Center for Excellence Honoree: Crystal BrianCrystal Brian joined Quinnipiac's faculty in 2000, and her passion for theater and teaching has been changing the lives of Quinnipiac students ever since.
Her unique ability to demonstrate to students the connections that theater has to all aspects of life has quickly built her reputation as an extraordinary teacher. Under her able guidance, students have had the opportunity to bring plays to life not only on campus but throughout the greater New Haven community.
She designed a course titled "Dramaturgy Production Seminar" in cooperation with the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven. The course exposes students to all aspects of theater production at the professional level. "Theater for Young Audiences," a course she also created, takes students into a local middle school to teach theater to young children.
Outside the classroom, Crystal is adviser to The Fourth Wall, a student theater organization, and a member of the Academic Integrity Committee.
Crystal graduated from Baylor University and earned her master of fine arts in theater and doctorate in theater history and criticism from the University of California at Los Angeles. Before coming to Quinnipiac, she formed a professional theater production company, The Lost World, which produces regional and world premieres of American plays. She also taught at Whittier College in California, where she earned tenure, but she and her husband, Chris Van Ness, wanted to move to the East Coast and so came to Connecticut and Quinnipiac. They live in Cheshire with their 5-year-old daughter, Amy Rose.
"I like getting students excited about theater. I try to find plays that help them use their experience in a way that will make the world a better place."
"Dr. Brian has opened my eyes to a new art form and I will carry the wisdom she has given me throughout my life."
-Nikki Levine '04, nominator