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Faculty Promotions and Tenure Awards are Announced

February 20, 2013

WPI today announced that seven faculty members have been promoted in academic rank; in addition, six faculty members, including five of those who were promoted, have been granted tenure.

"This is a distinguished group of scholars and educators, and it is gratifying to be able to award them tenure and promotion," said WPI President Dennis Berkey. "Through their research and scholarship, and their leadership in their fields, their classrooms, and their communities, they have brought distinction to themselves and the Institute. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend our gratitude and our congratulations."

Christopher Larsen has been promoted to full professor of mathematical sciences. Widely regarded as a leader and innovator in multi-scale mathematical analysis, he studies the evolution of defects in materials, for example, predicting the growth and paths of cracks. In his research, which has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2005, he seeks to formulate and study mathematically and physically reasonable models for these problems. His current NSF grant is titled "Variational Methods for Material Defect Evolution," and he is also a member of an international team working on a project titled "Quasistatic and Dynamic Evolution Problems in Plasticity and Fracture" with a $1.2 million award from the European Research Council. His research has produced 20 peer-reviewed publications, 38 invited conference presentations, and 43 invited seminars. He has been an invited professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine and the University of Paris-Nord and a visiting associate in mechanical engineering at California Institute of Technology. In 2009, he received a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship, given to enable outstanding distinguished academics at overseas universities to spend time at universities in the United Kingdom. Larsen earned a BS in physics, an MS in applied mathematics, and a PhD in mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University and a JD at the University of Maryland.

Fabienne Miller has been promoted to associate professor in the School of Business and granted tenure. Miller worked in the corporate world as a certified public accountant and controller for 10 years and was an instructor at Montana State University before joining the WPI faculty in 2007. Her research focuses on accounting theory, optimization, and assessment of best practices. Her efforts to enhance WPI's course offerings in accounting won her the Bea Sanders/American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Innovation in Teaching Award in 2009. She holds an MS in management from the Ecole de Management de Lyon in France, an MS in accounting from Montana State University, and a PhD in accounting from Michigan State University.

Marsha Rolle has been promoted to associate professor of biomedical engineering and granted tenure. In her research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, she collaborates with colleagues at WPI and the University of Massachusetts Medical School to design, fabricate, culture, and analyze cell-based engineered vascular tissue, with a particular interest in synthesizing artificial blood vessels with mechanical and physiological properties that mimic natural vessels. Her work, funded by more than $600,000 from the National Institutes of Health, has resulted in 15 peer-reviewed publications and two pending patents. In 2012, she delivered the Young Innovators in Biomedical Engineering Lecture at Georgia Institute of Technology, received the Sigma Xi Junior Faculty Researcher Award at WPI, and was honored with the WPI Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Academic Advising. She earned a BS in biochemistry from Brown University and a PhD in bioengineering from the University of Washington. Prior to joining WPI, she spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle and a year as a senior fellow in the department of pathology at the University of Washington, where she received an American Heart Association Young Investigator Award.

Jeanine Skorinko has been promoted to associate professor of psychology and granted tenure. Skorinko, a social psychologist whose research explores how factors in the social environment influence decisions and interpersonal interactions, is director of the Social Psychology Inquiry Lab. In her research she investigates how external and internal influences (social tuning, stereotypes and stigmas, the ability to perspective take, and cultural orientation) affect attitudes, decisions, and interactions. In 2012 she received WPI's Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education in recognition of her innovative pedagogical approaches to psychology instruction at WPI. Skorinko is president elect of the New England Psychological Association (NEPA) and was a member of the steering committee that planned NEPA's 2012 annual meeting, which was held at WPI. She holds an AA in psychology from Bard College at Simon's Rock, a BA in psychology and anthropology from Rice University, and an MA and a PhD in social psychology from the University of Virginia.

Mingjiang Tao has been promoted to associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and granted tenure. Tao's research advances interdisciplinary aspects of highway infrastructure engineering, with the overarching goal of furthering the state of the art in sustainable highway infrastructure engineering. He is currently working to develop more durable and sustainable asphalt concrete. His work, funded by more than $450,000 in awards from industry and government agencies, has produced 11 peer-reviewed publications. He earned a BS in civil and hydraulic engineering at Fuzhou University and an MS in geotechnical engineering at Tongji University, both in the People’s Republic of China, and a PhD in geotechnical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He spent four years as a research associate at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center before coming to WPI.

Burt Tilley, associate professor of mathematical sciences and mechanical engineering, has been granted tenure. He joined the WPI faculty as associate professor in 2009. He had previously been a professor of mathematics at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, a faculty member at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, an NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Ecole Polytechnique in France, and a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University. He has 25 peer-reviewed journal articles in the areas of free-boundary problems in fluid mechanics, microwave heating of laminates and in chemical processing, electrohydrodynamics problems in industry and insoil-remediation applications. His research in applied mathematics has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Schlumberger-Doll Research, and other organizations. In recent work, he has explored heat transfer properties in patterned liquid-cooled electronics, geothermal energy harnessing systems, and interfacial pattern formation on thin fluid films and sheets. He has collaborated extensively with industry, including helping to organize the Mathematical Problems in Industry Workshops at WPI. He holds a BA in modern languages and a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Lowell, and a PhD in applied mathematics from Northwestern University.

Bengisu Tulu has been promoted to associate professor in the School of Business and granted tenure. Her research in management information systems (MIS), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Veterans Administration, focuses on the design, development, and implementation of health information technologies and the implications of health information technologies on healthcare organizations and consumers. She is a founding member of WPI's Healthcare Delivery Institute, which brings together WPI faculty members and students in engineering, science, and business to reinvent healthcare delivery and deliver high-quality medical care for a growing, aging population. Among her current research projects, she is part of a team that, with a $1.2 million NSF award, is developing a smartphone application that will help people with advanced diabetes and foot ulcers better manage their health. Her work has resulted in 15 peer-reviewed journal articles and 44 peer-reviewed conference presentations. She is associate editor of the journal AIS-Health IT. Tulu earned a BS in mathematics and an MS in information systems from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and an MS in management information systems and a PhD in information systems and technology from Claremont Graduate University.

Amy Zeng has been promoted to full professor in the School of Business. She is also director of the School of Business Operations and Industrial Engineering Program and director of the university's China Project Center. In her research, which has been supported by about $700,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the APICS Education and Research Foundation, Zeng has established herself as a leading expert in global supply chain logistics and management. She has published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and more than 30 conference proceedings, and has delivered six keynote or plenary talks at conferences and more than 80 other talks at a wide range of events. In 2007 she won the CIBER International Case Writing Competition Award at the annual meeting of the Production and Operations Management Society. She holds a BS in industrial and management engineering from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in China, an MS in industrial engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a PhD in business administration from the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University.