Faculty Fellows

To date, more than 83 colleagues representing every school have participated in the Tisch College Faculty Fellows program, which convenes scholars for interdisciplinary discussions about engaged teaching and research, and builds the capacity of Tufts faculty to integrate active citizenship into their work. It comes with a stipend that can be used for salary or research/teaching expenses.

Coordinated by Peter Levine, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tisch College, the program brings Fellows together four times a semester to discuss common themes, challenges, and resources from diverse academic perspectives.

Faculty members from all Tufts schools are invited to apply for the 2014-15 academic year. Prospective applicants should contact Peter Levine to discuss their ideas for a project.

The 2013-2014 Faculty Fellows are:

Pawan Dhingra

professor and chair of Sociology, School of Arts and Sciences

Dhingra is a specialist in immigrant adaptation, race, and identity. From January 2011 to June 2012, he was on sabbatical while he curated the Indian-American Heritage Project at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The project, which culminates next year in an exhibition at the Smithsonians’ National Museum of Natural History, allowed Dhingra to be both a researcher and a “public sociologist” whose work reaches far beyond the standard academic circles.

As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Dhingra continues to explore ways in which to bridge public and traditional sociology. He is currently working on issues of identity representation, and on a scholarly article about the politics of group representation and curatorial constraints.

Ken Garden

assistant professor of Religion, School of Arts and Sciences

As a 2013-2014 Tisch Fellow, Garden is creating a website that will provide valuable insight about some of the most important contemporary figures and institutions in Islam. Through a series of subtitled videos, he hopes to give the public a first-hand look at the complexity and diversity among and within these groups, many of which are having a profound impact in the Middle East. Garden is focusing, especially, on Egypt where Muslim religious parties have emerged as a potent political force.

The website will include videos of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party; the Salafi movement and its Noor Party; and al-Azhar University, one of the world’s oldest institutions of higher learning, which is now struggling to reassert its authority. Other videos will feature Mulslim “televangelists” known as New Preachers. Through this website, Garden is facilitating and encouraging the knowledge and understanding that serve as necessary precursors to any meaningful and effective civic engagement.

Laura Graham

visiting professor of Peace & Justice Studies, School of Arts and Sciences

An expert in the sociology of peace processes, Graham’s doctoral research investigated the social capital of victim support groups in Northern Ireland. She will continue her work in that part of the world as a Tisch College Faculty Fellow, through an open-source music peacebuilding project with marginalized Protestant and Catholic Youth in Belfast.

The weeklong workshop will consist of two teaching modules each day. In the morning, students will learn how to use open-source software to record and produce original music. In the afternoon, they will receive peer leadership training and will discuss effective communication and dispute-resolution strategies. By increasing dialogue across these divided communities and cultivating ‘peace leaders’, Graham expects youth groups to experience the benefits associated with strong social capital, such as increased social trust, inclusion, cohesion, and active citizenship.

While developing the peacebuilding workshop, Graham is also preparing for publication a practitioner’s guidebook for civil society leaders that presents a best-practices framework for strengthening social capital within and between civic groups.

Nicole Holland

assistant professor of Public Health and Community Service, School of Dental Medicine

Holland, who also serves as the Director of Health Communication, Education, and Promotion, is working on cultivating communication strategies that fundamentally influence and improve oral health behaviors. Her research identifies the many complex cultural norms, biases, health beliefs, and social determinants that, taken together, have a substantial effect on giving and receiving healthcare.

As a Tisch College Faculty Fellow, Holland is examining the use of narrative to explore that intersection of culture, communication, and oral health. Such an approach will provide clinicians with a structured way to examine the interactions between their personal cultural norms and biases, and those of their patients and communities. This work is crucial, as the United States’ continuing demographic evolution necessitates healthcare providers who can effectively communicate with diverse populations to achieve optimal health.

Valencia Joyner Koomson

associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering

Koomson runs the Advanced Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory at the School of Engineering, where she teaches courses on electronics and optical communications. Her research is focused on analog signal processing and optoelectronic system-on-chip modeling, particularly its applications in wireless communication and biomedical imaging. As a Tisch College Faculty Fellow, Koomson is exploring innovative ways in which these and other technologies can help tackle difficult problems and bring about positive change in communities.

Karen Kosinski

assistant professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, School of Medicine

Kosinski, EG11, is part of an interdisciplinary group with members from Tufts’ Medical, Engineering, and Nutrition Schools tasked with preventing infectious disease. For the past half-decade, she has spent up to three months a year in Ghana doing research on urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS). By performing screenings and following up on her many return visits, Kosinski has been able to identify and track why people, especially children, get infected and re-infected.

Tisch College has previously contributed to Kosinski’s work by funding her undergraduate research assistants through the Active Citizenship Summer program. Now, as a Faculty Fellow, Kosinski is taking advantage of the opportunity to further collaborate with other Tufts faculty and improve the community engagement aspect of her work. As part of a grant proposal for a clinical trial, she is working with a Tufts anthropologist and Ghanaian colleagues to revise existing and develop new qualitative data collection materials, including surveys and focus group questions. These materials will then be tested and further reviewed based on feedback from community members.

