Faculty Promotions and Tenure Approved

Promotions and tenure appointments for Harvey Mudd College faculty were approved by the board of trustees and will become effective July 1, 2021. Upon discussion and the recommendation of the Academic Affairs Committee, the board unanimously approved the following appointments.

Ambereen Dadabhoy received tenure and promotion to associate professor. Dadabhoy researches the representation of race and religion in early modern English drama, including Shakespeare. She investigates how modes of cultural “difference,” were produced in the early modern period, particularly through forms of otherness such as gender, race, and religion. She is interested in the strategies and mechanisms through which different cultures encounter, accommodate and (often) conflict with each other. Teaching courses in Shakespeare and early modern English literature, freshman writing seminars and genre electives, Dadabhoy teaches her students to develop analytical skills and to interrogate the social, political and cultural dimensions of literature. In 2019, students from Dadabhoy’s #MeToo Shakespeare course deftly presented their research in a daylong conference, highlighting their critical investigation of literature they’d studied during the semester.

Matthew Spencer received tenure and promotion to associate professor. Spencer researches circuit design, with an emphasis on micro-electromechanical (MEM) switches and ultrasound transducers. His current research focuses include characterizing contact failure in MEM switches and underwater ultrasound communication links. Spencer has also worked on building computers out of MEM relays to reduce the power required for computation. In 2020, in a Digital Engineering magazine interview, Spencer talked about the challenges of teaching circuit design and robotics courses remotely during the pandemic. Spencer has acted as an advisor on several Engineering Clinic projects and was part of the faculty committee that revised the curriculum for E79, the introductory engineering class, and E80, the follow-up course for engineering majors.

Yi-Chieh (Jessica) Wu received tenure and promotion to associate professor. In her research, Wu develops and applies computational and mathematical models to study evolutionary biology. Currently, she focuses on reconstructing gene histories across multiple species, which helps scientists understand differences within and across species, particularly in how genes form and function. In 2018, Wu was awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development grant for her project “CAREER: Algorithms for Gene Family Evolution with Gene Duplication, Loss, and Coalescence.” Wu teaches courses across the CS curriculum, including the biology-themed introductory CS class, the gateway course into the Mathematical and Computational Biology joint major, and electives such as Machine Learning and Data Science Ethics.  She also regularly serves as an advisor on CS Clinic projects.

Approved for first two-year reappointment

Joshua Brake (engineering) researches imaging through scattering media, computational imaging and engineering education.

Steven Santana ’06 (engineering) examines the use of microfluidics to isolate and study cancer biomarkers and design microfluidic devices for this purpose. At HMC, he designed and taught a new course on microfluidics and nanofluidics and has established a microfluidics research program.

Xanda Schofield ’13 (computer science) specializes in designing easy-to-use tools for large-scale corpus text mining, with a focus on distributional semantic models. She also is interested in integrating privacy into machine-learning-aided data mining in natural language processing.

Erin Talvitie (computer science) specializes in applying machine learning to problems of artificial intelligence, working toward artificial autonomous agents that can learn to act flexibly and competently in unknown environments.