New Faculty Hires Reflect Workforce Growth Areas

New Faculty Hires Reflect Workforce Growth Areas

Top row: Joshua Groffman, Al Seesi Sahar, Patty Bode, Marcell Graziano, Sujatha Herne; middle: Anuli Njoku, Svenja Gusewski; bottom: Melanie Uribe, Joshua Knickerbocker, Hanyong Chung, Kelly Coleman, Lauren Tucker

As society continues to grapple with subjects related to health, equity and the environment, Southern has opted to hire more than a quarter of its 31 new tenure-track faculty in clusters related to those real-world topics.

Robert Prezant, provost and vice president for academic affairs, recently announced that small groups of faculty have been hired to form three academic clusters – healthcare informatics; climate change, resilience and the blue economy; and equity, social mobility and access.

“These areas represent strong interdisciplinary approaches in fields that are growing, have great relevance to today’s world, and have strong employment opportunities for our students,” Prezant said.

“They also represent areas already strongly represented on our campus allowing for a compounding of our disciplinary power, enhancement of our potential curriculum and scholarship, and wonderful opportunities for external partnerships.”

The initiative is also designed to create synergy for faculty research. Each cluster is represented by faculty from at least two or three academic disciplines and at least two of Southern’s colleges.

“Bringing in a team of faculty members whose disciplinary and scholarly interests overlap creates an instantaneous set of collaborators,” he said.

“All too often new faculty members are hired and they must search out or work with current faculty and administrators to find those relevant partners. This saves the effort of new faculty searching for disciplinary partners and instantaneously creates enhanced areas of disciplinary excellence.”

Prezant explained the selection of these three topical clusters was made from nine proposals across the campus. “The selection of the final three was difficult and made after lively discussions and debates by members of the Provost’s Council.”

Jean Breny — chairwoman of the Public Health Department who played a key role in the creation of the equity, social mobility, and access cluster — said she is excited about the opportunities being afforded to students.

“We know that our students today are passionate about making a difference in the world and in the communities they live,” Breny said. “We see this in the topics they choose for papers and internship placements, and their increased engagement in political and social issues…Because this is an area where data collection and analysis have proven very fruitful, students will gain hands-on experience with data issues adding to their marketable skills at graduation.”

New faculty members selected for one of the clusters include:

  • Climate change, resilience and the blue economy: Amanda Bertana, sociology; Marcello Graziano, management; Miriah Kelly, environment, geography and marine sciences.
  • Equity, social mobility and access:  Karen D’Angelo, social work; Anuli Njoku, public health; and Adam Pittman, sociology.
  • Healthcare Informatics: Sahar Al-Seesi, computer science; Andy Bartlett, Mathematics

Other new tenure-track faculty members include:

  • Punit Anand, finance. Research interests include asset pricing and investments, as well as corporate finance.
  • Patricia Bode, art. Research interests include multicultural education, postmodern perspectives in art education, and the importance of art education in society.
  • Jennifer Cooper Boemmels, earth science. Research interests include post-rift structural evolution of the Vermont and New York portion of the New England-Quebec Igneous Province.
  • Susan Burger, nursing.  Research interests include health promotion and use of telehealth to manage chronic illnesses.
  • Dana Casetti, physics. Research interests include astronomy and astrophysics.
  • Shi Biao (William) Ding, marketing. Research interests include factors shaping gift giving.
  • Qu Chen, counseling and school psychology. Research interests include factors related to empathy.
  • Hanyong Chung, accounting. Research interests include financial reporting and corporate governance.
  • Kelly Coleman, health and movement services. Research interests include athletic training in secondary schools, and doctoral education in athletic training.
  • Denver Fowler, educational leadership. Research interests include ethical leadership among school leaders.
  • Michele Griswold, public health. Interests and research are in the area of social inequities and structural barriers surrounding infant feeding and maternal child health.
  • Joshua Groffman, music. Research interests include environmental communication through music and sound.
  • Svenja Gusewski, communication disorders. Research interests include language and literacy development of young Spanish-English dual language learners, and culturally sensitive intervention methods for culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
  • Joshua Knickerbocker, nursing. Experience includes instructing pediatric advanced life support simulation at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital.
  • Atul Kulkarni, marketing. Research interests include digital marketing and analytics, and sales promotions.
  • Nicole McGowen Madu, curriculum and learning. (January hire)
  • A. Casey McPherson, counseling and school psychology. Research interests include mental health in rural America, and improving training practices of early-career faculty.
  • Joanne Roy, nursing. Background in nursing leadership and professional development.
  • Anastasia Sorokina, world languages and literatures. Research interests include bilingualism’s effect on autobiographical memory, and liberal vs. conservative media coverage of Crimean crisis of 2014.
  • Lauren Tucker, special education. Research interests include assistive technology in education, and the use of Twitter by teachers.
  • Melanie Uribe, art and design. Research interests include migrant identity and acculturation (refuges/displaced), exhibition design and installations as medium for effective communication, experimental design and book arts.
  • Jillian McNiff Villemaire, recreation, tourism and sport management. Research interests include career decisions among sport management students, and transferable skills for student-athletes.
  • Alice Wieland, management/international business. Research interests include gender and decision making in the business world.