Tenure and Promotions for Eight Faculty Members

by Carol Brévart-Demm

At the February meeting of the Board of Managers, eight faculty members were approved for promotion. 

Three were promoted from assistant to associate professorship with continuous tenure:

Rachel Buurma '99
Rachel Buurma '99

Associate Professor of English Literature Rachel Sagner Buurma '99 teaches and researches in the areas of 18th- and 19th-century literature and print culture, the history of the novel, and the relation between literature and knowledge production. She is currently on a research leave funded by an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Fellowship in order to finish co-authoring The Historicist Classroom, a book about how we understand the value of literary study in the context of the contemporary university. She is also at work on a project about the research practices of Victorian novelists. Her articles have appeared in journals including Victorian Studies, New Literary History, and Representations. She is project lead at the Early Novels Database.   

Andrew Danner
Andrew Danner

Associate Professor of Computer Science Andrew Danner is interested in methods of processing very large geometric data sets that frequently arise in geographic data systems. In cases where the transfer of data forms a communication bottleneck, Danner explores I/O-efficient algorithms (out-of-core or external-memory algorithms) to reduce communication costs. These methods often lead to problems that have numerous separate parts that can be solved independently. Using parallel algorithms and modern computing clusters, Danner further improves performance on large data sets by combining I/O-efficient and parallel techniques.

Daniel Grodner
Daniel Grodner

Associate Professor of Psychology Daniel Grodner's research examines the cognitive and neural basis of how people use and understand language. He is particularly interested in social aspects of language: how people become sensitive to the knowledge and needs of their partners in conversation, and how interlocutors communicate between the lines. Prior to coming to Swarthmore, Grodner was a visiting professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the Universityof Rochester and a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown University. He received a Ph.D. in brain and cognitive sciences from MIT.

Five were promoted to full professorship:

Amanda Bayer
Amanda Bayer

Professor of Economics Amanda Bayer is the creator and editor of Diversifying Economic Quality, a widely read online resource supported by the American Economic Association, which promotes inclusive, innovative, and evidence-based teaching practices in economics. She performs econometric analyses of mentoring programs for high-risk youth, researches development of alternative measures of the poverty rate, and is undertaking a game-theoretic examination of the relationship between unionization and CEO salaries. A certified reviewer for the Department of Education, Bayer evaluates randomized controlled trial and quasi-experimental design studies for the effectiveness of educational interventions. Using her expertise in game theory, she has researched the effects of strategic behavior in settings such as litigation, labor negotiations, managerial decision making, and neighborhood development. She has partnered with a variety of nonprofit organizations to investigate topics of mutual interest and has led major projects for the College's Peace and Conflict Studies and Athletics programs. 

David Cohen
David Cohen

Professor of Astronomy David Cohen specializes in X-ray spectroscopy and modeling of hot stars and laboratory plasmas, radiation-driven stellar winds, and stellar x-ray emission. His areas of teaching include modern astrophysics, stellar astrophysics, and the interstellar medium. In 2006, Cohen was leader of a group of astronomers and student researchers that discovered a new star, a previously unknown binary companion to the bright star beta Crucis in the Southern Cross. The fortuitous discovery occurred while the team was using the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to study the x-rays emitted by beta Crusic itself. Their discovery was announced at the January 2007 meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

Tia Newhall
Tia Newhall

Professor of Computer Science Tia Newhall conducts research in parallel and distributed systems with a focus on providing system-level support for cluster computing. Her other areas of research include memory-management for parallel computers, support for parallel GPU programming, peer-to-peer systems, CS education and increasing diversity in CS. She has also presented at several international conferences and written on these topics in numerous professional publications. Newhall received a B.S.-SED, M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sunka Simon
Sunka Simon

Professor of German Studies and Film and Media Studies Sunka Simon's research focuses on media-specific intersections of gender, race, and place in postwar German popular culture. She is the author of the 2002 book Mail-Orders: The Fiction of Letters in Postmodern Culture and 18 scholarly articles on literature, film, and popular culture. Simon is currently co-editing a critical volume on Globally Networked Teaching (forthcoming from Routledge Press) and completing a manuscript titled Euro-Eyes: Regionalism and Globalization in German TV Formats. She joined the Swarthmore faculty in 1995. 

Thomas Whitman '82
Thomas Whitman '82

Professor of Music Thomas Whitman '82, teaching at Swarthmore since 1990, began his musical studies with cellist Harry Wimmer. He studied composition with Gerald Levinson, Thomas Oboe Lee, and Joan Panetti at the College as well as Max Lifchitz. While pursuing a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, his teachers included George Crumb, Jay Reise, and Richard Wernick. He is an accomplished viola da gambist. As a Luce Scholar, he studied traditional music in Bali, Indonesia, in 1986-87.

Whitman is the founder and co-director of the College's Gamelan Semara Santi, the Philadelphia area's only Balinese percussion group. He also directs the Chester Children's Gamelan. Whitman has collaborated with a number of choreographers as well as with poet and Professor of English Literature Nathalie Anderson, with whom he has composed several works for the stage including A Scandal in Bohemia.