Seven faculty members retiring

The 2016-17 academic year marks the retirement of seven Trinity College faculty members. Please see below for more on these esteemed individuals.

Kathleen Archer, Associate Professor of Biology
Kathleen Archer graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in biology (botany emphasis) from California State University, Fresno. She continued her studies at the University of Oregon, graduating with a Ph.D. in plant physiology and development. Her dissertation research characterized a mutation in tobacco that altered chloroplast development. Following graduate work, she took postdoctoral research positions, first with Maureen Hanson at Cornell University and then with Ken Keegstra at the University of Wisconsin, focusing on the molecular biology of protein import into chloroplasts. She has conducted research in two areas: the first focuses on algal chloroplasts living within the body of the sea slug Elysia crispata, an unusual relationship that allows the sea slug to survive without food as long as it receives light, and the second focuses on biology education, in particular on teaching techniques that are evidence based and on methods to objectively measure successful learning.

Ellison Banks Findly, Scott M. Johnson ’97 Distinguished Professor of Religion
Elli Findly graduated from Wellesley College in 1971 with a B.A. in religion, from Columbia University in 1973 with an M.A. in history of religions, and from Yale University in 1978 with a Ph.D. in Hinduism and Buddhism, specializing in the Rig Veda. She taught at Mount Holyoke College from 1976 to 1978 and was a visiting curator in South Asian art at the Worcester Art Museum from 1978 to 1980; she then joined the Trinity faculty. Her commitment to teaching arises from two sources: a commitment to the material and a commitment to growth in her students. In each class, she is reminded of how important it is to render the materials she is entrusted with as faithfully and honestly as possible. One of the most challenging parts is opening up the richness of the traditions in ways that are accessible and meaningful to the great diversity of students.

Joan Morrison, Professor of Biology
Joan Morrison earned a B.A. from the College of Wooster, an M.S. from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Her research program entails studies of birds living in human-impacted landscapes, particularly birds of prey. Before coming to Trinity, Morrison worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and New Mexico. While at Trinity, her research projects included a study of red-tailed hawks living in Hartford, documenting the structure of avian communities in Hartford ’s urban parks, and continued monitoring of a population of crested caracaras in Florida. Morrison is committed to conservation and environmental education, and during retirement, she plans to continue birdbanding and other educational programs with local students and conservationists. She will also continue her research in Florida and expand that program into Arizona.

Robert F. Peltier IDP’91, M’92, Principal Lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
Robert Peltier earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from Trinity. He received the Dean Arthur H. Hughes Award for Achievement in Teaching. His publications include fiction and nonfiction, and at national and regional conferences, he has presented papers on social class in the classroom and online, community learning, and electronic democracy. He has taught literary studies and Irish literature, as well as courses that introduced students to college-level writing, courses that required research and argument, and courses that asked students to engage with and write about the community beyond Trinity’s borders. He has also taught in many programs that connected Trinity to the surrounding neighborhood and the Greater Hartford area. His students write in multiple genres, including argumentative essays, critical analyses, memoirs, diaries, journals, and graphic texts. The theme that extends through all of his classes is that writing creates knowledge, and that writing and reading make life enjoyable and meaningful.

Livio Pestilli, Director, Trinity College Rome Campus
Livio Pestilli resigned as director of the Trinity College Rome Campus on September 1, 2016, having held that position since the fall of 1979. Equally at home in Italy and in the United States, he holds degrees from St. John Fisher College, the University of Chicago, and the University of Rome. He is an accomplished art historian who has published numerous articles in international journals; a monograph, Paolo de Matteis: Neapolitan Painting and Cultural History in Baroque Europe (Ashgate, 2013); and, more recently, an interdisciplinary book, Picturing the Lame in Italian Art from Antiquity to the Modern Era (Ashgate/Routledge, 2016). He continues to teach one seminar per term: Michelangelo (fall) and Bernini (spring).

Milla Cozart Riggio, James J. Goodwin Professor of English
Milla Riggio earned a B.A. from Southern Methodist University, had a Fulbright grant and taught at the University of Sydney, Australia, and received an A.M. and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has focused since 1995 on Trinidad Carnival and culture and the plays of Shakespeare. She has coordinated world conferences on Carnival and co-organized the international Turning Tides conference (2016). She has coordinated the Trinity in Trinidad global exchange program, is on the boards of Cinestudio and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and has long directed Trinity’s English M.A. program. She has received the Brownell Prize and Trustee Award for Faculty Excellence, as well as awards from the City of Hartford. Among her books are the edited volume Teaching Shakespeare through Performance and several edited or co-edited books on Trinidad Carnival. She also co-edited In Trinidad (2008) and was the lead editor on Festive Devils of the Americas (2015).

(Guanzhong) James Wen, Professor of Economics and International Studies
James Wen graduated from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, with an M.A. and from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D., specializing in development economics, globalization (international trade and finance), and the economies of East Asia, particularly China. He believes in updated and balanced reading materials and textbooks that avail students of different perspectives. In his teaching, mathematics is balanced by an institutional and historical approach. He believes that economics can be learned more effectively if students are challenged to think more deeply and to connect theories with realities. The earlier focus of Wen’s research was on China’s total factor productivity in its agriculture, the Great Leap Famine, and the Needham Puzzle. He devotes his more recent research to revealing why China’s current collective land tenure system and hukou system are constraining China from bridging its deep rural-urban divide into an integrated and equitable society through modernization, urbanization, and globalization.