Curricular changes bring new faculty

By Matt Day

Beginning fall 2007, Macalester students will no longer have to venture off-campus to take courses in Arabic: an instructor in the language is among the nine faculty hired this spring, among the classics, international studies, English, math, music, chemistry, history, and hispanic studies departments.Antoine Mefleh, who holds degrees from universities in Lebanon, France, and the United States, will teach an introductory Arabic course in the fall followed by an intermediate course in spring 2008.

He has taught Arabic locally at Minneapolis’ Roosevelt High School and at Minza, a local Arab American literature and language center. During his time at Roosevelt, Mefleh was the only high school Arabic instructor in Minnesota.

The courses will be listed in the classics department due to the Arabic’s shared historic roots with the department’s languages, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.

The international studies department hired Smadar Lavie as the Hubert H. Humphrey Visiting Chair professor. Lavie will teach courses about the Islamic world.

The position lasts at least two years, with provisions for an extension. Mohammed Bamyeh, who holds the current Humphrey visiting professorship, is in his fourth year at Macalester.

International studies Chair David Chioni Moore said that Lavie stood out because of her “regional expertise within a global frame.”

Lavie, a native of Israel, has completed anthropological fieldwork in Jordan, Palestine, and the Sinai Peninsula. “She brings great range, both geographic and disciplinary,” Moore said.

The history department chose to hire current Macalester associate professor Andrea Robertson for the tenure track position in early U.S. colonial history. Robertson is teaching two courses this semester as an associate professor.

“I knew Mac’s reputation was excellent regionally and nationwide,” Robertson said of her initial decision to come to Macalester. Robertson grew up in northern Wisconsin and attended Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Applying to stay at Macalester was an easy choice, Robertson said.

“The students seem committed to making a difference here,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with students to develop a curriculum based on what they would like to see offered.”

Robertson, who hopes to use her position to establish more interdisciplinary connection between the history and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies departments, will finish her PhD in history at the University of Minnesota in May.

Katy Splan will join the chemistry department as an assistant professor, teaching biochemistry and general chemistry in the fall. Splan, who holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and Northwestern University, will offer opportunities for student-assisted research.

“Through collaborative research in her labs, students will have the opportunity to engage in cutting edge science,” chair of the Chemistry department, Ronald Brisbois said.

Splan has completed post-doctoral work at the University of Minnesota and Duke University.

The mathematics and computer science department announced the hiring of Andrew Beveridge.

Beveridge, who earned his PhD at Yale, has worked as a database architect for the Stanford School of Medicine.

Beveridge is currently teaching as a visiting assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

A second hire in classics will bring Corby Kelly to campus as a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow, a two-year position. Kelly recently completed his PhD at Stanford University and has taught both high school and college courses. Kelly specializes in Latin literature.