Top-Notch Faculty Adds Familiar Faces
Austin College students, alumni, and friends know well the high caliber of the Austin College faculty. Affirmation of that came from another source in August when The Princeton Review college guide The Best 373 Colleges named the Austin College faculty among the top in the country, listing the educators 15th nationwide for academic excellence in its “Professors Get High Marks” category.
When the College seeks new faculty members to fill vacancies, similar teaching excellence, scholarship, and compatibility with the close-knit, collaborative spirit of the community are key elements for consideration. Sometimes, the individuals best suited to an open position happen to be former students, who have benefitted firsthand from the teaching and learning partnerships between Austin College faculty and students.
One of the College’s own joined the faculty in a tenure track position in the Sociology Department this fall. Jennifer Randles, a 2003 summa cum laude Austin College graduate and the Kidd Scholarship Medal winner as one of two top graduates in the class, joined the faculty as assistant professor of sociology. The Phi Beta Kappa graduate advanced to University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology. At UC, Berkeley, she was a research fellow for the Institute for the Study of Social Change, as well as an adjunct faculty member who received honors as Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor and Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor.
Brian Watkins also returned to campus this fall, serving as a visiting assistant professor of anthropology. A 2004 summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate in anthropology at Austin College, he completed a master’s degree in sociocultural anthropology at Michigan State, where he is completing his Ph.D. in anthropology.
Three faculty members were granted tenure and promotion effective this fall: Melanie Fox, associate professor of economics; Steve Ramsey, associate professor of business administration; and Jill Schurr, associate professor of psychology. Melanie and Jill joined the Austin College faculty in 2005. Steve was an adjunct faculty member for several years before joining the tenure-track faculty in 2007.
Comings and Goings
Jacqueline Moore, professor of history, and Ivette Vargas, associate professor of religious studies, returned to their Austin College classrooms this fall. Moore spent the past academic year as a Fulbright Scholar teaching history at Hong Kong Baptist University. Vargas was awarded a Fulbright Scholar award in 2009-2010 and taught at City University of Hong Kong before immersing in research in Tibet and China for a book. When the Fulbright year was complete, she spent an extra year in research in the region.
Jeff Czajkowski, assistant professor of economics, remains on leave this year, continuing study begun in spring 2011 after being awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Risk Management and Decision Process Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Faculty members returning from 2010-2011 sabbaticals are Lisa M. Brown, associate professor of psychology; Carol Daeley, professor of English; Rick Duhaime, professor of music, Mildred S. Mosher Professor; Max Grober, associate professor of history; Keith Kisselle, associate professor of biology and environmental science; Danny Nuckols, associate professor of economics and business administration, John T. Jones Chair of Economics; Kelly Reed, associate professor of biology; Brad Smucker, associate professor of chemistry; Barbara Sylvester, professor of education; Hunt Tooley, professor of history; and Andra Troncalli, associate professor of physics.
Faculty on sabbatical this fall are Melanie Fox, associate professor of economics; Terry Hoops, associate professor of anthropology; Mark Monroe, associate professor of art; and Tony Tanner, associate professor of chemistry.