Board of Trustees Recognizes Faculty Members

By IC News, February 18, 2024
Promotions, tenure, emerita/emeritus, and Dana status awarded.

Congratulations to the current and former members of the faculty who have been recognized by the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. At its February meetings, the board awarded promotions and tenure to 15, designated 2 as Dana professors, and granted emerita/emeritus status to 8 retired faculty members.

The biographies of the faculty members were provided by their respective schools.

The following were awarded tenure and promoted from assistant to associate professor. Criteria for promotion to associate professor include: a sustained record of teaching excellence, evidence of significant scholarly or appropriate professional attainment, and evidence of service to the college and profession.

School of Business
Department of Finance and International Business
Xinxin Li (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte) has taught a range of courses in finance, corporate finance, international finance, and wealth management. Students remark on her accessibility, patience, and sensitivity to students’ needs. She often incorporates practical projects in her mix courses. She recently developed a minicourse in Python, a programming language used widely in the financial services industry. In her scholarly work, she has published several notable articles in respected journals and has given research presentations at prominent conferences. Her areas of expertise include the study of how national culture and governance affect bondholder wealth and the nature of mortgage financing. She has an extensive record of service at the college and has also served as an advisor to student organizations. A common thread in her service is her aspiration to advance the college’s goal of becoming a national model in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Roy H. Park School of Communications
Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies
Brad Lewter (M.F.A., University of Central Florida) teaches in a newly developed minor in Animation, with courses focusing on motion graphics, 3D animation, and 3D production. He has had works shown nationally and internationally, received grants to upgrade the college’s facilities and to improve his technical skills, and has a strong record of national and regional presentations at conferences such as the Pop Culture Association, University Film and Video Association, and the prestigious Broadcast Educator’s Association. He produced three animated films in the time of this tenure review. He is currently serving on the Academic Policies Committee as a member of the Curriculum subcommittee and served previously on Faculty Council and the Faculty Development Committee. His service is extensive, including serving as the Faculty Advisor and main organizer for Park Post, the post-production student group, since 2018. He provides excellent classroom instruction, is on the cutting edge of creative activity in his field, and is a colleague valued for his commitment to service to the Park School, IC, and his profession.

Mitch McCabe (M.F.A., New York University) has primarily taught courses for students studying the development and production of film projects and unscripted television shows. They also teach courses on the financing of independent films, including grant writing. They are an internationally renowned award-winning documentary filmmaker, whose major projects include Civil War Surveillance Poems, 23 Mile, and Untitled Normal Project, a longitudinal documentary about mental health treatment in America. They have produced ad campaigns for brands included in top 100 list of leading national advertisers and worked in the reality TV show space in multiple roles for national networks. They have served multiple stints on college committees, including the Honorary Degree Committee, the Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee, and the Calendar Committee. They also are very active in service that supports students, including serving as an advisor to the Ithaca College Film Society. They have proven to be a dedicated and valued colleague, and one who can inspire others.

Angela Rulffes (Ph.D., Syracuse University; Juris Doctorate, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University) has taught 14 different courses at Ithaca College since Fall ’17, on topics related to media law, copyright, contracts for media professionals, and the First Amendment. Her scholarship is driven by the evolution of free speech and privacy rights, looking at how the First Amendment collides and conflicts with present-day technologies. She has engaged in a very high level of service to the department, school, college, and profession. In her Pre-Law advisor role, the advising she does is in-depth and personalized to each student. She co-created a new series of ongoing college-wide events that focus on free speech issues on campus. She has been elected to the Park Curriculum Committees and to represent her colleagues on the Faculty Council. She is motivational in the classroom, a wonderful mentor to students, produces impactful scholarship, and is a very dedicated and conscientious member of the campus community.

