New academic year brings new faculty, programs across Emory

Emory Report | Aug. 31, 2021

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The nine schools that make up Emory University have big plans for the 2021-22 academic year, as all students return to campus.

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The nine schools that make up Emory University have big plans for the 2021-22 academic year, as all students return to campus. Here’s a roundup of things to come, including incoming class stats, introductions of new faculty and new degree programs or initiatives, as listed by each school.


Candler School of Theology

Incoming class: Candler welcomes 170 incoming students from 13 countries, 25 states and 41 denominations/faith traditions.

New faculty: Joining the regular faculty are Lucila Crena 06C, managing director of the Theological Education Between the Times project and instructor in theology, ethics and culture; Musa Dube, acting professor of New Testament; Gabrielle Thomas, assistant professor of early Christianity and Anglican studies; and Danielle Tumminio Hansen, assistant professor of practical theology and spiritual care. Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Christian Origins Luke Timothy Johnson returns to Candler as this year’s distinguished visiting professor in the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture, and will present public lectures on Sept. 15 and Nov. 10.

Noteworthy events: Convocation took place Aug. 26, with James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership Robert M. Franklin Jr. giving the address, and faculty members Ted A. Smith and Timothy P. Jackson being installed in chaired professorships. The event was live-streamed and recorded. Pitts Theology Library’s online fall exhibition, “Masquerade: Scripturalizing Modernities Through Black Flesh,” will launch in September, and a related online event with curator and senior research scholar Vincent Wimbush will be held Nov. 3-4. Pitts also will host a new semester of online Kessler Conversations on “Luther and the Other,” featuring scholars discussing Martin Luther’s relationship with other ethnicities and faiths, including Judaism and Islam.

Learn more at Candler's website.


Emory College

Incoming classes: Emory College of Arts and Sciences welcomes about 5,850 students to campus this semester, including a record first-year class of about 1,500 students. Programming is in place for “Weeks of Welcome,” a series of events for returning students, many of whom are back on campus for the first time since March 2020.

New faculty: Emory College also welcomes an exceptional cohort of 17 new and highly diverse tenure-track faculty members in multiple disciplines.

Fellowship news: This academic year, Emory College welcomes Atlanta-based mixed media artist Masud Ashley Olufani and Los Angeles-based actor and singer Thom Zhang as the first cohort of the Emory Arts Fellows Program. The fellowship launches this year to help emerging creatives build their practice while providing students opportunities to learn from working artists. Fellows will teach courses, create new works and direct capstone projects that bring new, creative perspectives to the study of critical issues and the effect of the arts on humanity. 

The Emory Arts & Social Justice Fellows program returns for its second year with a cohort that includes Atlanta-area artists Jim Alexander, Stephanie Brown, Indya Childs, Elizabeth Jarrett, Mark Kendall and Lee Osorio, along with Miranda Kyle, arts and culture program manager for the Atlanta BeltLine. The fellows program pairs Atlanta artists with Emory professors, to inspire creative conversations about social justice and inequity in courses across the university.

New studies: New majors and programs starting this year include two new joint majors: a human health and economics major, and a computer science and economics major. A new minor has been added in writing, rhetoric and information design.

Learn more at the Emory College website.


Goizueta Business School

Incoming classes: Goizueta Business School (GBS) welcomes more than 400 new students for the new academic year in programs including the one-year MBA (41), two-year MBA (165), evening MBA (105), executive MBA (55) and MS in business analytics (54).

New faculty: Tonya Smalls, assistant professor in the practice of accounting, and Marina Cooley, lecturer in marketing, join GBS this fall.

The Roberto C. Goizueta Global Classrooms: Supported by The Goizueta Foundation, the Global Classrooms elevate our overall classroom experience, extend our global reach and eliminate the limitations of geography. Real-time polls, breakout-room options, whiteboard technology and engagement analytics enable faculty to be highly responsive and flexible with students. The new facilities offer a truly immersive, dynamic experience from anywhere in the world.

John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition (JLCC): Inspired by its civil rights namesake, the student-run JLCC is moving forward in its second year with an expanded scope by engaging in deeper partnerships with top business schools across the country. The competition is focused on examining how companies can address racial injustice within their organizations and in society.

Master of analytical finance: GBS is launching a master’s of analytical finance degree, with enrollment in fall 2022. Led and designed by finance industry professionals, this program offers hands-on experiences to support next-gen careers in sales and trading, investment management, FinTech and investment banking.

Learn more at Goizueta’s website.


Laney Graduate School

Incoming class: Laney Graduate School (LGS) welcomes more than 400 students this year, representing 39 countries. Around 80% are pursuing the PhD. About 26% of our new U.S. students are from ethnic and racial groups that are underrepresented in higher education. LGS also welcomes 52 new Centennial Scholars, students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and who will contribute to the development of a richly diverse student body.

