New Faculty Appointments in Law, Social Science and Social Work

Photograph: Kimberle W. Crenshaw.
Photograph: Jon Elster. Photo Credit: Joe Pineiro.
Photograph: Edward J. Mullen. Photo Credit: Jane Hoffer.
Photograph: Jane M. Spinak.

Among Trustee faculty appointments announced recently by President Rupp were the following:

Gender and Law Authority

Kimberle W. Crenshaw, a specialist on race, gender and the law, has joined the faculty of Columbia's School of Law as full professor.

Dean Lance Liebman said: "Kimberle Crenshaw is one of the leading law scholars of her generation. Her invention of the concept of 'intersectionalities' has shed important light on central issues of civil rights law. She is a fine teacher whose work is discussed and respected throughout American law schools and abroad."

Crenshaw, 36, is the founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory Workshop. This still evolving field of legal analysis maintains that law plays a significant role in creating racial hierarchies. She has taught at U.C.L.A. since 1986, where she was named Professor of the Year in 1991 and again in 1994. She was Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor at Columbia during the 1995 spring semester and in 1992. She has taught courses on criminal law, civil and voting rights, constitutional law and equal protection, and legal issues arising from race and gender.

She is a co-author of Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment (1993) and co-editor with Columbia Law Professor Kendall Thomas of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents that Shaped the Movement, to be published this year by New Press.

Crenshaw has lectured throughout the United States and Europe.

In 1991 she assisted the legal team that represented Anita Hill in her accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for his Supreme Court nomination.

She is a member of the Domestic Strategy Group at the Aspen Institute, co-chaired by Sen. Bill Bradley and former Representative Vin Weber, and is a member of the National Research Council panel on Research on Violence Against Women.

A 1981 graduate of Cornell, she earned the J.D. degree at Harvard Law School in 1984 and the LL.M. at the University of Wisconsin in 1985. She served as a law clerk to Judge Shirley S. Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1985-86.

Renowned Political Theorist

Jon Elster, the influential political theorist, has joined the faculty of Columbia as Robert K. Merton Professor of the Social Sciences.

A leading interpreter of rational choice theory, Elster, 55, is the first incumbent of the Merton chair, named for the eminent social scientist and University Professor Emeritus at Columbia, now 85, who founded the sociological study of science, originated the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy and initiated traditions of research on bureaucracy, anomie and the history of ideas. The chair was established by the Columbia trustees in 1990.

Elster has been the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago since 1989.

In nine widely translated books and more than 100 articles and reviews, the Norwegian-born scholar has drawn from multiple disciplines, including economics and psychology, to explain political behavior. He has explained political actions by studying the way individuals make choices and how groups of individuals interact, going beyond traditional examinations of behavior by social class and political category. His work has been translated into eight languages.

A formative influence on a new generation of political scholars, Elster has received support from the Norwegian and French governments and the Russell Sage Foundation for wide-ranging research on democracy and social planning, rationality, Marxism, intertemporal choice, the distributive consequences of unemployment, the allocation of children in divorce and child welfare cases, strategic aspects of collective wage bargaining, and addiction.

Elster was born in 1940 in Oslo and received the M.A. in philosophy in 1966 from the University of Oslo and the Ph.D. from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1972. Later, he taught at both institutions and has been a visiting professor at U.C.-Berkeley, Stanford, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and Cal Tech and a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University.

He has lectured worldwide and is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Academia Europaea and a fellow of the British Academy. He is research director of the Institute for Social Research in Oslo and director of the Center for Ethics, Rationality and Society at the University of Chicago.

His books include Local Justice (1992), Political Psychology (1990), Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (1989), Solomonic Judgments (1989), The Cement of Society (1989), An Introduction to Karl Marx (1986), Making Sense of Marx (1985), Sour Grapes (1983), Explaining Technical Change (1983), Ulysses and the Sirens (1979) and Leibniz et la Formation de l'Esprit Capitaliste (1975).