School of Humanities and Sciences
Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity (CSCRE)

M. Nicole Horsley’s (Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington) research interests include Black women’s sexuality, Black liberation, film and media, and hip-hop studies. During her time at IC, she has taught 14 unique classes, ranging from the introductory to the advanced and serving CSCRE as well as Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Screen Cultures. She has taught such topics as the African diaspora, Black feminism, Black queer theory, and Black female sexuality. In her teaching, she prioritizes collaborative learning practices, interdisciplinarity, the empowerment of students, and the centering of minoritized voices. Her students describe her classes as transformative, often noting that her teaching prompted them to question everything they thought they knew and to open their minds in ways they could not have imagined previously. Since her arrival at IC, she has published three single-authored and three co-authored peer-reviewed articles. She has been an invited speaker at 12 events, and she has given five conference presentations. Other scholars describe her work as “innovative,” “important,” “genuinely transdisciplinary,” and “impressive in breadth, depth, content, and intention.” Within the CSCRE, she has coordinated the African Diaspora Studies minor, and she has contributed vitally to the Center’s discussion series and its faculty searches. As a member of the WGSS steering committee, she played a key role in creating the new major. She has also served on the H&S Faculty Senate, as a faculty associate for the First-Year Residential Experience, and as a provider of workshops for student-athletes.

Department of Biology
Lisa Corewyn’s (Ph.D., University of Texas at San Antonio) area of expertise is biological anthropology, with a focus on primate social behavior, ecology, genetics, and conservation. During her time at IC, she has taught courses at every level in the Anthropology curriculum, while also consistently contributing to the ICC. Mindful of student learning differences, she employs varied pedagogical techniques in her teaching, ranging from lectures to hands-on activities. She also provides unforgettable experiential learning opportunities for students, both in her lab and at her study site in Costa Rica. Her students characterize her as a well prepared, organized, knowledgeable, and inspiring instructor, fiercely committed to their learning and dedicated to exploring such urgent topics as race, human evolution, and nature conservation. Students commend her receptivity to their ideas and interests, and her ability to open their eyes to new ways of thinking. During her time at IC, she has conducted research on mantled howler monkeys in Costa Rica, producing journal articles, co-authoring a textbook, and presenting widely at national and international conferences. Reviewers describe her work as “of immeasurable value,” and “elegant,” as filling “a crucial…. gap in the literature” in her area of study, and as “an excellent example of teamwork across disciplines.” Her ongoing research partnership with Associate Professor in HSHP Kari Brossard Stoos exemplifies cross-disciplinary collaboration within IC at its finest. Her service to the college community has been extensive and good-hearted. In addition to taking the reins of the Anthropology program at a very challenging time, she has served on numerous committees, and she currently serves as Vice President on the H&S Faculty Senate.

Department of Literatures in English
Katarzyna Bartoszyńska (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is a jointly appointed faculty member in the Department of Literatures in English and in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her area of specialization encompasses Polish, Irish, and British literature in the 18th through the 21st centuries, with a focus on the development of the novel. In her time at IC to date, she has taught such courses as Gothic and Detective Fiction, The Matter of Black Lives in the Long 18th Century, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, Jane Austen and Her Contemporaries, and a Slow Read of George Eliot’s “Middlemarch.” In their responses to her courses, students praise her enthusiasm, her knowledge of her subject area, her agility in helping them navigate complex topics, and her skill in awakening them to matters (literary, theoretical, cultural) that were invisible to them before. She is a prolific scholar whose 2021 monograph, “Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland, and Theories of World Literature,” received the Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book and the Waclaw Lednicki Award in the Humanities. Additionally, since arriving at IC she has published two journal articles, a book chapter, three solicited book reviews, four articles for the digital side of major presses, five public-facing pieces, and three translations (Polish to English). Scholars remarking on her work describe her as “bold, original, and fearless,” as “a leading new voice” in her area of study, and as an author and translator with an “already established…international reputation.” She has warmly embraced active citizenship, taking the reins of the WGSS program as its newest coordinator, serving on the Literatures in English department’s Recruitment and Retention Committee, and participating in the CFE’s Antiracism Institute, which she now serves as a Dana Teaching Fellow.

