Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

Students head to their classes from Arts Quad as 15 new faces join College of Arts and Sciences faculty this fall semester.

October 2, 2022

A Warm Welcome, Meet the New Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences

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As Cornell’s campus bustles with energy with new faces of freshman and transfer students, the College of Arts and Sciences welcomed 15 new faces to join the faculty this fall.

Prof. Richard T. Clark, government, recently completed his postdoctoral program at Princeton University before coming to Cornell. According to Clark, the University’s collegial environment played a key role in his decision to join. This semester, Clark is teaching a first year writing seminar, GOVT 1101: Power and Politics.

“I decided to come here because it was a really collegial environment, obviously a great school and great students,” Clark said. “So from a research perspective, and a teaching perspective, I really couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Prof. Michell Chresfield, africana studies, previously taught at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Chresfield joined the Cornell faculty after seeing an advertisement for an African-American historian at Cornell.

“It is a university of renown, and so I really thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to come and luckily I had that opportunity,” Chresfield said.

Prof. Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz, performing and media arts, came to Cornell to complete a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Society for the Humanities after finishing his doctoral degree at UC Berkeley. According to Aldape Muñoz, as a first-generation and formerly undocumented scholar, he came to Cornell because of the exciting program and the excellent student body. Aldape Muñoz is teaching PMA 3214: Dance in America: Cultures, Identities, and Fabrication and PMA 4821 The Politics of Movement: Bodies, Space, and Motion this semester.

“I chose to stay here at Cornell, one because…it’s a very exciting program, very interdisciplinary in nature, has a great student body, and the campus here itself has a very thriving community that I enjoy,” Aldape Muñoz said. 

As the new faculty members conduct research on their respective academic disciplines, professors showed enthusiasm to share their work with the Cornell community. 

Prof. Ryan Chahrour, economics, is researching the changes in people’s responses to risks that drive business cycles up and down. Chahrour is teaching ECON 3040 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory this semester.

“Basically, the idea is that when investors or anybody with capital to invest, get nervous, that they are going to change the kinds of projects that they invest in,” Chahrour said. “So if you are worried about the future, then you are going to do less of the risky type of investment, and more of the same type of investment.”

Prof. Joe Lerangis, music, joined as an assistant Professor and the Priscilla E. Browning Director of Choral Music. Lerangis is examining a specific type of Mongolian singing. Lerangis clarifies their research traces how the long-form singing style has made it into modern music. This semester, Lerangis is teaching MUSIC 3602 Chorus and MUSIC 3603 Glee Club.

“My research centers around a specific type of Mongolian singing. It’s not unlike belting. It’s sort of a very guttural sound…I will be spending part of the winter in Mongolia to continue my research there,” Lerangis said.

While engaging with the Cornell community through courses and research, many newly-appointed professors are also writing books. Chresfield has a book ready for publication, tentatively titled “What Lies Between.” 

“[The book examines] four communities of Black, indigenous, and white ancestry in the Eastern US…and their efforts to be recognized as indigenous,” Chresfield said. 

Prof. Carolyn Fornoff, latin american studies, is finishing up her book, “Mexican Culture in the Era of Climate Change.” 

“[The book is an] assessment of how the arts, from literature and film and visual art are responding to issues of climate change and ecological crisis,” Fornoff said.  

Aldape Muñoz is working on a book titled “The Alien Commons: Choreography and Performance Beyond Citizenship.” 

“[The book focuses on the] role of choreography for undocumented queer Afro-Latinx artists who don’t fit into easy category labels,” Aldape Muñoz said. 

Clark just finished his book about how and when international organizations cooperate and compete against each other.

Many professors shared their goals for their future at Cornell. According to Chahrour, he hopes to build relationships with his current and future students. As Chahrour continues his time at Cornell, he aspires to develop new undergraduate classes, such as elective style classes, that would provide students with more opportunities to learn about economics.

“I’m looking forward to developing some undergraduate classes that are new to me and maybe new to the university…So I hope that I have some opportunities to do creative things with that,” Chahrour said.

Aldape Muñoz illustrates how he hopes to start a center where students learn about the study of movement. 

“[I am] trying to move the conversation in thinking about choreography, and its connection to other disciplines,” Aldape Muñoz said. 

Lerangis believes that anyone, regardless of their musical background, should be welcomed to join the musical department. Lerangis voiced their concern that students who have not been previously exposed to any musical instrument before may be discouraged from participating in music opportunities at Cornell. 

“I’m big on community, and I’m big on really making sure that students feel that they have a home,” Lerangis said. “There are the kids who have piano lessons from age negative three, and then there’s everyone else. And, I don’t think that’s right. It should always be more.” 

Each one of these professors has something unique to offer the university. They are eager to contribute their talents and collaborate with other faculty members and students in hopes of brightening Cornell’s future both academically and socially. 

Correction, October 4, 10:45 a.m.: A previous version of this article inaccurately mentioned that Prof. Aldape Muñoz did a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley. Aldape Muñoz completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell in the Society for the Humanities and completed his doctoral studies at UC Berkeley. His book title was inaccurately named “The Alien Commons: Choreography and Performance Beyond Research.” It is titled “The Alien Commons: Choreography and Performance Beyond Citizenship”.