Four faculty named new heads of house at Ingram Commons

The Commons Center (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

Four new faculty heads of house will join The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons in August 2012. A committee of faculty, students and staff chaired by Dean of The Ingram Commons Frank Wcislo reviewed 20 applicants with a broad range of experience, interests and academic achievement and recommended finalists to Provost Richard McCarty, who made four appointments.

Joining The Ingram Commons for its fifth year are Robert Barsky, professor of French and Italian in the College of Arts and Science; Roger Cone, the Joe C. Davis Professor of Biomedical Science and chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics in the School of Medicine; Kevin Leander, associate professor of education in Peabody College; and Cynthia Gadd, professor of bioinformatics in the School of Medicine.

Robert Barsky (Vanderbilt)

Robert Barsky will be faculty head of West House, replacing Jo-Anne Bachorowski, associate professor of psychology. Barsky is professor of French and Italian with a joint appointment to the Department of English. An eminent member of the humanities division of the College of Arts and Science, Barsky teaches literature and works in immigration studies, linguistics and radicalism in American Jewish life. He is also founder and editor of AmeriQuests, a peer-reviewed e-journal devoted to writing and research about real and metaphorical quests toward “America.” He will be joined in West House by his wife Marsha, a dancer and Yogini, as well as their cats, and will enjoy occasional visits from their three college-aged sons, Kai, Tristan and Benjamin.

Kevin Leander (Vanderbilt)

Kevin Leander replaces Ron Schrimpf, the Orrin Henry Ingram Professor of Electrical Engineering, as faculty head of Memorial House. Leander is from the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College. His research interests fit perfectly with The Ingram Commons: social media, youth identities, informal education, learning communities and new geographies of learning. Leander is a former faculty VUceptor and a Vanderbilt professor known as an excellent classroom instructor and undergraduate mentor. Leander will reside in Memorial with his three children, Elena, Jackie and Mitchell.

Roger Cone (Vanderbilt)

New faculty head of Murray House Roger Cone takes over from Sharon Shields, professor of the practice of human and organizational development at Peabody College. As holder of an endowed chair, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism, Cone’s impressive scholarly and professional presence speaks for itself. But the search committee also appreciated his experience as an elected public school board official and his commitment to opening people’s minds, challenging them to do something different, introducing them to critical thinking and ensuring that college is also fun. Cone will be joined in Murray House by his wife, Midge, and their son, David, and will be visited by daughters Miriam and Anna.

Cynthia Gadd (Vanderbilt)

Cynthia Gadd is moving into East House, succeeding Mark Dalhouse, senior lecturer in history and assistant dean of students. Gadd’s research interests include the development and evaluation of innovative approaches for biomedical informatics education and training to meet the needs of health care in the United States and globally. She also brings a great deal of experience mentoring students from the graduate to high school levels. Her husband, Dave, is a local coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. They will be joined in East House by their dog, Fanny, and cat, Angus. Sons Jordan and Eli, a college freshman, also will visit.

Kyla Terhune (Vanderbilt)

Cone and Gadd join Kyla Terhune, assistant professor of surgery and anesthesiology, as faculty heads from the School of Medicine. Terhune became faculty head of Hank Ingram House last year. Continuing as faculty heads on The Ingram Commons are Greg Barz, associate professor of ethnomusicology at Blair School of Music; Frank Dobson, director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center; Chalene Helmuth, senior lecturer in Spanish in the College of Arts and Science; Paul Lim, associate professor of the history of Christianity in the Divinity School; and Tiffany Patterson, associate professor of African American and diaspora studies in the College of Arts and Science, who will be completing a book next year.

The Ingram Commons is Vanderbilt’s first-year living and learning experience, dedicated to the idea of academic communal living rooted in the Oxford-Cambridge model. It is the first phase of the College Halls project, which aims to convert all undergraduate education at Vanderbilt to the residential college system. Construction on two new residential colleges, located where Kissam Quadrangle stands presently, will begin shortly after Commencement. These new residential colleges are scheduled to open in August 2014.

Contact: Frank Wcislo, (615) 322-4948