Tristan Cabello, a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the College, resigned from his post this week due to personal reasons, according to Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd.
Cabello's departure has disrupted the two Africana Studies courses he was teaching this semester. According to Judd, Professor Olufemi Vaughan will be taking over Cabello's Africana Studies 218 course, The African American Experience in Europe, while Professor of English David Collings will replace Cabello in Africana Studies 221, Race and Sexuality in Modern America.
Cabello arrived at Bowdoin this fall after receiving his Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in May 2011. Kristopher Klein '12, who took Cabello's course, 'A History of the Global AIDS Epidemic,' last fall, said he was "very surprised" by the resignation.
"In class, he treated everyone as if we all had degrees," said Klein. "He never belittled anyone, and always treated students like equals."
Lindsey Horowitz '12 and Teona Williams '12 were also in the Global AIDS course last fall. Horowitz said that the atmosphere in the classroom was very informal, with students addressing Cabello by his first name and engaging in "very frank and honest" discussions.
"It was more of a friendly relationship than a professor-student relationship," said Horowitz.
One student of Cabello's, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, said that Cabello would often leave campus for the weekend, and announced in class that he was going "to do 'research' in New York or San Francisco...the way he said it, with 'research' in quotation marks, it seemed like it was more for personal reasons than academic."
Williams and Klein worked closely with Cabello through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and both said that he was helpful in providing guidance on applying to graduate schools.
"I thought he was really great, it was the first time I had a young professor," said Williams. Williams said that the atmosphere in the classroom was no different than that in previous Africana studies and gay and lesbian studies courses she had taken, and that she did not think it was particularly informal.
Judd reported that the College will not be bringing an additional postdoctoral fellow on campus to replace Cabello.
"We have completed our postdoctoral appointments for 2012-13 and I do not anticipate adding an additional one," Judd wrote in an email to the Orient.
Cabello did not return a request for comment by press time.