Faculty promoted and granted tenure

August 06, 2008

Four faculty members have been announced receiving promotions and tenure as McDaniel College begins preparations for its 141st academic year which gets underway August 25.

Thomas Falkner, provost and dean of the faculty, announced promotions and tenure appointments for Debora Johnson-Ross, Melanie R. Nilsson, Steven R. Pearson, and Italo A. Simonelli.

Johnson-Ross, a member of the Political Science and International Studies department, has been promoted to associate professor and granted tenure. A graduate of Wofford College with a master’s from Florida Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from the Univeristy of South Carolina, she joined the McDaniel faculty in 2001 as a Jessie Ball duPont visiting scholar. Her expertise in comparative and African politics and African-American popular culture resulted in her 2006 selection as a Fulbright Scholar. During that academic year she traveled to Cameroon, Africa, where she lectured at the University of Buea. This experience led to developing a special topics class on Cameroon and her course, Contemporary African Politics.

Nilsson, a member of the Chemistry department, has also been promoted to associate professor and granted tenure. Prior to joining the College, Nilsson was a visiting scientist and research associate at Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences at the University of Oxford. Her Ph.D. in biological chemistry is from State University of New York at Stony Brook, and her B.A. in ACS-certified chemistry is from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College.) Nilsson has supervised over 70 student research projects at McDaniel, including six chemistry students who worked with Nilsson in researching how protein assembly relates to disease and material science. Last year Nilsson traveled to Crete, Greece, where she presented a research paper that had been co-authored with McDaniel students.

Pearson, who earned his M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and  previously taught art at The College of Saint Rose, his undergraduate alma mater, and Iowa State University before joining the McDaniel faculty four years ago, was promoted to associate professor and granted tenure. An abstract painter whose works have been recently exhibited in solo shows in both Baltimore and Frederick, Pearson teaches studio course in drawing, color, painting and printmaking. Many of his students have traveled to New York City where they visit the Chelsea galleries to meet and view contemporary art.

Tenure status was also granted to Simonelli, professor of Mathematics, who joined the faculty in 2006 and is the current department chair. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from Temple University and is especially interested in probability, theory, statistics, graph theory and combinatorics.