Olivia Drake

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN’T: Wesleyan’s Center for Community Partnerships hosted a Conference for Service-Learning titled “What Works and What Doesn’t” May 25-26. Staff members from Amherst, Bowdoin, Byrn Mawr, Connecticut College, Smith, Swarthmore, Trinity, University of Pennsylvania, Williams and Wesleyan convened to assess service-learning’s impact on students, administration and community partners.

The event was arranged by Professor of Sociology and Director of the Service-Learning Center Rob Rosenthal, pictured back left. Also pictured are Scott Laidlaw, director of the Community Outreach Program at Amherst College; Sharon Friedler, professor of dance at Swarthmore College; and Sarah Barr, associate director of the Holleran Center of Community Action and Policy at Connecticut College. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

Multicultural Upbringing Helps Director of Graduate Student Services Connect with Students


Marina Melendez, ’83, MALS ’88, is the director of Graduate Student Services and the program’s biggest advocate.
 
Posted 06/15/05

Marina Melendez ‘83 was raised by a German-speaking mother and Spanish-speaking father in Five Towns, Long Island, N.Y. She didn’t speak a word of English until the age of 7.

“After my first day of school, my mother said I came home and refused to speak any more German,” she says. “And from that day on, English would be the language in our home.”

Melendez, however, never let go of her German and Puerto Rican roots. During her undergraduate years at Wesleyan, she majored in Spanish and minored in German. And to this day, the director of Graduate Student Services (GSS) uses her multicultural background and language skills to aid current Wesleyan graduate students.

“The graduate students can feel comfortable with me, especially the international students, because I can relate to what they’re going through,” she says.

Only 15 graduate students received their undergraduate degree from Wesleyan. About half of Wesleyan 200 graduate students come from nations other than The United States.

Melendez became the director of GSS. Prior to that, she worked as a director of a job training program for welfare clients in New Britain, taught Spanish and history in Madison, Conn., and worked as a coordinator for the Community Action of Greater Middletown. During her college years at Wesleyan, Melendez supervised tutors and worked at the Adult Learning Center.

Social work also is a vital part of Melendez’s job here at Wesleyan. But her foremost role is serving as the primary advocate for graduate students, most of whom are pursuing master’s and Ph.D degrees in the sciences or music.

“So much of my work is to bring the Graduate Studies Program to the front of people’s minds,” she says. “They’re not a large group, but they’re here, and my job is to remind the Wesleyan community of their presence, and to improve the life and services for the students.”

Melendez works with other offices on campus makes sure the students have comfortable housing, are offered transportation if necessary, register for classes correctly and feel safe.

Latorya Hicks, a graduate student studying chemistry, says Melendez eased her transition from Lane College in Jackson, Tenn. to Wesleyan. At first, Hicks went to the director for questions pertaining to the bureaucracy of graduate school. This relationship has since flourished into a friendship.

 “Marina has truly been a great asset and was there to lend a listening ear when ever I needed to talk about the many trials of graduate school,” Hicks says. “I am eternally grateful to have met someone so dedicated, genuine, and concerned when it comes to the well-being of her graduate students.”

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Melendez has devoted more of her time towards immigration procedures. She insures that students arrive with all their necessary documents and visas.

“We have to keep their transition as smooth as possible so they can come here, settle in, and then focus on their career here,” she says. “These are students who want to be here. They are mature and are very appreciative about the education they are about to receive.”

Melendez says students are attracted to Wesleyan’s graduate program for its one-on-one access to faculty, small departments and nationally-recognized research facilities.

“If you want to get master’s or Ph.D in something general, there are several larger universities they can go to. But if you want to do specific research, this is where you want to be,” she says.

Melendez networks with Wesleyan’s staff and faculty to improve student services. She’s served on the Honor Code Task Force, Student Life Committee, Student of Color Perspectives and Action Committee (SOCPAC), the Executive Committee for the Administrators and Faculty of Color (AFCA) and Graduate Housing Committee. 

Dianna Dozier, associate director of Affirmative Action co-chaired AFCA with Melendez for several years.

“Marina is so wonderful to work with,” Dozier says. “ She is smart, funny, and cares so much about all students at Wesleyan, not just the grad students or students of color. The grad students are indeed lucky to have her looking out for them. Her efforts on behalf of all students are tireless.”

Although the individual departments oversee applications and admit the graduate students, Melendez and her assistant, Barbara Schukoske act as the registrar for these students. They also update student portfolios, make sure grades are posted, answer any questions students might have, either through e-mail, phone or in-person, and monitor a graduate student e-mail list serve and assist them through commencement procedures.

In addition, Melendez started and annually spearheads a graduate student orientation day in fall “to get all practical matters out of the way,” she says. “We want to acclimate students as quickly as possible.”

Michael Whaley, dean of Student Services, says he often collaborates with Melendez to better understand the needs and issues of students of color, and improve the campus community for all students. They discuss graduate and undergraduate issues alike.

“I appreciate her collaborative spirit and respect the passion and dedication she brings to working with the graduate student population,” Whaley says. “Her love for Wesleyan and commitment to making this a better community for the students extend beyond her own specific duties and responsibilities. I value her opinions.”

Melendez monitors the success of her department by the number of inquiring students.

“In the fall, students are still confused and they come in with all sorts of questions and problems,” she says. “By spring, we don’t see them too much, and that tells us that we’ve done a good job. That means they’ve adjusted.”

