Kate Carlisle

Federal Grant Supports DAC Digital Initiative

Davison Art Center.

Many works at the Davison Art Center will be digitally photographed starting with a collection of Dutch and German prints.

A significant federal grant will support efforts to make works in Wesleyan’s Davison Art Center more accessible to students, faculty and the wider world.

The $111,173 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, announced this week, will fund digital photography of some of the DAC’s permanent collection, beginning in 2015 with Dutch and German “old master” prints.

The funds, awarded in the Museums for America program, will allow the DAC to execute high quality, rapid photography of key parts of its holdings; these images can then be used for collection management or in classes.

Roth Discusses “The Future of Education” at Social Good Summit

Logo_SGS2014President Michael Roth discussed “The Future of Education” at the 92nd Street Y’s Social Good Summit on Sept. 21.

In his second appearance at the annual two-day festival of ideas, Roth discussed why education is still the best vehicle for social change, even while it has become more controversial then ever.

Michael Roth

Michael Roth

“Education remains the most potent tool for changing the world, ” he said. “And training teachers who can help students acquire the skills to keep learning, the skills to think for oneself, is one of the most pressing demands of social justice.”

Last year, Roth’s inspirational talk at the 92Y event focused on “how to change the world,” which later became the topic of a popular MOOC he taught on the Coursera platform. This year, his speech was informed by his recently published book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (Yale Press).

This year’s summit, with the theme “Connecting for Good, Connecting for All,” brought together world leaders, new media and technology experts, grassroots activists, and voices from around the world to explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to benefit people everywhere and create a better world by the year 2030.

CareerDrive Will Put Student Job Searches in Gear

Wesleyan's Career Center offers a new recruiting platform called CareerDrive. Students can access the tools through their e-portfolio and search and apply for jobs and internships, view the employer directory, manage career advising appointments and browse a calendar listing of upcoming workshops, employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The platform also offers integration with LinkedIn and Facebook to shows students their connections with specific organizations.

Wesleyan’s Career Center offers a new recruiting platform called CareerDrive. Students can access the tools through their e-portfolio and search and apply for jobs and internships, view the employer directory, manage career advising appointments and browse a calendar listing of upcoming workshops, employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The platform also offers integration with LinkedIn and Facebook to shows students their connections with specific organizations. CareerDrive is one of many professional development initiatives offered by the Wesleyan Career Center this fall.

Students getting ready for life beyond campus can take advantage of several comprehensive professional development initiatives offered by the Wesleyan Career Center.

CareerDrive fuels students’ efforts to learn career management skills, search for jobs and internships, sign up for events, and track progress toward their goals. Powered by CSO Research, CareerDrive will allow students to search and apply for jobs and internships, store their documents, register for events and gain access to subscription-only online resources. It replaces Wesleyan’s previous recruiting system. One feature will allow job-seekers to see social media connections in target organizations.

“It’s a great tool,” said Sharon Belden Castonguay, director of the Career Center. “Say you type in Widgets, Inc. – Drive will let you see whether your LinkedIn or Facebook connections work there, people who may be able to provide insight into the organization.”

While the new recruiting platform is open to all students, seniors can participate in Accelerate, a “job search boot camp” running concurrently with the fall recruiting season, providing job hunters with real-time guidance.

Wesleyan Declares Beta Fraternity House Off-limits to All Students

Citing incidents that raised serious questions about safety at the Beta Theta Pi house, Wesleyan has declared the fraternity residence off-limits to all university students.

The decision, announced Sept. 10 by President Michael Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Mike Whaley, came three days after a sophomore woman was seriously injured in a fall from a third-floor window at Beta.

“We have lost confidence in the ability of the fraternity members to manage social and residential activities at the house and abide by university policies,” Roth and Whaley wrote in an email to the campus community. “Wesleyan has an obligation to do what it reasonably can to ensure the safety of every member of the community, including the Beta fraternity members and their guests. The Beta house will remain off-limits to all Wesleyan students for the rest of the academic year at least.”

The 15 students living at Beta were provided with alternative university housing, and asked to leave the premises by Sept. 15.

Roth and Whaley said their decision was “based on the long history of incidents” at Beta.

The most recent of these occurred during a party on Sept. 7, when the student fell three stories, sustaining multiple and serious injuries, and was airlifted to a Hartford Hospital. Public Safety and Middletown Police responded to the incident. As of Sept. 11, she remained in intensive care but her condition was reported to be improving.

The ban on Beta includes social events, and will continue at least through the academic year. “Down the road we are open to seeing from the fraternity a considered plan for the house and social activities there that satisfies our expectations for residential life at our university,” Roth and Whaley said.

There are three residential single-sex fraternities at Wesleyan, including Psi Upsilon and Delta Kappa Epsilon. In addition, there are coeducational residential societies including Eclectic and Alpha Delta Phi, and several nonresidential Greek societies, including Wesleyan’s only sorority, Rho Epsilon.

