Middlebury

Trustees approve promotions for four Middlebury faculty members

December 11, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Four Middlebury College faculty members have been promoted to the rank of associate professor without limit of tenure: Jason Arndt, psychology; Louisa Burnham, history; Jessica Holmes, economics; and Christian Keathley, film and media culture.

The board of trustees, at its meeting on December 4 in Middlebury, accepted the recommendations of President Ronald D. Liebowitz and the board's educational affairs committee in promoting the four faculty members. Their promotions take effect July 1, 2009.

Christian Keathley, a professor of film and media culture, received his B.A. (1985) and M.A. (1992) from the University of Florida, an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1995) and his Ph.D. in film studies in 2000 from the University of Iowa. He joined the Middlebury faculty in 2002, and had taught previously at Clemson and Iowa. At Middlebury, he has developed and taught courses on film history, film theory and criticism, non-fiction film, film directors (e.g., Howard Hawks, Jean Renoir, Fritz Lang), film and literature, national cinemas (e.g., French New Wave), and video production. He also helped launch the film and media culture department's first service learning project, a collaborative student video produced for the Vermont Folk Life Center.

Keathley's book, Cinephilia and History, or The Wind in the Trees, was published by the Indiana University Press in 2005, and another book project, The Mystery of Otto Preminger, is under contract with the same publisher. He is also involved in research on "the implications of digital technologies for the presentation of scholarly research," and he recently organized a conference panel where participants presented short videos in lieu of reading papers. At Middlebury, he served on the Committee on Curriculum in the Liberal Arts, work that led to the adoption of a new strategic plan for the College in 2006. He is also a member of the College's Curriculum Committee.

Jessica Holmes, a professor of economics, received her A.B. from Colgate University in 1993 (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude) and her Ph.D. in economics in 1998 from Yale University, where she also earned M.A. and M.Phil. degrees. She joined the Middlebury faculty in 2001. She has taught courses in health economics, microeconomics, public finance, the economics of social issues, the economics of sin, and statistics. Her research fields include health economics and economic development and her research has been published in journals such as Population Research and Policy Review, Economics of Education Review, Clinical Pediatrics, and Southern Economic Journal. Prior to joining the Middlebury faculty, she taught at Colgate University and worked as a litigation consultant for National Economic Research Associates.

Holmes was recently awarded, along with colleagues Jeff Carpenter and Peter Matthews, a National Science Foundation grant to conduct research on charity auctions, and the three published a paper, "Charity Auctions: A Field Experimental Investigation," earlier this year in The Economic Journal. Other recent publications include "Prestige, Charitable Deductions, and Other Determinants of Alumni Giving: Evidence from a Highly-Selective Liberal Arts College," which uses data from Middlebury and which will appear soon in Economics of Education Review. A member of the Faculty Council, she has served on numerous College committees, and been a board member of Middlebury's Alliance for Civic Engagement.

Louisa Burnham, a professor of history, received her A.B. from Harvard-Radcliffe in 1986, studied at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris from 1996 to 1997, and received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2000. She expanded her doctoral dissertation into the book So Great a Light, So Great a Smoke: The Beguin Heretics of Languedoc, published earlier this year by Cornell University Press. She joined the Middlebury faculty in 2002, after working as a lecturer at Northwestern. Courses she's taught include the Making of Europe, the Early Middle Ages, the Mediterranean World, Early Modern Europe, Medieval Cities, and the Burning Times: Heresy, Inquisition and Witchcraft in Medieval Europe.

In addition to So Great a Light, Burnham has published numerous articles and presented papers at conferences around the country and the world. And she's now at work on another book project, Medieval Heresy: The Church's Struggle for Orthodoxy and Survival, under contract with I.B. Tauris, a London publisher. The book is aimed at undergraduate history students. Since coming to Middlebury, her research work has been supported by several grants and stipends and has taken her to Italy, Spain, Egypt, Turkey and Greece. She has served on the College's Community Council and is currently a member of the Faculty Council. She has also worked as a "liberal arts mentor" for students preparing for teacher certification in history.

Jason Arndt, a professor of psychology, received his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Kansas in 1995, and his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (2000) in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina. He served as a post-doctoral research associate at Carnegie Mellon University before joining the Middlebury faculty in 2002. Among the courses he has taught at Middlebury are the introductory survey course in psychology, research methodology, cognitive psychology, a senior seminar in human memory, and a first year seminar and winter term course on animal cognition.

Arndt says his research focuses on "understanding the bases of recognition memory, or how humans are able to realize that they have experienced an event in the past." He has presented at conferences and published numerous articles, many with Middlebury undergraduates as co-authors, including most recently "Recognition Without Identification for Words, Pseudowords and Nonwords," in the Journal of Memory and Language. His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Vermont's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VT-EPSCoR). At Middlebury, he has served on the Institutional Review Board, and as a new faculty mentor.