President David A. Greene, in consultation with the Committee on Promotion and Tenure and Provost and Dean of Faculty Margaret McFadden, and the approval of the Board of Trustees, has recently promoted six faculty members.

Yuri “Lily” Funahashi, music, has been promoted to associate professor while professors receiving a promotion to full professor include James Behuniak, philosophy; Walter Hatch, government; Lydia Moland, philosophy; Philip Nyhus, environmental studies; and Liam O’Brien, statistics.

“Each one of these exceptional faculty members has made unique and important contributions to Colby,” said Provost McFadden. “But what they have in common is that they are dedicated and transformative teachers and advisors, innovative and widely admired creative and scholarly researchers, and generous and effective leaders of the campus community. I so admire what they have accomplished and am so grateful for all that they bring to the College.”

James Behuniak

A scholar of both Chinese and American philosophy, Jim Behuniak has established an international reputation as a leader in the field of comparative philosophy. His record of scholarship includes the production of a two-volume set of books (over 800 pages) comparing the philosophy of John Dewey with Daoist and with Confucian thoughts; an edited anthology; and 15 journal articles and book chapters, all published in top venues. Behuniak’s work is widely cited in the field, and others see him as a leading defender and interpreter of Chinese philosophy and as “a bridge-builder between China and the rest of the world.” Winner of the 2011 Charles Bassett Teaching Award, Behuniak is said by students to teach challenging philosophical concepts with clarity and rigor. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, and a B.A. from the University of Southern Maine.  

Yuri “Lily” Funahashi

Pianist Yuri “Lily” Funahashi expresses her scholarship as a performer. A generous and collaborative artist, she appears frequently in chamber music performances while also offering solo recitals and performing in concertos. Funahashi participates in performances at Colby, at prestigious regional chamber music series and festivals, with nationally recognized groups like the Cassatt and Daedalus String Quartets, and at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York. With a reputation for creative and imaginative performances, she tackles difficult contemporary repertoires and new works by women and under-represented composers. A caring and supportive educator, she encourages students to achieve excellence not just by mastering technique but by playing beautifully with emotional and intellectual expression. Funahashi holds a D.M.A. from the Juilliard School, an M.M. from the University of Southern California, and a B.M. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.   

Walter Hatch

A well-known and well-regarded scholar of Asian political economy, Walter Hatch has written two books on Japan and recently published a new book, Ghosts in the Neighborhood: How Germany has Overcome a Haunted Past but Japan as Has Not, explaining why Germany has had more success than Japan in reconciling with World War II enemies. Scholars herald the book as a major achievement that will have a significant impact on the field. Hatch has also published six articles and book chapters, along with numerous opinion pieces in prominent journals, all of which show original, innovative work. A mentor and sought-after advisor to Colby students, he oversees a large number of student research projects, and while director of Colby’s Oak Institute for Human Rights, he engaged students in the critical work of the institute. Hatch earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a B.A. from Macalester College.

Lydia Moland

Since receiving tenure, philosopher Lydia Moland has deepened her work as a leading Hegel scholar, publishing a new book on Hegel’s aesthetics, an edited volume, one article, seven book chapters, and several pieces that have appeared in the popular media. Additionally, she has a contract for a book on an entirely new topic: a study of the work of American abolitionist Lydia Maria Child. Major research grants in support of her work have come from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, prestigious awards that indicate the high quality of her scholarship, her intellectual range and flexibility, and the important contributions to her field. Students describe her courses as meticulously organized, stimulating, and rigorous while praising her captivating lectures infused with gentle humor. Moland earned all of her degrees from Boston University: a Ph.D., an M.A., and a B.A.

Philip Nyhus

Philip Nyhus, a conservation biologist who focuses on wildlife conservation and human-wildlife interactions, is a productive scholar, generating a body of work that is highly interdisciplinary and that combines social and natural science methods to solve complex environmental problems. A series of books on endangered species conservation that he edited are high profile and widely seen as valuable to scholars and practitioners alike. Well-known and widely read, Nyhus collaborates broadly, working with international and student coauthors to produce work that is timely, up to date, and influential. His expertise is frequently sought by national media outlets and conservation organizations. Colby students gain valuable experience working with Nyhus on cutting-edge, real-world topics in environmental policy or engaging with him on their research projects, rising to meet his high expectations. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a B.A. from St. Olaf College.

Liam O’Brien

An applied statistician, Liam O’Brien’s scholarly work involves collaboration with professionals in the health sciences, providing guidance on research design, data collection, and data analysis. Much of his work involves long-term collaborations that regularly generate new problems and lead to new publications, including in the development of groundbreaking treatment for opioid-addicted pregnant women. He has published 22 papers in the last 10 years, a rate of productivity comparable to faculty at research universities. O’Brien has become an essential contributor to biomedical and public health research that is having a real impact in improving patients’ lives. At Colby, he has been instrumental in developing the McVey Data Science Initiative, which he will assume the leadership of in the next academic year. With kindness and patience, he helps students succeed in statistics, and he creates a welcoming space for young women and students from under-represented groups. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and a B.Sc. from the Colorado School of Mines.