Penn Loh

lecturer of Urban and Environmental Planning, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

As Director of Community Practice at UEP, and a member of the Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC) steering committee, civic engagement has been a central component of Loh’s work. His extensive experience with Boston-area community groups also informs his teaching, which includes courses like Environmental Justice, Foundations of Public Policy and Planning, and Field Projects; he also runs UEP’s Practical Visionaries Workshop.

In his role as a Faculty Fellow, Loh is exploring many different ways in which he can better integrate community-engaged learning and active citizenship into his teaching and research. With the support of Tisch College, he is implementing the fourth year of the Practical Visionaries Workshop, during which he will work with various community partners to follow up on TCRC research and carry out a UEP field project in 2014. Loh is also working to expand the workshop and develop a community-university co-learning partnership as part of efforts to place these research collaboration in an increasingly scholarly context.

Melissa Mazan

associate professor of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Mazan, V93, is a specialist in equine medicine with a passion for international work. At Tufts, she helped establish a connection between the Veterinary School and the American Fondouk, a large charity hospital in Morocco that has been run for nearly 100 years by the Massachusetts chapter of the ASPCA, and that sees over 20,000 patients a year. Mazan and other Tufts faculty often provide their assistance and expertise through videoconference.

As a Tisch College Faculty Fellow, Mazan is developing an idea funded by the Tufts Innovates! grants program, titled: “Patients without borders: using distance learning to develop expertise and understanding of the global context of veterinary medicine for working equids in a developing country.” Through this program, Mazan intends not only to expand support for the Moroccan facility, but to use it as a unique educational opportunity for Tufts veterinary students. The project aims to develop a bank of digital, real-life cases from the American Fondouk, optimize the videoconferencing and other technological tools, and create holistic narratives that take into account the vital cultural and economic aspects of international veterinary medicine.

Elena Naumova

professor and associate dean of Civil and Environmental Engineering,  School of Engineering

A biostatistician with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research, Naumova has taught at Tufts’ schools of Engineering, Medicine, and Nutrition Science and Policy, and currently serves as director of the Tufts University Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Disease (InForMID). She is also working with the World Health Organization on developing statistical methodology for assessing environmental health at a national level, and created an internship position in environmental health at the WHO office in Bonn, Germany. She looks forward to further incorporating civic engagement into her research and curriculum.

Naumova is also participating in ELATE (Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering), part of Drexel University’s International Center for Executive Leadership in Academics. The program looks to increase the diversity and leadership capacity of academics in engineering, computer science, and related fields. Naumova is designing an Institutional Activity Project for the program, and believes that her Tisch College fellowship will increase that project’s value, scope, and strength.

Diane O’Donoghue

lecturer of Visual and Critical Studies, School of Arts and Sciences-College of Special Studies

O’Donoghue is an experienced art historian specializing in Asia who has spent the last decade studying how visual culture intersects with other disciplines. Much of her scholarship has been inspired by a striking personal experience: a decade ago, while in Vienna as the Fulbright-Freud Scholar of Psychoanalysis, O’Donoghue came across a family grave in a badly-desecrated Jewish cemetery. She went on to co-found an organization that advocates for the preservation of this and other Jewish cemeteries, as well as facilitates funds to restore those whose Nazi-era destruction had begun in the late 1930s.

As a Faculty Fellow, O’Donoghue is looking to more fully develop strategies for another aspect of her organization’s work of repair: the opportunity for civic engagement and activism. Hundreds of individuals have already been involved in volunteer projects at this Viennese cemetery, and they have been able to mobilize diverse communities within Austria and beyond. With the involvement of artists and art students, the work in Vienna has also created a body of visual culture, and O’Donoghue will also be thinking more broadly about how art-making and public service can combine to effect social change. At Tisch College, she hopes to identify ways to expand upon these projects, while investigating precedents in other countries that might be applicable to her organization’s activities.

Jeffrey Taliaferro

associate professor of Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences

An expert in international relations and security policy, Taliaferro is one of the leading figures within a new school of IR theory called Neoclassical Realism. Much of his academic work focuses on how domestic factors, such as state structure and decision-makers’ perceptions can skew assessments of the international balance of power and affect foreign policy decisions.

As part of his Tisch College Fellowship, Taliaferro is developing a new undergraduate course on the role of intelligence in U.S. national security. The course will provide an overview of the conceptual foundations of intelligence studies, study the traditional dimensions of intelligence activity (clandestine collection, analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action), and examine some classic cases of intelligence success and failure in since World War II. It will also explore intelligence’s role in today’s most pressing security challenges: WMD proliferation; the war on terrorism; peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention; and cyber-espionage.

Above all, the course will allow students to grapple with fundamental questions of citizenship like, “What is the role of secrecy in a democratic society?” and “How much should Americans know about their government?”


Originally published October 2013