by Elise Goitia '18
At the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, three professors were awarded tenure for their career success and service to Knox College: Brandon Polite, philosophy; Gabrielle Raley, anthropology and sociology; and Julio Noriega, modern languages. Polite and Raley were promoted to the rank of associate professor. Noriega was promoted to full professor.
In addition, Monica Berlin, creative writing, was promoted to the rank of full professor.
"Please join me in congratulating each of these members of the Knox faculty on this milestone in their careers," said Knox College President Teresa Amott in a letter to the Knox community.
Brandon Polite '03
Polite earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his B.A. from Knox. His teaching focuses on the philosophy of music, philosophy in literature, American philosophy, Greek philosophy, and symbolic logic.
Polite has been active on campus as a member of the First-Year Preceptorial Steering Committee (2012-2016); Religious Studies Program Committee (2012-present); faculty editor of The McNair Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, (2011-2016); and faculty advisor for the Knox College Improv Club (2010-present).
"Professor Polite has the rare ability to make you feel like you are talking with him one-on-one, even when you are in a full class," said a former student. "Having been a student and a TA for Brandon, I have seldom seen a professor as effective at making philosophy accessible and exciting to every kind of student."
Raley earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California-Los Angeles, and her B.A. from Evergreen State College. Her teaching is focused on the sociology of culture, sociology of art, work and occupations, social theory, inequality, and qualitative methods.
Raley helped develop and implement the InterGroup Dialogue curriculum and training, She is also chair of Campus Diversity Committee, faculty mentor for the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, and faculty advisor for student clubs and organizations.
"Gabe's passion for what she teaches is one of the best aspects of taking class with her," said a former student. "She challenges students to look at things through a sociological lens and encourages them to discuss class material beyond the classroom—this knowledge sticks with you long after the course has ended."
Noriega earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his B.A. from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. His teaching interests are in Latin American languages and literatures.
Noriega has served as director of the Knox in Barcelona program and currently serves as Chair of Latin American Studies and on the Curriculum Committee. He recently wrote the book, Poesía Quechua en Bolivia (Quechua poetry in Bolivia), an anthology that features Quechua poetry with Spanish translations.
"What I love most about Professor Noriega is that he has a fervent passion for learning from his students," said a former student. "In the classroom, Julio incorporates student-led presentations into his curriculum in order to highlight different perspectives. He embraces that students want to be creatively challenged, because he approaches teaching with these values in mind every day."
Monica Berlin '95
Berlin earned her M.F.A. from Vermont College, an M.A. from Western Illinois University, and her B.A. from Knox. Her teaching interests include creative writing; poetry; creative nonfiction; fiction; and modern, contemporary, and 21st century American literature.
Her accomplishments as a writer include her recent work, Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live, which will be published in 2018 and is the winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition. She is also the winner of the 2013 New Measure Poetry Prize by Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, for her collaborative collection of poems with Beth Marzoni '04, No Shape Bends the River So Long (2015).
"Monica Berlin is one of the most subtly incisive writing professors I have ever encountered," said a former student. "Her ability to feel the problematics in her students' work and then guide them into verbalizing and understanding them is uncanny. She teaches others to hear and understand the elusive mechanics of writing."