Eleven members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Geisel School of Medicine, and Thayer School of Engineering began the summer term with new appointments to endowed professorships. Four others have been reappointed to the chairs they already held. The honors, given each year for multi-year terms, recognize outstanding research and teaching across the institution.
“Endowed professorships provide a means of recognizing the scholarship and teaching of some of our most accomplished faculty members,” says Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith. “Their contributions to the creation and dissemination of knowledge at Dartmouth and beyond are truly extraordinary.”
This year’s new endowed professors:
Parents Distinguished Research Professorship in the Humanities
The question at the core of my scholarship is: What do the intersections between history and literature teach us about American culture? My latest book, Patriotism By Proxy: The Civil War Draft and the Cultural Formation of Citizen-Soldiers, 1863-1865, explains why Americans turned to writing (poems, stories, songs, letters) and used literary devices (parody and metaphor) to work out how they felt about the first-ever federal draft. The historical context opens new dimensions of writers we know, such as Emily Dickinson, and places them in conversation with lesser-known authors.
Dartmouth is an ideal place to be a scholar because I get to partner with my students in the production of new knowledge. This fall I am working with colleagues and students on building a website that looks at 19th-century women writers in the context of stay-home orders during COVID. The endowed professorship will enable me to develop new initiatives, and keep giving back to the College. Dartmouth has consistently offered me the support I have needed to develop new areas of expertise. I am deeply grateful for this honor and opportunity.
William LeRoy Garth Professorship in Anesthesiology at the Geisel School of Medicine
Before Dartmouth, Stacie Deiner was a professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, neurosurgery, and geriatrics and palliative medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she served as vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology. Her research—a collaboration of surgeons, geriatricians, patients, and non-clinician community healthcare workers—focuses on cognitive and functional recovery in geriatric surgical patients.
“Dr. Deiner brings an impressive track record in anesthesiology research, teaching, mentorship, and institutional leadership,” says Geisel Dean Duane Compton. “We’re pleased to be able to honor her with the Garth Professorship to support her vital work, which will benefit students, colleagues, and patients here at Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock and beyond.”
Pat and John Rosenwald Jr. 1952 Tuck 1953 Professorship
I’m interested in how mobile and wearable systems can support health and wellness, and in the security and privacy issues raised by these systems. These interests have converged as I shift my attention to “smart” homes, which could be more than half of American homes by the end of the decade. I’m launching a five-year effort to improve the privacy and security of smart-home products, and teaching a new course on the topic this fall. I have mentored almost 100 undergraduate and graduate students over the years, and am intensely proud to see what they’ve accomplished. I enjoy the challenge of helping students understand and apply the concepts of computing to real applications—and enjoy their joy when they succeed in tackling challenges beyond what I’ve taught them. This chair gives me the time and opportunity to deepen my efforts to help Dartmouth evolve and improve. As a member of the Class of 1986, a member of the faculty for almost three decades, and a parent of three Dartmouth students, I’m convinced of the importance of a liberal arts education. And as a lover of the outdoors, I enjoy the opportunity to explore the mountains and rivers of New Hampshire.
Edward Tuck Professorship of the French Language and Literature
My work covers several fields: Renaissance studies, 20th- and 21st-century French and European intellectual history and thought, critical theory (especially literature and psychoanalysis), and Jewish studies. I’m currently finishing a book, “Death Sentences: On Loss in Post-World War Two French Texts,” and editing a collection of essays, “French Without Borders: On Other Francophone Literatures,” on writers who have adopted French as a language of literary expression, including Samuel Beckett, Milan Kundera, and Jonathan Littell.
In teaching I engage my students in a practice that deconstructs the goals of the corporate neoliberal university. Whether in French, comparative literature, or Jewish studies, my goal is to enable students to think and write critically with an emphasis on open-ended scholarly discussion that gets beyond prefabricated and anthologized meanings. Thinking through the languages of literature, philosophy, and history demands theoretical reflection; it enables students to envision a future in which they may become other than they currently are and transcend the crippling paralysis of conformity. Teaching Dartmouth students has been an incredible gift to me.
Charles H. Gaut and Charles A. Norberg Assistant Professor of Engineering
I work in the areas of human-centered design (HCD) and human-computer interaction (HCI), conducting interdisciplinary research to engineer technologies aimed at promoting the well-being of people and the planet. My lab develops intelligent and interactive tools for sensing and intervention, with a focus on societally impactful applications in education, health, and sustainability. In pursuing these challenges, I love involving students from various educational levels and with diverse backgrounds, interests, and skill sets. I find mentoring and teaching to be deeply rewarding, and I especially enjoy helping students get comfortable when answers are not immediately clear, in a way that leaves space for exploration, fallbacks, and rebounds. I’ve found that this approach builds creativity and resilience, while fostering a collaborative, inclusive, and downright fun academic environment.
I’m delighted to receive this honor, not only because of the recognition and support the endowed professorship provides for me personally, but also because it underscores Dartmouth’s broader commitment to human-centered research and similarly reflective teaching philosophies. HCD and HCI continue to attract underrepresented students and particularly women to technical fields, and I’m incredibly excited to contribute to this momentum as a new member of the Thayer community.
George J. Records 1956 Professorship in Economics
It is an honor to be named to this chair, especially knowing that I follow in the footsteps of my esteemed colleague Nancy Marion. I’ll use the funding provided by the chair to further research, purchasing data, and hiring and training research assistants. Most of my research is about understanding the causes and consequences of the evolving economic role of women in the U.S. and across developed economies, and the tradeoffs faced by families. What forces led married women to enter paid employment? What forces might lead them to opt out? I have been focusing on cultural factors and social norms as well as technological determinants of these trends.
