Faculty Advisory Committee

Belinda Archibong, Assistant Professor of Economics

Belinda Archibong is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College. Her research areas include development economics, political economy, economic history and environmental economics with an African regional focus. Her research investigates the origins, drivers and effects of inequality of access to public services (particularly infrastructure, education and measures of public health). Some current work includes studying the persistent effects of historical institutions and geography on access to public services in Nigeria. Other research studies the impact of health shocks on the gender gap in human capital investment, and the effects of environmental regulation on pollution levels and associated health.

She is a faculty affiliate at Columbia University's Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP) and The Earth Institute at Columbia University

She joined the Barnard College Economics faculty in 2015 and received a B.A. in Economics/Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from Columbia University. Her CV and further information can also be found on her personal website.


Alexander Cooley, Tow Professor of Political Science

Alexander Cooley is the Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College. He is also a Ph.D. Advisor at Columbia University, a Faculty Member of the Harriman Institute and Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies, and teaches at the School of International and Public Affairs. Professor Cooley's research is in the area of international relations and examines how external actors influence state sovereignty and political decision-making, with a focus on post-Soviet Eurasia and other parts of the emerging "post-Western" world. His courses include International Organization and Globalization and International Politics. 

In addition to his academic work, Professor Cooley currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Open Society Foundations’ Central Eurasia Project, the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Division of Europe and Central Asia, and has testified before the US Congress about Central Asian-related topics. His policy-related articles and opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs and he is regularly quoted in international media outlets.


Alan Dye, Professor of Economics

Alan Dye is Professor of Economics at Barnard College and an affiliate member of Columbia University’s Department of History and Institute of Latin American Studies. He joined the Barnard faculty in 1995. He has also held visiting positions at Yale University, the University of Michigan, and the Universidad de Carlos III de Madrid. He specializes in economic history and institutions with emphasis on Latin America.

Professor Dye’s teaching includes courses in the economic history of Latin America and Europe, and institutional economics applied to organizations, innovation and political economy. His current research focuses on the political economy of the institutions of trade protection and imperialism, with a current project on the relationship between prerevolutionary Cuba and the United States.


Margaret Ellsberg, Senior Lecturer in English

Margaret Ellsberg joined the English Department at Barnard in 1988, and except for a year as a visiting professor at Vassar, has been at Barnard ever since. Her undergraduate degree is from Harvard-Radcliffe and her graduate degrees from Harvard. Before arriving at Barnard she served for one year as a visiting professor at Wellesley.

At Barnard, Margaret has steadily taught the departmental survey, Major English Texts, a First-Year Seminar called 'Ethnicity and Social Transformation," and a seminar called 'Literary Approaches to the Bible,' plus several other courses. She recently conducted a group independent study on 'Vampyres in English Literature and Global Film,' and has for seven years taught a popular seminar called 'The American Cowboy and the Iconography of the West.' Since 2015, she has been a visiting scholar at the Huntington Research Center in San Marino, CA, using their Langer Collection on the American West, and through that connection, she has become a member of two corrals--The Los Angeles Westerners and the Huntington Westerners.

Off-campus, she has served for 28 years as a very active board member of the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow NY, where she also serves as a senior editor of their small-imprint poetry press.

In 2017, Margaret published two books--The Gospel in Gerard Manley Hopkins [Plough Publishers] (She has also published Created to Praise: The Language of Gerard Manley Hopkins [Oxford University Press]--; and Riding Out [Kattywompus Press], a collection of my poetry.


Ross Hamilton, Professor of English & Director of Film Studies Program

Ross Hamilton specializes in metahistorical patterns from the Reformation to Romanticism, as well as the shift from natural philosophy to early modern science. He is also interested in the Annales historians and their influence. He was a prize teaching fellow at Yale, and held a post-doctorate fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

His first book, Accident: A Literary and Philosophical History (University of Chicago Press, 2008), traces the transformations and mutations of Aristotle's notion of the accidental or inessential from Sophocles to late 20th century film. It won the Harry Levin Prize from the ACLA for best work of literary history in 2007-8. A second book, Falling: Literature, Science and Social Change, explores literary analogues to the paradigm shift from natural philosophy to early modern science described by Thomas Kuhn, among others.

In addition to editing Tom Jones, he has written articles on Wordsworth, Erasmus Darwin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the eighteenth century culture of gambling, theater and the rise of the novel, and the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.


Brian Mailloux, Professor of Environmental Science

Professor Brian Mailloux joined the faculty of Barnard College in January 2006. While at Columbia Professor Mailloux has taught courses in Ecotoxicology, Environmental Measurements, and Water, Sanitation and Health. He is the campus representative for the Geological Society of America, 2008 to present. Other professional affiliations include American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Microbiology.


