New University Faculty 2012-13

A complete list of new university faculty for the 2012-13 academic year

Blair School of Music

Tucker Biddlecombe, associate professor and director of choral activities
B.M., State University of New York–Potsdam, 1998
M.M., Florida State University, 2003
D.Phil., Florida State University, 2012
Biddlecombe is a published composer and arranger as well as a burgeoning researcher, whose article on specificity of conductor feedback recently was published in the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing. His duties at Blair include conducting the Vanderbilt Symphonic Choir and the Blair Chamber Choir, teaching choral conducting and serving as artistic director for the Blair Children’s Chorus program.

Peter Kolkay

Peter Kolkay, associate professor of bassoon
B.M., Lawrence University, 1998
M.M., Eastman School of Music, 2000
M.M.A., Yale University, 2002
D.M.A., Yale University, 2005
Kolkay, the only bassoonist to receive an Avery Fisher Career Grant, is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, has been featured as a soloist with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, and is regularly featured at chamber music festivals around the country. He continues to serve as co-principal bassoon of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra in Germantown, Tenn.

Jeremy Wilson, associate professor of trombone
B.M., University of Tennessee, 2005
M.M., University of North Texas, 2011
Wilson comes to Blair directly from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has been the sole American member since 2007. He is a past winner of the Eastern Trombone Workshop’s National Classical Solo Competition for four consecutive years and the International Trombone Association’s Frank Smith Classical Solo Competition, among other honors.

College of Arts and Science

Celia Applegate, William R. Kenan Jr. Chair in History; professor of history
B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1981
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1987
Applegate studies the culture, society and politics of modern Germany, with particular interest in the history of music, nationalism and national identity. She currently is working on a comprehensive interpretation of musical life in Germany from the 17th century to the present.

Dominique Pareja Béhague, associate professor of medicine, health and society; associate professor of anthropology
B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1991
M.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1992
Ph.D., McGill University, 2004
M.Sc., London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2009
Béhague is a social anthropologist specializing in the ethnography of Brazil and the anthropology of health and biomedicine, focusing specifically on psychiatry, reproductive health and the politics of global health research. This is a direct outgrowth of her long-term research experience in Southern Brazil, where she has been collaborating on a birth cohort study using ethnographic methods and anthropologically informed epidemiological surveys to explore how the medicalization of child and adolescent development have been shaped by health care reform, the governance of health and economic inequities, and the psychiatric deinstitutionalization movement.

David Blackbourn, Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair in History; professor of history
B.A., University of Cambridge, 1970
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 1976
Blackbourn’s interests include modern German and European history; social, political and cultural history; the history of religion; environmental history and the history of landscape; and transnational history. He has written on a wide range of subjects within the field of German history since the 18th century.

Jose A. Cardenas Bunsen, assistant professor of Spanish
B.A., Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, 1995
Licenciatura, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, 1998
M.A. and M.Phil., Yale University, 2004
Ph.D., Yale University, 2009
Cardenas Bunsen’s expertise is in 16th- through 19th-century colonial Latin American literature and culture. He has recently published his first book, Escritura y Derecho Canónico en la obra de fray Bartolomé de las Casas, in which he analyzes the epistemic nature of the arguments of early colonial period thinker Bartolomé de Las Casas.

Elsa Filosa, assistant professor of Italian
Laurea, Universita degli Studi di Milano, 2000
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 2005
A native of Southern Italy, Filosa teaches Italian language, culture and literature. Her research interests include Boccaccio, Petrarch, Dante, intertextuality between Petrarch and Boccaccio and their relationship with classic literature, the Italian novella from origin to the Renaissance, medieval representation of women, and the adaptation of medieval and Renaissance texts on the screen.

Derek Griffith, director of the Institute for Research on Men’s Health; associate professor of medicine, health and society; associate professor of medicine
B.A., University of Maryland, 1993
M.A., DePaul University, 1998
Ph.D., DePaul University, 2002
Griffith works on issues such as men’s health and racial disparities in chronic disease, particularly African American men’s cancer risk behaviors and health outcomes. He comes to Vanderbilt from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, where he was an assistant professor of health behavior and health education, director of the Center on Men’s Health Disparities and assistant director of the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health.

