Tag Archive for faculty achievements

Board of Trustees Confers Tenure on 4 Faculty

In its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure on four faculty members including Tiphanie Yanique, associate professor of English; Jay Hoggard, professor of music; Ron Kuivila, professor of music; and Sumarsam, professor of music. Sumarsam also was appointed to the Winslow-Kaplan Professorship of Music. The appointments will be effective on Jan. 1, 2017.

“Please join us in congratulating them on their impressive records of accomplishment,” said Joyce Jacobsen, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Tiphanie Yanique

Tiphanie Yanique

Tiphanie Yanique is a widely published and highly regarded fiction writer, essayist and poet. She is the author of two novels, one children’s book, one collection of poems, numerous works of short fiction, and many nonfiction essays. Her novel, Land of Love and Drowning (Penguin Random House Publishers/Riverhead Books, 2014), is the recipient of several awards, including the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and the American Academy Rosenthal Prize, and her recent poetry collection, Wife (Peepal Tree Press, 2015), received the 2016 Bocas Poetry Prize in Caribbean Literature and the 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for best new collection in the United Kingdom. Her work has focused on themes of belonging and freedom. She offers courses on creative writing and literature. (Yanique’s photo by Debbie Grossman)

Imai Presents Economics Research at Banking Conference, Macroeconomics Research Workshop

Masami Imai

Masami Imai

Masami Imai, chair and professor of economics, professor of East Asian studies, presented a paper at the 19th Annual International Banking Conference held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on Nov. 4. This year’s theme was Achieving Financial Stability: Challenges to Prudential Regulation, giving Imai the opportunity to speak on “Japan’s Regulatory Response to Banking Problems.”

At the 12th Annual Workshop on Macroeconomics Research at Liberal Arts Colleges, held at Williams College in August, and at the Japanese Economic Association Meeting held at Waseda University College in Tokyo, Japan in September, Imai discussed “The Effects of Ethnic Chinese Minority on Vietnam’s Regional Economic Development in the Post-Vietnam War Period.”

His work examined the impact of the Hoa, an ethnically Chinese, economically dominant minority on regional economic development in Vietnam following the Vietnam War. Imai found that the ethnic group had a positive impact on the development of Vietnam, but the “post-Vietnam War exodus of ethnic Chinese is likely to have had long-term negative economic impacts.”

Imai teaches courses on money, banking and financial markets, economy of Japan, economies of East Asia, and quantitative methods in economics. His research interests include money and banking, political economy, and the economy of Japan.

(Randi Plake contributed to this article).

 

Gallarotti Speaks about the U.S. Economy on 1420 AM

Giulio Gallarotti

Giulio Gallarotti

Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, spoke on WLIS 1420 AM/WMRD 1150 AM Connecticut radio (Valley Shore program) Oct. 10 about the U.S. economy. Gallarotti also is co-chair of the College of Social Studies and professor of environmental studies.

In the midst of an election campaign, Gallarotti says the American economy is doing well relative to other countries. The U.S. unemployment rate is presently 5 percent, and the budget deficit is less than 8 percent of America’s Gross National Product (GNP), he reported.

“I think the American economy is strong,” he said during the interview. “Our deficits and debt are not as big of a problem as most Americans think. A number of other countries have deficits and debts that are larger relative to their economies than ours are. Hence we are in less trouble than they are.”

Sultan’s Book Nominated for Royal Society of Biology Award

Sonia Sultan

Sonia Sultan

A book titled Organism and Environment (Oxford University Press, 2015) by evolutionary ecologist Sonia Sultan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies, has been shortlisted for the Royal Society of Biology Award for Best Post-graduate Textbook.The winner will be announced later this month.

In addition, Organism and Environment was named a “landmark volume” in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and reviews are forthcoming in BioScience, Ecology, Evolution and Biology and Philosophy.

In November, Sultan will speak about her research on developmental plasticity at the New Trends in Evolutionary Biology: Philosophical and Social Science Implications symposium held jointly by the Royal Society and the British Academy. Sultan is one of 22 invited scientists and humanists from Europe, North America and Israel.

