CAP approves 12 assistant professors for tenured positions


The Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CAP) recently endorsed 12 assistant professors for tenure positions. The Board of Trustees will review the candidates at the end of January.
This year’s CAP-approved assistant professors are Lois Banta, Melissa Barry, Chistopher Bolton, Amy Gehring, Edward Gollin, Gretchen Long, Eiko Maruko-Siniawer, Nicole Mellow, Allison Pacelli, Katarzyna Pieprzak, Ashok Rai and David Tucker-Smith.
An assistant professor may apply for tenure within his or her department after teaching at the College for six years. Applications are reviewed by CAP, which is composed of President Schapiro, Bill Wagner, dean of the faculty, Bill Lenhart, College provost, and three elected full professors. Professors approved by the Board of Trustees will be declared tenured and attain a permanent position at the College.

Lois Banta

Banta, assistant professor of biology, received her B.A. in biology with honors from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. Her research and teaching interests revolve around the fields of genetics, reproductive technology, the ethics of health care and public policy. She has been prolifically published and her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Bioethics Institute.
“I feel very pleased and very relieved,” Banta said upon receiving word of her tenure status.
Melissa Barry

Barry, assistant professor of philosophy, received her B.A. in philosophy summa cum laude from Wheaton College and her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. She spent a year as a visiting scholar at Oxford. She specializes in the areas of moral philosophy and its history, moral psychology, practical reason and Hume. In 2006, Barry won a prestigious Mellon Grant from Harvard. At Williams she has taught courses on introductory moral and political philosophy and contemporary ethical theory. “Barry is one of the leading moral philosophers of her generation and an outstanding teacher. We feel lucky to have her here at Williams,” Department Chair Dana Sawiki said.

Christopher Bolton

Bolton, assistant professor of Japanese and comparative literature, received his A.B. magna cum laude in electrical, computer and systems engineering from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Japanese with a focus on modern fiction from Stanford University. His interests lie in the modern period of Japanese history, specifically that of post-war and contemporary fiction and animation. He is especially interested in the confluence and interaction of science and literature and is currently exploring interest in digital media.

Amy Gehring

Gehring, assistant professor of chemistry, received her B.A. with highest honors, summa cum laude, in chemistry from Williams in 1994. She received her Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University in 1998. She has researched the complex life cycle of soil bacteria and their role in the manufacturing of the majority of known antibodies. She has recently taught courses on biochemistry and molecular biology. She is prolifically published and has received numerous awards and honors. “She has demonstrated to be an effective and demanding teacher,” Department Chair Enrique Pacock-Lopez said. “Her scholarly productivity has also been of high quality, and she has been an effective research mentor to numerous students in her laboratory.”

Edward Gollin

Gollin, assistant professor of music, received his B.S. in music and materials science from MIT, his M.A. in music theory from Queens College – CUNY, and his Ph.D. in music theory from Harvard University.
Gollin’s research interests include the music of Béla Bartók, systems of coherence in tonally dissolute and atonal music of the early 20th century, mathematical and computational modals of music structure and historical music theories. He was formerly a lecturer on music at Harvard University. Currently at Williams he teaches music theory and musicianship, and music analysis.

Gretchen Long

Long, assistant professor of history, received her B.A. in history from Wesleyan University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. Long’s research interests include African American History, American women’s history, American medical history, African American literature and emancipation.

Eiko Maruko-Siniawer

Maruko-Siniawer, assistant professor of history, received her B.A. in history with honors magna cum laude from Williams. She received both her A.M. in regional studies East Asia, and her Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Maruko-Siniawer’s research centers on the modern history of political violence, the history of organized crime and politics and modern Japanese political and social history.

Nicole Mellow

Mellow, assistant professor of political science, received her B.A. in political science with a political economy minor from Vassar College. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin. Mellow recently published her first book, The State of Disunion: Regional Sources of Modern American Artisanship.

Allison Pacelli

Pacelli, assistant professor of mathematics, received her B.S. in mathematics summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Union College and her Ph.D. in mathematics from Brown University. Her research includes algebraic number theory, class groups and class numbers and global function fields. She has published articles in the Journal of Number Theory, Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society and the Journal of Pure and Applied Algebra.

Katarzyna Pieprzak

Pieprzak, assistant professor of French and comparative literature, received her B.A. from the departments of English, French and Slavic studies of Rice University magna cum laude, and received both her M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Michigan. Pieprzak’s interests include contemporary literature from North Africa, migration in literature and art, museum culture in Africa and the Middle East, contemporary North African art and postcolonial theory from the francophone world. Department of Romance Languages Chair Leyla Rouhi said that Pieprzak is “a stellar language teacher. Her background in comparative literature is a real asset to the program.”

Ashok Rai

Rai, assistant professor of economics, received his B.A. in economics with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. His fields of specialization are development, public economics, contract theory and finance. He recently developed a course on Games and Information for the Critical Reasoning and Analytical Skills (CRAAS) initiative and a microfinance course for the Exploring Diversity initiative. He is particularly interested in applied economics to developmental programs. “We are pleased and proud,” said Department Chair Stephen Sheppard.

David Tucker-Smith

Tucker-Smith, assistant professor of physics, graduated from Amherst with B.A. in physics, summa cum laude, and earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001. He went on to become a postdoctoral research associate at MIT. His research explores the standard model of particle physics, which describes electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions of quarks and leptons. He is also interested in the “little Higgs” theories, which are a new class of models of electroweak symmetry breaking. He is the winner of a three-year National Science Foundation grant, which began in 2006.

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