Tag: Tenure

“Transformative impact:” Six Lawrence faculty members earn tenure promotions

From top left: Deanna Donohoue, José L. Encarnación, Dylan Fitz, Jonathan Lhost, Lavanya Murali, and Melissa Range.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Six members of the Lawrence University faculty, spread across numerous academic departments, have been granted 2020 tenure appointments.

President Mark Burstein and the college’s Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the faculty Committee on Tenure, Promotion, Reappointment, and Equal Employment Opportunity, granted tenure to Deanna Donohoue (chemistry), José L. Encarnación (music), Dylan Fitz (economics), Jonathan Lhost (economics), Lavanya Murali (anthropology), and Melissa Range (English). All six have been tenured and promoted to associate professor.

“Since their arrivals at Lawrence, Deanna, Jose, Dylan, Jonathan, Lavanya, and Melissa have made fabulous contributions to the University — inspiring our students, bringing fresh vision to our mission, and having transformative impact in our programs in Chemistry, Jazz, Economics, Anthropology, and English/Creative Writing,” Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Gunther Kodat said. “I’m absolutely delighted that their contributions are being recognized through the awarding of tenure and promotion, and look forward to continuing together our rich, rewarding work for years to come.”

To get to know them better, we asked each of the six to answer three questions.

Deanna Donohoue, chemistry

Donohoue

She has been at Lawrence since 2013, much of her time spent teaching via ARTEMIS (Atmospheric Research Trailer for Environmental Monitoring and Interactive Science), a mobile laboratory for atmospheric measurements. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a Ph.D. in marine and atmospheric chemistry from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in chemistry?

I have been lucky to have amazing mentors in my life. I think my interest in chemistry was first sparked in high school. I had a high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Thomas, who took us to the Colorado School of Mines to mine for gold and silver. We got to help prepare the rock for blasting and then collect samples. We then brought those samples back to school and performed purity assays. It was at this moment that I discovered how chemistry was the perfect balance between practicality and creativity, and I could see myself pursuing a career.

How are you approaching the new challenges of distance learning?

I would hope that every student is taking the new challenge of learning in different ways as a chance to grow. I know that in my classes, I can see students gaining skills and experiences they would never gain on campus. We are asking you all to work on your own, and often work through ideas without professors and classmates, helping you see what is essential along the way. This independent work means students are finding where they have misunderstanding or misconceptions faster and more often.

 What do you hope your students would say about your teaching style?

I hope that my classroom would be known as a place you are pushed to meet your full potential while you are supported – sometimes by tough love – through the hard days. I think I am known for asking tough questions, having high expectations, and pushing students outside their comfort zone. I am the professor who gives extra credit for failure and someone who will help you with whatever you need. I do not expect or even want perfection. Instead, I expect and want each individual to push themselves into uncomfortable spaces so that they grow as a scholar and as a person.

José L. Encarnación, music

Encarnacion

Lawrence’s director of Jazz Studies studied saxophone, flute and clarinet at the Free School of Music in San Juan, Puerto Rico, completed his bachelor of music degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and received his master’s in music from the Eastman School of Music, where he later taught as a professor of jazz saxophone.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in music?

My initial inspiration was my family and culture, since music in a Puerto Rican family has a strong presence. I grew up listening to music, in recordings as well as seeing family members, including my father, playing a combination of Latin percussion instruments at family gatherings, church and community. As I got older, I started to explore other music besides my folkloric roots. It was at this time I heard jazz, specifically saxophonist Dexter Gordon. From that moment I knew I wanted to do nothing else but be a professional musician. 

How are you approaching the new challenges of distance learning?

This is a challenging time for all humanity, and as an educator I commend students for living out these uncertain times with grace and maturity. My approach to the new challenges of distance learning is with love, compassion, and flexibility. I’m assessing every student’s needs, then adapting to what is possible, understanding that there will be limitations under the circumstances. The most important thing is that they are mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy and in a safe environment.

What do you hope your students would say about your teaching style?

I hope my students would say that my teaching style is individualized. I want to really know my students so that I may inspire them to grow as musicians as well as individuals. Truly knowing them will give me the sense of how to best prepare them for success and how to go about being their best selves. My goal for my students is for them to leave Lawrence with the skills, tools, and confidence to succeed when times are great, but also for times such as now.

