Nine faculty promotions

May 31, 2016

Congratulations to our nine faculty who were selected for promotions this year! These promotions will go into effect on September 1, 2016.

Dr. Sarah D. Brooks – promotion to Professor
Dr. Brooks’ research focus is to develop a better understanding of how natural and anthropogenic aerosol particles influence aerosol/cloud interactions on local to global scales. Through a combination of field studies and laboratory experiments, she explores how concentration, chemical composition, surface chemical reactions, and shape of aerosols impact cloud formation and properties.

Dr. Ryan C. Ewing – promotion to Associate Professor
Ryan’s research aims to understand the evolution of landscapes and the sedimentary record through physical processes operating at the surface-atmosphere interface of Earth, mars and Titan (a moon of saturn). His current research themes include (1) development of patterns in wind-blown landscapes and the interpretation of these patterns as records of climate, (2) bedform self-organization in the rock record, and (3) the role of wind-blown systems at critical climate transitions in Earth’s history.

Dr. Oliver W. Frauenfeld – promotion to Associate Professor
Dr. Frauefeld’s research includes a broad range of topics in climate variability and climate change. He focuses on surface-atmosphere interactions over both land and the oceans. Some of his other research studies the effects of land cover and land use change on climate across the Tibetan Plateau and China.

Dr. Chris Houser – promotion to Professor
Dr. Houser's general areas of expertise are process geomorphology in coastal and aeolian environments, with a specific focus on the impact of extreme storms on barrier islands and the recovery of barrier islands following storms. His current research projects include the role of boundary conditions in swash zone morphodynamics, wave attenuation through submerged vegetation, geological controls on beach-dune recovery and the evolution of blowouts and parabolic dunes along the coast of Texas. 

Dr. Wendy E. Jepson – promotion to Professor
Dr. Jepson’s research examines the complex political, economic and social production of environmental inequities in low-income rural and peri-urban Mexican-American neighborhoods (colonias) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border.  In this region, the country’s poorest communities face ad-hoc water delivery and inadequate potable water, which threaten environmental well-being and erode prospects for a healthy life. 

Dr. Julie Newman – promotion to Professor
Dr. Newman’s research focuses on structural geology and tectonics. She and her students carry out field, microstructural and experimental studies of crustal and upper mantle rocks to investigate the rheology, or strength and behavior, of the earth’s lithospheric layers. Currently, they are working on ultramafic rocks from mantle massifs in western Washington, New Zealand, and California, as well as low-temperature thrust faults from the foreland of the southern Appalachians. 

Dr. Erik G. Prout – promotion to Associate Professor
Dr. Prout has been with the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M since 2001. His affiliations include the Association of American Geographers, Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Southwestern AAG, and National Council for Geographic Education. He has been an instructor for 10 distinct courses: 43 sections of GEOG 305 Geography of Texas; 21 sections of GEOG 202 Geography of the Global Village, 10 sections of GEOG 450 Field Methods in Geography, 6 sections of GEOG 325 Geography of Europe (also as GEOG 489), 5 sections of GEOG 420 Geography of Terrorism (also as GEOG 489), 4 sections of GEOG 201 Introduction to Human Geography, 3 sections of GEOG 301 Geography of the United States, 3 sections of GEOG 401 Political Geography, 2 sections of INTS 201 Introduction to International Studies, and 2 sections of Freshman Seminars.

Dr. Steven M. Quiring – promotion to Professor
Steven Quiring is a climatologist with research interests in hydroclimatology, climate change, drought monitoring and prediction, and hurricanes. Steven is currently working on an NSF CAREER project entitled "Role of Soil Moisture in Seasonal to Inter-annual Climate Variability in the U.S. Great Plains" (2011-2016). His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Department of Interior South Central Climate Science Center, among others.

Dr. David M. Sparks – promotion to Professor
Dr. Sparks research focuses on mathematical and numerical modeling of dynamic geophysical and geochemical systems, including: Grain-scale dynamics of unconsolidated sediment and fault gouge, discrete element method for modeling granular materials, mantle convection and crustal generation beneath spreading centers, subduction zones, and intraplate volcanoes.