Olivia Drake

“Hidden Gem” Opens Its Door


 

The staff at Wesleyan University Press will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 11 at its new location, 215 Long Lane, across from the new Physical Plant. Pictured in back, left to right are Eric Levy ’97, acquisitions editor; Stephanie Elliott, publicity associate; and Leslie Starr, marketing manager. Pictured in front is Suzanna Tamminen ’90, MALS ’04, director and editor-in-chief.

Posted 10/01/05
It’s one of only 110 academic publishers in the nation, and has produced more than 1,000 books by authors around the world. But the Wesleyan University Press staff believes their publishing house remains a hidden gem.

Formerly housed on Mt. Vernon Street, Wes Press moved to its new location, 215 Long Lane, last year. To celebrate its move and introduce itself to the Wesleyan community, the staff at Wes Press will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 11

“We’re something of a secret on campus,” says Leslie Starr, marketing manager for the 46-year-old press. “We’d love to have members of the campus community stop by and see what we’re all about. “

Starr works at the press with Suzanna Tamminen ’90, MALS ’94, director and editor-in-chief; Eric Levy ’97, acquisitions editor; and Stephanie Elliott, publicity associate. They collaborate with the Wesleyan University Press Editorial Board — made up of Wesleyan faculty members from various fields — to decide what manuscripts to publish.

In America, university presses publish, on average, 9,000 books a year. Each press publishes books in specific areas. Wesleyan University Press’s editorial program focuses on poetry, music, dance and performance, science fiction, film and television, and American studies. By next fall, Wes Press hopes to begin publishing books for the general reader on Connecticut’s cultural and natural history.

This fall/winter, the press is publishing books on creative writing, acoustic effects in music recording, disaster movies, Australia’s Aboriginal songs, and poetic meditations on exile. In November, the press will publish the first modern and corrected English translation of Jules Verne’s The Begum’s Millions.

Wes Press receives close to 750 poetry and book submissions a year; however, it accepts few of these. Most authors are sought out, making the acquisitions work quite active.

“It’s far more effective, and we get better projects, when we seek them out,” Tamminen says. “We are looking for books that make an important contribution to their field, in lucid prose, and which fit into our editorial program. In order to best serve the fields we publish in, we need to have enough books in the area to have a critical mass, where the books do a kind of intellectual work together.”

The press publishes 12 new books each publishing season – spring/summer and fall/winter.

There are currently 430 Wesleyan University Press books in print, four of which have earned Pulitzer Prizes and two of which received National Book Awards. Most recently, Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop, by Joseph G. Schloss, won the International Association for the Study of Popular Music’s 2005 Book Award.

“A lot of people don’t realize that you can’t just write a book, send it in to a publisher and get it published,” Starr says. “We’re very selective, and we need to be in order to maintain the mark of quality that Wesleyan has earned over the years.”

Book selection and marketing are done in-house while all copy editing, book design and printing are done externally. While books are being produced, the marketing staff is preparing the seasonal catalog, producing fliers and sending proofs to major publications.

“Getting a review published in publications such as Publisher’s Weekly or the New York Times is a very effective way to get the word out about a book,” Elliott says. “A lot of what we do involves cultivating relationships with reviewers.”

The small staff also hires about 10 Wesleyan students each year. The students gain hands-on experience writing press releases, sending out review copies, soliciting book endorsements, and doing other office work. In the last five years, nine of these students have gone on to work in publishing after graduating.

Wesleyan University Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses, the Association of American Publishers and the New England Booksellers Association.

Since many of the books published by Wes Press are on specialized scholarly topics, they often appeal to small audiences. And since the press operates as a business, making a profit can be the small publisher’s biggest challenge, Starr says. A book can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000 to produce.

The press is constantly seeking grants and donations to help defray costs while it meets the needs of the academic community, which is its primary mission.

“We hope people will come to the open house to browse our bookshelves and have some cider and a cookie,” Tamminen says.

Wesleyan University Press can be reached at 860-685-7711. It is online at www.wesleyan.edu/wespress. The press offers members of the Wesleyan community a 20 percent discount on Wes Press titles when they are ordered through the press. For more information e-mail lstarr@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

United Way Campaign Begins Oct. 6


Posted 10/01/05

Wesleyan will again help build a stronger, healthier Middlesex County during the Middlesex United Way’s annual Community Campaign. The campaign kicked off Oct. 6 at the President’s House.

