Dean of Faculty Report, March 2005

At every monthly faculty meeting during the school year, the Dean of Faculty presents brief overviews of recent publications and other achievements by the Mount Holyoke faculty. Here are excerpts from the March 2005 report of Penny Gill, Acting Dean of Faculty:

This has been a month rich in faculty accomplishment. An abiding pleasure of serving as the dean this year has been discovering the depth and breadth of faculty scholarly work. As I interview very promising candidates for our tenure track searches this month, I have been struck by what distinguished and active company they will join. And though we are still interviewing in most searches, I expect that we will be able to invite some similarly stellar young people to join us in the very near future.

  • Grants
  • Publications
  • Other Honors


Jill Bubier, Marjorie Fisher Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, has received notice of a new NSF award for a half-million dollar project that will establish a global network of peatland research. Jill is co-investigator and a member of the steering committee for “Globalization of Northern Peatland Ecosystem Research.”

Geology Professor Al Werner spends his summers drilling deep holes in the arctic and then analyzes these lake cores to track climate change during the last 2,000 years. He has been a leader among us in integrating students into this research for many years. His most recent proposal to the NSF to support the analysis of the core data has been recommended for funding. This is a good example of how we combine faculty fellowship and grant support, student support through Cascade mentoring and a summer grant from the Center for Global Initiatives, and then federal funding to sustain a long-term research program.


Roger Babb, Professor of Theatre Arts, continues his work on contemporary Polish theater. His interview with Polish director Grzegorz Bral appears in the current Slavic and Eastern European Performance Journal. His review of Kazimierz Braun’s Concise History of Polish Theater appeared recently in The Polish Review. His chapter on the Open Theater and The Winter Project will appear this spring in Radical Collectives Circa 1968: Group Theatres and their Legacy, published by the University of Michigan Press.

Martha Hoopes, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, has sent over copies of four articles on topics in ecology she had published in 2004: “Alternative Stable States and Regional Community Structure” and “Stabilizing Effects in Spatial Parasitoid-Host and Predator-Prey Models: A Review” both in the Journal of Theoretical Biology; “The Metacommunity Concept: A Framework for Multi-Scale Community Ecology” in Ecology Letters; and “Mechanisms of Coexistence in Competitive Metacommunities” in The American Naturalist.

It is a particular pleasure to note that biology Professor Emerita Jane Townsend, who allegedly retired from the College more than a dozen years ago, continues to both teach and publish at an enviable clip. She has published 16 papers since 1993, such as “Glycoconjugate localization in larval and adult skin of the bullfrog “in the Journal of Morphology and “Immunocytochemical detection of integrins alpha 3 and beta l in allografts of the marine sponge” in Biological Bulletin, both in 2004. She continues to supervise student summer research at Woods Hole and several student independent projects each year. Jane, we congratulate and thank you!

Tom Wartenberg, Professor and chair of Philosophy, has just published a new piece titled “Teaching Philosophy with Children’s Literature” in Gifted Education Communicator.

Other Honors

Michelle Stephens, Assistant Professor of English, has been elected to a three-year term on the Board of Editors of American Literature, the flagship MLA journal in American literature. This is a high honor that recognizes her “major contribution to the study of American literature.

"You may have heard about this elsewhere, but we now include a genuine Knight amongst us. A month ago the President of Iceland recognized Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities Brad Leithauser’s love affair with things Icelandic and made him a Knight of the Order of the Falcon. He reports receiving a medal, a pin, and a testimonial in Icelandic. It is a wonderful tribute, and we share his pleasure.

Submitted by Penny Gill
March 2005