Monthly Archives: February 2012

Santorum’s Ripping of Intellectuals Aimed at Base

A piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the recent disparagement of academic intellectuals by Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a tactic that, according to Associate Professor of Government Elvin Lim, is an unsurprising, traditional appeal aimed at the most conservative members of the Republican base.

Ex-Inmates Use Dante to Learn, Inform, Entertain

A feature in The Boston Globe profiles a class at York Correctional Facility taught by Ron Jenkins and aided by his Wesleyan students that has provided opportunities for inmates after their release. The class led Jenkins to write a play about some of the inmates interspersing Dante’s Divine Comedy with their own experiences. The now ex-inmates and Jenkins will do a reading from the play at Harvard University this week.

 

Lim: Tea Party “Pseudo-Relevant” and on the Wane

In a feature by The Harford Courant‘s Daniela Altimari, Elvin Lim, associate professor of government, discusses the rapid rise and what many are saying the nearly as rapid fall of the Tea Party. In part, Lim says, the increased emphasis of social issues in this election over fiscal issues will further serve to blunt the Tea Party’s efforts and enthusiasm.

President Roth and Professor Weil Give to Financial Aid

President Michael S. Roth and Professor Kari Weil have made a $100,000 gift to Wesleyan in support of endowment for financial aid.

In announcing the gift, Joshua Boger ’73, chair of Wesleyan’s board of trustees, said:  “I can’t thank Michael and Kari enough for their generosity. Their gift represents the kind of ‘stretch gift’ that we are frequently soliciting from other alumni and their families, and I hope that all members of the Wesleyan community will follow their lead in making Wesleyan a philanthropic priority. Their support of financial aid underscores Michael’s and Kari’s superb leadership and dedication to Wesleyan’s success.”

Scholarship endowment is Wesleyan’s highest fundraising priority. Wesleyan has long sought to provide access to students regardless of their financial means.  In 2011–12, Wesleyan will spend $47 million on financial aid.

Soon after he came to Wesleyan in 2007, President Roth established a policy of eliminating loans in favor of outright grants for most students with a family income below $40,000. The policy also reduced the amount of loans required in all final aid packages by about 35 percent. This effort and all of Wesleyan’s financial aid grants, including a special scholarship program for veterans, are supported by gifts from alumni, parents and friends.

“Wesleyan’s deep and long-standing commitment to supporting financial aid reflects our belief that we should seek out the best students regardless of what their families can afford,” says President Roth. “The result is a campus community based on equality and freedom, where differences emerge from talent, ambition and creativity.”

Fruit Flies and Alcohol About Health, Not Abuse

Commenting in a piece in The New York Times, Michael Singer, associate professor of biology, discusses the recent discovery that fruit flies purposely ingest alcohol to the point of intoxication, but the practice kills parasites in the flies bodies which would otherwise kill them or their young. The research complements Singer’s earlier work examining the self-medicating practices of certain caterpillars.

Basinger: 50th Anniversary of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

On Los Angeles NPR affiliate KPCC‘s Pat Morrison show, Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies discusses the 50th anniversary of what many people call “the perfect movie” – To Kill A Mockingbird. The link includes an audio link to the show.

Three Shows Highlight Wesleyan Arts Events

In a cover story for The Hartford Courant‘s CAL section, Wesleyan’s current arts offerings are on full display. The piece highlights three shows in particular: “Apothecary,” “Passing Time” and “A Late Christmas Gift: Contemporary Prints from Japan,” as well as other exhibits.

The Obama Campaign and The Wesleyan Media Project

In their regular feature “The Fact Checker,” The Washington Post examines a recent ad by the Obama campaign that relies exclusively on data and analysis done by The Wesleyan Media Project. While the data and analysis used are accurate, the President’s campaign willfully misrepresent its context to attack right-leaning SuperPACs. The Post looks at the details and calls “liar-lair” on the Obama Campaign (“Two Pinocchios” out of Four) on the ad for its out-of-context usage.

In a separate piece for The Washington Post, columnist Ruth Marcus cites The Wesleyan Media Project as she questions the President’s embracing of SuperPACs after he explicitly pledged he would never do so.

Herbst Discusses the Science of Interstellar Dust

On WNPR’s The Colin McEnroe Show, Bill Herbst, Chair and John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy, joined a discussion on terrestrial and extraterrestrial dust and its effect on our lives. A podcast of the show can be found here. Herbst’s comments begin about 32:00 minute mark.

Gifts in Honor of Faculty Support Renovated Building Project

An anonymous donor provided the lead gift to name the new College of Letters library in honor of all COL faculty—those who taught in the past, those now teaching presently, and those who will join the COL faculty in the future.

The former Squash Courts Building located at 41 Wyllys Ave. on Wesleyan’s historic College Row has opened as the renovated home for Art History, the College of Letters and the Career Center.

Notably, several College of Letters and Art History alumni have provided gifts for the project to honor faculty members from their undergraduate days.

David Resnick ’81, P’13, joined by his wife Cathy Klema P’13, contributed the lead gift to name the Art History Wing in honor of John Paoletti, the William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the Humanities and Art History.

Resnick, now chairman of global financing advisory for the investment baking firm Rothschild Inc., was a European history major at Wesleyan, who earned an M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago. It was his Introduction to Art History course with Paoletti, he says “that really opened my eyes to art from a historical and sociological perspective.”

He recalls Paoletti as “passionate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable,” and took further courses with him—20th Century Art History and Early Italian Renaissance Art. Later, he served as Paoletti’s teaching assistant for Introduction to Art History.

“The exposure to art and the ways to think about art

Long: Governor’s School Reform Scapegoats Teachers

In an OpEd in the Sunday Hartford Courant, Daniel Long, assistant professor of sociology, refutes Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s assertion that the cause of the achievement gap between the state’s suburban schools and urban schools is the inconsistent quality of teachers and lack of school choice. Long says the problem is not teacher quality but income disparity among communities where the schools are located. Long says, “The biggest impact would come from policies that equalize the average socioeconomic status in all schools.”

Redfield Participates in NASA’s IBEX Mission Press Conference

Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, speaks at a press briefing about NASA's IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft, which sampled multiple heavy elements from within our solar system and beyond. IBEX found some astonishing data in the process.

 

Seth Redfield had to cut short his first Astronomy 224 class of the 2012 spring semester, but he had a good excuse: he was presenting at an international press conference being held by NASA on one of its recent missions.

Redfield, an assistant professor of astronomy, was chosen by NASA to be a non-mission expert to help verify results from the space agency’s ongoing IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) mission, an unmanned probe that analyzes the interstellar boundary that protects much of our solar system, including the Earth, from deadly cosmic rays from interstellar space.

One of Redfield’s primary areas of research deals with these types of clouds, more generally known as local interstellar medium (LISM), and his models had been used by NASA in the past,