Melendez has continued her own education as well. She earned a MALS degree from Wesleyan in 1988, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D in educational studies at the University of Connecticut 

Melendez met her partner, Joseph Virgadula ‘80 at Wesleyan. The couple has two boys, Louis, 15, and Tomas, 13, and live in Middlefield. When she’s not attending their baseball, soccer and Lacrosse games, mother Marina is busy cooking or gardening.

This busy lifestyle has taught Melendez a life-lesson that she would like to pass on.

“If I ever do end up teaching, it will have to be a class on time management. I’ve gotten very good at it,” she says, smiling.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Hughes Fellows Test-Drive the Life of a Research Scientist


 
Summer Hughes Fellows Maiko Kondo ’07 (top) and Brandon Stein ’07 (left) work on their research projects in Wesleyan labs. Hughes Fellows have 10 weeks to finish a research project of their choice. Faculty members provide guidance and instruction.
Posted 06/15/05

In Wesleyan’s Mukerji Lab, Maiko Kondo ’07 studies peptides modeled after those found in Alzheimer’s plaques. Nearby in the Flory Lab, Brandon Stein ’07 examines nuclear functions of telomere-associated proteins.

As Wesleyan University Summer Hughes Fellows, Kondo and Stein have 10 weeks to complete their research, work one-on-one with a faculty advisor and participate in a variety of Hughes activities. They’re among 49 students who received grants from the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Michael Weir, professor of biology and chair of the Biology Department is the director of the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences. Laurel Appel, visiting associate professor of biology and senior research associate is the program coordinator.

Weir says the Hughes Fellows can test-drive being a research scientist in one of the Wesleyan research groups. This experience, however, comes with the successes and disappointments of exploring a new field of science.

“When you come in to the lab in the morning, you don’t really know what you are going to find out by the end of the day or week — that’s the excitement, and sometimes frustration, of doing full-time research,” Weir says.

The annual summer program is in its 17th year at Wesleyan and immerses undergraduates in a research topic that fascinates them without the time constraints and workload inherent to a full load of classes normally taken during the academic semesters.

Thirty-three faculty members are on hand to help guide the students’ research. This year, students are studying topics as diverse as “Serotonin and its Effect on Dentate Gyrus Neurogenesis,” “Patterns in hiring practices for tenure-track positions in the geosciences,” and “Investigating the Beginnings of Chimpanzee Research in the United States,” among several others.

“Research training during the Hughes Summer Program allows undergraduates a valuable opportunity to make serious strides of progress on a project, to have a positive experience doing full-time research, and to possibly solidify a desire to pursue a career in the experimental sciences,” says Stein’s summer advisor and Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Mark Flory.

Kondo decided to pursue a degree in molecular biology and biochemistry after suffering from allergies her entire life. Ultimately, she wants to know why this is, and how people can be cured.

“As I studied further in this field, I started to hope that I would be able to conduct research, exploring the relations between allergy and the immune system in my future,” she says. “The summer research program gives me a good opportunity to learn about research techniques, which are needed to approach my goal.”

In addition to research, the Hughes Summer Program includes a special day-long workshop for all interested students, faculty, and staff on an emerging topic in the Life Sciences. This year, the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange presents, “Breaking Boundaries: Scientists and Dancers, Investigations and Choreograph.”

The summer program also includes a seminar series given by outside speakers who design their talks for the undergraduate audience of varying scientific backgrounds and fields. This year’s speakers include Margaret Livingstone of Harvard Medical School; Anna Martini of Amherst College; Mikhail Levin of the University of Connecticut Health Center; Katrina Catron of Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals; Remus Th. Dame of Vrije Universiteit; and Monica Carson of the University of California.

Although the research is intense, the program allows ample socialization time. Two picnics, a student-run movie series, softball league, field trips, access to the Freeman Athletic Center and drop-in lunches are offered for participants.

Students applying for the 2006 Hughes Program must do so by March 3, 2006. The grant budget allows for 18 stipends, but with generous contributions from participating departments and faculty, as well as Financial Aid funds, the program can accept between 40 and 50 students each year. Students are responsible for their own housing.

The program concludes August 5 with a poster session.

For more information contact Maureen Snow, administrative assistant for the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, at msnow@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

South College Renovation, Bell Addition Begins in July


In July, South College will receive eight new bells. Scaffolding will surround parts of the building, as crews install the bells and remodel the belfry. Sections of the white panels will be removed, however the copper-top will stay in tact. 
 
Posted 06/15/05

The South College belfry will receive eight new bells and a facelift during the next several months.

This renovation will add eight new bells to the current 16-bell array. This will upgrade the status of the Wesleyan bells from a chime (10-22 bells) to that of a carillon (23 or more).

“Now we’ll have more notes, so we can play more songs, and more complicated songs,” said six-year chimemaster Peter Frenzel, professor emeritus of German studies. “We’re moving out of the minor league of bell playing and into the major league.”

Staff from Physical Plant will replace the roof within the bell tower prior to the bell addition. Staff will paint and restore the exterior railings, louvers and wood portions of the tower. Painting of the interior stairwell will also occur.

Construction will begin in mid-July and conclude in September. The bell’s keyboard has already been temporarily dismantled.

