Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.

Weissman to Step Down As Provost, VP; Jacobsen to Serve as Interim

Ruth Weissman

Ruth Weissman

This summer, Ruth Weissman will be stepping down as provost and vice president for academic affairs and returning to her role as the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences. Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics, dean of the Social Sciences and Director of Global Initiatives, has accepted a one-year appointment as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“Ruth’s efforts over the past two years in support of the faculty, in overseeing the curriculum, and in exercising administrative leadership have been extraordinary,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth in an all-campus e-mail. “Wesleyan has been fortunate indeed to have had her in this role.”

Anthropology Major Cooper ’15 Co-Creates Interactive Campus Map

DeNeile Cooper '15 is majoring in anthropology, minoring in archaeology and working toward a certificate in environmental studies. She and three other members of the Class of 2015 created an interactive map for the Wesleyan that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner. 

DeNeile Cooper ’15 is majoring in anthropology, minoring in archaeology and working toward a certificate in environmental studies. She and three other members of the Class of 2015 created an interactive map for the Wesleyan that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner.

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak to DeNeile Cooper from the Class of 2015.

Q: DeNeile, as part of a GIS (Geographical information systems) service-learning project, you’ve been working on a interactive campus map project. What is the purpose of the map?

A: We wanted to create an interactive map for the Wesleyan website that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner. The interactive map not only illustrates every building on campus to-date, but color codes them according to their usage, for example, purple buildings represent dormitory halls, blue buildings represent academic buildings and offices, and yellow buildings represent woodframe houses. In addition, each building can be clicked on to reveal a pop-up with a photo of the building, details about its contents, and links for the building’s department or office contacts. We really wanted to synthesize the strengths of the current online map with the abilities available to an interactive map.

The interactive map provides information about every building on campus.

The interactive map provides information about every building on campus. Each building is clickable and contains a pop-up that gives a photo of the building, a description, and external links to the departments, staff members, and web pages that further explain the building’s content and contact information.

Q: How did you come up with this idea? Was there a need?

A: In our Introduction to GIS course, Professor Kim Diver (visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences) had been teaching us how to use GIS online to make interactive maps, or “Story Maps” that are accessible to the public. Our group, consisting of Katy Thompson ’15, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Chloe Holden ’15 and myself, worked with Wesleyan’s Physical Plant to create two updated versions of the Wesleyan campus map. We thought that this would be a perfect way to update the current map found on the Wesleyan website. We wanted to give the viewers the option to have both an aerial view of the campus and a detailed photograph and description of each building.

Q: How does the interactive campus map differ from other Wesleyan maps?

A: The interactive map takes the concept from the current online map of conveying an aerial view of the campus, but color codes the buildings by their use purpose. We hope that these colors makes it easier for new students and parents to more quickly locate the building that they want to find. Each building is clickable and contains a pop-up that gives a photo of the building, a description, and external links to the departments, staff members, and web pages that further explain the building’s content and contact information. Alternatively, the viewer can peruse each building by clicking the white up and down arrows located on the far left side of the screen. Our map is also unique in that we have extended the scope from the current map to include the many different athletic fields Wesleyan owns, and even Physical Plant and Long Lane Farm. We hope that this new map breadth will help new students get a more complete understanding of the full extension of our campus and the activities we have to offer here.

Humanities Hosts Queer Art Poetics Conference April 23-25

queerartconference(By Lily Baggot ’15)

Later this month, scholars from across the country will gather on campus for the Queer/Art/Poetics Conference. The conference, which will run from April 23-24, is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and will address questions such as “What does theory do when it takes queer art seriously?” and “How does queer theory remain artful while unpacking the objects, strategies and politics of queer aesthetics?”

Othon, Taylor Students Published in Physical Chemistry Letters

Christina Othon and Erika Taylor, along with physics graduate student Nimesh Shukla, Lee Chen ’15, Inha Cho ’15 and Erin Cohn ’15, are the co-authors of a paper titled “Sucralose Destabilization of Protein Structure” published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, March 2015. Othon is assistant professor of physics and was PI on the paper. Taylor is assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies.

Sucralose is a commonly employed artificial sweetener that behaves very differently than its natural disaccharide counterpart, sucrose, in terms of its interaction with biomolecules. This research suggests that people may need to think about the impact of sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) on their proteins.

Watch Othon explain associated research in this video. She speaks around the 34 minute mark.

President Roth Congratulates Cardinal Achievement Award Recipients

Wesleyan President Michael Roth spoke to Cardinal Achievement Award recipients March 31.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth spoke to Cardinal Achievement Award recipients March 31.

An employee may be eligible for the Cardinal Achievement Award once each calendar year.

An employee may be eligible for the Cardinal Achievement Award once each calendar year.

#THISISWHY

Wesleyan President Michael Roth hosted a reception for Cardinal Achievement Award recipients March 31 in Zelnick Pavilion. Since the program began in 2012, more than 78 employees have received an award.

“I’m so glad I had the opportunity to thank our staff members for their exemplary achievements,” Roth said. “Their dedication to Wesleyan and their willingness to go well beyond what is expected of them make Wesleyan an extraordinary institution. They are why!”

Wesleyan Community Celebrates Students During Foss Hill Day

Foss Hill Day at Wesleyan, April 2, 2015. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

Foss Hill has been a central part of the Wesleyan experience for generations of students. Pictured, students enjoy the afternoon on Foss Hill during Foss Hill Day April 2.

