Honors Faculty

The faculty of the Honors Scholar Program bring extraordinary dedication, scholarship, and interest in helping students achieve their academic goals.  These professors enjoy teaching, value learning, cultivate creativity, invite collaboration, and more importantly, share a conviction to helping their students become talented scholars.

Faculty who teach Honors courses are recommended by their department chairs and the Honors Coordinator to the Dean of Letters & Communication Studies, who is the administrator responsible for teaching assignments in the Honors Scholar Program.

Honors Counselors

MiraCosta College has three designated counselors in the Transfer Center to assist HSP students with developing an Education Plan to guide them through their community college experience: Lise Flocken, Jed Schlueter, and Kristi Wish.  They help students identify all the necessary coursework to facilitate transfer to universities or colleges with specific majors in mind.  It is highly recommended that HSP students meet with an Honors counselor once per semester.

Faculty Profiles

Professor Tony Burman, aburman@miracosta.edu 
ENGLISH 202H, Critical Thinking and Composition
My name is Tony Burman. I received my Master's in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from San Diego State University in 2003 and have been a MiraCostan since 2008. I thoroughly enjoy the Honors classroom and the surrounding Honors environment, where ideas are pushed a little further, student motivation is a little higher, and the overall student engagement with both the classroom materials and with each other is a bit more profound. Also, I enjoy the small class size that HSP offers. Such a small class size allows me to build stronger relationships with students and allows the students to build a stronger classroom community. When I am not preparing for class, emailing students, or reading student work, I love to hang out with my wife, child, 3 cats, 1 fish, and multiple skate and surfboards.

Professor Brad Byrom, bbyrom@miracosta.edu 
HISTORY 111H, United States History Since 1877
Like most of you, I started my college career at the community college level—first in east Texas, and later at Long Beach City College. I received a BA in Journalism and an MA in History from Long Beach State, then a PhD in history from the University of Iowa. I spent a couple years in the business world, but found teaching to be much more fun and rewarding. Some days my job is teaching history, while on other days my job is reading a book about history. Can’t beat that! My doctoral research focused on early twentieth century medical history and it resulted in a number of publications that few people have ever read. More importantly, I wrote a history brief for lawyers arguing a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. Not sure if the justices read it, but it’s nice to think they might have! My biggest hobby is riding my Harley to interesting historical sites. I’ve been to places close to home (California missions) and places half way across the country (Mt. Rushmore). Fun stuff. It surprises many students to learn that history is ever changing, and so too are my classes. Hope to see you in one soon!

Professor Leah Cluff, lcluff@miracosta.edu 
ART 260H, History of Modern Art
I received my M.A. degree in Art History from the University of New Mexico and I am currently finishing my Ph.D. in Art History at the University of California San Diego.  My specialty is in the study of contemporary Native American art.  I am looking forward to teaching in the Honors program and being able to explore more complex topics and readings. 

Professor Jonathan Cole, jcole@miracosta.edu 
PHSN 108H, Introduction to Physical Science: Climate Science & Climate Change
I got my B.A. in Physics and Math at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an M.S. in physics at UC San Diego. Although my main job at the college is teaching physics, I’ve been interested in climate change for about twenty years now. Following my interest led me to take graduate courses in climate science, oceanography and environmental policy at UCSD and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I also spent two summers on projects at Scripps, helping researchers model the impact of aerosols on light from the Sun. Outside of work, I really enjoy reading and travel.

Professor Lesley Doig, ldoig@miracosta.edu 
HIST 110H, United States History to 1877
I earned my B.A. in History and Biology at UC Santa Cruz and received my M.A. in Early Modern European History from UC Riverside.  I then headed back east to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, for Ph.D. studies in American History.  Currently I’m in the writing stage of my dissertation, which looks at the (fairly dysfunctional) intergenerational relationships of New England merchant families after the Revolution.   My specialty is Early American History, with a particular emphasis on women’s, gender and family history.  I look forward to exploring America’s past with the inquisitive and dedicated students who are part of the MCC Honors Scholar community.  In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling and watching movies.

