When Austin College classes begin Tuesday morning, a few familiar faces will have new titles. Mike Higgs, professor of mathematics and computer science, has been a member of the faculty since 1987, but this fall he begins service as Dean of Sciences. Only the Sciences dean changes this year. Lisa Brown, professor of psychology, continues as Dean of Social Sciences, and Greg Kinzer, professor of English, continues as Dean of Humanities.
Additionally, three members of the faculty were granted tenure last spring, effective this fall. Thomas Blake of the English faculty received tenure and was promoted to associate professor; Loriann Garcia of the Biology Department was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor; and Ashley Tharayil of the Economics and Business Administration Department received tenure and was promoted to associate professor of economics. J’Lee Bumpus of the Mathematics Department had previously been granted tenure and was promoted, effective this fall, to professor of mathematics.
In addition to new titles, students will find new faces. Three new tenure track faculty will be preparing to meet their students.
Aaron Harrison joins the faculty as an assistant professor of chemistry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of British Columbia and his Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley. He served as a chemistry laboratory lecturer at Mills College in Oakland, California, for the 2014-2015 academic year. A post-doctoral research fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney from September 2015 through May 2018, he was involved in research on thermochemistry mechanisms and mentored undergraduate and graduate students in research and thesis writing. Most recently, Harrison was a visiting researcher at the University of California – Irvine.
Kerri-Anne Mitchell joins the faculty as assistant professor of public health. She earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a minor in biology at Washington University in St. Louis. At Florida International University’s Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, she earned a Master of Public Health in health promotion and disease prevention. She traveled to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health to complete a Doctor of Public Health degree in health promotion and behavioral with minors in biostatistics and healthcare management. Mitchell has done extensive research, delving into both community health and wellness and cancer prevention and control. Most recently she has been involved at the National Cancer Institute as a post-doctoral fellow in cancer prevention and control at the Department of Health Behavior and Policy and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She has written extensively and received several honors for her work.
Finally, Joshua Edge joins the faculty as assistant professor of mathematics and computer science. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University, completing majors in mathematics and Spanish and a minor in philosophy, Edge moved to Indiana University. There he earned two master’s degrees, one in mathematics and one in applied statistics, before beginning his doctorate in mathematics. Since completing his Ph.D., he has been a visiting assistant professor at Denison University in Ohio, teaching courses in statistics, applied statistics, and calculus. He has been involved in a number of applied statistical projects as well as research with the Modern Language Department at Denison. He also has research interests in pure math that focuses on diagrammatic methods relating to planar algebra.
Other faculty faces may be among the campus community only for a year or two, or only to teach one or two courses. Visiting faculty often fill a temporary need for a department, and adjunct faculty usually work part-time only.
Three visiting faculty are new to campus:
Homeira Faramarzi, visiting assistant professor of physics who completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Tehran and her doctorate at Amirkabir University of Technology at Tehran Polytechnic;
Sebastián Páramo, visiting assistant professor of English who earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas, a master’s degree at Sarah Lawrence College, and his doctorate at the University of North Texas; and
Tiffany Wicks, adjunct assistant professor of psychology who earned her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University, a master’s degree at Southern Methodist University, and a doctorate of education at Johns Hopkins University.
Mandy Schable is a new biology support associate with the rank of instructor in biology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Illinois College and a master’s degree in biology from Eastern Illinois University.
That’s several new faces for returning students to watch for. The new faculty have 1,200 new faces to learn. The students have it easy!
Some 320 new students are expected on campus by the start of school Tuesday, August 24, along with the return of approximately 900 returning students.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, global awareness, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,200 students and an expert faculty of more than 100 educators allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under its original name and charter.