The actual work to the bells is expected to take six weeks. The new bells will be cast by Petit & Fritsen, the Royal Dutch Bell Foundry in The Netherlands, and then shipped to Cincinnati via New Orleans and the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. They’ll later be completed and fine-tuned and installed by the Verdin Bell Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Peter Staye, associate director of Physical Plant’s Academic and Administrative is coordinating the exterior renovation. The new bells, he says, will be hoisted up by crane and installed through back panels in the belfry.

The copper-top dome of South College will not be removed or altered.

Eagle Rivet Roofing Services of West Hartford will erect all scaffolding around all four sides of the bell tower. The scaffolding will remain in place until the carillon is complete.

Acquiring a carillon for the university has been in the planning stages since 1999. The new bells, which will greatly expand the music being played, were all donated by Wesleyan friends, alumni and parents.

During construction, all entrances, exits and stairways in South College will be open.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Anthropology Professor’s Exhibit on Display in International Museum


This photograph of a West Bengal wedding altar by Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology and film studies, and Lina Fruzzetti of Brown University, is on display in The Museum of Cultures in Helsinki, Finland. It is part of an exhibit titled “Divine Gifts: Marriage and ritual in rural West Bengal.”
 
Posted 06/15/05

In India, marriage carries great social and cultural meanings. It ensures the continuity of the male line and it is vital to the maintenance of caste status.

Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology and professor of film studies, has spent the past three years traveling to Bishnupur, West Bengal researching marriage rituals. His results – documented with photographs and objects – is currently featured in The Museum of Cultures in Helsinki, Finland.

It’s titled “Divine Gifts: Marriage and Ritual in Rural West Bengal.”

“Divine Gifts” is funded by a three-year grant from the Finnish Academy of Social Sciences and is supported by the University of Helsinki.

“I first went to Bishnupur in 1967, and I wanted to go back to see the changes that took place over this 40-year period,” Östör says. “I’m interested in how the festivals, temples and rituals are changing, and the bazaar’s economic system.”

Östör was part of a three-member research team. His wife, Lina Fruzzetti, professor of anthropology at Brown University and Sirpa Tenhunen, research fellow of social and cultural anthropology at University of Helsinki, also contributed to the show.

The exhibition features several pieces from Östör and Fruzzetti’s personal collections of more than 40 years. It includes a crown of the bridegroom, a conch-shell ritual trumpet, a golden cotton shawl used by the priest in weddings, a wedding ceremony bell, pitcher and oil lamp and a kerosene lantern manufactured from recycled materials.

These are all common parts of a Bengali marriage, known as a biye. The biye also consists of two major elements: the payment of the dowry and the gift of a virgin.

“The gift of a virgin is a ritual of sacred connotation, when the father gives his daughter to another kin group as a divine gift,” Östör says.

In addition, the exhibition represents kitchen and household utensils relating to women’s every-day life; home altars, deities and ritual objects used in daily worship; and Bankura terracotta horses and elephants given as votive gifts to the snake goddess Manasha.

On Sundays, four documentary films by Fruzzetti and Östör are open as part of the showing. Each film reveals the everyday life in rural West Bengal and of devotion to the goddess Manasha and the gods Krishna and Shiva.

Östör has also put his research into two books, each published by DC Publishers in 2004. He’s the author of “Calcutta Conversations” and “The Play of the Gods: Locality, Ideology, Structure, and Time in the Festivals of a Bengali Town,” an expanded edition of his older work.

“Divine Gifts” will close in October.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Director of Academic Computing Services and Digital Projects Partners with Faculty to Implement Technology in Teaching


Michael Roy, director of Academic Computing Services and Digital Projects, works on a project inside the Science Tower Lab.
 
Posted 06/15/05

Q: Mike, you’re director of Academic Computing Services and director of Digital Projects. What is your personal interest with technology?

A: My personal interest in technology comes from being curious about how technology can solve problems, about how it can improve our ability to understand the world, and how it can allow us to communicate that understanding in new and effective ways.

Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I came here in 1996 as the Humanities Computing Coordinator. A year later, I became Director of Academic Computing Services for Information Technology Services.  Last year, I added to my ITS job responsibilities in the Library as director of digital library projects.

Q: Where are your degrees from and in what?

A: I have a B.A. in philosophy from Dartmouth College and a M.A. from Duke in English.

Q: How did this lead you into working in information technology?

A:  After graduate school, I started working at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research on a large-scale publishing project, creating microfiche edition of literary materials from African-American periodicals from the late 19th and early 20th century. In order to manage this process, I had to learn a wide range of technologies that we were using to make the project more efficient. The Institute became increasingly interested in how emerging technologies – at the time, CD-ROMs and primitive multimedia programs – might serve as a platform for documenting and making available African American resources, and so allowed me to learn these new technologies as a form of research for the Institute. I had learned some computer programming in high school, and so this was an excellent chance to return to an area of interest that I had ignored during my college and graduate education.

Q: In Academic Computing Services, you provide Wesleyan faculty with resources to help them incorporate technology into their teaching and research. How would you describe what you do?

A: Academic Computing Services consists of three major groups: The first group is the Academic Computing Managers, who work directly with faculty and at times with students to use technology resources for in their teaching and research. The second group is Instructional Media Services, which focuses on classroom technology, the public computer labs, support for special events, and most recently, the WebTech program. The third group is the Learning Object Development Group, which is a grant-funded initiative that provides professional design and programming resources for faculty projects. My work mainly focuses on trying to make sure that these three groups work well together, have the resources that they need, and receive the support they need from the rest of ITS.  I also spend a fair amount of time working on collaborative projects with the Faculty Career Development Center with Andy Szegedy-Maszak on the Academic (Technology) Roundtable and our Teaching Matters booklet.