At Wesleyan, Sultan’s research group studies plant ecological development or how individual plants develop and function differently in response to different environmental conditions, in particular to factors that vary in nature such as light and shade, soil moisture and key nutrients. To examine these responses, Sultan determines developmental patterns (or norms of reaction) expressed by genetic individuals collected from field populations. These experiments reveal the interplay of genotypic and environmental factors in shaping the functional and reproductive outcomes of individual development.

Sultan has long been a major contributor to the empirical and conceptual literatures on individual plasticity and its relation to ecological breadth and adaptive evolution.

She teaches Plant Form and Diversity, Principles of Biology II, Evolution Journal Club, Evolution in Human-Altered Environments and Nature/Nurture: The Interplay of Genes and Environment.

Johnston, Eiko Exhibit A Body in Fukushima in Manhattan

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Hattachi Benten 7 August 2016 No. 0457; Photo by William Johnston.

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Hattachi Benten 7 August 2016 No. 0457; Photo by William Johnston.

A Body in Fukushima, the collaborative work of Wesleyan artist-in-residence Eiko Otake P’07, ’10 and Professor of History and East Asian Studies William Johnston, will be on view at the Cathedral of St, John the Divine in Upper Manhattan as part of a larger exhibition The Christa Project: Manifesting Divine Bodies from Oct. 6 through March 12. Otake, who serves as an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral and a co-curator with Wesleyan senior Hannah Eisner ’17 for this project, will offer a short performance for the opening reception, which is open to the public. The exhibition includes works by many notable artists such as Kiki Smith, Kara Walker and Meredith Bergmann ’76.

The project offers a response to and a wider revisiting of the 1984 exhibit of sculptor Edwina Sandys’s Christa, a conceptualizing of the crucified Christ in female form, which sparked considerable outrage at the time. In a statement introducing this re-exhibition of the sculpture, now alongside works of 21 contemporary artists, the project directors note: “Christa’s essential statement …remains vital to our world today: people are hungry to see themselves and each other fully represented in society, especially in its most powerful and iconic institutions.

Otake and Johnston’s collaboration, A Body in Fukushima, explores environmental disaster, human failure, and loss through Johnston’s photographs of Otake’s presence in Fukushima, the site of the 2011 earthquake, tsumanmi and nuclear meltdowns. The large area of Fukushima remains uninhabitable to this day. Prior to this artistic collaboration with their three visits to Fukushima in 2014 and this summer, the two have co-taught courses on the atomic bombings and mountaintop removal mining.

In artists’ statements the two note the importance of a physical presence and bearing witness. Otake says, “By placing my body in these places, I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. Now desolate, only time and wind continue to move.”

Johnston, also, speaks to the historic context of the place: “By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important. Through photographing Eiko in these places in Fukushima, we are witnessing not only her and the places themselves, but the people whose lives crossed with those places.”

Hittachi Benten 7 August 2016 No._0457 Photo by Wm Johnston copyJohnston

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Minami Soma, Shiogama Shrine, 3 August 2016 No. 426. (Photo by William Johnston)

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Tomioka 5 August 2016 No. 0215; Photo by William Johnston

From The Fukushima Project, by Eiko Otake and William Johnston: Tomioka 5 August 2016 No. 0215.(Photo by William Johnston)

 

Hudes’ New Musical Focuses on Family in an Ever-Changing American Society

Quiara Alegria Hudes

Quiara Alegria Hudes

Miss You Like Hell is a new musical written by the Shapiro Distinguished Professor of Writing and Theater, Quiara Alegria Hudes. Focusing on what it means to be a family in an ever-changing American society, Hudes’ work follows the story of a “whip-smart, deeply imaginative teenager and her free spirited Latina mother, as they embark on a road trip.”

Commissioned by Christopher Ashley, the artistic director at La Jolla Playhouse, in La Jolla, California, the production is a new piece that embraces the idea of changing identities. Ashley states in an a broadwayworld.com article, “this is exactly the right time for their powerful and moving new musical…”

Hudes received her BA in music composition from Yale University and a MFA in playwriting from Brown University. Boasting an extensive list of accomplishments, Hudes received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama for her play Water by the Spoonful. Her play Elliott, A Soldier’s Fugue was a Pulitzer finalist, and her most recent work, The Happiest Song Plays Last, premiered at the Goodman Theater. Hudes also wrote the book to the Tony Award winning musical, In the Heights, where Wesleyan alumni Lin Manual-Miranda ’02, music and lyrics, and Thomas Kail ’99, director, also had major roles in its creation.

