Campus News

Five Faculty Members Promoted, Receive Tenure

Story posted March 09, 2001

Bowdoin College assistant professors Nancy Jennings, Madeleine Msall, Elizabeth Muther, Patrick Rael, and Scott MacEachern have been promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure, effective July 1. The Board of Trustees approved the promotions at their meetings March 2-4.

Nancy Jennings, department of education, teaches curriculum and educational policy, and works with student teachers. Also among her areas of interest are instructional reform and rural schooling. She joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1994. She was awarded the 2000 Sydney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty, which is given annually to “an outstanding Bowdoin teacher who best demonstrates the ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm, and stimulate intellectual curiosity.”

She is a graduate of Macalester College in Minnesota and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Social Policy from Michigan State University in 1992. While at Michigan State she received the Outstanding Dissertation Award, the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, and the Professional Excellence Award from the College of Education.

Before coming to Bowdoin, she held a postdoctoral appointment in Educational Policy and Practice Study at Michigan State to study the relationship of state policy to classroom practice in Michigan, California and South Carolina. She developed and directed the South Carolina phase of the project.

Her current research involves Standards and Local Curriculum: A Zero-Sum Game? She has recently presented papers at the annual conference of American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, Montreal, and San Diego) and the National Rural Education Association (Buffalo). Recent publications have appeared in Journal of Research in Rural Education, Teachers College Record, Elementary School Journal, and Guiding Teacher Learning: Insider Studies of Classroom Work with Prospective and Practicing Teachers (eds. Feiman-Nemser and Rosaen).

Madeleine Msall, department of physics and astronomy, specializes in experimental condensed matter physics. She teaches methods of experimental physics, advanced mechanics, and has taught courses in science fiction/science fact, waves and quanta, acoustics, electromagnetic theory, and solid state physics. She joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1994.

She is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she received the Carl E. Howe Award for excellence in research, and received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institut fur Festkorperforschung, in Stuttgart, Germany, for the 1997-98 academic year, summer of 1999, and January 2001. In addition she received an initial three-year award (with possible two-year extension) from Air Force as part of the 2000 DOD Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative BAA for “A Comprehensive Approach to Phonon Control for Enhanced Device Performance.”

She was elected one of three faculty representatives on the 2000 Bowdoin College Presidential Search Committee, and is a local organizing committee member for Phonons 2001, the Tenth International Conference on Phonon Scattering in Condensed Matter to be held at Dartmouth College this July. She is also an active member in Mainely Women in Science, a group striving to increase the participation of Maine girls and women in science.

Her most recent publications have appeared in Science Magazine’s Editors’ Choice: Highlights of the Recent Literature, Physical Review Letters, Applied Physics Letters, and in the proceedings of the International Conference on Phonon Scattering in Condensed Matter (Lancaster, England and Sapporo, Japan) and the International Conference on Phonon Physics.

Elizabeth Muther, department of English, teaches American and African American literature and culture, African American women’s literature, the Harlem Renaissance, African American film and literature, and contemporary ethnic American literature. Other areas of interest include African American modernism, twentieth-century African American poetry, and contemporary fiction about slavery. She joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1993.

A graduate of Wellesley College (Phi Beta Kappa and a Wellesley Scholar), she received her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to Bowdoin, she taught at Harvard University, where she was awarded the John Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She taught at the Indiana University School of Journalism in Bloomington as well as the University of California, Berkeley. In 1996 she organized “Celebrating Harper: A Conference and Festival in honor of Michael S. Harper” at Bowdoin.

Forthcoming publications include “Bambara’s Feisty Girls: Resistance Narratives in Gorilla, My Love” in African American Review (from a paper presented at the conference “Reconfiguring Ethnic America” at the University of Wales), and “’Great unappeasable ghost’: Claude McKay and the Theatre Guild Incident” in Modern Language Studies. She is the editor (with Anthony Walton) of High Modes: Essays on the Poetry of Michael S. Harper, under contract with the University of Illinois Press. Other recent publications include “The Racial Subject of Suspense in Dorothy West’s The Wedding” in Narrative, and “Isadora at Sea: Misogyny as Comic Capital in Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage” in African American Review. She has published seven articles in The Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History.

Patrick Rael, department of history, teaches African-American history, 19th-Century United States history, Civil War and Reconstruction, and comparative slavery and race relations courses. While at Bowdoin, he has twice received Educational Technology Course Development stipends. He joined the faculty in 1995.

He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, with a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. Among his fellowships and grants are the Fellowship for Younger Scholars from the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton, J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship from the American Historical Association, a Nevins Prize nomination from the Society of American Historians, and the Ford Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

He is the author of Black Identity and Black Protest in the North, 1790-1860, which will be published in 2001 (University of North Carolina Press), and he edited (with Richard Newman and Philip Lapansky) Pamphlets of Protest: An Anthology of Early African-American Protest Pamphlets, 1790-1860 (Routledge, 2000). He has published articles on African American history in Reviews in American History, The North Star: A Journal of African-American Religious History, and Socialist Review, and his reviews have appeared in The History Teacher, Journal of the Early Republic, Journal of American History, and Southern Historian. He has also provided sections to several educational and reference publications. He recently presented the paper “Black Identity Formation in the Diaspora: The Strange Case of the Antebellum North” at the Legacy of Slavery and Emancipation in Europe and the Americas Conference in Saint-Claude, Guadeloupe, and “The Social Bases of Black Nationalism in Antebellum America” at the conference of the American Historical Association (Boston).

Scott MacEachern, department of sociology and anthropology, specializes in African archaeology and ethnoarchaeology. His research involves the study of state formation and ethnicity in Iron Age Central Africa. At Bowdoin he teaches courses in world prehistory, archaeology, civilization, and contemporary issues in anthropology. He joined the faculty in 1995.

He is a graduate of the University of Prince Edward Island, and received his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Calgary. He was the recipient of a National Geographic Society Research Grant 1996-98 and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Grant (1995-98). Among his fieldwork, he participated in an archaeological survey in southwestern Chad in 1999 and 2000, and was director of Projet Maya-Wandala, an archaeological and ethnohistorical research project in Northern Cameroon and Nigeria from 1992-96.

His recent publications include “Setting the Boundaries: Linguistics, Ethnicity, Colonialism and Archaeology South of Lake Chad” in Archaeology, Language, and History: Essays on Culture and Ethnicity (ed. John Terrell, Greenwood Press), “Scale, Style and Cultural Variation: Technological Traditions in the Northern Mandara Mountains” in The Archaeology of Social Boundaries (ed. Miriam Stark, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998), and “Genes, Tribes and African History” in Current Anthropology. He has presented papers at the annual conferences of the American Anthropological Association (San Francisco) and Society for American Archaeology (Chicago), among others.

He has served as treasurer of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists (1996-2000), was co-organizer of the session “Slaves, Blacksmiths and Merchants” at the 27th Annual Chacmool Conference (Calgary), and co-organizer of the session “Symbolic Reservoirs in Deep Time” at the Annual Conference of the African Studies Association (Boston).

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