Faculty

Our world-class faculty members are recognized educational leaders with a passion for excellence.

Nancy Gisbrecht Bailey, Ph.D, is a lecturer in vocal studies for the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She also teaches at the Houston Women's Institute and for the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice. Dr. Bailey does pre-performance lectures for the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Houston Grand Opera, has done radio work for Col canto (a vocal performance group in Houston) and the Houston Ballet, and has lectured for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has been with Col canto since its inception and, in addition to speaking at most of their concerts, is program consultant and vice president of the board of directors. She is currently writing Song, Lieder, Mélodies, Canzone: A Discussion of the Literature for Voice and Piano. Dr. Bailey holds an undergraduate degree in music from the University of Redlands in California and an MA and a PhD in musicology from the University of Southern California.

Deborah J. Barrett, Ph.D, is professor of the practice of writing and communication at Rice University, where she teaches graduate courses in academic writing and research and creative writing, and undergraduate courses in leadership communication, negotiations and consulting. She has published articles on literature, communication and leadership topics and serves on the editorial board of several scholarly journals. Her book Leadership Communication, in its fourth edition, is one of the top selling texts in professional communication programs. She has participated in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 2007 and has been admitted to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference four times, three for her creative nonfiction and most recently for her fiction. She is currently writing and publishing creative nonfiction essays under the name Deborah Burch-Lavis and has started a novel. Her recently published personal essay “The Last Christmas” is included in the anthology Shifts (MuseWrite Press), which is a 2015 USA Best Book Awards Finalist. Dr. Barrett holds a BA in English and speech and an MA in English from the University of Houston and a PhD in English from Rice.

Newell D. Boyd, Ph.D, is a semi-retired professor of history whose primary teaching field is Victorian Britain and the British Empire. He has presented papers at academic meetings and been published regularly in a variety of books and scholarly journals in the field of British history. He has recently published historical novels on the lives of John Ruskin and Joseph Chamberlain. He holds a PhD in history from Texas Tech University and has done post-doctoral research at the University of London, Birmingham University, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Boyd has been a fellow at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London and is a member of England's Society of Authors and the Royal Historical Society.

Joseph Campana, Ph.D, is a poet, critic and scholar of Renaissance literature, with essays on Spenser, Shakespeare, Nashe, Defoe, Middleton, poetry and poetics, and the history of sexuality in PMLA, Modern Philology, Shakespeare, Prose Studies and elsewhere. He is the author of "The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity," (Fordham UP, 2012), and two collections of poetry, "The Book of Faces" (Graywolf, 2005) and "Natural Selections" (2012), which received the Iowa Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Slate, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Conjunctions, Colorado Review and many other venues. He has received the Isabel MacCaffrey Essay Prize, the MLA’s Crompton-Noll Award for LGB studies, and grants from the NEA, the HAA and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Current projects include a study of children and sovereignty in the works of Shakespeare entitled "The Child’s Two Bodies," an edited collection (with Scott Maisano) entitled "Renaissance Posthumanism" (forthcoming, Fordham UP) and a collection of poems entitled "The Book of Life." He is the Alan Dugald McKillop Chair and associate professor of English at Rice University. Dr. Campana holds a PhD in English from Cornell University.

G. Daniel Cohen, Ph.D, is an associate professor of Modern European History at Rice University. His research focuses on forced displacement, human rights, and international law in the twentieth century. His recent book, "In War's Wake: Europe's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order" (Oxford University Press, 2011), explores the history of European political refugees after World War II and the rise of international human rights. Dr. Cohen holds a PhD in History from New York University

Terrence Doody, Ph.D., is the author of “Confession and Community in the Novel and Among Other Things: A Description of the Novel.” He has received NEH and Mellon grants as well as several prestigious teaching awards at Rice. He teaches courses in the modernist period, the novel and narrative theory, and contemporary literature, and he is working on a book on the literature of the city. Dr. Doody holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Joshua Eyler, Ph.D, is the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Humanities at Rice University. After receiving his Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut in 2006, Josh moved to a position as Assistant Professor in the English department at Columbus State University in Georgia. Although he was approved for tenure at CSU, his love for teaching and his desire to work with instructors from many different disciplines led him to the field of faculty development and to George Mason University, where he served as an Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence from 2011-2013. In August of 2013, he came to Rice to take the position of Director of the CTE. He has published broadly on medieval literature, and his eclectic research interests include the biological basis of learning, Chaucer, and disability studies. His current projects include the book How Human Beings Learn: A New Paradigm for Teaching in Higher Education, which is under contract with West Virginia University Press.

David Ferris, Ph.D., is associate professor of music in the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His research interests include early 19th-century German Romantic song, musical biography, and the life and works of C. P. E. Bach. His work has been published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Routledge Press, and has appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of Musicology, Music Theory Spectrum, and Music and Letters. In 2004 he spent a semester at the American Academy in Berlin as a Berlin Prize Fellow. Dr. Ferris teaches seminars on the classical style, Mozart, Romantic song, Mendelssohn and Schumann, text and music, and folklorism in 19th-century music, as well as a first-year writing intensive seminar on musical biography. He was a member of the senate working group that created the new Program in Writing and Communication and he now serves as the Shepherd School representative on the Faculty Advisory Board of the program. Ferris holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University.

