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The College of Liberal Arts welcomes three new department chairs and a new director of the women’s studies program. The new department chairs are Chase Bringardner for the Department of Theatre, Ana Franco-Watkins for the Department of Psychology, and Traci O’Brien for the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Arianne M. Gaetano is the new program director for the women’s studies program in the College of Liberal Arts.

Chase Bringardner joined the Department of Theatre in 2008. He specializes in the study of popular entertainments, such as medicine shows and musical theatre, regional identity construction, and intersections of race, gender and class in popular performance forms. He teaches a wide-range of courses, including introduction to theatre for majors and non-majors, dramaturgy, senior capstone, musical theatre history, as well as a selection of junior and senior level seminars. Additionally, he has directed and acted in many musicals at Auburn and beyond. Learn more about Bringardner.

Ana Franco-Watkins joined the Department of Psychology in 2006. Her research focuses on using psychological theories and methodologies to elucidate decision making processes that address basic and applied research questions with real-world implications. Her research interests include decision making and behavioral economics; effects of stress on decision making, self-control and decision making; working memory and strategy use in decision making; and applications of decision making: organizations and industry, health, and education. Learn more about Franco-Watkins.

Traci O’Brien joined the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in 2006. Early publications focused on women travel writers, novelists and crime fiction writers. More recently she has been drawn to Czech-German modernist writers. Equally interested in foreign language pedagogy, O’Brien teaches all levels of German, from beginning language classes to upper-level literature and culture classes. She has published on “bridging the gap” between students’ proficiency levels in upper-level content courses as well as the importance of assessment strategies for graduate student teachers in a foreign language. Learn more about O’Brien.

Arianne M. Gaetano is the new director of the women’s studies program. She became involved with the program when she joined the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social work in 2010. She is a cultural anthropologist, and her research focuses on contemporary Chinese culture and society. She has spent several years studying language and conducting ethnographic fieldwork in China. Her current research investigates changing meanings and patterns of marriage and family in urban China, focusing on the public discourse of “leftover women” and its impact on decisions of adult women to marry or to postpone marriage. Learn more about Gaetano.