Professor Pat Connolly, pconnolly@miracosta.edu 
ADM 100H, Introduction to the Administration of Justice
I am an attorney (J.D. received from the University of Maryland School of Law), former state prosecutor, U.S. Army veteran, retired FBI Special Agent (SA), and now a full time tenured professor at MiraCosta College, responsible for the Administration of Justice program while teaching courses including Introduction to the Administration of Justice, Criminal Law, Criminal Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Investigation, Social Justice Studies, and Terrorism and Homeland Security. My FBI experience involved all the FBI investigative programs including Violent Crime, Organized Crime/Drugs, White Collar Crime, Civil Rights, and International/Domestic Terrorism. I was certified as an FBI Hostage Negotiator/Crisis Intervention Specialist, Police Instructor, Undercover Agent, and Crisis Management Coordinator. As an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, I formed the FBI’s first Human Trafficking/Alien Smuggling Task Force; oversaw the FBI’s North County Resident Agency; coordinated the FBI San Diego’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and temporarily oversaw the FBI Detainee Operation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Several years ago I began teaching the Honors section of Introduction to the Administration of Justice. It is an experience I very much enjoy because of the opportunity it affords students in the Honors course to demonstrate a higher degree of scholastic rigor exploring criminal justice related issues.

Professor Lisa Fast, lfast@miracosta.edu 
PSYC 101H, General Psychology
I have a Ph.D. in Social-Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. I am currently a full-time instructor at MiraCosta College, which is where my journey began. I teach Physiological Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Introductory Psychology. My research primarily examines the expression of personality through language. I study the relationship between the words that people use and their personalities as rated by themselves, their acquaintances, and direct observations of behavior. I look forward to meeting the Honors students and facilitating their educational journeys. Personal Website:http://rap.ucr.edu/Lisa/

Professor Billy Gunn, wgunn@miracosta.edu 
FILM 101H, Introduction to Film
I think I have the best job in the world! I get to watch movies and discuss them with students every day.  I am so excited that I have the opportunity to share my passion for film with Honors students here at MiraCosta. I have a broad, interdisciplinary background, with a B.A. in Russian and an M.A. in Theatre and Media Arts. I finally found a way to pursue my love for Russian theatre and film at the University of Southern California, where I earned a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures. While working on my dissertation, I was able to spend time doing research at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art and the Moscow Art Theatre Archive, as well as the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. Much of that research was included in a chapter I recently wrote for the Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky (2013), but the best part is that I get to share this work in FILM 101 when we talk about Sergei Eisenstein's theory of montage and Konstantin Stanislavsky's approaches to acting. I have taught courses in theatre, film, Russian language, and composition at both the community college and university. My diverse academic interests certainly have an influence on my interactive approach in the classroom, which is perfectly suited to the Honors environment.

Professor Thao Ha, tha@miracosta.edu 
SOC 101H, Introduction to Sociology
Hello, my name is Thao Ha, and I was born in Vietnam. I immigrated to the U.S. when I was two and grew up in Texas where I attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em, Horns!), completing my MA in Sociology, and currently writing the dissertation to complete my Ph.D. I taught at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs before coming here to MiraCosta in 2007. My #1 hobby is volleyball! I play at least 3 times a week on the sand. I also love learning about tech gadgets, interior decorating, and gemstones. I enjoy teaching in the Honors program because I like challenging my students and challenging myself as well. The MiraCosta HSP program rocks!

Professor Christina Hata, chata@miracosta.edu 
BUS 140H, Legal Environment of Business
I earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cal State, San Marcos, and a master’s degree in Leadership and Management with an emphasis in organizational development from the University of LaVerne. My business career spanned nearly 20 years working in analytical and behavioral management roles.   In the classroom I believe in developing both intellectual and behavioral skills to insure you obtain tools that will enable you to be successful in academic and professional pursuits.  When I’m not teaching, you’ll likely find me traveling on another continent, on my wakeboard, or at home with my husband and cats.

Professor Lisa Lane, llane@miracosta.edu 
HIST 105H, History of England
Hi, my name is Lisa M Lane, and I teach History. I think that History is much more than names and dates - it's the context for the human experience. Knowing about the past gives us a framework for understanding the present. My own training in History began at Cal State Bakersfield, and I got my graduate degree at UCSB. Economic and technological history was my main focus, but I also loved all aspects of the humanities: art, literature and architecture. Although many students are taught only historians' interpretations of the past, in my classes (and especially my Honors classes) students have an opportunity to pursue their own interests through primary sources, the documents and visual expressions of the past. See my home page at http://www.miracosta.edu/home/llane.

