Press Release: Graduate Center Adds Seven Scholars to Faculty Roster

The CUNY Graduate Center has added seven exceptional scholars to its highly regarded doctoral faculty:   Alan Berger, Philosophy; Bruce P. Braun, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Stephen Neale, Philosophy; Bruce Homer, Educational Psychology; Ida Jeltova, Educational Psychology; Jay Verkuilen, Educational Psychology; and Tamara Levitz, Music (beginning Spring ‘08 semester).  The new appointees join an already distinguished faculty: a recent survey of faculty scholarly productivity ranked ten of the Graduate Center’s doctoral programs in the top ten in the country, with nearly half the total programs falling among the top 20.

New faculty profiles:
Alan Berger has been appointed Professor of Philosophy and Director of a new center that will promote the study of the work of Graduate Center Distinguished Professor Saul Kripke, whom many consider the greatest living philosopher. Berger is prominent in his field, and his book Terms and Truth: Reference Direct and Anaphoric has been described as “a major work.” He specializes in the philosophy of language, metaphysics, the philosophy of logic, epistemology, and has strong research interests in the philosophy of mathematics. He has also contributed to and edited a forthcoming collection on Kripke’s work for the Contemporary Philosophy in Focus Series, which will contain the first discussion of much of Kripke’s unpublished works. Berger holds a B.A. from Queens College and a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University. He comes to the Graduate Center from Brandeis University.

Bruce P. Braun
, who is considered one of the leading scholars of human geography, has been appointed Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His work seeks to develop an understanding of the relationship between social and environmental processes or “the politics of nature.” The Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture and Power on Canada’s West Cast, his book about the social struggles over the use of the rainforests in British Columbia, received favorable reviews in key journals of geography, political theory, history, and environmental studies. His edited volumes (with co-editors) have become foundational texts in environmental geography. Braun holds a B.A. from the University of Winnipeg, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. He comes to the Graduate Center from the University of Minnesota.

Stephen Neale has been appointed Professor of Philosophy and incumbent of the John H. Kornblith Family Chair in the Philosophy of Science and Values. He is generally acknowledged as one of the best philosophers of his generation in the English-speaking world, and the best working at the interface between philosophy of language and linguistics. Neale is known internationally for producing a large body of scholarship related to descriptions, pronouns, quantification, and demonstratives, and his two books Descriptions and Facing Facts, have both been tremendously influential. He has served as an advisor to the Department of Justice on linguistic, logical, and philosophical issues, particularly in connection with Internet filtering technology. Neale holds a B.A. from University College London, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He comes to the Graduate Center from Rutgers University.

Bruce Homer has been appointed Associate Professor of Educational Psychology. He joins the Graduate Center from NYU. Homer’s research (which has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute for Educational Sciences) focuses on how children learn to use the cultural tools that store and transmit knowledge; these tools include language, literacy, and information technologies. He studies how the acquisition of these tools transforms cognitive and developmental processes, particularly the formation of representations. His work entails three lines of research – language and literacy, theory of mind, and computer-based learning. Homer has published an edited book, The Development of Social Cognition and Communication, as well as articles and book chapters. He holds a B.Sc. from Dalhousie University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Ida Jeltova has been appointed Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology. A productive researcher and skilled clinician, Jeltova contributed to a five-year project funded through the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented that examined the use of dynamic instruction and assessment methods in the elementary school classroom. Her most recent paper, about risky health behavior in adolescent girls who are recent immigrants from the Soviet Union, was published in the top journal in the field of school psychology. Jeltova comes to the Graduate Center from the doctoral program in school psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She holds a B.S. from St.
Petersburg State University in Russia, an M.A. from Queens College, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center.
Jay Verkuilen has been appointed Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology. He comes to the Graduate Center from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Verkuilen’s work combines an interest in important psychological issues with a strong background in theoretical statistics and computer programming. He has applied statistical methodology to important data analysis problems in educational psychology, psychology, and the social sciences. In psychometrics, he has done innovative work in the development of new statistical models for analyzing psychological test data and paired comparison data. He has also studied important generalizations of Item Response Theory, the statistical model that underlies the current use of computer adaptive tests. Verkuilen holds A.B., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tamara Levitz has been appointed Professor of Music, effective February 1. A highly regarded scholar who specializes in musical modernism in Europe and the Americas, Levitz has taught and published on the Weimar Republic, American experimentalism, Cuban modernism, avant-garde music after 1945, modern dance, Stravinsky, John Cage, Kurt Weill, and popular music of the 1960s. Her interests in gender, race, and identity embrace what has come to be known as “the new musicology,” and much of her current work crosses into ethnomusicology. She is a dedicated researcher, known for producing scholarship of great depth and breadth. Levitz holds a B.Mus. from McGill University, an M.A. from Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin, and a Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music. She comes to the Graduate Center from the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.  Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2007

Category: Press Room