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Charles River Campus Has 26 New Associate Professors

Humanities, engineering, and education among their areas of research


What does it mean to be an associate professor at BU? The Office of the Provost defines it as faculty who “enjoy a national reputation as a scholar or professional,” are committed to teaching, and “demonstrate public, professional, or University service beyond the department.”

Those qualifications aptly describe the more than two dozen Charles River Campus faculty members who were recently promoted to the rank of associate professor—24 with tenure and 2 non-tenure-track. “These 26 talented faculty members demonstrate each day through their research discoveries, teaching innovation, and timely scholarship why Boston University is among the nation’s leading laboratories in the creation of new knowledge,” says Jean Morrison, BU provost and chief academic officer. “From the humanities and the arts, to the social and health sciences, mathematics, marketing, and communication, all are having measurable impact in their fields and classrooms. We are excited for their accomplishments and proud to count them as valued members of our academic community for many years to come.”

Promoted to associate professor with tenure:

Joanna Davidson, College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of anthropology

Davidson specializes in cultural anthropology, centering her research on the Diola peoples of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa through lenses of economic development, agriculture, gender relations, interethnic conflict, and the politics of storytelling. She is the author of the book Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa (Oxford University Press, 2015) and the coeditor of another book, and has published numerous articles and reviews in scholarly journals.

David Glick, CAS associate professor of political science

Glick explores American politics, with particular emphasis on political institutions (law and the courts), federalism, decision-making, and public policy questions. He has published extensively in political science journals, chaired the Law and Courts section of the New England Political Science Association this past year, and won several awards for his writing from the American Political Science Association.

Phillip Haberkern, CAS associate professor of history

Haberkern specializes in religious and intellectual history in late medieval and early modern Europe, focusing specifically on German and Czech religious reform movements. A past winner of BU’s Gitner Family Undergraduate Teaching Prize and the CAS Templeton Award for Student Advising, he is the author of Patron Saint and Prophet: Jan Hus in the Bohemian and German Reformations (Oxford University Press, 2016). Haberkern has also written four book chapters and several articles in scholarly journals and has held fellowships with the BU Center for the Humanities, the University of Southern California, and the University of St. Andrews.

Hiroaki Kaido, CAS associate professor of economics

Kaido specializes in econometrics, specifically microeconometrics, applying innovative statistical models to better dissect economic data, understand anomalies, and forecast future trends. A frequent presenter at national conferences, he has authored a book chapter and eight articles in economics journals and secured significant grant support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research. He is a past winner of the BU Graduate Economics Association advisor of the year award.

Rebecca Martin, CAS associate professor of Greek art

Martin’s research focuses on the intersection of the Greek and Phoenician worlds, with an emphasis on ethnicity, identity, and culture. The codirector of a major archaeological excavation at Tel Dor (in modern-day Israel), she is the author of the recent book The Art of Contact: Comparative Approaches to Greek and Phoenician Art (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), five book chapters, and five articles in archaeology and architecture journals.

Russell Powell, CAS associate professor of philosophy

Powell works in the areas of medical ethics and philosophy of biology, examining problems in evolutionary theory, as well as the metaphysical and epistemological dimensions of debates in contemporary bioethics. He has received numerous major federal and foundation grants and fellowships supporting his research, has coedited a book, and has published 5 book chapters and 23 articles in philosophy and bioethics journals. He is currently associate editor for life sciences for the journal Philosophy & Technology.

Kate Saenko, CAS associate professor of computer science

Saenko specializes in machine learning, concentrating on the development of new systems to enhance vision and language understanding. A recipient of several active federal grants supporting her research into artificial intelligence, she has published four articles in computer science journals, is program chair for the 2020 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, and last year she and her students received the Most Innovative Solution award in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Large-Scale Activity Recognition Challenge.

Konstantinos Spiliopoulos, CAS associate professor of mathematics and statistics

Spiliopoulos researches probability, stochastic processes, and statistics, exploring the application of stochastic partial differential equations to challenges in the sciences, engineering, and finance. A past NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award winner, he is an elected member of the Center for Information & Systems Engineering, a past Hariri Institute Junior Faculty Fellow, and a frequent guest lecturer. He has published 2 book chapters and 34 articles in mathematics journals.