Dylan Fitz, economics

Fitz

A member of the economics faculty since 2017, he has done research and taught in the areas of development economics, social policy, and effective altruism, and has studied economies in Latin America and Brazil.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in economics?

As an undergraduate politics major, I was interested in how different countries design social policies to fight poverty. As I learned more, I realized that I was mainly interested in economic research and I was drawn to empirical evaluations of the effectiveness of programs. I’ve continued pursuing this interest, using empirical methods to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs on different social groups. Most people agree that we should reduce poverty, but deep disagreements arise over how to best accomplish this. I like the economic research that helps us design more effective and broadly-supported policies.

How are you approaching the new challenges of distance learning?

Fortunately for me, I’m teaching our intermediate macroeconomics course, which has a wealth of online resources that I am taking advantage of. Aside from adjusting how I teach with distance-learning, I’m developing a lot of new materials to help my students understand the effects of coronavirus through the use of macroeconomic models and current health and economic data. For example, we will develop a model of infectious disease growth and use it to learn about flattening the curve and herd immunity while tracking current health statistics. We will discuss how this crisis might impact long-run growth and explore how economies recover from crises.

What do you hope your students would say about your teaching style?

I hope that students find my classes to be challenging, fair, and fun. I try to push students to learn a lot while maintaining clear standards and offering plenty of support. Economics provides an interesting framework that allows us to better understand and improve the world, and it’s easy to motivate the content with relevant contemporary and historical examples.

Jonathan Lhost, economics

Lhost

He joined the Lawrence faculty in 2014 and has pursued interests in industrial organization, game theory, and microeconomics, among others. He has a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Texas.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in economics?

A Law & Economics course I took at Amherst College first sparked my interest in pursuing a career in economics. I enjoyed the application of economic theory to legal issues. The course’s professor inspired me to become a professor at a liberal arts college as well.

How are you approaching the new challenges of distance learning?

Remote learning during a global pandemic is unprecedented. I have students all over the world, in different time zones, and in a wide range of circumstances. I know some students will be in some pretty difficult situations. My main goal is to do what I can to help all students make it through the term successfully. I’ve structured my courses in a way such that students can learn the material but without the added stress and fear of failing the class due to circumstances beyond our control. Flexibility will be important for everyone.

What do you hope your students would say about your teaching style?

It is my hope that students leave my courses believing they can accomplish things they previously didn’t believe they could do and with the confidence to tackle interesting problems. I hope that students will look back years after graduation and find what we’ve done together at Lawrence useful as they put their liberal arts skills to the test.

Lavanya Murali, anthropology

Murali

A member of the Lawrence faculty since 2010, her areas of study have been in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and gender and sexuality, among others. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delhi and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in anthropology?

There are two people who are largely responsible, I’d say. One was my high school sociology teacher, Dr. Madhu Sharan, who was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Sociology in India draws a lot on social anthropology; they’re pretty closely taught. I loved her classes, and I absolutely fell in love with social anthropology and sociology. I haven’t looked back from that, really. The other was my father, S. Murali. He loved people, he loved culture and history, he loved a good argument. He’d drag us to museums, ruins, exhibits, and so on constantly—I suppose we’d either have come out of it hating that sort of thing or loving it, and I loved it.

How are you approaching the new challenges of distance learning?

My goal, as an anthropologist, is to inculcate in my students empathy and compassionate observation and analysis. That means I have to be empathetic and compassionate myself. These are stressful times, and my classes don’t need to be an additional source of stress. As I told them, we’re going to acknowledge that these are not normal times in the ways in which we teach and learn from each other. But I also want some things to stay normal, in terms of Lawrence culture — fun, community, closeness, flexibility, and care for each other. My goal has always been for learning to be hands-on, student work to be expressive and meaningful to them, and for my classroom to be a low-stress zone. This changes none of that — it only strengthens those commitments.

 What do you hope your students would say about your teaching style?

Ha! They have a lot to say about it, and they’re definitely not shy about sharing it with me. But I hope that they would say it was fun, relaxed, and real. It’s possible to be approachable and fun and still pedagogically comprehensive, and that’s what I shoot for. I care deeply about my students, about their well-being, and about their intellectual growth.

