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Faculty tenure and promotions

by Marketing & Communications,

In recognition of their teaching excellence, scholarly or creative accomplishment, and university and community service, 10 faculty members have been approved for tenure and promotion by President Steve Thorsett and the Board of Trustees.

Promoted to associate professor with tenure

Andrew Gilden, College of Law

Gilden headshotGilden teaches property, internet and copyright law as well as trusts and estates. His research focuses on intellectual property and internet law, as well as legal issues concerning free speech, civil rights, gender identity and sexual orientation. Before joining Willamette, Gilden was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer of Law at Stanford University. He worked as an associate in the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP focusing primarily on intellectual property and media litigation. He clerked for the Hon. Cynthia Holcomb Hall of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He graduated with his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and AB from Brown University.

Cayla Skillin-Brauchle, Studio Art

Skillin-Brauchle headshotSkillin-Brauchle is a conceptual artist who exhibits internationally and has been recognized in the art community through multiple competitive artistic residencies, including the prestigious Djerassi artist-in-residence program. In 2019, she was awarded the Lawrence D. Cress Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship, the College of Arts & Sciences’s highest scholarly accolade. During her six years at Willamette, Skillin-Brauchle has taught drawing, new media, installation art, mixed media, and courses in art and public engagement, as well as working with numerous students on independent research and creative projects. Across these experiences, she has earned a reputation for exemplary pedagogy and mentorship. She earned her BA from Beloit College and her MFA from Ohio University.

Jon C. Thompson ’09, Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Thompson headshotBefore earning his MS and PhD at the University of Oregon, Thompson earned a BA in economics from Willamette. Jon's innovative research focuses on economic growth and economic development. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of culture in creating economic outcomes. This research, which has appeared in top-quality journals and is well recognized by the academic community, uses formal economic theory as a basis for econometric empirical analysis, using, for example, rainfall variation as an exogenous variable to test how trust influences economic growth. Some of his specific interests include public policy, market organization and economic development.

Jameson Watts MBA’07, Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Watts headshotA Willamette MBA graduate, Watts also holds a PhD from the University of Arizona and a BS from the University of Colorado. Prior to earning his PhD, Jameson worked in software and digital marketing for 10 years, leading the development of a variety of early stage technology ventures. Some of these ventures were later acquired by Shutterfly Inc., Jive Software and Oracle. Watts was the winner of the ISBM Dissertation Proposal Competition in 2014 and was one of ten doctoral students admitted into the Santa Fe Institute’s Graduate Workshop on Complexity in the Social Sciences. His research interests include marketing strategy, principles of marketing, marketing analytics, new product development, social media marketing, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Promoted to full professor

David Altman, Physics

Altman headshotAltman earned a PhD and BA in physics from Stanford University and the University of Chicago, respectively. A biophysicist, he welcomes students from physics, chemistry, biology and occasionally mathematics into his research lab where the group focuses on studying the myosin family of motors — in particular, Myosin VI — and their ability to create organization in cells. By incorporating work with live cells, synthetic samples and computer simulations, he prepares his students for a range of postgraduate work. In addition to numerous physics courses, Altman recently taught the first-year colloquium course “Knitting Culture.” He has served on the Faculty Council and as department chair.

Haiyan Cheng MBA’21, Computer Science

Cheng headshotThe National Center for Women & Information Technology recently awarded Cheng the Mentoring Award for Undergraduate Research in recognition of her work creating opportunities for undergraduate women to advance in the male-dominated field of computer science. Cheng’s research areas include scientific computing, data assimilation methods and applied data science. She has also published a number of articles on computer science pedagogy. In 2012, she was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for her project “Uncertainty Reduction through Better Nonlinear Particle Filters.” Cheng holds a PhD from Virginia Tech and MS degrees from the University of Windsor, Ontario, and Michigan Technological University. She is currently enrolled in Willamette’s MBA for Professionals program.

Andrew Duncan, Chemistry

Duncan headshotSpecializing in organic chemistry, Duncan has research interests spanning from designing new catalytic reactions that rapidly increase the structural and stereochemical complexity of molecules to chemical modification of polysaccharides as vehicles for targeted drug delivery. He recently published his work in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. He is known for his commitment to innovative pedagogy having completed an overhaul of the two-semester organic lecture and laboratory curriculum, which resulted in another manuscript describing a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in organic chemistry. Duncan led the chemistry department in writing a successful grant for the acquisition of a major new piece of shared scientific instrumentation. Due to his strong teaching, Duncan was asked to serve as an inaugural member of the Teaching and Learning Committee. He has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Middlebury College.

Jonneke Koomen, Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics; Women and Gender Studies

Koomen headshotKoomen's research and teaching sit at the intersection of sociology and politics with a focus on human rights, international justice, transnational feminism and Pan-Africanist studies. She was the recipient of the 2020 Mortar Board Professor of the Year award and is a current Fulbright Fellow, awaiting the opportunity to undertake research in Suriname. Koomen is committed to expanding access to higher education, serving first-generation college students and collaborating with students to decolonize the ways we think and learn about international relations. She has a PhD from the University of Minnesota, and a BA from the University of Warwick, UK.

Scott Nadelson, English

Nadelson headshotThe holder of Willamette’s Hallie Ford Chair in Writing, Nadelson is the author of a novel, a memoir and five volumes of short stories — each of which has been the winner of or a finalist for multiple regional or national awards. He strongly believes that the teaching of creative writing, particularly at the undergraduate level and in a liberal arts context, complements studies in literature. Nadelson was the 2017 winner of the Lawrence D. Cress Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship. He holds a BA from the University of North Carolina, an MA from Oregon State University, and an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Huike Wen, Chinese

Wen headshotWen received her BA and MA in ancient Chinese civilization at Sichuan University, China. She completed a second master’s of Asian language and literature and a PhD in communication studies at the University of Iowa. Wen is a highly-regarded teacher of both Chinese language and Asian media studies. She is the author of two books on television in China as well as multiple articles in both Chinese and English scholarly journals. Much of her recent research focuses on gender and romantic relationships as portrayed in the media. Wen was the 2018 winner of the Lawrence D. Cress Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship.

About Willamette University

Based in Salem, Oregon, Willamette is the premier private university in the Pacific Northwest. Willamette’s beautiful, historic campus — located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and co-located with Tokyo International University of America — features a residential undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences and two professional graduate schools: the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

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