CMC highlights faculty research with second-annual celebration

Claremont McKenna College will showcase faculty scholarship from the past calendar year at the second-annual Faculty Publications and Grants celebration on Feb. 16. CMC professors authored or co-authored more than 200 works, and most will be displayed inside McKenna Auditorium. Many faculty members will also be on site to discuss their research.

Dean of the Faculty Peter Uvin said research “allows us to attract and keep brilliant scholars whose methodologies are sophisticated and whose arguments are routinely subjected to critical peer review. They are better and more sophisticated teachers who can teach the fundamentals of scholarly analysis to our students.”

Faculty in the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance published extensively in 2017. Three professors from the department are also directors in the College’s research institutes and centers.

William L. Ascher, Donald C. McKenna Professor of Government and Economics and Director of the Roberts Environmental Center, authored and co-authored two papers and wrote a new book.

Ascher authored “Keeping the Faith: Policy Sciences as the Gatekeeper” and co-authored “Gold and Green Together: Solving the Challenges of Corporate-NGO Partnerships” with Garry Brewer and George Wyeth.

His book “Understanding the Policymaking Process in Developing Countries” was published by Cambridge University Press.

Joshua Rosett, Director of the Financial Economics Institute, co-authored “The Benefit of Labor Cost Disclosure: Evidence from Analyst Earnings Forecast Accuracy” with University of Massachusetts Boston faculty Sangwan Kim, KoEun Park, and Yong-Chul Shin.

Rosett is also CMC’s Curb Family Associate Professor of Business and Law and a George R. Roberts Fellow.

Janet Kiholm Smith, Von Tobel Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, co-authored “Risk-Taking in Competitive Settings: Evidence from Match Play Golf Tournaments” with Associate Professor of Economics Serkan Ozbeklik.

Associate Dean of Faculty Shana Levin noted that CMC is deeply committed to fostering student-faculty research collaborations. Twelve of the featured publications were co-authored with CMC students and alumni, or with other 7C students.

“Students learn from faculty not only the value in reaching solid conclusions through careful analysis, but also the value in asking the right questions, the questions that matter to us as engaged citizens of our community, society, culture, and diverse world,” said Levin, who is CMC’s Crown Professor of Psychology and a George R. Roberts Fellow.

Podlich Family Professor of Government Hilary Appel is one of the faculty members sharing authorship with a former student. Appel, a George R. Roberts Fellow, co-authored “Putin’s Renationalizing Campaign: Fighting Corruption or Forcing Officials’ Loyalty” with alumna Wendy Chuyi Sheng ’17.

Appel said Sheng was interested in the topic and approached her to do research. Appel was impressed by Sheng’s commitment to the project, so she proposed they co-author a paper.

President Hiram Chodosh, who will have two publications featured, observed: “CMC faculty research matters, providing insights on the challenges of our time, strong methodologies in the search for truth and deeper understanding, and inspiration in collaboration with our outstanding student-scholars.”

In the W.M. Keck Science Department, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Babak Sanii co-authored the paper “Gravity-Drawn Silicone Filaments: Production, Characterization, and Wormlike Chain Dynamics” with a 10-student research cohort. The team included CMCers Collin Barraugh ’18, Anthony Bosshardt ’17, Roxanna Kiessling’18, Matthew Mulligan ’17, and Katherine Snell ’20.

Sanii said that CMC students learn to take ownership of tasks, to seek resources, and to develop creative solutions with faculty before they even step into the lab.

“Faculty create an environment where these skills translate into new science,” Sanii said. “The close partnership fosters confidence, and teaches the application of scientific process in a way that is very challenging in the classroom.”

Many faculty members, like Professor of Mathematics Lenny Fukshansky, also secured external grants to fund student research opportunities.

Fukshansky received a Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians from the Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences division.

The grant supports travel to meet and collaborate with other mathematicians. Funding is also set aside to enhance research opportunities at the recipient’s school. Fukshansky said that if a student researching with him wanted to attend a conference or a workshop related to their project, the Simons grant can pay for the trip.

Two professors in the philosophy department received fellowship grants to bring their expertise to other schools.

Amy Kind, Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy, went to Australian National University’s Research School of Social Sciences as a RSSS Visiting Fellow.

The fellowship hosts widely published scholars like Kind, who was recently named Director of CMC’s Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, to elevate the school’s international profile.

Associate Professor Andrew Schroeder is a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at Princeton University’s University Center for Human Values.

As a visiting fellow, Schroeder will use his time to research and write about moral, ethical, and philosophical issues. He will be completing a book about disability during his time at Princeton.

Dean Levin said that CMC faculty, like Kind and Schroeder, are prolific scholars in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematical sciences.

“They’re experts in the theories and methodologies of their field and their application to pressing social and policy issues,” Levin said. “Faculty scholarship makes a profound contribution to the intellectual life of CMC students, both in the classroom and beyond.”

The 2nd Annual Community Celebration of CMC Faculty Publications and Grants will take place on Friday, February 16, from 1-3 p.m. in McKenna Auditorium.

—Michael Tesauro