He is co-editor of Studies in Rationality and Social Change and Studies in Marxism and Social Theory, published by Cambridge University Press. He is a member of the editorial board of 12 journals.

This fall, Elster will teach courses on rational choice theory and the constitution-making process.

Author on Social Welfare

Edward J. Mullen, a faculty member at Columbia's School of Social Work since 1987, has been appointed the first Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work.

Experienced in social work practice, analysis and research, Mullen is director of the Center for the Study of Social Work Practice, a joint program of Columbia and the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. Since 1989, he has been director of the National Institute of Mental Health Doctoral Training Program in Mental Health Services Research and HIV/AIDS. He is a co-author of ten books and has written over 40 articles on chronic dependency, strategies for social intervention, social welfare administration policies, minority recruitment and clinical practice.

In addition, his research has focused on social intervention, evaluation, expert systems applications to social welfare, mental health service systems and minority leadership development. Before joining Columbia, he was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1976 to 1987, where he was a founding director of the NIMH Doctoral Training Program in Mental Health Services Research. He was a faculty member at Fordham from 1967 to 1976.

He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Catholic University of America and the Doctorate in Social Welfare at Columbia in 1968. Early in his career he was a social worker in Washington, D.C. and a family counselor for Jewish Family Services in New York. He was director from 1969 to 1973 of the Institute of Welfare Research for the Community Service Society of New York.

At Columbia, he served as associate dean of social work from 1987 to 1992 and was acting dean during the fall 1991 term. He directed the Minority Leadership Development Project from 1988 to 1994 and has been director of the Center for the Study of Social Work Practice since 1992.

He is a member of the editorial review board of the Journal of Social Service Research and a director of the U.S. Committee of the International Conference on Social Welfare and the Martha Selig Educational Institute of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. He has been a consulting editor of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and was a member of the editorial board of research of the journal Social Work Research and Abstracts.

The Musher Professorship was established by the University Trustees this year for life betterment through science and technology with an endowment from Musher, a benefactor of the school for a number of years and a director of Stiefel Laboratories. As president of Alvino Pharmaceuticals Inc. from 1948 to 1969, Musher was responsible for inventions that led to 50 U.S. and foreign patents on pharmaceutical and food products.

Children's Rights Specialists

Jane M. Spinak, an authority on children's legal rights and clinical legal education and attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society, has been named Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia.

Spinak, 43, joined the Columbia faculty as a lecturer in 1982 and was named clinical professor of law in 1989.

She teaches a seminar on children and the law and is a co-founder of the Family Advocacy Clinic at Morningside Heights Legal Services, in which students from Columbia's Law and Social Work schools assist families involved with the child welfare system.

She is currently on leave from Columbia to serve as attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division, where she oversees attorneys and social workers who represent children in Family Court proceedings in New York City.

A 1974 graduate of Smith College, she earned a law degree in 1979 at N.Y.U.

Spinak has conducted training sessions for social services attorneys, law guardians and judges for the American Bar Association and has received national recognition as a teacher.

She was on the planning committee for the 1994 Clinical Teachers' Conference and has been a featured speaker at several other national conferences.

Her forthcoming article, "Reflections on a Case (of Motherhood)," will be published in the December issue of the Columbia Law Review. She is the author of two books, Child Welfare Legal Manual, and Permanency Planning Judicial Benchbook, which is used by Family Court practitioners and judges throughout New York State.

Spinak recently was named to the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children.

She is a member of the New York State Office of Court Administration's Family Court Advisory Council for New York City, and of the New York State Task Force on Permanency Planning for Foster Children, where she is chairwoman of the Court Extension of Placement and Foster Care Review Proceedings Committee.

She was for many years the co-director of the Project on Children and War in the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia; has served on the Board of Directors of the New York City Court Appointed Special Advocates; has been a member of the Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Children's Rights.

Columbia University Record -- September 15, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 2