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New faculty fellows appointed to the College of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Office

One fellow will serve as special assistant to the dean, one will support community engagement initiatives and the other two will support efforts in faculty mentoring.
students walking on the v.c.u. campus in the fall

Anita Nadal, assistant professor in the School of World Studies, will serve as the new faculty fellow in community engagement. Nadal teaches Spanish in the foreign language program, and has spearheaded many community-focused initiatives, including the La Frontera/The Border Community Program and the Heroes de Color Student Empowerment Program. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment and the 2018 Riese-Melton Award. Anita brings a deep knowledge and passion for working with the local Richmond community.

Ellen Carpenter, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, and Laura Middlebrooks, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of World Studies, will serve as the new faculty fellows in faculty mentoring.

As part of the psychology department, Carpenter's teaching focuses on assessment, engagement and the intersection of technology and cognitive capacity, and her previous research has explored the relationship between physical activity and working memory in older populations. Much of her recent energy has been focused on creating a robust undergraduate teaching assistant program for large undergraduate courses and developing inclusive and equitable learning experiences for students. Carpenter is also committed to faculty development; during the pandemic she organized a virtual book club for faculty members in her discipline across several institutions that explored issues of leadership.

Middlebrooks teaches in the foreign language program in the School of World Studies and has taught linguistics, history of the Spanish language, translation, interpretation and all levels of grammar. She has served as coordinator of both the Spanish-English Translation & Interpretation and Spanish programs, is certified as a Building Inclusive Communities facilitator and serves on the Faculty Senate. Middlebrooks is committed to advocating for term and adjunct faculty members and has implemented many initiatives to assist these groups within the School of World Studies.

Both Carpenter and Middlebrooks bring a passion for mentoring fellow faculty members.

Chris Burdett, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, will serve as special assistant to the dean. Burdett's teaching focuses on international relations, political theory, world politics and international economics. His current research involves post-Cold War security cooperation in Europe, particularly security and defense cooperation in the European Union. Burdett previously served as president of the Faculty Council and co-chaired the committee responsible for revising the honor system at VCU. In addition, Burdett was heavily involved with recruitment and enrollment efforts for the College and served on the COVID working group dedicated to these issues.

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