At the December meeting of the Board of Managers, five faculty members were appointed to endowed chairs: Peter Baumann (Philosophy) to the Charles and Harriett Cox McDowell Professorship of Philosophy and Religion, Amanda Bayer (Economics) to the Franklin and Betty Barr Chair in Economics, Syd Carpenter (Art) to the Peggy Chan Professorship in Black Studies, Erik Cheever ’82 (Engineering) to the Edward Hicks Magill Professorship of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Steven Hopkins (Religion) to the Mari S. Michener Professorship.
The recent work of Peter Baumann has focused on the broad area of epistemology — the nature of knowledge, what we know, how we know what we know, and how knowledge is defined. He has published one co-edited and two single-authored books; the most recent, his monograph, Epistemic Contextualism: A Defense, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016 to scholarly acclaim. Baumann’s first-year seminar, The Meaning of Life, has achieved a near-legendary reputation among incoming students, regularly turning away three times as many students as the class can accommodate.
Amanda Bayer teaches courses in advanced microeconomic theory, game theory, introduction to economics, and race, ethnicity, and gender in economics. She has spent much of her career addressing diversity in economics and has worked with the Federal Reserve Bank to help rethink how it reviews applicants. Bayer has published papers on diversity, served on the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession, and co-organized the inaugural National Summit on Diversity in the Economics Profession with the Federal Reserve.
Professor of Art Syd Carpenter’s art mixes and rethinks categories often taken for granted. Speaking both for and about the Black community, it reaches beyond traditional artistic venues of studios and museums to include farmers, gardeners, Native Americans, West Africans, ancient and contemporary Chinese artisans, and many more. Carpenter is represented in 17 collections nationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and has also been instrumental in the growth and transformation of the College’s Black Studies Program.
Erik Cheever ’82
Erik Cheever ’82 is a pillar of the Engineering Department and has produced reference materials that are consulted worldwide. On top of his sustained research in engineering education, he has also been instrumental in replicating Swarthmore’s liberal arts approach to engineering abroad: At Ashesi University in Ghana, Cheever sits on the board and advises the school’s founder and president, his former student Patrick Awuah ’89. His primary teaching duties include Linear Physical Systems Analysis, a cornerstone of the general engineering major that unites methodologies from diverse subfields of engineering using mathematical modeling and analysis.
Steven Hopkins is a poet, gifted translator, and scholar of South Indian religious and devotional literature. His work An Ornament for Jewels: Poems for the Lord of Gods by Vedāntadeśika was awarded the A.K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation from the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies. Hopkins has also published more than 25 articles, book chapters, and reviews in such publications as The Journal of Hindu Studies, International Journal of Hindu Studies, History of Religions, and Journal of Religious Ethics. Having served as chair of the Religion Department, and currently of Asian Studies, he regularly contributes to the programs in Medieval Studies, Interpretation Theory, and Islamic Studies.