Introducing new faculty members

The following are among the new faculty members at the University. Others will be introduced periodically in this space.

Ellen Damschen, Ph.D., joined the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. She earned a doctorate in zoology from North Carolina State University and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a National Science Foundation Biological Informatics Postdoctoral Fellow. Damschen’s research centers on how and when space matters for the diversity and composition of communities, especially with the ever-increasing impact of humans on the globe. Her research not only tests ecological theory but also has applied relevance for conservation.

Todd Decker, Ph.D., joins the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor, with a joint appointment in American Culture Studies. Decker earned a master of music degree in harpsichord performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and earned his doctorate in musicology from the University of Michigan in 2007. He was visiting lecturer in musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, during the 2006-07 academic year. Decker’s current research centers on the American musical stage and screen in the 20th century, with a particular interest in interracial performance. He is working on a book connecting Fred Astaire, popular song, musical film and jazz from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Clarissa Rile Hayward, Ph.D., joins the Department of Political Science in Arts & Sciences as associate professor. A political theorist, Hayward’s research and teaching focus on political theories of power, justice, identity and democracy. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University and a doctorate from Yale University. Before joining WUSTL, she was associate professor of political science at Ohio State University. Hayward’s publications include “De-Facing Power” (Cambridge University Press, 2000), as well as articles in various volumes and journals. She is completing a second book that focuses on the ways democratic state actors shape political identities through institutions that racialize and privatize urban space.

Simine Vazire, Ph.D., joins the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. She earned a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 and conducts research on the accuracy of self- and other-perceptions of personality. Her current work examines differences between how people see themselves, how others see them, and how they behave. The overall goal is to understand the limits and function of self-knowledge and how feedback affects self-knowledge and personality. She also is interested in methodological issues involved with measuring behavior, self-reports and peer reports.