Tag: tenure track

Lawrence to welcome five talented tenure-track faculty in the fall

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Five new tenure-track faculty members will join Lawrence University for the start of the 2019-20 academic year, boosting the school’s academic prowess across multiple fields of study.

The appointments include Abhishek Chakraborty, statistics; Estelí Gomez, Conservatory of Music (voice); Vanessa D. Plumly, German; Relena Ribbons, geosciences; and Austin Segrest, English.

The new hires were announced by Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Kodat.

“I am delighted to be able to welcome five new tenure-track faculty to Lawrence this coming fall,” Kodat said. “These impressive new colleagues represent the best in their fields and will allow us to continue building on our strengths in mathematics, the sciences, and the humanities in the college, and in the voice program in the conservatory.”

The tenure-track hires include:

Abhishek Chakraborty, statistics

Chakraborty head shot

A candidate this spring for a Ph.D. in the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University, Chakraborty holds a master’s degree in statistics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur, India, and a bachelor’s of science degree in statistics from St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata, India. He ranked fifth out of 200 entrants from 100 different countries in the Prudsys AG Data Mining Cup 2016, and placed 28th out of 193 entrants in 2018. He worked as a graduate teaching assistant at Iowa State.

His research experience has focused on developing statistical methodologies for analysis of complex data sets, with broad work in the fields of machine learning, data mining, predictive modeling and the application of Bayesian variables.

“Abhishek joins a newly renamed Mathematics and Computer Science department as our second specialist in statistics,” Kodat said. “His research interests in data mining will fortify course offerings in data science as well as statistics more traditionally understood — an exciting contribution for a department in the midst of a renaissance.”

For more on the computer science major at Lawrence, click here.

For more on the mathematics major at Lawrence, click here.

Estelí Gomez, voice

Gomez head shot

A soprano, Gomez joins the Conservatory of Music amid impressive success as a recording artist and performer. She is a vocalist with Roomful of Teeth, which won a 2014 Grammy Award with its debut CD. Also, she was a vocalist on Silk Road Ensemble’s 2017 Grammy-winning CD Sing Me Home, featuring members of Roomful of Teeth. She was nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award as soprano soloist on the Seattle Symphony’s release of Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No 3. She holds a master of music degree from the McGill Schulich School of Music and a bachelor of arts degree in music from Yale.

Roomful of Teeth has performed at Lawrence twice, once in 2014 and again in 2017. The eight-piece a cappella ensemble has been much lauded in vocal circles since debuting in 2009. Gomez, who has sung in more than 20 languages, has taught in private voice studios since 2006, mostly in New Haven, Connecticut, Montreal and New York City.

“A founding member of the celebrated vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Estelí exemplifies the twin commitments to excellence in teaching and performance that characterizes our conservatory faculty,” Kodat said.

For more on the Voice Studio in the Conservatory of Music, click here.   

Vanessa D. Plumly, German

Plumly mug

Plumly comes to Lawrence from State University of New York at New Paltz, where she is a German lecturer and program coordinator in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty affiliate. She has been there since 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in German Studies in 2015 from the University of Cincinnati. She holds a master of arts degree in German Studies from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor of arts degree in German and History from Bethany College in West Virginia.

Plumly earned the 2018 German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award from the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). She was a Fulbright Research Fellowship Alternate in 2013.

“Vanessa’s research interests in Afro-German culture, film, and gender and sexuality studies will enrich many areas of our curriculum beyond German: Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, and Gender Studies, to name three,” Kodat said. “She joins us as our third Mellon Faculty Fellow for a Diverse Professoriate.”

For more on German studies at Lawrence, click here.

Relena Ribbons, geosciences

Ribbons head shot

A visiting assistant professor in geosciences at Lawrence since 2016, Ribbons has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Wellesley College, a masters in forest ecology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and doctorates in forest ecology, geosciences and natural resources from Bangor University and geosciences and natural resources management from the University of Copenhagen.

She’s also an accomplished marathoner and ultramarathoner.

“Relena’s appointment to the Geosciences department gives us additional expertise in important areas of environmental research, among them soil ecology and biogeochemistry,” Kodat said. “And we are always happy to welcome another marathoner to the Lawrence faculty family.”

For more on Lawrence’s geosciences major, click here.

Austin Segrest, English

Segrest head shot

A visiting assistant professor of English at Lawrence since 2014, Segrest holds a doctorate in literature and creative writing (poetry) from the University of Missouri and a master’s from Georgia State University. He has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and previously served as the poetry editor of the Missouri Review.