Melissa Range, English

Range

An award-winning writer and poet, she has been on the Lawrence faculty since 2014. Much of her academic focus has been in poetry and creative writing, including contemporary American poetry and 19th century poetry. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from the University of Tennessee, her master’s degree in creative writing from Old Dominion University and also holds a master’s of theological studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She earned her Ph.D. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in English/poetry/creative writing?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from an early age. I didn’t know anyone who was a writer. Actually, I’m pretty sure for a long time I thought only dead people could be writers, but still the desire was there. I think it must’ve come from reading. As soon as I learned to read, that’s what you’d find me doing — in my room, on the porch, at the supper table, in the hayloft of the barn, in the top of a pine tree I had climbed. I liked books not only for their stories; I liked them for their sentences, and their images, and the words themselves. The library was my natural habitat. As soon as I learned to write, I was always scribbling, not necessarily to make anything finished, just to explore my thoughts and emotions and to play around with language.

How are you approaching the new challenges of distance learning?

It’s a stressful time, and we need to take care of ourselves and one another, so I’m proceeding with flexibility, kindness, humor, and collaboration as my watchwords. We’re all new at doing this, and I hope we can try everything with a light touch. This term is challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for creativity, so I’m looking forward to trying lots of things I’ve never tried before in the classroom.

What do you hope your students would say about your teaching style?

I hope they would say that most of my jokes are funny . . . though you never know. I think they might mention my energy and enthusiasm, my high standards (true), and my particularly Appalachian brand of tough love (also true). I think they would say that my classes offer many elements of surprise, and that as a teacher I’m rigorous, yet playful, and often just plain wacky. There’s a bit of running around the room, and sometimes there are props like puppets and bonnets, as the occasion dictates. I hope they would say that while I expect a lot from my students, I am also prepared to give a lot. 

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Fleshman, Hakes, Piasecki earn 2019 tenure appointments at Lawrence

Aerial photo of Main Hall and Steitz Hall of Science
Lawrence University

Three members of the Lawrence University faculty — all teaching in the sciences — have been granted 2019 tenure appointments.

The college’s Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the faculty Committee on Tenure, Promotion, Reappointment and Equal Employment Opportunity, and President Mark Burstein, granted tenure to Allison Fleshman (chemistry), Alyssa Hakes (biology) and Brian Piasecki (biology). All three have been promoted to associate professor, effective Sept. 1.

“Lawrence has some of the best faculty in the world; I can say that with certainty because I get the immense pleasure of seeing direct evidence testifying to that fact every year in reviewing the accomplishments of faculty who stand for tenure,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “This year’s tenure class had the unique aspect of really showing off faculty talent in the sciences. Alyssa, Brian, and Allison are not only doing stellar work in their labs, they are true teacher-scholars, who meaningfully involve their students deeply in their own research.

“I am delighted that they have chosen Lawrence as their intellectual home, and look forward to applauding their accomplishments in the future.”

To help you get to know the three new tenure appointments a little better, we gave them each four questions to answer:

Allison Fleshman

Portrait of Allison Fleshman
Allison Fleshman

Promoted to associate professor of chemistry. Joined Lawrence in 2013. Fleshman has a bachelor of science degree in physics and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma.

What or who inspired you to pursue chemistry?

“I’ve always been in awe of nature, and trying to unlock her secrets is the job of a scientist. My particular science, physical chemistry, is about understanding how nature’s building blocks — atoms and molecules — interact and move about.

“As an undergraduate, I couldn’t decide between physics and chemistry, so what a delight when I worked as an undergraduate summer researcher with physical chemist Roger Frech (who later became my doctoral advisor) and learned I could do both. It’s incredible to look at a chemical problem as a physicist and see the mathematical interworkings unfold. 

“I also love to teach and share my passion for this subject, so working at Lawrence allows me to share physical chemistry with students in class sizes that are small enough that we can really dive deep into the material. I often joke that I get paid to read a textbook and share my findings with a captive audience — I absolutely love it.”

What about the work you’re doing at Lawrence has you the most excited?

“My research looks into what makes liquids flow, which seems like something we should understand. But as we learn more about materials on the molecular level we discover that our understanding is incomplete. What excites me most about this work is that it is rewriting what is in the textbooks.

“My students often take the textbook as absolute truth, but this work helps them see that even our most agreed upon understanding still has room for improvement. In addition, the liquids I study are called ionic liquids — salts in the liquid form — and they are showing great promise as materials for carbon sequestration, and could help revolutionize industrial processes that emit greenhouse gases. It is essential that we all act to combat global climate change, and this research lets me fight it both in the lab and in the classroom.”

