Scott Mangan, PhD, joins the Biology department as assistant professor. His research focus is plant-soil interactions, which he studied as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. His coauthored 2010 article “Negative plant-soil feedback predicts tree-species relative abundance in a tropical forest,” published in Nature, illuminated the relationship between underground organisms and plant diversity in tropical forests. He earned his doctorate from Indiana University.
Jonathan Myers, PhD, joins the biology department as assistant professor. Previously, he was postdoctoral fellow with Washington University’s Tyson Research Center. Myers’ research interests center around ecological and evolutionary processes that shape patterns of biodiversity across scales, especially in plant communities around the globe. He studies the interplay of processes across scales, including evolutionary processes that create variation in diversity among biogeographic regions, environmental and spatial processes that assemble communities across natural and human-modified landscapes, and biotic and functional mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance of local biodiversity. He has collaborated on papers published in Science, PLoS ONE and Global Ecology and Biogeography. Myers earned a BS in biological sciences at Cornell University, an MS in ecology at the University of Florida, Gainesville and a PhD in biological sciences at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
Hani Zaher, PhD, joins the biology department as assistant professor. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that govern translational fidelity and its impact on cellular fitness and codon evolution. Zaher has authored papers published in Nature, Cell, Molecular Cell and RNA. He earned his B.Sc. and PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from Simon Fraser University.
George-Levi Gayle, PhD, joins the economics department as associate professor. He specializes in econometric theory, contract theory, labor economics, personnel economics and corporate governance. He earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of the West Indies. Recent research focuses include executive promotion, turnover and compensation, as well as gender differences in executive compensation and job mobility. Previously, he was associate professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
Limor Golan, PhD, joins the economics department as associate professor. Her research interests are labor economics, applied microeconomics, and applied econometrics. Current areas of focus include the analysis of earnings and education gaps as related to race and gender, and estimation of dynamic labor market models with asymmetric information. She earned her doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and previously served as associate professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
Edward McPherson, MFA, joins the English department as assistant professor of creative writing. Previously, he was interim education director at the Loft Literary Center and taught creative writing at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of two nonfiction books: Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat (Faber & Faber) and The Backwash Squeeze and Other Improbable Feats (HarperCollins). He has written articles for the New York Times Magazine, the New York Observer, I.D., Esopus, Salon, and Talk, among others. A recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, he earned his MFA in fiction from the University of Minnesota, where he received the Gesell Award in Fiction. He earned his bachelor of arts summa cum laude from Williams College.
Abram Van Engen, PhD, joins the English department as assistant professor. Previously, he was assistant professor in the Department of English at Trinity University. Van Engen’s research and teaching interests include early American literature and culture, Puritanism, sentimentalism, and religion. He has published papers in Early American Literature, Legacy, Literature and Theology and Pedagogy. His current book project argues that a Calvinist theology of sympathy helped shape the culture of early New England, affecting definitions of English identity, conceptions of community, relations with Native Americans, and the development of American literature. He earned bachelor’s degrees in English and philosophy from Calvin College. He earned his master’s and doctorate from Northwestern University.
John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
Darren Dochuk, PhD, joins both Arts & Sciences and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics as associate professor of humanities. Previously, he was associate professor of history at Purdue University. Dochuk studies and teaches on the topic of how evangelical Protestant beliefs, practices, individuals, and interests have shaped and been influenced by the secular world. In 2011, he published From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism, which won awards from the American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians. His current book project is tentatively titled Anointed with Oil: God and Black Gold in Modern America. Dochuk earned a BA from Simon Fraser University and an MA from Queen’s University in Canada before completing his PhD in 2005 at the University of Notre Dame.
Mark Jordan, PhD, joins the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics as Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities. Most recently, he served as the Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity and Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. His current research interests include the interactions of political and religious rhetoric, the history of sex and gender in America, and the functions of ritual in creating unexpected identities. His latest book, Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality, received a 2012 award for nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle. He earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.
