Albion College Welcomes New Faculty: Three Profiles of Incoming Professors

With the end of the academic term in sight, you may be wondering who that new name is on this fall’s class schedule. The Pleiad is here to help.

The college welcomes in new tenure-track faculty in English (American Literature), geology, art, kinesiology, communication studies and political science for Fall 2019. Three of these incoming faculty—Jeffrey Cox (communication studies), Derek Yocum (Kinesiology) and Lauren Brown (English) responded via email to answer a few questions about their move to Albion.

Professor Jeffrey Cox, communication studies

Incoming professor Jeffrey Cox. (Photo via Albion College.)

Evan Rieth: Why Albion?

Jeffrey Cox: Having gone to a small liberal arts school in rural Ohio, I appreciate the kinds of opportunities that there are for students and faculty that often don’t exist at large universities.  I enjoy having smaller discussion-based classes where students feel more comfortable speaking their minds. Liberal arts colleges are focused on the undergraduate experience, which is usually not the case for larger schools with graduate students.  That means students can enjoy the full attention of faculty and get involved in things like research. Another big attraction was the collegiality of the faculty here, especially in the communication studies department. The most important factor for me in looking for jobs was whether I felt like I was a good fit with the people and place.  The faculty at Albion immediately made me feel at home and I’m really looking forward to working with them. It also doesn’t hurt that my favorite brewery in the state, Malleable, is in Albion.

E.R.: What are you most excited about in your move to Albion?

J.C.: Since I’m teaching Communication Research Methods this semester as a visiting assistant professor, I’m excited to continue working with Albion students.  I’ve really enjoyed having students who take part in interactive discussions and who actively work through problems. I like that Albion students engage with the material, ask questions and respond to each other thoughtfully. Having a lively class makes teaching much more enjoyable.  

E.R.: What class are you most excited to teach this fall?

J.C.: This fall I’m teaching two sections of Social Media. I’m really looking forward to this class because it’s a topic that’s so relevant to most people’s lives. Social media is an important part of today’s social environment.  It plays a huge role in individuals’ day-to-day lives as well as in world events. Social media is also constantly changing, so it’s exciting to keep on top of things—both looking backwards and forwards. It’s also a class where I expect to learn a lot from my students and their own use of social media.  

Professor Derek Yocum, Kinesiology

E.R.: Why Albion?

Derek Yocum: I began college at a small liberal arts college in northern Indiana (Huntington University). I appreciated the opportunity to have a robust education covering many areas that otherwise I would not have had to opportunity to explore. Further, I grew up in a very rural/farming community, much smaller than Albion, and was excited for the opportunity to return to a small town after attending two large universities. Finally, the location is an opportunity for my wife and I to be much closer to our families in Indiana.

E.R.: What class are you most excited to teach this fall?

D.Y.: I am excited to teach Introduction to Kinesiology this fall because that means I can get students new to the program excited about different aspects of the field of kinesiology. As a biomechanist, I analyze both pathological and sport-related movement patterns. We can use this information to improve the quality of life for patients with abnormal gait patterns, improve athletic performance, and reduce risk of injury.

I enjoy teaching kinesiology because the students have a wide variety of opportunities for career paths with the degree. Students can become athletic trainers, personal trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physiologists, biomechanists, nurses and doctors/surgeons. Although many of these fields require additional schooling, all can be started with a degree in kinesiology.

E.R.: What are you most excited about in your move to Albion?

D.Y.: For me, being able to identify movements that may lead to musculoskeletal injuries during sporting events and then providing training to aimed at injury prevention is very exciting. Also, using the same motion capture techniques as major motion pictures (think Smaug in The Hobbit) is pretty neat.

Professor Lauren Brown, English

Professor Lauren Brown, incoming English professor. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Brown.)

E.R.: Why Albion?

Lauren Brown: I’m from a very rural small town (a hamlet, actually) in western New York, and I attended a relatively small, rurally-situated undergraduate institution, so Albion has a very home-like feel to me. I loved the intimacy of the community in my hometown and the close relationships I had with fellow students and my professors at the smaller college; these are the elements that larger universities sometimes miss outside of specific departments, so I loved having the chance to return to this kind of an atmosphere. Coming from a larger research university where I don’t often get the chance to have many repeat students or see students at close proximity through different stages of their education, I was very excited by the chance to develop these closer relationships at Albion and to spend more time with students in different courses and contexts across their time here.

E.R.: What are you most excited about in your move to Albion?  

L.B.: There’s a wide range of various things I’m very, very excited about; in fact, ranking them seems tricky. I guess I’ll start with the fact that I really love the chance to teach the specific kinds of courses — classes across 20th and 21st century American literature — that I love. There are so many different avenues to take when teaching this range of literature, and the opportunity to include themes focused on race, ethnicity and other forms of identity is one element I’m particularly looking forward to. There’s a great range of students to work with here, too: from freshman just beginning their college journey; to non-majors who take my classes and add a different element and vibe to discussions; to majors who want to do extended, developed research projects. Really, I’m very excited to get to know the students. On a very different note, Albion has a football team, and because I love football but have never attended a college with a football team, I’m also super psyched to attend games this fall! Beyond these, my mother hails from Detroit, and I have some family pretty close by, so I’m excited to be in a place that has a broader history and connection to my family.

E.R.: What class are you most excited to teach this fall?  

L.B.: I’m pretty torn because they’re such different classes. I think I’ll go with Literature Matters: Dystopian Narratives because the subject matter will be so pertinent to many of our current social, political and environmental issues and thus some of these concepts and even stories are already in our media (Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” on Hulu for example) and are surfacing in our events and cultural consciousness in new ways (like “Handmaid’s Tale”-inspired protests). My sense is that students will have and hopefully share some strong opinions on current events and the narratives themselves and how these kinds of books become so central to political and cultural issues in different contexts and across generations.

About Evan Rieth 20 Articles
Evan Rieth is a mustached milkman. A senior at Albion majoring in Environmental Studies an English, you can find him milking cows, riding horses, and searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful additions! Have they made a commitment to live in Albion city to be near their students?

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