UW-Madison welcomes new faculty
Alongside the slew of incoming freshmen, another group of new Badgers is making a debut at the university this fall.
The university’s new faculty members may not compare to freshmen in number, but they share their enthusiasm and booming spirit.
“My research is not only about my research, but it’s also a self-discovery for me because studying how wars end is very important for me. I’m from an area of the world that was at one point ravaged by war.”
Katja Favretto, a new assistant professor of political science who grew up in Slovenia
“I’m really excited about the energy that this campus seems to hold,” says new assistant professor of sociology Jenna Nobles. “For me, personally, that serves as an important source of fuel for what I do.”
Nobles, who is one of about 100 new faculty members, recently finished her postdoctoral work at the University of California-Berkeley.
Choosing UW–Madison “was a no-brainer both professionally and personally,” she says. “In this department I’m surrounded by some of the most talented people in my field who are known for their generosity and level of intellectual engagement with each other.”
Both Aydin Bal, a new assistant professor in rehabilitation psychology and special education, and Katja Favretto, a new assistant professor of political science, also pointed to their colleagues as reasons they accepted positions at UW–Madison.
“I’m excited to work with a really intellectually diverse faculty,” says Favretto, who recently finished her doctorate at UCLA. “I just think it’s going to inspire me and my research to be so much better.”
Favretto’s research focuses on how countries that have the power to intervene as mediators or with force use their leverage to end, mitigate or prevent wars.
Favretto, who grew up in Slovenia, once part of Yugoslavia, says her research is not just her job, but also part of who she is.
“My research is not only about my research, but it’s also a self-discovery for me because studying how wars end is very important for me,” she says. “I’m from an area of the world that was at one point ravaged by war.”
Bal, who lived in Turkey until 2001, will also approach his research with a global outlook.
“I’m hoping to bring a little bit more international perspective to my field, special education,” he says.
Bal recently finished his doctorate at Arizona State University. His interdisciplinary research looks at social, cultural and economic factors affecting issues minority students, refugees and immigrants face in U.S. schools.
He looks forward to continuing his research at UW–Madison with a cutting-edge faculty.
“It’s a great school and what I’m trying to do in my field of education requires interdisciplinary collaboration,” he says.
Nobles’ research also spans the globe. Though born and raised in the United States, Nobles focuses her research on how economic development affects families in low- and middle- income countries.
Recently, Nobles has studied Mexico-U.S. migration from the perspective of Mexican households, emphasizing gender roles, family relationships and child development.
She has also investigated how social dynamics have influenced the recovery of Indonesian families from the 2004 tsunami.
When she’s not researching or teaching, Nobles is looking forward to exploring Wisconsin’s great outdoors.
“The city seems to have a rich array of opportunities that I would love to tap into,” she says.
Favretto is also excited about being on the Madison campus.
“It’s got such character and the buildings are older,” she says. “I can really appreciate older, coming from Los Angeles. It’s so important to me to be in a place where its history is actually evident in the architecture.”
Though all three are relocating from warmer climates, they’re all optimistic about the icy months.
“I can handle the winters,” Bal says confidently.
Nobles is actually looking forward to it. She says she and her family are especially excited about the cross-country skiing.
“When there’s extra time, I’d love to get outside,” she says. “Even if it’s cold.”