Muhlenberg College Announces Faculty Tenure Promotions

Five members of the faculty were promoted and granted tenure by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of President John I. Williams, Jr. and Provost Kathy Harring.

By: Iulia Tibrea '18  Monday, February 26, 2018 01:22 PM

Paul Murphy (music) was awarded tenure and promoted to professor, while Michael Allocca (mathematics and computer science), Jessica Cooperman (religion studies and Jewish studies), Jeffrey Peterson (theatre and dance) and Kammie Takahashi (religion studies and Asian studies) were awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.

Paul Murphy joined Muhlenberg in 2015 as chair of the music department.  He previously served as the chair of music theory, history and composition at SUNY-Fredonia. He received his M.M. and Ph.D. degrees in music theory from the University of Texas in Austin, and his M.M. and B.M. in piano performance from Texas Christian University and the University of New Mexico respectively.

Murphy is lead author of The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills, 3rd ed. (W. W. Norton 2016) and author of the Spanish/English edition General Rules of Accompaniment: José de Torres's Treatise of 1736, (Indiana University Press, 2000). Research interests include Spanish harmonic theories of the Baroque period, music history and pedagogy, early twentieth-century music, and somatic practices. He holds the Certificate in Dalcroze eurhythmics, and has a life-long experience as a piano accompanist for ballet and modern dance. Murphy teaches courses in counterpoint, music theory, musical form, Schenkerian analysis, post-tonal analysis, music theory pedagogy, rhythm and gesture, and the modernist period in music.

Allocca earned his B.S. from Fairfield University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. After finishing graduate school, he occupied a visiting position at the University of Scranton, then was an assistant professor at Saint Mary’s College of California. Since coming to Muhlenberg, he has taught a variety of courses, including Codes and Ciphers, Transition to Abstract Mathematics, Calculus I, II, and III, Statistical Analysis and Fundamentals of Mathematics. He has also mentored undergraduate research in APBRMetrics.  

Allocca’s research interests include Homotopy Algebras, Lie Algebra Representation Theory, Braid Theory, and Combinatorics of Genome Rearrangements. He has recently published papers in Discrete Applied Mathematics and the Rocky Mountain Journal of Mathematics.

Cooperman holds a Ph.D. in Modern Jewish History from New York University (NYU). She has also earned two Master’s degrees from NYU, one in Hebrew and Judaic Studies with a concentration on Modern Jewish History, as well as in Modern European History. Her research interests include American Judaism, Religion in the United States, Modern Jewish History, World War I as well as other related topics.

Courses she’s taught include Religion in America; The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews; Jewish Experience in a Secular Age: A History of Jews in Modern Europe; American Jewish Life and Culture, Jewish Women’s History; Jews and Money: Economics and Modern Jewish Life; and first-year seminars 1917: The Year that Changed the World and Fashioning Identity.

Peterson earned his M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has performed with JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski, Stephan Koplowitz, Clare Byrne, Edisa Weeks, The Minnesota Opera, and The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, among others. Peterson's choreography has been commissioned by Dance New Amsterdam's In The Company of Men and Movement Research at Judson Church, and has appeared in the DanceNOW/NYC festival at Joe's Pub and Joyce SOHO. His creative and pedagogical research casts a wide net, exploring modern, jazz, colorguard and theatre through a personal application of Laban Movement Analysis.

At Muhlenberg, courses Peterson has taught include Modern Dance, Jazz Dance, Dance Composition, Dance Technique and Performance and a first-year seminar on Competition and American Culture.

Takahashi received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist Studies from University of Virginia and her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College. Her research interests include Mahayoga tantra, esoteric Shugendo (Tohoku, Japan), Kankiten imagery and mountain cults, as well as the Dunhuang esoteric manuscripts.

Takahashi has served as the director of the Asian Studies department at Muhlenberg since 2015 and courses taught include Buddhist Traditions; Death and Desire in Tibetan Buddhism; Ecology and Religion in Japan; Gender and Sexuality in Buddhism; and Journey to the West: Transnational Asian Media and Religion.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. The College is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.