Yoon Sun Yang, CAS associate professor of Korean and comparative literature

Yang specializes in modern Korean literature, with additional expertise in gender studies, literary translation, film, and graphic novels. She is the author of the recent book From Domestic Women to Sensitive Young Men: Translating the Individual in Early Colonial Korea (Harvard University Press, 2017), has published two articles in literary journals, and is the editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature. She is a frequent conference presenter and has been invited to deliver a half-dozen lectures.

Mina Tsay-Vogel, College of Communication associate professor of mass communication

Tsay-Vogel focuses on the effects of entertainment and social media on individuals’ emotions, cognition, and behaviors, drawing from theories in communication and social psychology. She has published 22 articles in communication journals and delivered dozens of invited conference presentations. She is codirector of the Communication Research Center at BU and is a past recipient of the Division of Media Studies Teacher of the Year Award and COM’s Faculty Advisor of the Year Award.

Brian Kulis, College of Engineering associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Kulis studies computer vision applications, devising new methods to make it easier to analyze large-scale data and helping to resolve core problems in machine learning, including metric learning, content-based search, clustering, and online learning. A past NSF CAREER Award winner and recipient of BU’s inaugural Peter J. Levine Career Development Assistant Professorship, Kulis has published nine book chapters and nine articles in engineering journals.

Bobak Nazer, ENG associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Nazer’s research focuses on information theory and wireless communication, with an emphasis on developing new techniques for distributed, reliable computation over networks and working recently to apply information theory concepts to neuroscience. He is a past NSF CAREER Award winner, has earned special recognition for his writing from the IEEE, and last year received ENG’s Dean’s Catalyst Award and his department’s Faculty Service Award. He has coauthored a book chapter and published 11 articles in information theory journals.

Marié Abe, College of Fine Arts associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology

Abe explores the relationship between music, social justice, and human rights, focusing her research on sound studies, listening practices, street performance, and the ways music is used by marginalized or politically oppressed groups. She published Resonances of Chindon-ya: Sound, Space, and Sociality in Contemporary Japan (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England, 2018). She has written a book chapter and numerous articles and reviews, and she coproduced the 2011 National Public Radio documentary Squeezebox Stories, which tells stories from Californian immigration history using the accordion as a common trope. She is the American & New England Studies Program director for undergraduate studies.

Michael Birenbaum Quintero, CFA associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology

Birenbaum Quintero examines world music cultures and pop music and culture, with a concentration on the music of the black inhabitants of Colombia’s Pacific coast region. He is the author of the forthcoming book Rites, Rights, and Rhythms: A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Pacific (Oxford University Press, 2018), two book chapters, and numerous reviews and has been invited to give presentations at colleges and international conferences.

Jason Yust, CFA associate professor of music theory

Yust researches topics in mathematical music theory, music analysis, and music perception and cognition, with a current emphasis on musical structure across different modalities in tonal music. He is the founder of the Mathematics of Music Analysis Group in the Society for Music Theory and has authored seven articles in music theory journals, along with a book chapter, numerous essays, reviews, and the forthcoming book Organized Time: Rhythm, Tonality, and Form (Oxford University Press, 2018), which deals with musical structure across different modalities in tonal music from music-analytic, historical, and mathematical perspectives.

Joshua Pederson (GRS’08), College of General Studies associate professor of the humanities

Pederson specializes in trauma studies and religion and literature, exploring issues of pain and atonement in religious, modernist, and contemporary literature. A regular presenter at scholarly conferences, he is the author of The Forsaken Son: Child Murder and Atonement in American Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2016), as well as a book chapter and numerous articles and book reviews in scholarly publications. Pederson is a past recipient of the James Phelan Award for best essay of the year from the journal of the International Society for the Study of Narrative.

Patricia Cortes, Questrom School of Business associate professor of markets, public policy, and law

Cortes focuses dually on gender economics and the economics of immigration and migration, investigating the impact of cross-national migration on national economies and the economic factors shaping the careers of highly educated female professionals. A frequently invited presenter, she has published 10 articles in business and economics journals.

