Dear members of the Arts and Science community,
Each year the Arts and Science faculty lead in recruiting new faculty to the college. This is a demanding process in which the fields vary but the criteria are the same: We look for top scholars who are also gifted teachers.
We are very happy to welcome 19 new faculty members in A&S this fall. Their disciplines span the sciences, social sciences and humanities, and they hail from institutions around the country and around the world.
Let me introduce you to just two of this talented new cohort. Joining the Departments of Psychology and Biological Sciences is Suzana Herculano-Houzel
, a neuroscientist who studies the evolution of brain development. Her path-breaking research produced the first accurate count of the number of neurons in the human brain—86 billion. In a TED talk viewed online by more than 2 million people, Associate Professor Herculano-Houzel explains what makes human brains special. The turn toward cooking by humans produced calories more efficiently and allowed our brains to evolve in distinctive ways.
Sharece Thrower is the newest scholar of the American presidency in our distinguished
political science department. Her childhood fascination with the presidency led her to a career that seeks to understand how American presidents hold, exercise and expand their power. She earned her Ph.D. at Princeton in 2013 and served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh before joining Vanderbilt as an assistant
professor. She is continuing her research into how Congress and the courts influence the president’s powers, including executive orders, signing statements, rule-making and regulatory review. She’s also taking her research to the state level by examining gubernatorial executive orders.
Building our faculty involves a talent search on many fronts, and it requires dedication to the goal of a diverse professoriate. I’m excited that Vanderbilt is launching an ambitious training initiative designed to prepare recent doctoral graduates for competitive academic careers. Academic Pathways: An Initiative for Academic Diversity is sponsored by the provost and bolstered by a $2 million National Science Foundation grant.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress and on the achievements of our extraordinary faculty.
Dean, College of Arts and Science
Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Professor of History
A&S in the news
History professor Tom Schwartz talked with NPR’s All Things Considered about the history of bitter and contested elections
. For 200-plus years, the transfer of U.S. political power has always been peaceful, except one time. What was the last time the country was this divisive? In the run-up to the Civil War.
If you know what “asdfjkl;” means, you probably learned to touch type. But have smartphones made typing classes obsolete? Almost. Lead author Gordon Logan, Centennial Professor of Psychology, talks about research
that examines whether training really matters for typing speed and accuracy.