Lauren Rubenstein

Director of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

Roth Discusses Wesleyan’s Foray into MOOCs

President Michael S. Roth was interviewed for an article in Inside Higher Ed on liberal arts schools entering the world of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. Wesleyan was the first liberal arts school to offer MOOCs, in a partnership with the company Coursera, and Roth says he hopes the experience will offer new insights on how people learn, allow professors to improve their courses on campus, and help spread the Wesleyan academic experience to a much wider audience around the world.

Kristof: A Gift to ‘Shining Hope’ Will Change Lives

In his New York Times column titled, “Gifts That Change Lives,” Nicholas Kristof invites readers to donate to Shining Hope for Communities this holiday season. The foundation, started by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09, operates a girls’ school, clinic, water and sanitation program  and job training classes in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Learn more at

Small Elite Colleges Adapt to Budget Pressures

President Michael S. Roth recently spoke to The New York Times about the financial pressures facing Wesleyan and other smaller elite colleges. Though Wesleyan must change its financial aid model, it is committed to preserving financial assistance for students who need it.  “We could easily have remained need-blind, kept the label, by simply being less aggressive about pursuing diversity, or admitting people and not meeting their full need, or increasing loan levels,” Roth said.

Rosenthal Discusses His Book on Pete Seeger

Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs Rob Rosenthal recently appeared on the Good Morning Connecticut Weekend show on WTNH News 8 to discuss his book, Pete Seeger: In His Own WordsThe book, which Rosenthal edited along with his son Sam, is a selection of the folk singer’s private writings–including letters, poems, stories, published articles and diary entries–spanning most of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Basinger Comments on ‘Casablanca’s’ Legacy

Seventy years after Casablanca premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City, Jeanine Basinger discussed its lasting influence on The Takeawaya co-production of WNYC public radio and Public Radio International. Basinger says the Casablanca team had no idea their film would become such a major part of American history. She attributes the film’s durability to its technique rather than its content. “It’s about the myth of Americans as being heroic, as going out into fights that aren’t necessarily their own to fight, for people who are being treated unjustly,” she says. “The romantic hero of Rick represents that.”

Another Blow to Russia’s Bid to Boost Soft Power

In an op-ed in The Moscow Times, Peter Rutland, professor of government, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, writes about the Magnitsky Act recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which sanctions individuals deemed to be involved in the persecution and death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Russian critics condemn the Act as “part of some devious scheme to isolate Russia,” but Rutland writes: “Russia will never succeed in its campaign to be accepted as a regular member of the community of nations if it doesn’t realize that human rights really matter. Nor will there be any benefit from spending millions of dollars on campaigns to promote Russia’s ‘soft power’ if the message those media carry is a crude defense of indefensible actions by Russian officials.”

President Roth Speaks on Bloomberg EDU

In an interview with Jane Williams on Bloomberg EDU, President Michael S. Roth discussed the value of a broad liberal arts education, the challenges of keeping college affordable, Wesleyan’s new business model, and the University’s foray into online courses.

Cohen’s Book Is One of 2012’s Best

Publishers Weekly has named Assistant Professor of English Lisa Cohen’s book, All We Know: Three Lives, as one of the top 10 books of 2012. “Erudite and exquisitely written, Wesleyan professor Cohen’s first book, a triptych biography of three early-20th-century women—Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta, and Madge Garland—successfully renders both these memorable and surprising personalities and the era in which they struggled with questions and expectations regarding career, marriage, and sexuality.”

All We Know was also featured by The Wall Street Journal in its 2012 Gift Guide for biographies. The review states: “In fascinating, well-chosen detail, Ms. Cohen explores the careers of three notable women whose paths crossed frequently in the 1920s and 1930s but who aren’t well remembered today.”

Finally, The New York Times named All We Know in its 100 Notable Books of 2012 list.



Unferth Reviews ‘Too Good to Be True’

Associate Professor of English Deb Olin Unferth recently reviewed a new book by Benjamin Anastas in The New York Times. She writes: “Too Good to Be True is a Job-style lament, as much the story of Anastas as that of 21st-­century America (which also turned out to be too good to be true), with its great promises and subsequent disappointments: the bountiful credit that became mountainous debt; the ultra-innovative technology that now enslaves us; broken families; two-household children.”

Read more here.

Wesleyan Media Project Provides Political Ad Tracking, Analysis During Election

Matt Motta ’13 uses an online system to "code" political ads. Motta estimates that he has watched between 400 and 500 unique ad spots through his work on the Wesleyan Media Project.

Matt Motta ’13 uses an online system to “code” political ads. Motta estimates that he has watched between 400 and 500 unique ad spots through his work on the Wesleyan Media Project.

In the first presidential election since the Citizens United case transformed the campaign finance landscape, the number of ads airing in the presidential race alone surpassed one million by late October.

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

While 2012 saw a sharp increase in the number of outside interest group players in the election, and corresponding increases in the amount of spending from groups who do not have to disclose their donors, there remained one consistent source of transparency in advertising—the Wesleyan Media Project. A political ad tracking project headed by Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler and colleagues at Bowdoin College and Washington State University, the Wesleyan Media Project provided data and analysis for hundreds of news stories on the election.

“Federal reporting guidelines do not ensure that the public knows who is attempting to influence elections before they go to the ballot box,” Fowler says. “The Wesleyan Media Project’s goal is to provide publicly available information, in real-time, during elections to increase transparency and to better enable citizens to hold various interests accountable.”

The Wesleyan Media Project, established in 2010, is the successor to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, which tracked political ads between 1998 and 2008. The Wesleyan Media Project is supported this year by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, and Wesleyan University.

The Wesleyan Media Project purchases raw data on campaign advertising

Teter Delivers Lecture at the Vatican

Magda Teter

Magda Teter, the Jeremy Zwelling professor of Jewish studies, professor of history, recently gave a lecture at the Vatican. Delivered Nov. 13, the lecture was titled, “Reti di potere: gli ebrei e l’accesso all a Santa Sede nell’eta modern,” or  “Networks of Power: Jews and their Access to the Holy See in the Early Modern Period.”

Teter’s talk was part of a lecture series organized in collaboration between the University “La Sapienza” in Rome and the Vatican’s Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Archivio della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede), previously called the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Dancey’s Op-Ed on Linda McMahon Published in Hartford Courant

On Nov. 11, The Hartford Courant published an op-ed by Assistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey about Republican Linda McMahon’s second unsuccessful bid for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate Seat, despite spending more than $40 million in her campaign against Democrat Chris Murphy. Dancey writes that McMahon’s loss is reflective of a larger, nationwide decline in split-ticket voting. That is, voters now are much more loyal to one party, and less likely to choose candidates for President and Congress that belong to different political parties.