Professor Keith Meldahl, kmeldahl@miracosta.edu 
OCEA 101H, Introduction to Oceanography 
Every professor values bright and motivated students, and the Honors program gives me plenty. All of my Honors students learn earth science in hands-on, active ways through research projects and presentations, and I often learn as much from my students’ research as they do.  I earned my PhD in Geosciences from the University of Arizona in 1990, and have enjoyed teaching and doing research in the earth sciences ever since.  I have written two books on the geology of the western U.S. (titled "Hard Road West" and "Rough-Hewn Land") and am presently at work on a third book, this one about geology and oceanography along the Southern California coast.  For fun, I play electric guitar in a blues/rock band, and enjoy camping and hiking throughout California and the western U.S.
Personal website: http://www.miracosta.edu/home/kmeldahl/

Professor Lynne Miller, lmiller@miracosta.edu 
ANTH 101H, Biological Anthropology
ANTH 102H, Cultural Anthropology
I did my undergraduate work at Pitzer College (one of the Claremont Colleges) with a double major in anthropology and human biology; I completed my Ph.D. at UC Davis in anthropology, specializing in primate behavior and ecology.  For over 20 years, I have done research with a population of capuchin monkeys in Venezuela, studying their responses to environmental challenges such as predation and food shortage.  I have taught at MiraCosta College since 2000, and I love being in the classroom with students.  The Honors Scholar Program is especially exciting because it offers opportunities to do advanced research projects and to make presentations at statewide conferences, which are marvelous experiences to gain at the undergraduate level. 

Professor Christopher Sleeper, csleeper@miracosta.edu 
HIST 100H, World History to 1500
HIST 101H, World History Since 1500
HIST 103H, Western Civilization to 1648 
HIST 104H, Western Civilization Since 1648
HIST 110H, United States History to 1877 
HIST 111H, United States History Since 1877
I majored in history at UC Santa Barbara and currently I am a doctoral student at UC Riverside completing my dissertation on 18th century Boston maritime labor.  I serve as the coordinator of the Honors Scholar Program, and I teach World, Western Civilization, Atlantic World and American History courses.   I taught at Mt. San Jacinto College as a history instructor and Honors coordinator for five years before I came to MiraCosta in 2009.   I love history and how our understanding of the past is always constantly changing.  I have taught Honors history courses for the past ten years and enjoy the unique perspectives and strong personal dedication that Honors students bring to the classroom.   When not teaching or coordinating the Honors program, I enjoy my time with my wife and three children, watching films and sports, listening to music and reading.

Professor John Turbeville, jturbeville@miracosta.edu 
GEOL 101H, Physical Geology
I have received degrees in Geological Sciences from San Diego State University, and the University of New Orleans.  My graduate work was mainly focused on the computer modeling of groundwater contaminants.  I have been a Professor of Geology and Oceanography at MiraCosta College for the past 15 years, and taught Honors courses for 12 years.  Before coming to the college I worked for 14 years as a Petroleum Geologist/Geophysicist in the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf Coast regions, and overseas in Africa, Indonesia, and Europe; 3 years as a Hydrogeologist in San Diego County; and as a Registered (Professional) Geologist in the State of California.

Honors Advisory Committee


As an advisory committee to the Office of the Instruction, the mission of the MiraCosta Honors Advisory Committee (HAC) is to provide advice and counsel to the Office of Instruction regarding Honors education.  The Honors Advisory Committee's job is to recommend improvements that allow the program to fulfill its mission:

The mission of the MiraCosta Honors Scholar Program (HSP) is to enhance the learning environment for MiraCosta students by stimulating the learning process, integrating in-class and out-of-class experiences, and promoting an environment conducive to development and discovery.

Our goals include facilitating the intellectual, social, occupational, and cultural development of our students. We offer classes, cultural events, community service activities and a variety of events aimed at increasing students’ awareness of the world and the opportunities it offers.  We encourage Honors students to be actively involved in their own education and demonstrate a high level of interest, initiative, and ability.

Ultimately, we work to enhance the overall quality of campus life, establish a sense of community in which all students can realize their fullest potential in their quest for academic, professional, and personal excellence.


The Honors Advisory Committee fulfills its mission through functions including:


The Honors Advisory Committee (HAC) comprises 11-14 faculty serving two-year terms and up to three students serving one-semester terms.  Terms are renewable.  Terms should be staggered so that no more than 60% of the committee turns over in a given year.  The chair of the Honors Advisory Committee is the Honors Faculty Coordinator.

The HAC’s membership includes:


For 2016-2017, the Honors Advisory Committee meets approximately two but sometimes three meetings per semester.  The committee usually has a meeting at the beginning of every semester in August and January and mid-semester meetings in October and March for approximately two hours per meeting.  If it is necessary, additional meetings are scheduled in November and April.  Meetings are usually held in OC 1054.  Faculty often provide additional service to the Honors Scholar Program through participation in flex week workshops, Honors Scholar Program events and student conference mentoring.  Agendas for upcoming meetings are published at least 72 hours in advance.

Contact Information

Christopher Sleeper is the Honors Faculty Coordinator and can be reached at csleeper@miracosta.edu or 760-757-2121 x6514.