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Carleton College Announces Faculty Promotions

May 28, 2014

The Carleton College Board of Trustees recently approved the promotion of seven faculty members, effective September 1, 2014.

The following faculty members have been promoted from associate professor to professor: Roger Bechtel, professor of theater; Joseph Chihade, professor of chemistry; Carol Donelan, professor of cinema and media studies; Nathan D. Grawe, professor of economics; Stephen Mohring, professor of art; Annette Nierobisz, professor of sociology; and Matthew S. Rand, professor of biology.

Roger Bechtel earned a BA summa cum laude in communications studies from DePauw University, and then a JD at New York Univeristy (where he was associate editor of the Law Review), an MFA at Yale University, and an MA and PhD in theater studies from Cornell University. He joined the Carleton faculty after holding tenure positions in the theater departments of Illinois Wesleyan University, Miami University of Ohio, and Bowdoin College. The author of a critically acclaimed monograph, Past Performance: American Theatre and the Historical Imagination (2007), Bechtel 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). 

Joseph Chihade earned his PhD in chemistry from Columbia University, after receiving a BA in chemistry from Oberlin College and teaching high school chemistry as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Scripps Research Institute, and then a member of the faculty at Williams College and the University of Minnesota before joining the Carleton faculty. His research interests are in the broad areas of protein-RNA interactions and RNA structure, with a particular focus on aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, enzymes that play a key role in translating the genetic code. Chihade has involved more than 35 undergraduate students in his research program, supported by the National Institutes of Health. His research with students has mainly focused on understanding how a human mitochondrial aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase specifically recognizes its unusual tRNA substrate, as well as the biochemical basis of diseases that result from mutations in either the enzyme or the tRNA. This work has been presented at regional, national, and international conferences. 

Carol Donelan earned a PhD in comparative literature (film studies) from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, after receiving MAs in both comparative literature and film studies from the University of Iowa and a BS in communication studies from Iowa State University in 1984. At Carleton, Donelan’s courses are at the heart of film studies and the CAMS curriculum, introducing students to film analysis, history, genres and theory. Donelan’s scholarship parallels her teaching and focuses in two areas: investigating the structures of storytelling and patterns of meaning-making in popular genre films targeted at mass audiences and archival film history research. Her work has taken several forms and reaches both popular and academic audiences, ranging from a Carleton Teaching Museum exhibition on melodrama and a monograph on the emergence of cinema in Northfield for the Northfield Historical Society, to conference papers for the Society of Cinema & Media Studies, reviews for Scope, entries in a film encyclopedia, an article for a top-tier journal, Quarterly Review of Film & Video, and book chapters for anthologies published by Oxford University Press and Routledge. 

Nathan D. Grawe earned his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, after receiving a BA in economics and mathematics from St. Olaf College. At Carleton, Grawe’s course offerings have covered a large portion of the discipline, from introductory microeconomics to intermediate macro theory to econometrics. Grawe’s research into the connections between the labor market and public financing of education began with studies of intergenerational mobility.  His work provides evidence that financial constraints do not explain why the correlation between parent and child earnings is stronger in the US than it is in other developed countries. He also finds that states/time periods with greater K-12 funding are associated with slower intergenerational mobility, a result which suggests that marginal K-12 resources have been allocated in ways that preferentially assist children from high-income families. Grawe’s current research examines the effects of ongoing demographic changes (dropping birth rates and Hispanic immigration in particular) on future demand for higher education in various regions of the US. In addition to being heavily involved with the leadership of the QuIRK initiative at Carleton, including authoring two supporting grants and directing the program from 2007 to 2011, Grawe was an elected officer of the National Numeracy Network from 2011 to 2013 and has lectured at dozens of institutions, sharing Carleton’s experience and promoting educational reform. From 2009 to 2012 Professor Grawe served as Associate Dean of the College and in 2014 he will take on the role of chair of the Department of Economics. 

Stephen Mohring earned his MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA summa cum laude in studio art.  Prior to joining Carleton’s faculty, Stephen taught at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland, and the College of Visual Art in St. Paul. He co-founded and directed The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, the largest regional nonprofit art gallery dedicated to supporting emerging artists. Mohring currently serves as resident set designer for Ten Thousand Things Theater, an internationally recognized Twin Cities-based company that brings lively, intelligent theater to disadvantaged audiences with little access to the arts. At Carleton, Mohring teaches all levels of sculpture, installation art, critical issues in studio art, and furniture design; he and Professor David Musicant (computer science) co-teach an innovative course in art and robotics. Mohring also runs the college’s woodshop and sawmill, which is part of the art department’s sustainable crafts initiative that he developed in collaboration with the Arboretum. Mohring’s artistic work hinges on his fascination with the visceral nature of traditional, well-crafted materials, especially when combined with time-based media. His work is, at its core, a meditation on the transformation of raw material into sculptural object. His sculptures use wood that has been locally sourced, personally milled, and worked primarily with hand tools. 

Annette Nierobisz earned her PhD in sociology from the University of Toronto, after earning an MA in sociology from Queen’s University and a BA Honours, double major in sociology, justice and law enforcement, from the University of Winnipeg. A chapter from her dissertation was awarded the Sociology of Law Best Graduate Student Paper by the American Sociological Association. Nierobisz’ research interests are broadly situated in the sociology of work and occupations as well as the sociology of law. At Carleton, Nierobisz has taught courses in sociology at a variety of levels. She regularly teaches Introduction to Sociology and the Methods of Social Research and offers an annual Argument and Inquiry seminar. Her courses emphasize critical quantitative reasoning, requiring students to analyze, interpret, narrate, and visually present numbers. Nierobisz regularly provides opportunities for students to work with local non-profit organizations through Carleton’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement, maintaining vital relationships between students and the college’s neighboring communities. In her research, Nierobisz has examined issues ranging from sexual harassment, the social construction of professional authority, and judicial decisions on employment terminations. Nierobisz is currently investigating the contemporary experiences of workers age 50 and over who have lost employment in a period marked by severe economic recession, a subsequent long-term jobless recovery, decline of longstanding institutional protections for workers, and a dramatic inversion of the population age demographic. 

Matthew S. Rand first began teaching in human anatomy and comparative anatomy labs while an undergraduate at Oregon State University. After earning his BS in zoology from OSU, he joined Dr. Louis Guillette’s lab at Wichita State University, where he received his MS in biological sciences. He earned his PhD in environmental, population, and organismic biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Rand was a National Institutes of Mental Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. David Crews at the University of Texas, Austin, where he also taught biology and zoology courses until coming to Carleton. His research in graduate school centered on reproduction endocrinology and he gained additional training in reproductive behavior and neurobiology during his postdoctoral fellowship. He currently uses physiological, genetic, and behavioral approaches to study questions in reproductive biology. At Carleton, Rand regularly teaches Introductory Biology, Animal Physiology, Vertebrate Morphology, Behavioral Genetics, and a non-majors course in Human Reproduction and Sexuality. Rand’s research on the behavioral function of sexually dimorphic traits (differences between males and females) allows him to expose students to both lab work at Carleton and fieldwork in Colorado. Students often accompany him to his field sites outside of Boulder, Colorado. In his time at Carleton, he has involved 35 undergraduate students in his research with non-traditional animal models (lizards, snakes, and tortoises). Rand believes that his greatest accomplishments are in assisting his students in securing their post-Carleton paths, including eight entering medical school, five into PhD programs, three with NSF pre-doctoral fellowships, and two into veterinary school.

For more information, contact Beverly Nagel, Dean of the College and Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Sociology, Science, Technology, and Society, at (507) 222-4303.