Colgate Announces Faculty Promotions and Endowed Chair Appointments

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During its spring meetings, the Colgate University Board of Trustees approved resolutions regarding faculty promotions to associate professor with continuous tenure and to full professor, as well as appointments to named chairs — all of which will take effect July 1, 2024.

“The accomplishments of our colleagues are many and varied,” said Provost and Dean of the Faculty Lesleigh Cushing. “Together, they have made significant contributions to our academic curriculum and intellectual community, as well as to their respective scholarly communities. Their promotions are well-deserved.”

Promotions to Associate Professor with Continuous Tenure

Ynesse Abdul-Malak, Sociology

AAS, Regents College; BS, MPH, American University of Beirut; MA, PhD, Syracuse University

Ynesse Abdul-Malak served as a visiting assistant professor at Colgate in 2018–19 before joining the tenure stream in 2019. Her research centers around understanding how social structures impact the aging processes of individuals throughout one’s life — with a special focus on U.S. Caribbean immigrants. Abdul-Malak’s co-authored book, Grandparenting Children with Disabilities (Springer Publishing), was published in 2020. Her work has also appeared in several journals including the Journal of Elder Policy, Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, and Innovation of Aging. Abdul-Malak teaches courses on race, aging, gender, immigration, medical sociology, and research methodology. On campus, she has served as an elected member of the ALANA Affairs Committee and as a member of the Faculty Affirmative Action Oversight Committee and Fulbright Committee.

Robert Davis, Mathematics

BA, Susquehanna University; MA, PhD, University of Kentucky

Robert Davis joined the Colgate faculty in 2020 following visiting assistant professor positions at both Michigan State University and Harvey Mudd College. His research focuses on polytypes and their uses within and beyond mathematics. Davis teaches courses such as Calculus III, Combinatorial Problem Solving, and Linear Algebra. His work has appeared in many journals including Discrete Applied Mathematics, Advances in Applied Mathematics, and The Electronic Journal of Combinatorics. He has also served as a referee for many journals. His service to the University includes serving as department liaison to Information Technology Services and as a member of the Curriculum Committee, Council for Faculty Development, and the Research Council.

Ryan Hall, Native American Studies and History

BA, University of Oklahoma; MA, MPhil, PhD, Yale University

Ryan Hall joined the Colgate faculty in 2019 after teaching at the University of Toronto and Northern Arizona University. He is a historian of the North American West with a focus on Native American and borderlands history. Hall’s book, Beneath the Backbone of the World: Blackfoot People and the North American Borderlands, 1720-1877, was a finalist for the 2021 Spur Award for Best Historical Nonfiction Book. His articles have appeared in journals such as The Western Historical Quarterly, The Journal of the Civil War Era, and The Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Hall’s courses include The American West, Native American History, and Global Indigenous History. His university service includes membership on the Fulbright and Udall Fellowship Committees.

Promotions to Full Professor

Claire Baldwin, German

BA, MA, Stanford University; MA, PhD, Yale University

Claire Baldwin joined the German faculty in 2000. Before coming to Colgate, she served as assistant professor in the Germanic Languages and Literatures Department at Washington University. Her specialties include 18th-century literature and culture, contemporary literature and culture, Jewish German literature, gender studies, and narrative theory. Baldwin teaches a variety of courses, including first- and second-year German, Introduction to German Literature, seminars on Goethe, Challenges of Modernity, Core Distinction, and first-year seminars on the Berlin Wall and on Old Worlds, New Worlds. In addition to serving as department chair and university professor for Core 152, she has directed the Freiburg Study Group several times since 2003. Baldwin’s work has appeared in publications such as Transnational German Studies; Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850; Religion, Reason, and Culture in the Age of Goethe; and Women in German Yearbook. Baldwin is a past recipient of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honorary Society Professor of the Year Award.

