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Triads positions soon to be filled

February 28, 2014

After the announcement of food security as the topic of the first Triads for Excellence, this week has brought seven candidates to campus who are vying for the Triad tenure-track positions. Of the three departments participating in the first triad, which are biology, anthropology and economics, all three final candidates for biology and anthropology visited campus to meet with faculty and staff, teach a class and give a research seminar.

“Two of three positions have gotten into the final stages, and it’s just wrapping up within the last few days,” said President Mauri Ditzler as of press time. “The business position is at the point of finalizing candidates for a campus visit. Soon all of the preliminary interviews will be complete.”

The goal of having candidates visit was to fill most if not all Triad positions before registration on April 7 so that Triad courses can be made available for next school year.

“We’re looking to have two hired, but maybe we’ll get all three,” said dean of faculty David Timmerman, vice president of academic affairs. “We imagine that we can get the Triad courses on the books and get a lot of students in the courses. We hope to get students in the discipline and also students all across campus who want to do it.”

In emails from Tim Tibbetts, professor of biology, given to the Courier by Timmerman, the candidates were revealed as Dr. Ramata Sissoko-Cisse, who is pursuing a post-doctorate in poultry research; current Monmouth College visiting assistant professor of biology Crystal Walline and research visiting professor at the University of New Mexico Sean Hammond for the Food Triad biology position. In emails also given by Timmerman from Petra Kuppinger, professor of anthropology, the candidates for the Food Triad anthropology position were shown as Nicolas Sternsdorff Cisterna, currently finishing a Ph.D. in social anthropology at Harvard University; Brandi Janssen, who has a Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Iowa based on growing local food, and Andrea McDowell, currently teaching at Eastern New Mexico University.

One candidate for the economics position, Illinois State University professor of agriculture Patrick O’Rourke (who attained a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Purdue) will visit campus today.

“The idea is to get candidates who are strong in their discipline, but also get someone who had experience with the food security topic and who enjoyed working interdisciplinary,” Timmerman said.

The visits come after faculty search committees gathered a pool of applicants and conducted interviews with the top ten candidates. Each committee consisted of two faculty members in the department for that particular triad, as well as at least one faculty member each from the other two departments participating in the Triads.

“The three people we hire will work together, and so we wanted to make sure anthropology and economics helped biology, biology helped anthropology and economics, and so on,” said Timmerman. “Because of the nature of food security, which is an integrated project, it’s not just one department but those three and probably other departments as well. This kind of project takes good cooperation.”

If one department position is not filled, Timmerman and Ditzler said that the Triads will still continue with the existing faculty in that department and professors in other departments.

Regarding the future of the Triads program, Ditzler expects that while the new president will help pick the topic, it will mainly be a faculty-driven initiative and that it will be an estimated two years before the second Triad is launched.

“There are long lists of things, but it’ll be an important and noble issue that our students and faculty will care about,” Ditzler said.

Cassie Burton
News Editor

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