Miss You Like Hell will run from Oct. 25 through Dec. 4 in the Mandell Weiss Theater in La Jolla, Calif. Tickets are available at lajollaplayhouse.org.

Tucker Coordinates Firearms, Constitutional Rights Conference Sept. 14-15

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, is organizing a conference titled “Firearms and the Common Law Tradition” to be held at the The Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., Sept. 14-15.

Topics will include “The Uses of Guns,” “Laws Regulating Carriage of Guns,” “Guns and the Supreme Court: The Influence of History,” and “Guns and Constitutional Rights.”

Focused on the ways in which historical arguments have become important for the judicial debate about guns in America, the discussion will feature Darrell Miller, professor of law at Duke University School of Law and Eugene Volokh, the Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.

NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg will moderate.

In addition to the paper presenters, who include several of the historians who consulted on the relevant Supreme Court decisions, for both sides, about 25 leading historians, legal scholars, and curators of historic firearms collections will attend, including guests from the Buffalo Bill Museum; Autry Museum of the American West; the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution; the NRA Museum; and The Royal Armouries, Leeds.

Wesleyan’s Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, Emeritus, and John Finn, professor of government, are planning to attend.

The conference, which is hosted by Ruth Katz at The Aspen Institute,  is supported with funds from Stanford University and Wesleyan University.

Tucker also is associate professor of environmental studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies and associate professor of science in society.

Hingorani Finishes Program Director Appointment with NSF

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, professor of integrative sciences, recently completed a two-year tenure working for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB). Hingorani served as the program director of the MCB Genetic Mechanisms program.

Hingorani worked with investigator-driven proposals submitted to both the Genetic Mechanisms and the Cellular Dynamics and Function programs. As a rotating program director, Hingorani managed proposal reviews and awards and responded to inquiries from principal investigators conducting fundamental research related to the central dogma of biology.

Jenkins Stages Play in Florentine Prison

Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, recently completed a collaboration with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in Florence, Italy. The center asked Jenkins to stage a play in a Florentine prison on the theme of human rights.

The play, which was based on Dante Aligheri’s 14,000 line epic poem, “The Divine Comedy,” was performed on July 14 and featured Coro Galilei, a choir that specializes in Gregorian chants, and actors from a local prison. The script consisted of texts written by the prisoners on the theme of justice intertwined with fragments from the “Divine Comedy” and interviews with human rights activists from around the world.

“Dante’s Inferno” is the most famous section of “The Divine Comedy” and is based on Dante’s real life in 14th century Italy, where he was a city official, diplomatic negotiator, and a man who dared to cross the Pope. Dante also was a convict and convicted of crimes, and Jenkins uses Dante to connect with incarcerated men and women.

“Dante was condemned to death, but we do not remember him as a convict,” Jenkins told the audience at Sollicciano prison in his prologue to the play. “We remember him as writer and philosopher who denounced the lack of justice in his society. After having seen our play, we hope you will remember the performers, not as convicts, but as writers whose words are born from the wisdom of experience, as Dante said, ‘Men of great value…. Suspended in this limbo.'”

Jenkins has already taught “Dante’s Inferno” and acting to inmates in Connecticut and Indonesia. Jenkins encourages incarcerated men and women to make connections between their own life stories and the experiences of the characters in classics like “Dante’s Inferno.” Their thoughts are used to create play scripts that are performed inside a prison. Wesleyan students also perform the scripts at other colleges and in the community, and engage in discussions about issues related to reforming the country’s criminal justice system.

Personick Wins LaMer Award from American Chemical Society

Michelle Personick

Michelle Personick

Michelle Personick, assistant professor of chemistry, received the Victor K. LaMer Award from the American Chemical Society Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry. The honor, which comes with a $3,000 monetary award, was presented at the ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium June 5-8 at Harvard University, where she presented a plenary talk.

