News

Trustees Approve Promotion to Full Professor for Five Faculty Members

by Davidson College

Vice President for Academic Affairs Clark Ross announced that trustees have approved promotion to the rank of full professor for five faculty members. They are Daniel W. Aldridge, III (History), Mario Belloni (Physics), Vivien E. Dietz (History), Richard R. "Rick" Gay (Education) and Gayle Kaufman (Sociology).

Daniel Aldridge
Daniel Aldridge

Daniel Aldridge was born in Nashville and raised in New York City. He earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State in 1983, then earned a law degree at Northwestern University. He worked for two years as a public defender in Los Angeles before returning to graduate school and earning a Ph.D. in history at Emory University. His dissertation concerned "Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Origins of the UN Organization." Aldridge taught two years at Ursinus College before joining the Davidson faculty in 2000.

He has investigated and taught many aspects of American and African American history. One of his published articles concerned the parallel efforts of the U.S. government and African American civic organizations during the 1940s to give the United Nations the power to regulate and terminate colonialism. He also published articles concerning African American activists' opposition to U.S. entry into World War II. In early 2011 he published his first book, titled Becoming American: The African American Quest for Civil Rights, 1861-1976. He is currently teaching courses in US history since 1877 and African American society and culture since 1877.

Aldridge said he enjoys his Davidson work because of the quality of students, freedom to pursue his academic interests and camaraderie among faculty. In his spare time he enjoys singing rock songs and accompanying himself on piano.

Mario Belloni
Mario Belloni

Mario Belloni received his bachelor's degree in physics and economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and master's and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Connecticut. His thesis research concerned theoretical quantum chromodynamics.

Since coming to Davidson he has taught courses ranging from introductory physics to advanced quantum mechanics. Recently he has taught the department's introductory astronomy course and has been leading the department's effort to growing an observational astronomy program for Davidson students, physics majors, and community members. These efforts have involved the Davidson College Chapter of the Society of Physics Students and reached over 750 participants over the past 18 months.

His research interests in theoretical physics concern the mathematical and computational formulations of quantum mechanics, evolution of wave packets, quasi-probability distributions in phase space, and applications of sum rules in quantum mechanics.

He is also widely recognized for his contributions to physics education. Working with departmental colleague Wolfgang Christian, Belloni has authored seven books on computerized physics education, and has written more than 1,000 computer-based interactive exercises using Physlets© and Open Source Physics. He has been widely honored for these initiatives. In 2009 he received the Hubisz Award from the North Carolina Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers for outstanding service to the section. That year he also received a national Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching from the AAPT for being "well known as an author, public speaker, researcher, workshop leader, motivator of students, award-winning professor, and an innovator in the use of technology for teaching."

Vivien Dietz
Vivien Dietz

Vivien Dietz earned her bachelor's degree from Harvard, and her master's and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton. She came to Davidson in 1990 immediately following her graduate studies, with an appointment in both the history department and Humanities program. She has taught courses in both those areas during her entire Davidson career, and directed the Humanities program for seven years. For two years she held the title of Distinguished Wall Professor of Humanities. In 2006 she received the college's Boswell Family Fellowship, an honor that made possible a research trip to England.

Dietz has also directed Davidson's summer study program in Cambridge, England, since 1991. Now in its 31st year, the program accepts 20 Davidson students every summer for six weeks cultural exploration and studies that can earn participants one Davidson credit in either history or English. For the past two years she also directed the history department's Kendrick Kelly honors program for students interested in original historical research.

Dietz teaches the full scope of British history from the Roman era to the modern day. In addition to survey courses, she teaches on such topics as the history of women and work, Britain's long eighteenth century, Victorian culture, and gender in early modern Europe.

She has published articles in professional journals, generally about British political, economic and social life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Her dissertation led to papers on manufacturers' lobbying, which looked at government regulation and industrial responses, with a special focus on the cotton and distillery industries. Her most recent investigation concerns female-friendly societies, self-help "voluntary associations" that provided a form of insurance to members, protecting them financially from periods of illness-related unemployment. She is currently researching Hannah Humphrey, a notable British publisher who produced the work of the most prominent political cartoonist of the day, James Gillray.

Dietz has the interesting distinction of being married since 1988 to her history department colleague, James B. Duke Professor Jonathan Berkey, whom she met in graduate school. "We've always done this together," she said. "It's nice to have someone who understands one's work!" Dietz also appreciates working at Davidson for the freedom it affords to teach the subjects that impassion her, and to guide student researchers toward becoming historians in their own right.

Rick Gay
Rick Gay

Rick Gay received his bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Richmond, and his doctorate from UNC Greensboro. He specialized in English literature of the Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration and Eighteenth-Century periods. Gay taught English for 12 years in Virginia public schools, then joined the Chowan College English faculty for eight years. He was involved there in founding a teacher education program. That experience, plus credentials as a college-level professor and first-hand experience in public school classrooms made Gay a good fit for Davidson. He was hired and began his tenure here in 1999.

Gay occasionally teaches a course in the English department, and has taught Humanities. But he serves as chair of the education department and primarily teaches courses in that area, including the history of educational theory and schools and society. This year the department enrolls 14 students who are seeking to earn a teaching certificate, or otherwise prepare to enter education in a variety of capacities.

Gay's current academic interest is multicultural education, and he has recently published an article titled "New dimensions for the multicultural education course" in the journal of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher Education. He is also currently involved in studying educational periodicals from the 1920s.

Gay enjoys working with students in the complex and important field of public education. He said, "The thing I like most about Davidson is working with students who'll become leaders in their communities, and teaching them to look at education issues with a critical eye."

Gayle Kaufman
Gayle Kaufman

Gayle Kaufman earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. from Brown. Her longstanding academic interest in men's family issues developed through her studies of demography and fertility, and culminated in a dissertation on "Men's fertility intentions and family formation strategies in the U.S." Kaufman joined the Davidson faculty in 1999, has served as department chair since 2006, and teaches courses in gender and society, American families, gender, race and sports, men and masculinity, statistics, and research methods.

She has published more than 25 journal articles, mainly about the issues men face in balancing family and work, not only in America but also in the UK, Sweden and Japan. In 2007 she was a visiting associate at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge. She is currently working on five articles for journals, and under contract to publish her first book, titled Superdads: Fathers Struggles and Strategies for Balancing Work and Family in the 21st Century. It concerns men who have made significant changes in their work lives to balance their family roles.

Kaufman appreciates the balance of her own life afforded by her position at Davidson College. She has the opportunity to teach students in the classroom, conduct her own research, and work with students on their research. Most recently she has been working with Damian White '13 on men's attitudes toward working wives and stay-at-home wives.