About The Source September 3, 2008

New Faculty and Staff: Welcome to Oberlin

The next few issues of the Source will feature brief bios of faculty and staff members new to the campus community. New employees who have not completed the New Employee Information form that was included in their Human Resources packet can still submit information for inclusion by e-mailing the.source@oberlin.edu. Others who want to supplement the information they have already provided may do so by e-mail. All new employees should e-mail a digital portrait-style photo to the Source, or contact us to arrange to have a photo taken.

Josh Levine
Assistant Professor of Composition

In addition to conducting private lessons with his composition students, Josh is teaching courses in technique, orchestration, and other composition-related topics. He comes to Oberlin after eight years lecturing in music composition, theory, and electronic music at San Francisco State University, as well as a quarter teaching graduate-level composition at Stanford. He also taught composition and theory while earning his MA and PhD degrees at the University of California, San Diego. Josh has spent many years living, studying, and working as a musician in Switzerland and France. His wife, Annette, a professional artist, is from the Pas-de-Calais region. They have two sons, Samuel 11, and Dorian, 9.


Jack Mitchener
Associate Professor of Organ

Jack comes to Oberlin after 13 years as the Kenan Professor of Organ and chair of the keyboard department at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and associate professor of organ and college organist at Salem College in Winston-Salem, where he also was organist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, a parish of 3,000 members. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, two master's degrees, and two Performer's Certificates in organ and harpsichord at the Eastman School of Music, where he received three graduate assistantships and an award for excellence in teaching. He has performed throughout the United States and Europe and has won top prizes in competitions on both continents. He says he looks forward to adding more recordings, made with Oberlin's outstanding instruments, to those he already has to his credit. Jack says he is delighted to join Oberlin, where organ study has long been prominent, and he is grateful to Professor James David Christie and Emeritus Professor David Boe for their support during his transition to the organ faculty. In addition to his studio of organ students, he is teaching courses in organ history and literature, keyboard skills, and a new course in sacred music skills. Jack and his wife, Julia, are enjoying life in northern Ohio and look forward to making many new friends.

Michael Raney
Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Michael comes to Oberlin from Georgetown University, where he was visiting assistant professor of mathematics. He earned at BA at Transylvania University, an MA at the University of Kentucky, and a PhD at the University of Oregon, focusing on operator theory, a sub-branch of analysis. He is the coauthor of "Discrete-time dichotomous 
well-posed linear systems and generalized Schur-Nevanlinna-Pick interpolation," published in the January 2007 issue of Complex Analysis and Operator Theory. Outside of mathematics, Michael enjoys playing soccer and chess, reading, working crosswords, and singing. A tenor, he most recently performed with the Suspicious Cheese Lords, an early-music men's a capella group based in Washington, D.C. His 13-year-old daughter, Sophia, lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Julien Robbins
Associate Professor of Voice

Julien debuted on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in 1979 and returned for the next 27 consecutive seasons, singing more than 50 different roles over the course of his career there. His operatic repertoire spans all styles and time periods, and he has been a frequent guest of leading opera companies throughout the world. As a teacher, Julien has taught voice privately; given master classes in Berlin, New York City, and Pennsylvania; and served as an adjunct professor at Lehigh University. He earned a bachelor's degree in education at West Chester University and completed training programs in opera at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and the School of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Key to his teaching, though, is his extensive professional experience in the opera world, a valuable knowledge base that he brings to his work with every student.

Renee Romano
Associate Professor of History

Renee is teaching courses focusing on the United States in the 20th-century, World War II, civil rights, and history and memory. Before joining the College, she was for 12 years professor of history and African American studies at Wesleyan University, where she chaired the African American studies program for three years and was director of the Center for African American Studies for one year. She is the author of Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America and coeditor of The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory. Renee earned a BA at Yale and a PhD at Stanford. She and her husband, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Sean Decatur, have two children, Sabine, 12, and Owen, 6.

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The Source is a service of the Office of Communications and is published every Wednesday during the academic year, except fall and spring breaks and the first week of winter term. Read more about the Source. To submit items, e-mail your information to  the.source@oberlin.edu.