The Faculty-Student Mentoring Program connects senior faculty in a variety of departments across the Arts and Sciences with junior and senior undergraduate students in Columbia College and the School of General Studies. Created at the request of the students themselves, this program aims to foster personal relationships between scholars and students outside of their traditional academic roles. The faculty mentor is not an academic advisor, tutor, or letter-writer; they are an experienced ally who can provide personal and individual guidance and support on academic, professional, and social issues, helping their mentees not only achieve but also identify or clarify their goals.
As a pilot program, both mentors and mentees will be contacted at the end of the fall 2017 semester and asked to provide feedback on the program, to benefit future participants.
Registration for the program is currently closed, but check back for updates on how to register at the start of the semester, or email Jessica Lilien with questions.
If you are a faculty member in the Arts and Sciences and would like to be a mentor, contact Jessica Lilien.
This program is a joint project of the Columbia College Student Council, the General Studies Student Council, and the Office of the Executive Vice President of Arts & Sciences.
Expectations, Responsibilities, and Guidelines
The list of faculty mentors is available below. The registration form will ask ask you to choose one mentor that you would like to work with; please do not register with any faculty member in whose class you are currently enrolled. The faculty welcome mentees from outside their specialty; we strongly encourage you to choose a mentor outside of your department or your field of study.
John Pemberton's research has considered various points of conjuncture between history and anthropology. His earlier work addressed issues informing colonial encounters, translation, ritual practice, and especially the political implications of cultural discourse under colonial and postcolonial conditions, with a particular focus on Indonesia. His work has explored as well the aesthetics and politics of Javanese shadow theater, and its magical practices and circuitries of voice. He has pursued related domains of machineries of the modern, ghosts of technology, and the uncanny effects of living in late-modern times. A continuing concern remains politics and social justice. A continuing interest remains music and matters of sound: echoes of that which lies just beyond language and strangely close to the heart.
Art History and Archaeology
Robert E. Harrist Jr., a native of Texas who got to New York as soon as he could, began his academic career intending to be a musician. When that didn't work out, he turned to art history, first writing an M.A. thesis on Matisse (who remains his favorite artist) and then discovering Chinese art, which he has taught for the past thirty years, publishing books and articles on Chinese painting, calligraphy, gardens, clothing and other topics, and writing also about modern art - Chinese, American, and French - along the way. He is a passionate fan of the New York City Ballet and this fall became a student in an Elementary Latin class at Columbia.
Rafael Yuste is a professor of biological sciences and neuroscience at Columbia University. Yuste is interested in understanding the function and pathology of the cerebral cortex, using calcium imaging and optogenetics to “break the code” and decipher the communication between groups of neurons. Yuste has obtained many awards for his work, including those from the New York City Mayor, the Society for Neuroscience and the National Institutes of Health’s Director. He is a member of Spain’s Royal Academies of Science and Medicine. Yuste also led the researchers who proposed the Brain Activity Map, precursor to the BRAIN initiative, and also proposed the launching of a global BRAIN project and a Commission for Neuroethical Guidelines. He was born in Madrid, where he obtained his medical degree at the Universidad Autónoma. He then joined Sydney Brenner's laboratory in Cambridge, UK. He engaged in Ph.D. study with Larry Katz in Torsten Wiesel’s laboratory at Rockefeller University and was a postdoctoral student of David Tank at Bell Labs. In 2005, he became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Circuits. Since 2014, he has served as director of the Neurotechnology Center at Columbia.
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Paul Anderer’s most recent book is Kurosawa’s Rashomon: A Vanished City, a Lost Brother, and the Voice Inside His Iconic Films. In the fall of 2012, he conducted research at Waseda University as a Tsunoda Fellow; in the spring of 2013, he was a Visiting Scholar at La Sapienza in Rome. In the summer of 2014, he advanced Columbia’s “Global Liberal Arts” Mellon Initiative by teaching a short course (on Akira Kurosawa) at Waseda University. Professor Anderer was educated at Michigan (BA), Chicago (MA), and Yale (PhD), He joined the Columbia faculty in 1980, and has served the University as Chair of EALAC, as Director of the Keene Center, as Acting Dean of the Graduate School, and as Vice Provost for International Relations.
English and Comparative Literature
Eleanor Johnson specializes in late medieval English prose, poetry, and drama; medieval poetics and literary philosophy; law and literature in the Middle Ages; and vernacular theology. Her first book, Practicing Literary Theory in the Late Middle Ages: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve, was published in 2013. Her second book, Staging Contemplation: Participatory Theology in Middle English Prose, Verse, and Drama . Her new research area is on medieval ideas of ecology/environmentalism. Two collections of her poetry, The Dwell and Her Many Feathered Bones were published in 2009 and 2010.
Molly Murray teaches and writes about the non-dramatic literature of early modern England. Her main scholarly interests lie at the intersection of religion, politics, and poetic form; additional interests include autobiography, intellectual history, and the history of criticism. She is the author of a monograph, The Poetics of Conversion in Early Modern Literature: Verse and Change from Donne to Dryden, and is currently at work on a book-length study of literature and imprisonment from Wyatt to Milton.
Jeremy Dauber is a professor of Jewish literature and American studies, and has been at Columbia for almost twenty years. His specialties include Jewish comedy (he wrote a history of it coming out from Norton this fall) and comic books and graphic novels (he’s co-taught Columbia’s first class on the subject for six or seven years now), among other topics. He directed Columbia’s Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies for a decade, is the author of four books, and has written for (among other places) The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. He and his wife have two small children, and so are, quite often, covered in marker and/or reading about Thomas the Tank Engine.