Nachiketa Sahoo, Questrom associate professor of information systems

Sahoo specializes in machine learning, integrating computer science, social science, and statistics to explore personalized information filtering and the extraction of valuable data from social media content. A past Reidy Family Career Development Professor and Hariri Institute Junior Faculty Fellow, he has coauthored 4 journal articles and been invited to deliver more than 30 conference presentations. In 2014, he received the best paper award at the Workshop on Information Technologies and Systems.

Monic Sun (GRS’06,’08), Questrom associate professor of marketing  

Sun examines the optimization of marketing via digital technology, focusing on the impact of online search, digital media and consumer-generated content, mobile campaigns, and social networks on firms’ advertising strategies. She has published 9 articles in marketing journals, delivered more than 60 invited talks and presentations, is an associate editor for Information Economics and Policy, and is on the editorial boards of Marketing Science and Customer Needs and Solutions.

Sudha Arunachalam, Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences associate professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences

Arunachalam specializes in early language development, with specific focus on verb learning and children’s ability to extract meanings from everyday interactions. The recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and the NSF, she has written dozens of widely cited journal articles and book chapters, is an elected fellow of the Psychonomic Society, and is director of Sargent’s Child Language Lab.

Jessica Kramer, Sargent associate professor of occupational therapy

Kramer researches measurement and self-advocacy interventions for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, working to enable their participation and learning in public school settings. She has secured consistent federal and foundation grant funding to support her research and has published 15 book chapters and 53 scholarly articles in rehabilitative sciences journals.

Cara Stepp, Sargent associate professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences

Stepp specializes in the treatment of voice, speech, and swallowing disorders, integrating speech science, computer science, and engineering—among several disciplines—to improve diagnosis and rehabilitation of communication-based challenges. She is a current NSF CAREER Award recipient, with multiple active federal grants supporting her research, and is a past Peter Paul Career Development Professor. A frequent presenter at conferences, she has published 2 book chapters and more than 50 articles in science and health journals.

Nathan Jones, Wheelock College of Education & Human Development associate professor of special education

Jones’ research focuses on teacher quality and development and school improvement, researching measurement strategies for teacher effectiveness in evaluation systems. The recipient of more than $8.3 million in grant support for his research as PI, co-PI, or coinvestigator, he has authored eight book chapters and a dozen articles in field journals on special and general education teacher effectiveness. He is an editor of The Elementary School Journal and is on the editorial board of The Journal of Teacher Education.

Zachary Rossetti, Wheelock associate professor of special education

Rossetti studies the social belonging and participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), focusing on how educators and family members can facilitate friendship opportunities between students with and without IDD. A frequent conference presenter, he has published 5 book chapters and 15 articles in leading scholarly journals and has received significant foundation grant funding to support his research.

Promoted to associate professor:

Tammy Vigil, COM associate professor of mass communication

Vigil studies political campaign rhetoric, with a current focus on speeches at national nominating conventions, including those by spouses of presidential nominees. She has published four books, most recently Connecting with Constituents: Identification Building and Blocking in Contemporary National Convention Addresses (Lexington Books, 2015), two book chapters, and four articles in scholarly journals. A frequent conference presenter, she has made more than 40 media appearances and is a past recipient of the Wrange-Baskerville Award from the National Communication Association.

Guanglan Zhang, Metropolitan College associate professor of computer science

Zhang studies health informatics, focusing specifically on the development of computational algorithms in biomedical and health sciences. The coinventor on 2 patents and a key participant on 2 current grants, she has published 51 articles in biomedical and bioinformatics journals and 7 book chapters, and has developed more than 15 online computational systems.


2 Comments on Charles River Campus Has 26 New Associate Professors

  • Rebecca Kinraide on 06.14.2018 at 9:13 am

    Congratulations to all of these excellent faculty members.

    I look forward to the day when faculty promoted to Master Lecturer are also acknowledged by the university and BU Today. Master Lecturers have exhibited a great deal of commitment to the University and it would be fitting to acknowledge that.

    • Vika Zafrin on 06.14.2018 at 9:45 am

      Hear, hear!

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