How do you think your students would describe your teaching style?

“My students probably wouldn’t argue that I love my subject more than humanly possible and think physical chemistry is one of the most beautiful disciplines to study. That enthusiasm also seeps into my teaching. ‘Go Team’ is a phrase I say quite often, and I think my students would liken me to their cheerleader/coach, encouraging them to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and embrace the challenging path.” 

What’s something you do outside of work that gives you joy?

“I practice yoga on a daily basis and find peace and serenity in that daily ritual. I am also a co-owner of a local brewery located in downtown Appleton with my husband and his family called McFleshman’s Brewing Co. When I’m not in the classroom, I’m in the taproom supporting the family’s efforts to make traditional English and German beers. My chemistry skills help us bridge the art of brewing with fermentation science and those efforts yield some delicious pints. Cheers!” 

Alyssa Hakes

Portrait of Alyssa Hakes
Alyssa Hakes

Promoted to associate professor of biology. Joined Lawrence in 2012. Hakes holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.

What or who inspired you to pursue biology?

“I wanted to be an ecologist since I was a kid. I fell in love with nature reading Ranger Rick magazines and through hiking and camping with my family and Girl Scouts. I first became interested in insects during the 17-year periodical cicada emergence of 1990 in the Chicago area. I collected a bunch and brought them to ‘show and tell.’

“My interest in plants started when I made a wildflower trail for my Girl Scout Gold Award project, and then continued in college when I went on a research trip to Panama to study rainforest plants. Because of that experience, I know how important faculty-mentored undergraduate research opportunities are to the development of a young scientist. By specializing in ecological interactions between plants and insects, I was able to combine all of my interests in botany, entomology, and ecology into one research program.”

What about the work you’re doing at Lawrence has you the most excited?

“My lab has been doing an exciting project in Door County involving a rare plant and invasive insect. The federally-threatened Pitcher’s thistle is a native plant that is found only in sand dune habitats of the Great Lakes. Recently, an ‘evil weevil’ has invaded the sand dunes and is eating the seeds of the plant, which is bad news.

“My students and I take summer research trips to the Lake Michigan field site and have discovered areas of the dune where weevil damage is more intense and less intense. Our data show that dune elevation and neighboring plant community influence weevil dispersal and damage. We are now using this knowledge to develop methods for controlling the insect and conserving the plant. The proximity of our field site to Bjorklunden has been key to our success. And it’s fun to have a beach as a summer office.”     

How do you think your students would describe your teaching style?

“I hope that my passion for the content comes through in my lectures. I like finding creative ways to demonstrate biological concepts in class, whether it’s making insect mouthpart puppets, throwing cut-out paper ‘seeds’ off the atrium balcony to study dispersal, anaesthetizing a touch-sensitive plant in class, or baking horrible-tasting cookies for students to demonstrate ‘Batesian Mimicry.’

“I like to be a little goofy and rarely pass on an opportunity to make a lame pun, adapt a meme to a class topic for a laugh, or tell stories that connect students with the material and make class more enjoyable. Through course evaluations, students have called me helpful, caring, and approachable. I don’t think I’ve been described as ‘hilarious’ on a course evaluation yet, but that’s secretly the dream.

What’s something you do outside of work that gives you joy?

“I enjoy spending time with my spouse and two kids. It’s fun seeing our kids develop their personalities and watching them try new things for the first time. We try to spend time with both sets of their grandparents as often as we can, which is a real privilege. 

“I am active in my Appleton church, and I love being invited to talk about the science of evolution with my congregation. Evolution was something I once misunderstood as a teenager, but has become an exciting and integral part of my scientific career. It brings me joy to share my passion for evolutionary biology with others in my faith community. I also teach Sunday School.

“To relax, I like watching baseball and Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes.”

Brian Piasecki

Portrait of Brian Piasecki
Brian Piasecki

Promoted to associate professor of biology. Joined Lawrence in 2011. Piasecki holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

What or who inspired you to pursue biology?

“Growing up my two biggest hobbies were building and taking things apart and experiencing nature through a variety of activities like camping, hiking, and climbing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the type of cell biology I do merges both of these interests. I now study how the individual molecular constituents of cells affect the function of organisms as a whole, and because I focus on evolutionarily conserved processes, this allows for me to simultaneously understand how organisms function and to more broadly experience the awesomeness of life.”

