Every academic year, Barnard welcomes faculty members to campus in new appointments that promote the College’s mission of providing a world-class education across the arts and sciences. For the 2021-2022 academic year, experts will join departments from biology to philosophy. Meet the 23 scholars arriving on and returning to campus this fall, below.

Assistant Professors

Alyssa Battistoni, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Alyssa Battistoni

Alyssa Battistoni is a political theorist with research interests in political economy, feminism, environmental and climate politics, Marxist thought, and the history of political thought. Her current book project, Free Gifts: Capitalism and the Politics of Nature, draws on feminist and ecological thought to explore the representation of nature in capitalism. She is the co-author — with Kate Aronoff, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Thea Riofrancos — of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal (Verso, 2019), and her work has appeared in Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, and Nature Climate Change. Battistoni also writes frequently for publications including the Nation, Dissent, Jacobin, n+1, and Boston Review and is on the editorial boards of Jacobin and Dissent. She received her Ph.D. from Yale in 2019 and previously held the position of Environmental Fellow at Harvard University.


Ken Chen, Assistant Professor of English and Associate Director of Creative Writing

Image of an Asian man with shoulder length hair: Ken Chen, Associate Director of Creative Writing

Ken Chen is working on Death Star, a book that follows his journey to the underworld to rescue his father and his encounters there with those destroyed by colonialism. He worked on this hybrid book, which combines poetry, memoir, fantasy, and history, while serving as a 2019-2020 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library. Before Barnard, he was the 2009 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his book Juvenilia, which was selected by the poet Louise Glück. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, he served as the executive director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop from 2008 to 2019. He also co-founded the cultural website Arts & Letters Daily and CultureStrike, a national arts organization dedicated to migrant justice. 


Rebecca Donegan, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Rebecca Donegan

Rebecca Donegan is a biochemist joining the Department of Chemistry. Her research combines biochemistry with microbiology to investigate how bacterial pathogens use the nutrients they scavenge from the host during infection. Before joining Barnard, Donegan completed her postdoctoral training and her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Georgia Tech. She earned her B.S. in chemistry at Middle Tennessee State University. 

Kate Turetsky, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Kate Turetsky


Kate Turetsky is a social psychologist studying group dynamics, intergroup relations, stress, and inequality. Her research examines how racial and gender inequality is perpetuated in social groups, how people (dis)connect across social divides and under stress, and how social-psychological interventions can build connections, promote equity, and improve well-being. She explores these questions using social network analysis, field experiments, and analysis of naturalistic data sources. 

Turetsky received her B.A. in psychology and art from Amherst College, her Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, and her postdoctoral training at Princeton University. Her research has been recognized with fellowships and awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology.


Morgan C. Williams Jr., Assistant Professor of Economics

Morgan C. Williams Jr

Morgan C. Williams Jr. is an economist whose research addresses the economic consequences of crime and incarceration policy as it pertains to U.S. racial inequality. This work entertains questions ranging from the salience of race in homicide and policing to understanding the impact of criminal history disclosure requirements on racial differences in labor market and recidivism outcomes. He is a previous recipient of the NYU Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, NBER Predoctoral Fellowship, MIT Predoctoral Fellowship, and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award. Morgan received his Ph.D. in economics from the CUNY Graduate Center, MPH from Columbia University, and B.A. from Morehouse College.



Jordan Balaban, Lecturer in Biology

Professor Jordan Balaban

Jordan Balaban is a broadly trained comparative physiologist joining the biology department. He uses techniques in muscle physiology and biomechanics to study how daily and seasonal shifts in environmental temperature impact muscle function from the tissue to the organismal level. Balaban earned his B.S. and M.S. in biological sciences at the University of Rhode Island and his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine, where he was a pedagogical fellow. After his postdoctoral training at the University of Leeds in the U.K., Balaban taught at the University of New Mexico, Gallup, before coming to Barnard.


Term Faculty

Erica Drennan, Term Assistant Professor in the Slavic department

Erica Drennan

Erica Drennan is a specialist in 19th-century Russian literature whose research investigates the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in realist fiction. Her dissertation and current book project, Reading and Judging: Russian Literature on Trial, examines public mock trials of literary characters that were performed in the early 20th-century in order to explore how readers reinterpreted and reimagined canonical texts. She was awarded the Robert L. Belknap Dissertation Prize and has been published in the Slavic and East European Journal. She received her Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A., and B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University.  


