This year, six New College of Florida professors were awarded tenure at the February 23 meeting of the Board of Trustees. The professors are:
- Chris Kottke, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics
- Elizabeth Leininger, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology
- Matthew Lepinski, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science
- Fang-Yu Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of Chinese language and culture
- Manuel Lopez Zafra, Ph.D., assistant professor of religion
- Brad Oberle, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology and environmental studies
Kottke studies geometric moduli spaces and topological invariants—especially those involving non-compact and singular spaces—using the analysis of partial differential equations. He specializes in methods of geometric microlocal analysis (pseudodifferential and Fourier integral operators on manifolds), index theory, and analysis on manifolds with corners. He is interested in problems set within the intersection of analysis, geometry and topology, and in problems arising from mathematical physics (particularly gauge and string theory).
Leininger is a neuroethologist who researches how the nervous system functions, develops and evolves to generate the varied animal behaviors present in nature. She uses the courtship calls of African clawed frogs (Xenopus) as a test case to understand the neural correlates of behavioral evolution. Using techniques such as behavioral recordings, electrophysiology and histochemistry, her research program addresses questions such as why some species’ vocal repertoires exhibit extreme sex differences while others do not, and why some species’ vocalizations are more complex than others.
Lepinski is interested in cybersecurity, computer networks and software development. Prior to joining New College, he worked for nine years at BBN Technologies. His work in the industry focused on transitioning security and privacy technologies from academic literature to use in real-world systems. He is active in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the group that develops technical standards for use on the public Internet. His current research focuses on the security of widely deployed Internet protocols and the evolution of the public Internet.
Li offers language courses of various levels, and topical courses on modern Chinese literature and culture. Her current research focuses on self-reflexive writings in contemporary Chinese literature, with a particular interest in the process of fiction writing and its relation to identity construction. Her broader interests include Chinese cinema, Chinese pop culture, linguistic/cultural translation and adaptation, gender politics, and the representation of memory and violence in literature and film.
Lopez Zafra is a scholar of Buddhism with a particular regional focus on Tibet and the Himalayas (Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan). He teaches courses on Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist contemplative systems, Hinduism and Asian religions. He is also interested in the intersection of religion and popular culture, which he writes about in his blog.
Oberle studies the environmental biology of plants and fungi. His research centers on how functional trait variation influences species’ responses to climate change—including their capacity to absorb, store and emit greenhouse gasses. His approach combines lab experiments, field surveys, museum research and statistical models. In collaboration with diverse students, policymakers and other researchers, he aims to elucidate biological principles that improve natural resource management in the local community and beyond.