Q: What is your role as director of Digital Projects?

A: The work I do in the library on digital projects focuses on identifying ways that ITS resources can be brought to bear on library initiatives, and in identifying opportunities where ITS and the Library can work together on projects that will improve the campus computing and information environment. Examples include work on a new facility that will open in the fall in Olin library, work on Information Literacy, which is one of Wesleyan’s new key capabilities, and work on building a catalog of departmental resources — books, videos, etc. — that can be viewed via the library Web site.

Q: What are a couple examples of ways faculty members are using these services?

A: More and more faculty are using technology in some aspect of their teaching and research. Part of that is because of our investment in putting technology into the classroom. Part of that is because of changes in the way that academics do their work that are happening on a national scale. Most faculty are very pragmatic about how they incorporate technology. They rightfully don’t want to invest too much time in learning something new if they can’t see an obvious benefit to that new thing. That said, there are many examples of Wesleyan faculty who are doing new things in their classrooms and in their research:

  • In the Economics Department, Tanya Rosenblat and Alberto Isgut have developed a very interesting game called the Ricardian Explorer that they use to teach their students about comparative advantage and international trade.
  • David Schorr in the Art Department teaches typography and design in our interactive computer classrooms.
  • Pete Pringle in chemistry uses Web-based multiple choice questions to help his students review the material he has presented in class.
  • Barry Chernoff in the Earth & Environmental Sciences Department uses nearly every gizmo in SC150 to enliven his large lecture classes with the use of rich media that he draws upon from a wide range of sources and in a wide range of formats.
  • Madgalena Teter is developing a rich resource for a working group that she is part of that is studying early modern Jewish history, using the Web to provide access to primary source materials, translations and commentary on those resources, and video of discussions.
  • Cecilia Miller is creating with Alan Nathanson a rich set of annotated links to materials for her students in her Intellectual History courses to use.

One of the most interesting things about all of this is that the way we have set up our environment here. There are no doubt dozens and dozens examples of effective and innovative uses of technology that we don’t know about because of the fact that we provide technology that faculty can use without needing to necessarily ask for help.

Q: In some respect, are you teaching faculty?

A: I don’t think of our work as teaching faculty, but rather as a partnership where we work together to think about how various technologies might be put to appropriate use, and as importantly, which technologies should we not be pursuing. I don’t spend as much time as I would like working directly with the faculty, but do spend a fair amount of time in conversation about projects and initiatives.

Q: Are you a member of the Academic Technology Advisory Committee? What topics would be addressed at meetings?

A: I am a member of ATAC. We meet two or three times per semester. ATAC serves as a sounding board for us, providing us an opportunity to have conversations with faculty and other key constituents about our planning, and to evaluate our existing services. We spend time talking about our course management system called Blackboard, the classrooms and labs, software licensing and our wireless strategy.

Q: Are you a member of other professional organizations?

A: I participate in meetings of Nercomp, Educause, New Media Consortium, and MANE IT Network.  A group of us are also just about to launch a new project called Academic Commons, which will serve as a place for faculty, librarians, technologists, and other academic professionals to discuss the role of technology in liberal education.

Q: I understand you were an English instructor at Duke and a writer for the Dictionary of Global Culture in the early 90s. Are you still a writer?

A: Yes. Last fall I published a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The Open-Source Bazaar Makes Scholarship Available.” For the Academic Commons project, I am serving as the interviews editor, and so will be spending time interviewing people about their views on technology and liberal arts education. 

Q: You’re obviously very well-rounded. Why is this important to you and are you glad to be working at a liberal-arts college?

A: I like working at a liberal-arts college because it allows me to spend time working on a wide-range of topics, and to spend time with people who think hard about interesting things. I also believe that this kind of education is important, and so like to be able to play a small role in the way liberal arts education is transforming itself in the face of the challenges that this forms of education faces, from technology, but also from myriad other forces.

Q: What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of work?

A: I like to go running with my new puppy, play guitar not very well, and I coach soccer.

Q: Do you have family or pets?

A: My wife Lisa and I have three kids, Ethan, 12, Anna, 9 and Julian, 3. We have two cats, a puppy and a lizard.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Co-Curator of Cinema Archives has Interests in Film, History and Archives Management


Leith Johnson, co-curator of Cinema Archives, stands inside the Elia Kazan’s “America America” exhibit in the Rick Nicita Gallery. The exhibit closes June 21 and is available for viewing by appointment.
 
Posted 06/15/05

Q: Leith, you’re co-curator of Cinema Archives. When did you come to Wesleyan and were you hired in as co-curator?

A: I came to Wesleyan in 1990 as the associate curator. I was promoted to co-curator in 1999.

Q: Where do you have degrees from, and in what?

A: I received my B.A. and M.A. in history, both from UConn.

Q: Before coming to Wesleyan, what were you doing, or what led to working in cinema archives?

A: I was a business archivist working for two of the insurance companies in Hartford. Also, as a freelancer, I was writing histories of companies and institutions celebrating milestone anniversaries. The work was interesting enough, but the unique opportunity to work at the Cinema Archives allowed me to combine my interests in film, history, and archives management.

Q: The Cinema Archives provide a home for Wesleyan’s growing collections related to motion picture, television and history. What about this fascinates you?

