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Pomona College Promotes 11 Outstanding Professors

Pomona College, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, has promoted eight members of the faculty to the rank of full professor and three to associate professor. As a group, Pomona’s faculty is known for their commitment to great teaching, accessibility to students and their ongoing involvement in research, writing and creative expression, which translates into lively instruction in the classroom and the laboratory.

The following eight faculty members were promoted to full professor:

Jack Abecassis has been promoted to professor of romance languages and literatures. He has been a faculty member at Pomona since 1990. His courses include Intermediate French; Advanced French; The Fantastic; Les Moralistes: Public and Private Selves; and Les Philosophes: Paradoxes of Nature. He also occasionally offers courses on modern Israeli fiction. Abecassis has written extensively on philosophical aspects of French literature and on French Renaissance thinker Michel de Montaigne, and he is currently working on a book about Greek-born French-Jewish novelist, journalist, and diplomat Albert Cohen titled Albert Cohen: Dissonant Voices. Abecassis earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis.

Roger Caron has been promoted to professor of physical education. Caron, who joined the faculty in 1994, is also head football coach for the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. In addition to coaching the football team, he teaches the courses Advanced Weight Training and Raquetball.

A 1985 graduate of Harvard, Caron was a Division I-AA First Team Kodak and AP All American and two-time First Team All-Ivy League. Caron was a fifth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he played from 1985-1987. In 1987, he joined the staff of Williams College in Massachusetts and helped coach the program to a 45-9-2 record in 7 years, including a 23-game win streak (1988-1991) and an unprecedented 14 Little Three victories in a row. Caron received his M. Ed from North Adams State College.

A three-time recipient of the Pomona College Wig Distinguished Teaching Award, Sidney Lemelle, has been promoted to professor of history and black studies. A member of the faculty since 1986, he is also chair of the history department. Lemelle teaches the courses History of Africa to 1800; History of Africa, 1800 to Present; Pan-Africanism and Black Radical Traditions; Slavery and Freedom in the New World; and Industrialization and Social Change in South Africa. Lemelle’s research focuses on African American history, slavery, South Africa, Pan-Africanism and the effects of regional "circum-Caribbean" migration by groups from Louisiana. He is the author of Pan-Africanism for Beginners (1992) and a co-editor Imagining Home: Class, Culture and Nationalism in the African Diaspora (1994) and Class, Culture and Nationalism in the Pan-African Diaspora (1993). Lemelle earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

A member of the faculty since 1989, David Menefee-Libey was promoted to professor of politics. He is coordinator of the Public Policy Analysis Program and teaches courses in Introduction to American Politics; The United States Congress; Campaigns and Elections; Policy Implementation and Evaluation; Education Politics and Policy; and Education Policy Data Workshop. Menefee-Libey focuses his research on the transformation of American campaigns and elections since the 1950s, with special attention to the role of parties in campaign strategies and methods, and is author of the book The Triumph of Campaign-Centered Politics (2000). He led field research on the 2000 U.S. House race between Californians Jim Rogan and Adam Schiff, and on Schiff's reelection campaign in 2002. His findings were presented in 2003 to the U.S. Supreme Court during hearings on the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. His second field of research is the politics of school reform with a focus on urban public school districts, making him particularly knowledgeable on education issues in the 2004 elections. Menefee-Libey received his doctorate from the University of Chicago.

A member of the faculty since 1986, Sheila Pinkel has been promoted to professor of art. She teaches courses in History of Photography; Intermediate Photography; Advanced Photography; Photography and The Politics of Representation; Independent Study: Studio Art; and Introductory Photography. She is an artist who has been making work about her love of nature and her concern about its destruction for the last 30 years. Recent works have included pieces about the aftermath of the Indochina Wars for Cambodian and Laotian Hmong refugees, lives of people living in remote tribal communities of Pakistan, museum guards, the history of the garment industry in Los Angeles and, most recently, the prison-industrial complex. From 1983 to the present time she has been an international editor of Leonardo, a publication dedicated to the intersection of art, science and technology. She received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Lynn Rapaport has been promoted to professor of sociology. A member of the faculty since 1989, she is also chair of the sociology department and the anthropology department. She teaches courses in Social Stratification; Women's Roles in Society; Sociology of Emotions; History and Development of Sociological Theory II: Contemporary Theories; and History and Development of Sociological Theory I: The Classical Tradition. Rapaport’s research focuses primarily on the Holocaust, genocide and the sociology of culture. She is currently working on a project that analyzes how the Holocaust is portrayed in the movies, TV, comic strips and other forms of popular culture from the 1940s to present day. She is the author of Jews in Germany after the Holocaust: Memory, Identity, and Jewish-German Relations. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

William Swartz has been promoted to professor of physical education. He has been the Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer coach since 1986, coming to Pomona after coaching at Thomas College, where he was named New England Coach of the Year in 1985. While at Pomona, he was named the Far West Coach of the Year in 1990. Swartz has served as the Mid-West and Far-West Region Soccer Chair and is currently the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) men's soccer chair. With women's soccer coach Kris Martini, Swartz has been instrumental in bringing professional U.S. soccer teams to campus, as well as teams for other countries, for practice sessions prior to the World Cup. He completed his MBA at Thomas College.

James Taylor, a member of the faculty since 1991, has been promoted to professor of theatre. Taylor teaches Theatre; Lighting and Set Design; Philippine Theatre; Athol Fugard; and Shakespeare on Film. He also designs departmental productions. Jim’s professional credits as a designer and/or technical director include Summer Repertory Theatre, Occidental Theatre Festival, The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Lorretta Livingston and Dancers, and A Noise Within. His research interests include contemporary French scenography. He spent 1997-98 as a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines. Taylor received his MFA. from Southern Methodist University. In 1997-98, he was a Fulbright Lecturer in the Phillipines. He is also a lighting design member of the United Scenic Artists.

The following three faculty members were promoted to associate professor:

Promoted to associate professor of English and media studies, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, has been a member of the faculty since 1998. She teaches Special Topics in American Literature and Topics in Media Theory. Her primary research interests lie in the conjunction of contemporary fiction and other media forms, including film, television and the computer. She is currently revising a book manuscript titled The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The Death of the Novel, the Rise of New Media, and the Discourse of Postmodernism. She earned her doctorate from New York University.

Nicole Weekes was promoted to associate professor of psychology. She came to Pomona in 1998 and teaches Biological Basis of Psychopathology; Foundations in Neuroscience; Human Neuropsychology; and Psychological Approaches. Her research focuses on individual and group differences in neuropsychological functioning, including the effects of biological sex, handedness, stress and hormone levels. Her publications include “Sex Differences in the Brain” in Neuropsychology (1994) and numerous other articles published in professional journals. She earned her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Heather Williams has been promoted to associate professor of politics. A member of the faculty since 1998, she teaches courses in Comparative Politics; Introduction to International Relations; Global Politics of Food and Agriculture; and Comparative Politics of Latin America. Her research interests include contentious politics, protest, social movements and insurgency. She is particularly intrigued by the impact of economic changes on forms of popular political participation, especially in Latin America. Williams earned her Ph.D. at Yale University.

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offering a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.