The fraternity residences are considered “program housing” at Wesleyan, although the properties are not owned by the university.

WW I Posters Shine at Davison Art Center Exhibit

dac_pr_2014-08_action_bakerdac_pr_2014-08_action_christyIt was called “the war to end all wars.” Causing the downfall of three major empires, and eclipsing all previous wars in its destruction, World War I changed the course of global history. And decades before television and sophisticated print advertising, it changed the way conflict was marketed to the American people.

A new exhibit, Call to Action: American Posters in World War I, at the Davison Art Center, displays dramatic posters that recruited soldiers, celebrated shipbuilding, called women for war work and even urged homemakers to prepare alternative foods in support of the war effort.

“The best illustrators of the day were recruited to donate their time to make these posters,” said Clare Rogan, curator of the DAC. “Artists recognized this was how they could serve. And this was the high point in American illustration, you have fabulous artists working as illustrators, and monthly periodicals are all illustrated before photography takes over in these areas.”

Beta Residence to Be Closed to All Students

The following message was sent to members of the Wesleyan community on Wednesday, Sept. 10:

To the Wesleyan Community:

We write to announce that the Beta Theta Pi residence at 184 High Street will be off-limits to all Wesleyan students effective Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. The students currently living there will be provided with alternative university housing. The decision to prohibit students from using the Beta house is based on the long history of incidents there. Most recently, during a party at the house a student fell from a third floor window and was seriously injured. We have lost confidence in the ability of the fraternity members to manage social and residential activities at the house and abide by university policies. Wesleyan has an obligation to do what it reasonably can to ensure the safety of every member of the community, including the Beta fraternity members and their guests. The Beta house will remain off-limits to all Wesleyan students for the rest of the academic year at least. Down the road we are open to seeing from the fraternity a considered plan for the house and social activities there that satisfies our expectations for residential life at our university.

Michael S. Roth
President

Michael Whaley
Vice President for Student Affairs

“Freedom Summer” Commemoration to Feature Concert, Speakers

BxGx8blCMAAKaUmThe summer of 1964 saw thousands of young people — many from colleges and universities in the North – mobilize to register voters, educate citizens, and support other civil rights work in the Jim Crow South. What came to be known as “Freedom Summer” is credited with ending the isolation of states where racial repression and discrimination was largely ignored by news media and politicians, despite the  the landmark Civil Rights Act passed that July.

Wesleyan students joined the struggle. “Five Wesmen to Fight Voter Discrimination in Mississippi,” said a front-page headline in the Argus. That May, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. had given the baccalaureate sermon, and other civil rights leaders had visited campus.

A commemoration Sept. 12 and 13 celebrated not only Wesleyan’s participation, but the unique moment Freedom Summer occupies in American history. (See photos here.)

“Wesleyan’s tradition of engagement and activism goes back over half a century,” said Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology and director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. “This will be a tremendously exciting chance for students and the community to hear from Wesleyan alums who traveled South to participate in this extremely important period of history, and from activists who were at the forefront of the struggle to gain voting rights for all Americans.”Argus May 12 1964 Freedom Summer (1)

Of particular interest to Rosenthal and to Lois Brown, director of the Center for African American Studies, is the connection between organizers of the 1960s and today’s student activists. Brown is also chair and professor of African American studies, the Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor, professor of English, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies.

In a recent op-ed for the Huffington Post, Rosenthal and Brown said: “… The task of our activists is not to tell their young successors how to carry on their struggle, but to convey the joy that deliberate engagement, unapologetic persistence, and luminous integrity brings.”  

Wesleyan Nearly Doubles Its Teach for America Cohort

Wesleyan nearly doubled its number of Teach for America participants this year over 2013, the national organization said. With 19 participants in the 2014 cohort, Wesleyan is tied for third among “small schools”  (those with under 2,999 students) who send graduates into the corps.

The Wesleyan alumni join the most diverse corps in Teach for America’s 25-year-history, with one third of the members the first in their families to attend college, half identifying as people of color, and nearly half Pell Grant recipients as undergraduates.

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, they recruit and develop outstanding individuals to commit to teach in high-need schools. This fall, 10,600 corps members will be teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country.

“Many of our students are passionate about addressing educational inequality, and see Teach for America as a perfect place to launch their careers,” said Sharon Belden Castonguay, director of the Wesleyan Career Center.

Wesleyan, which sent 10 graduates to TFA in 2013, tied this year with the University of Richmond and came in behind DePauw University and Spelman College, both with 20 participants. To learn more about Teach for America, go here.

Why ‘Nano-Degrees’ Can’t Replace Liberal Arts Education

If you can’t “disrupt” education through innovation, the thinking goes, just downsize it so much that it becomes training for just one task that a particular company wants at one particular moment.

