As the Sociology Department SEPC members know all too well, our department has been engaged in a seemingly endless series of faculty searches. We are actually pleased to have the opportunity to do those searches, tiring though they can be, because student interest in sociology has been growing steadily for years now, which leads to vastly increased needs for course offerings, and because new faculty add to our diversity of theoretical and methodological approaches and research/teaching topics.
The most significant faculty hires are obviously for tenure-track positions. We were able to add a new tenure-track position in 2007-08, which Davíd Cook-Martín has been making his own very effectively. Davíd, who brings expertise in the political sociology of migration and citizenship to us from his PhD program at UCLA, has been teaching research methods, in addition to courses on law, on migration, and on race, ethnicity, and nationalism. Davíd has been enjoying (but has been working very hard during) a competitive Harris Research Leave during the 2010-2011 academic year. Davíd is the third member of the department to have won a Harris leave; Susan Ferguson and Karla Erickson both enjoyed Harris leaves in their earlier years at Grinnell.
In 2010-11, Kent McClelland entered Senior Faculty Status; SFS is a kind of part-time status available for almost-ready-to-retire faculty. Kent has been happily engaged in research and doing some interdisciplinary teaching. Our efforts to replace Kent were surprisingly challenging, given the job market. Our initial search, in 2009-2010, failed, despite attracting wonderful candidates; we lost out in battles for candidates who were in very high demand. Undaunted, though tired, we tried again the next year and were delighted to be able to hire Michael Thompson, who is beginning his tenure-track position at Grinnell in 2011-2012. Michael, who is about to complete his PhD at Indiana University and has lots of applied research experience, will be bringing considerable methodological and statistical expertise to us. His dissertation focuses on state-level conditions under which minimum wage legislation is enacted.
In addition to these tenure-track searches, we've filled many other hours with a number of special searches for short-term positions. For instance, we were able to hire Betsy Erbaugh as a two-year sabbatical replacement in 2007-2009. Betsy, who has a PhD from the University of Arizona, taught, among other things, a course related to her research on the LGBTQ community's organizing against intimate partner violence.
That same year, Max Leung came for one year to fill a combined Sociology-American-Studies leave position. Max, in fact, is returning to Sociology in 2011-2012 as a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow. Max's PhD is in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University; he specializes in critical race studies and the study of hate violence. He'll be able to teach two courses for us during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Twice recently, in recognition of the Sociology Department's need for additional faculty, we have been granted permission to fill the college's single Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow position, to which all departments can apply. In 2009, we hired Krista Bywater for two years; Krista, a UC-Santa Barbara PhD, taught a number of courses on global development, including a course on social movements opposed to the privatization of water in India, her research field. This year, we hired Kaelyn Wiles, for another Mellon Postdoc position. Kaelyn, with a newly earned PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote her dissertation on mindfulness meditation.
In 2010 thru 2012, the department has been pleased to host other leave replacement hires. Craig Upright, who is finishing his PhD at Princeton, offered in 2009-2011 a number of courses on food and the food industry that students found tasty and filling. Craig brought an unusual background to Grinnell: he had worked in the retail food industry in Minnesota for about 10 years before he went to graduate school at Princeton. Among other things Craig offered a course on food during which he and students organized a Food Film Festival that was a big hit. Craig was replacing Davíd Cook-Martín, while he was taking his Harris Research Leave in 2010-2011, and then was replacing Karla Erickson during her sabbatical in 2011-2012.
Peter Hart-Brinson, whose PhD is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, first joined us in 2010-2011. We are pleased that he will remain with us for 2011-2012. Peter's main academic interests are in generational features of social change, and in cultural sociology.
In order to keep trim, we will be conducting another search, this time for a "new" two-year term position, during 2011-2012. After that, who knows?