College recognizes professors with promotions and tenure
Nine faculty members have received tenure and promotions effective August 2013.
Margaret McDevitt has been promoted to professor of Psychology. Her most recent academic project involved learning how to program experiments in Python. She says her favorite course to instruct is “Psychology of Learning and Animal Lab,” where each students works with a pigeon. “It never fails to remind me why I fell in love with behavioral psychology, and it is always fun to introduce students to experimental work and watch them interact with their pigeon,” said McDevitt. In her free time, she likes to run, read, garden, make soap, and play with her 5-year-old girls.
New associate professors with tenure are:
Daria E. Buese, associate professor of Education, considers herself fortunate to have landed at McDaniel College. Her favorite course is one she developed, “Seminar in Curriculum and Instruction,” because it allows her students to investigate larger topics, such as the nature of knowledge production and teaching for democracy. A woman of several personal mottos, Buese highlighted two longtime favorites: “Never miss an opportunity,” and “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” She is currently seeking to maximize her free time in order to spend more time outdoors exploring the local area.
Holly McCartney Chalk has been promoted to associate professor of Psychology and identifies achieving tenure as one of her proudest professional accomplishments. She recently published a collaboration with several McDaniel students that examines body image and excessive exercise in college students. “We found that college men seem to respond more to peer pressure about body image, whereas women are more susceptible to sociocultural pressures,” Chalk explained. Having received a liberal arts education herself, she chose McDaniel because she is passionate about providing such an education to her students.
Spencer Hamblen, associate professor of Mathematics, is an avid board gamer and runner. He enjoys the opportunity to interact with a diverse faculty in an interdisciplinary environment. Hamblen says his favorite course to instruct is “Mathematics Problems Seminar,” a small and interactive class where students present problems each week on a different topic. “The students always surprise me with creative solutions to difficult problems, things I never would have thought of,” he said. Hamblen is currently learning to crochet after being inspired by the mathematical fiber-arts exhibit that came to the Smithsonian a few years ago.
Susan N. Parrish has been promoted to associate professor of Biology. Her favorite course to teach is the Genomics lecture and laboratory, because it involves helping students complete original research projects in a challenging field through collaboration with the Genomics Education Partnership. Parrish is most proud of the accomplishments of her students, many of whom have presented at national scientific conferences. “I know from personal experience the profound and positive impact a mentor can make in a person's life and wanted to give back what I was so generously given,” she said.
Sara B. Raley, associate professor of Sociology, had never been to a liberal arts college before she shadowed a McDaniel faculty member while in graduate school, but ended up falling in love with the environment. “This probably sounds corny, but I went into teaching because I wanted to spread the gospel of sociology and encourage social activism,” said Raley. “When my students go on to succeed in fields doing this kind of work, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something meaningful in helping them along this path.” Lately, she has spent time working on papers about father involvement, cohabitation and work-life balance.
Madeline E. Rhodes, associate professor of Psychology, enjoys teaching “Research Methods & Statistics.” “I enjoy the challenge of convincing students that the information that they learn in the course is relevant not just for their education in psychology, but also their lives in general,” she said. Her most recent academic project was a collaboration with students examining the effects of testosterone on different hormonally-mediated behaviors of male rats. Rhodes says that her personal motto is, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Robert J. Trader has been promoted to associate professor of Communication. He likes to write music, play video games, create websites and spend time with his 8-year-old daughter. Trader chose McDaniel College because it changes lives. “I am all about showing students how to change their lives as well as others’ lives through the design of persuasive messages,” he said. His favorite course to instruct is “Public Speaking,” not only because it is largely about message design, but also because he enjoys seeing students leave the course feeling confident about their ability to give a good persuasive speech.
Reanna A. Ursin, associate professor of English, says she is unable to choose a favorite course because each one creates a different type of learning community. However, Ursin admits that she most enjoys the reading material for “Historic Novels of the Black Diaspora” because they include some of her favorite romantic relationships. “Students tend to have strong reactions to the characters, making for highly charged discussions that sometimes spill out of the classroom,” she says. Ursin loves trying new recipes and hopes to continue her new tradition of inviting students over for dinner.