Williams College Promotes Seven Faculty Members to Full Professor

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has announced the promotion of seven faculty to full professorships, effective July 1, 2020. 

They include Jessica Chapman, history; Lisa Gilbert, geosciences; Christopher Goh, chemistry; LeRhonda (Rhon) S. Manigault-Bryant, Africana studies; Ashok Rai, economics; Neil Roberts, Africana studies; and Fred Strauch, physics.

In addition, eight faculty have received new named chair positions: Daniel Aalberts is the Kennedy P. Richardson ’71 Professor of Physics; Stephen Freund is the John B. McCoy and John T. McCoy Professor of Computer Science; Marc Gotlieb is the Halvorsen Director of the Graduate Program in Art History; John Limon is the John Hawley Roberts Professor of English; Susan Loepp is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mathematics; Lucie Schmidt, is the John J. Gibson Professor of Economics; Eiko Siniawer is the Class of 1955 Memorial Professor of History; and Steven Swoap is the Howard B. Schow ’50 and Nan W. Schow Professor of Biology.

Jessica Chapman

Chapman's specialization is the United States and the world, with research emphases on Vietnam, decolonization, and the Cold War. Her teaching interests include U.S. foreign relations, the Vietnam Wars, the Cold War and decolonization, sport and diplomacy, and the relationship between foreign policy and domestic affairs. Her first book, "Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, The United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam," was published by Cornell University Press in 2013. The recipient of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship, she is currently at work on two book projects. She received her B.A. from Valparaiso University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Lisa Gilbert

Gilbert's areas of interest include undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents and science education. Her deep-sea research emphasizes the geophysical and geologic structure of mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, and hydrothermal systems. She is also a field geologist, with projects on ancient underwater volcanoes now accessible in New Zealand, Cyprus, Oman, Canada, Connecticut, and the western United States. Each summer, and part-time during the academic year, she leads the Marine Geosciences Research Group at Williams-Mystic. Her ongoing work includes efforts at improving equity in higher education, building partnerships in sustainability education throughout the learning ecosystem, and systems thinking skills development. She received her A.B. from Dartmouth and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Christopher Goh

Goh's research interests most broadly center around the role of metals and have included work on mimicking metal-containing active sites of enzymes, on the design of homogeneous metal catalysts and more recently, on polymers for removing heavy metals from the environment. He teaches introductory courses in chemistry as well as advanced courses in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, bio-inorganic chemistry, and instrumental methods of analysis. He has also taught Winter Study classes introducing students to research and a course on interpersonal communication. His scholarship has been published widely. In addition to teaching, he is a Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.

Rhon Manigault-Bryant

Manigault-Bryant is the author of "Talking to the Dead: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women" (Duke University Press, 2014) and "Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). She first came to Williams as a Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in 2006 and has taught at the college since 2011. Her courses include Race, Gender, and the Alien Body: Octavia Butler’s Science Fiction, Womanist/Black Feminist Thought, and Blackness 2.0: Race, Film and New Technologies, among others. As a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship awardee, she is pursuing substantive and methodological training in film studies and documentary filmmaking. She received her A.B. from Duke University and her Ph.D. from Emory University.

Ashok Rai

Rai's current research examines the globalization of coffee, drawing on history, literature, ecology, and on fieldwork in Central America and East Africa. In addition to Williams, he has taught at Harvard University, Yale University, and the University of Göttingen. In his teaching and scholarly writing, he uses game theory, a cross-disciplinary mathematical tool, to analyze how people interact—in the past and in the present, in cartoons and in business. His research has been published in journals such as World Development, the Journal of Development Economics, and the Review of Economic Studies. He has a B.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Neil Roberts

Roberts' teaching and scholarship ranges from modern and contemporary political theory to Afro-Caribbean thought, African-American philosophy, critical theory, the politics of race, and concepts of freedom. He is the author of the award-winning book Freedom as Marronage (University of Chicago Press, 2015), the collaborative work Journeys in Caribbean Thought (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016), and several edited and coedited collections. His latest volume is "A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass" (The University Press of Kentucky, 2018). At Williams, he has served as chair of the religion department and college lecture committee, and is currently the W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow in Democratic Studies. He received his B.A. from Brown University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Fred Strauch

Strauch is a theoretical physicist whose research aims to develop methods to efficiently and robustly store, transfer, and manipulate quantum information using simple, experimentally accessible control protocols. His current work, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, focuses on the design of “artificial solids” capable of demonstrating novel quantum transport, with potential application in quantum computers. At Williams since 2008, his courses include Mathematical Methods for Scientists, Philosophical Implications of Modern Physics, Controlling Quanta, as well as Physics and Astronomy Colloquium. He received his B.S. from Loyola College and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

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Mount Greylock School Committee Gets Report on Start of School Year

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District on Tuesday evening plans a community forum on the start of the school year.
The School Committee last Thursday heard that things are going as well as can be expected as the PreK-12 district re-invents the way it teaches students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are really appreciative of the fact that we've had a couple of weeks of remote learning actually, despite some challenges," said Joelle Brookner, who this summer transitioned from being principal at Williamstown Elementary School to being director of curriculum and instruction for the district.
"Bringing in small groups of people that we have in each of the student support centers in the schools has its own set of challenges, and it's allowed us to work out some kinks. It's allowing us to anticipate some of what the problems are probably going to be when we have more students in the building, such as distancing."
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