Colby Announces Faculty Promotions

Announcements4 MIN READ

Three are appointed as full professors, one becomes an associate professor

By Bob Keyes
August 16, 2022

On the recommendation of President David A. Greene, four faculty members have been promoted. Attaining full professor status are Gary Green, art; Christopher Soto, psychology; and Scott Taylor, mathematics. Promoted to associate professor is Bretton White, Spanish.

Gary Green—Art

Gary Green joined the Colby faculty in 2007 and became an associate professor in 2014. He holds an M.F.A. from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and a B.S. from the State University of New York.

A teacher of photography, Green is a highly regarded and prolific artist who has exhibited his photographs across the country and internationally. His work is in the collections of many leading museums, including the Colby College Museum of Art, the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum of Art in Texas, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art.

He has published five artist books or monographs since 2010. His most recent is Obelisks, a collaboration with poet Gianluca Rizzo, the Paul J. Paganucci Associate Professor of Italian. Green also has been a leader in work to sustain and strengthen the arts and humanities on campus and is active on key faculty governance committees and with the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Colby College Museum of Art, and the Oak Institute for Human Rights.

Christopher Soto—Psychology

Christopher Soto came to Colby in 2009 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in psychology from Harvard University.

Soto is a leading personality psychologist and creator of an influential tool in personality research, the Big Five Inventory of personality traits. This tool has been translated into more than 40 languages and has been proven reliable in many different cultures. He has published many  papers in leading journals, contributed numerous chapters to scholarly books, and chaired and presented his research at symposia in the United States and abroad. Soto also has supervised dozens of student presentations and reviewed many manuscripts and grant proposals for scientific journals and funding agencies.

In addition, he has received numerous grants, awards, and honors from the National Science Foundation, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Colby, and others. He currently chairs the Psychology Department and the College’s Independent Study Committee.

Scott Taylor—Mathematics

Scott Taylor came to Colby in 2008 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an M.A. in mathematics from Pennsylvania State University, and a B.S. in mathematics from Gordon College.

Taylor is a scholar of geometric knot theory and has published many articles in top-tier scholarly journals and presented his findings at conferences across the country. He has received several significant research grants, including from the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Mathematics, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others, as well as outreach and teaching grants from the Davis Family Foundation. 

As department chair, Taylor led a revision of the calculus curriculum. He wrote the textbook for the Mathematical Reasoning course, now widely used in the department and beyond, and has mentored students to do work worthy of publication in serious journals. In addition, he served on the committee that worked to create a new system for handling academic dishonesty, and he became the College’s first academic integrity coordinator.

Bretton White—Spanish

Bretton White came to Colby in 2011 as a visiting assistant professor and was converted to a continuing position in 2018. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, an M.A. in Hispanic literature from Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Spanish and psychology from Amherst College.

White is a scholar of contemporary Caribbean theater. Her book, Staging Discomfort: Performance and Queerness in Contemporary Cuba (2020), was published by one of the leading presses in her field, and she is currently working on three manuscripts related to art in Cuba and the Caribbean. She has contributed numerous articles to leading Latin American theater journals and received Colby Humanities Research Grants to fund her scholarship in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

White has been an active member of the community, contributing to her department and to the College. She directed the Latin American Studies Program for a year and remains active with it, and she works with faculty across campus to organize film festivals, bring speakers and performers to campus, and help sustain a vibrant and diverse cultural life.