Celebrating 2023 Faculty Promotions
Each year, Whitman College recognizes exemplary efforts of members of the faculty with promotions, tenure-track advancement and endowed positions.
“I am pleased to announce that ten faculty members received well-deserved promotions this year,” says Alzada Tipton, Provost and Dean of the Faculty. “Whitman College is proud of their efforts and dedication to their fields of study and to our students.”
The new titles are in effect as of the start of the 2023–2024 academic year.
Promotion to Professor
Professor of Psychology
Pavel S. Blagov joined Whitman College in 2009. Blagov’s research addresses individual differences in personal memories, the ability of maladaptive traits to predict aspects of everyday life, and, more generally, connections between personality and psychological adjustment.
Blagov earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology & Neuroscience/Neurochemistry from Connecticut College. Licensed to practice psychology in Washington, Blagov has a small private practice that focuses on individual psychotherapy with adults.
Professor and Microsoft Chair of Computer Science
Janet Davis joined Whitman College in 2015 as the college’s founding computer scientist. Davis guided the development of Whitman’s computer science curriculum and teaches a broad range of courses at all levels. In her research, Davis brings together four of her long-standing interests: gender, language, persuasive technology and value sensitive design.
Davis earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Washington, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College.
Professor of Chemistry
Mark Juhasz joined Whitman College in 2009 and teaches courses in Organic Chemistry, Advanced Synthesis Techniques and Physical Organic Chemistry. His research explores molecules built from clusters of boron atoms, known as boranes, and clusters that contain a mix of boron and carbon, known as carboranes.
Juhasz earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from University of California, Riverside, where he worked with carborane anions and the world’s strongest acids as a graduate student. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Wittenberg University.
Professor of German Studies and Philosophy
Julia Ireland ’90 started teaching at Whitman College as a visiting professor, and was hired in a tenure track position in 2008. She specializes in European philosophy, with an emphasis on 19th- and 20th-century German philosophy, comparative literature and Ancient Greek philosophy. She teaches seminars on Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Rilke and architecture, and is also a committed first-year Encounters instructor.
Ireland earned a Ph.D. and Master of Arts degree from DePaul University and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College.
Granted Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Jonathan Collins joined the Chemistry department at Whitman College in 2015. His research team, the Collins Lab, focuses on the development of new biocatalysts and supporting technologies for the efficient preparation of important small molecules. The Collins Lab employs a number of whole-cell-based systems for the production of chiral building blocks used in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of natural products and functionalized organic materials.
Collins earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brock University - St. Catharines and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Allegheny College.
Associate Professor of Statistics
Marina Ptukhina joined Whitman College in 2016. She has been closely involved in the creation of a Math-Stats combined major and a Data Science minor at Whitman. She is interested in statistical modeling, design and analysis of research studies and their applications. Her research includes applications of statistics to economics, biostatistics and statistical education.
Ptukhina earned a Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from Texas Tech University and a Specialist degree in Management from The National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute.” She was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Promotion to Senior Lecturer
Head Men’s Soccer Coach & Senior Lecturer of Sport Studies
Jose Cedeno joined Whitman Athletics in 2015. Since taking over the men’s soccer program, Cedeno’s teams have consistently been near the top of the Northwest Conference standings. In his first year, the squad placed a pair of student-athletes on the all-conference team, and four players earned that distinction in the following year. In 2018, the men’s soccer team were Northwest Conference co-champions, the first time in Whitman program history.
Cedeno holds a United States Soccer Federation “A” license. He earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages (Spanish) from Saint Peter’s College (now Saint Peter’s University).
Head Women’s Volleyball Coach & Senior Lecturer of Sport Studies
Matt Helm joined Whitman Athletics in 2012. During his first season at Whitman College, the volleyball team won eleven out of twelve matches, a seven-win improvement from the previous season. He has mentored multiple players to All-Northwest Conference honors, including two first-team selections in his inaugural season.
As a student, Helm was a star player at the University of La Verne in California, where he was named a captain in his first year. He went on to gain all-conference and Player of the Year Honors, and served one year as an assistant coach. Coaching positions at California’s Baldwin Park and Sierra Vista high schools followed.
Head Men’s Basketball Coach & Senior Lecturer of Sport Studies
John Lamanna joined Whitman Athletics in 2020. In his first full season, the 2021–2022 season, Lamanna guided the men's basketball team to a runner-up finish in the Northwest All-Conference (NWC) Tournament, knocking off top-seeded Linfield in the semifinals. In the following year, Lamanna earned NWC Coach of the Year accolades. Since 2005, Lamanna has served on the coaching staff at the NABC-Reece’s Division I College All-Star Game held annually at the site of the NCAA Final Four games.
Lamanna earned a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Washington State University and a master’s degree in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University.
Named to Endowed Chair
Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History
Brian Dott joined Whitman College in 2002. His passion is studying changes in Chinese cultural practices from 1500 to the present, and he is author of “The Chile Pepper in China: A Cultural Biography” (Columbia University Press, 2020) and “Identity Reflections: Pilgrimages to Mount Tai in Late Imperial China” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2004). He teaches a broad range of classes on the history of China and Eastern Asia.
Dott earned a Ph.D. in History from University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts degree in Asian Studies from University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, French, from University of Minnesota.