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SEAS Adds Five Faculty Members

By Francesca Annicchiarico and John P. Finnegan, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: September 12, 2014, at 12:30 a.m.

Continuing its recent growth, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences added five new faculty members to its roster this fall, three of whom are women.

According to Assistant Dean for Communications Paul Karoff, with the five new professors who joined this fall, the School now employs 80 ladder faculty members. Thirteen of them are women, representing 16 percent of the School’s professors.

By comparison, last year's Faculty Development and Diversity annual report found that women make up 34 percent of junior professors and 24 percent of senior professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In an interview with The Crimson last spring, SEAS Dean Cherry A. Murray said that increasing the presence of women in the School’s faculty was one of her administrative priorities.

“My goal, of course, is to be 50/50,” she said.

Assistant professor of electrical engineering Na Li, one of the new hires, said that she wishes there were more women in her division. Including Li, there are only two female professors teaching electrical engineering at the school.

Elsie M. Sunderland, another recent hire who teaches in the Environmental Science and Engineering Division, said that she is the only female professor in her area of study.

“I think it’s important for junior faculty to have senior women as mentors,” she said, adding that women faculty face unique challenges, such as balancing motherhood and work.

Despite these challenges, Sunderland said that her experience at the school has been positive thus far.

“The [SEAS] faculty has been incredibly supportive,” she said. “Everybody has been very helpful in orienting me through the administrative mechanisms and helping me get my lab set up over here.”

Speaking about adjusting to his new position, assistant Applied Physics and Mathmatics professor Ariel Amir said that his move to SEAS has gone well.

“I think this transition was as smooth as can be, and I’ve been enjoying a lot my last few months as faculty,” said Amir, who was previously a junior fellow in the Physics Department. He added that the role involved “much more responsibility” than his previous one, especially with regard to advising students.

Philip Kim and Finale Doshi-Velez also joined SEAS this fall, in the divisions of applied physics and computer science, respectively.

—Staff writer Francesca Annicchiarico can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FRAnnicchiarico.

—Staff writer John Finnegan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @finneganspake.

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