Robert McCaughey, Professor of History

Robert A. McCaughey, professor of history and Janet H. Robb Chair in the Social Sciences, joined the faculty of Barnard in 1969. His teaching specialties include the social history of American intellectual life, the history of American colleges and universities, and early American maritime history. Professor McCaughey was a recipient of Barnard's Emily Gregory Teaching Excellence Award in 1987.

Professor McCaughey's recent research interests include the history of Columbia University and maritime New York in the Age of Sail. Professor McCaughey's research and scholarship have been supported by the New-York Historical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Professor McCaughey has a long-standing interest in the use of electronic resources in education. He has been the Director of BEATL (Barnard Electronic Archive and Teaching Laboratory) since 1997.

He was the founding director of the Barnard first-year seminar program and has served several terms as chair of Barnard's history department. From 1987 to 1993 he served as dean of the Barnard College faculty.


Debra Minkoff, Professor of Sociology, Chair of the Department of Sociology

Debra Minkoff joined the faculty of Barnard in 2005, after teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has taught at Yale University and held visiting positions at the University of Munich and the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Professor Minkoff’s work focuses on the organizational dimensions of social movements and political activism in the U.S. Her earlier research traces the civil rights and feminist movements, developing a new approach that emphasizes the ecology of national political and civic organizations. She has written on such topics as the structure of protest cycles in the U.S., organizational change and failure among national political organizations, and the role of national social movements in American civil society. More recently her research has investigated such questions as how funding by elite foundations shapes the field of organizations seeking to consolidate the gains of the feminist and civil rights movements, and how much variety exists in the organizational models available for citizen advocacy at the national level in the U.S.

Her article "Conceptualizing Political Opportunity" (with D.S. Meyer) received the 2005 Best Published Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements.

At Barnard, Professor Minkoff’s teaching includes such courses as "Social Movements, Funding Social Change: A Research Practicum, and the Junior Colloquium."


Rae Silver, Professor of Natural and Physical Sciences

Rae Silver is the Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan Professor of Natural & Physical Sciences and the head of the Silver Neurobiology Laboratory. Since 1976, Professor Silver has been a member of Barnard’s faculty and has taught courses in Quantitative Reasoning, Neuroscience and Psychology. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research, are among the organizations that have supported her research.

Over the course of her career, Professor Silver has held many positions on committees in services to the educational community, the scientific and research community, and the Barnard and Columbia communities. Currently, she is a US Representative and serves as Vice-chair on the Council of Scientists for the Human Frontiers Science Program and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine Forum on Neuroscience. Her work as Senior Advisor at the National Science Foundation helped to create a series of workshops to examine opportunities for the next decade in making advances in Neuroscience through the joint efforts of biologists, chemists, educators, mathematicians, physicists, psychologists and statisticians. She served as co-chair of the NASA committee that prioritized biological research for the International Space Station. She is a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her two research areas focus on sleep-wake cycles and their neural bases, and on immune – nervous system interactions in the brain.


Joan Snitzer, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Art

Joan Snitzer joined the Barnard Faculty in 1986, after working as studio artist and exhibiting her work in the US and abroad. She is the Director of the Visual Arts Program in the Department of Art History and has held this position since 2001.

Professor Snitzer’s work is focused on painting as a method of visual communication and democratization of social and personal beliefs. She has exhibited her work at MoMA, MoMA PS1, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, David Nolan Gallery, Zürcher Gallery, and other venues in the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Japan, and India, among others. In addition to her studio work, Snitzer has worked in a number of organizations that provide support for women and underrepresented visual artists.

At Barnard, Snitzer’s courses include “Imagery and Form,” a course providing historical theory for contemporary art practices; “Studio Painting,” a laboratory for experimentation in methods of communication through painted visual forms; and “Advanced Studio,” a course for majors in visual art who are developing professional portfolios. She received the Margaret Mead Award for her teaching and in 2006. Further information can be found on her personal website, http://joansnitzer.com


David Weiman, Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 Professor of Economics and Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development

David Weiman has been a member of the Barnard faculty since 2001.  He is also an affiliated member of Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy and History Department.  He specializes in 19th and 20th century U.S. economic history, the political economy of contemporary U.S. criminal justice policy, and the history of economic thought.  His current research focuses on the evolution of the U.S. banking-monetary system from the demise of the Second Bank of the United States to the founding of the Federal Reserve System.  He teaches core courses in Barnard’s distinctive Political Economy track and joint Economic and Social History Program.


Paige West, Professor of Anthropology

Paige West, Professor of Anthropology, joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology at Rutgers University. She is currently the chair of the Barnard College Department of Anthropology and in 2012 became the Chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia University. Professor West’s scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments, and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia, Germany, England, and the United States. She is the author of numerous papers and four books. Her most recent book, Representational Rhetorics: Ideology, Dispossession and the Environment in the Melanesian Pacific, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2016. 

Professor West is a past president of the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association as well as past chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania. She is also the founder and co-editor of the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research. For further information, see her website.