Appointments to faculty leadership roles

Dear Colleagues,

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

Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, Professor of Religion and Latino/a/x Studies, Chair of the Latino/a Studies Program, and Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will begin a three-year term as the Director of the Oakley Center for Humanities and Social Sciences as of July 1, 2022. Jackie will succeed Professor Gage McWeeney, who has served as Oakley Center Director for the past three years. As Director, Jackie will oversee the events and activities of the Oakley Center. The Center hosts a variety of conferences, colloquia, reading groups, and annual lectures. It also serves as home for faculty fellows on sabbatical as a retreat for intensive research and intellectual discussion. Jackie’s research focuses on scriptures as contested phenomena in the shaping of Latino/o/x communities in the United States, and she is the author of Revelation in Aztlán: Scriptures, Utopias, and the Chicano Movement (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and Latina/o/x Studies and Biblical Studies (Brill, 2020). She is also the co-editor of Latinxs, the Bible, and Migration (Palgrave Macmillan 2018).

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.

I want to express my gratitude for their willingness to serve in these roles, as well as my excitement for their vision and ideas, to Jackie, James, Matt, and Susan. I also want to express my deep thanks and appreciation to Gage and Neil for their important contributions to the college over the past three years.
Best wishes,