Faculty and Staff

We are currently in the process of hiring Academy staff.  This list will grow over the next few months as we confirm special guest faculty and lecturers.  To date, confirmed staff include:

Professional Staff

Dr. Kevin Minch –  Dr. Minch is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Curricula and Outreach and Director of the Institute for Academic Outreach, the office which overseas summer programs on Truman’s campus.  A zombie enthusiast, he first worked with other Truman faculty to develop ZSA.  In addition to his administrative responsibilities he is a Professor of Communication with interests in rhetoric, argumentation, and political communication and previously served as the University’s Director of Forensics.  Dr. Minch will serve as the administrative head of the Academy.


Jared Young, Dean & Director.   The Dean of the Academy is Jared Young. The Dean sets the curriculum, selects the faculty, and oversees the staff. Mr. Young, an alumni of Truman State University, served as a JBA preceptor and videographer during his undergraduate career. Prior to working at the University, he worked as a Title I and 6th grade teacher in rural Northeast Missouri. He now teaches in the Communication Department at Truman, Manages the Del and Norma Robison Planetarium, and works with all other summer programs for secondary school school students. He has immersed himself in all things zombie in preparation for the Academy.  As director, his primary responsibility will be to tend to the needs of students throughout the Academy, respond to parent concerns, and address any emergency or disciplinary matters that might arise.  He will also supervise the professional staff and preceptors that work to support the program.  ZSA 2017 will be his fifth year associated with the program.

Truman Faculty Instructors

Dr. Derek Daschke.  Dr. Daschke is Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Truman.  Dr. Daschke joined the Truman faculty in 2000. He received a master’s and a doctorate degree in divinity from The University of Chicago Divinity School, specializing in the area of psychology and sociology of religion. He also holds bachelors’ degrees in psychology and religious studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His academic interests include apocalypticism, the psychology of religion, new religious movements, religion and health, and ancient and modern Judaism. The focus of his instruction at ZSA will be on core topics such as societal breakdown during disasters, themes in apocalyptic literature, and the psychology and ethics of people living in disaster situations.

Dr. Jennifer Hurst.  Dr. Hurst has been a member of the Health and Exercise Science faculty at Truman State University since 2005.  She is currently an assistant professor in the Exercise Science area and also serves as the Clinical Coordinator of the Athletic Training Education Program.  Her interests in physical activity and health intersect with a great enthusiasm for the outdoors.  Dr. Hurst has been trained in wilderness first response and routinely leads programs of students and adults on outdoor adventure trips in national parks.  She currently leads one of the Truman Institute’s signature programs, TruAdventure.  Her primary role with ZSA will be to lead students in identifying ways to find and create shelter with limited resources.

Dr. Paul Yoder.   Dr. Yoder has recently served as Chair of the Department of Education at Truman and is an Associate Professor of English.  He is  currently working on a book length study of school violence and the psychology of school shootings. Appropriate to ZSA’s themes he also edits a journal “Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil” which provides an academic forum to discuss monsters, both real and imagined.  Dr. Yoder began teaching at Truman in Fall 2006, focusing on courses in methods of English instruction and Romantic/Victorian literature.  At ZSA Dr. Yoder will be bringing his wealth of experience with literature, psychology, and monster themes to bear on our literature track.

SONY DSCDoug Reinsch and the Truman State University ROTC.  ZSA is blessed to have the resources of the widely-acclaimed Truman Military Science Department at its disposal.  Multiple Military Science faculty members and cadets are expected to join the ZSA staff in conducting exercises aimed at promoting critical thinking, leadership, and group problem solving.  Doug Reinsch is the Scholarship and Enrollment Officer for the Military Science Department. He graduated from Lincoln University in 1990 and was commissioned an Engineer Lieutenant and upon graduation from Officer Basic Course at Ft. Leonard Wood in 1991. He has attended Ranger and Airborne courses. His first duty station was as a Platoon Leader in Korea. Since then, he has been assigned as Executive Officer and Operations Officer at Ft. Leonard Wood and has served as part of the US Army Reserve. Mr. Reinsch has also completed the Sapper Leaders course.  He has recently returned from deployment to Iraq as Construction Development Center Chief, J-7, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq. At Truman, Mr.Reinsch is the battalion training officer.

Guest Experts
Rob Garver

Rob Garver.  Rob Garver is an Outdoor Skills Specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Northeast Region.  He is well-respected in surrounding communities for his educational programs aimed at promoting responsible use of bows and firearms among young hunters.  While ZSA does not promote the “hunting” of zombies in the literal sense, Mr. Garver will lend his expertise in teaching young people how to respect the tools they and their families might employ in recreational hunting.

Dr. Steven Schlozman, MD.  Dr. Schlozman is currently the Associate Director of Training for the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry, and Co-Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry for Harvard Medical School.  He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry.  He is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard and Lecturer in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His academic work focuses on curriculum reform and educational endeavors at the medical student and post-graduate levels, as well as on the psychiatric treatment of medically ill children.  His first novel, the Zombie Autopsies, was published in March 2011 and he is currently collaborating with George Romero on a film adaptation of the novel.  Previously he gained recognition among scholars of the zombie phenomenon for his journal article that theorized the existence of Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome.  Dr. Schlozman will be contributing to both tracks of our curriculum, discussing issues in the neurobiology of zombies, but also addressing his experiences in writing zombie fiction.  Check out Dr. Schlozman’s recent contribution to the Discovery Channel’s show “Zombie Apocalypse.”


Nick McCracken.  Nick McCracken is a Product Innovation Research Manager, at Ford Motor Company and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Marketing at Michigan’s Walsh College.  Professor McCracken conducts research to gain insight into customer wants and needs for future Ford and Lincoln products in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and other markets.  Before joining Ford, he was a senior vice president for consumer insights and strategy at Young & Rubicam Advertising. Professor McCracken’s experience also includes launching the Visteon corporate brand identity across seven countries and directing the communication launch strategy for the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit.  Part of what fuels his creativity in marketing is his enthusiasm for media of all kinds.  An enthusiast for fiction in film, comic, television, and books, Professor McCracken will be lending his expertise in support of our Literature and Media track.

Tyler Unsell.  Mr. Unsell teachers language arts courses at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Missouri.  In addition to his regular teaching responsibilities he leads the highly successful speech and debate team at Park Hill and is active in the National Forensic League.  Since childhood, Unsell has had a passion for horror films – particularly ones in the zombie genre.  With his extensive background in the oral interpretation of literature, theater, and English, he brings a wealth of experience to his role coordinating the efforts of students in the Literature and Media track.