The beginning of the fall 2009 semester marks the third year of a dramatic drive to increase the size of the Bucknell faculty. Of the 78 new professors hired since fall 2007, three dozen of them fill new positions created to achieve a five-course load goal for all of Bucknell University's teacher-scholars.

"Bucknell continues to have that commitment to the five-course load, which is one indication of our overall commitment to undergraduate education and mentoring undergraduate students," said Provost Mick Smyer. "The whole purpose of the five-course load was to make sure faculty had more time available to work with students. Increasingly for a number of our students, that means more time for mentoring in research-related capacities or scholarship-related capacities. A hallmark is faculty integrating research or scholarship with student learning."

Two of the new professors this year have a personal knowledge of the role that faculty-student research plays in a Bucknell education. As Bucknell alumni, Emily Geist, Class of 2003, and Chris Ellis, Class of 2000, were both excited to return to their alma mater. "I got so much out of it in so many different respects, inside the classroom and out," said Ellis, who joins the political science faculty this fall. "To be able to be on the other side of that, it's a really neat thing."

Diversity of scholarship

The new faculty members bring a diversity of scholarship interests, with global — and intergalactic — implications. Even as they settle into their new roles and new homes, interdisciplinary bridges between their research areas are apparent.

An astronomy professor studies how stars and planets form, while an engineer designs the computers that guide the spacecraft that explore our solar system. An education professor is working on ways to improve Native American educational opportunities. And an economist asks how the availability of health insurance affects retirement decisions, while an engineer develops methods to prevent life-threatening falls by older people.

Follow the links below to read each of their stories.

Katelyn Allers
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Mihai Banciu
School of Management

Kathleen Bieryla
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Indranil Brahma
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Christine Buffinton
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Beth Duckles
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Christopher Ellis
Department of Political Science

Brantley Gasaway
Department of Religion

Emily Geist
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Julien Giol
Department of Mathematics

K. Joseph Hass
Department of Electrical Engineering

Bastian Heinsohn
Foreign Language Programs, German Studies

Richard Henne
Department of Education

Paula Kazi
Department of Economics

Shane Markstrum
Department of Computer Science

Stacy Mastrolia
School of Management

Joseph Meiser
Department of Art and Art History

Lakeisha Meyer
Department of Education

Curtis Nicholls
School of Management

Clare Sammells
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

William Michael Schmidli
Department of History

Matthew Slater
Department of Philosophy

Ryan Snyder
Department of Chemical Engineering

Kristine Trego
Department of Classics

Jay Vaishnav
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Sinisa Vukelic
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Stephen Wang
Department of Mathematics

Stuart Young
Department of Religion

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