Matthias Henze, Ph.D, is the Watt J. and Lilly G. Jackson Professor in Biblical Studies and Founding Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University, where he has taught since 1997. His areas of interest are broad and include the Hebrew Bible, Judaism of the Second Temple period, apocalyptic literature, Syriac language and literature, and the Qumran fragments. In particular, he is interested in those early texts that never became part of the Jewish Bible - the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha - and what we can learn when these texts are read side by side with the canonical writings. Dr. Henze has written and edited nine books and currently he is at work on a critical commentary on Second Baruch. Dr. Henze is the 2009 and 2010 recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching and the 2003 Rice University Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

J. Dennis Huston, Ph.D, is professor of English at Rice University where he has taught since 1969. He has won a number of George R. Brown teaching awards, the Nicholas Salgo Teaching Prize and received the 1990 Professor of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation. In 1990, Houston Metropolitan magazine named him one of the Ninety Best Things About Houston. Over the past ten years at Rice he has taught humanities, drama, public speaking and Shakespeare on film, and he is the author of the book "Shakespeare’s Comedies of Play." Dr. Huston holds a PhD from Yale University.

Lawrence Jablecki, Ph.D, is a part-time lecturer in sociology at Rice University, where he teaches courses on criminology, the criminal justice system and the theory and practice of punishment. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where he teaches humanities courses to prison inmates. Dr. Jablecki has written numerous articles in the fields of criminology and philosophy that have been published in professional journals plus articles for most of the major newspapers in Texas. Several of his articles have been reprinted in criminal justice textbooks. Dr. Jablecki was also director of the Brazoria County adult probation department for 18 years. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Manchester University in Manchester, England.

Michael Matson, Ph.D, is a reservoir engineer with Kinder Morgan CO2 in Houston (upstream oil & Gas industry). Dr. Matson was an assistant professor at the University of Houston-Downtown following a Ph.D. focused on nanoscale drug delivery at Rice University & an undergraduate at the U.S. Naval Academy. He loves a great cup of coffee, was a firefighter/EMT for 6 years, and has plans to row across the Atlantic Ocean in a 3-man rowboat in late 2016. He also currently volunteers as coach of the Rice University Rowing Club.

Alma Moon Novotny, Ph.D, has lectured in the department of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University for the last seven years, where she has taught immunobiology, developmental biology, genetics and an interdisciplinary course with the anthropology department. She also serves as an associate at Will Rice College and as the faculty advisor for the Students for Organ Donation Awareness. Prior to coming to Rice, she taught a variety of plant, animal and philosophy of science courses in other Houston-area universities. Dr. Novotny holds a PhD in biological sciences from Purdue University.

Ronald L. Sass, Ph.D, is Harry C. and Olga Keith Wiess Professor Emeritus of Natural Sciences, past chair of ecology and evolutionary biology and co-director of the Center for Education at Rice University. He has been a four-time recipient of the George R. Brown Teaching Award, was named a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor in 1999 and received the Salgo-Noren Distinguished Professor Award and the Rice University Award of Highest Merit. Dr. Sass served as a postdoctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratories, a Guggenheim Fellow at Cambridge University and a National Research Council Senior Fellow with NASA. He holds a Ph.D in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California.

David Schneider, Ph.D, is professor of psychology at Rice University, where he teaches courses in social psychology, the history of psychology, stereotyping and prejudice, and the psychology of beliefs. He was chair of psychology at Rice from 1990-1996. He has taught at Amherst College, Stanford University, Brandeis University, The University of Texas at San Antonio and Indiana University. Dr. Schneider is the author of several books, including "Person Perception," "Introduction to Social Psychology" and "The Psychology of Stereotyping." He holds a PhD in social psychology from Stanford University.

Richard J. Stoll, Ph.D, is professor of political science and associate dean of social sciences at Rice University. He also serves as the chair of the Master of Liberal Studies Faculty Steering Committee. Dr. Stoll is an accomplished scholar of international conflict and has used computer simulation techniques to study such issues as defense spending, arms races and collective security. A member of the Council of the Correlates of War Project, Dr. Stoll recently participated in a ten-university effort funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to collect data on militarized interstate disputes. Along with Devika Subramanian of Rice's computer science department, Dr. Stoll is engaged in an effort to create events data from online news sources and to predict the outbreak of serious international conflict, research that has been supported by the NSF. Dr. Stoll is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the Nicolas Salgo Distinguished Teaching Award and several George R. Brown awards for Superior Teaching. He holds a Ph.D in political science from the University of Michigan.

Julia Smith Wellner, Ph.D, is visiting assistant professor of geosciences and co-director of the Geoscience Learning Center at the University of Houston and holds a research appointment in earth sciences at Rice University. Her primary research interest is in Antarctic glacial history and marine geology, and she has completed six field seasons in offshore Antarctica. She also works in the Gulf of Mexico on projects related to coastal change. Dr. Wellner holds a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D from Rice.