Faculty Promotions – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Faculty Promotions

During the spring meeting of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Trustees, the Board, upon recommendation of President Mark D. Gearan, has approved the promotion of three faculty members to the rank of Full Professor, as well as granted Emeritus/Emerita status to four other faculty members.

Effective July 1, 2015, Nan Crystal Arens and Neil Laird, both associate professors of geoscience, and Mark Deutschlander, associate professor of biology, will each hold the rank of Full Professor. Susan Henking, professor of religious studies; Mark Jones ’72, P’14, associate professor of art and architectural studies; Richard Mason, associate professor of anthropology and sociology; and JoBeth Mertens, associate professor of economics, will rise to Professors Emeritus/Emerita.

Arens earned her B.S. and M.S. from Pennsylvania State University where she studied earth science and English as an undergrad, and invertebrate paleontology as a grad student. She went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University. Crossing between geoscience, biology, chemistry, and environmental science, her current research focuses on the evolution of terrestrial environments as well as phenomena connecting atmospheric-, climate-, and vegetation-related evolution. She has presented more than 40 professional papers and published more than 30 scholarly articles, and nearly as many magazine articles, encyclopedia entries, and book reviews. She has been awarded research grants from the National Geographic Society, the American Chemical Society, the Helman Foundation Research, and the National Science Foundation, among others, which have funded research around the world, from Appalachia to South America to the Caribbean to Australia. Prior to joining the HWS the faculty in 2001, Arens taught at the University of California at Berkeley, where she also served as Curator of Fossil Plants in the university’s Museum of Paleontology. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and is the chair of the HWS Committee on Faculty.

Deutschlander, who joined the HWS faculty in 2000, earned his B.S. in biology summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and his Ph.D. in zoology from Indiana University, where he specialized in animal behavior and minored in neuroscience. His research over the past 20 years has focused on the sensory and physiological aspects of migration and navigation, particularly the use of the earth’s magnetic field and visual cues in animal orientation. He has conducted experiments on a wide variety of organisms, including salamanders, trout, bats and hamsters, and, most notably, birds. His publications (which include numerous review articles) on navigation appear in a wide array of prestigious international and national journals, including Nature, The Journal of Experimental Biology, and Journal of Field Ornithology.  Recently, Deutschlander has published on applied entomology in collaboration with researchers at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station. In 2009, Deutschlander shared his expertise on bird migration on National Public Radio during a live broadcast of “Science Friday” from Cornell’s Bailey Hall. In 2013, Deutschlander became an elective member of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU), the oldest and largest society for the study of ornithology in the Western Hemisphere. That same year, he became associate editor of the AOU’s prestigious journal, The Auk, which is one of the highest ranking ornithological journals worldwide. He currently serves as second vice president for the Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS), the second oldest and second largest scientific ornithological society in North America. When that appointment concludes, Deutschlander will serve two years as first vice president and two years as president. Deutschlander hosted the annual meeting of WOS at HWS in 2010. Deutschlander has taught previously at the Rochester Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Victoria in British Columbia, and a visiting scientist at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, where he studied magnetic navigation in Australian silvereyes. He has previously served as chair of Biology Department and of the Health Professions Program at HWS, and during the next two years he will chair the Colleges’ Committee on Academic Affairs.

Now President of Shimer College, the “Great Books” college of Chicago, Henking taught in the HWS Religious Studies department for more than 25 years. During her tenure, she twice chaired that department and co-chaired the interdisciplinary Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Studies program. Her courses were regularly cross-listed in the HWS Women’s Studies program. From 1998 to 2001, she served as acting provost and interim dean of faculty, leading planning efforts focused on technology and compensation for faculty and staff, and facilitating collaboration between academic and student affairs. She has served in many faculty governance roles including as presiding officer of the faculty and as a member of the steering committee for Middle States Accreditation. Henking was a 2009-2010 American Council on Education Fellow at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Among her extensive service roles during her time at the Colleges, Henking served as president of the American Association of University Professors and edited their newsletter; was elected chair of the faculty meetings; served on committees as wide ranging as physical plant, the Fisher Center, inclusive excellence and accreditation, as well as on subcommittees on domestic partnership insurance; and championed AIDS/HIV education on campus during the late 1980s while co-teaching a bi-disciplinary course on the topic. Her scholarly work has long focused on the historical relationship between religion and the social sciences. She has published a large number of scholarly works on religion, psychology, the history of sociology, gender, sexuality, AIDS/HIV, diversity, and leadership. She is the co-editor of two books: “Que(e)rying Religion: A Critical Anthology” (New York: Continuum, 1997) and “Mourning Religion” (University of Virginia Press, 2008). As founding series editor of the Oxford University Press AAR Teaching Religious Studies Series, she helped to ensure that the teacher/scholar model was and is recognized by the American Academy of Religion. Henking received her M.A. and Ph.D. in religion and psychological studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and also holds a B.A., magna cum laude with distinction from the Departments of Religion and Sociology of Duke University. Prior to HWS, Henking taught at Colgate University, Western Illinois University, and the University of Chicago. At HWS, she served as an adviser to the Board of Trustees Futures Thinking and Strategic Planning Initiative within the Office of the President, and was a recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award. While at HWS, Henking met her partner, Betty M. Bayer, professor of women’s studies and an internationally recognized feminist historian and theorist of psychology.