Alexis Becker’s (Ph.D., Harvard University) area of expertise is medieval Britain, with an emphasis on reading, labor, the environment, and gender. During her time at IC, she has taught courses at all levels in the Literatures in English curriculum, ranging from the introductory to the advanced and including graduate-level courses for students pursuing the MAT. Her creativity in course design is exhibited by her course titles: Deep Dive: What is a Book?; Medieval Mysticisms; Race and Racism in/and the Middle Ages; Joan of Arc, 1412-2023. She has displayed great generosity to programs outside her own, teaching Exploring the Options for the Pathways Program and Introduction to Linguistics for World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Her students praise her receptivity to their ideas, her ability to engage their keen interest in a subject area they expected to find obscure, and her welcoming attentiveness to their needs, interests, and challenges. As a scholar, she has published articles in anthologies and journals, and she is at work on a book manuscript entitled “Land and Literacies in Medieval Britain.” Scholars in her field characterize her work as “wonderfully provocative,” “original,” “important,” “lucid, persuasive, and forward-thinking.” As a member of the IC community, she manifests her deep, student-centered priorities through her service activities, which include coordinating the Literatures in English chapter of the national honor society, serving on the Recruitment and Retention Committee, and advising student editors for the literary magazine Zoetic. Her strong dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion is also a distinguishing feature of her service.

Department of Philosophy and Religion
Eric Steinschneider (Ph.D., University of Toronto) has an intellectual focus on religions of South Asia, with an emphasis on Hindu traditions in Tamil-speaking southern India. He has created seven new courses during his time at IC, ranging from the introductory to the advanced and including ICSMs and courses that contribute to the ICC. His students praise him as a highly effective instructor who is skilled at meeting them where they are, who teaches with focus and clarity, and who fosters curiosity and encourages students to believe in themselves and seek out intellectual challenges. Since his arrival at IC he has published prodigiously, producing two peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters, an encyclopedia entry, and three book reviews. In addition, he has given numerous conference presentations, and he has a book project in the works. His scholarly peers describe his work as “of outstanding quality,” “rich [in] historical and linguistic detail,” and important in shedding light on longstanding questions in his field. Indeed, he is said to be “one of a group of up-and-coming scholars…who are overturning long-held stereotypes” in the areas he investigates. He has found time to contribute to the college generously, playing a key role in creating the new religious studies major, serving on the H&S Curriculum Committee, and engaging in numerous activities that serve students, such as chaperoning their attendance at conferences. Notably, he was instrumental in bringing Tibetan monks from the Namgyal Buddhist Monastery to the IC campus to build a sand mandala in the Business Atrium. Due to his industrious efforts, this is now an annual event at Ithaca College.

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Jerome Fung (Ph.D., Harvard University) focuses his research on manipulating particles in colloidal suspensions using light. Since arriving at IC, he has taught 13 unique courses, ranging from the introductory to the advanced and serving the ICC as well as Physics. His students express gratitude for his commitment to providing them with rich intellectual challenges, for incorporating active instructional techniques into his courses, and for empowering them to make decisions about their own education. They characterize his courses as skillfully designed and engagingly delivered; they praise his agility in fostering classroom environments where students feel confident in sharing their ideas; and they cherish his supportive mentorship during and after their undergraduate years. He has published abundantly during his time so far at IC, producing five papers (some with student collaborators), giving seven presentations, and authoring a successful grant application. His scholarly peers characterize his work as “very thorough,” “rigorous,” “elegant,” and “fascinating,” with “immediate applications” and providing “meaningful information.” In addition to mentoring 14 undergraduate researchers, he has engaged in a myriad of service roles, including serving as honors coordinator in Physics and on both the H&S Faculty Senate and Faculty Council. For the Senate, he has been elections facilitator and secretary—at times both at once! His deep commitment to increasing inclusivity and broadening students’ sense “of what a physicist looks like” has been manifested by the range of speakers he has brought to IC as the co-coordinator of the Physics colloquium series.