“We now have three accomplished, actively publishing writers who are either tenured or on the tenure track in our English department, a great boon for our student writers in both the college and the conservatory,” Kodat said.

For more on English offerings at Lawrence, click here.

Nine tenure-track appointments joining the faculty this fall

Nine tenure-track scholars are joining the Lawrence University faculty this fall for the 2017-18 academic year at the rank of assistant professor. Four of the new faculty members are in the conservatory of music.

The new tenure track appointments include: Ingrid Albrecht, philosophy; Horacio Contreras, conservatory of music (cello); Andrew Crooks, conservatory of music (vocal coach); Dylan Fitz, economics; Anne Haydock, film studies; John Holiday, conservatory of music (voice); Rebecca Perry, conservatory of music (music theory); Julie Rana, mathematics; and Jesus Smith, ethnic studies.

“It’s a great pleasure to welcome these gifted scholars and artists to Lawrence. As a new member of the community myself, I am repeatedly impressed by the records of professional achievement and teaching excellence of our faculty,” said Catherine Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty who joined the administration July 1. “Our newest colleagues continue our tradition of distinguished faculty accomplishment in the laboratory, in the studio, onstage and in the classroom.”

Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music, is excited to welcome “four exceptional faculty” each of whom brings “experiences that greatly enhance our conservatory offerings.”

“John Holiday, as a countertenor and rising star in the opera world, brings valuable insights from the professional stage into the classroom,” said Pertl. “Horacio Contreras, who is widely considered one of Venezuela’s greatest cellists, brings a passion for the vast and often unexplored repertoire of South American composers along with his passion for performing and teaching.

“Rebecca Perry joins our theory department as a passionate educator who seeks opportunities to holistically engage students in music theory,” Pertl added. “Andrew Crooks comes directly from Germany, where he worked for Die Kommische Oper Berlin, one of the most forward-thinking opera houses in the world. These experiences will expand the learning opportunities for all of our students. It will be exciting to see how these four professors expand our Lawrence community.”

Ingrid Albrecht
Ingrid Albrecht

• Ingrid Albrecht, philosophy
While new to the tenure track, Albrecht is no stranger to Lawrence. A specialist in ethics and moral psychology, Albrecht first joined the Lawrence faculty in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow of philosophy and Uihlein Fellow of Ethics. The past two years she held a visiting assistant professor appointment in the philosophy department, where she taught the courses Existentialism, Advanced Studies in Biomedical Ethics, Women and Friendship, and Philosophy of Sex and Love, among others.

Prior to Lawrence, Albrecht spent a year on the faculty at Ball State University.

Originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University and a master’s and doctorate degree in philosophy at the University of Illinois, where she received the philosophy department’s Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Horacio Contreras
Horacio Contreras

 • Horacio Contreras, conservatory of music (cello)
A native of Venezuela, Contreras comes to Lawrence from the University of Michigan String Preparatory Academy, where he has taught for the past three years. He also has seven years of teaching experience in his homeland at the University of Los Andes and El Sistema, a music education program.

Contreras also has taught masterclasses at the National University of Colombia in Bogota and the National University of Cordoba in Argentina as well as at The Julliard School and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Earlier this year, Contreras was appointed to the cello faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he teaches on the weekends.

He has performed as a soloist with numerous symphony orchestras, including Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony, Colombia’s EAFIT Symphony Orchestra  and the Camerata de Frace in France. As a chamber musician and recitalist, he has participated in chamber music festivals and concert series throughout the Americas.

He did his undergraduate studies in Europe at conservatories in Perpignan, France, and Barcelona, Spain. He earned both a master of music degree and a doctorate of musical arts degree in cello performance at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Crooks
Andrew Crooks

• Andrew Crooks, conservatory of music (vocal coach)
Crooks joins the conservatory of music from Berlin, Germany, where he has served as deputy chorus master of the Komische Oper Berlin since 2014. During his tenure there the chorus of the Komische Oper was awarded the title of Chorus of the Year in 2015 by the opera magazine Opernwelt. He also spent four years (2010-14) as an assistant to the chorus master at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

In 2012, Crooks founded the Metamorphos Ensemble Berlin, an artistic collective of more than 200 singers and instrumentalists, for which he serves as artistic director.

