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Full Professorships Earned by 13 on Charles River Campus

Scholars in climate change, child development, the heavens, and more

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Julian Go has some news that might shock you: the United States “has been an imperial power for pretty much our entire history.”

We may think that a democracy such as ours can’t operate as an empire, but if you define empire as this sociologist does—“a transnational formation by which a state of one society exerts influence and power in other societies”—then we fill the bill, according to the newly named College of Arts & Sciences professor of sociology.

His research into empires, American and British colonialism in particular, helped land Go among the baker’s dozen of faculty on the Charles River Campus appointed to full professorships this year.

Go, who has won awards for his two books, Empire and the Politics of Meaning (Duke University Press, 2008) and Patterns of Empire: the British and American Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2011), as well as the CAS Wisneski Award for teaching, says he has been frightened by one thing he’s learned researching how the world works: Britain and America became militarily and territorially aggressive as they gained—and lost—their imperial muscle. “As empires fall, they do not behave nicely,” he says. “There are cycles and patterns in the seemingly chaotic global system. History does repeat itself.”

Like Julian Go, most of the faculty promoted to full professor this year are from CAS; there is one from Sargent College and two from the College of Engineering.

“The mark of any successful research institution is an active faculty that is producing important novel advances, contributing considerably to our understanding of the world around us, and inspiring, challenging, and motivating new generations of scholars and professionals,” says Jean Morrison, BU provost and chief academic officer. “From the sciences, arts, and humanities to engineering and business, these talented members of our community have devoted their careers to doing just that.”

Swathi Kiran, SAR professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences

Kiran’s research into aphasia (communication impairment) upended the belief that people with aphasia caused by strokes relearn language in the same way children learn it. Her finding suggested better therapies for patients. Neuroimaging by her and colleagues has discovered that “spared, undamaged regions in the damaged left hemisphere” of the brain are essential to repairing communication after strokes, she says.

“In the next 10 years, we need to be able to harness the ability to improve brain function with new technologies,” says Kiran, who is also chief science officer for the health care start-up Constant Therapy, research director of BU’s Aphasia Research Center, and a fellow of the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association.

Paul Barbone, ENG professor of mechanical engineering

Barbone is a theorist of mechanics who uses applied mathematics to study biomechanics, bioacoustics, medical imaging, and more. He collaborates often on federally funded projects involving acoustics and medicine and has written eight book chapters and dozens of scholarly articles.

Joshua Semeter (ENG’92,’97), ENG professor of electrical and computer engineering

Semeter studies space physics phenomena, developing instruments and processes to understand how the Earth’s ionosphere interacts with its environment in space. The associate director of BU’s Center for Space Physics and a recipient of ENG’s Faculty Teaching Award and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), he heads the NSF’s Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions program.

Bruce Anderson, CAS professor of earth and environment

Anderson studies climate change and humankind’s role therein, channeling the power of several academic disciplines and intricate computer models. He receives grants from the NSF and US Department of Energy and is the author of one book, a half dozen book chapters, and dozens of scholarly articles.

John Byers, CAS professor of computer science

Byers helped the business review site Yelp plug a privacy leak three years ago, demonstrating his prowess with algorithmic and economic aspects of computer networking, electronic commerce, and large-scale data analysis. He has been recognized with an award from the leading computer networks conference, while his studies of e-commerce frameworks, online advertising, and product reviews won citations in both scholarly journals and news media such as National Public Radio.

Glen Hall, CAS professor of mathematics

Hall interprets celestial mechanics with math, probing the orbits and patterns of moons, ring-shaped objects, and other phenomena. He earned a Sloan Research Fellowship for promising young scholars and the CAS Wisneski and Honors Program teaching awards and has written two textbooks and dozens of journal articles that are frequently cited by peers.

Deborah Kelemen, CAS professor of psychological and brain sciences

Kelemen studies child cognitive development, specifically children’s evolving concepts about the living and natural world and human-made artifacts. She speaks often at forums, is a prolific book chapter and article author, and with grants from the NSF and the Templeton Foundation, researches children’s concepts of tool use, religion, and evolution. She is director of the psychology department’s Child Cognition Laboratory.

George Kollios, CAS professor of computer science

Kollios studies data mining, data integration, and mobile and sensor data management. He has researched information security for outsourced databases. The holder of a 2012 US patent, “Verification of outsourced data streams,” and author of numerous scholarly articles, he also makes time for administrative work as his department’s director of graduate admissions. He is the recipient of a 2002 NSF CAREER Award.

Maurice Lee, CAS professor of English

Lee studies the interplay of politics, science, culture, and philosophy in American literature of the 1800s. He is the author of two books, Slavery, Philosophy and American Literature, 1830-1860 (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Uncertain Chances: Science, Skepticism, and Belief in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Oxford University Press, 2012), and he edited The Cambridge Companion to Frederick Douglass (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He is also a recipient of the CAS Neu Award for teaching.

Christopher Martin, CAS professor of English

Martin is a scholar of 16th- and 17th-century English literature, Renaissance lyric and prose fiction, early modern gender studies, and literary depictions of aging. His third and most recent book is Constituting Old Age in Early Modern English Literature, from Queen Elizabeth to King Lear (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012). He has written many journal articles and was a National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor from 2005 to 2008.

Jianjun Miao, CAS professor of economics

Miao is a specialist in theoretical macroeconomics and finance; he studies asset pricing, dynamic corporate finance, financial crises, and tax policy. He has written many articles in economics and finance journals and his new textbook will be out shortly. He speaks often before finance conferences and seminars in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Michele Rucci, CAS professor of psychological and brain sciences

Rucci marries computer and engineering science with experimental psychology to study the role of eye movements in perception. He has written extensively on the links between visual perception and action, is credited with discoveries in visual neurophysiology, and is director of the Active Perception Laboratory. His research is funded by both the National Institutes of Health and the NSF.

5 Comments
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

5 Comments on Full Professorships Earned by 13 on Charles River Campus

  • Previous student on 03.19.2014 at 12:47 pm

    Glad to hear about Deb Keleman, she’s an excellent professor.

  • Anonymous on 03.19.2014 at 1:00 pm

    I feel like this info is only relevant if they also included how many professors retired.

    • Jake on 03.19.2014 at 1:58 pm

      The faculty promotion process is completely independent from faculty retirement.

      • Anonymous on 03.21.2014 at 1:01 pm

        Well of course it is, but BU is making it sound like that BU is adding more and more professors every year but they might not be net wise.

  • MJ on 03.19.2014 at 5:16 pm

    Hmmm, this seems oddly focused on undergraduate profs? What about professional or graduate program professors? Law, Business etc???

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