What about the work you’re doing at Lawrence has you the most excited?

“The old cliché that says a picture represents a thousand words works at both the macro and microscopic level, so biological imaging is what excites me most. I am enamored by visualizing cellular processes and sharing this passion with students by showing them how to use a variety of different microscopes. To me there is nothing more rewarding than watching a student grasp a biological concept by visualizing it with their own eyes.”

How do you think your students would describe your teaching style?

“I think students would describe me as highly engaged. I equally love biology and trying to make biology relevant to others.”

What’s something you do outside of work that gives you joy?

“As much as I enjoy working with others and having a family, I am actually a little more introverted by nature. Therefore, I really enjoy hobbies that allow for me to disconnect for a while, like woodworking. A few years ago, I discovered the ‘pocket hole,’ which is a really easy method for making rock-solid wood joints. Some might consider it cheating, but to me it provides an easy way to build my own durable and functional things around the house. In the past few years I have built a bathroom vanity, a couple of cabinets, and a combined shoe rack/bench.”

Lawrence faculty members promoted, granted tenure

Three members of the Lawrence University faculty have been granted tenure appointments and a fourth has been promoted to the rank of full professor by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Kurt Krebsbach has been promoted from associate professor to full professor of computer science. Celia Barnes in the English department, Alison Guenther-Pal in the German department and Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies and associate professor of music, have been granted tenure. Barnes and Guenther-Pal also were promoted from assistant to associate professor.

“I’m delighted to welcome a new faculty member to the elevated rank of professor and to congratulate our three newest tenured colleagues,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “Lawrence sets a high bar for faculty achievement, requiring demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship, creative activity and service. These faculty have enhanced our community immeasurably, introducing our students to new ideas and fresh perspectives on long established truths and enriching the intellectual and artistic life of the university. I look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Kurt Kresbach
Kurt Krebsbach ’84

Krebsbach, whose research interests include artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems and functional programming, returned to Lawrence in 2002 as a faculty member, having earned his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence as the university’s first mathematics-computer science major.

He has made research presentations and technical reports at more than three dozen professional conferences in his career. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence since 1987, Krebsbach spent time in 2009 at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland as a Masters of Informatics Scholar.

Prior to joining the faculty, Krebsbach spent seven years as an artificial intelligence researcher at Honeywell Laboratories in Minneapolis. He also taught two years in the math and computer science department at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

After graduating from Lawrence, Krebsbach earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Minnesota.

Celia Barnes
Celia Barnes

Barnes joined the Lawrence English department faculty in 2010 as a visiting assistant professor before receiving a tenure-track appointment the following year. Her scholarship focuses on how18th-century writers conceived of their own place in literary history. She is particularly interested in re-examining the familiar image of the professional author who writes alone and always with an eye to publication into one where writers and readers are actively and sociably engaged in an interactive process of creating text.

In addition to teaching courses such as “British Writers,” Revolutionary 18th Century” and “Gender and Enlightenment,” Barnes has collaborated with colleagues to team-teach the interdisciplinary English/physics course “Newtonian Lit: Chronicles of a Clockwork Universe” and the English/philosophy course “Enlightenment Selves.”

Barnes directed an elementary composition program at Indiana University and spent a year on the faculty at California Lutheran University before coming to Lawrence. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in English and earned a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in 18th-century British Literature from Indiana University.

Alison Gunther-Pal
Alison Gunther-Pal

Guenther-Pal began her career at Lawrence in 2007, first with a three-year appointment in German and film studies through the university’s Postdoctoral Fellows program, then as visiting assistant professor and finally as a tenure track assistant professor. In addition to teaching in the German and film studies programs, she also teaches courses in gender studies.

Her scholarship interests span German cinema, 20th-century German culture, feminist film theory, queer theory and popular culture, especially stardom and fandom. Her primary research focuses on the representation of homosexuality and queerness in cinematic, scientific, lay and literary texts during the Konrad Adenauer era of post-World War II Germany.

Guenther-Pal was honored with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in recognition of “demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth” in 2017 and was the 2015-16 recipient of the university’s Mortar Board Award for Faculty Excellence.

She studied in Germany at the University of Göttingen and the Free University of Berlin before earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and the University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Germanic studies from the University of Minnesota.