Jones, a painter and photographer, has exhibited his work in museums and galleries around the world, from Vietnam and Singapore to Paris, New York, and Los Angeles. He earned his B.A. in studio art from Hobart College and his M.F.A. in painting and photography from Brooklyn College, and has studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Art Students League in New York, the Six Program at Skidmore College, and the Rijks Museum School in the Netherlands. He has worked as an instructor in the New York City public school system and as professional designer and muralist, before joining the Colleges faculty in 1985. He has received awards from the Minnesota Museum of Art and the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, N.Y., and grants from the New York Council on the Arts. In the past, he has served as assistant dean for program development, as well as on numerous committees and in advisory roles on campus and off.

Laird earned his B.S. in meteorology with a minor in mathematics at the State University of New York at Oswego. Two years later, he received an M.S. from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at the University of Illinois and accepted a research scientist position in the Atmospheric Environment Section of the Illinois State Water Survey. During September 1998, he returned as a part-time graduate student to the DAS to pursue a Ph.D. while continuing to work full-time at the Illinois State Water Survey. In June 2001, he completed his Ph.D. and accepted a one-year visiting assistant professor position in the Department of Geoscience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In May 2002, he accepted a research assistant professor position at the University of Illinois where he conducted research and taught undergraduate and graduate courses within the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. In July 2004, he returned to the Colleges in a tenure-track position and received tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2009. His teaching and scholarly interests span numerous areas in the atmospheric sciences; with his primary area of research examining the climatology and meteorology of severe winter weather. He has received grants primarily from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation. Laird has conducted research projects with numerous collaborators including National Weather Service offices in Binghamton, N.Y. and Buffalo, N.Y. and has provided mentorship and funding in support of nearly 50 undergraduate researchers during the Colleges’ Summer Research Program since 2005. Laird has served as editor and associate editor of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology and is a member of several scientific organizations, such as the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and the Council on Undergraduate Research. His work has been published in more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles; many with undergraduate student co-authors, and he has delivered more than 100 conference presentations.

Mason has been a member of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges faculty since 1980. His teaching and scholarly interests in anthropology/sociology extend far beyond the discipline, to education, environmental studies and agriculture, urban studies, and women’s studies. Mason earned his B.A. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, his M.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his Ph.D. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He served in the Army National Guard from 1956 to 1964. Prior to joining the HWS faculty, Mason taught at Ohio University, St. Thomas University and Wilfrid Laurier University. He has published chapters and articles in Science: A Social Perspective, Common Property Resources: Ecology and Community-Based Sustainable Development, and The Iatrogenic Handbook: A Critical Look at Research and Practice in the Helping Professions; and in the journals Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, Alternatives: Perspective on Society and Environment, Left Review, and Matrix.

Mertens, an expert in public finance, and public policy, joined the HWS faculty in 1997. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer and a Fulbright Scholar, and has worked as a consultant for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury, and USAID in many countries, including: Mozambique, Malawi, Nigeria, Guyana, Mongolia, Kosovo, Russia and Ukraine. In 2005, she was named New York State Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She has taught previously at Florida Atlantic University, and was a visiting instructor at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. Merten’s scholarship has appeared in The Sociological Quarterly, Service-Learning and the Liberal Arts: How and Why It Works, and Public Budgeting and Finance. She has also authored numerous technical reports. She has served as chair of the Economics Department, director of the Public Policy Program, chair of the Committee on the Faculty, and in numerous other roles on campus. In 2011, Mertens was named the Chi Phi Fraternity’s National Faculty Adviser of the Year. Mertens earned her B.S.B.A. from the University of Arkansas, her M.A. from Duke University, and her Ph.D. from Emory University.