University welcomes new faculty members


The university is pleased to announce eight new longer-term faculty members in the College, as well as two Brown Foundation Fellows for 2013-2014. New faculty members are Kristen Cecala, Eugenii Uliev Donev, Aaron Elrod, Maggie Fritz-Morkin, César Leal, Mayumi Manabe, James Ross Macdonald and Courtney World. This year’s Brown Foundation Fellows are the Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha and Antonio Momplet. Please see more information below about each new appointment.

New shorter-term faculty appointments for the coming year were also announced. They are:
James Myron Bateman, visiting assistant professor of mathematics and computer science; Jacquelyn Theresa Bush, visiting assistant professor of theatre; Phillip Matthew Byers, visiting assistant professor of chemistry; David Colbert-Goicoa, visiting assistant professor of Spanish; Caroline Frank, visiting instructor of German (Easter semester); William Hastings Hensel Jr., visiting instructor of English; Kevin Michael Hobbs, visiting instructor of forestry and geology (Easter semester); Frank Keith Lochner, visiting instructor of biology; Farhana Loonat, visiting instructor of politics; David Andrew Meola, visiting assistant professor of history; David Alan Neely, visiting assistant professor of biology; and Colt Brazill Segrest, visiting assistant professor of French.

Bush, Hensel, Hobbs and Segrest are Sewanee alumni.

Additional appointments for the coming year are:

  • Justyna Anna Beinek, who will begin in the Easter semester for a three-year term as director of the new Mellon Globalization Forum and visiting associate professor of International and Global Studies and Russian.
  • Jason Farris, assistant University organist since 2010, will assume duties in The School of Theology and will teach in the College as visiting assistant professor of music.
  • Anna Lee George will teach Introduction to Environmental Education in the Advent semester. Since 2006, she has served as chief research scientist and director at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute in Chattanooga.

Longer-term appointments

Kristen Cecala joins the faculty as an assistant professor of biology and watershed science. Holding a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of Georgia, Cecela is a Davidson graduate who brings to this appointment a promising record of publication and valuable research experience in herpetology and amphibian diversity. Her expertise in the biotic life of Appalachian freshwater streams is particularly relevant to Sewanee’s programs in watershed science and environmental studies. Cecela’s research and teaching experience will allow her to guide students in research ventures focused on opportunities available throughout the immediate region.

The University welcomes back Eugenii Uliev Donev, C’03, newly appointed as assistant professor of physics. Donev graduated from Sewanee magna cum laude with a double major in physics and German. He completed his graduate study and Ph.D. research at Vanderbilt University. His professional training includes further work as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Kentucky, as a research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, and as a research associate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author more than a dozen peer-reviewed journal publications, which address a number of research topics including micro and nanotechnology and the fabrication of new materials.

Aaron Elrod, newly appointed assistant professor of economics, completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics at George Washington University. He has taught both there and at Centenary College. He has also served as an economist with the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington, D.C., and as a researcher at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies. Elrod brings to Sewanee expertise in disciplines ranging from applied microeconomics to public economics and environmental and natural resource economics. Research interests include topics such as environmental regulation and the implications of production in the paper industry.

Visiting assistant professor Maggie Fritz-Morkin joins the faculty this year as Sewanee’s first full-time professor of Italian language and culture. Fritz-Morkin completed her M.A. and Ph.D. work at the University of Chicago. Her language proficiency extends beyond Italian (and English, of course) to German and French, in addition to a reading knowledge of Latin. She has taught courses ranging from elementary and intermediate Italian language, and an offering on “Italian through Dante,” to a humanities sequence on “Human Being and Citizen.” She has special interest in medieval Italian literature. 

César Leal, newly appointed conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and instructor of music, grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, playing the saxophone in a musical family. After graduating from Javeriana University in Bogotá, he continued studying at Florida International University and then, combining work in conducting and musicology, in the University of Kentucky’s doctoral program. He is committed to performing new music, having founded and serving as artistic director of the contemporary chamber group Ensemble of Variable Geometry (EnVaGe). He has conducted chamber orchestras, full orchestras, and opera, and has led ensembles in the U.S., Colombia, France, and the Ukraine.

Mayumi Manabe brings to Sewanee this fall her considerable expertise in Japanese language, literature and culture, all of which promise to enhance our curricular offerings in Asian Studies. Manabe completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine. Before joining our faculty as an assistant professor, she taught at Illinois Wesleyan University, Colgate University and Vassar College. She also served as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA’s Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. Research she began as part of her doctoral dissertation focuses on literature that dramatizes the emergence of consumer culture, and the response of working-class women to this cultural development, in interwar Japan.

James Ross Macdonald joins the English Department this year as an assistant professor with expertise in the literature of Early Modern England. McDonald is a graduate of Harvard University and recently completed his Ph.D. in English at Yale. He has taught courses on Shakespeare, Milton, “Religion and Otherness in Renaissance Drama,” and other topics at Yale, as well as at Connecticut College. He is the author of articles and conference presentations on subjects including Shakespeare’s doctors and Witchcraft and Confessional Calvinist theology in Macbeth. MacDonald is fluent in French and Italian, in addition to possessing a reading knowledge of Old English, Latin, and Spanish. 

Courtney World, who joins the faculty this year as visiting assistant professor of dance in the Theatre Department, becomes Sewanee’s first full-time instructor of dance. World is a graduate of the State University of New York, Buffalo, and completed an MFA in performance and choreography at the State University of New York, Brockport. She has taught courses or presented master classes at a number of institutions, and has performed as a dancer with numerous productions offered at sites throughout upstate New York and near New York City. 

Brown Foundation Fellows

The Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha is an Anglican priest, scholar, activist and teacher from Uganda. He was the first African religious leader to declare publically that he is HIV positive, encouraging others to acknowledge the disease. In 2002 he went on to form the Africa Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS. By 2007, the organization had become an international network numbering over 7,000 lay and religious leaders from all faith traditions. Canon Gideon has taught courses on the religious aspects of HIV and AIDS at universities in Uganda and the U.K. and has been widely recognized for his leadership on AIDS, poverty, and human rights issues. In addition to his involvement with various governments and NGOs, he has edited two books on theological questions and on church activism in relation to AIDS. At Sewanee he will teach a course dealing with religion, AIDS, and activism in Africa.

Antonio Momplet has previously taught at Sewanee as a Brown Foundation Fellow, in addition to his instruction on our behalf as a faculty member in the Semester-in Spain program and Road to Santiago course, which he co-founded with Professor Tom Spaccarelli. He first came to campus in 1989 as a Fulbright Scholar in Residence. An expert on the art and architecture of the pilgrimage road and the Mosque of Córdoba, he has served as Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. In the Advent term here he will offer a new course on Islamic art.

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