Copeland Woodruff
Copeland Woodruff

Woodruff was named Lawrence’s first director of opera studies in 2014 after spending six years as co-director of opera activities at the University of Memphis. In addition to directing Lawrence’s annual main stage opera production, Woodruff has launched a series of “micro-operas” that examine socially relevant issues and are performed at non-traditional locales. His first, “Expressions of Acceptance,” featured 13 short operas simultaneously staged throughout the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, including stairwells, bathrooms, the bar areas and even elevators. The production tied for third place in the 2015-16 National Opera Association’s Division 1 Best Opera Production competition.

In 2016, his “Straight from the Hip,” was performed at The Draw, a local art gallery. The production examined the issue of gun presence and gun awareness in the community through a series of nine mini-vignettes. His 2017 production, “Is That a Fact,” explored facts, and possibly, their alternative-fact counterparts.

Woodruff’s 2016 mainstage production, “The Beggar’s Opera,” was awarded first-place honors in by the National Opera Association. Under his direction, Lawrence also was recognized in 2015 with first-place honors in the undergraduate division of the Collegiate Opera Scenes competition and earned second-place honors in the NOA’s Best Opera Production competition for “The Tender Land.”

He earned a both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in stage directing for opera from Indiana University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

Lawrence faculty members promoted, granted tenure

Two members of the Lawrence University faculty have been promoted to full professor and four others were granted tenure appointments by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Andrew Mast in the conservatory of music and Lifongo Vetinde in the French and Francophone department, were promoted from associate professor to the rank of full professor. Tenure was granted to Ian Bates, Lori Hilt, Erin Lesser and Mark Phelan. In addition to tenure, each also was promoted to rank of associate professor.

“We are extremely pleased that two excellent faculty colleagues have been promoted to the rank of professor and four outstanding faculty have earned tenure,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “Each has done an outstanding job in all areas — teaching, scholarship, creative activity and service. They all have added significantly to the quality of our educational programs through their devotion to student learning, development and success.

“The two senior colleagues have fully developed programs that help keep Lawrence in the first rank of quality small universities,” Burrows added. “The newly tenured faculty add new ideas and approaches that help keep our programs vibrant. We look forward to many years of high quality performance by each of these colleagues.”

Andrew Mast
Andrew Mast

Mast, the Kimberly Clark Professor of Music and director of bands, joined the Lawrence conservatory in 2004. Since the fall of 2015, he also has served as associate dean of the conservatory. He began his career at St. Ambrose University, where he spent five years as director of instrumental activities.

The conductor of the Lawrence Wind Ensemble, Mast also has conducted the symphonic band and the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra. Under his direction, the wind ensemble was recognized with a national award from DownBeat magazine in its annual student music awards competition as the nation’s best in the classical group division. The ensemble also was one of only nine in the country invited to perform at the national conference of College Band Directors National Association in 2013.

Mast was recognized with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 2009 and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 2011.

He earned bachelor and doctorate degrees from the University of Iowa and holds a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.

Lifongo Vitende
Lifongo Vitende

Vetinde, a native of Cameroon who came to the United States when he was 20, joined the Lawrence French department in 1996.  He is a scholar of Francophone African literature and cinema, with a focus on works produced by colonial writers in the mid-19th century from the region of Saint-Louis, Senegal, a UNESCO World Heritage city.

Vetinde was the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship in 2012 that took him to the Université Gaston Berger in Senegal where he taught courses on American literature by minority authors.

Aside from his Fulbright Fellowship, Vetinde has spent considerable time in Senegal as a four-time director of Lawrence’s 10-week off-campus study program in Dakar.

He has studied in Cameroon and France and earned a master’s degree in French and a Ph.D. in romance languages with an emphasis in Francophone African literature from the University of Oregon.

Ian BatesBates, who teaches music theory in the Lawrence conservatory, joined the faculty in 2011 after teaching appointments at Yale University and the University of Western Ontario. A devoted admirer of Johann Sebastian Bach, whom he describes as “the Baroque master of tonal counterpoint,” Bates’ research interests focus on 20th-century tonality and modality, theories of harmonic function, music theory pedagogy and relationships between performance and analysis.

A pianist who grew up in Ontario, Canada, Bates earned a bachelor’s degree in theory and composition from the University of Western Ontario, where he was a National Scholar and faculty gold medalist.

