A multitude of academic searches underway
The University is in the middle of a hiring blitz designed to add as many as 20 professors to the faculty, Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe told the Justice last week. Three of the new professors have already been appointed, the dean said. Jaffe attributed the unusually high number of open jobs in part to retirements and several positions that were not filled last year.
"I think it's very exciting," he said. "It's a lot of work, but it's very exciting in terms of both our potential to do some new things that we haven't done [and] also to bring new ideas and new people."
Among the positions the University is looking to fill are tenure-track professorships in East Asian literature and contemporary art.
Jaffe said a slight increase in the faculty budget resulting from the Integrated Planning initiatives-a set of proposed changes to the curriculum introduced by the administration last year-will also be spent on additional searches.
"Over the next several years, we will be continuously able to add a small number of positions or to fill gaps that we haven't been able to fill in recent years," Jaffe said.
In addition, some departing faculty members will be replaced, including Hisam Elaqad, the University's only Arabic-language lecturer. Elaqad will leave the University at the end of the academic year for Cornell University.
Anne Lawrence, the administrative assistant to the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department, said the appointment of a new Arabic language lecturer would help the growing department to handle a recent influx of students.
"Because there has been such an increased interest in learning Arabic, it appears our classes are more and more popular," Lawrence said. "Hopefully we'll be able to keep up for the demand and continue to improve the language program."
Ian Turetsky, '07, a student in the Arabic program called it "ridiculous" that there was only one lecturer. "I guess there's a lot of turnover," he said. "I think it's kind of a shame. "There are a lot of people who want to take Arabic all the way through their college years. It hurts the students in the end."
The professors hired last week include instructors of medical sociology, cultural psychology, Latino studies and fine arts.
The new medical sociology professor was identified as Sara N. Shostak, a researcher at Columbia University's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Prof. Peter Conrad (SOC), who directed the search for the medical sociology job, said Shostak will be employed as a Kay Fellow, a two-year position designed for people who have recently received a Ph.D. Shostak received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco in 2003.
Jaffe does not see the number of faculty searches as detrimental to the University, saying instead that it shows potential in the University's ability to hire new people.
"The people you hire in one year are never going to have a huge impact on the institution," Jaffe said. "We have over 300 full-time faculty, so it's not going to be a transforming event. But I think the process of hiring new faculty over several years will allow us to build our curriculum in areas where it's been thin and to revitalize it in other areas.