Dorothea von Mücke
Frank A. Guridy teaches in the Department of History and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS). He specializes in sport history, urban history, and the history of the African Diaspora in the Americas. Some of his recent courses include: "Sport and Society in the Americas," "Black New York," and "Columbia 1968." He is the author of the award-winning Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow and is currently at work on two book projects on sport and society in the 20th century United States.
Caterina Pizzigoni specializes in the colonial history of Latin America. Her interests include indigenous populations and the study of sources in Nahuatl (indigenous language of central Mexico), social history, household and material culture, religion, and gender. She is the author of The Life Within. Her current research focuses on household saints in colonial Mexico.
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Jesús R. Velasco has been professor in Spain, France, and the US. He teaches at Columbia in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Law School. He has taught courses and seminars on "The End of the World," "The Inquisition," "Torture," and "Friendship." He writes frequently for Spanish and US newspapers, in addition to his academic publications. He is also a photographer (at least he thinks he is!). Jesus is currently working on two projects: the first is called "Legal Soulscapes," and asks how is that the law became interested in the soul; the second is a photo-literary project on academic and intellectual freedom.
Susan Boynton has been teaching music history at Columbia for 17 years and is a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award. She also taught for three years in the Summer Art and Music Humanities program in Paris. Her area of focus is medieval music (particularly chant, liturgy, monasticism, and troubadour song). Professor Boynton has written two books: Shaping a Monastic Identity: Liturgy and History at the Imperial Abbey of Farfa, 1000-1125 (2006) and Silent Music: Medieval Song and the Construction of History in Eighteenth-Century Spain (2011). She has also coedited five volumes of essays on subjects such as music and childhood in a global perspective, on young singers in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, medieval monasticism, the medieval Bible, and most recently, Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound. She is codirecting a project on medieval musical iconography and digital humanities involving the exchange of graduate students between Columbia and the Sorbonne, and beginning next year will be a coeditor of the medieval art history journal Gesta.
Ana Maria Ochoa Gautier
Ana María Ochoa Gautier came to Columbia University in the fall of 2003, having previously worked as researcher at the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, as director of Music Archives at the Colombian Ministry of Culture, and as a researcher at the Centro Nacional de Investigación y Documentación Musical Carlos Cháves in Mexico. She is currently editor of the Latin American branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) and member of the editorial board of TRANS, the Journal of the Iberian Society for Ethnomusicology (Sociedad Ibérica de Etnomusicología, SIBE). Her research interests lie in traditional Latin American musics and transculturation, music and literature, music and cultural policy and the construction of the popular in Latin America. Her book Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Colombia was a winner of the 2015 Alan Merriam Prize, presented by the Society for Ethnomusicology.
Christia Mercer is the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, general editor of Oxford Philosophical Concepts, and co-editor of Oxford New Histories of Philosophy, a book series devoted to making philosophy more inclusive. Professor Mercer has published widely in the history of philosophy and is presently working on a book that brings to light the important contributions late medieval women made to the development of modern philosophy, Feeling the Way to Truth: Women, Reason, and the Development of Modern Philosophy. Professor Mercer has become increasingly involved in activist causes with special interest in rethinking criminal justice and access to higher education. She was the first senior professor to teach in prison as part of Columbia University’s Justice-in-Education Initiative and publishes regularly on the need to make higher education more widely available and on justice reform. Among other awards, she is the recipient of Guggenheim, ACLS, and Humboldt Fellowships. She has been honored with Columbia’s two most prestigious teaching awards, the 2008 Columbia College Great Teacher Award, and the 2012 Mark van Doren Award, which annually recognizes a professor for “commitment to undergraduate instruction, as well as for humanity, devotion to truth and inspiring leadership.”
Michael Tuts, who joined the Columbia Physics Department faculty in 1983, is an experimental particle physicist who has spent his career studying the fundamental particles and forces that make up our world. He has worked on a number high energy physics experiments at Columbia, Cornell, Fermilab and currently the 3,000-physicist ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The ATLAS and CMS collaborations discovered the Higgs boson in 2012, which in turn led to the awarding of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics to Higgs and Englert for the theoretical prediction of the Higgs boson, which is key to understanding particle physics. Over the years he has been an author on over 1,200 journal publications from these experiments. He is now involved in working on an upgrade to the ATLAS detector, which is expected to operate well into the 2030s. He frequently teaches introductory physics courses and was awarded a Presidential Faculty Teaching Award in 2004. Most recently he has served as the chair of the Physics Department. In his spare time, he enjoys the pleasures of attending opera and theatre performances in the city and speaking to general audiences about particle physics.
Valerie Purdie Greenaway
Shamus Khan is a professor and chair of sociology at Columbia University. He writes on culture, inequality, and elites. He is the author of Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School, The Practice of Research (with Dana Fisher), the forthcoming Exceptional: The Astors, the New York Elite, and the story of American Inequality and Approaches to Ethnography: Modes of Representation and Analysis in Participant Observation. He writes regularly for the popular press, such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Time Magazine, where he serves as a columnist. He co-founded the Underground Food Collective, a James Beard Award winning food and restaurant group in Madison, Wisconsin; he continues to be involved with and cook at these businesses. Before becoming a sociologist, he studied violin performance at conservatory.
David Madigan received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences and a Ph.D. in Statistics, both from Trinity College Dublin. He has previously worked for AT&T Inc., Soliloquy Inc., the University of Washington, Rutgers University, and SkillSoft, Inc. He has over 100 publications in such areas as Bayesian statistics, text mining, Monte Carlo methods, pharmacovigilance and probabilistic graphical models. He is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He recently completed a term as Editor-in-Chief of Statistical Science.