Hilt, a 1997 Lawrence graduate, returned to her alma mater as a member of the psychology department in 2011, where she teaches courses on developmental psychology, psychopathology, and child clinical psychology.

Lori Hilt
Lori Hilt ’97

She also also teaches in the neuroscience program and directs the Child and Adolescent Research in Emotion (CARE) laboratory, which focuses on issues related to adolescent depression, emotion regulation and suicide prevention.

Much of Hilt’s scholarship focuses on rumination, which involves the tendency to passively dwell on negative thoughts and emotions that can lead to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and binge-drinking/eating. Mindfulness is one of the primary strategies Hilt is investigating to combat the ruminative process.

Born in Chicago, Hilt earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lawrence and master’s and doctorate degrees from Yale University in clinical psychology. She also spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the psychology department at UW-Madison.

Erin Lesser
Erin Lesser

Lesser, who teaches flute, joined the conservatory of music faculty in 2011. A critically acclaimed soloist and chamber musician, Lesser has performed nationally and internationally throughout the United States, Canada, China, Brazil and Europe.

Specializing in contemporary music, Lesser has been instrumental in a community outreach project that brings classical chamber music to non-traditional venues. Known as “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community,” the program presents interactive concerts by students and faculty members at locations throughout the area, including the Fox Valley Warming Shelter and the Riverview Gardens.

She performs as a member of numerous ensembles, among them New York City’s Decoda, the Wet Ink Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble and Due East, which won the 2008 National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition.

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Lesser earned a bachelor of music degree at the University of Ottawa, and a master’s and doctoral degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Phelan joined the philosophy department in 2011, where his scholarly interests include theory of mind, linguistic pragmatics, philosophies of mind, language and cognitive science and figurative language. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the philosophy and cognitive science department at Yale University before joining the Lawrence faculty.

Some of Phelan’s current research is focused on the relationship between one’s views of morality and their belief in God and the ways people talk about art.

He has had nearly two dozen scholarly articles or reviews published and has presented research at major conferences around the world, including Leeds, England, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Istanbul, Turkey and Riga, Latvia.

Originally from Arkansas, Phelan earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy at Ouachita Baptist University, a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Utah, and a master’s and doctoral degree in philosophy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Three Faculty Members Granted Tenure, Promoted to Associate Professor

Three members of the Lawrence University faculty, each with extensive interdisciplinary experience, great success as teachers and active programs of scholarship or creative activity, have been promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenure appointments.

Based on recommendations by the faculty Committee on Tenure, Promotion, Reappointment and Equal Employment Opportunity, and President Mark Burstein, tenure and promotion for political scientist Jason Brozek, biochemist Kimberly Dickson and composer Asha Srinivasan were granted by the college’s Board of Trustees at its recent winter meeting.

Jason-Brozek_newsblog
Jason Brozek

JASON BROZEK
Brozek joined the government department in 2008 as an assistant professor and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs as a specialist in international security, conflict bargaining and international law.

His scholarship spans the theoretical and the practical, with a focus on global conflicts that result from freshwater shortage. He has written briefing papers for policy makers that analyze the issue and also has developed a theoretical measure that can assess the severity of conflicts among nations caused by shortages of freshwater.

“Professor Brozek is widely praised as an extraordinarily effective teacher,” said Provost David Burrows. “His students admire him for his enthusiasm and his support for their intellectual development. His classroom is a place where students are encouraged to participate and exchange ideas. Many state that he is one of the very best professors they have experienced at Lawrence.

“Jason also has provided great leadership for the environmental studies program on campus and has been a caring adviser to students interested in the program,” Burrows added. “Additionally he has taken on responsibility for fostering global learning through his work in bringing to campus distinguished visitors under the Stephen Edward Scarff International Affairs program.”

Brozek earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in political science from Wayne State College and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kim-Dickson_newsblog
Kimberly Dickson

KIMBERLY DICKSON
Dickson, who first taught Freshman Studies at Lawrence in 1998, joined the Lawrence faculty in the biochemistry program in 2007.

As a biochemist, Dickson’s scholarship focuses on protein structure and function, particularly angiogenin, a protein that stimulates blood vessel growth and plays a role in supporting the growth and metastasis of tumors.

According to Burrows, she is highly regarded by experts in the field of microbiology for the care and precision with which she does her work.