Monica Cohen, Term Lecturer of First-Year Writing

Monica Cohen

Before teaching for the English Departments at Barnard College and Columbia University, Monica Cohen was an assistant professor of English at the California Institute of Technology, specializing in the 19th-century novel. Her current research interests include Victorian culture, gender studies, book history, media studies, the 19th-century stage, and adaptation theory. 

Cohen has written two books, Professional Domesticity in the Victorian Novel: Women, Work and Home (Cambridge University Press) and Pirating Fictions: Ownership and Creativity in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture (University of Virginia Press). She has published numerous articles in academic journals, including Studies in English Literature, the Journal of Victorian Culture, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Victorian Literature and Culture, Dickens Studies Annual, and Studies in the Novel. She is currently serving as guest editor for a special issue of the Victorian Popular Fictions Journal focused on the radically inclusive cultural markets that inadequate copyright law afforded. In 2009, she won the Tony Hilfer Prize for most outstanding essay to appear in Texas Studies in Language and Literature. From 2013 to 2015, she served as Special Delegate to the MLA, representing women in the profession. 

Francesca Ochoa, Term Associate of First-Year Writing

Francesca Ochoa

Francesca Ochoa is a fiction writer whose work explores the Central American diaspora, multiracial families, gender, and queerness. Her current manuscript delves into the ongoing search for those who were disappeared during the Salvadoran Civil War and examines the role of historical memory in this pursuit. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University and a B.A. in critical gender studies from the University of California, San Diego. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Astraea Foundation.


Natalia Ortiz, Term Assistant Professor of Education

Photo of Dr. Natalia Ortiz

Natalia Ortiz, a mother of two and a Chilena-Riqueña native New Yorker, was educated in the public schools of New York City and brings 14 years of experience as a classroom teacher, racial equity practitioner, organizer, and scholar. Ortiz’s research, scholarship, and teaching focus on anti-racist social justice education. In particular, she studies the ways theater of the oppressed and applied theater techniques can be utilized as a reflective embodied practice in the understanding of race and racism for educators, and looking at the ways it manifests in teacher practice and classroom culture. Natalia received her B.A. in Latin American studies from Wesleyan University, her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her Ph.D. in urban education at The CUNY Graduate Center. 


Randa Serhan, Term Assistant Professor of Sociology

Randa Serhan

Randa Serhan is a political sociologist and ethnographer who studies ethnic minorities, second-generation immigrants, and questions of citizenship. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University. Previously, she was an assistant professor of sociology at American University in Washington, D.C., where she also established and served as director of the Arab World Studies B.A. program. Her forthcoming book, Assimilation Suspended: The Making of Palestinian Americans (under contract with Stanford University Press), is based on longitudinal ethnographic research in metropolitan New York. Her current project is titled Neither Thugs nor Terrorists: Black-Palestinian Solidarity in the United States


Nina Sharma, Term Associate of First-Year Writing

Nina Sharma

Nina Sharma’s work considers connections between comedy and social action. Her writing can be found in journals such as The New Yorker, Electric Literature, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and The Margins. Her essay “Shithole Country Clubs” has been named an Editors’ Pick at Longreads. A Magnet Improvisation Theater Diversity Scholar, Sharma co-founded Not Your Biwi, an all-South Asian American women improv group. For more on the ties between her comedy and essay writing, check out “Getting in Touch with the Absurdity of Our Lives,” her Kenyon Review interview with Rosebud Ben-Oni. Sharma previously served as the programs director at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. With Quincy Scott Jones, adjunct associate professor of First-Year Writing, she co-created Blackshop, a column on allyship between BIPOC people, featured in Anomaly.


Barnard would also like to welcome the following faculty members:

Hal Ackerman, Term Associate of Film
Gabrielle Corradino, Term Lecturer in Biology
Cynthia Lanzas, Term Associate of Physical Education
Almudena Marín Cobos, Lecturer, Spanish and Latin American Cultures
Emily Ng, Term Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures
Alma Mora, Lecturer, Spanish and Latin American Cultures
Sonia Pereira, Term Associate Professor of Economics
Eugene Petracca, Term Assistant Professor of English
Christopher Prodoehl, Term Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Kimberly Springer, Term Associate Professor of American Studies
Stephen Sturley, Term Lecturer in Biology