Home » Topics » Academics » FACULTY ROUNDUP: Sheridan named Florida Higher Ed Art Educator of the Year; Willemin awarded Best Break Out Screenplay at Oaxaca; Capener to speak at Global Conference on Advances in Management; Harper named Cuba Scholar-In-Residence in College of Arts and Sciences
Sheridan, Willemin, Capener and Harper

FACULTY ROUNDUP: Sheridan named Florida Higher Ed Art Educator of the Year; Willemin awarded Best Break Out Screenplay at Oaxaca; Capener to speak at Global Conference on Advances in Management; Harper named Cuba Scholar-In-Residence in College of Arts and Sciences

(Jump to Ginger Sheridan  / Alex Willemin / Don Capener / Vanessa Harper)

Ginger Sheridan

Ginger Sheridan, Associate Professor of Photography, is the state’s Higher Education Art Educator of the Year, recognized by the Florida Art Education Association.

Sheridan, the Higher Ed Division Representative for the Northeast Florida Art Education Association, “has provided a wealth of opportunities for both teachers and students through professional development, school visits to the campus and so much more,” said nominator Jack Matthews, who is the K-12 Visual Art Programs Specialist for the Duval County Public Schools and also a JU alumnus.

In addition, “Her position with the Northeast Florida Scholastic Art Awards has been of great value as she has secured space for adjudication, adjudicators and thousands of dollars in scholarship opportunities for Scholastic Art Award winners.”

As part of her role as a Northeast Florida Art Education Association board member, Sheridan has created a variety of College Days for high school students and multiple fundraising events.

“I cannot believe that I am being honored for something that is so much fun!” Sheridan said. “Our K through 12 art teachers know how to work together with little ego, lots of laughs and no budget to make great things happen for the youth in our community. It is privilege to be a part of their organization.”

As far as her own philosophy and goals as an art educator, Sheridan said she believes there is no mystery to becoming an artist: “Show up with a good attitude, work hard, evaluate, collaborate and enjoy the journey.”

Alex D. Willemin, Assistant Professor of Film, has won Best Break Out Screenplay at the renowned Oaxaca Filmfest in Mexico, beating out 35 other accepted screenplays in that category.

“Home, Free,” a TV series project, chronicles what happens when “a Machiavellian twenty-something moves back in with her parents and tries to game a cultish pyramid scheme.”

The actual festival event itself scheduled for this month had to be canceled because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Max and two massive earthquakes.

“First and foremost, we’d like to share our deepest sympathies to everyone in Oaxaca, Mexico City and around the world who have been impacted by these terrible natural disasters,” said Willemin, who won the award along with his wife, Alina.

“We are extremely grateful for this amazing and unexpected award. It’s humbling to be able to share our work on this international stage.”

“Home, Free is the story of a girl — and a generation — struggling to find a place of belonging in the world as she realizes that her family is actually a safety net that is slowly catching fire,” said Willemin, who has an MFA in Motion Picture Production from the University of Miami.

The Break Out category is for “scripts which break traditional formulas.” Indeed, Alex and Alina said they set out to create “something that bended the formulaic norms of mainstream filmmaking.”

As an educator, Willemin said the award reaffirms what he’s been striving to teach his students.

“Sure, I want them to understand the basics of filmmaking: screenplay format, anatomy of cinematography, etc. At the end of the day, however, I want them to push past that basic knowledge to tell their story, with their voice, and to hell with the conventions.”

The official website with the Willemins’ script listed as Best Breakout Screenplay is at https://www.oaxacafilmfest.com/global-script-challenge?t=breakout.

Dr. Don Capener

Davis College of Business Dean Dr. Don Capener will speak Nov. 6 at the Global Conference on Advances in Management hosted at JU, which aims to establish valuable connections among academia, business and civil society by conducting and sharing research.

Capener’s latest research will also be presented at the prestigious School of Commerce at Tokyo’s Waseda University, a JU exchange partner, and is based on interviews with 161 successful business leaders in Japan and the U.S.

His findings indicate three factors that increase new companies’ job creation and drive sustainable economic value: more transparent and equal venture financing opportunities for small and mid-sized companies; ability to leverage real estate and retirement accounts; and uncertainty about government regulation and taxation. Click here for conference information.

Vanessa Harper

Vanessa K. Harper has joined the College of Arts and Sciences as Cuba Scholar-in-Residence. An Executive Producer at TigerLily Media in Jacksonville, she has lived and worked in Cuba over several different periods.

Harper is at work on “Rural Cuba Now: The Hidden Lives Beyond Havana,” a body of work photo-documenting the farmers of rural Cuba and their stories of a decade ago and of today. 

In a grant proposal to the Alexia Foundation, she discusses how the farmers she has documented since 2006 “navigate an ever-growing, complex black market economy because the state-run stores are empty and the agricultural markets are difficult to access. They long for much needed resources to maximize agricultural production so they can feed their families and sell at the market. If they don’t do both, they’ll continue to suffer.”

In 2005 and 2006, as an American graduate student, Harper was able to enter Cuba under a special U.S. research permit and lived there for six months. She photo-documented the livelihoods of 15 rural farmers and their families in the western mountains of the Sierra del Rosario.

Harper has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology and Cuban Studies from the University of Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Previously, she was Director Of Education & Community Outreach for the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, as well as an Adjunct Instructor at the University Of North Carolina.