Meet some of the College’s newest faculty

They focus on global environmental and political issues, economics and artistic use of data.

Graphic with headshot photos of five faculty members. Their names, listed as follows, are underneath their photos: Xiao Feng, Shorna Allred, Tyler Pratt, Annette Lawrence and Jacob Kohlhepp.
(Zack Hall/UNC Creative)

A sampling of new faculty in Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences shows its focus on discovering innovative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Here’s a look at five new hires, who will teach and conduct research in:

  • Global sustainability and conservation.
  • Geographic distribution of species and variety of life in ecosystems.
  • Labor economics.
  • Use of data to create art.
  • International cooperation, bargaining and power distribution.

Shorna Allred

Geography and environment department

Allred, the Susan R. Wolf Distinguished Professor, teaches and conducts research on global sustainability, conservation and land-use decision-making, community resilience and environmental justice.

Allred began her academic career at Purdue University. At Cornell University, she was a faculty member in natural resources and the environment and global development, and associate director of the Center for Conservation Social Sciences. A native Texan and first-generation college student, Allred earned a doctorate from Oregon State University and a bachelor of science and master of science from Penn State University.

Xiao Feng

Biology department

Feng, an assistant professor, is a quantitative ecologist and biogeographer who studies macroecological patterns such as biogeography (distribution of species geographically), biodiversity (variety of life in ecosystems) and emerging environmental issues. He uses statistical models and computational informatics to answer ecological and biogeographic questions. His research will provide a scientific basis for biodiversity conservation and land management.

Before coming to Carolina, Feng was a faculty member at Florida State University. He holds a doctorate in integrative biology from Oklahoma State University, a master’s in ecology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a bachelor’s in biotechnology from the Ocean University of China.

Jacob Kohlhepp

Economics department

Kohlhepp, an assistant professor and John Stewart Fellow, is an applied microeconomist with a background in theory and labor. He studies how human resource decisions in organizations and businesses shape and are shaped by markets.

Kohlhepp’s research papers look at the effects of consumer reviews, how recruiters influence the search for talent, and workplace injury and labor supply.

He received a doctorate in economics, a master’s in economics and a bachelor’s in economics and political science, all from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Annette Lawrence

Art and art history department

Lawrence, the Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor and department chair, creates art by transforming raw data into drawings, objects and installations. The data accounts for and measures everyday life, such as body cycles, ancestor portraits, music lessons, unsolicited mail and journal-keeping.

Lawrence’s work has been seen in several museums and private collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Rachofsky Collection, ArtPace Center for Contemporary Art, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

She received a bachelor of fine arts from the Hartford Art School and a master of fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Before joining Carolina, she was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College.

Tyler Pratt

Political science department

Pratt, an assistant professor, examines how states cooperate, bargain and distribute power in international institutions. He is particularly interested in institutional overlap and competition in global governance, as well as the politics of noncompliance.

His other interests include government strategies for managing domestic and international reputation, governance of emerging technologies and applied network analysis.

Pratt earned a doctorate in politics at Princeton University, a master’s in international policy at Stanford University and a bachelor’s in international affairs from the University of Georgia. Pratt worked in the departments of homeland security and state (2010-12).

Read about new faculty from additional Carolina schools.