Ruth Hill

Ruth Hill, professor of Spanish
B.A., Northwestern University, 1988
M.A., University of Michigan, 1991
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1994
Hill researches and teaches the critical histories of science, race and class from the early modern period to the 20th century, with a particular emphasis on the trans-American and trans-Atlantic engagements of the social and life sciences.

Nancy Lin, assistant professor of religious studies
A.B., Harvard University, 2000
M.A., Columbia University, 2003
Ph.D., University of California–Berkeley, 2011
Arriving spring 2013
Lin specializes in South Asian Buddhism, with focus on the cultural history of Tibetan Buddhism during the early modern period. Her research interests include Buddhist hagiographical literature and art, the innovative interpretation of canonical tradition amidst social change, and Tibetan engagement with other courtly cultures of South and East Asia.

Kenneth MacLeish, assistant professor of medicine, health and society
B.A., Bard College, 2001
M.A., University of Texas, 2006
Ph.D., University of Texas, 2010
MacLeish is an anthropologist who studies how war takes shape in the everyday lives of people whose job it is to produce it: soldiers, their families and communities. His book Making War: Everyday Life at Ft. Hood will be published by Princeton University Press in March 2013.

Cecilia Hyunjung Mo, assistant professor of political science
B.A., University of Southern California, 2002
M.A., Loyola Marymount University, 2004
M.P.A./I.D., Harvard University, 2006
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2012
Mo’s research and teaching interests include a broad array of issues in political behavior, public policy and the political economy of development. Her applied work namely focuses on understanding and addressing important social problems related to inequality, prejudice, gender-based violence and education.

Letizia Modena, associate professor of Italian
Laurea, University of Bologna, 1993
M.A., University of Virginia, 1999
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2005
A native of Northern Italy, Modena conducts research that revolves around the interplay of place and identity, specifically the intersections of literature and film with architecture and urban studies. She currently is working on a book that discusses the complex and continuous exchanges between a selection of Italian 20th- and 21st-century novelists, architects and urban planners, and will explore ways in which contemporary Italian fiction might renew our perception of the city.

Amy Non, assistant professor of anthropology and medicine, health and society
B.S., Brandeis University, 2004
M.A., University of Florida, 2005
M.P.H., University of Florida, 2009
Ph.D., University of Florida, 2010
Non is a molecular anthropologist interested in the genetic and sociocultural contributors to racial inequalities in health. Her work has specifically addressed the relative contributions of genetic ancestry and sociocultural factors to explain racial disparities in hypertension in Puerto Rico and the United States, and she also is interested in biological mechanisms, such as epigenetics, that can help explain biological embedding of stress in early life.

Michelle Shepherd

Michelle Shepherd, assistant professor of Spanish
B.A., Howard University, 2002
M.A., New York University, 2004
Ph.D., Stony Brook University, 2010
Shepherd’s research interests are rooted in contemporary Spanish literature and film and informed by intersectional fields of literary theory, gender studies and cultural studies. She currently is working on a book project that explores gender, national identity, immigration and domesticity in contemporary Spain.

Alistair Sponsel, assistant professor of history
B.A., B.S., Indiana University, 2000
M.Sc., Imperial College of Science and Technology, 2001
M.A., Princeton University, 2004
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2009
Sponsel is a historian of modern science with special interest in the history of geographical exploration, the environmental and life sciences, the physical and earth sciences, and Britain and the British Empire. Much of his research examines how travel and expeditions have shaped the production of scientific knowledge.

Laura Stark, assistant professor of medicine, health and society
B.S., Cornell University, 1998
M.A., Princeton University, 2003
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2006
Stark researches medicine, morality and the modern state. Her current book project, The Life of the Clinic, uses archival documents and oral histories to explore the lives of “normal control” research subjects who served in clinical trials at the U.S. National Institutes of Health from the Korean War through the present day.

Divinity School

Jaco Hamman, director of the Program in Theology and Practice; associate professor of religion, psychology and culture
B.A., Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 1989
B.Th., University of Stellenbosch, 1991
M.Th., University of Stellenbosch, 1993
Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary, 2000
A native of South Africa, Hamman is a professor of pastoral care and counseling who studies the confluence of theology and psychology in people’s lives. He also is the new director of the Divinity School’s Program in Theology and Practice, whose aim is to improve training for those who will prepare future ministers.

