GRADUCon 2018 - First Year as Faculty in Humanities and Social Sciences Panel


We think and talk a lot about the scholarship that goes into obtaining a tenure track professor position. But what does the day-to-day of a first year faculty member actually look like? From administrative roles to committee meetings, and from teaching loads to progress toward tenure — there’s a lot that goes into a “rookie year.” Hear from recent PhD alumni about what they learned and did in their first year as a faculty member. This session will be dedicated specifically to faculty in the humanities and social sciences.


Esra Tasdelen, Assistant Professor of MENA Studies, North Central College (PhD Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations 2014)

Esra Tasdelen received her B.A. degree in Social and Political Sciences at Sabanci University in 2003. She received her M.A. degree in Middle Eastern Studies in 2005 and her Ph.D degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 2014. She is the Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle Eastern & North African Studies and the Coordinator of the Middle Eastern & North African Studies Minor program at North Central College, Naperville, IL.

Chelsea Burns, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, University of Texas at Austin (PhD History and Theory of Music 2016)

Chelsea Burns completed her PhD in the Theory and History of Music at the University of Chicago in 2016, and arrived at Eastman School of Music this fall after spending the 2016–17 academic year as Preceptor of Music at Harvard University. Her research interests include U.S. bluegrass and country musics, and Latin American modernisms. Her dissertation, “Listening for Modern Latin America: Identity and Representation in Concert Music, 1920–1940,” addresses Mexican and Brazilian compositions written during an especially turbulent political period. Through close readings of works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Silvestre Revueltas, and others, Burns argues for multiple contexts and communicative possibilities for these compositions, often in ways that undermine official nationalistic narratives and mandates or reveal composerly ambivalence. In doing so, she contests analytical approaches in which folk tunes and samba rhythms are strictly features of homogenized nationalistic cultures. Burns has presented her research at national conferences of the Society for Music Theory, the Society for American Music, and the Latin American Studies Association. Her research has been supported by an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship, a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, and grants from the Tinker Foundation and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago.

Jeffrey Coleman, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Marquette University (PhD Romance Languages and Literatures 2014)

Dr. Jeffrey K. Coleman is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Marquette University. His research interests include immigration, race and other sociopolitical issues within Contemporary Spanish and Catalan Theatre. He has published essays on this and related topics in Symposium, Estreno, Catalan Review, Journal of Catalan Studies, and others. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Shockwaves: Immigration and its Racial Reverberations on the Contemporary Spanish Stage, which will examine the representation of Spain’s most visible immigrant groups (Latin Americans, North Africans, and Sub-Saharan Africans) in plays dating from 1992-Present.

Chen Yeh, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, Purdue University Northwest (PhD Economics 2017)

Chen Yeh is an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at Purdue University Northwest. His research focuses on firm dynamics. In particular, the importance of firm-level outcomes for the macroeconomy is the central theme of his work. To do so, he uses theoretical insights and empirical tools from the macroeconomic and industrial organization literature. Chen received his PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2017.


John Z. Wee, Assistant Professor of Assyriology, University of Chicago (PhD Yale Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations 2011)

John Wee is a historian of science, medicine, and mathematics in Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman antiquity. He read Assyriology and Classical History at Yale University (Ph.D. with distinction, 2012), where he received the William J. Horwitz Prize, the Samuel K. Bushnell fellowship, and a scholarship for yearlong study at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Arriving at the University of Chicago as Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar (2012–2014), he was subsequently appointed Assistant Professor (2015–) at the Oriental Institute and in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization (NELC) with association in Classics. He is the author of forthcoming monographs on Knowledge and Rhetoric in Medical Commentary and Mesopotamian Commentaries on the Diagnostic Handbook Sa-gig (in press), and is the editor of The Comparable Body: Analogy and Metaphor in Ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greco-Roman Medicine (2017). His articles and essays explore the cultural histories of astronomical and medical ideas, scientific and mathematical language, and scholasticism in ancient commentaries.