor of history. Prior to SNHU, he was a visiting assistant professor of history at Transylvania University.

Andrews received several scholarships and awards including the Luce Foundation/ASIA network Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA.

Publications include “Nittsu’s Company History as a Guide to the Early Modern Origins of Japan’s Modern Communications, Shashi: Journal of Japanese Business History (December 2012).

Andrews’ research interests include Social History of Early Modern and Modern Japan, Business and Communications History of Japan and History of Education in Japan.

Professional memberships include the Association for Asian Studies and the Early Modern Japan Network.

Colin Root - Assistant Professor


Colin joined SNHU in 2013 as an assistant professor of humanities and fine arts. Prof. Root’s teaching experience includes lecturer at Simmons College, Suffolk University, Boston University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth.

Root’s published works include several reviews and a book, The Cinema of Paul Thomas Anderson: From Hard Eight to Punch-Drunk Love. Saarbrucken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2009. He is currently working as an editor for Michael Haneke: Interviews, to be published by the University of Mississippi Press in 2014.

Root’s professional memberships include the College Art Association, American Studies Association, and Society of Cinema and Media Studies.

Deborah Varat - Dept. Chair, Associate Professor


Dr. Deborah A. Varat has been teaching art history and humanities at SNHU since 2004 and has served as chair of the Humanities and Fine Arts Department since 2007.  She teaches humanities survey courses as well as upper-level courses in arts of the modern period. 

Varat received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Rochester, and an Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Art History from Boston University. While in graduate school, Varat taught art history at area schools and was a gallery lecturer at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Professor Varat has presented a variety of papers related to art and family life in 18th century England, her dissertation topic, including "Family Life Writ Small: 18th Century English Dollhouses." More recently, she has developed a series of talks on art and Judaism for local synagogues and an interest in the history of photography. She will curate an exhibit on campus in the spring of 2013 on photographic images of children.

Committee service at SNHU includes the General Education Committee, the SAS Promotions Committee, Common Book Committee and the McIninch Advisory Board, as well as many search committees that have helped to bring valuable new faculty to the school.

John McCannon - Associate Professor


An associate professor of history, Dr. John McCannon joined SNHU in 2011, having taught previously at universities in Louisiana, Vermont, New York and Canada. His areas of research and teaching expertise include Russia and modern Europe, the Arctic regions, the history of aviation and exploration, and military history.

McCannon received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Russian/East European Studies at Yale University as well as a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in History from the University of Chicago.

McCannon has written extensively about the Russian and global Arctic. His works include the award-winning ''Red Arctic: Polar Exploration and the Myth of the North in the Soviet Union, 1932-1939,'' published by Oxford University Press in 1998, and ''A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation,'' released by Reaktion Press in 2012. He has also written widely on topics related to Russian/Soviet art and culture; currently, he is completing a biography of the Russian painter and explorer Nicholas Roerich.

A former editor of the Canadian Journal of History, McCannon has served as a consultant for the Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV. He has delivered numerous papers at venues as diverse as the Rachel Carson Center of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany; the D. S. Likhachev Research Institute in Moscow, Russia; the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre in Cambridge and London, UK; and the Russian Academy of Sciences, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Karen Erickson - Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences


Dr. Karen Erickson came to SNHU in 2006 after 15 years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she was on the political science faculty and awarded emerita rank. She directed programs in science, education, public policy and in Arctic affairs and policies assessment. Erickson also has held university teaching and administrative posts in Canada and Norway.

Erickson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford, a Master of Arts in Political Science and Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard.

Erickson is a founder of the University of the Arctic and was on the U.S. delegation to the Arctic Council. Her publications cover Arctic and international politics, security, environmental policy, cold war legacies, rural education and postwar politics of Finland.

A winner of two Fulbright awards, Erickson has held fellowships with the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, the Scholar's Roundtable-NYU School of Law and the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education. She is a Leadership Fellow of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and a member of the board of directors of the American Conference of Academic Deans as well as the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire.

Kenneth Nivison - Associate Professor

Dr. Kenneth Nivison is not only an associate professor, but also the coordinator of the history program and president of the Faculty Senate.  Possessing more than a decade of teaching experience prior to joining the SNHU faculty, he previously held teaching appointments at DeSales University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Saint Anselm College.

He holds an A.B. in Politics from Saint Anselm College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from The Catholic University of America. Trained as a specialist in 18th and 19th century American history, Nivison teaches a wide range of courses at SNHU, including American Environmental History, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Colonial New England, World War II, The Common Good and others.

Nivison's research interests focus on the interplay of politics, culture and society from the era of the American Revolution through the American Civil War.  His current book project, ''Proving Grounds: New England Colleges and the Making of Civil War Leadership,'' studies how five colleges in New England formed the characters of the generation of men who would later prove pivotal in the advent and execution of the Civil War.  He has published several articles and essays, the most recent of which is ''Field of Mighty Memory: Gettysburg and the Americanization of the Civil War,'' in Clayton Jewett, ed., ''The Battlefield and Beyond,'' (LSU Press, 2012).

He is also a participant in the American Historical Association's Tuning Project, ''a nationwide, faculty-led project to articulate the disciplinary core of historical study and to define what a student should understand and be able to do at the completion of a history degree program.''

