Nine Faculty Across the Disciplines Recognized with Tenure, Promotions
At the February meeting of the Board of Managers, nine faculty members were approved for promotion.
Five faculty members received tenure and promotion to associate professor:
Psychologist Stella Christie’s research looks at how the mind acquires knowledge through the process of comparing and analogizing. She is interested in how the mind perceives similar events, objects, or actions that occur across time, and how comparing and contrasting these may result in the learning of new concepts. She also investigates whether and how analogical and comparison learning play a role in the development of social cognition.
Brad Davidson ’90
Biologist Brad Davidson is interested in the development and evolution of our own group of animals, the chordates. Using sea squirts, our closest invertebrate relatives, the Davidson lab investigates the gene regulatory networks guiding formation of heart tissue and how these networks have been altered during chordate evolution. The lab has recently begun to uncover new links between cell communication and division that have important implications related to cancerous cell behaviors.
Evolutionary biologist Vince Formica uses a combination of selection analysis, social network analysis, animal behavior, and mutlilevel selection theory to understand how the social environment can shape and be shaped by the process of natural selection. In his lab, his team studies the charismatic forked fungus beetle (Bolitotherus cornutus) as a model system to understand how social behaviors evolve and travels to Mountain Lake Biological Station each summer to conduct the field components of our research.
The research interests of mathematician/statistician Nsoki Mavinga lie in nonlinear analysis and partial differential equations. She is particularly interested in nonlinear second order parabolic and elliptic partial differential equations with nonlinear boundary conditions. Mavinga is also interested in biostatistics -- particularly, in statistical methods and their applications to areas such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for lesion count data in multiple sclerosis.
Computer scientist Ameet Soni focuses his research in the areas of machine learning (probalistic approaches for learning and inference in graphical models, statistical learning, and deep learning) and biomedical applications (eg, clinical diagnosis, protein-structure prediction, biomedical-image analysis, and gene modeling). He has also examined computational problems in the area of MRI brain imaging.
Four faculty members were promoted from associate to full professorship:
William Gardner of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is section head for Japanese. Among the courses he has taught are Narratives of Disaster and Rebuilding in Japan, Japanese Popular Culture and Contemporary Media, Japanese Poetry and Poetics, and The World of Japanese Drama and Performance. He is the author of Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920's and has another manuscript under peer review with the University of Minnesota Press.
Grace Ledbetter holds a joint appointment in the departments of Classics and Philosophy and directs the Honors Program. She specializes in Ancient philosophy and Greek poetry and regularly teaches courses at all levels on Greek and Latin languages, Plato, the history of ancient philosophy, Homer, Greek tragedy, Greek lyric poetry, Greek religion, and Greek myth in 20th-century performing arts. Her book, Poetics Before Plato: Interpretation and Authority in Early Greek Theories of Poetry, examines theories of poetry in the early Greek literary and philosophical traditions.
Biochemist Stephen Miller focuses his research on understanding how bacteria communicate with each other on the molecular level. His lab is interested in identifying and characterizing signal molecules and their protein receptors, as well as proteins responsible for processing the signal molecules. He and a team of undergraduate researchers uses a variety of biochemical techniques, including x-ray crystallography, to study these molecules on the atomic level.
Keith Reeves ’88
Political Scientist Keith Reeves ’88 teaches courses across the arenas of American government, electoral politics, and public opinion; racial politics and voting rights policy; the urban underclass, poverty, and public policy; and behavioral research methods. The former Henry Luce Scholar also directs the Urban Inequality and Incarceration program at the College's Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility and is working on a book project that explores several explanations underlying the high incarceration trends among Black males.