Dean’s Desktop

By kvitare1@johnshopkins.edu

Among the many qualities that make Johns Hopkins—and the Krieger School—unique, our cadre of faculty experts is at the top of the list. From award-winning astrophysicists to world-renowned humanities scholars to trend-setting economists, they are a key reason that our institution maintains its stellar reputation and high rankings.

This academic year, we welcome new faculty to our ranks who will continue the time-honored Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence in teaching and research. They bring their expertise to various academic departments within the areas of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

You can see the whole list of new faculty members and their areas of scholarship here, but in the meantime I want to tell you about a few of them to give you an idea of the breadth and depth of their expertise.

Lawrence Jackson comes to Hopkins from Emory University and is a professor in English, with a joint appointment in the Department of History. He is an astute and widely acclaimed author of three books: My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War; The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics 1934-1960; and Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius.

The Indignant Generation won the 2011 William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association, as well as the Black Caucus of the American Library Association 2012 award for nonfiction. Two of his books were finalists for the Hurston/Wright prize, and his forthcoming biography of American writer Chester Himes will be published next year.

I am confident that Professor Jackson’s expertise, enthusiasm, teaching skills, and experiences will inspire and engage our students.

Rigoberto Hernandez is another new professor who will set our students’ imaginations on fire. Named the Gompf Family Professor in the Department of Chemistry, he comes to us from Georgia Tech, where he was a professor and co-founder of the Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology.

His research interests can be broadly classified as the theoretical and computational chemistry of systems far from equilibrium. He develops theoretical and computational tools to describe how atoms and molecules dance together to make the objects that we can see and touch.

Professor Hernandez was recently named one of two recipients of the 2016 Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s prestigious TREE Award, which recognizes outstanding research and education. The RCSA referred to him as a “tireless and passionate messenger for the joys and importance of chemistry and scientific research, and a major advocate for diversity in the scientific community.”

I also want to mention Sarah Parkinson, the Aronson Assistant Professor in our Department of Political Science. Actually, it is probably more accurate for me to say “welcome back” to Professor Parkinson, because she is a 2004 graduate of the Krieger School, where she majored in international studies.

Her research examines organizational behavior and social change during and following war. Focusing mainly on the Middle East and North Africa, she uses social network analysis and ethnographic methods to study the ways that groups such as militant organizations, political parties, and aid agencies cope with crisis and disruption. Professor Parkinson has conducted extensive research with Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon and has recently been studying humanitarian operations in Iraqi Kurdistan.

She brings a dynamic global relevance to the classroom and engages students in some of the most pressing political issues of our time.

This truly is just a sampling of the new scholars on campus who have already embraced our mission of discovering and creating new knowledge. They are now part of our army of professors, scientists, and scholars who are making great advances in multiple fields and who are preparing tomorrow’s leaders. Stay tuned, as we expect more new faculty members to be joining our Hopkins family in January 2017.

Sincerely,

Beverly Wendland
James B. Knapp Dean