The departments of English, history, mathematics, psychology, religion, social work, Spanish, and theatre will be infused with fresh perspectives in 2011–12 as eight full-time faculty members join the college. Here’s a brief introduction to some of the new faces of Mary Baldwin University.
Doris Dodson, visiting assistant professor of social work and director of field experience
Thanks to years of experience helping children and families, Doris Dodson (MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University) has plenty of real-world examples to share with Mary Baldwin students. While working for the Charlottesville Department of Social Services, Dodson was responsible for overseeing all adoption services, leading to her own life-changing decision: “to adopt two wonderful boys.”
Kristen Egan, assistant professor of English
It was the tedious prospect of counting microscopic asbestos fibers that led Kristen Egan (PhD, Loyola University Chicago), then a recent biology grad, to change course and return to school for her PhD in English. Fortunately, Egan was able to put her scientific background to use for her doctoral dissertation, in which she analyzed texts to examine the relationship between race and nature in 19th century America.
Jenna Holt, assistant professor of psychology
Jenna Holt (PhD, James Madison University), a former Mary Baldwin adjunct, makes no secret about her wish to see more students choose psychology as a major. In fact, one of her favorite courses to teach is Intro to Psychology, because, she jokes, “it’s a great challenge to get students to see how exciting psychology can be and try to win them over to the ‘dark side’ so they take psych as a major.”
James Hughes, visiting assistant professor of mathematics
Pondering polynomial functors and epimorphisms? How about complex cobordism in homotopy theory? James Hughes (PhD, University of Virginia) might be up for a discussion on these concepts in higher mathematics, as the newest member of the math department.
Katherine Low, assistant professor of religion and philosophy and college chaplain
If you attended the annual State of the College address last month, you’ve already witnessed Katherine Low (PhD, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University) deftly weave an earthquake metaphor throughout an opening prayer. With Low on the faculty, students will benefit from her Biblical knowledge and expertise in women’s studies and the college gains a chaplain who clearly has the ability to engage a crowd.
Brenci Patino, assistant professor of Spanish
With the introduction of a new leadership gateway, it’s a particularly good time to join the faculty if you have an interest in Latino culture. Brenci Patino (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) brings to Mary Baldwin experience as an instructor of both the Spanish language and Latin American Literature and Culture from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Janna Segal, assistant professor of theatre
Janna Segal (PhD, the University of California, Irvine and the University of California, San Diego) found her way to small, but Shakespeare-rich, Staunton from California, where she analyzed — among other things — the transformative effects of love on the Bard’s characters. Segal herself is a professor looking for passion … in her classroom. Her favorite courses to teach, she says, are “the ones with the most enthusiastic students.”
Susan Stearns, assistant professor of history
In her doctoral dissertation, Susan Stearns (PhD, the University of Chicago) used the issue of Mississippi River trade to examine the development of a distinctive economic and political ideology on the early American frontier.