“Professor Dickson’s students speak passionately about her teaching,” said Burrows. “They believe that she cares both for the material and for them. They especially like her encouragement to develop expertise about important issues.”

Dickson, who taught at Macalester College for two years before coming to Lawrence, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Smith College, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Asha-Srinivasan_newsblog
Asha Srinivasan

ASHA SRINIVASAN
An award-winning composer, Srinivasan joined the conservatory of music in 2008. She writes for a broad array of instrumentation, including large ensemble, chamber and electroacoustic media.  Her music has been selected for performance at the 2010 International Computer Music Conference and has been released on the “Music from SEAMUS volume 22” CD.

Srinivasan was one of eight composers nationally selected as a resident composer for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Initiative in Columbia, Mo.  Her composition “Dviraag” received the first-place prize at the 2011 Thailand International Composition Festival from among 100 entries.

“Professor Ssrinivasan’s students are ecstatic about the new dimensions in music that she brings to Lawrence,”Burrows noted. “Her studio is a source of great inspiration and creativity. In the classroom and in the studio, she is described as a wonderful teacher who enriches the quality of the conservatory experience.”

Srinivasan earned a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College, a master’s degree in computer music composition and music theory pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory and a D.M.A. in composition from the University of Maryland.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Faculty Members Promoted, Granted Tenure

Seven members of the Lawrence University faculty have been promoted to the rank of associate professor and eight faculty have been granted tenure appointments by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Garth Bond

Garth Bond, Dominica Chang, Scott Corry, Stefan Debbert, Adam Galambos, Doug Martin and Peter Thomas all have been granted tenure and promoted to associate professor. David Gerard, associate professor of economics, also has been granted tenure.

Bond joined the English department in 2004 after teaching at Temple University and the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. His scholarship interests include Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, poetry and drama, manuscript studies, the history of the book and film. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Trinity University.

Dominica Chang

Chang, a French department faculty member since 2007, came to Lawrence after receiving her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in French Studies at Middlebury College and bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A native of South Korea, her scholarship interests include 19th-century French studies, revolutionary studies, literary history and historiography, media studies and print culture. She was the recipient of Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 2010.

Scott Corry

Since joining the Lawrence mathematics department in 2007, Corry has taught numerous calculus, algebra, number theory and geometry courses while pursuing his research interests in analogies between Riemann surfaces and finite graphs. He spent part of 2009 as a visiting fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, England, and was recognized with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 2011. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania and his bachelor’s degree at Reed College.

Stefan Debbert

Debbert brought a background in theoretical computational chemistry with him when he joined the chemistry department in 2007. His scholarship interests in organic synthesis include research on the medicinal properties of organometallic cobalt-alkyne compounds. He was instrumental in the establishment of the biochemistry major at Lawrence in 2009.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.

Adam Galambos

A specialist in game theory, Galambos came to Lawrence in 2006 as a member of the college’s Post-doctoral Fellows program. He was offered a tenure track position in the economics department following his initial two-year appointment. Prior to Lawrence, Galambos spent two years teaching in the MBA program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He played a leading role in launching Lawrence’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. A native of Hungary, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Northern Iowa University and his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota.

Doug Martin

Martin joined the physics department in 2007, where he teaches courses in optics, quantum mechanics and experimental physics, among others. A biophysicist, his scholarly interests focus on the mechanics and dynamics of cellular processes — transport, motility, division and signaling — that explain how life works. Originally from Denver, Colo., he earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in mathematics and physics at Pomona College and completed his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Texas.

Peter Thomas

Thomas joined Lawrence’s Russian Studies department in 2006 after teaching at St. Olaf College. Beyond teaching Russian, Thomas also leads classes in 20th-century Russian literature, especially the works of Valdimir Nabokov. Additionally, his scholarly interests include Russian poetry, translation and contemporary composers. He attended Northwestern University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Russian literature.

David Gerard

A specialist in risk regulation and public policy, Gerard joined the Lawrence economics department in 2009 after eight years at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was the executive director of the Center for the Study & Improvement of Regulation. He has helped develop a pair of interactive websites that allow users to explore various dimensions of fatality risks — TrafficSTATS and Death Risk Rankings. Named a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar in 2010, that same year he was appointed to a National Academy of Sciences panel that was investigating unintended acceleration in vehicles.  He earned his bachelor’s degree at Grinnell College and his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.