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Some Artists, Some Scientists – All Teachers

CAS Welcomes 17 New Faculty Members 

Some of the 17 new faculty members at the College of Arts and Sciences are: seated, left to right, Wen Liu, Melissa Thorne, Ulrich Hounyo and Daiqiang Zhang; and standing, Jeremy Feldblyum, Justin Curry, Yunlong Feng, Matthew Zaremsky, Aashish Kaul, Karla Kash, Alex Valm and Fan Yang. (Photos by Mark Schmidt)

The College of Arts and Sciences held a reception for new faculty on the second floor of the University Art Museum. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 15, 2017) — The start of the school year is a time for new projects and new faces. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) introduced its own new faces on Friday, Sept. 8, at a reception in the University Art Museum, honoring 17 new faculty members.

 “I am very pleased to extend a warm welcome to the 17 talented scientists, scholars and artists who have joined the College this fall,” said CAS Dean Edelgard Wulfert. “You bring to Albany your unique backgrounds, ideas and experiences, and we are confident that you will push the frontiers of knowledge and make significant contributions to our mission of academic excellence.”

Wulfert noted that UAlbany is in an exciting period of growth and transformation under the leadership of a new president, Havidán Rodríguez. She mentioned the recent addition of two new colleges – the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity – and she stated that CAS is similarly poised for growth by adding new degree programs and expanding its research footprint with major new grants.

Karla Kash

New faculty member Karla Kash of theatre enjoys a moment with her colleague and mentor, veteran theatrical designer Professor Andi Lyons.

“For example, we are developing a new Master’s of Science programs in Data Science and a Graduate Certificate Program in Autism,’ she said. “In addition, our scientists have been extremely successful in attracting major funding, such as The Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities, which received a $10 million endowment grant to train future researchers in health disparities of underrepresented groups.”

CAS is the University’s largest academic unit, supporting more than 300 faculty members housed in 21 departments and enrolling more than 7,000 students in its degree programs. The College provides the liberal arts foundation of a UAlbany education and is home to areas of study spanning the fine and performing arts, the sciences and mathematics, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities.

Among the new faculty honored were:

  • Karla Kash, associate professor and director of the Theatre Program. Kash is an actor, director and choreographer with a MFA from Brandeis University.
  • Kyra Gaunt, assistant professor in the Music Program whose area of expertise is black music studies. A songwriter, performer and author, Gaunt has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
  • Wen Liu, assistant professor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, who studies social movements and psychological theories surrounding race, gender and the LGBTQ and Asian American experience. She has a Ph.D. from City University of New York.

The College also recruited three outstanding mathematicians and two scientists, one in the Department of Biological Sciences and one in the Department of Chemistry. For a complete list of the new CAS faculty and their academic specialties please visit CAS’s new faculty page.

Wulfert praised the new faculty members as artists, researchers and scholars, and noted their equally important roles as educators and mentors of students.

“The enthusiasm that you as an instructor have for your subject matter sets the tone in the classroom, and your enthusiasm transmits itself to students and makes them want to learn,” she said. “You can inspire students in many different ways: in the classroom, in your labs or studios, or simply during your office hours.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.