More than 860 alumni made gifts on Foss Hill Day.

More than 860 members of the Wesleyan community contributed to the success of Foss Hill Day.

On April 2, the Wesleyan community celebrated the inaugural Foss Hill Day. The theme of the day was “Foss Hill: Our Common Ground.” Foss Hill reminds Wesleyan students and alumni of their common purpose: supporting students and the future of liberal arts education at Wesleyan.

On campus, Wesleyan hosted an information booth behind Usdan University Center. Staff passed out flying disks and other Foss Hill Day memorabilia, provided cake, games and raffle prizes.

More than 860 members of the Wesleyan community contributed to the success of Foss Hill Day. Tom Kelly ’73 provided a challenge grant to inspire others to give.

Click image to view full Foss Hill: A Brief History infographic.

Click image to view full Foss Hill: A Brief History infographic.

“I want to thank everyone who celebrated Foss Hill Day by participating in campus activities, sharing thoughts online, volunteering time, or making a gift,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “Whenever you give — on Foss Hill Day or at any time — you make the Wesleyan experience better for our students and help ensure that they are prepared to make a positive difference in the world.”

Learn more about the event on the Foss Hill Day website.

More photos of Foss Hill Day are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Foss Hill Day at Wesleyan, April 2, 2015. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

Filmmaker Fisher is Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies

David Fisher is the Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies. (Photo courtesy of David Fisher)

David Fisher teaches When Private Meets Public, a course focusing on Israeli documentaries. (Photo courtesy of David Fisher)

(Story by Lily Baggott ’15)

Last spring, filmmaker David Fisher presented his film, Six Million and One, at the Wesleyan Israeli Film festival. After viewing Fisher’s film and presentation, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies Dalit Katz subsequently invited the filmmaker to teach a course as a scholar in residence this spring. Currently the Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies, Fisher teaches When Private Meets Public, a course focusing on Israeli documentaries.

“[In this course,] I’m trying to decipher with my students the development and consequently the success of the Israeli documentary films worldwide,” Fisher noted. “They learn how to interpret documentary genres and place them in their proper cinematic, artistic and political contexts.”

Fisher’s own work provides discussion material for his students.

“I use my own documentaries to help shed light on hidden corners of the Israeli society, such as cattle ranchers in the Golan Heights,” he said. “My critically acclaimed family trilogy, however, I use to discuss the universality of very personal films and how both private stories and autobiographical essays meet the public.”

Fisher’s films have won various awards and include Mostar Round-Trip and Love Inventory, which form a triology together with Six Million and One. He is currently working on two films, a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored documentary on the revival of Yiddish and another film focusing on the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. The filmmaker served as Director General of the New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and TV and has served on various international film festival juries. Before coming to Wesleyan, he also taught courses at various institutions in America and Israel.

“Truthfully, I have always been more interested in the creation of documentaries than teaching about them,” Fisher noted. “…That being said, teaching at Wesleyan was [a] unique experience for me because, for the first time, I didn’t teach film majors but merely interested students. …The students are coming from a variety of different fields (astronomy being one of them) and enrich the discussion to unprecedented levels. …In the case of screening some of my own films, it is interesting for me—as both a filmmaker and as a scholar—to face questions I’ve never been asked before.”

Baerman’s Ensemble Performs The Rock World Premiere During Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend April 22-25

The 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend will take place April 22-25 at the Center for the Arts. Noah Baerman, visiting instructor in music and jazz ensemble coach, will present the Music Department Colloquium on April 22.

Pianist, composer, educator and author Noah Baerman, visiting instructor in music and jazz ensemble coach, will present the Music Department Colloquium on April 22 as part of the 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend.

The Center for the Arts will host the 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend April 22-25.

On April 22, Noah Baerman, visiting instructor in music and jazz ensemble coach, will present the Music Department Colloquium at 4:15 p.m. in the Daltry Room, Music Rehearsal Hall Room 003. The event is free. During the colloquium, Baerman will discuss the philosophical origins and musical development of his suite The Rock and the Redemption in anticipation of its premiere on April 25. 

Art on Display at Senior Thesis Exhibition

View the talents of senior art studio majors during the 2015 Senior Thesis Exhibition at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through April 19. The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is free of charge.

In the final year of study, each student develops a focused body of work, and mounts a solo exhibition in the Zilkha Gallery. This exhibition is the culmination of a two-semester thesis tutorial, and is developed in close critical dialogue with a faculty advisor. The exhibition is critiqued by the faculty advisor and a second critic, and must be passed by a vote of the faculty of the art studio program. The senior thesis exhibition provides a rare opportunity for the student to engage in a rigorous, self-directed creative investigation and in a public dialogue about his/her work.

Photos of Week 1 and Week 2 of the Senior Thesis Exhibit are below:

RETURN TO: Paradise by Gabe Gordon ’15.

“RETURN TO: Paradise” by Gabe Gordon ’15.

Alejandro, Alumnae Collaborate on Choreography Project

Pedro Alejandro

Pedro Alejandro

Pedro Alejandro, associate professor of dance, Brittany Delany ’09 and Sarah Ashkin ’11 are collaborating on a new choreography project in New Mexico.

The project titled “Chancy Dancing” will premier at 8 p.m. April 11 at the Railyard Performance Center in Santa Fe. Marcela Oteiza, assistant professor of theater, is developing the visual design of the work.

The first half of the performance features Ashkin and other local choreographers’ most recent works spanning a spectrum of modern dance, dance theater and improvisational systems.