David A. Michelson, assistant professor of early Christianity
B.A., Hillsdale College, 1998
M.A., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2001
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2007
Michelson is a historian of the Middle East and Mediterranean in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages as well as a cultural historian interested in emerging tools of the digital humanities. In his current research, he is investigating how neglected historical sources in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic) offer new perspectives on the history of Christianity. To make the history of Syriac sources and culture better known, he is directing the creation of an online reference project, The Syriac Reference Portal (, a joint project among Vanderbilt, Princeton University, the Beth Mardutho Institute and several other institutional partners.

School of Engineering

Rizia Bardhan, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering
B.A., Westminster College, 2005
M.A., Rice University, 2007
Ph.D., Rice University, 2010
Bardhan’s research focuses on interdisciplinary nanoscience, with the convergence of multiple disciplines: engineering, material science, chemistry, physics and biomedicine. Her primary research interests are plasmonics and nanophotonics materials for biomedical and energy conversion applications.

Ralph Bruce, professor of the practice of electrical engineering
B.S., Santa Clara University, 1971
M.S., Santa Clara University, 1978
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 1990
Bruce comes to Vanderbilt from Bethel College in Indiana, where he served as chair of the physical sciences department, program director for the 3-2 Engineering Program, and provided course and lab instruction in engineering. He also has authored or co-authored more than 50 significant articles, primarily on the applications of microwaves/millimeter-waves to high temperature materials processing.


Curtis Byers, professor of the practice of civil and environmental engineering
B.E., Vanderbilt University, 1976
M.S., Vanderbilt University, 1979
Ph.D., University of South Florida, 1989
Before joining Vanderbilt’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering full time this year, Byers was an adjunct professor in the department for the past eight years. Since 1999 he has been a partner and principal with Structural Design Group, a structural consulting firm in Nashville, and a practicing professional engineer for the past 35 years.

Ravindra Duddu, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering
B.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology Madras, 2003
M.S., Northwestern University, 2006
Ph.D. Northwestern University, 2009
Duddu works on computational solid mechanics, particularly multiphysics fracture and damage mechanics; large-scale simulation; and parallel computing. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin from 2009 to 2010 and as a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University from 2010 to 2012.

Philippe Fauchet

Philippe M. Fauchet, dean of the School of Engineering; professor of electrical engineering
B.S., Faculte Polytechnique de Mons, 1978
M.S., Brown University, 1980
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1984
Fauchet comes to Vanderbilt from the University of Rochester, where he served as Distinguished Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Energy Research Initiative. He is recognized as a world leader in nanomaterials and condensed matter physics as well as an expert in the chemistry, electrochemistry and photophysics of nanomaterials, in particular silicon-based systems.

Cary M. Pint, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
B.S., University of Northern Iowa, 2005
M.S., Rice University, 2009
Ph.D., Rice University, 2010
Pint’s research interests focus on nanomaterials development for efficient and integrated energy storage and conversion devices. This effort builds upon cutting-edge materials design employing atomic layer deposition and nanocarbon and non-carbon nanostructure fabrication techniques. Of particular interest is the design of energy systems constructed into multifunctional materials that can be integrated broadly into new applications spanning aerospace systems, robotics and building materials, among other diverse areas.

Law School


Morgan Ricks, assistant professor of law
B.A., Dartmouth College, 1997
J.D., Harvard University, 2001
Ricks’ research interests include financial institutions, financial stability, capital markets regulation and corporate finance. From 2009 to 2010, he was a senior policy adviser and financial restructuring expert at the U.S. Treasury Department, where he focused primarily on financial stability initiatives and capital markets policy.


Jim Rossi, professor of law
B.S., Arizona State University, 1988
J.D., University of Iowa, 1991
LL.M., Yale University, 1994
Rossi’s scholarship addresses energy law, federal administrative law and state constitutional and administrative law. Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty, he was the Harry M. Walborsky Professor and associate dean for research at Florida State University College of Law and previously served as a visiting professor at Vanderbilt in spring 2007. Before entering academia, he practiced energy law in Washington, D.C., with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and Miller Balis & O’Neil.

Owen Graduate School of Management

Yasin Alan, assistant professor of operations management
B.Sc., Texas A&M University, 2006
M.Sc., Cornell University, 2008
M.Sc., Cornell University, 2012
Ph.D., Cornell University, 2012
Alan’s research interests lie at the interface of operations management and corporate finance. He conducts theoretical and empirical research to understand the relationship between operational decisions and financial considerations such as stock market performance, capital structure, growth and bankruptcy risk.

