CASL faculty receive promotion and tenure

May 21, 2020

The Board of Regents, at their meeting on May 21, approved promotions and tenure for 10 CASL faculty members.

One of my greatest privileges is to be able to advocate on behalf of CASL's outstanding faculty and to support their promotion and tenure cases.  Every year I am both humbled and inspired by the work of my faculty colleagues.  This year is no exception.  Please join me in congratulating our peers on their successful promotion and tenure cases!  Well done!

Martin J. Hershock, Dean

(Click on each name to read a summary of the promotion recommendation.)

Joshua Akers

Joshua Akers, assistant professor of geography and urban and regional studies, Department of Social Sciences, promoted to associate professor of geography and urban and regional studies, with tenure.

Dr. Akers’ community-based research has led scholars internationally to think differently about urban decline. He argues that urban decline has not emerged simply from capital disinvestment. Rather, it has been accelerated by predatory practices of private capital actors who have capitalized on lax and/or facilitative governmental policies and low acquisition and carrying costs of property in declining cities to extract capital from the cities’ most vulnerable populations.  Dr. Akers has helped numerous Detroit communities deal effectively with speculative investors and problem landlords.

Professor Akers is a highly talented teacher and vital member of the geography and urban and regional studies disciplines, teaching courses in cultural and urban geography. He has used his community-based work to provide undergraduate students with experience in research and community service. Dr. Akers has also been a prolific contributor to conferences and task forces of academics and practitioners seeking to enhance understanding of urban decline and to develop public policies to create long-term solutions to decline.

Patrick Beauchesne

Patrick Beauchesne, assistant professor of anthropology, Department of Behavioral Sciences, promoted to associate professor of anthropology, with tenure.

Dr. Beauchesne is a specialist in bioarchaeology, and more specifically biocultural perspectives within archaeology. His research has three inter-related areas of focus. The first involves methodological innovations using multiple methods to assess bone loss. The second is a focus on children and childhood in the past, an understudied area in bioarcheaeology. The third is an assessment of the impact of stress on bone loss across the life span.  Dr. Beauchesne’s work occurs as part of multi-member international teams at archaeological sites around the world.

Professor Beauchesne is a dedicated teacher committed to student learning, teaching courses focused on forensic anthropology; human body, growth, and health; and an intensive lab class on human osteology. He has involved students in research and independent study projects.  Dr. Beauchesne also received funding to support a student to travel and work with him at the Villamagna archaeological site in central Italy during the summer of 2016.

Amy Brainer

Amy Brainer, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and assistant professor of sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies Program and Department of Behavioral Sciences, promoted to associate professor of women’s and gender studies, with tenure and associate professor of sociology, with tenure.

Dr. Brainer is an innovative interdisciplinary scholar with a groundbreaking research agenda, studying queer and trans family issues in Taiwan and in transnational contexts. Her new book, Queer Kinship and Family Change in Taiwan, is already being nationally recognized, including the receipt of the highly prestigious 2019 Ruth Benedict Prize for Outstanding Single-Authored Monograph by the American Anthropological Association’s Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA), an invited interview on NPR, and an invited Author Meets Critics session at the North American Taiwan Studies Association Annual Conference.  Her current research follows queer and trans individuals and couples as they navigate marriage-based immigration to the United States.

Professor Brainer has made important contributions to the curriculum of both women’s and gender studies and sociology by developing several new courses such as “Sexualities, Genders and Bodies” and “Sexuality and Human Rights in a Changing World.” Her creation of the LGBTQ studies certificate represents an important milestone for the UM-Dearborn campus.  Dr. Brainer also developed a new mentoring program for sociology majors.

Hans Czap

Hans Czap, assistant professor of economics, Department of Social Sciences, promoted to associate professor of economics, with tenure.

Dr. Hans Czap’s research areas include environmental economics and industrial organization. He argues that “nudges”—low-cost actions that alter people’s choices in a predictable way without limiting their options—can be used as a more effective and less costly tool for promoting policy goals than many of the existing regulatory tools. His work as an integral part of a multi-investigator, interdisciplinary team of researchers from multiple universities has focused on testing the effectiveness of nudges at the intersection of agricultural and environmental policy, as well as their effects on reducing corruption.

As a vital member of the economics discipline, Professor Czap fosters student growth through challenging, student-oriented classes. He teaches micro- and macroeconomics, as well as environmental economics and econometrics. Dr. Czap has also played a critical role in course and program assessment for multiple programs, led LEO reviews, and helped organize student and program events.

Natalia Czap

Natalia Czap, associate professor of economics, with tenure, Department of Social Sciences, promoted to professor of economics, with tenure.

Dr. Natalia Czap’s research focuses on behavioral, environmental, and experimental economics as well as public policy.  Her work revolves around testing the effectiveness of “nudges” (low-cost actions that alter people’s choices in a predictable way without limiting their options) at the intersection of agricultural and environmental policy (i.e., land conservation) and energy efficiency, as well as their effects on reducing corruption. Her work has been characterized as high-quality, well-designed, and important for the field. She has proven herself adept at securing research funding, designing and conducting experiments, working as part of an inter-disciplinary research team and playing a leadership role on that team, drawing policy implications from her research findings, and publishing in high-profile journals.

Professor Czap is a skilled classroom instructor who emphasizes student learning and continually revises her courses to better facilitate this goal. She teaches courses in macro- and microeconomics, as well as the intersection of behavioral economics and public policy. Dr. Czap has also served her profession well by serving as reviewer for many highly respected journals and serving as education coordinator and treasurer for the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics.

