College of Arts and Sciences announces three new faculty leaders
East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has announced the appointment of three new department chairs.
Dr. Jefferson “Jeff” Shinpaugh
Dr. Jefferson “Jeff” Shinpaugh, professor of physics and director of the ECU accelerator laboratory, is the next chair of the college’s Department of Physics, effective July 1.
Shinpaugh came to ECU in 1994. He oversaw and supervised a major renovation of the ECU Accelerator Laboratory, funded by the National Science Foundation and the ECU Division of Research and Graduate Studies, and he has been serving as interim chair of physics since July 1, 2015.
“I am honored to be selected as the next chair of the department, and I look forward to serving the department in this role,” said Shinpaugh. “We have great faculty who are committed to their research and are dedicated to teaching and student training at all levels in our BS, MS and PhD programs.”
Shinpaugh’s research interests include biological effects of radiation, radiation damage in materials and particle track structure, material analysis and modification using ion beams, and atomic collision processes. He has received more than $2.6 million in financial support from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy and has conducted experiments at various ion beam facilities in the U.S. and Germany.
As chair of physics, Shinpaugh has several goals for the department.
“One of our primary goals is to continue to expand our research programs in biomedical physics. We expect to strengthen our collaborations with the other science departments and with the medical school, and for our undergraduate programs, we expect to significantly increase the number of physics majors. A physics degree provides many career options, and our graduates have found very successful careers,” said Shinpaugh.
Dr. Alethia Cook
Dr. Alethia Cook, associate professor of political science and director of the security studies program, has been named chair of the Department of Political Science.
“I am very excited to have this opportunity to lead the Department of Political Science,” said Cook. “We have incredibly talented faculty and students who are among the best on campus. I’m looking forward to being in a position to help the department’s faculty and students achieve their goals.”
Coming to ECU in 2007, Cook’s attraction to ECU included her ability to be part of the Security Studies Program. Cook said it was particularly important that she play a role in developing the courses and curriculum for the Master of Science in Security Studies, which admitted its first students in 2010. Under Cook’s direction, the program has experienced continuous growth, including a new BA/BS Security Studies informal concentration created in the spring of 2015.
Cook’s research interests span various aspects of homeland and international security, including Weapons of Mass Destruction, terrorism, pandemic disease and the factors that influence violence in conflicts.
Since coming to ECU, Cook has published three books “Emergency Response to Domestic Terrorism: How Bureaucracies Reacted to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing,” “The United States and Iran: Policy Challenges and Opportunities” and “Drawing a Line in the Water: The Mavi Marmara Incident and Israel’s Naval Blockade of Gaza.” She has two additional works in development.
In her new role as department chair, Cook plans to build on the department’s strengths.
“Building on the department’s existing strengths will be an important factor,” said Cook. “These include a high level of scholarly productivity, strong and positive interaction with our students, interdisciplinary collaboration across campus and a growing Master of Science in Security Studies program. It is important to not lose sight of these areas where we are excelling.”
Dr. Marianne Montgomery
On August 16, associate professor of English Dr. Marianne Montgomery will step into the role of chair for the college’s Department of English. Montgomery came to ECU in 2006, and currently, she is serving as interim chair of the department.
“I’m excited by the opportunity to lead a vibrant, vital department whose work is central to ECU’s mission of student success, public service and regional transformation,” said Montgomery. “English is a big department, so this is a big new job. I am fortunate to have supportive and experienced colleagues in the department and in the college to help me to learn this new role.”
Montgomery, who specializes in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama and is particularly interested in English accounts of cultural encounter, including the work of the college’s namesake,Thomas Harriot.
“My goal is for English to be a department that works constructively with other units in the college and university, attracts lots of students and educates them well, uses its resources wisely to encourage productivity in teaching and research/creative activity, and celebrates individual and collective successes,” said Montgomery. “In the coming year, we will focus on recruiting, workload and our academic program review self-study.”
Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, underscores the importance he places on these three programs as engines of excellence in the college.
“Political science, physics and English are disciplines that are absolutely essential for the success of the College of Arts and Sciences and for our university’s broader mission,” said Downs. “Together, they account for more than 700 of the college’s undergraduate and graduate majors.
“I have great confidence that these three new departmental leaders will work effectively to promote impactful research, provide inspirational teaching and serve our community. I am grateful to have their talents on the Harriot College leadership team.”