At its summer meeting, the University of the South Board of Regents formally approved promotion and tenure decisions for seven faculty members.
Six newly tenured faculty members—Kristen Cecala (biology), Aaron Elrod (economics), Ross Macdonald (English), Shana Minkin (international and global studies), Courtney Thompson (American studies and women’s and gender studies) and Courtney World (dance)—now hold the title of associate professor, effective July 1, 2019. Betsy Sandlin (Spanish) has been promoted to full professor, and she now holds the title professor of Spanish. Congratulations to all seven.
Kristen Cecala arrived at Sewanee in 2013. Her research and teaching interests focus on the ecology of freshwaters and the organisms that inhabit them. She offers courses in freshwater biology and conservation, ecology, and herpetology. Through extensive undergraduate collaboration, her research program seeks to understand the mechanisms through which amphibians and reptiles respond to human-driven changes including land-use and climate change. In 2016, she was awarded the inaugural Raymond D. Semlitsch Award for Early Career Excellence from the Herpetologists’ League. She serves as an editor for the publications of three professional societies, and at Sewanee she serves on numerous committees supporting scholarship by undergraduate students and faculty, as well as those dedicated to improving campus climate.
Aaron Elrod also came to Sewanee in 2013. Along with introductory courses in economics, he teaches environmental economics, energy economics, econometrics, microeconomic theory, and a senior research seminar. His research examines the effect of environmental regulation on various aspects of firm behavior, as well as factors that affect monitoring and enforcement of U.S. federal environmental regulation, with a particular emphasis on the Clean Water Act. His research has appeared in such journals as Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and Environmental Economics and Policy Studies. In addition, he is heavily involved in the Environment & Sustainability major at Sewanee, serving as a member of the E&S Steering Committee since 2014.
A member of the Sewanee English Department since 2013, Ross Macdonald offers courses on Milton, Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, and English drama to 1642. His essays have appeared in Studies in Philology, Spenser Studies, and Ben Jonson Journal, as well as within the edited collections Forms of Faith: Literary Form and Religious Conflict in Early Modern England (2017) and Scholarly Milton (2019). In recent years, he has also taught regularly in the college's interdisciplinary Humanities program and in the Sewanee School of Letters.
Shana Minkin arrived at Sewanee in 2015 to join the International and Global Studies Department. In addition to introductory and upper-level courses on globalization theory, Minkin teaches classes on oil, foreigners, cities, and current events in the Middle East. Her research focuses broadly on death rituals and the building of empire, and her first book, Imperial Bodies: Empire and Death in Alexandria, Egypt, will be published in November 2019. At Sewanee, Minkin is the co-chair of the International and Global Studies Department and is a faculty fellow of the Center for Speaking and Listening this academic year.
Courtney L. Thompson joined the American Studies Program and Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of the South in 2015. Her current research examines political discourse in Black women’s writings, specifically the relationship between Black women’s progressive politics in the United States and democratic reform. Her work has been published in Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International; Women, Gender, and Families of Color; and Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies. At Sewanee, she teaches courses on Black women writers, Black masculinity, and representations of Africa.
Courtney World arrived in Sewanee in 2013. She teaches all of the dance courses in the Theatre and Dance Department, developed the curriculum for the minor in dance, and was the 2015-2017 recipient of the James D. Kennedy III Endowed Faculty Fellowship. Her creative research as a performer and choreographer of tap dance and contemporary modern dance explores the many facets of rhythm, from biological rhythms, to planetary rhythms, to musical rhythms. As a former member of Bill Evans Dance Company, Bill Evans Rhythm Tap Company, and a Certified Evans Teacher, she helped create the Evans Somatic Dance Institute and is working to archive and pass on the artistic legacy and teaching of choreographer and educator Bill Evans. World serves on the board of directors of Tennessee Association of Dance.
Betsy Sandlin arrived in Sewanee in 2004. She teaches courses in Spanish language and Latin American literature and Latinx literature in the United States. Her current research focuses on inclusive teaching practices, faculty development and leadership, and identity in contemporary Latinx literary texts. She is co-director of the annual Summer Teaching & Learning Workshop for the Associated Colleges of the South, a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges. She served as co-director of the Center for Teaching at Sewanee for four years and is currently interim associate dean for faculty development and inclusion.