CORVALLIS, Ore. – The rapid growth and development of Oregon State University has prompted the need for more classroom instruction and leadership in its labs, and OSU is meeting those needs this year through the hiring of 80 new faculty members from some of the world’s best-known institutions.
The new professors come from such campuses as Harvard, the London School of Economics, Yale, Brown, MIT, Cornell, London’s Imperial College, Stanford, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Minnesota, UCLA, the University of California-Berkeley and the UC system and West Point.
Other new faculty members are from prestigious non-university settings, including NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and more.
OSU leaders say the new hires, which were announced on campus yesterday, are essential for a growing land grant university committed to helping the state meet higher educational goals that many say are critical to Oregon’s future economic success.
“Oregon’s new 40-40-20 law seeks to ensure that 40 percent of the state’s adult population has earned a bachelor’s degree or more, 40 percent at least an associate’s degree, and 20 percent at least a high school diploma,” said Oregon State President Edward J. Ray. “To the degree that OSU and other campuses help achieve those goals, Oregon will be prepared to compete in the global marketplace of tomorrow, with a highly educated workforce supporting this state’s companies and industries.
“Our new faculty will enable OSU to make greater contributions in this area, and further extend OSU’s research and service missions,” Ray added, “and we’re very proud to have them all here.”
In service of those goals, Oregon State is already home to more Oregon freshmen than any other university, and its record enrollments totaling 25,500 for the main campus in Corvallis and OSU-Cascades in Bend trail only Portland State University in overall headcount.
OSU is also home to the lion’s share of Oregon’s “high achievers” – valedictorians, salutatorians and other top performers from state high schools – and is Oregon’s only university to hold the prestigious Carnegie Foundation’s top ranking for the nation’s most successful research universities and its designation for exemplary “community engagement.” The new faculty members come from institutions with similar claims to quality and success, and will make substantial contributions as teachers, researchers and scholars.
The faculty span 10 colleges and are further notable for their international diversity, with some originally from or having been recently employed in Korea, China, India, the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Great Britain, Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Chile, Switzerland, Romania and Puerto Rico. Twenty-five of the hires are women.
Biographical information and photos of each of the new faculty are available online. That background includes information on the following five hires, who are representative of the quality and accomplishment of these academic professionals:
Jennifer Sykes is a 2011 Ph.D. graduate of Harvard University in sociology and social policy. She completed a master's degree in social policy and social work at the University of York in Great Britain. While at Harvard, she received many honors and fellowships including a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. Sykes has published research related to child and family welfare and is examining the impacts of tax policy on parenting. She will be in the School of Public Policy within the College of Liberal Arts.
Jiyao Chen is an assistant professor of innovation management in the College of Business. Prior to OSU, he was a research associate at the Center for Research in Technology and Innovation, Kellogg School of Management. His Ph.D. in technology management was earned at Stevens Institute of Technology. His primary research interests include business innovation, new product development, time-based strategy, and sustainability.
Chad Higgins is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering with research interests in examining water use and dynamics in the environment generally and agricultural systems specifically. Prior to coming to OSU, he was a research associate and lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. He did his undergraduate studies at Cornell University and completed a masters and doctoral degrees in engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Ravi Balasubramanian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is coming off of recent stints as an associate research scientist in engineering at Yale University and postdoctoral researcher in computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. He has also worked at Intel Labs in Seattle on transferring human skills to robotic manipulators. Balasubramanian completed his Ph.D. in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. His research is pursuing natural human-robot interaction with applications for prosthetics using neural signals.
Meghan Freeman recently received a Ph.D. in English from Cornell University; she holds a B.A. from Williams College and has studied abroad at Oxford University. Her teaching and research specialization is in interdisciplinary Victorian literature and culture. She is working on a book-length manuscript on the public institutionalization of aesthetic experience, and has several book chapters forthcoming on how American and British authors contribute to these lively and ongoing debates.