In my current research, I am using newly assembled data on family friendly policies offered by large firms in the U.S. to understand the characteristics of those that offer various levels of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers or other, more costly, benefits such as on-site childcare. These are important issues to explore both theoretically and empirically. Why would competitive firms provide paid parental leave and which firms would provide it, even when governments don’t? Can some of these policies be a source of competitive advantage? I find teaching to be inseparable from research. Learning goes both ways—I often make new connections and ideas when I am teaching. I feel at home at Dartmouth, where so many wonderful colleagues combine a strong commitment to research, continually pushing the boundaries of their fields, with their passion for teaching. Teaching the talented and engaging Dartmouth students has been a delight.
International Paper Professorship in Honor of Andrew C. Sigler ’53 Tuck ’56
I study plasma, the fourth state of matter—how free electrons and nuclei interact—and fusion energy, a clean and limitless source of electricity. It is essential to the present generation that we develop this technology, because oil will run out in a generation or two and we must have some clean alternative. Other clean sources, including solar, are insufficient. But progress in fusion research is limited, mainly by scarce funding. Europe and Japan are far ahead of the United States. We need an urgent, crash program to have this energy source available. I loved my time here an undergrad, so when job in my field opened here, I eagerly applied.
Teaching students is a joy—their energy and ability energize everything. They keep me fresh. The funds from the endowed chair will be very helpful in funding students at all levels to do research with me.
Frederick S. Beebe Professorship
I practice and teach the art of fact, a mix of reportage, memoir, essay, and documentary art known as creative nonfiction—though I prefer to call it mutant journalism. It’s the medium through which I experience the world most intimately, and I try to convey the possibility of that experience to students. Given the hybridity of the genre, it’s in constant flux; teaching allows me to contemplate what it is and might be with young writers not yet wed to formulas, who bring brilliance to our conversations from their studies in other genres and disciplines.
I especially love the poets, which is why I’m proud to have inherited the Frederick Sessions Beebe ’35 Professorship from two of my favorite poets, Cynthia Huntington, and before her Cleopatra Mathis. It was the poets who brought creative nonfiction to Dartmouth. I followed.
James Frank Family Professorship
I fell in love with quantum mechanics as an undergraduate in my native Trento, Italy. My research in quantum information science is driven by the challenge of developing better physical, mathematical, and information-theoretic tools to model and control the behavior of quantum-mechanical systems of increasing complexity. I enjoy my field’s intrinsically cross-disciplinary nature, and I love to share my enthusiasm for physics with undergraduates and graduate students.
Dartmouth is unique in its aspiration of nurturing excellence in teaching with research—something I am deeply committed to. Certainly the beauty of Northern New England also played a role in my decision to come to Dartmouth. And a main appeal, professionally, was the possibility to bring my expertise and vision in establishing what was, at the time, a wholly new field of research—one in which I believed Dartmouth could succeed, capitalizing on its pioneering contributions in classical computational sciences. Sixteen years later, I’m proud that Dartmouth is solidly on the map of theoretical quantum information science, as well. This has been a challenging year on so many fronts. I feel honored and brightened up by such a recognition in this moment.
Lincoln Filene Professorship in Human Relations
We are living through a global pandemic, and combatting viral spread has meant cutting the cords of our social world. My research addresses why social interaction is critical for physical and mental health, and how it aligns our brains in ways that facilitate mutual understanding. I teach a lot of first-years who come ready to learn what other scientists have discovered. I love shifting their orientation into a deeper understanding of how science works and what remains unknown. I love seeing students take that sense of wonder into the lab, working in a team to discover new knowledge. The central aim of my career is to advance our understanding of human relations—from what makes conversation work to how brains become synchronized to create the large social webs we inhabit—so holding the Lincoln Filene Chair in Human Relations is particularly meaningful.
We are on the cusp of a sea change in psychology and neuroscience that is taking us beyond an isolated brain model towards understanding how minds work collectively. Across Dartmouth, faculty and students are joining forces to better understand how people share beliefs, ideas, and experiences; how and when social bonds form; and when collective understanding succeeds and fails. Dartmouth’s size facilitates not only faculty-student teamwork but also working across departments. These cross-disciplinary connections provide a rich and fertile bed for new ideas and approaches, keeping Dartmouth at the forefront of this new frontier.
Benjamin P. Cheney Professorship in Mathematics
I am what is often called a “pure” mathematician. I work on abstract problems in functional analysis, specifically algebras of operators on Hilbert space, for the intrinsic beauty of the subject—mathematics for its own sake, though abstract mathematics often turns out to have practical implications. I’ve always loved sharing mathematics with interested students—well, anyone, really. I became an academic because of the influence of wonderful teachers I had in high school and as an undergraduate.
I’m grateful that Dartmouth emphasizes both teaching and research. Dartmouth rewards me for doing both and allows me to teach across the entire spectrum, from calculus to advanced graduate courses. I enjoy the enthusiasm and hard work that the typical Dartmouth student brings to class. It’s much easier to work hard at teaching if that effort is returned by the students. I am extremely pleased to be recognized for over 35 years of service at Dartmouth as a teacher, researcher, and past department chair.
Continuing to hold endowed professorships in the arts and sciences are Susan Brison, the Eunice and Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values; Donald Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professorship in the Humanities; José del Pino, the Dartmouth Professor of Spanish; and Andrew Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a, P’10 Professor of Economics.
Hannah Silverstein can be reached at email@example.com.