The College Welcomes New Faculty

The College of Arts & Sciences welcomes 18 new faculty members this year to our nexus of big ideas, innovative learning, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Natasha Grace Holmes (physics), who focuses on physics education research, reflects the College’s commitment to educational innovation. She’ll be studying curricula and pedagogy for lab courses, especially to develop and measure critical thinking and experimentation skills. The music department’s new engaged curriculum will also be expanded, with two new hands-on classes taught by Marianthi Papalexandri Alexandri (music). The courses question the role and function of the musical instrument as a sound-generator and explore the borderlines and factors that link music composition, sound art and performance.

The College’s role as home of the university’s core courses, and its commitment to undergraduate education, has been enriched by the addition of two faculty members in the mathematics department. Alex Townsend works in the area of numerical analysis and scientific computing; he is developing the algorithms for a biologically-based energy production project. Inna Zakharevich works on algebraic topology and algebraic K-theory. Her current project is titled “Scissors congruence: From classical geometry to motives.”

Expanding the College’s expertise in contemporary issues of critical importance will be two new sociology faculty members, who are also faculty fellows at the Center for the Study of Inequality, Filiz Garip researches migration, social networks, economic sociology and inequality; her current project examines immigrant integration in Europe. Vida Maralani studies demography and stratification with an emphasis on education, health, and gender. She is currently examining inequalities in children’s social and emotional skills by family income and parental education and how these have changed over time. Amy Krosch (psychology) looks at inequality from a different angle, working to understand the psychological factors that support persistent and wide-spread inequalities between groups in America and to find interventions to reduce such disparities in socio-economic and health outcomes. 

Collaboration is a core value in the College, and Song Lin (chemistry) is especially looking forward to that aspect of his time at Cornell. He’s working on developing interdisciplinary approaches to address unsolved problems in organic synthesis and sustainable chemistry. 

Brad Ramshaw (physics), who’s currently investigating new ways of using ultrasound as a probe of the topological properties of quantum materials, notes that the organization of research and graduate studies into "fields of study" at Cornell “has a reputation for fostering collaboration between disciplines at a level that is unmatched anywhere else.”

The interdisciplinary emphasis at Cornell is important to Nilay Yapici (neurobiology and behavior) also; her research explores the neural basis of decision making, with her current focus on the molecular and neural mechanisms that regulate decisions about food. The research of Jessica Ratcliff (science and technology studies) also crosses borders: her project seeks to clarify the historical relationship between the growth of modern forms of science and modern forms of state. Astrid Van Oyen (classics) looks at her topic from a broad, bottom-up perspective: her new project considers innovation in the Roman world in a cross-craft context, starting from material culture and its perception rather than from abstract economic structures.

The College’s global emphasis is evident in the work of new faculty like Jean-François Houde (economics), whose current project looks at the imperfect competition in the provision of sanitation services in Senegal, examining whether industries collude to raise prices. Shawn McDaniel (Romance studies) is also looking internationally, with his research on the aesthetics of anti-imperialism in the changing dynamics of US-Latin American relations.

 The creative and scholarly work of Rebekah Maggor (performing & media arts) focuses on the theatre of protest, particularly in the Middle East. She will direct her new translation of “Desert of Light” by the Palestinian-Syrian writer Rama Haydar, which premiers Sept. 22 at the Schwartz Center. Protests, and the relationship between art and politics, are an interest of Caroline Levine (English) as well, particularly in regard to academic freedom; she was inspired by stories of her father’s battle against McCarthyism while he was a Cornell student. 

Carol Edelman Warrior (English) is also interested in traditions of protest. Her current book manuscript is tentatively titled “Traditions of Resistance in Indigenous Speculative Fiction.” Filmmaker Dehanza Rogers (performing & media arts) is working on a transmedia documentary entitled “Witnessing” that examines the images of Black suffering and systemic racism within the justice system since the turn of the 19th century.