Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Six Members of HWS Faculty Earn Tenure
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Six Members of HWS Faculty Earn Tenure

At its most recent meeting, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Board of Trustees, upon recommendation of President Joyce P. Jacobsen, approved tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor for six faculty members.

Effective July 1, 2020, Assistant Professors Diana Baker (Education); Evren Damar (Economics); Ervin Kosta (Sociology); Michelle Martin-Baron (Women’s Studies); Ben Ristow (Writing and Rhetoric); and Shannon Straub (Biology) will be elevated to Associate Professor.

“Tenure is a milestone in the career of an academic, the product of years of rigorous scholarship and pedagogical excellence, and on behalf of the HWS community, I am thrilled to congratulate these accomplished scholars and educators,” says Provost and Dean of Faculty Mary L. Coffey.

Diana Baker, who joined the HWS faculty in 2014, holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, an M.S. from Northeastern University and a B.A. from Haverford College. Her teaching and scholarship focuses on special education, autism, neurodiversity and the intersection of language, culture and disability. She has published her research in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of International Special Needs Education, Advances in Autism and Disability Studies Quarterly, among many others.

Evren Damar — whose published research examines money, banking and financial markets and a range of international macroeconomic issues — holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Washington and a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University. Since joining the HWS faculty in 2016, he has served as a consultant for the Bank of Canada, where he was previously an analyst and principal researcher, and is currently a research professor for the Halle Institute for Economic Research.

Ervin Kosta studies and teaches a range of topics focused on urban sociology, race and ethnicity, immigration and gentrification. Before coming to HWS in 2013, he earned his Ph.D. and M.Phil. from CUNY Graduate Center and B.A. from Boğaziçi University. He has published work in journals such as City & CommunityEthnic and Racial Studies and International Journal for Urban and Regional Research.

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From left to right, are Diana Baker, Evren Damar and Ervin Kosta.

Michelle Martin-Baron’s work, published in Women and PerformanceChicana/Latina Studies and elsewhere, explores themes of national belonging in ritual and the performing arts through intersectional lenses of women’s studies, queer/LGBT studies, ethnic studies and comparative American studies. She has been a member of the HWS faculty since 2012, after earning her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and B.A. from Brandeis University.

Ben Ristow researches writing studies and connections between rhetoric, poetic and artistic traditions. His forthcoming book Craft Consciousness and Artistic Practice in Creative Writing (Bloomsbury, 2020) examines “craft” as a radical, intersectional framework for establishing more inclusive writing workshops and programs. He has published creative writing in BOMBAmbitSouthwest ReviewGray’s Sporting Journal, and elsewhere. He holds a Ph.D. and M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, an M.A. from Loyola Marymount University, and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

Shannon Straub is a plant biologist who has done significant research on the evolutionary relationships in the milkweed family of plants and published more than two dozen peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals such as Genome Biology and Evolution, American Journal of Botany, and Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. She joined the faculty in 2014 and teaches a range of biology courses, including genetics and genomics. She holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Colorado.

From left to right, are Michelle Martin-Baron, Ben Ristow and Shannon Straub.

From left to right, are Michelle Martin-Baron, Ben Ristow and Shannon Straub.

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