Faculty Development Leave 2023-24 Awardees
The purpose of Faculty Development Leave is to enable faculty members to engage in study, research, writing, field observation, and similar projects to improve public higher education.
2023-2024 Faculty Development Leave Awardees
Andrea Cote Botero, Department of Creative Writing
Dr. Cote Botero is an associate professor of creative writing and the author of poetry collections such as La ruina que nombro, Puerto Calcinado, Fragile Things and Chinatown 24 hours; along with the books A Nude Photographer: A Biography of Tina Modotti and Blanca Varela or Writing from Solitude. Some of her poems have been translated into English, French, German, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Macedonian, Arabic, Polish, Russian and Greek. Dr. Cote Botero’s leave will provide the opportunity to expand on her current book, Dear Beth, which was inspired by the life of an immigrant woman. Dr. Cote Botero’s project focuses on how the experiences of immigrants can serve as metaphors for a systematic erasure of immigrant workers’ heritage and legacy. She aims to share her work at Hawthornden Writers Residency in Italy. This will be her first book to be published in both Spanish and English, giving her a unique perspective to advise and mentor UTEP students.
Todd A. Curry, Department of Political Science and Public Administration
Dr. Curry is an associate professor of political science with extensive research experience in areas of constitutional law, judicial politics, and research methods, particularly regarding minoritized communities. His development leave will be utilized to manage and assist a national team of research assistants to create a dataset documenting all cases involving Indigenous Peoples in state supreme courts, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, from 1960 through 2020, with the goal of answering under what conditions do U.S. Courts act as colonizing agents rather than protectors of indigenous rights.
Angela Frederick, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Frederick is an associate professor of sociology and a medical sociologist with expertise in disability, race/ethnicity, gender, and social class. Her leave provides the opportunity to complete her book, Disabled Power: People with Disabilities, Winter Storm Uri, and the 2021 Texas Power Crisis. Her research and manuscript will provide a blueprint for how we might reimagine the concepts of vulnerability and resilience to center people with disabilities in disaster research and emergency response.
Maryse D. Jayasuriya, Department of English
Dr. Jayasuriya is a professor of English with a primary area of research in Postcolonial Literature and Theory. Her leave will provide the opportunity to complete a co-authored book project titled A Feminist Literary History of Women’s Writing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland: Re-visioning the Contemporary: 1968-2018 (Volume 4). The book is part of a four-volume monograph series that will provide the first large-scale cohesive feminist literary history of women’s writing in the British Isles. As the narrative companion to the Orlando digital textbase, this project will boldly risk new broad arguments about women’s literature for the twenty-first century.
Marianne Karplus, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Resource Sciences
Dr. Karplus, associate professor, is a seismologist and geophysicist researching the structure and dynamics of the Earth from the lithosphere to the critical zone to glaciers using controlled-source and earthquake seismology. During her leave, Dr. Karplus will focus on developing manuscripts, funding opportunities, and new technical and data processing skills in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and controlled-source seismic imaging methods. Her research will involve traveling with UTEP graduate students to Stanford University, the University of Colorado, and Oregon State University to collaborate with internationally recognized experts focused on seismic imaging, mountain building, and glaciology.
Philip Lavretsky, Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Lavretsky is an associate professor of biological sciences specializing in conservation genomics, evolution, and ecology. Specifically, his team focuses on understanding evolutionary processes and applying this information to direct wildlife conservation. During his leave, Dr. Lavretsky will be developing a new online program that will be jointly offered through UTEP’s Professional and Public Programs (P3) and the UTEP College of Science. Further, he plans to complete developing bioinformatic pipelines to streamline full genome analyses. Finally, Dr. Lavretsky plans to establish several new philanthropic partnerships, as well as complete several outstanding manuscripts and grants.
Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Leyser-Whalen, associate professor, is a medical sociologist focused on health disparities and reproductive justice. The leave program will provide her with the opportunity to complete a first draft of her book tentatively entitled, The Pivot: How Abortion Aid Organizations Adapted to Post-Roe America.
Xiaojin (Aaron) Sun, Department of Economics and Finance
Dr. Sun is an associate professor of economics and finance with a primary area of research in empirical macroeconomics, applied econometrics, and housing economics. During his leave, Dr. Sun will work with researchers from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University to investigate racial prejudice in the housing and mortgage markets. In particular, the project aims to quantify taste-based discrimination with transaction-level housing data.
Melissa Warak, Department of Art
Dr. Warak is an assistant professor of art history and specializes in the relationship of music and sound to art since the 1950s. Additionally, her research interests include the representation of disability/disabled artists, science and technology in modern and contemporary art, art and the environment, and equestrian images. The leave program provides her the opportunity to complete a book manuscript for a research monograph in the field of contemporary art and sound studies. Dr. Warak aims for her book, entitled Sonic Sculpture and the Performative Impulse: Sounding Things Out, to be an open access book.
Elisa Fraser Wilson, Department of Music
Dr. Fraser Wilson is an associate professor of Choral Music and Voice at UTEP and also serves as the Director of Choral Activities, coordinating the ensembles and conducting Area. The leave program will provide her with the opportunity to curate and create publication-ready editions of UTEP's existing catalog of original scores for choir and trombones. The catalog includes original works composed by UTEP faculty, students, alumni, and upcoming composers from Texas and beyond. As part of an invitation to conduct Lux Aeterna by Morten Lauridsen at Carnegie Hall, she will focus on preparing a score for the UTEP Concert Chorale, which will incorporate providing students and participating community singers with professional coaching and mentors. This opportunity represents the first appearance of a UTEP faculty mentor to conduct at Carnegie Hall.
Chuan (River) Xiao, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Xiao is a professor of biochemistry with an expertise in structural biochemistry using X-ray crystallography, and cryo-electron microscopy. The leave program will provide him with the opportunity to learn new emerging technologies at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory and Arizona State University, elevating his area of research in cryo-electron microscopy and opportunities for funding, as well as strengthening partnerships with national experts in the field. Dr. Xiao will learn new knowledge and bring back advanced skills to UTEP, which will provide UTEP students with new engagement options and exposure to state-of-the art techniques.
Kenneth C.C. Yang, Department of Communication
Dr. Yang is a professor of communication with a research focus on how new information-communications technologies (ICTs) have influenced theories and practices of advertising, cross-national advertising, and consumer behavior. Dr. Yang is also the recipient of a 2023 Fulbright-Masaryk University Distinguished Scholar Award that involves teaching and research at Masaryk University (MU) in the Czech Republic. His fellowship and development leave will allow long-term collaboration with faculty at MU, particularly by implementing ACUE-enhanced pedagogy at MU. His research at MU will involve collecting empirical data to monitor students' experiential narratives and learning outcomes. With this experience, Dr. Yang aims to provide UTEP students more opportunities to explore international and new media advertising in East Asia and Central Europe.