Four Lawrence professors granted tenure

Karen Leigh-Post
Bonnie Alger

Karen Leigh-Post (Lou E Perella)

The president’s office announced last week that assistant professors Matt Ansfield, in psychology, Mark Frazier in government, and Bonnie Koestner and Karen Leigh-Post in music have all been granted tenure, along with the rank of associate professor, beginning with the 2006-07 academic year.
Ansfield, originally from Madison, came to Lawrence after teaching at Southern Methodist University in Texas. He notes that Appleton is close to his family, friends, the Packers, and is “a short 26 miles from Lambeau Field.” “I’m a Wisconsin boy,” he says with a smile. Before entering the field of psychology, Ansfield studied engineering but did not enjoy it. He returned to psychology, concluding that he had “always been a psychologist at heart, so why not make it my life?”
Ansfeld’s research focuses on the health and emotional benefits of laughter, a sector of the larger, growing field of positive
psychology. Above all else, he considers
himself a teacher. “I’ve always taught,” he says, “[and I’m] looking forward to continuing doing what I do for the right reasons, to serve my students.” On receiving
tenure, he says, “I feel relieved and renewed, energized. I love it here.”
Having grown up in Memphis, Tenn., Mark Frazier has lived on both coasts of the United States, as well as various cities in East Asia, since 1985. His interest in politics and social change during his first trip to China in 1986 inspired his current work. “I just had no idea how important China would become,” he says. Frazier is currently writing a book about the politics of pensions in China, and will be returning there this summer to discuss U.S.-China relations.
At Lawrence, Frazier will continue to offer courses in comparative politics, global economic relations and East Asian politics. In response to receiving tenure, he says, “It’s a tremendous honor to have my work recognized in this way by my peers.”
Vocal coach and pianist Bonnie Koestner is a Lawrence alumna hailing from the Chicago area. Upon finishing her undergraduate study, Koestner taught music at the middle school level for four years before pursuing a master’s degree at UW-Madison. She then went on to serve as opera pianist and coach at a number of different venues, including the Florida Grand Opera. The position at Lawrence was an opportunity for Koestner to share her skills and experience with the current generation of Lawrentians as well as a chance to do more teaching, something she has always enjoyed.
Koestner will be returning both to Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., and to the Palm Beach Opera this year. She says she is “very pleased and honored to be a permanent part of the Lawrence community;
[I] look forward to the continued joys and challenges of teaching in the Conservatory. Lawrence has exceptionally fine and interesting students, and they are the reason I want to be here.”
Minneapolis native and mezzo-soprano Karen Leigh-Post is also a Lawrence alumna, having completed majors in vocal performance and choral music education in four years. Leigh-Post made her operatic debut with the Minnesota Opera, and went on to sing “Carmen” in Germany, as well as other performances throughout Europe and New York. While working on her doctorate, she studied with Shirley Emmons, another Lawrence alumna, who recommended her for the teaching position
at Lawrence.
“I’ve always sung,” says Leigh-Post, who started singing at the age of 4 in church. “My choir teacher in high school was very supportive and encouraging,” she added, and noted that this teacher encouraged her to pursue music further. Had she not become a singer and teacher, Leigh-Post possibly would have entered mechanical engineering – she says she enjoys rebuilding parts of her house. On receiving tenure, she says, “You belong and feel vested in the university, and in turn are invested in the university. It’s a sense of belonging; this is where I’m supposed to be.”
The road to receiving tenure is an arduous one, and therefore it is quite an honor to receive it. President Jill Beck states, “I think these professors represent outstanding achievements in teaching, mentoring and coaching, research, creative work and collegial service to the Lawrence community that enable our college and conservatory to thrive.

Bonnie Koestner (Lou E Perella)

Mark Frazier (Lou E Perella)

Matt Ansfield (Lou E Perella)