Working at Liberal Arts Colleges


How is being a tenure track faculty member at liberal arts colleges different from working at Research-1 institutions? What kinds of support do such institutions offer for research and scholarship? Many graduate students and postdocs who are exploring various options for their academic careers seek answers to these and other questions about teaching at liberal arts colleges. At least some liberal arts colleges feel like they are misunderstood--that most people erroneously perceive them to be institutions where the faculty only teach and no longer actively pursue research and scholarship. Even among those who do not hold this view, there are questions about whether and how faculty can balance the demands of being an effective teacher and productive scholar. Join a panel of faculty from liberal arts colleges both here in Illinois and in other parts of the country for a conversation about intellectual, social, and even personal life as a faculty member at these kinds of institutions.


Hank Allen, Professor of Sociology, Wheaton College (PhD Education 1988)

Henry (Hank) Allen is Professor of Sociology and Department Chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wheaton College (IL). Dr. Allen also held faculty positions at Bethel College (MN), Calvin College (MI), the Margaret S. Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester (NY), and the Behavioral Sciences Division at the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY). Throughout his career, Hank has published numerous research articles for the National Education Association about sociology, ethnicity, and academic work. Moreover, he has recently published articles on science and the future of higher education in the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Dr. Allen’s major research interests include the sociology of science (science literacy), social networks, and mathematical sociology. Hank is a member of the International Sociology Association. Faculty Page

Karin Wimbley, Assistant Professor of English, Depauw University (PhD English 2012)

Karin Wimbley's teaching and research interests focus on African American cultural production across aesthetic registers and canons, most especially African American literature, film, and visual culture. The interdisciplinary nature of her scholarship and teaching includes the study of gender and sexuality; performance studies and material culture; American popular culture; critical race theory; and theories on representation, culture, and aesthetics. Faculty Page

Mary James, Dean for Institutional Diversity and AA Knowlton Professor of Physics, Reed College (PhD Stanford Applied Physics, 1988)

Mary James is the Dean for Institutional Diversity and the A. A. Knowlton Professor of Physics at Reed College. Her principal areas of physics research have been in accelerator physics and astrophysics. As Dean, Professor James works across all college constituencies to design and implement practices and procedures to build a diverse faculty, staff, and student body and to create a campus climate in which community members from diverse backgrounds can work, learn, and grow in a supportive and inclusive environment. Professor James has served on and chaired the Committee on Minorities of the American Physical Society. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hampshire College. James received her B.A. in physics from Hampshire College and her Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University. Faculty Page

Maia Bailey, Associate Professor, Providence College (PhD Indiana University Evolution, Ecology & Behavior 2002)

Maia Bailey is an evolutionary biologist interested in how disassortative mating and rare advantage affect plant populations using field, lab, and computer simulation techniques in her research. As a faculty member at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, she has also collaborated with colleagues on research projects concerning conservation genetics of small crustaceans and civic engagement effects on integrative learning. She frequently collaborates in her teaching and has offered or planned courses with faculty from Philosophy, Secondary Education, History, and Studio Art. Faculty Page


Heather Keenleyside, Assistant Professor of English, UChicago (PhD UChicago 2008)

Heather Keenleyside is Associate Professor of English at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests center on eighteenth-century British literature, the history and theory of the novel, intellectual history, and animal studies. She is the author of articles in ELH and Critical Inquiry, as well as Animals and Other People: Literary Forms and Living Beings in the Long Eighteenth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). Faculty Page