The Victor K. LaMer Award is presented to the author of an outstanding PhD thesis in colloid or surface chemistry. LaMer was the editor of the Journal of Colloid Science (now the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science) from its founding in 1946 to 1965. In addition to his seminal work on colloids, LaMer’s fundamental contributions to physical chemistry have found their way into every textbook and university course on that subject.

Personick received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Middlebury College in 2009 and a PhD in chemistry from Northwestern University in 2013. Her doctoral thesis was titled “Controlling the Shape and Crystallinity of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles.”

A key advance of her dissertation work was the development of a comprehensive set of design guidelines for controlling the shape of gold nanoparticles via reaction kinetics and surface passivation effects. Her graduate research contributed to 15 articles published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nano Letters, Science and others.

From 2013 to 2015, Personick was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard. As a member of the Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis (IMASC) Energy Frontier Research Center, she studied selective oxidative transformations of alcohols on nanoporous gold alloy catalysts. In July 2015, she joined the faculty at Wesleyan where her research focuses on the synthesis of noble metal alloy nanoparticles with well-defined shapes and catalytically active high-energy surfaces.

The Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry is one of the most active Divisions in the ACS with approximately 2,500 members throughout the world.

Rudensky’s Photos Featured in The New York Times

Ricky Preslar, who has undergone growth-attenuation therapy, in his bedroom. (Photo by Sasha Rudensky/For the New York Times.)

Ricky Preslar, who has undergone growth-attenuation therapy, in his bedroom. (Photo by Sasha Rudensky/For The New York Times)

Photographs by Sasha Rudensky ’01, assistant professor of art, are featured in the March 22 online edition of The New York Times. The images accompany an article “Should Parents of Children With Severe Disabilities Be Allowed to Stop Their Growth?

Rudensky’s images are of 9-year-old Ricky Preslar, who who underwent a controversial medical intervention known as growth-attenuation therapy. When children with intellectual and developmental disabilities enter adolescence and adulthood, the simple tasks of caring for them — dressing, toileting, bathing, holding and carrying — can become prohibitively difficult for parents. Arresting a child’s growth could benefit both child and parent. Ricky currently weighs 43 pounds and is 43 inches high.

From the time he was 4 until just shy of his 7th birthday, he received doses of estrogen high enough to stimulate the premature closing of the epiphyseal or “growth” plates, the thin wedges of cartilage found at the end of the long bones in children and adolescents.

Rudensky studied studio art and Russian literature at Wesleyan where she received a BA in 2001. She received her MFA in photography from Yale University in 2008. Her other photographs can be found online at http://www.sasharudensky.com.

The Preslar family at home. (Photo by Sasha Rudensky/For The New York Times).

The Preslar family at home. (Photo by Sasha Rudensky/For The New York Times).

Plous Named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous at the AAAS fellow induction ceremony, Feb. 13. (Photo by Fijare Plous)

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous at the AAAS fellow induction ceremony, Feb. 13. (Photo by Fijare Plous)

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

He was inducted on Feb. 13 during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., part of the association’s annual meeting. Plous was one of eight fellows newly elected to the Psychology section of the AAAS this year. He was chosen “for distinguished contributions to social psychology, particularly understanding decision-making and prejudice, and for communication of psychology science to the public.”

Founded in 1848, the AAAS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people. Fellows are members of AAAS “…whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished… Examples of areas in which nominees may have made significant contributions are research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public. In a tradition stretching back to 1874, these individuals are recognized for their extraordinary achievements across disciplines. Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council from the list of approved nominations from the Section Steering Committees.”

Plous holds a PhD in psychology from Stanford University. He is a former recipient of the SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in International Peace and Security. He joined Wesleyan’s faculty in 1990 and has interests in judgment and decision making, international security, prejudice and discrimination, the human use of animals and the environment, interactive web-based research and action teaching.

Plous is the founder and executive director of Social Psychology Network, a suite of nonprofit web sites supported by the National Science Foundation, several other organizations, and more than 3,500 members. Collectively, these sites have received more than 317 million page views.

He also is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.