14 New Professors Join UC Merced for Fall Semester

MERCED - When classes begin today (Aug. 27) at the University of California, Merced, students will notice some important new faces on campus. Fourteen new professors have joined the faculty lineup for the fall semester, bringing the total number to 91.

"This round of faculty hiring adds significant depth to our research and teaching capabilities," said UC Merced Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Keith Alley. "All three of our schools - and all of our students - will benefit from the experience and knowledge these new professors bring and the work they will do here in teaching and research."

New faculty members who have joined UC Merced's team of top-notch professors (in alphabetical order):

* Gregg Camfield comes to UC Merced from University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he has been director of the university's honors program. He joins the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) as an English professor. He has published several books including "The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain" and "Sentimental Twain: Samuel Clemens in the Maze of Moral Philosophy."

* Miguel Carreira-Perpiñanis a new member of the faculty in the School of Engineering. A native of Spain, he previously distinguished himself on the faculty at the Oregon Health and Science University researching learning and vision issues related to artificial intelligence.

* Michael D. Cleary completed his Ph.D. at Stanford and a postdoctoral position at the University of Oregon before accepting his new position in the UC Merced School of Natural Sciences. He specializes in time-related signals that regulate cell development - an important aspect of stem cell research - and gene expression in the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.

* Yarrow Dunham, who has been teaching psychology at Harvard, adds his expertise in human development to the psychology program in SSHA. He has published numerous articles on race and prejudice and self and identity. He is fluent in Japanese.

* Maurizio Forte comes to SSHA from Rome, Italy, where he has been the director of and a senior scientist at CNR, the national research council. He has degrees in ancient history and archaeology, specifically studying the Etruscans, and has been a professional archaeologist since 1981.

* Ignacio López-Calvo, formerly of the University of North Texas, joins the faculty in SSHA to research and teach in his field of Spanish-language literature. He has studied California Chicano/a literature and Cuban literature, among other literary subgenres.

* Songhwai Oh completed a Ph.D. and a postdoctoral research appointment at UC Berkeley and joins the School of Engineering at UC Merced to expand the Computer Science and Engineering faculty's expertise in distributed networked sensing and control systems.

* Jason Raymond joins the faculty of the School of Natural Sciences following his appointment as an E.O. Lawrence Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He studies the evolution of metabolism and how microbes interact with their environment, along with broader evolutionary questions.

* Wolfgang F. Rogge, a specialist in air pollution engineering and science, is an associate professor in the School of Engineering. His previous faculty job was in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Florida International University in Miami.

* Jian-Qiao Sun, formerly of the University of Delaware, applies mechanical engineering principles like modeling of human-machine interactions, nonlinear adaptive controls, sensor and actuator studies, signal processing and "sandwich" material design, to "smart" devices for physical therapy and sound-control panels for airplanes.

* Meng-Lin Tsaois a new faculty member in the UC Merced School of Natural Sciences following a postdoctoral appointment at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. His work focuses on organic chemistry questions including how organic compounds react to lasers.

* Jan Wallander joins SSHA as a psychology professor after several years as the vice president of Sociometrics Corp., and a psychology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has taught psychology and nursing since the early 1980s.

* Vicki Wedeljoins SSHA from UC Berkeley. A bioarchaeologist and forensic anthropologist, she studies the experiences of life and events of death that are recorded on the skeleton to help provide richer context for describing human biology and historical perspectives.

* Tao Yeis a new professor in the School of Natural Sciences who recently completed a postdoctoral research appointment at Penn State. His research encompasses chemistry-driven nanoscale devices like molecular rotors, linear molecular machines and light-driven, single-molecule motions.

As of today, five more faculty members have signed acceptance letters indicating their intention to join the UC Merced faculty Jan. 1, 2008. More professors may still join that group.

A few professors arrived mid-year last year, including Stefano Carpin, a robotics expert; David Noelle, who specializes in cognitive science and artificial intelligence; and Jennifer Luin materials science and engineering.

Faculty hiring is vital to the growth of the newest UC campus.

"An outstanding faculty with a broad range of research and teaching interests is the key to developing attractive, rigorous academic majors and coursework," said Alley. "That's the single most important way for us to draw students to our campus and to grow the research opportunities for our students."

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