College Welcomes New Faculty

composite photo of faculty images
Friday, August 4, 2023
Six new professors join the faculty of the College in the 23-24 academic year.

The College of Arts + Architecture is pleased to welcome these new full-time faculty beginning August 14.

Dr. Rob Conkie, Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare Studies in the Department of Theatre, integrates practical and theoretical approaches to the teaching and research of Shakespeare in performance. He is the author of Writing Performative Shakespeares: New Forms for Performance Criticism (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and The Globe Theatre Project: Shakespeare and Authenticity (Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), and the editor (with Scott Maisano) of Shakespeare and Creative Criticism (Berghahn Books, 2019). He was the 2022 Alice Griffin Fellow of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Auckland. He has directed, sometimes with professionals, but mainly with students, about a third of Shakespeare’s canon for the stage. Among his current projects is a comics-form ekphrasis of live theatrical production.

Dr. Kristi Hardman is Assistant Professor of Music Theory. Her research centers on using computer-assisted methods of analysis to develop a greater understanding of the intersections between changing sound qualities and our experiences of rhythm, meter, and form. Other research interests include text/music relations, issues of transcription, the ethics of analysis, and music theory pedagogy. She is particularly interested in Indigenous and popular music made in North America. Dr. Hardman has presented research in these areas at regional, national, and international conferences, including the Society for Ethnomusicology, Society for Music Theory, Analytical Approaches to World Music, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

Dr. Brian Taylor joins the music department as Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands after earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at Michigan State University. Before beginning his graduate studies, Dr. Taylor taught high school and middle school band in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for four years. His professional memberships include College Band Directors National Association and Texas Music Educators Association, where he has presented research on rehearsal strategies that develop independent and collaborative individual musicians.

Assistant Professor of Illustration Nathaniel Underwood works as an artist, illustrator and educator. He is also the founder and organizer of the Open Figure Painting Sessions at the Ohio Art League. Drawing inspiration from nature, with perception being the absolute foundation of his practice, Underwood's creative pursuit is stimulated by viewing the world in an objective manner. Represented by Sharon Weiss Gallery, his work can be found in numerous private collections, including the Weaver Foundation N.C. and the Ohio University Eastern. Underwood received his BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design and MFA in Painting from UNC Greensboro. See his work at

Additionally, two new visiting professors will join the faculty in the Department of Music.

Dr. Jason Mitchell is a Visiting Lecturer of Liberal Studies in Music at UNC Charlotte. Dr. Mitchell holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Florida State University as well as a Master of Arts degree in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University - Newark and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Studies from Marshall University. His research interests include economic ethnomusicology, social geography, digital media and cultural transmission, music and tourism, and post-colonial and neo-colonial theory. He primarily focuses on the musical cultures of the Caribbean, Appalachia, the American South, and jazz. Dr. Mitchell’s current projects revolve around music and economic agency in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.

Dr. Alan Yamamoto is the Visiting Director of Orchestras. He was the Resident Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony for six seasons and was prior to that time the Resident Conductor of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder for nine seasons. An advocate of living composer works, Dr. Yamamoto created the Modern Music Festival in Boulder to showcase contemporary art and world music, works for film, and dance. With the Charlotte Symphony he presented the Charlotte premieres of such works as John Adams’s Harmonielehre, Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony, Jennifer Higdon’s Blue Cathedral, and Chen Yi’s Duo Ye and Ge Xu: Antiphony. Dr. Yamamoto comes to UNC Charlotte from Central Piedmont Community College, where he was the conductor of the Central Piedmont Opera Theater Orchestra and a full-time faculty member at the college for nine years.

Pictured above top, left to right: Yamamoto, Taylor and Mitchell; bottom left to right: Underwood, Hardman, and Conkie.