A: I think what is most fascinating about the collections, which you might think deal only with film and television history, is that they actually illuminate so many other areas and disciplines. For example, the Frank Capra Collection includes material on his World War II activities of great interest to political scientists and historians. In the Elia Kazan Collection, there is correspondence among James Baldwin, Alex Haley and Kazan that discusses Malcolm X. Our Omnibus television series papers have original source material relating to John F. Kennedy, Thomas Hart Benton, Albert Einstein, and many other mid-20th-century giants. The Cinema Archives really fits in with Wesleyan’s long liberal arts tradition.

Q: Who uses the Cinema Archives?

A: We serve a large array of users with many interests: biographers, documentary film and television producers, museum exhibition curators, students, genealogists, you name it. Several weeks ago, for instance, some of our photographs of James Dean on the set of East of Eden were featured on an American Masters documentary on PBS. Unlike a library, we do not permit casual browsing, but we welcome serious inquiries from all parties. The archives is open by appointment only.

Q: Who is featured in the Archives?

A: Among the more famous individuals, we have the collections of Ingrid Bergman, Frank Capra, Jonathan Demme, Clint Eastwood, Federico Fellini, Elia Kazan, Martin Scorsese, and John Waters, plus a number of others.

Q: So, what would someone find, say if they want more information on Elia Kazan?

A: The Kazan Collection is an amazing resource. Let’s say you were doing a research topic on perhaps his most famous film, On the Waterfront. You could examine different drafts of the script as it evolved; Kazan’s personal, heavily annotated shooting script; his production notebook, in which he outlined his thoughts and feelings about the project as he developed it; correspondence from the scriptwriter, Budd Schulberg, and other key players; and other production materials. By the time you got done, you would have a tremendous insight into the finished work not to mention what was going on inside Kazan’s head.

Q: How does the Cinema Archives acquire its collections? Do you collect moving image materials, or mostly paper materials?

A: Mainly, through the personal contacts of Curator and Film Studies Dept. Chair Jeanine Basinger. We do not collect moving image materials as such. Although we do have some of that kind of thing within the collections, we are primarily a paper-based archive.

Q: Who do you ‘co-curate’ with?

A: That’s a funny question—I don’t think anyone has put that to me quite that way before. I work closely with Curator Jeanine Basinger on things like policy issues, donor relations and collection development. Our archivist, Joan Miller, is an indispensable member of our team and she and I collaborate on such matters as processing the materials, exhibitions, and reference and access topics.

Q: How do you exhibit materials and are there any upcoming events?

A: Sometimes, we lend materials to other institutions for exhibition. We also install shows in the Rick Nicita Gallery in the new Center for Film Studies. Through June 21, there’s an exhibition on Kazan’s film and novel, America America. After that, we’ll be hanging a show of classic movie posters and this fall, we’re planning an exhibition on Ingrid Bergman in Hollywood.

Q: Of all materials there, what’s your favorite and why?

A: I’ll make reference to the familiar saw that that’s like asking which is your favorite child—but I will say we have some things that really stand out for me, such as the Oscars that Ingrid Bergman won; a great self-caricature that Orson Welles sent to Kazan as a Christmas greeting; and the tremendous pink cockroach dress Ricki Lake wore in the John Waters film, Hairspray.

Q: Do you have an interest in cinema outside of work?

A: Sure, but I don’t go as often as perhaps I should. Working with such knowledgeable faculty and students—we talk about movies all the time over here—makes me constantly aware of so many movies that I ought to see, new and old, foreign and domestic, so that I spend a lot of time watching DVDs and old movie channels at home.

Q: What are your hobbies unrelated to cinema?

A: I’m interested in the magnet that Paris was for artists, writers, musicians, and other cultural figures in the 1920s. I play and compose music from time to time. On weekends, I take long bicycle rides with my wife through the New England countryside.

Q: Is there anything else I should know about you or the Cinema Archives?

A: Besides working for the Cinema Archives, I spend a great deal of time assisting with the running of the Center for Film Studies. I’m also an advisor to the Wesleyan Film Series. And one more thing I forgot to mention earlier: I collect scenes from movies in which archivists, archives, and historical records are depicted. So if you see one, please let me know.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Vice President for Finance and Administration Foresees Hikes, Travel in her Retirement


Marcia Bromberg, vice president of Finance and Administration, holds out a student housing map inside her office in North College. Bromberg, who spearheaded the new Fauver Field Residence Complex planning, is retiring from Wesleyan in July.
 
Posted 06/15/05

Marcia Bromberg will retire from her position as vice president for Finance and Administration in July, but she’ll always have her footprint here on the campus.

Bromberg came to Wesleyan in 2001 to oversee all financial and administrative areas of the university including accounting, budget, financial planning, investments, Human Resources and benefits, legal affairs and risk management. She’s also the watchdog to all auxiliary services and campus facilities.

“I’m interested in all these areas, and I’ve had experience in all of them, but never all at once until Wesleyan,” she says.

Before coming to Wesleyan, Bromberg held positions at Brown University, Tulane University and the University of Wisconsin. She also worked as vice president for Finance and Administration for The Nellie Mae Education Foundation in Massachusetts.

Her initial responsibility at Wesleyan was to create a more open and understandable set of processes and documents so those who look at the budget and have to use it to make decisions can understand it better. A year later, she refurbished the entire annual budget, financial statement and long-range planning materials. The documents needed extensive rewriting.

