Women Faculty Members Who Are Taking on New Assignments in Higher Education

Siqi Zheng, the Samuel Tak Lee Professor of Real Estate Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been given the added duties as faculty director of the MIT Center for Real Estate. Professor Zheng’s field of specialization is urban and environmental economics and policy, including environmental sustainability.

Prior to coming to MIT, Dr. Zheng was a professor and the director of the Hang Lung Center for Real Estate at Tsinghua University in China. She is the co-author of Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Cristin Gavin, an assistant professor of neurobiology and psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was appointed assistant dean for undergraduate biomedical programs at the university. She joined the faculty at the university in 2016.

Dr. Gavin is a graduate of  Birmingham-Southern College, where she double majored in biology and philosophy. She received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Kathryn Birkeland, an associate professor of economics and chair of the economics and decision sciences division at the University of South Dakota, was given the added duties of interim associate dean of the Beacom School of Business at the university.

Dr. Birkeland is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Arizona State University.

Charrise M. Barron is a new assistant professor of African studies and music at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Since 2018, she has been a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Religious Studies, Africana Studies, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Dr. Barron holds a master’s degree from Yale Divinity School and earned a Ph.D. in African and African American studies, with a secondary field of study in ethnomusicology, from Harvard University.

Susan Crawford Sullivan was promoted to full professor of sociology and anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. She joined the faculty at the College of the Holy Cross in 2005. Professor Crawford Sullivan’s academic interests include religion, poverty and public policy, family, community-based learning, and Catholic social teaching.

Dr. Crawford Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. She holds a master of public affairs degree from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University.

Sharon A. Simmons was appointed associate professor in the College of Business at Jackson State University in Mississippi. She previously served on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. Her research focuses on how formal and informal institutional contexts shape the venturing activities of experienced entrepreneurs.

Dr. Simmons is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia, where she majored in accounting. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship from Syracuse University in New York.

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