From: Michael S. Roth and Joyce Jacobsen []
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2016 1:15 PM
Subject: Tenure and Promotions Announcement


Dear Colleagues,


It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotions of eight faculty members, effective July 1, 2016.


In its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure to Robyn Autry, Associate Professor of Sociology; Sonali Chakravarti, Associate Professor of Government; Amy MacQueen, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Paula Matthusen, Associate Professor of Music; Rich Olson, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Christopher Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Mathematics; Damien Sheehan-Connor, Associate Professor of Economics; and Eirene Visvardi, Associate Professor of Classics.


Please join us in congratulating them on their impressive records of accomplishment.  Brief descriptions of their areas of research and teaching appear below. 


There may be additional tenure announcements after the May meeting of the Board of Trustees.


Best wishes,


Michael S. Roth



Joyce Jacobsen

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs



Robyn Autry, Associate Professor of Sociology

Professor Autry is a cultural sociologist with broad interests in collective identity, memory, and visual culture.  Her research on the ways in which the past is constructed and represented at museums has been published in several journals.  Autry’s book, Desegregating the Past: The Public Life of Memory in South Africa and the United States, analyzes clashes around the development of history museums in both countries as a window into the desire for particular personal and collective orientations toward the past (Columbia University Press, forthcoming).  She teaches courses on comparative race and ethnicity, the future, and memory and violence.


Sonali Chakravarti, Associate Professor of Government

Professor Chakravarti’s research draws on the history of political thought in order to investigate contemporary questions of justice.  Her first book, Sing the Rage: Listening to Anger after Mass Violence (University of Chicago Press, 2014), was based on her research on transitional and restorative justice and the constructive role anger can play in transforming relationships between victims and perpetrators and cultivating trust between citizens.  She offers courses on the moral basis of politics, transitional justice, what is the good life, and modern political theory.


Amy MacQueen, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Professor MacQueen is a geneticist and molecular cell biologist whose research focuses on meiosis, the process of splitting and recombination of genetic material that occurs when reproductive cells are formed.  Her work seeks to understand the fundamental cellular mechanisms of these events, which may ultimately clarify how errors arise in this process, which can lead to birth defects such as Down syndrome.  MacQueen has received significant NIH grant support and has published several high-impact papers on her research in this area.  She teaches courses on cell biology and advanced labs in molecular biology and genetics.


Paula Matthusen, Associate Professor of Music

Professor Matthusen is an acclaimed experimental composer who works in a wide variety of media, including electro-acoustic and acoustic music, and sound installations.  Her work explores relationships between physical and musical spaces and engagement with individual and cultural memory.  She has received numerous honors including being named a 2014-2015 recipient of the prestigious Elliott Carter Rome Prize in Composition, and has secured 20 commissions for original compositions.  She directs the Toneburst Laptop Ensemble and offers courses on tonal harmony and experimental music.


Rich Olson, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Professor Olson’s research uses X-ray crystallography and other biophysical methods to study the structure and function of proteins that are central to health and disease.  His work, supported by a significant NIH grant, seeks to discover how otherwise benign bacteria transform into dangerous human pathogens.  Olson’s highly-cited 2011 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the structure of a pore-forming toxin associated with cholera has had a significant impact on the field.  He teaches courses on membrane protein structure and signal transduction.


Christopher Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Professor Rasmussen’s research is in the robust area of arithmetic algebraic geometry, a central area of mathematics research that uses geometric approaches to solve problems of number theory.  He studies the absolute Galois group through its representations on geometric objects.  His work focuses especially on the arithmetic properties of elliptic curves and abelian varieties possessing unusual structure.  Professor Rasmussen teaches courses on abstract algebra, multivariable calculus, and discrete mathematics.


Damien Sheehan-Connor, Associate Professor of Economics

Professor Sheehan-Connor earned an M.D. prior to his Ph.D. in economics, and his research combines these two areas of expertise by using applied econometric tools to perform economic evaluation of public policies with likely health impacts.  His work has focused on the welfare economics of bone marrow donor registries, and most recently, on public policies concerning vehicle safety.  He recently published an article on “Environmental Policy and Vehicle Safety: The Impact of Gasoline Taxes” (Economic Inquiry, 2015).  He offers courses on economic theory, microeconomic analysis, public economics, and healthcare economics.


Eirene Visvardi, Associate Professor of Classics

Professor Visvardi’s research on Greek literature, and in particular, Athenian tragedy, focuses on the role of emotions in classical Athens, and how emotions—especially pity and fear—were manifested, collectively, by the choruses in Greek tragedy.  Her work combines literary criticism, ancient and modern psychological and political theory, and, most recently, historiography.  She is the author of Emotion in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus (Brill Mnemosyne Supplements, 2015).  She offers language courses in Greek, as well as courses on Greek drama and its reception, and gender and sexuality in ancient Greek culture.