“Marcia brought a great deal of energy and transparency to her department. Even I could understand the documents,” says Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for University Relations. “The Campaign and the University benefited greatly from materials and presentations that were easy to understand. Our alumni and donors were particularly appreciative!”

She also developed a new administrative staff evaluation and compensation system that rewards employees for their accomplishments. The system makes connections between employees’ personal goals and goals of the university.

“When employees set goals, they’re helping the university obtain its goals,” Bromberg says. “So this way, employees’ bonuses are based on goal attainment.”

In between developing systems for the administration and staff, Bromberg focused on student issues, such as housing. For the past 15 years, Wesleyan officials have discussed ways to bring all students onto the campus, fulfilling the University’s goal of being an undergraduate residential campus.

“The Fauver Field Residence Complex solved the problem,” Bromberg says.

By next September, Wesleyan will be able to house all but 20 students on campus.

The new housing will be environmentally friendly, built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Additional undergraduate housing, small units being built to complement the wood-frame houses used by upper-class students, are both environmentally and budget-friendly, relying on clean, low-cost geothermal heating and cooling.

As part of Bromberg’s energy conservation initiatives, Bromberg worked with faculty, staff and the Environmental Organizer’s Network (EON) to diligently look for ways to push the use of renewable energy. During her tenure, Wesleyan has purchased and implemented clean-energy electric vehicles, held its first Environmental Awareness Day in March, and planned recycling activities around campus. Most recently, Wesleyan has agreed to support Middletown’s efforts to become a Clean Energy Community by agree to purchase 1 gigawatt hour of electricity from renewable energy sources or “green energy.” This purchase will allow the city to receive a free photovoltaic cell to promote new energy sources.

“These are all things the students and staff have pushed for,” Bromberg says. “We have many environmentally-aware people on this campus who want to reduce energy usage. The faculty and staff at Wesleyan recycle like crazy.”

Bromberg also hired a director of auxiliary services, and redeveloped the university’s bookstore to provide the faculty and students with significantly improved services to meet their academic needs. She also developed the Master Planning Executive Committee and the campus’s master plan to insure a consistent look throughout campus.

“I’m so pleased that I got to be part of Wesleyan’s development,” she says. “This university has gone through a strategic planning period and emerged as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country.”

Bromberg sat on several other committees including the Space Committee, Compensation Task Force, Financial Aid Committee, Enrollment Group, the Compensation and Benefits Faculty Committee, Wesleyan Landmarks Advisory Board, the Dining Advisory Committee and the Fauver Field Residences Project Team. She’s also on four board committees with administrative staff including the Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Facilities Working Group and Real Estate Working Group.

“Marcia Bromberg has a service orientation at her core,” says Justin Harmon, director of University Communications. “She works in partnership with her administrative colleagues to serve the needs of faculty and students and the interests of the university as a whole. She is resourceful and proactive, and she has innovated across the broad range of her responsibilities.”

Gil Skillman, associate professor of economics and tutor for the College of Social Studies was on the search committee that interviewed and ultimately recommended hiring Bromberg.

“Her role, in retrospect, was to bring a fresh perspective to financial management at a time, particularly with its capital campaign and new facilities plan, that Wesleyan really needed it,” Skillman says. “I certainly got a sense that Wesleyan grew on her and that she was genuinely committed to seeing Wesleyan’s new endeavors succeed. I felt she brought energy and imagination to the position.”

Bromberg will leave Wesleyan in July 1, on her four-year anniversary here. She’s already planning her retirement with a lower-48 state car trip with her husband, Bill Nelson, “the loud guy at Wesleyan’s athletic games.”

“We’re going to hike as many high points in every state that we can. Well, not in the West. We know our limits,” says Bromberg, who has already hiked the 6,288-high Mount Washington in New Hampshire and the 1,952-foot high “Tim’s Hill” in Wisconsin.

Along the way she may visit with her children, Tam, 31, in Chicago and Sarah, 25, in New York.

After her cross-country trek, the Miami, Fla. native plans on moving back to Ashville, N.C., where she already has a residence. There, she aspires to learn the fiddle, garden and start a Web page.

“I’ll be away, but I will always keep in touch with my friends at Wesleyan,” she says. “I tend to stay in touch with people.”

Looking back, Bromberg says her biggest accomplishment was not a new building or committee. It’s was her ability to build a team out of a department.

“When I got here, I asked how often everyone in the department met, and they said, ‘never,’” she says. “Since then I tried to hold meetings at least every other week, and one-on-one. Now everyone has bonded and they support each other and their projects. I’m proud to leave behind a team, and I hope they continue to be a team when I am gone.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

“The Wesleyan Experience” is Wesleyan – Virtually


 
Wesleyan has launched a new virtual tour for the campus community and prospective students. Above, an interactive Wesleyan campus map highlights 50 campus buildings. At right, a part of a guided tour by a Wesleyan student.
Posted 06/15/05

Take a trip from Freeman Athletic Center to the Center for Fine Arts, locate all the wi-fi sites in between, find a place to eat, learn a little Wesleyan trivia and even see what’s happening on campus – all without ever leaving your computer.

A new Web site called “The Wesleyan Experience” http://www.wesleyan.edu/virtualtour/ gives users a chance to do all this a more. The site combines online tours with interactive-campus-wide information using maps, audio, digital video and text presentations.

The site was launched in May after more than a year of planning by the Office of University Communications and the Office of Admission.

