Radcliffe Professorships Help Recruit New Faculty Members

Susan A. Murphy. Photo credit John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationSusan A. Murphy. Photo credit John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Radcliffe Professorships program continues to help bring outstanding faculty members to Harvard. Four new assistant professors and a tenured professor joined the Harvard community as Radcliffe Professors on July 1, 2017, drawn to the University in part by the opportunity to spend time as fellows at the Radcliffe Institute during their first years at Harvard.

Susan A. Murphy joins the Harvard statistics department as a professor of statistics and the Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. A 2013 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Murphy was previously the H. E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of Statistics, a research professor at the Institute for Social Research, and a professor of psychiatry, all at the University of Michigan.

Murphy earned her BS from Louisiana State University and her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on analytic methods to design and evaluate medical treatments that adapt to individuals, including some that use mobile devices to deliver tailored interventions for drug addicts, smokers, and heart disease patients, among others. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the National Academy of Sciences.


Sawako Kaijima, who has been an assistant professor in architecture and sustainable design at the Singapore University of Technology and Design since 2012, joins Harvard’s Graduate School of Design as an assistant professor. She is also a Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute.

Kaijima earned her BA in environmental information from Keio University, in Japan, and her master’s in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was the 2016 recipient of the Singapore Design Award. In her research, she investigates the integration of architectural, structural, and environmental knowledge to create efficient designs.


Durba Mitra was appointed the first full-time faculty member to join Harvard’s Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is an assistant professor of studies of women, gender, and sexuality and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Assistant Professor at Radcliffe. Before she came to Harvard, Mitra was an assistant professor at Fordham University.

Mitra earned her BA from Washington University in St. Louis and her PhD in history from Emory University. She is a historian of modern South Asia and specializes in the history of sexuality, the history of social sciences, and gender and queer studies.


Braxton D. Shelley joins Harvard as an assistant professor in the music department and the Stanley A. Marks and William H. Marks Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. He was the 2016 recipient of the Paul A. Pisk Prize from the American Musicological Society.

Shelley completed a PhD in the history and theory of music and a master of divinity at the University of Chicago. He earned a BA in music and history from Duke University. In his doctoral dissertation, “Sermons in Song: Richard Smallwood, the Vamp, and the Gospel Imagination,” Shelley’s analysis of gospel music braids cognitive theory, ritual theory, and preaching with studies of repetition, form, rhythm, and meter.


Todne Thomas, an anthropologist who specializes in religion, race, and kinship, was named an assistant professor of African American religions at Harvard Divinity School and a Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor at Radcliffe. She comes to Harvard after serving as an assistant professor of religion at the University of Vermont, a position she held from 2013 to 2017. Thomas earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia. Her current book project—based on extensive ethnographic work in Atlanta, Georgia—attempts to show how traditionally African American and more recent Afro-Caribbean immigrant churches appeal to or obscure the interwoven nature of race and kinship to navigate racial discrimination.

With this distinguished group, the number of Radcliffe Professors on the Harvard faculty climbs to 21.

Jennifer L. Roberts Named Arts Advisor

Jennifer L. Roberts is the most recently appointed faculty member at the Radcliffe Institute. She will act as the Institute’s arts advisor during the 2017–2018 academic year and, beginning in 2018–2019, will serve as the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts, working with other faculty members within the Academic Ventures program to plan cross-disciplinary arts events.

Roberts is the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities and a Harvard College Professor. An art historian specializing in British and American art, she is particularly focused on print culture, landscape, material culture, and the history of scientific imagery. She earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her master’s and doctorate from Yale University.

In her most recent book, Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (University of California Press, 2014), Roberts traces the movement of paintings and prints by John Singleton Copley, John James Audubon, and Asher B. Durand through British America and the United States from 1760 to 1860. Choice called the book “seamlessly written, well illustrated, and a model for scholarly inquiry in other periods of history.”

Search Year: 
2017