New Full-Time Faculty Members Join Illinois Tech for New Academic Year


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Illinois Institute of Technology is welcoming 13 new full-time faculty members to the university community for the 2020–21 academic year. These faculty appointments span four colleges at Illinois Tech.

Short biographies of each of the new faculty members are featured below.

College of Computing

Yue Duan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Gladwin Development Chair

Duan joins Illinois Tech from Cornell University, where he was a postdoctoral associate. His research in computer security, mobile devices, and blockchain has the overall goal of making computer systems more secure by combining diverse methods in computer science, including program analysis, deep learning, model checking, and natural language processing. Duan received a Ph.D. computer science from the University of California, Riverside.

Gaowen Liu, Senior Lecturer of Computer Science (spring 2021)

Liu comes from Texas State University, where she was a postdoctoral researcher in the computer science department. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Trento. Liu brings research and teaching expertise in machine learning and computer vision, and has published research on generative adversarial networks, convolutional neural networks, image segmentation, and cross-view image/video generation.

Stefan Muller, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Gladwin Development Chair

Muller comes to Illinois Tech from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow. He also received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon. Muller describes his research goal as making software more reliable, more efficient, and easier to write. His work is mainly in programming language theory and code analysis, but spans a wide range of areas from software systems and parallel computing to computational theory and machine learning.

Kai Shu, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Gladwin Development Chair

Shu joins Illinois Tech from the Data Mining and Machine Learning Lab at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. from Arizona State in 2020. Shu's research is at the cutting edge of machine learning and data-mining work that addresses socially relevant applications, including algorithmic fairness, combatting disinformation and fake news, and social media analytics.

Yan Yan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Gladwin Development Chair (spring 2021)

Yan will join the Illinois Tech faculty from Texas State University, where he was an assistant professor of computer science. He received the 2019 Texas State University Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities, and his research in computer vision, machine learning, and multimedia seeks to solve questions of deep understanding of large-scale video data. He received his master's degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and Ph.D. from the University of Trento in Italy.

Lewis College of Science and Letters

Rakshya Khatiwada, Assistant Professor of Physics

Khatiwada obtained her Ph.D. in physics at Purdue University in 2015, followed by work at the University of Washington and Fermilab. She is a physicist with broad interests who is an expert in quantum-noise-limited superconducting device physics, which has many applications, including in sensors for detection of dark matter and superconducting qubits for quantum computing. Khatiwada’s joint position with Fermilab provides a strong link between Illinois Tech and Fermilab’s new initiatives in quantum computing.

Tim Hobbs, Research Assistant Professor of Physics

Hobbs obtained his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2014, with subsequent work at the University of Washington. As part of the CTEQ collaboration, he has worked at Jefferson Lab in Virginia and at Southern Methodist University. He is a particle theorist with interests in phenomenology of colliders, hadronic physics and nonperturbative QCD, advanced computation, and big data analysis. 

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Jamie Franklin, Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of the Employment Law/Civil Litigation Clinic

Formerly the owner of Franklin Law Firm, where she represented plaintiffs in employment and other matters, Franklin was also a partner at Meites, Mulder, Mollica and Glink, where she specialized in employment discrimination. Franklin—who will represent clients in cases involving employment discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour law, qui tam litigation, class actions, and other complex litigation at the Employment Law/Civil Litigation Clinic—is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School.

John Mulligan, Visiting Assistant Professor in Legal Writing

Prior to joining Chicago-Kent, Mulligan was a training manager in the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts and a research fellow at DePaul University College of Law, where his research and scholarship concentrated primarily on aviation law, public international law, international organizations, and international trade law. Mulligan is a graduate of William & Mary Law School.   

Mary Nagel, Visiting Assistant Professor in Legal Writing

Nagel has lectured throughout the United States on such topics as legal writing in doctrinal classes, academic achievement in lawyering skills, initial introductions to working with the bar, alternative methods of lawyering skills teaching, and moot court teams/competitions. She has taught legal research and writing since 1999, in addition to courses on criminal law, civil procedure, Illinois Civil Procedure, and the federal courts. Additionally, Nagel has taught American legal research and writing in Beijing and Brno, Czech Republic. Prior to full-time teaching, Nagel was an attorney in the private and public sectors, including time spent serving as the chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Labor and as an assistant attorney general for the State of Illinois.

Noah Smith-Drelich, Assistant Professor

Smith-Drelich comes to Chicago-Kent after completing a fellowship at Columbia Law School and a visiting scholar position at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Before entering academia, Smith-Drelich was the staff attorney for the ACLU's North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming affiliate, and he continues to actively pursue civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation; he is currently lead counsel on Thunderhawk v. County of Morton, a putative class-action lawsuit challenging police abuses related to the Standing Rock-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Prior to joining the ACLU, Smith-Drelich worked as an attorney at the litigation boutique Korein Tillery, and as a law clerk to Judge Edmond Chang of the Northern District of Illinois and Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Smith-Drelich is a graduate of Williams College and Stanford Law School, and also holds an M.S. in environment and natural resources from Stanford University.  

Armour College of Engineering

Kenneth T. Christensen, Dean, Armour College of Engineering (starting December 1, 2020)

Christensen comes to Illinois Tech from the University of Notre Dame, where he was the Viola D. Hank Professor and chair of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences. He received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Caltech, and a doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Christensen’s research expertise focuses on experimental fluid mechanics, with an emphasis on flows central to a range of energy, environmental, and geophysical applications.

David J. Lampert, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

Lampert was previously an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering at Oklahoma State University. He received an M.S. in environmental and water resources engineering and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, where his research focused on wastewater treatment and remediation of contaminated sites. Following his graduate studies, Lampert received a fellowship from the Department of Energy to study the impacts of bioenergy on water resources at Argonne National Laboratory, where he later served as a staff scientist studying energy-water nexus issues. He has been awarded grants and contracts for his research exceeding $1 million from sponsors including the Environmental Protection Agency; Department of the Interior; Department of Energy; Department of Agriculture; and other private, local, and state organizations. His research interests include energy and water sustainability, contaminant fate and transport modeling, water and wastewater treatment, life cycle assessment, and water quality modeling.