The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Lafayette hires new tenure-track faculty

Stephanie Chan, Farhan Abedin and Sunita Chepuri were three of the newly hired professors on the tenure track. (Photos courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

Alongside the promotions of current professors and the granting of tenure to eight faculty members, Lafayette also welcomed many new tenure-track professors this semester. The faculty members come from a wide variety of disciplines and hope to improve the learning environment for students across campus.  

Assistant professor of math Sunita Chepuri is one of the new faculty on a tenure track. She is currently doing research in combinatorics, which is the math of discrete objects. More specifically, her focus is on algebraic combinatorics. 

 Chepuri wrote in an email that the sense of community drew her to Lafayette. 

“I really wanted to teach at a place that values teaching and encourages the kind of student-professor relationships I benefited from as an undergraduate at a small liberal art college,” Chepuri wrote. “I also love how committed Lafayette is to making everyone affiliated with the college feel part of the community.” 

Chepuri added that she hopes to contribute by getting to know students and creating a more welcoming learning environment in the math department. 

“I want to encourage my students to think and reason logically,” Chepuri wrote. “Doing this is very uncomfortable – we’d all much rather be given an algorithm that we can use to blindly churn out ‘right answers.’ However, real learning happens when we sit in that uncomfortable place and struggle to understand exactly what’s going on and why.”

She also wrote that while her current goal is to receive tenure, she would also like to get more involved with the Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education. 

I have known so many people who have felt left out in mathematics and want to work to change that culture going forward,” she wrote.

Assistant professor of government and law Stephanie Chan is another new professor on the tenure track. She is continuing her research on immigration, race and political participation, with hopes that her work will culminate in a book. Chan wrote in an email that she was drawn to Lafayette because of the personal connections professors are able to build with students. 

“I hope to share my knowledge of politics with the students in my classes. Currently, I am teaching Introduction to American Politics,” Chan wrote. “It is great to discuss contemporary political issues with my students.”

Chan echoed Chepuri’s goal of fostering a more inclusive space in which students can learn and share their thoughts.

“In my classes, I aim to foster a respectful and interactive classroom environment where students can recognize the ways in which politics has influenced their lives and thoughtfully discuss their views,” Chan wrote. 

Another recently hired faculty member on the tenure track, assistant professor of math, Farhan Abedin ’11, is a Lafayette alum. He found his passion for mathematics during his time as a Leopard and entered a doctorate program immediately after graduation. He is currently researching the quantitative properties of solutions to nonlinear elliptic partial differential equations (PDEs).

“When I began searching for academic jobs a few years ago, I focused on institutions where faculty value both research and teaching. Lafayette has always been good at striking that balance, so when I was offered the job here, it was very easy for me to say yes,” Abedin wrote in an email.

Abedin aspires to positively influence students much as his own instructors did for him.

“I hope I can inspire my students to find beauty and value in a liberal arts education,” he wrote.

In terms of what type of classroom he wants to foster, Abedin hopes to push students out of their comfort zone. 

“I like to challenge my students but also keep the material accessible and have fair assessment criteria,” Abedin wrote. “This is certainly a balancing act, so students can expect that I will try my best to find the right balance.”

Although it has only been a few weeks since Abedin started teaching, his favorite part about Lafayette is how hard the students work in the classroom. 

“So far, I’m very encouraged by the tenacity and drive that my students have shown, especially when tackling advanced mathematical concepts,” Abedin wrote.

Among the other new tenure-track professors are assistant professor of scenography Jake Salgado, assistant professor of psychology Jessie Greenlee, assistant professor of biology Ezra Lencer and assistant professor of sociology, Rui Jie Peng.

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About the Contributor
Onab Falak
Onab Falak, Staff News Writer
Onab is a junior from Alexandria, Virginia that is currently double majoring in Government and Law and International Affairs. Her minor will be a surprise to everyone, even herself. She can be very indecisive (but the good kind). Besides being a staff writer for the newspaper, she is a member of Student Government, a Posse Scholar, McKelvy Scholar and coordinator for Kaleidoscope! In her spare moments, she’s usually journaling in the McKelvy gardens or reading books in the study in between passionate arguments with her peers. When she’s not at home, she can be found running around campus regretting how many activities she decided to be involved in or at Mojos drinking her daily iced coffee. 

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