Jeff Bary, Physics and Astronomy

Emory and Henry College; PhD, Vanderbilt University

Jeff Bary came to Colgate in 2008 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2014. His expertise in infrared and optical spectroscopy of young sun-like stars is applied to a wide range of astronomical research projects. Two of Bary’s active research projects are the effects of large star spots on early evolution of low-mass stars and understanding accretion processes in substellar and planetary mass regime. He has published in leading journals such as Nature, The Astrophysical Journal, The Astronomical Journal, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and Astronomy and Astrophysics. A subset of the papers include Colgate student coauthors. Bary teaches a number of courses in physics and astronomy including Solar System Astronomy, Intermediate Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Astronomical Techniques, as well as a Core Sciences course on Saving the Appearances: Galileo, the Church, and the Scientific Endeavor, and a Core Communities course on Appalachia. He has contributed broadly to astronomy education through his contributions to At Play in the Cosmos: The Videogame. He has directed an extended study on In the Footsteps of Galileo. He is presently the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and he has also served as a faculty co-director of a residential commons and as the University Professor for First-Year Seminars, Global Engagements, and Core Distinction. He presently holds the Sweet Family Chair.

Jonathan Levine, Physics and Astronomy

BA, Cornell University; BA, MA, Oxford University; PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Jonathan Levine came to Colgate in 2009 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2016. His research interests are centered on the physics of the planets, planetary materials, and interactions between the Earth and its environment in space. He is the deputy principal investigator of a team developing a novel resonance ionization mass spectrometer for in situ dating of extraterrestrial samples. Their instrument has been selected to fly to the moon in 2027. He has published in leading journals including Earth Science Systems and Society, Planetary Science Journal, Groundwater, Earth and Space Science, and Planetary and Space Science. A subset of the papers include Colgate student coauthors. Levine teaches a number of courses in physics and astronomy including Solar System Astronomy, Introduction to Mechanics, and Planetary Science, as well as a Core Sciences course on The Air Up There. Jonathan is presently the faculty director of the Benton Scholars Program, directs the astrogeophysics major, and has chaired the National Fellowships and Scholarships Committee.

William Meyer, Geography

BA, Williams College; PhD, Clark University

William Meyer first came to Colgate as the A. Lindsay O’Connor Visiting Associate Professor of American institutions and then served as a visiting lecturer and visiting associate professor before joining the tenure stream in 2012. His specialties include environmental change, hazards and resources, and environmental history. Meyer’s service to the University includes department chairmanship and membership on several committees including the Academic Affairs Board, the Library Advisory Committee, Petitions Committee, the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute Executive Advisory Committee, and the Environmental Studies Advisory Committee. He also served as faculty secretary at faculty meetings for four years. His monograph The Great Murdering-Heir Case: A Biography of Riggs v. Palmer is forthcoming from the State University of New York Press. His articles have appeared in several journals including Urban Geography, Geographical Review, New York History, New England Quarterly, and The Professional Geographer.

Mary Simonson, Women’s Studies and Film and Media Studies

BA, Rutgers University; MA, PhD, University of Virginia

Mary Simonson first came to Colgate in 2008 as a lecturer in women’s studies and film and media studies. She joined the tenure stream in 2011. Simonson is the inaugural Daniel C. Benton ’80 Endowed Chair of Arts, Creativity, and Innovation. Her specialties include American cinema, American popular entertainment, film music, and 19th- and 20th-century opera and dance. Among the many courses she teaches are Introduction to Women’s Studies and Introduction to Film and Media Studies, Introduction to Performance Studies, Female Filmmakers and Feminist Films, and World Cinema. Her work has appeared in publications such as American Music, Journal of the Society for American Music, Journal of the American Musicological Society, and Leading the Way: Young Women’s Activism for Social Change. Simonson is president of the New York State-Saint Lawrence Chapter of the American Musicological Society. On campus, she has served as co-director of the Brown Commons, chair of the Colgate Arts Council, and director of the Film and Media Studies Program.

