The spark: As a child in New Delhi, Aseema Sinha was surrounded by political discussion “in the kitchen, at the dining table, everywhere” with her socially conscious parents. Her doctoral program and mentors trained her to marry deep and contextual knowledge of India with political science, and curiosity about the rest of the world spurred her to think big. Sinha is an expert on the political economy of India, India-China comparisons, and international organizations. She inspires her students to love distant lands.
Each academic year brings its own unique energy and excitement thanks to new faculty arriving to Claremont McKenna College. Here’s a brief introduction to the new faces you’ll see on campus.
Several CMC faculty members earned distinctions in recent months. Here are some of their notable accomplishments:
Professor Henri Cole was installed as Josephine Olp Weeks Professor of Literature in a February 26 ceremony at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.
Cole has published nine collections of poetry, including Middle Earth, which was a 2004 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. A memoir, Orphic Paris, was published by New York Review Books last spring.
Professor of psychology Daniel Krauss has won the Western Psychological Association’s 2019 Outstanding Teaching Award. The honor is given to a senior-level WPA member (minimum 10 years in the field) who has demonstrated leadership in teaching and mentoring.
Krauss said the award is special because the WPA includes teachers at schools ranging from community colleges to major research universities. Additionally, he was nominated by former CMC students.
The spark: Teaching a cognitive psychology class in graduate school completely changed how Sharda Umanath viewed research. Staying in the lab to study memory was tempting, she said. But exploring both through the liberal arts proved to be the combination she was looking for. “Being at CMC puts a different emphasis on what I do. For my students here, I might be giving them the one research experience they’re ever going to have.
More than 250 works by CMC faculty will be on display at the third annual Faculty Publications and Grants celebration on February 15. Numerous professors will be on hand to discuss their research, published in 2018, at McKenna Auditorium.
Professor John Farrell was installed as the Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Literature during a luncheon ceremony on Feb. 4 in the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.
Decision points: Piercarlo Valdesolo started the Moral Emotions and Trust Lab at CMC so psychology undergraduates could conduct research and publish papers with professors, a hallmark of CMC. The back-and-forth with lab students has helped Valdesolo strengthen his own ideas about emotions and maximize its purpose academically. Students often have a direct, personal interest in the work. “I teach the stuff every student can relate to,” said Valdesolo. “Everyone knows that emotions affect their lives, so I can easily get my hooks into them.
The spark: Hilary Appel was an undergraduate when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union dissolved. “It was the most exciting story of the time,” Appel said. “For someone interested in international politics, it was the most interesting part of the world to study.” Looking back, it is hard not to be disappointed that democracy didn’t take hold in Russia. “There was so much optimism at the time about the political transformations of those countries.”