Originally from New Zealand, Crooks has worked on productions with Canterbury Opera and Opera Otago in his native country as well as nearly a dozen productions with Cincinnati Opera.

He earned a bachelor of music in piano and oboe as well as a bachelor of arts in German language and literature from the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand). He also holds a master’s degree in conducting from Indiana University and an Artist Diploma in opera coaching from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Dylan Fitz
Dylan Fitz

• Dylan Fitz, economics
A specialist in development economics, Fitz joins the economics department from Davidson College, where he spent the past four years as an assistant professor. His current research evaluates the effectiveness of social programs, the causes of poverty, and the importance of risk and learning in technology adoption.  Fitz will teach courses on effective altruism, Latin American economic development and political economy and economic development, among others.

A native of State College, Pa., he earned a bachelor’s degree in politics at Princeton University, with certificates in Latin American studies and political economy. He earned both a master’s and doctorate degree in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Holiday
John Holiday

• John Holiday, conservatory of music (voice)
Holiday joins the voice department on the crest of a prestigious national award. Earlier this year, Holiday was named winner of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award. The award recognizes “a young American singer who has achieved initial professional success in the vocal arts and who exhibits promise for a significant career.” As the Marian Anderson winner, he will sing a recital at the Kennedy Center next February 25.

Opera Wire has described Holiday as “one of the most promising countertenors of his generation” and said his “star is rising.” Broadway World included Holiday in its 2015 list of “New York Opera Gifts that Keep on Giving.”

This summer, Holiday sang the title role in the Glimmerglass Festival’s production of “Xerxes” in Cooperstown, N.Y. He is also slated to play John Blue in Opera Philadelphia’s world premiere of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” under the direction and choreography of award-winning Bill T. Jones. The show also will be performed at the Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire Theater. Holiday has additional upcoming title roles as Orfeo in Florida Grand Opera’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” and as the refugee in “Flight” with the Des Moines Metro Opera.

His discography includes 2012’s “Messiah” with the Cincinnati Boychoir, and Philip Glass’ “Galileo Galilei” with the Portland Opera which came out in 2013. His recording of Ars Lyrica’s production of “La Sposa Dei Cantici” is scheduled for release this fall.

Beyond classical repertoire, Holiday performs gospel and jazz music. His debut jazz album, “The Holiday Guide,” was released in 2006.

Holiday, who grew up near Houston, earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University, a master of music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in opera studies from The Juilliard School.

Rebecca Perry
Rebecca Perry

• Rebecca Perry, conservatory of music (music theory)
Perry joins the music theory department after four years as an instructor at Yale University, where she taught courses on tonal harmony, elementary musicianship, topics in world music and the history of Western music, among others.

Her scholarship interests focus on composer Sergei Prokofiev and the Russian sonata traditions.

A native of Rolla, Mo., Perry, who speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian, earned bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and political science from Brigham Young University and master’s and doctorate degrees in music history from Yale University.

Julie Rana
Julie Rana

• Julie Rana, mathematics
A specialist in algebraic geometry, especially moduli spaces, singular spaces and deformation theory, Rana spent the past two years as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. She began her teaching career as a Math Fellow at Vermont’s Marlboro College.

She has taught nearly 30 different math courses, including differential calculus, computational algebraic geometry and linear algebra and delivered more than a dozen invited talks at seminars and symposiums around the country. Rana also has helped organize numerous math-focused outreach enrichment programs for elementary students and high school teachers.

Rana earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Marlboro College, and both a master’s and doctorate degree in mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jesus Smith
Jesus Smith

• Jesus Smith, ethnic studies
A sociologist, Smith comes to Lawrence from Texas A & M University, where he was a Diversity Fellow the past two years. Smith’s research interests include race and ethnic relations, sex and gender, computer and information technologies.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Smith has written published articles on the politics of Latinx identity and the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in cyber space, among other topics, has given scholarly presentations at a dozen academic conferences throughout the country and has served as a reviewer for several professional journals.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Texas-El Paso. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology at the Texas A & M 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.


Six Tenure-Track Appointments Joining the Lawrence Faculty This Fall

With research interests ranging from poetry on the interconnection of war and religion to evaluating risk in rural-to-urban migration in Indonesia, six new tenure-track faculty members will join Lawrence University for the start of the 2014-2015 academic years year.

The departments of English, economics, anthropology, mathematics and theatre arts welcome new assistant professors as colleagues, some of whom are already familiar faces at Lawrence.

