Meet the Program Directors
Children’s Literature and Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating
Lisa Rowe Fraustino, director of the graduate programs in children’s literature; Ph.D., Binghamton University.
Her newest book, the middle-grade novel The Hole in the Wall, won the 2010 Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature. She is past president of the Children’s Literature Association, and is also the author of I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials; The Hickory Chair; and Ash. As Lisa Meunier, she is the author of the forthcoming poetry chapbook, Hitching to Istanbul.
Elizabeth Poliner, director of the Jackson Center for Creative Writing; associate professor of English; M.F.A., American University; J.D., University of Virginia; A.B., Bowdoin College
Her novel, As Close to Us as Breathing, captured the 2017 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. In May 2017, the book was named a finalist for the 2017 Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award. Last November, As Close to Us as Breathing was selected as one of Amazon’s Top 100 Editors’ Picks for 2016 and was an Amazon Spotlight Pick in Fiction for March of that year.
She is also the author of Mutual Life & Casualty, a novel in stories, and What You Know in Your Hands, a poetry collection. Her stories and poems have been published in literary journals nationwide, and her awards include numerous individual artist grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, fiction fellowships to the Wesleyan and Sewanee writer’s conferences, and artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Jeffery N. Bullock, director of the M.F.A. program in dance; associate professor of dance; chair of the dance department; dancer and choreographer; B.A., University of North Carolina of the Arts; M.F.A., University of Iowa
Professor Bullock performed with the North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Sharir + Bustamante DanceWorks, touring nationally and internationally. Bullock’s repertoire included soloist and principal roles in an eclectic array of works by George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Daniel Esralow, Nacho Duato, Lucinda Childs, Salvatore Aiello, Yacov Sharir, Glen Tetley, and others. He was also a featured performer in the 1986 Paramount Motion Picture The Nutcracker with PNB, and was a featured performer in the 1983 PBS special Where Dreams Debut: The North Carolina School of the Arts. Bullock’s work “At Midnight” earned him a Dance Magazine‘s Best Choreography nomination at the 1996 American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.)
Lorraine Lange is the director of the M.A.L.S., M.A.T., and M.A. in Teaching and Learning graduate programs; Ed.D., Virginia Tech; M.A.L.S., Hollins College; B.A., Roanoke College
Lange is the former superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools. Lange was named the Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2011 and was selected as one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year in 2012. In 2018 Governor Northam re-appointed Lange to a second four-year term to the Board of Trustees of the Roanoke Higher Education Center.
Todd Ristau, director of the graduate program in playwriting; M.F.A., Iowa Playwright’s Workshop
Professor Ristau’s work has been performed in theatres across the U.S. and England, including London’s West End. He founded No Shame Theatre in 1986 and oversaw its evolution into a national network of venues for new works in dozens of cities. He has an extensive theatre background, with expertise in acting, directing, and design. He worked with Mill Mountain Theatre for six years as coordinator of their second stage and as literary associate overseeing new works programming. Ristau served as the first artistic director of Studio Roanoke, a storefront theatre space dedicated to new works development in downtown Roanoke. Ristau is an active member of the Dramatists Guild, and member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America.
He has served as chair of playwriting for the South Eastern Theatre Conference, Getchell New Play Award Committee, and KCACTF Region IV’s Chair of the National Playwriting Program.
Screenwriting and Film Studies
Amy Gerber-Stroh, codirector of the graduate program in screenwriting and film studies; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, School of Film/Video
Gerber-Stroh’s films have won honors at numerous film festivals and professional venues, including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Film Forum, Los Angeles, and Women in the Director’s Chair, Chicago. She also directed films for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1993 to 1996. She has had significant professional film experience in Hollywood and New York, working on several movie features by Roger Corman as well as casting 12 major motion pictures including The Mask of Zorro (Goldeneye, MGM), Afterglow (Sony Pictures Classics), Tank Girl (United Artists) and Angels in the Outfield (Disney). Gerber-Stroh’s latest film, Do Cell Towers Dream of Morse Code? (2019), was honored with the Silver Award for Experimental Works at the 2020 University Film and Video Conference (home of the Journal of Film and Video), and also earned awards and acclaim at film festivals such as the Seattle True Independent Film Festival and Chicago’s International Art House Film Festival. Gerber-Stroh is currently producing a feature-length documentary about her great, great, grandparents who escaped slavery during the Civil War.
Screenwriting and Film Studies
Brian David Price, codirector of the graduate program in screenwriting and film studies; M.F.A., UCLA
Brian Price is an award-winning screenwriter and director who has worked with major studios, independent producers, and television networks from around the world, including Universal, Warner Bros., Endgame, Blaspheme Pictures, Scanbox Entertainment, Hudson River, and Mother Films. He’s taught screenwriting at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television, RIT, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Brooks Institute, where he developed their M.F.A. screenwriting program. His students have gone on to direct for folks like Steven Spielberg and to be nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes, and most impressively, he still gets residuals for playing the vice president of the Burt Reynolds fan club in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. His book, Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting, published by Focal Press, is required reading in screenwriting programs around the world.
Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)
Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning
Lorraine Lange is the director of the M.A.L.S. and M.A.T. graduate programs; Ed.D., Virginia Tech; M.A.L.S., Hollins College; B.A., Roanoke College
Lange is the former superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools. Lange was named the Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2011 and was selected as one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year in 2012. In 2015 Governor McAuliffe appointed Lange to the State Board of Education for a four-year term.