Eric Leibensperger's (Ph.D., Harvard University) area of expertise is in environmental physics and climate change. Since arriving at IC, he has taught a total of 10 courses, ranging from the introductory to the advanced and serving the ICC, the Department of the Environment, and Physics. Students commend him for his investment in incorporating creative, community-building exercises into his instruction, for being “super interesting,” and for his skill in exposing the real-world implications of what he teaches as well as the interrelationships between science and politics. His scholarly output has been abundant during his time at IC to date: He has produced a total of eight published, in press, or accepted articles in peer-reviewed journals, some with undergraduate co-authors. His scholarly peers characterize his work as “robust and sustained,” as “highly tangible for undergraduate students,” as “impressive in its quality, quantity, [and] diversity,” and as making “a significant contribution…to advancing research.” His service to IC and the professional community has also been wide-ranging and extensive. In the Physics department, he has participated in curriculum development, student recruitment, and the organization of a colloquium series, among other activities. He has given guest lectures for the Department of the Environment, advised the Men’s Lacrosse Club, served on the IC Natural Lands Committee, and given the keynote lecture for the Whalen Symposium, to give just a sampling of the extensive good citizenship he has displayed at Ithaca College. Beyond IC, he has participated in important discussions about climate change across New York State and nationally.

Department of Sociology
Sergio Cabrera’s (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) area of expertise is economic and cultural sociology. During his time at IC, he has taught a total of four core Sociology courses as well as four within his own area of expertise, earning high praise from students and faculty observers alike. His students commend his deep knowledgeable of his subject matter, his agility in making that subject matter relevant to their lives, and his skill in illuminating class content and material. He cultivates classrooms in which students are empowered to take intellectual risks and embrace challenges. As a scholar, he has been quite productive since arriving at IC, producing a co-edited volume (with Professor Stephen Sweet), “The Handbook of Teaching and Learning in Sociology,” and several other peer-reviewed publications, including two journal articles, entitled “Consumer-parenting, cultural processes, and the reproduction of class inequality” and “When Bourgeois Utopias Meet Gentrification: Community and Diversity in a New Urbanist Neighborhood.” Scholarly peers call his work “accessible and compelling,” “of high quality,” “fantastically useful,” “globally applicable” and “vastly important.” His generous service activities have been directed toward such areas as assessment, student statement revision, curriculum redesign, and student engagement. For the college, he has served on the CFE Instructional Development Fund committee and Faculty Council, and he is faculty advisor for the K-Pop Dance student group. His colleagues note that he has been dedicated to improving inclusivity within Sociology, redesigning student lounge spaces to make them more welcoming and doing all he can to promote community.

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Department of Music Performance
David Earll (Ph.D., Arizona State University) focuses most of his teaching on Applied Tuba and Applied Euphonium. He maintains a national and international portfolio as a tuba soloist, chamber musician, clinician, and orchestral musician, and he has also worked as a composer and arranger, published a full-length solo album and chamber music album, and published over 20 submissions in the Journal of International Tuba Euphonium Association. He has been selected for world premieres of 11 new works, and in the past five years he has given over 100 performances internationally. His record of service is exemplary, including his indefatigable contributions to our recruitment efforts. He is an extremely hard-working, versatile, collegial, and very well-respected member of the MTD and IC community.

Department of Theatre and Dance Performance
Marc Gomes (M.F.A., California State University at Long Beach) teaches required courses in the Acting and Musical Theatre majors. His creative practice has been presented regionally as well as internationally, and includes his longstanding relationship with The Cherry Arts Collaborative, of which he is a full member. His original works include “To the Academy,” which he created at Williams College in collaboration with Professor Shanti Pillai with their company Third Space Performance Lab. His distinguished record of service includes serving on the IC Faculty Council, as Producing Associate for the Center for Theatre and Dance, and his extensive work in auditing pre-screen and live auditions. He is a talented, versatile, and highly esteemed member of the MTD and IC community.