The new faculty appointments include: Hillary Caruthers and Jonathan Lhost (economics); Adam Loy (statistics); Lavanya Proctor (anthropology); Keith Pitts (theatre arts); and Melissa Range (English). They join Amy Abugo Ongiri and Copeland Woodruff, who were named to the endowed faculty positions of Jill Beck Professor/Director of Film Studies and Director of Opera Studies, respectively, earlier this year.

“We are extremely pleased with all of the persons who have been appointed to tenure-track positions at Lawrence,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “Each one is energetic, talented and devoted to the ideals of liberal education. They will continue Lawrence’s tradition of building the excellence of the university on a foundation of highly qualified faculty who excel at student-centered education.”

Hillary Caruthers_newsblog
Hillary Caruthers, assistant professor of economics

• Hillary Caruthers, economics

Caruthers spent the  2013-14 academic year as a visiting assistant professor of economics at the Campbell School of Business at Berry College in Georgia. She also spent two years as a staff leader at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Business Learning Center and held a visiting instructor appointment at Vietnam’s Hanoi University of Agriculture in 2011. A specialist in developmental economics, her research interests include labor migration, risk, applied microeconomics and East and Southeast Asian studies, especially the role of risk in rural-to-urban migration in Indonesia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from UW-Madison.

Jonatham Lhost_HR_newsblog
Jonathan Lhost, assistant professor of economics

• Jonathan Lhost, economics

Lhost earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Amherst College and a master’s and doctoral degree in economics from the University of Texas-Austin. As an assistant instructor of economics at UT-Austin, Lhost was awarded the university’s Graduate Teaching Scholars Scholarship and Seminar Certificate. His research interests include industrial organization, game theory and microeconomics. He has delivered presentations on the effectiveness of clicker technology in introductory economics and has written papers on topics ranging from the effects of merchants placing surcharges on transactions to the effects of spectrum acquisition on wireless carriers.

Adam Loy, assistant professor of mathematics
Adam Loy, assistant professor of mathematics

• Adam Loy, mathematics

Loy spent the 2013-14 academic year as a visiting assistant professor of statistics at Lawrence. His scholarship interests focus on mixed and hierarchical linear models as well as utilizing statistical methods to solve engineering and physical science problems. He has led multiple workshops on the R programming language and has delivered more than a dozen presentations on topics ranging from visually monitoring data streams to on-time flight performance in the United States. Loy earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics/statistics at Luther College and earned both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University, where he served as a consultant for Statistics in the Community (StatCom), which provides pro bono statistical advice and expertise to area nonprofit organizations.

• Keith Pitts, theatre arts

Keith Pitts, assistant professor of theatre arts
Keith Pitts, assistant professor of theatre arts

A member of Lawrence’s theatre arts department since 2012, Pitts has served as set design and staging coordinator and well as department lecturer. He has worked on six Lawrence productions, including designing the set for this year’s play and opera versions of “Street Scene.” Prior to Lawrence, Pitts spent seven years teaching at Columbia College Chicago and three years as summer lab instructor at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. His extensive experience includes set design work on more than 85 productions at four universities and nearly 20 regional and professional theatres throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, including the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. He earned a bachelor’s degree in technical theatre from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in theatre design from Northwestern University.

• Lavanya Proctor, anthropology

Lavanya Proctor, assistant professor of anthropology
Lavanya Proctor, assistant professor of anthropology

Proctor returns to Lawrence after spending 2010-2012 here, first as a visiting assistant professor and then as a Schmidt post-doctoral Fellow. She rejoins the faculty from SUNY-Buffalo State, where she was a lecturer in the anthropology department for two years. She is currently completing a book entitled “An Embattled Education: Language, Class and Mobility in New Delhi.” The recipient of an American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellow position in 2013, Proctor has focused her scholarship interests on linguistic anthropology, gender, class, education and India. She earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in sociology at the University of Delhi as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Iowa.

Melissa Range_newsblog
Melissa Range, assistant professor of English

• Melissa Range, English

Range received her Ph.D. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri. She has been the recipient of several national prizes in creative writing for poetry, including the 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and was recognized with the University of Missouri’s teaching award for creative writing in 2013. Range has conducted more than a dozen invited poetry readings, has written numerous journal publications and is the author of the book “Horse and Rider: Poems,” which centers on violence and power in religion and the natural world. Range 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 of theological studies from the Chandler School of Theology at Emory 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 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.