New faculty members describe teaching amidst COVID-19
The University welcomed 25 new faculty members to the teaching staff last semester.
The University was excited to welcome students back to in-person learning at the start of the fall 2021 semester. In addition to its students and returning faculty, Brandeis also opened its doors to 25 new faculty members, full time and visiting, according to a BrandeisNOW article. This addition of new members to the University’s community spans all of the School of Arts and Sciences and the Brandeis International Business School.
The majority of the new faculty members reside in the School of Arts and Sciences. Within the Division of the Humanities, there are 11 individuals. In Classical Studies, Brandeis welcomed Dr. Jeremy Swist of the University of Iowa. “Swist’s research interests include Greek and Latin historiography and rhetoric in the later Roman empire, and the reception of antiquity in heavy metal music” as stated in BrandeisNOW.
Dr. Howie Tam of the University of Pennsylvania is a Florence Levy Kay Fellow and Lecturer in the disciplines of English, and German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature. When the Justice asked Tam about his experience at Brandeis thus far, he responded “I believe Brandeis very successfully harnesses both the ambition of a globally renowned research university and the caring community of a small institution. I've been deeply impressed by my students' dedication and fortitude in their work both in and outside of class as well as the stellar faculty's collegiality.”
Dr. Yuval Evri of Tel Aviv University joined as an assistant professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. “Evri’s research sits at the intersection of Jewish history, literary studies, cultural studies, and Middle Eastern studies, with a particular focus on Sephardi/Mizrahi history and culture in conjunction with questions of ethnicity, race, nationality, linguistics, translation, and identity,” according to BrandeisNOW. Another addition to the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department is Dr. Madadh Richey of the University of Chicago.
For the Philosophy department, Dr. Larisa Svirsky, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, joined as a lecturer on her interests in ethics and moral psychology, as well as bioethics according to her website. Zoila Castro of the University of Rhode Island has over 20 years of experience teaching Spanish in the U.S., France, and Peru. She joined the Brandeis Romance Studies department as a senior lecturer and Spanish coordinator.
Dr. María Durán of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an assistant professor of Latinx Cultural Studies. According to BrandeisNOW, “Durán’s research interests encompass Latinx literatures and cultures, feminist theory, and Chicanx theatre and performance focusing in particular on political agency and the performance of resistance in 20th- and 21st-century U.S. Latinx cultural productions.”
There were four new additions to the University Writing Program. The first was Brandeis’ own Dr. Paige Eggebrecht, who has returned as an administrator and lecturer to the University Writing Program. Next, Dr. Allison Giannotti joined the University Writing Program as a lecturer. In terms of her personal experience at Brandeis, Dr. Giannotti told the Justice that, “Although I started at Brandeis during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was continually impressed with my students' resilience and optimism, and my colleagues' spirit of collaboration and innovation. Despite the circumstances, I felt a sense of hope and community in overcoming the pandemic's challenges and continuing to pursue scholarly excellence and civic engagement. I'm similarly honored to be part of a university that has committed to social change and, although there's more work to be done, the current DEI initiatives and self-reflection are encouraging.”
The third addition to the University Writing Program was Dr. Patrick Kindig who “completed his Ph.D. in English (with a concentration in American literature) at Indiana University in 2019,” as stated in BrandeisNOW. On his experience at Brandeis thus far, Dr. Kindig explained to the Justice that “My experience at Brandeis has thus far been wonderful. The students are exceptionally smart and engaged, and the University Writing Program — my home department — has been welcoming and supportive. I’ve been particularly impressed with Brandeis’ COVID-19 mitigation efforts, which strike me as thoughtful, thorough, and driven by science.”
According to BrandeisNOW, this year’s final new addition to the University Writing Program is Gregory Palermo, who “is currently finishing his Ph.D. in the English department at Northeastern University; the title of his dissertation is ‘Re-Landscaping Digital Scholarship: A Computational Analysis of Citations in Digital Humanities and Writing Studies.’”
The Division of Science has welcomed six new faculty members this year. Three new assistant professors of Biology included Dr. Steven DeLuca of the University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Christine Greinberger of Technical University (TU) Munich, Germany; and Dr. Nathalie Vladis of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Dr. Carolyn Abbott of the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined as an assistant professor of Mathematics. “Abbott’s primary research interest is geometric group theory, which sits at the intersection of group theory, geometry, and topology,” as outlined in BrandeisNOW.
Dr. Tyler Mauna of the University of Minnesota is an assistant professor of Mathematics as well. As described in BrandeisNOW, “Maunu studies recovery problems and optimization over Wasserstein space utilizing research interests that lie at the intersection of optimization, high-dimensional statistics, geometry, and machine-learning.” The final new faculty member in the Division of Sciences is Dr. Aram Apyan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Apyan is an Assistant Professor of Biology, and his “research area is experimental high-energy physics with a particular interest in the exploration of the Electroweak (EW) sector of the Standard Model (SM) of particles,” as outlined in BrandeisNOW.
Brandeis has welcomed two new faculty members to the Division of Creative Arts, beginning with Dr. Bradford Garvey of the City University of New York, who is a visiting assistant professor of Music. “His dissertation, ‘Poems to Open Palms: Praise Performance and the State in the Sultanate of Oman,’ was based on nearly two years of fieldwork with Arab men’s praise singing troupes in rural northern Oman and was supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research,” as detailed in BrandeisNOW. The second Visiting Assistant Professor of Music is Dr. Taylor Ackley of Stony Brook University.
The Division of Social Sciences has six new additions. According to the Department of African and African American Studies website, Dr. Rachel Cantave of American University is a Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor of African and African American studies, and Dr. Anya Wallace is a visiting assistant professor joining both the African and African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Departments.
Dr. Israel Ukawuba joined as a Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Environmental Studies, and Health, Science, Society, and Policy, and a lecturer in Environmental Studies. Brandeis alumnus Aaron Bray returned to the University as a lecturer in the Legal Studies department.
Dr. Renanah Miles Joyce of Columbia University joined as an assistant professor of Politics. “She specializes in military assistance to developing-country militaries, with a focus on U.S., Chinese, and Canadian military training in Sub-Saharan Africa,” according to BrandeisNOW. Dr. Evangelica Macias of the University of California, Riverside is an Allen-Berenson Fellow in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
The final new faculty member of the 2021-22 school year belongs to the Brandeis International Business School. Dr. Erin Vicente of Northeastern University joined the school as a senior lecturer. As described in BrandeisNOW,“She has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level as a former associate professor of communication. Her research focuses on contingent faculty experiences and has appeared in Review of Social Sciences, as well as been presented at numerous conferences such as the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, and an International Roundtable Symposium for Women and Education at Oxford.”
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