Thomas Fiore

Thomas Fiore, associate professor of mathematics, with tenure, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, promoted to professor of Mathematics, with tenure.

Dr. Fiore has attained significant and important results in the areas of algebraic topology and mathematical music theory.  In the area of algebraic topology, his work investigates the structure of transformations that map geometric spaces into algebraic objects in order to better understand geometric spaces.  His research in mathematical music theory expands on the classical mathematical structure of transformations developed to analyze music.  Dr. Fiore has been recognized on a national level as he received the prestigious Hasse Prize for expository papers appearing in the Mathematical Association of America’s journals. He has also been awarded a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. 

A dedicated educator, Professor Fiore regularly teaches a wide range of courses in mathematics and statistics.  His work in redesigning the topology course as a capstone experience is highly valued.  He has increased college accessibility by promoting and adopting open source software, educational products, and older textbook editions.  Dr. Fiore has also organized a repository of classroom materials to allow faculty to share resources and collaborate more efficiently. 

Nicholas Iannarino

Nicholas Iannarino, assistant professor of communication, Department of Language, Culture, and Communication, promoted to associate professor of communication, with tenure.

Dr. Iannarino is an innovative scholar with a focused and impactful research agenda.  His research explores the communicative strategies people use to make sense of and adjust to difficult life experiences, such as those that follow the diagnosis of severe and chronic illness.  His particular interest in young adult cancer addresses an understudied population for cancer research.  He was also chosen as a 2016-2017 Faculty Fellow in the Faculty Scholars Program in Integrative Healthcare at the University of Michigan Medical School, an appointment that led to an ongoing project on integrative health care in young adult oncology with the University of Michigan Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Research Group. 

Professor Iannarino’s expertise in interpersonal communication, health communication, public speaking, and quantitative and qualitative research methods covers the breadth of speech and communication curriculums.  He plays an important role in expanding awareness of and synergies between health communication courses in CASL and programming in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services.  Professor Iannarino also serves on multiple boards and reviews scholarship for some of the more significant journals in the communication field.

Kalyan Kondapalli

Kalyan Kondapalli, assistant professor of biology, Department of Natural Sciences, promoted to associate professor of biology, with tenure.

Dr. Kondapalli is a cellular and molecular physiologist who has established a research laboratory that has produced an impressive record of study in the areas of Type 2 Diabetes as well as the role that NHE9 (a sodium proton transporter) plays in adult brain cancer, most specifically, Glioblastoma Multiforme. These two important lines of study have not only produced seven peer-reviewed publications in reputed journals, but have laid the foundation to continue this research. In addition, Dr. Kondapalli has meaningfully involved more than 20 undergraduate students in his research, including three recent publications, and two manuscripts in progress.

Employing a wide variety of instruction, Professor Kondapalli teaches laboratory and lecture sections of cell biology. He created a cancer cell biology course in which the medical relevance of the course fits well with the medical pathways many students at UM-Dearborn take during their years in attendance.  Professor Kondapalli has also engaged in meaningful service – the most notable of his contributions has been to the Faculty Senate Research Support Committee to review campus grant proposals to advocate for which best support the research goals of the university community.

Emily Matthews Luxon

Emily Matthews Luxon, assistant professor of political science, Department of Social Sciences, promoted to associate professor of political science, with tenure.

Dr. Luxon has developed an ambitious research agenda. She argues that existing theoretical models depicting how advocacy groups affect policymaking over-simplify the activities, expertise, and operational context of advocacy groups. Dr. Luxon uses empirical methods to demonstrate this over-simplification and how it results in misrepresenting the way in which environmental advocacy groups attempt to influence policy. While her work has been highly empirical, she has deftly used her findings to draw important implications for dominant theories of the policymaking process.

Professor Luxon is a vital member of the political science discipline, teaching courses in comparative politics, environmental politics, and food politics.  She uses a variety of engaged learning techniques and continuously revises her courses to enhance student learning.  In 2017, she received University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Distinguished Teaching Award, an especially impressive accomplishment for an assistant professor. Professor Luxon has also played a fundamental role in advancing assessment practices, leading assessment efforts in political science, contributing to assessments of other programs, and serving on the Assessment Subcommittee of the University Curriculum Development Committee.

Carmel Price

Carmel Price, assistant professor of sociology, Department of Behavioral Sciences, promoted to associate professor of sociology, with tenure.

Dr. Price exemplifies the scholar-teacher model, as she conducts community-based, participatory research and actively engages students in her research projects. Her work focuses on two areas: food insecurity of college students and environmental justice issues. She is the co-founder of the interdisciplinary College and University Pantries (CUP) research team and has become a national leader on this issue. This team created and hosted Annual Michigan College Campuses Food Pantry Summits, where representatives from campus food pantries develop best practices for addressing student food insecurity.  Her work on environmental justice has included projects on gender and attitudes to climate change, race and hydraulic fracturing in Youngstown, OH, and the effects of air pollution and flooding in Detroit.

Professor Price’s courses in quantitative research, contemporary social problems, gender roles, population problems, and understanding society are well-structured and emphasize critical thinking.  She has been called on to present about food insecurity in multiple venues, including as a Keynote Speaker for the Hungry and Homeless Summit at the University of Tennessee, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, and to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Dr. Price has also organized the annual Environmental Health Research-to-Action Summer Youth Academy in Dearborn.

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