Six professors join McDaniel’s distinguished faculty

August 05, 2010

McDaniel’s newest six faculty members expand both academic and research opportunities at the college to include topics that range from geology to cinematography, Islamist activism and violence to the effects of pollution on lobsters, the waning influence of black clergy in the U.S. to evaluation of climate change more than 250 million years ago.

At the liberal arts college where classes average 17 students, the faculty members join the departments of Biology, Communication, Environmental Policy and Science, Foreign Languages, Political Science and International Studies and Sociology. They bring with them a diversity of scholarly interests and expertise that extends the scholarship and research pursuits of McDaniel’s 115-member full-time faculty.

Here, in mostly their own words, are brief introductions:

Mona Becker, visiting assistant professor of Environmental Policy and Science, has an extensive background in science curriculum writing and interdisciplinary science education, having taught classes ranging from Earth Science to Environmental Science to a field course on carbonate geology of the Florida Keys. Among her research interests is dating sedimentary rock record using uranium and lead isotopes to evaluate climate changes in the Earth’s history during the Paleozoic Era more than 250 million years ago. She holds a B.S. in Engineering Geology from Millersville University, an M.S. in Geology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Ph.D. in Geology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Anouar Boukhars, assistant professor of Political Science and International Studies, has published extensively in his field of expertise, Middle Eastern politics and the critical issues of international politics and security. Boukhars’ scholarly interests center on the relationship between state-controlled liberalization processes and levels of political violence and terrorism in different Middle Eastern contexts. His undergraduate courses in international relations offer diverse theoretical perspectives to help explain and interpret international behavior and global issues. Boukhars earned his B.A. in English Literature at Ibn Tofail University in Morocco, his M.A. in Applied Humanities at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco and his Ph.D. in International Studies at Old Dominion University in Virginia.

Richard M. Brett, associate professor of Communication, primarily teaches film production – cinematography and editing – and writing. He also developed and teaches several film history courses, believing a basic foundation in film theory and history to be vital in shooting and editing film. Brett has worked professionally in a variety of positions, including production assistant, videographer, video editor and script supervisor. He has optioned several of his original screenplays and been a finalist in national competitions. He is a graduate of Carleton College in Anthropology, earned his M.A. in Film and Video Production at The University of Iowa and his M.F.A. in Broadcasting/Cinema at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Molly Jacobs, assistant professor of Biology, studies developmental variation in larval lobsters and other marine invertebrates, working in ecology, developmental biology and environmental biology and using a combination of ecological, physiological, chemical and molecular techniques. During a postdoctoral year on Capitol Hill, she had a front-row seat to how resource allocation decisions are made at federal and state levels, especially in shoreline development, coastal zone management and fisheries. Widely published, Jacobs’ recent work investigates the effects of pollutants from human activity on adult and larval lobsters. She earned her B.A. in Biology at Swarthmore College and Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Washington.

Sonia Richardson, visiting assistant professor of French, has significant research expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and the Caribbean, which forms the basis for teaching courses focused on identity, French empire, exile, immigration and oral literature across various French-speaking regions. Her interest in French and Francophone literatures and cultures is personal as well as professional – a native speaker of French from Africa’s Ivory Coast, she also speaks Fon, an African language from the west African nation of Benin. Richardson studied and practiced journalism in Burkina Faso in Africa, where she earned her B.A. in Communications at the University of Ouagadougou. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in French Studies from the University of Delaware and the University of Iowa, respectively.

McDaniel alumnus Richard M. Smith, assistant professor of Sociology, has studied Protestant institutions and influence, black clergy and race, class and gender inequality. He has presented at professional conferences on a variety of research topics, including “Why Black Clergy No Longer Move the Crowd? The Dissipating Influence of Black Clergy in the United States” and liberal and conservative Protestant views of sexual morality in the U.S. Looking forward to collaborating with his students on research projects, Smith has taught Sociology classes in race and racism, the historical significance of race in American society, American ethnicity and cultural anthropology. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Temple University.