A committee voted to grant tenure to four professors and to promote a fifth to full professor Thursday afternoon.
Eric Sargis of anthropology, Udo Schwarz of mechanical engineering, Brian Scassellati of computer science and Ruth Blake of geology and geophysics were all granted tenure at a meeting of the Board of Permanent Officers, composed of full professors in Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Richard Bribiescas of the anthropology department, who was already tenured, was promoted from associate professor to full professor.
“It’s heartening to see so many internal promotions,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller said, praising Yale’s new tenure system, which is currently in a transition phase. “People are starting to come up for promotion earlier than before and everyone will be considered, whereas in the past there were not necessarily resources sufficient for them to be considered.”
Sargis and Bribiescas, who are both members of the anthropology department, were called “innovative teachers” in an e-mail from anthropology chair William Kelly on Thursday.
Sargis has researched the structural relationship between tree shrews and humans, as well as the evolutionary morphology of certain species of monkeys and marsupials. He is an associate curator of mammalogy at the Peabody Museum of Natural History and received his doctorate from the City University of New York.
Bribiescas is interested in human evolutionary physiology, particularly males and male hormones, and runs a reproductive ecology laboratory affiliated with the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies. The Harvard University Press will soon be publishing his book, “Mammals: The Evolution and Life History of the Human Male.”
“Macho makes you sick,” Miller described one faculty member as saying during the committee’s meeting, encapsulating Bribiescas’ findings on the health effects of testosterone.
In computer science, Scassellati is “the robot guy,” Miller said. Known as “Scaz” to his colleagues, he created a robot with the intelligence of a 6-month old infant, intended to interact with autistic children . His research uses robots and computational methods to evaluate models of social skills acquisition by infants.
Schwarz, who researches the nano-scale properties of surfaces, said because the tenure process lasts for over a year, his appointment today put him at ease.
“You feel a great relief that your hard work over all the years (and it is a lot of hard work!) paid off,” Schwarz wrote in an e-mail.
Schwarz received his doctorate from the University in Basel and previously was a visiting senior scientist at the University of California, Berkeley.
Geology and geophysics professor Ruth Blake examines phosphorus and phosphates as indicators of life.
“She was one of the people to demonstrate that there is not and was not life on Mars,” Miller said.
At the committee’s last meeting on March 4, members voted to grant tenure to Jessica Brantley, a professor of English.