Faculty from Across Yeshiva University Granted Tenure

A stellar faculty is the backbone of a great university. This year, Yeshiva University appointed 20 of its most distinguished faculty members in the fields of the arts, sciences and Judaic studies to tenured positions in both its undergraduate and graduate schools. The faculty members include five from Yeshiva College, five from Stern College for Women, four from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, two from the Benjamin N. Cardozo school of Law, and one each at the Sy Syms School of Business, the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

“The quality of the faculty at Yeshiva meets its academic and civilizational aspirations,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “The scholars who now comprise the faculty of this University bring the elegance of thought, the rigor of research and the commitment of service that can serve as a model to all of our students.”

“Granting tenure to a professor shows our confidence in their teaching abilities, research potential and service to our University,” said Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, vice provost for undergraduate education at YU. “These phenomenal professors are experts in various areas, and we want to invest in them. They are all fantastic and all contributing. Through their grants, publications and working for the University as a whole, they help build the reputation of YU.”

With three tenured appointments in the Bible and Jewish History Departments, “YU is on a quest to be the leading institution in the country in the field of academic Jewish studies,” said Schiffman. “Our faculty is at the top of the field.”

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Dr. Aaron Koller

Among them is Dr. Aaron Koller, associate professor of Bible at Yeshiva College and Revel. After receiving his bachelor’s from Yeshiva College and his PhD from Revel, Koller later returned to YU, where he has taught for the past six years and was recently named assistant dean of Yeshiva College. He is proficient in an array of ancient languages and has established himself as an expert in how language and archaeology can illuminate life in ancient times. His 2009 dissertation on the subject was published as a book, and Koller’s second book, focusing on Megilat Esther in ancient Jewish thought, is forthcoming.

“We have amazing students here who come with the skills to read texts in the original Hebrew and sometimes even Aramaic, with the desire to learn more and to learn deeply, and so the undergraduate classes are often akin to graduate classes,” said Koller. “I have had the real pleasure of developing ideas in the classroom that have then become articles and even a book.”

“We have probably the strongest collection of Jewish studies scholars in North America,” he added. “It’s a privilege to work in a place with people who are working hard, writing interesting books and publishing innovative research, and also thinking a lot about how best to teach.”

Dr. Anna-Lisa Cohen, associate professor of psychology at Yeshiva College, also received tenure. Cohen is a cognitive psychologist whose research focuses on gaining a better understanding of human memory and studying the influence that intentions have on behavior.

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Dr. Anna-Lisa Cohen

“Dr. Cohen is a key figure of the department and has carved out a niche in which she is emerging as a leader in one of the most interesting, cutting-edge areas of research: prospective memory, the kind of recall that involves remembering to perform a planned action at the appropriate time,” said Dr. Bruno Galantucci, chair of Yeshiva College’s Psychology Department. “She is a creative and productive scholar, a brilliant pedagogue and an effective innovator in curricular and organizational matters.”

Cohen views her tenure as an ideal way to advance in the field, by allowing her to hone her teaching abilities and pursue further research projects. “Being at a liberal arts college has provided me with an excellent opportunity to nurture my teaching skills,” she said. “The students at Yeshiva College are exceptional and are always eager to learn.”

Additional recently tenured faculty members at Yeshiva College include Dr. Silke Aisenbrey, Dr. Joshua Karlip and Dr. Jess Olson.

Aisenbrey, chair of the Sociology Department, has served as a visiting professor in Germany and Amsterdam, and as a post-doctoral associate at the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course at Yale University. She is an expert in the areas of gender and family and is working with innovative quantitative methods in the field of sequence analysis. She has also published in top international journals including Sociological Methods and Research, British Journal of Sociology and Social Forces.

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Dr. Joshua Karlip

Karlip is an integral part of Yeshiva College and Revel’s Jewish History Departments, where he teaches courses in modern Jewish history, as well as graduate seminars in Eastern European Jewish history—his area of expertise. Karlip has served as a visiting scholar at Leipzig University and as a fellow at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard and at the Center for Jewish History. In 2008, he received YU’s Lillian F. and William L. Silber Professor of the Year Award. His first book, The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe, was published by Harvard University Press in June, and his second, Oyfn Sheydveg, at the Crossroads: Jewish Intellectuals and the Crisis of 1939, will be released in 2014.

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Dr. Jess Olson

Another standout in the Jewish History Department is Olson, associate director of YU’s Center for Israel Studies. A graduate of Stanford and Oxford who is proficient in several languages, Olson was a Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundation Fellow in 2010 and was offered a Fulbright Fellowship for research in Ukraine. His areas of research include the Jews of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, history of Zionism and the intersection between Jewish Orthodoxy and political engagement. His first book, Nathan Birnbaum and Jewish Modernity, was published in January 2013.

At Stern College, two outstanding members of the physics department, Dr. Emil Prodan and Dr. Lea Santos, were granted tenure. They joined the faculty in 2007 as part of the University’s efforts to strengthen its new B.A. program in physics and have each received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award.

