CASL faculty receive promotion and tenure

May 21, 2021

The Board of Regents, at their meeting on May 20, approved promotions and tenure for four 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.)

Francine Banner

Francine Banner, associate professor of sociology, with tenure, Department of Behavioral Sciences, promoted to professor of sociology, with tenure.

Dr. Banner’s blending of social science theory, legal studies, quantitative analysis, and artful narrative has established her as an accessible and influential scholar in this emerging area of study. Her publications are timely and demonstrate how social mediation influences popular understanding of law and justice and how this understanding drives legal reform and litigation strategies. Francine’s monograph, Crowdsourcing the Law: Trying Sexual Assault on Social Media, which received an Honorable Mention Award from the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University, explores social media discourse on sexual assault through the lenses of both critical legal and feminist theory to explore how this discourse potentially impacts broader understandings of law as a societal institution.

Professor Banner has been instrumental in broadening the college’s curriculum, introducing new courses that explore the intersections between law, gender, power, and culture including “Law and Culture,” “Violence Against Women,” and “Family Violence.” She has also played a major role in furthering the college’s educational efforts aimed at Michigan’s incarcerated population, teaching in our Inside/Out Prison Exchange program and directing our educational programming at the Huron Women’s Prison. Francine has increased campus awareness and prominence of our Women in Learning and Leadership program during her time as the director.

Gengxin Li

Gengxin Li, associate professor of statistics, without tenure, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, promoted to associate professor of statistics, with tenure.

Dr. Gengxin Li’s scholarship has made valuable contributions to the field of biostatistics relating to the identification of genetic mutations responsible for complex traits, as evidenced by the high impact factor of the journals publishing her work, her high citation count, and her National Institute of Health funding. More particularly, her work in developing statistical theory and methodology in the areas of genotype calling and imputation, mapping imprinted quantitative trait loci, functional mapping, dissecting maternal and parent-of-origin effects, and genetic risk prediction are viewed as both “pioneering” and “innovative.” Perhaps Gengxin’s most significant work is her article, “M3: An Improved SNP Calling Algorithm for Illumina Bead Array Data,” published in Bioinformatics in 2015. The article has been widely cited and continues to draw the attention of scholars in diverse fields of study.

Professor Li is a dedicated instructor committed to student success and active learning. Her classroom work is to be commended for its high level of engagement. Gengxin has served on the admissions and scholarship committee for the graduate program in Applied and Computational Mathematics and, at the college level, as a member of the CASL Scholarship Committee. She also continues to serve her profession by writing technical reviews for journals.

Keshav Pokhrel

Keshav Pokhrel, assistant professor of statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, promoted to associate professor of statistics, with tenure.

Dr. Keshav Pokhrel's recent work speaks to the interdisciplinary nature of his research, which seeks to advance statistical methodologies and software to biological sciences. He is a partner on a National Institute for Health grant, and the architect of a significant software application to implement a novel Bayesean learning package for neural networks.

Notable is the fact that Professor Pokhrel has, since his arrival on campus in Sept. 2015, developed 11 distinct courses and that he has taught all but one of the courses required for the applied statistics major. Keshav exemplifies our campus model of teacher/scholar and has worked with over 200 students on individual/joint research projects. Dr. Pokhrel has committed himself to building our applied statistics program, serving as program advisor, representing it at numerous recruiting events. He has also reviewed several new graduate program proposals for the Michigan Association of State Universities and serves as President of the Nepalese Mathematicians in America.

Harmony Reppond

Harmony Reppond, assistant professor of psychology, Department of Behavioral Sciences, promoted to associate professor of psychology, with tenure.

Dr. Reppond’s work explores the implications of stereotyping for poor women and the ways that these stereotypes are used to attribute personal responsibility for poverty. More recently, her work has shifted to a focus on the meaning and importance of food pantries on college campuses. Above all else, Harmony’s research looks to prompt social change and to influence policy. Her work has been described as cutting edge and masterful in bridging the worlds of theory and practice.

As a vital member of the psychology discipline, Professor Reppond teaches applied social psychology (especially as it relates to impoverished underrepresented populations). She was honored in 2018 by our WILL (Women in Learning and Leadership) students with the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. Harmony has served as the Behavioral Sciences representative to the college’s Academic Integrity Board and Curriculum Committee, and as faculty advisor for the Benevolence Project. Within her profession, Professor Reppond was elected to serve on the Public Interest Directorate in the Office on Socioeconomic Status of the American Psychological Association and serves on the editorial board of the Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy Journal.

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