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Tenure Goes to 12 Charles River Campus Faculty

Recognized for outstanding research, teaching

Boston University BU, Faculty promotions, tenure professorships

Tenure is conferred after consideration of faculty members’ teaching, research and publication, and professional service. Photo by Alex S. MacLean

Queen Elizabeth II, outer space, and science and technology policy are just three of the many fields of study that have thrilled and absorbed Boston University professors recently awarded promotions and tenure.

Arianne Chernock, now a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of history, is an expert in modern British history and all things queenly.

“It’s a wonderful moment to take stock of what I’ve done, but also of all the people who have helped support me along the way,” says Chernock, who is working on a new book, The Queen and I: The Right to Reign and the Rights of Women in Victorian Britain, which explores Britons’ responses to queens who reigned during the 19th century. “Tenure is a kind of vote of confidence on what I will do in the future. It’s extra encouragement in what I’m working toward.”

Nine other faculty have been promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure, one has been promoted to the rank of professor with tenure, and one associate professor has been awarded tenure. Tenure is conferred after consideration of faculty members’ teaching, research and publication, and professional service. These 12 faculty members represent three Charles River Campus schools: CAS, the School of Management, and the School of Law.

“I’m thrilled to have been granted this privilege of tenure, and in a sense knowing that this will be my family for years to come,” says Merav Opher, who has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Opher, an NSF CAREER award recipient, researches what lies beyond our solar system. “In the next years my plan is to keep pushing the envelope in terms of the new frontiers in space physics and astronomy.”

Timothy Simcoe, now an SMG associate professor of strategy and innovation, specializes in innovation, science and technology policy, intellectual property, and corporate strategy.

“It’s very rewarding to know that the University and the broader profession value the work I’ve been doing for the last 8 to 10 years,” says Simcoe, winner of the Rotman Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Toronto, where he previously taught. “I hope that tenure leads me to take a longer-term perspective in my research and teaching.”

Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, says these promotions and tenures are a great source of pride for the individuals and for the University. “We are delighted that these talented young faculty members have chosen Boston University as the launching pad for their independent careers,” she says. “Their scholarly and creative work is having a demonstrable impact in their disciplines, and they are performing exceptionally in the teaching of our students. It gives us great pleasure to recognize these accomplishments with promotion and to solidify the University’s commitment to these faculty members by awarding tenure. We look forward to working with them and heralding their continued success for many years to come.”

In addition to Chernock, Opher, and Simcoe, promotions and tenure have been awarded to the following professors:

Elizabeth Blanton, CAS associate professor of astronomy

A cosmologist with a special interest in the evolution of galaxies, Blanton studies the X-ray emissions from the superheated plasma known as the intracluster medium, at the heart of a cluster of galaxies. NASA is a major source of funds for her X-ray telescope observations of galaxy clusters. In addition to teaching astronomy at all levels at BU, she is active in public science outreach through the Boston Museum of Science as an advisor on the science of black holes.

Brooke Blower, CAS associate professor of history

Author of the award-winning Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars (2011), Blower researches the cultural history of the 20th-century United States, with an emphasis on transnational contexts, actors, and approaches to US history. She has a book forthcoming that traces Americans’ engagement with international politics from 1900 to 1950.

Irit Ruth Kleiman, CAS associate professor of romance studies

Specializing in literature of the late Middle Ages, and focusing on the birth of autobiography in France, Kleiman is an authority on medieval writing. Her award-winning book Philippe de Commynes: Memory, Betrayal, Text was recently published by the University of Toronto Press.

Cheryl Knott, CAS associate professor of anthropology

Knott is a world expert on orangutan behavior and biology; she established the Gunung Palung Orangutan Project research station in Indonesia in 1994. She received the 2011 Templeton Prize for Excellence in Student Advising for her work with undergraduates. She has been awarded tenure as an associate professor.

Sigrun Olafsdottir, CAS associate professor of sociology

A core member of the Global Stigma study team, Olafsdottir is concerned with medical sociology and the sociology of mental health, concentrating on how institutional arrangements, including cultural and political factors, can affect individual patient outcomes. She has written widely on the subject of mental health and health disparities.

M. Kevin Outterson, LAW professor of law

Outterson focuses on corporate and health law, particularly the organization and finance of the health sector. He is a codirector of the Health Law Program and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. In addition to nine book chapters and dozens of articles in medical and legal journals, he recently published four amicus briefs for the US Supreme Court on the Affordable Health Care Act.

Zhongjun Qu (GRS’03,’05), CAS associate professor of economics

A researcher of the science of econometrics, tracking patterns and correlations among a range of economic information over time, Qu has published numerous scholarly articles and papers on topics from structural changes in equations to inference and identification in macroeconomic models

Corey J. Stephenson, CAS associate professor of chemistry

Stephenson is considered a pioneer in the field of photocatalysis. He specializes in synthetic organic chemistry, focusing on the use of simple, environmentally friendly light sources to initiate chemical reactions, and is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Novartis Early Career Award in Organic Chemistry.

J. Keith Vincent, CAS associate professor of Japanese and comparative literature

Striving to start a dialogue between Japanese queer scholarship and US queer theory, Vincent is not only an expert on East Asian languages and cultures, but also a leading scholar on Japanese culture’s shifting views of sexuality throughout history. His English translations of major Japanese works have won him two top awards, including a 2011 Japan/United States Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature.

Tom Vellner can be reached at tvellner@bu.edu.


One Comment on Tenure Goes to 12 Charles River Campus Faculty

  • Jane Starkman on 05.13.2013 at 11:49 am

    When was the last time a music professor received tenure?

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