Harvey Mudd Faculty Appointments Include New Dept. Chairs, Now Majority Female

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To foster strong leadership skills, Harvey Mudd College professors are active in faculty governance positions, rotating into new roles regularly. The Office of Dean of the Faculty has announced several appointments, including department chairs, associate deans and chair of the faculty, effective July 1.

New Department Chairs

Including continuing department chairs Kerry Karukstis (chemistry), Elizabeth Orwin ’95 (engineering) and Lisette de Pillis (mathematics), six of seven department chair positions are now held by women professors, marking a female majority within the Department Chairs Committee for the second time since 2014. Stephen Adolph continues as chair of the Department of Biology. New department chairs are:

Melissa O'Neill, Harvey Mudd College Melissa O’Neill, chair of the Computer Science Department and professor of computer science. She succeeds Ran Libeskind-Hadas. Hired by the College in 2001, O’Neill has taught Data Structures and Program Development, Programming Languages, and Operating Systems. She has developed a family of random number generators, under the acronym “PCG” (permuted congruential generator), that sets a new performance standard and is popular with bloggers as well as academics. Her 2009 paper “The Genuine Sieve of Eratosthenes” was also immensely popular. Her other areas of active research include memory management and making parallel and concurrent programming easier.

LynnTheresa Lynn, chair of the Department of Physics and associate professor of physics. She succeeds Peter Saeta. Lynn works on the security of quantum communications, from both experimental and theoretical perspectives, and routinely collaborates with research students on a variety of quantum information projects. She and her students have published well-received papers, including “Entanglement-secured single-qubit quantum secret sharing” and “Distinguishability of hyper-entangled Bell states by linear evolution and local projective measurement.” Lynn also has been instrumental in developing the first-semester writing half-course (Writ1), which prepares students for college-level writing across the curriculum.

SullivanLisa Sullivan, interim chair of the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts (HSA) and Willard W. Keith Jr. Fellow in the Humanities and professor of economic history. Succeeding Bill Alves, she will serve as chair during the sabbatical of Paul Steinberg, Malcolm Lewis ’67 Professor of Sustainability and Society, who will become chair of the HSA department beginning July 1, 2017. Sullivan, who served as HSA department chair from 2005 to 2008, just completed serving three years as chair of the faculty. She also has served as associate dean of academic affairs and as associate dean for faculty development. A historian of the concept of work, Sullivan specializes in medieval and early American economic history and the history of work ethics.

New Associate Deans

BassmanLori Bassman, professor of engineering, will serve a three-year term as associate dean for academic affairs, succeeding Bob Cave, professor of chemistry. She brings experience as associate chair of the Department of Engineering to the job. In her research, Bassman and her student team simulate structures and properties of high-entropy alloys, a new category of metals that have the potential to replace many common metals due to excellent properties that can be tailored to specific applications.

Dagan Karp, Harvey Mudd CollegeDagan Karp, associate professor of mathematics, will serve a three-year term as associate dean for diversity. He succeeds Darryl Yong ’96, professor of mathematics. Karp brings experience to the position, including work as associate department chair and as an active member of the Society for Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans in Science. He has a passion for civil rights, including gender equity, and is active in promoting diversity in and through mathematics. A member of the diversity committee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, he launched Harvey Mudd’s first Seminar on Underrepresentation in the Mathematical Sciences and organized the 2011 HMC Mathematical Conference, which focused on broadening participation in the mathematical sciences. He is a founding editor of the E-Mentoring Network in the Mathematical Sciences blog hosted by the American Mathematical Society. His research focuses on algebraic geometry and Gromov-Witten theory.

Chair of the Faculty

Patrick Little, Harvey Mudd CollegePatrick Little, J. Stanley and Mary Wig Johnson Professor of Engineering, will serve a three-year term as chair of the faculty. He succeeds Lisa Sullivan, now chair of HSA. Little is director of Harvey Mudd’s Global Clinic Program and interim co-director of the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity. He is co-author with Elizabeth Orwin ’95 (James Howard Kindelberger Chair of Engineering) and the late Clive L. Dym of the textbook Engineering Design: A Project-Based Introduction.