Department Chair

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Catherine Lusheck is Chair of the Department of Art + Architecture and Professor of Art History & Museum Studies. She holds a doctorate in History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a specialist in early modern European art and curatorial practice. Her research interests include Renaissance drawings culture, early modern visual rhetoric and the classical tradition, and artistic emulation and self-representation in the art of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640). Over...

  • PhD, History of Art, University of California, Berkeley (December 2000)
  • MA, History of Art, University of California, Berkeley (May 1992)
  • BA, Political Science, magna cum laude, DePauw University...

Program Director


Paula J. Birnbaum is the inaugural Ann Getty Endowed Chair and Academic Director of the Museum Studies Master of Arts Program and Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at USF. She is a specialist in modern and contemporary art and holds a doctorate in Art History from Bryn Mawr College. Professor Birnbaum is a former Fulbright Scholar and fellow at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University.

Birnbaum’s research focuses on modern and contemporary art in...

  • PhD, History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
  • MA, History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
  • BA, History of Art and French Literature, Bowdoin College

Program Coordinator

Javier Plasencia is a seasoned arts administrator and the current Program Manager for the Museum Studies MA Program at the University of San Francisco. Prior to joining the USF community, Javier worked as a Program Manager with the Arts & Design team at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, managing public art installations on the subway and commuter rails. He has worked in Museum Education departments (MoMA), arts nonprofits (Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Creative Time)...

  • New York University, MA in Visual Arts Administration
  • Columbia University, BA in English Literature

Full-Time Faculty

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Nathan S. Dennis is Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at USF. He specializes in late antique and medieval art and theology, particularly of the Mediterranean and Middle East, including the material and visual traditions of Western Christian, Byzantine, Jewish, and Islamic cultures.

Professor Dennis has published a number of articles and book chapters on the art, architecture, archaeology, and theology of early Christianity, especially baptisteries and the ritual of baptism...

  • Johns Hopkins University, PhD in History of Art
  • Johns Hopkins University, MA in History of Art
  • University of Oregon, BA in History of Art (Honors)
  • University of Oregon, BA in English Literature...
  • Ancient and Medieval Art, Architecture, and Theology
  • Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies

Karen M. Fraser earned her PhD from Stanford University, where she studied both traditional Japanese art and the history of photography. Her research focuses on modern Japanese visual culture, with particular interests in Japanese photography from ca. 1860 through the 1930s, cross-cultural interactions and influences between Asia and the West, gender issues, and museum and exhibition history.

Professor Fraser’s teaching experience includes survey and upper-level courses covering both...

  • PhD, Art History, Stanford University
  • MA, Art History, University of South Florida
  • BS, Communications and Art History, University of Miami

Stuart McKee is a full professor of Design at the University of San Francisco. As an environmental graphic designer, Stuart designed exhibition typography for the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland (as Senior Graphic Designer for the Burdick Group); and the United States Pavilion at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville, Spain (as Senior Graphic Designer for Staples & Charles Ltd). As a print designer, Stuart has designed books for the MIT...

  • MFA in Design, Yale University
  • BFA, Washington University in Saint Louis

Part-Time Faculty

Salvador Acevedo is Managing Partner at Scansion, a people-centered design strategy firm. He has over 25 years of experience helping all types of organizations, from corporations and start-ups to cultural institutions, to link their design and innovation strategies with various cultures within the US. Being bilingual and bicultural gives him the ability to recognize the cultural markers that signal inclusion, and he’s committed to opening opportunities for all. For the last 20 years, he’s been...

  • Universidad Iberoamericana, MA in Communications, Suma Cum Laude
  • Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, License in Psychology
  • Audience Research
  • Audience Engagement Strategy
  • Community Partnerships and Co-Creation
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategy
  • Visitor Experience Strategy

Paloma Añoveros is an Arts Management consultant specializing in strategic planning and management in Museum Collections and Exhibitions at the national and international levels, in both non-profit and for-profit environments. She has been associated with USF's Art + Architecture Department as guest lecturer since 2009 and as an adjunct professor since 2012. Paloma led the Collections Specialty in the Museum Studies program at JFK University from 2002–09. She is also a specialist in the...

  • Advanced Study in Conservation, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard University
  • MA, Museum Studies, JFK University
  • Art Conservation Superior Degree, Escuela Superior de...
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Isabella Lores-Chavez is the instructor for Cultural Heritage and Social Justice in the Spring of 2024. She is also currently Associate Curator of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where she is responsible for the Netherlandish paintings in the collection. She completed her Ph.D. in Art History at Columbia University in 2022, with a dissertation about plaster casts in seventeenth-century Dutch paintings. Isabella was the 2020-2022 Samuel H. Kress Predoctoral Fellow at...

  • Columbia University, PhD in Art History, 2022
  • Columbia University, MPhil in Art History, 2017
  • Columbia University, MA in Art History, 2016
  • Yale University, BA in Art History, 2012
  • 17th-century Dutch painting
  • Early Netherlandish painting
  • Early Modern history

Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen (they/she) is a curator, consultant, facilitator, and project-based artist, born and based in San Francisco. With a decades-long background in the performing and visual arts, Rhiannon is deeply influenced by their own—and their communities’—intersectional identities. Driven by the pursuit of “productive discomfort,” and anchored in practices in equity, experimentation, and consistent incremental improvements, their curatorial focus is on projects that push boundaries of...

Eyal Shahar is a music and art technologist. He develops exhibits and serves as the chief new media exhibits engineer at the Exploratorium. At USF, he teaches the Museums/Technology Practicum. Eyal has a BSc in electrical engineering from Tel Aviv University and an SM in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab.

He started his career as a professional musician, working with some of Israel's most prominent artists for over a decade. His software and hardware engineering experience...

  • MIT Media Lab, SM in Media Arts and Sciences, 2012
  • Tel Aviv University, BSc in Electrical Engineering, 2003
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Karren Shorofsky is currently leading the law school's Office of Career Services as its Director.  Karren joined the adjunct faculty of the graduate program in museum studies in 2013, and the adjunct faculty of the law school in 2017.  She has taught Art Law, Copyright, and Museums and the Law, as well as the graduate internship course in museum studies, and has supported many students in their career searches.  

Karren has spent most of her own law career focused on legal issues related to...

  • Yale Law School, JD
  • San Francisco State University, MA in Art History
  • Brown University, BA in Art History

Steven H. Tulsky, Principal of the Benemetrics Consulting Group, is an advisor to nonprofit organizations in the areas of financial management, planning, analysis, strategy, and operations. His career has encompassed over 40 years of experience as a financial professional. Prior to focusing on the nonprofit sector and teaching, he held positions as Chief Financial Officer, Director of Finance, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer of large, medium, and small public and private firms.

For over...

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MBA
  • Duke University, BA