“Originally, we wanted the virtual tour to give prospective students a glimpse into the day-in-the-life of a Wesleyan student,” says Jennifer Carlstrom, Web manager and virtual tour project manager. “But when we started building this, and adding campus maps and trivia, it became a tool for the whole campus community.”

From “The Wesleyan Experience” home page, users have the option of seeing the day’s events, going on campus-tours guided by three different students clicking into campus maps for information about specific campus locations and services.

The campus map section of the site includes illustrations of all Wesleyan buildings. When a user mouses over a structure, the building’s name appears.

Clicking on the building produces a pop-up window describing the facility’s purpose. Photographs accompany all descriptions.

Users can obtain physical and factual information regarding all 50 buildings on campus. Events of the day are noted, computer labs and wireless zones are marked and the location of all the campus public safety call boxes are displayed. Users can quickly find locations and descriptions of the campus’s seven eateries. A campus-wide Wesleyan trivia map is also available and provides fun and interesting facts that may come in handy as Wesleyan approaches its 175th anniversary.

The student-hosted tours offer a different view of campus. Each tour is told from the particular student’s perspective, mixing audio, video and still photography. The guides lead viewers through their typical day of classes, sports practice, social events and extracurricular activities.

The guided tour section of the site features three students, Nathan Victoria ’05, Micaela Gutierrez, ’07 and Al Asante ’07. Viewers can sit through Nathan’s Wesleyan Student Assembly meeting; speak French with Micaela; or attend football practice and choir concert with Al.

“Nathan, Micaela and Al’s daily routines are snapshots of what typical student life is like at Wesleyan University,” says Laura Perillo, associate director of media relations and copywriter for the project. “No two students share the same Wesleyan experience – each is quite unique – and our goal with the virtual tour is to highlight that for our perspective students.”

Carlstrom and Perillo, along with World Wide Web administrator Pat Leone, Web designer Ryan Lee and former Web designer Sasha Foppiano designed the site. William Holder, director of Publications and David Low, associate director of Publications, assisted with the writing and editing; and William Burkhart, university photographer, photographed images used on the site.

Nancy Meislahn, dean of Admission and Financial Aid provided funds for the project. Charlotte Lazor, associate director of the Admission Information System, and Kristen McQueeny, program and events coordinator for the Office of Admission, helped coordinate and conceptualize the site.

“Wesleyan had a virtual tour before, that basically replicated our walking tour,” Lazor says. “It was time to bring this tour into the 21st century. Now the virtual tour isn’t just a tour – it has many other dimensions.”

The site uses Macromedia Flash technology, a tool used for creating interactive and animated Web sites. Avenue A Razorfish, an interactive services firm, aided with the site’s structure and back-end Flash technology.

“Since we were working with a younger audience, we thought we would create a flashy, interactive Web site,” Carlstrom says. “We’re competing with movies and video games, so we thought by using Flash technology, we’d be able to draw the audience in, and keep them interested.”

The site will be reevaluated during fall semester. The site’s creators are planning to add incoming freshman as tour guides and add additional interactive buildings. 

“I hope the new virtual tour site is an easy, fun and interactive means by which perspective Wesleyan students can learn about academic and campus life,” Perillo says. “Perspectives are able to closely analyze different avenues that our Wesleyan students are known for exploring. It’s our hope that the virtual tour site is just as dynamic as each of our students.”

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Trustees Adopt New Strategic Plan


Posted 06/15/05

Wesleyan’s trustees formally adopted a new strategic plan for the university at their meeting on May 20. “Engaged with the World: A Strategic Plan for Wesleyan University, 2005-2010” (www.wesleyan.edu/wesleyanplanning/) sets ambitious goals for academic and student life programming and for campus renewal, according to President Doug Bennet.

The new plan is the product of almost two years’ dialogue among faculty, students, staff, alumni and trustees. It notes institutional advances that resulted from the implementation of its 1998 precursor, “Strategy for Wesleyan,” and the success of the $281 million Wesleyan Campaign, including the addition of 20 faculty across the disciplines, as well as advances in curriculum and pedagogy, student aid, and campus facilities.

“Engaged with the World” describes the ongoing work of the faculty to implement the curricular innovations envisioned in “Wesleyan Education for the 21st Century,” as well as to prepare students to engage in an increasingly global society. It emphasizes the need to encourage more students to participate in the sciences as an integral part of their preparation for citizenship.

The new plan identifies programmatic priorities to be implemented according to the university’s future fund-raising success. These initiatives include:

·         the addition of eight new faculty positions to meet student demand for courses and majors, particularly in the social sciences, including psychology;

·         an increase in grant aid for the most disadvantaged students;

·         the addition of a dean of student academic resources to the Dean of the College Office;

·         endowing the Center for Faculty Career Development and the Service Learning Center;

·         further increasing aid grants to reduce loans as a percentage of each student’s cost of attendance;

·         providing additional financial support for distinguished visitors and campus events planned by faculty and students for the residence halls and the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center.

The new plan establishes priorities for renovation and construction of campus buildings. These projects constitute the third phase of the facilities plan developed as part of the Strategy for Wesleyan and confirmed during the Facilities Masterplan study in 2002/03. They include a new molecular and life sciences building; renovations to Davenport Hall, Olin Library and the Davison Art Center; the second phase of the Center for Film Studies, and the rehabilitation of the old squash building as a museum to house Wesleyan’s collections of art and material culture. These projects will proceed as targeted fund-raising efforts make them possible.