But in an article for the Atlantic, President Michael Roth argues that refashioning vocational education under the banner of Silicon Valley sophistication doesn’t make sense.

“We do need experiments integrating technology and pedagogy,” Roth writes. “That’s why I’ve been teaching online courses with my Wesleyan colleagues over the last two years. We’ve reached almost a million students in that time and continue to learn from working together. But we teach students online in the same way we do on campus: with the goal of broadening their thinking while sharpening their skills.

“I know well the many challenges facing higher education today: rising tuition and onerous student debt; drastic cuts to state support of public institutions; poor measures of real student learning; the debilitating effects of inequality; groupthink; sexual violence; poorly paid adjunct professors; and the disconnect, at many institutions, between the impetus for new research and the core mission of teaching undergraduates. But none of these problems should frighten us into abandoning the model of pragmatic liberal learning that has made America’s best colleges and universities the envy of the world.”

COE Scholar Presents Multi-Media Exhibit on “Colony Collapse”

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan's College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

The mysterious disappearance of millions of honeybees – known as colony collapse disorder – has frustrated and worried scientists around the world for more than seven years. The visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment explores this mystery in a new exhibit at the Green Street Arts Center that opened Sept. 4.

Joseph Smolinski, a noted artist who has exhibited in many venues ranging from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. to the Cleveland Institute of Art , uses 3-D printing, video and other media to show the scale of the honeybee crisis – and note that environmental stressors

New York Times‘ Steven Greenhouse ’73 Teaching Journalism as Koeppel Fellow

Steven Greenhouse ’73 P’08

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08, will bring his years of experience in journalism back to Wesleyan this semester as the Koeppel Journalism Fellow.

The longtime New York Times reporter, who covers labor and workplace issues, will teach “Journalism, Nonfiction Writing and the Search for Truth.”

“It’s an honor to be invited to teach at Wesleyan, but it also feels a little daunting because I’ve never taught a full course before,” Greenhouse said. “But I imagine that I’ve learned a thing or two about journalism and writing and editing since once upon a time, when I was editor of the Argus eons ago.”

For Greenhouse, who has been with the Times for 31 years, the student interest in his course is as gratifying as the opportunity to teach it. “I’m thrilled that in this turbulent, difficult era for journalism, and for newspapers in particular, there are still many young people who are interested in working in the field,” he said.

Greenhouse joined the Times in September 1983 as a business reporter, covering steel and other basic industries. He then spent two-and-a-half years as the newspaper’s Midwestern business correspondent based in Chicago. In 1987, he moved to Paris, where he served as the Times’s European economics correspondent, covering everything from Western Europe’s economy to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Five years later, he became a correspondent in Washington for four years, first covering economics and the Federal Reserve and then the State Department and foreign affairs.

This year, Greenhouse, along with two New York Times colleagues, won the Loeb Award for spot news business reporting for covering the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in which more than 1,100 workers died. He is the author of “The Big Squeeze, Tough Times for the American Workers,” which won the Sidney Hillman award for non-fiction writing.

The Koeppel program, launched in 2010, brings distinguished journalists to campus each year. Past fellows include The Jewish Daily Forward editor Jane Eisner ’77, who taught “The Citizen as Journalist,” and noted author and reporter Tracie McMillan, whose course was called “Writing and Arguing About Inequality.” Bloomberg’s Larry Roberts and ABC’s Martha Raddatz were also fellows.

The Koeppel courses are offered through the Writing Certificate program, which allows students from all majors to develop proficiency in creative writing (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, playwriting) and forms of non-fiction such as criticism, biography and autobiography, science writing, political and literary journalism, and writing about academic subjects for non-specialists.

Greenhouse also is the father of Emily Greenhouse ’08.

Grimmer-Solem’s Research Leads Germany to Order Base Re-Named

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General's legacy.

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In response to research by Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem, the German air forces have decided to rename a base currently named after a celebrated general known as an “anti-Nazi” in the years following World War II. The base is currently called after Gen. Hans von Sponeck, who was court-martialed and imprisoned for refusing to follow Hitler’s orders during a major Soviet counteroffensive on the Crimean Peninsula in 1941.

Recently, the German government announced in the Bundestag that the air forces had formally approved the name change in June, based in part on Grimmer-Solem’s work, published early this year in the journal Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift, and national media reports about that work. A final agreement on renaming the base is pending between the Luftwaffe and the nearby city of Germersheim, and local citizens have protested the name change.

“I knew that my research had the potential to stir up some controversy, but the speed with which a national debate and parliamentary discussion formed around the issue really caught me by surprise,” said Grimmer-Solem. “My findings hit a nerve. An official effort is now underway to assure that other military installations don’t mistakenly honor compromised officers. Still, the fact that there’s a sizable citizen initiative underway to keep the old name of the military base reveals just how divisive this topic still is in Germany.”