Department of Music Education
Beatrice Olesko's (Ph.D., Kent State University) teaching spans elementary general music as well as track-specific courses and required courses for all music education majors. Her scholarship focuses on culturally responsive teaching and democratic teaching practices, and includes presentations at local, state, and national music education platforms, several peer-reviewed articles in top journals in her field, and three book chapters under review and two others in progress for Oxford University Press. Her impressive breadth of service includes membership on the college’s Academic Policy Committee (APC), the former School of Music’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, and for the past five years on the New York State School Music Association’s Classroom Music Committee. She is an exceptionally gifted teacher, an accomplished and nationally recognized scholar, and a dedicated faculty member who is greatly respected by colleagues and students alike.

Two faculty members were honored with Dana professorships, which are awarded for five-year terms to selected professors who have demonstrated a continued record of excellence as well as a promise of outstanding future contributions in teaching and service.

Wendy Dann, Dana Professor of Theatre Studies, is a stage director, playwright, and screenwriter who serves as professor of directing at Ithaca College. She is an alumna of Ithaca College, having received a BFA in Acting in 1993, and was appointed as Assistant Professor in 2009. She was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor effective 2015 and promoted to Professor effective 2021. Her scholarship revolves around creating democratic dialogue on stage and empowering students to do the same. She has created original works of theatre at the regional and national levels and published texts on pedagogical practices. Her original play “Birds of East Africa” received its world premiere at the Kitchen Theatre Company in 2017. Her play “The Strangest Thing” was a finalist for the 2010 and 2012 O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Playwrights Conference. The 10-minute play “Brother Love” was a finalist for the Arts & Letters Drama Prize. She received the 2013 NYFA Fellowship in Playwriting. Her short film, “La Casa Verde,” premiered at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and was invited to the San Antonio International Film Festival. She was a winner of the virtual pitch contest at the Austin Film Festival in the summer of 2020 and was invited to participate in The Writers Lab 2021 as a television writer.

One of her most significant current endeavors is revising and pursuing off-Broadway development opportunities for an original play with music, “Sammy & Me,” that she coauthored and directed. This play explores the legacy of Sammy Davis Jr. and his impact on racial and cultural identity for Black and non-Black Americans.

Andrew Smith, Dana Professor of Biology, specializes in animal physiology and biomechanics and serves the Biology and Biochemistry programs as well as the Health Professions Advisory Committee. He started at Ithaca College in 2000, was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor effective 2004, and promoted to Professor effective 2012.

His research, done in conjunction with Ithaca College students, investigates sticky adhesive gels secreted by slugs as a deterrent to predators; the secretion glues the potential predator’s mouth closed before the predator can consume the slug. Study of this substance has intriguing medical applications, since it has properties especially appealing for biomedical adhesives: It adheres to wet, irregular surfaces; it sets quickly; it can be remarkably tough; and it can bend and flex with the tissues rather than peeling or cracking. It thus offers promise over current medical adhesives that are less flexible and have problems with biocompatibility. His research has been highlighted in articles in the Smithsonian Magazine, Science News, PBS, and The Washington Post. He is pursuing patents relevant to this work, has been interviewed about this work on CBC Radio and the BBC, and delivered keynote addresses at four international research conferences.

The following were named professor emerita or emeritus. This is an honorary title awarded after retirement to those who have made sustained contributions to Ithaca College and/or to their profession in teaching, scholarship, and service.

Roy H. Park School of Communications
Gordon Rowland, professor of communications, who retired in 2022.

School of Health Sciences and Human Performance
Charles Ciccone, professor of physical therapy, who retired in 2022.

John Sigg, professor of exercise and sport sciences, who retired in 2023.

School of Humanities and Sciences
Bernard Beins, professor of psychology, who retired in 2023.

Naeem Inayatullah, professor of politics, who retired in 2023.

Frederik Kaufman, professor of philosophy and religion, who retired in 2023.

Stephen Mosher, professor of communication studies, who retired in 2022.

Gary Wells, professor of art, art history, and architecture, who retired in 2023.