Martin Wong, Earth and Environmental Geosciences

BA, Williams College; PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara

Martin Wong came to Colgate in 2007 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2012. He studies extensional tectonics and rifting, metamorphic core complex formation, 40 Ar/ 39 Ar geochronology and thermochronology, application of thermochronology to tectonic problems, and the geology and tectonics of the western United States and northwestern Mexico. He has published in leading journals including Geology, Tectonics, Geosphere, Lithosphere, Geological Society of America Bulletin, and Tectonophysics. A subset of the papers include Colgate student coauthors. Martin teaches geology courses including Evolution of the Planet Earth, Environmental Geology, Tectonics and Earth Structure, Structural Geology, and Tectonics, as well as a First-Year Seminar course on Geology Outdoors. He has directed the spring semester Australia Study Group. Martin serves on the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Committee on Promotion and Tenure. He has previously served as the associate dean of the faculty for global and local initiatives, a member of the Emergency Operations Center, a member of the Health Analytics Team, and chair of the geology department.

Appointments to Named Chairs

April Baptiste, Environmental Studies and Africana and Latin American Studies

Inaugural Leary Family Chair in Environmental Studies

Established in 2022 by Nora Gleason Leary ’82 and her husband Robert G. Leary, this new endowed chair recognizes teaching excellence and scholarly achievements in the study of the environment and sustainability.

April Baptiste joined the Colgate faculty in 2009. She previously served as a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the African American Studies Department and earned a Certificate in Latin American Studies from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Baptiste’s scholarly focus is environmental movements in the Caribbean, and she has published work examining the relationship between environmental attitudes and concerns toward oil and gas drilling in Trinidad as well as the relationship between environmental justice and the siting of aluminum smelters within the same context. Her co-authored book, Revitalizing Urban Waterways: Streams of Environmental Justice, appeared in 2018. Baptiste’s current project explores the intersection of environmental psychological variables and environmental justice issues within the region, as she links knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors to climate change in the Caribbean. Baptiste teaches courses in environmental justice, community-based perspectives on social issues, and Caribbean environments. She has served as the co-director of the Dart Colgrove Commons and is currently the associate dean of the faculty for global and local initiatives.

Nina Moore, Political Science

Inaugural William L. Boyle, Jr. ’55 Endowed Chair in Political Science

This new chair was created to “recognize and support members of the Department of Political Science, whose contributions enrich the understanding of American government and politics, providing insight into the institutions, processes, ethical commitments, and events which influence our democratic systems.” Chairholders of this new chair are appointed for five-year terms.

Nina Moore has been a member of the political science faculty at Colgate since 1998 and currently serves as director of the Forum on Race and Public Policy within Colgate’s Center for Freedom and Western Civilization. Moore’s teaching and research focus on the intersection of racial politics, institutional process, Supreme Court race jurisprudence, and criminal justice politics and policy. She is working on a manuscript titled Toeing the Line: The U.S. Supreme Court and Affirmative Action; her earlier books are The Political Roots of Racial Tracking in American Criminal Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Governing Race: Policy, Process and the Politics of Race (Praeger Publishing, 2000). Moore is a member of the editorial board of the Ralph Bunche Journal of Public Affairs and is currently serving a four-year term as a governor-appointed commissioner on the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct (CJC). She previously served a four-term as a gubernatorial appointee to the CJC and a three-year term as a New York State Senate appointee of the Advisory Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption and Substance Abuse. At Colgate, she has served as chair of the Colgate Faculty Affairs Council, treasurer of the Colgate AAUP Chapter, and vice chair of the Faculty Diversity Council.

Kezia Page, English and Africana and Latin American Studies

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair

The chair was established by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1981. Since its creation, it has been awarded to a prominent faculty member in Colgate’s Africana and Latin American Studies Program.

Kezia Page joined the tenure-stream faculty at Colgate in 2003. Her work has been published in the premier journals in her field including Callalou, Small Axe, Journal of West Indian Literature, and Anthurium. Her first book, Transnational Negotiations in Caribbean Diasporic Literature: Remitting the Text, was published in Routledge’s prestigious Research in Postcolonial Literatures series; her second book, Inside Tenement Time: Suss, Spirit, and Surveillance, is in the final stages of completion. Her honors have included a scholar-in-residence position at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture and an NEH grant. At Colgate, Page has been an important presence in Africana and Latin American studies, where her teaching and research centers on Caribbean literature, African diaspora literatures, African American literature, and American immigrant literature. Page has also been a central figure in her home department of English, where she is recognized as an outstanding teacher and colleague. She will return to the position of director of the Africana and Latin American Studies Program in the fall.