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Carleton College Awards Tenure to Seven Faculty Members

March 12, 2014

Seven members of the Carleton College faculty have been awarded tenure by the Board of Trustees, effective September 1, 2014.

Roger Bechtel, associate professor of theater, earned a BA summa cum laude in communications studies from DePauw University, a JD at New York University, an MFA at Yale University, and an MA and PhD in theater studies from Cornell University.

In addition to directing the Carleton Players, Bechtel teaches classes in acting, theater history and theory, live performance, and digital media. He is the author of the critically acclaimed monograph “Past Performance: American Theatre and the Historical Imagination” (2007) and has devoted much of his scholarly career to exploring the complex interrelatedness of history, politics, and theater. Making use of both theory and theatrical practice to illuminate the dramatic literature he examines, he has published extensively on the theater of trauma, avant garde and alternative theater, and the playwrights Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Müller, and David Mamet. His most recent articles include “Drama and Technology Since 1945,” which appeared in the Oxford Handbook of American Drama, and "The Body of Trauma: Empathy, Mourning, and Media in Troika Ranch's loopdiver," published in Theater Journal (both in 2013).

Catherine Fortin, assistant professor of linguistics, earned a BA in French language and literature at Tufts University, an MA in linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Michigan.

Fortin teaches a wide variety of linguistics courses at Carleton and her scholarship focuses on questions of syntax related to ellipsis, a grammatical phenomenon in which certain words may be legally omitted from a sentence. Her most recent work has focused on Indonesian, including work giving a theoretical account of certain types of ellipsis in information questions; tense, aspect, and modal markers in Indonesian; and on the distribution of ber-, a verbal prefix, in Indonesian and Malay. For this and other work, in 2010, Professor Fortin was honored as one of four “emerging syntacticians” chosen by the linguistics department at UC Santa Cruz.

Tun Myint, assistant professor of political science, earned a BA in political science and East Asian studies at Indiana University-Bloomington and a Master’s in public affairs and PhD from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

At Carleton, Myint teaches courses in international relations, the politics of Southeast Asia, sustainable development, and global environmental politics. Professor Myint’s work investigates the power and legitimacy of non-state actors and the role they play in political life at local, regional, and international levels. He has examined this issue with respect to environmental policy and law in his 2012 book, Governing International Rivers: Polycentric Politics in the Mekong and the Rhine. His research on environmental and legal regimes has also appeared in a variety of edited volumes and journals, including the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. Myint is currently working on a new book manuscript on the challenges of state-building in Burma. He is a frequent guest commentator on Burmese politics for regional and national media, including Minnesota Public Radio, CNN, Voice of America, and PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

Asuka Sango, assistant professor of religion, began her academic career at International Christian University in Tokyo and a study abroad opportunity led her to Wittenberg University where she earned a BA in religion. She earned an MA in East Asian religions from the University of Illinois, and an MA in religion and a PhD in East Asian religions from Princeton University.

At Carleton, Sango teaches courses in East Asian religions ranging from Chinese and Japanese religions to courses in Buddhism and ecology and Zen and nationalism. Her teaching is informed by her deep and broad knowledge of the historical and social environments in which East Asian religious practice is situated, and exceptional competence in the relevant languages. Professor Sango has also maintained a very active research program while at Carleton, concentrating on Buddhist ritual in Medieval Japan. In addition to several articles, she recently had her first book, In the Halo of Golden Light: Imperial Authority and Buddhist Ritual in Heian Japan (796-1185), accepted for publication by the University of Hawaii Press. She is already working on her next book, a study of Buddhist debate rituals in Medieval Japan.

Katherine St. Clair, assistant professor of mathematics, earned a BA from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a PhD in statistics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

She teaches courses at Carleton in statistics, applied regression, probability, statistical inference and sampling techniques. St. Clair’s scholarly agenda focuses on inference methodology for link-tracing sampling designs and Bayesian models for animal abundance and occupancy. While her work with link-tracing designs has been more theoretical, the abundance and occupancy modeling has been tied to specific ecological applications and data. This work, often with student research assistants/coauthors, includes partnerships with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control, 3M, and numerous health care providers. Professor St. Clair’s articles have appeared in journals ranging from Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Journal of Applied Statistics, Biometrics, and Journal of Statistics Education.

David Tompkins, assistant professor of history, earned a BA in history and French from Rice University, later receiving a license in history from the Université de Provence and a diploma in Polish studies from Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He earned a PhD in modern European history from Columbia University.

At Carleton, Tompkins teaches a variety of courses in modern European history. Tompkins is a prolific and accomplished scholar whose work has been praised as polished, imaginative, and nuanced by others in his field. His work is in the area of cultural history and focuses on the intersection of music and politics in Communist states in Central and Eastern Europe. His 2013 book, Composing the Party Line: Music and Politics in Early Cold War Poland and East Germany, examines the way in which the regimes of these states used music to legitimate themselves and the responses of musicians and audiences to this exercise of “soft” power. In addition to his monograph, he has also published work in edited volumes and journals, including German History, The Polish Review, and The Cold War Encyclopedia.

Jennifer Wolff, assistant professor of biology, graduated summa cum laude from Millikin University, later earning an MS at Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in molecular, cellular, developmental biology, and genetics from the University of Minnesota.

At Carleton, Wolff teaches courses on animal development; genetics; genes, evolution, and development; and developmental neurobiology. Professor Wolff’s research focuses on sexual dimorphism in C. elegans, focusing on the development of the differences in nervous system between C. elegans males and hermaphrodites, studied using a toolkit of fluorescent markers developed by her and her lab. Professor Wolff has actively involved dozens of students in her research lab, including several student coauthors on her recent publications. Her work has been published in top journals in developmental biology, and has been recognized by the National Science Foundation with a $518,012 grant for her work on “Identifying New Regulators of Sex-specific Neurogenesis.”

For more information, contact the Dean of the College Office at (507) 222-4303.