The plan cites a crucial need to increase Wesleyan’s per capita endowment. One of the university’s highest priorities must be to support a growing proportion of essential and predictable costs (such as faculty salaries and financial aid) through the endowment, the plan states. Over the long term, increasing endowment in this manner will increase Wesleyan’s budgetary flexibility and reduce its dependence on tuition. “We must take every opportunity to increase the endowment through new gifts, careful stewardship, and successful investments,” according to the plan.

In order to implement these initiatives, Wesleyan will need to raise funds even beyond the levels achieved through the Wesleyan Campaign.

“Thanks to the success of the campaign and to the extraordinary work of our faculty, staff and volunteers, I feel very confident about our ability to implement the priorities outlined in ‘Engaged with the World,'” says Bennet. “This is an ambitious plan, and it merits our best efforts on behalf of the university.”

 
By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications

Wesleyan’s Endowment Performs in Top Quartile


Posted 06/15/05

In the year ending March 31, 2005, Wesleyan’s endowment has performed in the top quartile of schools with similar-sized portfolios, according to data collected by the Office of Finance and Administration. Wesleyan’s return of 11.7 percent was not only 2.2 percentage points above the 25th percentile for peer schools, it was almost twice the S&P 500 return for the same period.

These results reflect a series of improvements in Wesleyan’s portfolio management, according to Vice President for Finance and Administration Marcia Bromberg.

In 1997 the university developed new endowment guidelines that divided the activities of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees’ Portfolio Subcommittee, into asset-class working groups. The Board engaged alumni who are experts in the various asset class fields—such as marketable equities, fixed income, private equity and hedge funds—to participate in choosing and reviewing managers and finding investment opportunities. Wesleyan hired a professional director of investments, Tom Kannam, to work with the Portfolio Subcommittee to identify, vet and monitor manager results. Kannam has provided data and detailed analysis that allow the Portfolio Subcommittee to better assess asset allocation decisions and identify segments of the market ripe for investment opportunities.

Wesleyan’s new strategic plan recognizes the importance of adding new gifts to the endowment. The university has set an annual goal of new gifts equal to 1.5 percent of beginning endowment value. That goal will increase over the next several years to 3 percent of beginning endowment value.

While Wesleyan’s endowment lags those of competitors among the elite liberal arts colleges, the reason has never been investment performance, according to Bromberg. To understand why the university’s endowment fell relative to this group since the early 1980s, Bromberg’s staff compared Wesleyan’s endowment over a 15-year period (1983-1998) with six of its strongest peer liberal arts colleges. Wesleyan began the period with the second-largest endowment and ended with the smallest. Reviewing investment results, endowment spending formulas and new gifts to the endowment, it became clear that Wesleyan’s average to above-average investment performance was not the reason the endowment lost ground. Nor was spending, although the university spent marginally more than its peers. The key to the relative decline was that the other schools added significant new gifts to their endowments during this period and Wesleyan did not.

The recent success of the university’s fund-raising efforts, as evidenced by the $281 million Wesleyan Campaign, and the commitment to building the endowment through new gifts will be crucial to strengthening Wesleyan’s relative financial position, according to Bromberg. Improved investment performance will both maximize the leverage of gifts to the endowment and increase donor confidence in Wesleyan, she said.

 
By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications

Construction Begins on University Center; Parking, Walkways Altered


A new, 18-foot-wide, gravel access road will run along the Usdan University Center construction zone. An 8-foot chain fence will go up this week. A new gravel access road will be put in for foot traffic, handicap, emergency, service and construction vehicles only.
 
Posted 06/07/05

It’s hammer time.

Starting this month, construction for the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center begins.

Alan Rubacha, project manager, is setting up an 8-foot chain-link fence that will surround the old Alumni Athletic Building and Fayerweather Gymnasium. The driveway and cement walkway that currently provide access from Wyllys Avenue to the lot behind South and North College will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians as of Monday, June 13. The lot itself will be closed except for handicap access and service. Parking has been reassigned to the lot adjacent to the Office of Admission and to the lot behind the Center for Film Studies.

Foot traffic will be diverted around the “L” shaped construction site. The pathway along College Row, between Wyllys Avenue and Judd Hall will not be affected.

Foot traffic west of Fayerweather will be diverted onto a temporary gravel access road. The road, 18-feet wide, will cut from Wyllys Avenue across Andrus Field behind Fayerweather and end in the lot behind South and North College. This access road will be for foot traffic, handicap, emergency, service and construction vehicles only.

A portion of Fayerweather, the old Alumni Athletic Building and power plant will be demolished to make room for the Usdan University Center.

Between four and six construction trailers will be set up behind South College. Rubacha will mark this area with white stripes. He warns that, for employees of the Office of Admission, North and South College, the site will be “noisy and dusty.”

“It will be loud, there’s no question about it,” he says.

The Usdan University Center will consolidate dining facilities for students and faculty, and will provide seminar and meeting spaces. It will house the Wesleyan Student Assembly, the post office, and retail space. Facilities for formal and informal gatherings and events will complement those available in the Memorial Chapel and ’92 Theater. A south-facing plaza and second story terrace will overlook Andrus Field and will provide an outdoor venue.

David Hall, manager of Grounds and Special Events, says the construction zone will not affect athletic games or bleacher set-ups. 

The building is expected to be completed in August 2007.

For more information on plans for the University Center, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan/univcenter.html.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor