CRC Faculty Promotions Span Disciplines


Professors in six colleges move up

By Rich Barlow

Receiving promotions recently were 16 faculty members. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky
Receiving promotions recently were 16 faculty members. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Could smartphones, the can’t-live-without technology for many 21st-century Americans, also be a vital tool against mental illness in underserved populations?

Jordana Muroff believes so. The School of Social Work scholar is testing a smartphone app that would help Spanish-speaking Latinos with mental illness or substance abuse problems to stick with their medication. “Latinos are the largest minority group and have high rates of mental health problems, poverty, and homelessness,” says Muroff, “and they have few culturally and linguistically competent mental health services.”

Her work has helped Muroff earn a promotion to associate professor with tenure, making her one of 13 faculty members so honored recently. Two current associate professors, meanwhile, were granted tenure, and one assistant professor was promoted to associate professor.

As a practicing social worker, Muroff noticed demographic disparities in mental health diagnoses. “I have been very interested in understanding the role of nonpsychiatric factors, like race and gender, in clinical interactions and decisions related to mental health,” she says. With a particular interest in hoarding disorder, she modified a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps patients modify their thinking to improve behavior. “My research has established the efficacy of group cognitive behavioral treatment for hoarding disorder,” says Muroff, who is working on a book.

As well as Jordana Muroff, promotions went to:

Deborah Burton, College of Fine Arts, promoted to associate professor of music with tenure

Burton is a specialist in Italian opera and among the leading experts on operas by Puccini, having written the book Recondite Harmonies: Essays on Puccini’s Operas (Pendragon Press, 2012). She helped launch the discipline of opera analysis and is known for her unique interpretations of musical pieces.

Dana Frankfort, CFA, promoted to associate professor of art

An abstract painter, Frankfort stresses cultural and historical context (along with messages) in her artwork. She has had eight shows in the last six years. Her work has been included in 35 group shows as well. A 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, she recently finished two paintings commissioned by universities in her home state of Texas.

Japonica Brown-Saracino, College of Arts & Sciences, promoted to associate professor of sociology with tenure

A scholar of urban sociology and community studies, Brown-Saracino researches gentrification and identity. Known for “engaged learning” for her students within the city of Boston, she’s written numerous journal articles about the cultural meaning of space, as well as the book A Neighborhood That Never Changes (University of Chicago Press, 2009), an Urban Affairs Association Best Book Award winner.

Emine Fetvaci, CAS, promoted to associate professor of history of art and architecture with tenure

Fetvachi is a pathbreaker: the first full-time professor BU has ever had in this field. An expert on Islamic art and architecture, Ottoman painting particularly, she received a Peter Paul Career Development Professorship and has written one book and a monograph that was translated into Turkish.

Robinson (Wally) Fulweiler, CAS, promoted to associate professor of earth and environment and of biology with tenure

Fulweiler studies the effects of humans on marine systems. Awarded many grants to research climate change and evolving ecosystems, she is one of the first Sloan Fellows in ocean science, and she has won the CAS Neu Family Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Samuel Isaacson, CAS, promoted to associate professor of mathematics and statistics with tenure

A specialist in mathematical biology and mathematical physics, Isaacson designs computational and mathematical approaches to solve questions in molecular biology. He has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and written articles in many top journals promoting biophysical modeling.

Margaret Litvin, CAS, promoted to associate professor of modern languages and comparative literature with tenure

Litvin studies modern Arabic literature and political culture, often applying Shakespearean and theater studies to them. She wrote Hamlet’s Arab Journey: Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s Ghost (Princeton University Press, 2011), as well as book chapters, reviews and journal articles. She was named a Peter Paul Career Development Professor.

Donna Pincus, CAS, awarded tenure as an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences

Pincus develops evidence-based treatments for anxiety and related disorders in children and adolescents. A leader in Parent Child Interaction Therapy, which tries to improve parents’ interactions with their kids, she has won grants for her clinical and home-based research, which has included groundbreaking work in internet-based therapies. Her scholarly production includes 5 books and more than 100 conference presentations.

Susanne Sreedhar, CAS, promoted to associate professor of philosophy with tenure

Sreedhar is an expert on Thomas Hobbes and other early modern philosophers and social contract theorists. She also researches contemporary political philosophy and women’s studies. She’s a go-to Hobbes scholar for conference organizers and is the author of the book Hobbes on Resistance: Defying the Leviathan (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Evimaria Terzi, CAS, promoted to associate professor of computer science with tenure

Terzi studies data mining and algorithms for pulling useful knowledge from massive datasets. She cowrote a book on privacy in social networks and received a Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, an IBM Outstanding Award, and NSF grants that include a CAREER Award.

Gregory Williams, CAS, promoted to associate professor of history of art and architecture with tenure

Williams is an expert on contemporary art and art criticism, focusing on German art of the late 20th century. The first non-German to win the Critic’s Award of the Association of German Art Societies, he won international recognition with publications that include a 2013 monograph, Permission to Laugh. Williams won the CAS Frank and Lynne Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching two years ago.

Aaron Worth, College of General Studies, promoted to associate professor of rhetoric with tenure

The relationship between media technology and colonialism in British literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is Worth’s bailiwick. He is the author of Imperial Media (Ohio State University Press, 2014) and has another book in the works that applies cognitive science to study Victorian representations of the mind.

James Galagan, College of Engineering and School of Medicine, awarded tenure as an associate professor of biomedical engineering and of microbiology

Galagan uses computational and experimental methods to study and treat bacterial and fungal diseases. He is associate director for systems biology at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. Galagan holds four patents and has published dozens of articles about microbial diseases for leading journals.

Michael Smith, ENG, promoted to associate professor of biomedical engineering with tenure*

Smith uses experimental and computational approaches to study the microenvironments that help define cells and tissues. He’s received many NSF grants, including a CAREER Award, as well as BU’s Innovation Career Development Professorship and ENG’s Early Career Research Excellence Award. *Professor Smith is also an affiliated faculty member of the Division of Materials Science and Engineering.

Scott Seider, School of Education, promoted to associate professor of education with tenure

Seider studies adolescents’ and young adults’ civic and character development and how secondary schools and universities affect it. He has won awards for his book Character Compass (Harvard Education Press, 2012) and collected a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Academy of Education.