Ari Stern, PhD, joins the mathematics department as assistant professor. Previously, he was postdoctoral scholar and lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, San Diego. Stern is the newest member of the department’s analysis group, which covers functional analysis, harmonic analysis and complex variables. A 2012 recipient of the US Junior Oberwolfach Fellowship and one of the inaugural awardees of the AMS-Simons Travel Grant for 2011-2013, Stern has been invited to give talks in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom. He earned his BA and MA from Columbia University and his PhD at the California Institute of Technology, where his dissertation was awarded the W. P. Carey & Co. Prize in Applied Mathematics
Denise Elif Gill, PhD, joins the music department as assistant professor. She is an ethnomusicologist whose work focuses on the musical and cultural practices of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, with particular attention to the relationship between music and affect/emotion, gender and sexualities, spirituality, health and dis-ease, memory, and social justice. Her current research explores the consequences of situating melancholy as a central affective practice and discourse in contemporary Turkish musicians’ lives. Elif Gill has conducted over thirty months of ethnographic research in Turkey (2003–09, Fulbright). Her awards include the Ki Mantle Hood Award from the Society of Ethnomusicology (2007), a Sakip Sabancı International Research Award (2008), an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Academic Senate (2010) and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate Students Association (2007) at UCSB.
Alexander Stefaniak, PhD, joins the music department as assistant professor. His research centers on music during the first half of the 19th century, particularly instrumental virtuosity, German Romantic aesthetics and the culture of serious music, and the intersection of these topics. His dissertation explores Robert Schumann’s activities as a critic and composer of virtuosic instrumental music. Stefaniak served as a teaching assistant and graduate instructor, work that led to an Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student in 2010. Other awards include a Sproull Fellowship and a Glen Watkins Traveling Fellowship, which supported archival research in Germany during fall 2011.
Paul Steinbeck, PhD, joins the music department as assistant professor. He is a music theorist who specializes in the study of improvisation. His research focuses on musical analysis, intermedia, the social implications of improvisation and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). He co-authored AACM saxophonist Fred Anderson’s instructional text for improvisers, Exercises for the Creative Musician, now in its second edition. At present, Steinbeck is writing a book titled Message to Our Folks: The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Improvisation, and Great Black Music. He currently serves as the founding chair of the Interest Group on Improvisation within the Society for Music Theory. Steinbeck is also a bassist, composer and recording artist.
Justin Fox, PhD, joins the political science department as assistant professor. His research applies game theory to the study of American political institutions, focusing on questions of institutional design. He earned his doctorate from the University of Rochester and from 2005–12 served as a faculty member at Yale University. His work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Political Analysis and Public Choice. He currently serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Political Science.
Jonathan Rogowski, PhD, joins the political science department as assistant professor. His research interests include campaigns and elections, legislative behavior, the presidency, and the separation of powers. He is coauthor of the forthcoming book The Wartime President, which examines the conditions under which presidents wield increased power relative to Congress during war. Other current research projects examine the role of ideology and information in congressional elections, identify the conditions under which electoral competition facilitates accountability, and evaluate the institutional determinants of executive power in the states. Rogowski earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. His dissertation is titled “Representation and the Electoral Connection.”
Romance Languages and Literature
Javier García-Liendo, PhD, joins the romance languages and literatures department as assistant professor of Spanish. He earned his doctorate from Princeton University in 2011. Previously, he conducted research on orality and literacy with the Machiguenga indigenous group in the Peruvian Amazon. His areas of teaching and research include Andean literatures and cultures; the work of José María Arguedas; Latin American cultural and intellectual history; popular culture; material culture; literary theory; and cultural studies. He is currently working on his first book, tentatively titled Alternative Mass Cultures: Intellectuals, Technology and Communication in the works of Ángel Rama and José María Arguedas.
Other Incoming Faculty
Hired in 2011 with start date in 2012
Art History and Archaeology
John and Penelope Biggs Distinguished Professor
Earth and Planetary Sciences