Kiki Berk - Assistant Professor


Kiki joined SNHU as a visiting assistant professor of philosophy in 2012 and is now an assistant professor of philosophy. Her areas of specialization are Philosophy of Mind and Metaphysics. At SNHU, Berk has taught Introduction to Philosophy, Religions of the World, and Introduction to Ethics.

Berk received a Propedeuse cum laude in Philosophy (2001), a Master of Art cum laude in Philosophy (2005), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy (2010) from the VU University Amsterdam. She was a visiting student at the University of Notre Dame in 2005-06 and Spring 2009.

Her publications include ''Berkeley on Substance,'' in Substantia: Sic et Non, Segalerba, Gianluigi, Holger Gutschmidt, and Antonella Lang-Balestra (eds.), Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag (2008); ''Identiteitscriteria,'' in ANTW vol. 98, no. 2 (2006); and ''Open en bloot,'' in Het nut van Filosofie, Van Woudenberg, René, Mariette Willemsen, and Govert Buijs (eds), Budel: Damon (2004).

Her most recent presentation was on ''Naturalism and the Subjectivity of Experience,'' at the annual conference of the Northern New England Philosophical Association, Dartmouth College (August 2013).

Rick Cook - Director of Music / Instructor


Rick Cook was appointed full-time music lecturer at Southern New Hampshire University in the fall of 2008. During his short time at SNHU, the performing music program has grown from one ensemble to 14 and academic offerings have increased from one music appreciation course to a music minor and a music education major. Cook has taught music history, music theory, composition, jazz combo, concert band, orchestra, brass choir, rock band, concert chorus, chamber choir and music education courses at SNHU.

Cook is ABD from a Ph.D. in instrumental conducting/music education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he studied with Dr. Frank Battisti, one of the world’s leading experts in wind conducting. As a doctoral assistant, Cook served as an assistant conductor for the UMass Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, Concert Band and Marching Band, and observed student teachers. In 2005, he completed a master's degree in wind conducting/music education at the University of New Hampshire, studying conducting/composition primarily with Dr. Andrew Boysen Jr. He did undergraduate work at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where he studied conducting/composition with Dr. Timothy Mahr. Cook grew up off North Union Street, just up the road from SNHU, and attended Manchester Central High School, where he studied music with David Bresnahan.

Cook has written compositions performed by various performing ensembles throughout New England, including the UMass Symphony Band, the Manchester Central High School Wind Ensemble, the Manchester Memorial High School Orchestra, the Winnecunnet High School Band, various ensembles at the University of New Hampshire and the Nevers' Second Regiment Band.   Cook’s Symphony #2 was premiered by the SNHU Wind Ensemble in fall of 2012.

As a trumpet player, Cook has performed with Clark Terry, Ingrid Jensen, Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Ballou and Dan Nolan.  He served as the trumpet section leader for the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast from 2004-2010.

Prior to graduate school, Cook taught band, orchestra, chorus and general music to students (grades three through 12) in the New Hampshire public schools. He lives in Sandown, N.H., with his wife, Kim, a music teacher in the Timberlane school district, and his three cats.  Rick Cook was recently named to the Union Leader's ''40 Under Forty'' list.

Steven Bogart - Artist-in-Residence

Steven joined SNHU as an artist-in-residence in 2012, teaching a playwriting class and an acting class on campus. Bogart is a playwright, director, teacher, designer and visual artist with over 30 years of experience.

The director of more than 100 plays and musicals, Bogart also specializes in directing ensemble-generated original plays, several of which have been performed in Boston, New York and Chicago. He is a 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant recipient in playwriting, and his visual art has been exhibited internationally.

Bogart earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, his Master of Arts in Directing/Drama Education at Emerson College and his Master of Fine Arts/Creative Writing at University of New Orleans.

Awards include "The Last Skywriter in the Universe," Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Warm-Up Laps, 2012; Best Ensemble, "Cabaret," American Repertory Theatre, I.R.N.E. Awards, 2011; Nomination for "Best Director of a Musical," American Repertory Theater, I.R.N.E. Awards, 2011; Holland New Voices Award in Playwriting, Great Plains Theatre Conference, 2010; and Massachusetts Cultural Council Playwriting Finalist Grant Recipient, 2009.

Vanessa Rocco - Assistant Professor


Dr. Vanessa Rocco joined SNHU in 2012 as an assistant professor of Art History. Courses taught include History and Development of Visual Art, including Modernism and the survey courses in the humanities series. Rocco has done extensive teaching and research in her particular specialty -  the history and aesthetics of photography. Prior to SNHU, Rocco lived in New York City where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Pratt Institute. 

Rocco has a Bachelor of Art from American University and a master's in Philosophy and Ph.D. in Art History from City University of New York.

Rocco has numerous peer reviewed articles and essays. Publications include her most recent book, ''The New Woman International: Representations in Photography and Film from the 1870s through the 1960s,'' published in 2011 by the University of Michigan Press and converted to paperback in 2012. She has been curator or assistant curator of exhibits in Barcelona, New York’s International Center of Photography and the Guggenheim.