New leadership: As we bid a bittersweet farewell to our longtime dean Lisa Tedesco, LGS is delighted to welcome Kimberly Jacob Arriola, former executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Rollins School of Public Health and Charles Howard Candler Professor of Behavioral, Social and Health Education Sciences, as the new dean of LGS.

LGS is also saying goodbye to longtime senior associate dean Cathryn Johnson and is pleased to welcome Jeffrey K. Staton, professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science, as LGS’s new senior associate dean.

New initiative: LGS and the School of Medicine’s Office of Postdoctoral Education are participating in a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored program called “Becoming a Resilient Scientist” for early career scientists aimed at the mental health and wellness needs of graduate students and postdocs.

Construction highlight: Plans are underway to build new housing dedicated to graduate and professional students, allowing them to live within a 15-minute walk or less to all graduate programs. The project is being developed based on feedback from graduate students and faculty.

Learn more at the Laney Graduate School website.


Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing 

Incoming class: This fall the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing opens its doors for students, including more than 1,200 in the Class of 2025. The combined group of pre-licensure and graduate/doctoral students make up a class with roots across the nation and world, including 685 from outside Georgia. Beyond geography, students joining various programs are from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including more than 50% of the pre-licensure class. 

AAN fellows:  The American Academy of Nursing recently announced nine members of the School of Nursing community as among its field of 2021 members selected for induction as Fellows. These alumni and faculty members are among the 63 FAANs represented at the Emory School of Nursing. Alumni inductees are Kimarie Bugg, Angela Moss, Michele Nelson, Darrell Owens and Amy Valderrama. Faculty inductees are Lexi Dunn-Amore, Hope Bussenius, Nicole Carlson, Fayron Epps, Roberta Kaplow, Rose Murphree and Jessica Wells.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Fellow: Assistant professor Brenda Baker has been named to the 2021-22 class of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows by the National Academy of Medicine. This fall, Baker joins other Fellows for a year-long assignment to participate in the federal health policy process in congressional and executive branch offices and work on regulatory and legislative issues related to public health. Baker brings more than 30 years of experience in maternal and infant care with a focus of providing prenatal education, labor support and postpartum help to incarcerated women. RWJF Health Policy Fellows are chosen from a highly competitive field of health and behavioral/social science professionals who have interest in health policy.

New funding: The U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $1.2 million to the School of Nursing to create the Georgia Forensic Nursing Network (GFNN). Once established, the GFNN will work with partners across the state to increase the number of sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) in Georgia. Associate professor Trisha Sheridan leads the effort, which includes providing SANE training and certification opportunities to 140 nurses during the next three years.

Learn more at the School of Nursing’s website.


Oxford College

Enrollment and admission: Oxford welcomes approximately 1,074 students to campus for the fall semester. After receiving a record number of applications, Oxford admitted its largest number of first-year students, some of whom will start in January 2022 as part of Oxford’s inaugural Spring Start class.

Campus updates: Emory President Gregory L. Fenves joined Oxford Dean Doug Hicks on Aug. 18 to rededicate Humanities Hall. The historic building is now open after a two-year renovation project that added additional offices for faculty and staff, a theater dedicated to film and media studies and technology upgrades to classrooms. Oxford will rename another historic building this fall in memory of Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. 77Ox 79B, a true pathbreaker who modeled welcome and inclusivity. Language Hall will become Johnson Hall in recognition of his many contributions to Oxford and his lifelong commitment to public service.

Faculty updates: Oxford has hired Natalia Bayona Vásquez, assistant professor of biology, and promoted five faculty members to associate professor with tenure: Tasha Dobbin-Bennett, associate professor of art history; Sarah Fankhauser, associate professor of biology; Bridgette W. Gunnels, associate professor of Spanish; Jennifer McGee, associate professor of psychology; and Joshua Mousie, associate professor of philosophy. In addition, Oxford promoted LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith to director of undergraduate laboratories and senior lecturer in biology and Christina Lee to senior lecturer in mathematics.

Learn more at the Oxford College website.


Rollins School of Public Health

Incoming class: Rollins welcomes 719 students (including Humphrey Fellows) representing 39 countries and 44 states, with approximately 63 languages and dialects spoken. For the 2021-22 school year, 612 Rollins students have accepted Rollins Earn And Learn (REAL) awards (a work-study program unique to Rollins). 

