Faculty Development

The quality of CAS depends on the quality of its faculty, and hiring the best and brightest is crucial to providing world-class academics and research. In 2015/16, CAS hired 28 new professors across mathematics, the humanities, and social, natural, and computation sciences that will begin their careers here in the coming year. Three of the new faculty hires were in computer science and two were senior hires in statistics, enhancing an area (data science) where there has been strong student interest and where we are aiming to become global leaders with a robust, ongoing faculty expansion. Three new hires were in Earth & environment, another area of strength we have targeted for expansion. Meanwhile, senior hires included professors and associate professors in the departments of chemistry, statistics, English, history, and history of art & architecture.

Two of our new faculty hires were Haviland Wright, professor of the practice of statistics, and Masanao Yajima, associate professor of the practice of statistics, who will strengthen the new GRS Master in Statistical Practice program. Since 1985, Wright has held an array of posts in the corporate sphere, including as an entrepreneur, CEO, director, co-founder, mutual fund director, senior VP, and principal scientist. Yajima has a similarly extensive career, having worked at civic agencies, research institutes, and private companies, and was part of some of the earliest data science teams. Some established mid-career professors will also join CAS this fall, including Edmund Russell, professor of history, and Daniel Abramson, professor of the history of art & architecture. Malika Jeffries-EL, associate professor of chemistry, joined us in January 2016 and has won numerous awards (including the NSF CAREER Award) for her research on the development of organic semiconductor materials to power electronics more affordably. (See Appendix, New CAS Faculty, AY 2016/17.) In addition to our impressive new hires, CAS also promoted five faculty members to professor and awarded 14 with tenure. (See Appendix, Promoted, Tenured, and Retired Faculty AY 2015/16.)

Diversity in background, like diversity in thought, is crucial to high-caliber education and groundbreaking research. This year, CAS led BU’s Task Force on Faculty Diversity & Inclusion and held a University-wide town hall meeting to ensure that faculty and BU reflect the rich diversity of our society and student body, both now and in the future. In the coming year, Dean Cudd plans to proactively hire a more diverse faculty to support this initiative.

Awards and Recognition

The quality of CAS faculty is evident in the large number of prestigious awards they win for their research and the honors they receive for exceptional contributions to scholarship in their respective fields, including, in the past year, two National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Awards and two Sloan Research Fellowships.

CAS faculty members are also honored for their teaching—for the innovation, passion, and commitment with which they approach their craft. Erin Murphy’s ability to bring 17th-century literature to life as an associate professor of English and of women’s, gender & sexuality studies earned her one of the University’s highest teaching honors, the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. Physics lecturer Manher Jariwala also received the Metcalf Award for his active teaching techniques and interest in every student. John Straub’s dedication to the classroom and scholarly contributions as professor of chemistry earned him the 2016 United Methodist Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding research and contributions to the learning arts and the University.

Here is a sampling of the awards and honors received by CAS faculty in 2015/16:

Astronomy: Professor of Astronomy Michael Mendillo was named the 2015 NSF/CEDAR Distinguished Lecturer. The award is given to senior people in the field in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions to the CEDAR community, who study the upper atmosphere of the Earth.

English: Former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, professor of English and creative writing, was named a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor for his dedication to celebrating, documenting, and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. The Warren Professorship is the highest honor bestowed on senior faculty members involved in research, scholarship, teaching, and University civic life. Read more

International Relations: John Woodward, professor of the practice of international relations, received the Career Intelligence Medal in recognition of his exemplary service to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for 21 years. Woodward served as a CIA operations officer for most of his career, with duty in several war zones. Read more

Mathematics & Statistics: Professors Nancy Kopell and Glenn Stevens were each named a 2016 Fellow of the American Mathematical Society—Kopell, for her contributions to dynamical systems, applications to neuroscience, and leadership in mathematical biology, and Stevens for his contributions to the theory of p-adic modular forms and for service to the mathematical community.

Playwriting: Kate Snodgrass, artistic director for the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, won a Tanne Foundation Award for her contribution to theater. The Tanne Foundation supports those who create art of any type with unrestricted financial support.

Political Science: Professor of Political Science Virginia Sapiro received the 2016 American Political Science Association Frank J. Goodnow Award for service to the profession. The award “honors service to the community of teachers, researchers, and public servants who work in the many fields of politics.”

Psychological & Brain Sciences: Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences Howard Eichenbaum, a pioneering memory researcher, was also named a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor. Eichenbaum’s work examines the critical role of the hippocampus in memory formation. Read more

Annual Report 2015/2016

  • From the Dean The Difference a Year Makes
    From enhancing research excellence to recruiting ever-better faculty and students, academic year 2015/16—the first under Dean Ann Cudd’s leadership—saw CAS continue to grow its capacities.
  • Improving Undergraduate Education Improving Undergraduate Education
    Providing a world-class undergraduate education is the core of what we do at CAS. In 2015/16, we made curricular improvements, launched new career preparation programs, and welcomed a tremendous class of 2019 that will benefit from our ongoing efforts.
  • Strengthening Graduate Education Strengthening Graduate Education
    The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ continued evolution in and out of the classroom has resulted in a 5.6% increase in master’s applications in 2015/16, as well as an affirmation of the strength of its humanities and social science PhD programs, with more than half of students accepting their offers.
  • Enhancing a World-Class Faculty Enhancing a World-Class Faculty
    The quality of CAS’ academics and research depends on the quality of its faculty, and so we work hard to hire the best and brightest. In 2015/16, CAS hired 28 new professors across the humanities, mathematics, and the social, natural, and computational sciences.
  • Conducting Pathbreaking Research Conducting Pathbreaking Research
    Discoveries and innovations at CAS helped make BU one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 35 research universities in the world. Faculty received nearly $61 million in funding this past year, advancing understanding in the fields of subatomic physics, Alzheimer’s disease, and classical studies, to name a few.
  • Growing Our Capacity and Stewarding Our Resources Building Our Future Together
    In 2015/16, the sixth year of the Campaign for Boston University, we achieved our initial goal of raising $100 million for CAS—and we reached that goal a year early. More than 26,000 alumni, friends, and parents have generously made gifts of $106,636,751 to the college via the ongoing campaign.
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