“Both professors are excellent scientists, devoted teachers and mentors,” said Dr. Anatoly Frenkel, chair of Stern’s Physics Department. “Their tenure has already started to make a great impact on the future of physics at Stern and the greater YU community.”

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Dr. Lea Santos

Between them, Prodan and Santos have been published over 50 times in peer-reviewed scientific journals, lectured extensively at international conferences and each obtained several research grants—“a real feat for any scientist during this six-year period,” said Frenkel.

Santos’ research has focused on understanding and finding ways to control quantum many-body systems far from equilibrium. Prodan’s contributions to the field range from theories of electronic structure and transport of novel nanomaterials to a new theory he developed on topological insulators.

“The tenured appointment will enable me to consider riskier but potentially more revolutionary research strategies,” said Prodan. While at Stern, Prodan has developed a field now known as Computational Non-Commutative Geometry for Aperiodic Solids.

Another member of Stern’s science faculty, Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology, was also granted tenure. Holz teaches courses in biotechnology and cell and molecular Biology, and her work has been published in multiple high-impact journals. Holz has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in prestigious awards and grants—from the American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health and others—to help fund the research done in her lab, which uses biochemical and cell-based techniques to dissect signaling pathways and study their role in normal and cancerous cells. YU also honored Holz’s achievements at the 2012 Hanukkah Convocation by naming her a “Point of Light.”

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Dr. Ann Peters

Another tenure recipient was Dr. Ann Peters, associate professor of English. Her interests lie in 20th century American literature, literary non-fiction and gender studies, and her dissertation, “Travelers in Residence: Women Writing New York at Mid-Century,” won several prizes. She has also received the McGinnis Ritchie Award from The Southwest Review for best published essay and the Dean Karen Bacon Award for Excellence. Her first book, House Hold: A Memoir of Place and Property, will be published in the fall. “Part memoir, part a kind of literary meditation, it’s a work that reflects my passion for literature and my interest in creative writing,” Peters said.

“Ann Peters is an incomparable teacher and an outstanding thinker,” said Dr. Linda Shires, chair of the English Department. “Her accomplishments in the fields of creative nonfiction, eco-humanities, literary representations of place and American Literature position her in the front rank of academics today. Her writing is of the highest quality—utterly original and dazzlingly memorable.”

Dr. Archishman Chakraborty, a new appointment at Sy Syms who will occupy the Mel Harris Chair in Financial Risk and Insurance, was appointed to the faculty as an associate professor with tenure. He earned a PhD in economics from Princeton University, and previously taught at York University and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business.

Dr. Marian Gidea, another newly tenured professor, joined the Mathematical Sciences Department at YU, and will teach at Stern College. He has taught at Princeton University and Northeastern Illinois University, and his research focuses on dynamical systems and celestial mechanics.

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Dr. Rona Novick

At Azrieli, Dr. Rona Novick, director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Doctoral Program, was granted tenure. Before joining Azrieli as an associate professor, Novick worked for over 20 years as a clinical psychologist in schools and mental health settings and brings that unique experience to her classroom.

During her seven years at Azrieli, Novick expanded the BRAVE bullying prevention program through YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership and served as a consultant on the topic to Jewish day schools. As her tenure begins, Novick hopes to expand the doctoral program at Azrieli by using distance learning and leveraging educational technology to make it accessible to people all over the country. She will also be submitting an application to create a PhD program at Azrieli, with the goal “of developing future educational leaders while serving as the premier example of best practices in Jewish education,” Novick said.

Other graduate school professors who received tenure included Dr. Jonathan Dauber of Revel, an associate professor of Jewish mysticism who specializes in historical stages of Kabbalah and Eastern European Hasidism. At Cardozo, Richard Bierschbach, an expert in criminal law, administrative law and corporations received tenure, along with Alexander Reinert, who specializes in civil procedure, constitutional law and prisoners’ rights. Tenure was awarded to Dr. Gary Stein, a professor at Wurzweiler, who uses his law and social work degrees to help him focus on areas of social policy, palliative care and health care ethics.

At Einstein, four faculty members received tenure: Dr. Jill Crandall, Dr. Nikolaos Frangogiannis, Dr. Mimi Kim and Dr. Vladislav Verkhusha.

Dr. Crandall holds joint appointments in the divisions of Endocrinology and Geriatrics and is director of the Diabetes Clinical Trials Unit. Dr. Frangogiannis is a cardiology professor specializing in cardiac injury and repair whose laboratory has identified key molecular signals responsible for orchestrating the healing response in myocardial infraction. Dr. Kim, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health conducts research focusing on statistical methods for designing and analyzing clinical trials and epidemiologic studies. Dr. Verkhusha, professor of anatomy and structural biology, is developing three types of novel protein labels with applications to biomedical research.

Keep up with the latest YU faculty achievements at the Faculty News Blog.