President's Pages in Princeton Alumni Weekly
Welcoming New Faculty Colleagues
September 11, 2002
Great universities are works in progress. They are much like living organisms, changing with each academic year as eager classes of undergraduates and graduate students arrive in the fall to replace the graduates who have recently walked through the FitzRandolph Gate to begin a new life and a new relationship with their alma mater. The faculty, too, is never static, but undergoes renewal each year, with retirements and resignations making way for new appointments. The challenge is to balance the need to sustain areas in which we are already renowned with the need to bring exciting new research directions into the department. This year, as most years, we will welcome about 50 to 60 new faculty, and while I can’t list them all here, I would like to mention a few to give you a sense of the variety of fields they represent and the diverse paths that have led them to Princeton.
In the past few years, Professor Jeffrey Herbst ‘83, chair of politics, and his colleagues have had to think strategically about the future of one of the crown jewels of their department: political theory. When Amy Gutmann was named Provost and George Kateb retired, Princeton lost two of our most distinguished faculty in an area where we had long been among the very best departments in the country. With the appointments of Professor Charles Beitz last year and Professor Philip Pettit this year, we have ensured that our tradition of excellence in this field will continue. Philip Pettit comes to Princeton from the Research School of Social Sciences of the Australian National University. He is quite simply a “star” in the field and an acknowledged expert in each of the diverse aspects of political theory he has tackled: freedom and government, ethics, psychology and politics, and political philosophy. Pettit has also been appointed as associate faculty in philosophy, and he will play a particularly important role in building bridges between philosophy and politics.
Daniel Trueman *99 is a Princeton Graduate School alumnus in the music department who returns to the University this fall after teaching and research appointments at Columbia and Colgate universities. His dual specialization in musical composition and music technology reflects his two-pronged background: he earned his advanced degrees in music from Princeton and majored in physics as an undergraduate at Carleton College. He has collaborated with Professor Perry Cook of Princeton’s computer science department designing what he calls “experimental” instruments and “unusual” speakers. He also “digs teaching” and gives occasional concerts on the traditional Norwegian Hardanger fiddle.
Stefan Bernhard whose doctoral work was completed at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland joined the Department of Chemistry this summer. Building on his post-doctoral research experience in inorganic chemistry at Cornell University and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Professor Bernhard is searching for new materials that can be used to design and fabricate optoelectronic devices such as light-emitting diodes or photovoltaic cells. He is a 2002 recipient of a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award which recognizes first-year faculty who have demonstrated promise of producing an independent body of outstanding scholarship and of contributing significantly to education.
Maria Garlock and Yin Lu Julie Young join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering this fall as junior faculty members. Professor Young, who completed her doctoral work at The University of Texas at Austin, describes herself as “most passionate about projects that involve numerical simulation of systems in structures, fluids and soils.” Her research in computational structural analysis and hydrodynamics has a variety of possible applications, from improving torpedoes for the Navy, to stabilizing oil platforms at sea, to protecting tall buildings against the impact of air turbulence. Maria Garlock wants to combine her consulting experience as a professional engineer with her teaching and research experience at Cornell and Lehigh universities. As a licensed structural engineer she has worked on projects in Indonesia and the Philippines. Her current research focuses on development of remote sensing techniques for post-earthquake evaluation of buildings. At Princeton she hopes to explore how fiber optics might help create devices for early detection of structural deterioration in anything from bridges to space shuttles.
The Department of Art and Archaeology and the Art Museum both lost a colleague when Peter Bunnell retired this June from the faculty. Peter opened the eyes of generations of students to the photographer’s special art of seeing, and he was critical to building an important photography collection for the museum. We are extremely fortunate to have attracted Anne McCauley as his successor as the David Hunter McAlpin Professor in the History of Photography. Professor McCauley comes to Princeton from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she chaired the department of art for several years. To give you an idea of her interests, let me give you a partial run-down of how she spent her summer: She prepared for a spring 2003 exhibition she is co-curating on the impact Venice had on art patron Isabella Stewart Gardner and the museum she formed; she did research to advance long-term projects on Edward Steichen in Paris and on the impact of photography on art history as a discipline; and she prepared for courses she will give here this year including a freshman seminar on Alfred Stiglitz and a course on the invention of photography.
Professor McCauley is one of some 30 faculty who are offering freshman seminars this fall. I mention this as one example of what I know in other ways to be true—our new colleagues arrive on campus having already demonstrated a passionate commitment to teaching and eager to begin working directly with the exceptional students we attract to Princeton. We look forward to the chance to see Princeton through their eyes and to learn from their fresh approaches to and ideas about teaching and research.