This is the time of year when faculty who applied last Fall for promotions are notified of the decision of the Office of Academic Affairs. We’re therefore quite pleased to announce that Dr. Merinda Simmons and Dr. Nathan Loewen have each been promoted — Dr. Simmons to the rank of Professor (sometimes called Full Professor) and Dr. Loewen to the rank of Associate Professor. In addition, Dr. Loewen was awarded tenure.
Professor Simmons, who earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of Alabama (in 2009), has been our inaugural Graduate Director, having helped lead the Department in the planning stages for our M.A. degree (now entering its 4th year). She works across a wide variety of areas, both in her undergraduate and graduate teaching and in her research: from gender studies, queer theory, southern studies, and method and theory in the study of religion, to postcolonial studies, Afro-Caribbean and African American literature and theory, as well as studies in migration and diaspora. She has authored and/or edited four books and is currently working on the manuscript to a new monograph, Sourcing Slave Religion: Theorizing Experience in the Archive. With this promotion she has attained the highest rank faculty obtain.
To mark the occasion, Dr. Simmons received a framed original of the cartoon version of herself that was featured on the Department’s blog back in 2014-15 — making a point that she’s often made in classes concerning how rhetorics of antiquity (even on our own campus) function.
Associate Professor Loewen earned his Ph.D. at McGill University (in 2009) and taught at McGill (2005-2009) and then at Vanier College (2009-14), both in Canada, before coming to UA in 2015. His work in the philosophy of religion originally focused on the problem of evil (the topic of his first book, Beyond the Problem of Evil: Derrida and Anglophone Philosophy of Religion) but has now moved more broadly to be concerned with ways to globalize the philosophy of religion. His appointment also entails a significant amount of time dedicated to his role as the College of Arts & Sciences’ Faculty Technology Liaison, assisting the College to promote everything from better teaching in general to the development of better online courses. With this promotion he has also been awarded tenure.
To mark this milestone in his career, Dr. Loewen was also presented with a framed original from the 2014-15 web series which features himself; of note is that, in hindsight, we can now see how his cartoon was basically a prototype for the trading cards that the Department eventually made just last year.
Congratulations to both Merinda and Nathan — these are well-deserved
awards to two hard-working and valuable colleagues.