Program looks to hire new faculty to fill void

The anthropology program, which lost three of its five faculty members within the past six months, is now looking for a full-time faculty member as part of its effort to revise the program. The three faculty members left under different conditions and interviews for a new faculty member, who would start next fall, will begin in the spring, said Miguel Leatham, an assistant professor of anthropology.

“Three people departing within a span of a year was quite a shock,” Leatham said.

Thomas Guderjan, who was the resident archaeologist and co-founded the anthropology major in 2001 with Leatham, resigned under circumstances of denial for tenure from the university, Leatham said. Guderjan was with the program for five years.

Ben Penglase was with TCU for one year and resigned at the end of last semester to work at Loyola University in Chicago doing human rights research.

Grace Bascope, who was the coordinator for the Maya Research Program, a field school that provides real-world experience for excavation in Belize, Mexico, resigned this summer, Leatham said.

“There probably are students who were looking forward to going on either the ethnology or archaeology field school,” Leatham said.

However, he said plans to re-establish the Maya Research Program have not yet been made.

Adam Garwell, a senior anthropology major and president of the anthropology society, said he was sorry to see the professors leave.

“As a senior, I’m bummed out,” Garwell said. “I’m let down that those people left.”

Developing a relationship with the new faculty will be difficult, Garwell said.

“My goal now is to create a community of students with the new professors,” he said.

The anthropology department has already hired two adjunct faculty members and a full-time faculty member this fall.

David Sandell, along with two adjunct professors, was one of three professors hired to teach courses in archaeology, Leatham said.

Sandell was working in Central Mexico on research before he came to TCU.

The adjunct professors will teach courses in classical archaeology, field and research, Southwest archeology and Stone Age archaeology, Leatham said.

He said classical archaeology of Greece and Rome will be offered for the first time this spring.

Though Leatham said students and faculty are sorry faculty members left, he said they expect the program to grow as a prominent program at TCU.

The present full-time faculty, as well as Sandell, Leatham and Lisa Vanderlinden, assistant professor of anthropology, specialize in cultural anthropology, which focuses on human development and its origins.

Once the fourth full-time professor is hired, the program can revise its curriculum to complement the specializations and interests of the faculty in addition to covering basic introductions to anthropology, Vanderlinden said.

Students take classes in four fields: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology and archaeology, Vanderlinden said.

Despite a professor shortage, Leatham said, the program is able to cover all introductory courses and specialized classes because the faculty is academically diverse in their studies, with their focuses covering Latin America, Southwest regions and Europe.

He said the department hopes the fourth professor is someone with a concentration in regional culture in South America, Asia and the Caribbean. They are also looking for a candidate with experience in field research and publications.

Vanderlinden said TCU was one of the last universities of its size to have an anthropology program. Since the major began in 2001, Vanderlinden said, there has been an increase of students in the program every year.

“It’s a real period of growth and building, by changing our curriculum, and adding classes and realigning our focus,” she said.