Certificate offerings: Rollins recently launched two new certificates for degree-seeking students: the certificate in climate and health and the certificate in infectious disease epidemiology

New faculty: The school welcomes a number of new faculty joining its ranks, including: Andrea López-Cepero, assistant professor; Stephanie Eick, assistant professor; Christine Ekenga, assistant professor; Olivia Jung, assistant professor; Liliana Aguayo-Markes, research assistant professor; Rebecca Mae Martin, research professor; Elizabeth Rogawski McQuade, assistant professor; Raphiel Murden, research assistant professor; Subasri Narasimhan, research assistant professor; Kristin Bratton Nelson; assistant professor; Elizabeth Rhodes, assistant professor; and Marlene K. Wolfe, assistant professor. 

Construction Update: Construction of the R. Randall Rollins Building commenced in early 2020 and is slated for completion in summer 2022. The 185,000-square-foot building is on target to earn both LEED Gold certification and WELL certification. 

Civic engagement: In June 2021, Rollins leadership voted to approve election day (the first Tuesday of November) as a day off from work and learning to encourage civic engagement in the community. This is in response to efforts of the Rollins Election Day Initiative, a student-led group that formed in early 2020 to promote public health through civic participation. 

Dean’s Pilot awards: Recipients of this year’s Dean’s Pilot and Innovation Grant Program awards are Max Lau, assistant professor; Liliana Aguayo-Markes, research assistant professor; and Liuhua Shi, research assistant professor. Pilot award amounts range from $20,000 to $50,000 and are designed to create opportunities for innovative research, collaboration and mentorship for early-career faculty at Rollins.

Learn more at the School of Public Health website.


School of Law

Incoming class: Emory Law greets returning students and welcomes new students from 36 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and more than 12 countries to pursue JD, LLM and JM degrees.

New faculty: Darren Hutchinson joined the faculty as the inaugural John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice. The following new lecturers joined the faculty:  Michael Athans, Karen Cooper, Sarah Geraghty, Hallie Ludsin, Sydnee Mack, Schlomo Pill, Kerry Quinn and Magdalena Tulibacka. Jim Tomkovicz has returned to Emory Law as Dean’s Professor. 

New programs: Emory’s law school is enhancing its curriculum with a new concentration in health law.

Recent faculty accolades: Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Kristin Johnson testified before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions in the April 15, 2021, hearing “Banking Innovation or Regulatory Evasion? Exploring Trends in Financial Institution Charters.”

Learn more at the Emory Law website.  


School of Medicine 

Incoming classes: The School of Medicine trains students across five allied health programs (medical imaging, genetic counseling, physical therapy, physician assistant and anesthesiologist assistant) in addition to medical school students:

  • MD class:The Class of 2025 began its first year of medical school on July 19, 2021. The incoming class has 141 students with 70% women; 85% nontraditional (one or more years out of college prior to beginning medical school); and 33% who self-identify as an underrepresented minority. They come to Emory from 30 states and 12 different countries. They are graduates of 73 different undergraduate institutions; 25 already have postgraduate degrees. 
  • Medical Imaging Program class: The Bachelor of Medical Science degree Class of 2024 began its first year in the program in late August. The incoming class has seven students (six women and one man), including four from underrepresented minority groups.
  • The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program Class of 2023 began its training Aug. 16, 2021. The incoming class has 12 students (nine women and three men). One student is Latinx, two students are from India, one student is from Taiwan and another is from Belgium. 
  • Physical Therapy Program: The Class of 2024 matriculated in early June. There are 61 students (43 women and 18 men). Of these, 72% came from outside of Georgia, 20% are from Georgia and 8% are international students from China, Taiwan, Korea and France. Their White Coat Ceremony will be Sept. 11, 2021, to celebrate the completion of their first semester of the program.
  • Physician’s Assistant Class of 2023: The Class of 2023 began its first year of PA school on Aug. 2, 2021. The incoming class has 53 students, with 89% women, 28% underrepresented minorities in medicine and 100% non-traditional (one or more years out of college prior to beginning PA school).
  • The Emory Anesthesiologist Assistant Program welcomes the Class of 2023, which began orientation on Aug. 23, 2021. The cohort is composed of 37 students (25 female and 12 male). They hail from 14 states and six countries including Spain, Vietnam, Korea and Tanzania. Their professional backgrounds include architecture, education, respiratory therapy, nursing, marketing and a variety of other medical professions.

Research and program update: After a record-breaking year in research funding, the School of Medicine’s research labs have been fully up and running since midsummer and are on target to complete another highly productive year. Our clinical providers have remained on campus throughout the pandemic, continuing to provide high-quality care under increasingly difficult circumstances. We are preparing to implement an education strategic plan to develop a unique curriculum focused on teaching School of Medicine students the creative and analytical skills required to be lifelong problem solvers.

Learn more at the School of Medicine website.