Jesse Blocher, assistant professor of finance
B.S., Virginia Tech, 1997
M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 2012
Blocher’s areas of expertise include hedge and mutual funds, market structure and interconnectedness, liquidity, securities lending, financial networks, collateralized investments, exchange-traded funds and market complexity. His study “Contagious Capital: A Network Analysis of Interconnected Intermediaries” won the Financial Research Association’s Michael J. Barclay Award for best solo-authored paper by a young scholar in 2011.

Tae-Youn Park, assistant professor of management
B.A., Chung-Ang University, 2003
M.B.A., Seoul National University, 2005
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2012
Park’s research interests include the individual and organizational consequences of compensation, and voluntary and involuntary turnover. His work has been accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Strategic Management Journal, and he is the recipient of the 2011 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and the 2009 winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award, both from the University of Minnesota.

Peabody College of Education and Human Development

Melissa Gresalfi

Melissa Gresalfi, associate professor of mathematics education
B.A., Franklin and Marshall College, 1999
M.A., Stanford University, 2001
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2004
Gresalfi’s research investigates two interconnected issues: how aspects of instructional practice shape the opportunities to learn that are offered and realized by students, and how instructional designs lead to the development of new understandings and dispositions to learn more broadly. She has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous grants funded through the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences, the projects of which share a commitment to understanding how classroom structures and curricular designs create or limit opportunities for students to engage meaningfully with information.

Gary Henry

Gary Henry, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education
B.A., University of Kentucky, 1975
M.A., University of Kentucky, 1978
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1992
Henry is an expert in evaluation who has focused his work over the past 10 years on the evaluation of key educational policies and on teacher quality research. His recent work has included studies on the impact of supplemental funding for disadvantaged students, the impact of college scholarship programs and the evaluation of scholarships used to attract top college students to the profession of teaching. He also has worked on developing and testing teacher value-added models and using them to estimate teachers’ development over time.

Andrew Hostetler

Andrew Hostetler, assistant professor of the practice of social studies education
B.S., Kent State University, 2002
M.Ed., Ashland University, 2008
Ph.D., Kent State University, 2012
The broad theme of Hostetler’s research is the study of conceptualization and representation of purpose in social studies education, especially when that purpose is informed by democratic theory. He comes to Vanderbilt from Kent State University, where he taught courses that accompanied field experience and focused on understanding secondary school culture, as well as worked with local schools to create and lead professional development opportunities in areas of technology integration, understanding adolescents and school culture, purpose-focused teaching and inquiry-oriented learning about practice.

Ebony O. McGee, assistant professor of education, diversity and urban schooling
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, 1996
M.S., New Jersey Institute of Technology, 1998
Ph.D., University of Illinois, 2009
McGee’s research promises to make a novel contribution to our understanding of the harmful effects of “stereotype threat,” in which situational awareness of others’ stereotypical beliefs about a person’s competence in some area, such as mathematical problem solving, can lower that person’s performance on tasks and interfere with their learning. She is the 2010 winner of the American Educational Research Association’s Division G (Social Context of Education) Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Gavin Price

Gavin Price, assistant professor of psychology
B.S., University of York, 2003
M.S., University College London, 2004
Ph.D., University of Jyvaskyla (Finland), 2008
Price’s research explores the links between brain function and cognition, particularly the concept of using biological plausibility to constrain psychological theory. From this background, he has applied the cognitive neuroscience framework to the study of mathematical learning disorders, identifying neurofunctional markers of developmental dyscalculia. His postdoctoral research at the University of Western Ontario expanded on this theme, connecting brain mechanisms for basic numerical processing with broad mathematical achievement in typically developing populations.

Joe Lee Rodgers

Joseph Lee Rodgers, Lois Autrey Betts Professor of Psychology
B.S., University of Oklahoma, 1975
B.A., University of Oklahoma, 1975
M.A., University of North Carolina, 1979
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1981
Rodgers is a broadly trained quantitative psychologist with university and national leadership experience. He develops, validates and uses mathematical/statistical models of adolescent development, with a focus on adolescent transition behaviors such as smoking, drinking, sexual behavior and delinquency. The ultimate goal of his research is to model and understand how adolescents develop into healthy young adults.