I am delighted to announce the following four appointments of faculty to key leadership positions that shape the intellectual life of the college.
Oakley Center Director
W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow
James Manigault-Bryant, Chair and Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Anthropology and Sociology and Religion, will serve as the next W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow in Democratic Studies. James will succeed Neil Roberts, who served as Schumann Fellow for the past three years. As the Schumman Faculty Fellow, James will work to promote campus dialogue on the subjects of democracy and civic responsibility. His particular focus will be on the role of media in cultivating citizens’ sense of responsibility for climate and environmental inequities. In addition, one of the foundational elements of the endowment is the W. Ford Schumann Visiting Professorship. During his tenure as faculty fellow, James will work to identify and recruit candidates for that position. James’s research focuses on secularization processes in African diasporic religious cultures, intellectual histories of Black Studies and sociology, and race and the environment. He has published multiple articles and essays on these topics.
Faculty Director of the Teaching Center
Matt Carter, Associate Professor of Biology, will serve as the inaugural Faculty Director of the Teaching Center, for a three-year term. Matt’s laboratory studies how the brain regulates appetite and sleep and his research has been funded by multiple grants from the NSF and NIH. In addition to publishing original findings in science research journals, he has published books on presentation design and data visualization. Matt is a recipient of the Walter Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching from Stanford University and the Nelson Bushnell Award for Teaching and Writing from Williams, and has been deeply involved in thinking about teaching and learning at Williams. He is currently the John Hyde Teaching Fellow, awarded in recognition of excellence in teaching and in support of the development of courses that promote broad-based learning. He also currently serves as a Coordinator for the First3 program that supports new faculty.
Senior Faculty Fellow of the Teaching Center
Susan Engel, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and the Class of 1959 Director of the Program in Teaching, will be the inaugural Senior Faculty Fellow at the Teaching Center. Susan will bring to this role her considerable expertise as a scholar of developmental psychology and education. Her areas of specialty include teaching and learning, the development of narrative and autobiographical memory, and the development of curiosity. Her most recent book is titled The Intellectual Lives of Children (Harvard University Press, 2021). As a former Gaudino Scholar, Susan explored the processes that lead to deep intellectual change, particularly among college students. She is especially interested in exploring how engaged conversations in the classroom and beyond promote the consideration of unfamiliar and perhaps jarring points of view and, ultimately, influence how people form opinions and change their minds.