This year’s goal is $140,000, which is $5,000 more than last year’s goal.

For more than 60 years, the Wesleyan community has supported the local United Way. Its Core Services provides funding to 32 local programs and services offered by its 23 partner agencies. These include the American Red Cross, 2-1-1 Infoline; Middlesex Hospital Family, Advocacy Program; Middlesex Hospital Homecare; Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters; Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater; Salvation Army of Middletown, among others.

This year Middlesex United Way is supporting a new initiative called Community Impact, which is designed to target root causes of chronic community problems that are hurting families. Community Impact programs include housing, mental health and substance abuse programs.

“Just feeding a hungry family isn’t enough,” explains John Biddiscombe, adjunct professor of Physical Education, director of Athletics and chair of the Physical Education Department. “We want to address the reason why a family goes hungry in the first place.”

Biddiscombe served as president of the Middlesex United Way for two years, vice president for two years and on the organization’s executive committee for seven years.

Kevin Wilhelm, Middlesex United Way’s executive director, explained that local needs assessment results, input from residents, and calls to Connecticut’s 2-1-1 Infoline show that housing, mental health and substance abuse rank as top concerns of county residents.

“Middlesex United Way has traditionally served local residents by funding non-profit agencies that provide critical human care services,” says Wilhelm. “We are also being more proactive in our approach and funding community projects that reach more residents and address what they tell us is of top concern to them.”

The substance abuse initiative focuses on reducing and preventing substance abuse among sixth to 12th graders through Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth. In a recent survey of Connecticut ninth and 10th graders, 36 percent reported using marijuana, 28 percent reported binge drinking in the past month, and 24 percent reported being regular smokers. United Way focuses on school and home-based prevention programs for school-aged children and their families.

The improved mental health initiative focus on early identification and intervention of children birth to 5-years-old with social and emotional problems so that more children enter school ready to learn. About 24 percent of Connecticut high school students indicated on a recent survey that they have “seriously considered” suicide.

The housing initiative focus is on affordable housing along Connecticut’s shoreline, specifically to develop affordable housing units for working families currently living in motels. Forty percent of Middlesex County’s homeless are dependent children.

Last year, Wesleyan raised a record-breaking $140,018, 6.5 percent of Middlesex United Way’s total.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Time to Give

Wesleyan began its Middlesex United Way campaign Oct. 6. Office delegates passed out contribution forms to their respective areas. Employees can make contributions through payroll deduction.

Anyone who gives has a chance at winning one of three gift certificates raffled off during the campaign. Prizes include a $100 gift certificate at the Wesleyan Computer Store and Service Center; $100 gift certificate at Broad Street Books; and squash lessons at Freeman Athletic Center, valued at $120.

Last year 59 percent of Wesleyan employees made donations to the local chapter. Those that pledge more than $1,000 will become members of Wesleyan’s Leadership Circle.

“The Making of Ferocious Beauty: Genome” Kicks off Dance Residency at the CFA


Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, discusses “The Making of Ferocious Beauty: Genome,” the first in a series of lectures addressing the implications of genetic research. (Photo by Lex Leifheit)
Posted 10/01/05
The year 2003 marked a major milestone in human genomics: the completion of the sequencing of the human genome. With that milestone came a seemingly endless number of possibilities, and the challenge of understanding their consequences.

“Where do we as individuals and where do we as a society draw the line, and who should do the line drawing?” asked Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at the Johns Hopkins University, addressing an audience of 120 students, Wesleyan faculty and greater Middletown community members in the CFA Cinema on Sept. 20.

Hudson, joined by Founding Artistic Director Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Associate Professor of Philosophy Lori Gruen, launched a discussion titled “The Making of Ferocious Beauty: Genome,” the first in a series of lectures addressing the implications of genetic research as part of the Dance Exchange’s year-long residency at Wesleyan. For the past three years, the Center for the Arts and Wesleyan Faculty have partnered with Lerman to plan the most comprehensive residency ever undertaken by a dance company at Wesleyan. This partnership has resulted in Wesleyan serving as lead commissioner of Genome, which will premiere at the CFA on Feb. 3, 2006.

“There’s a long list of partners to thank,” CFA Director Pamela Tatge commented as she individually acknowledged the people and organizations who have supported the Genome residency.

Hudson also acknowledged a vast number of people, those who contributed to the gene sequencing project as it ramped up in the late 90s, describing the genome itself as “three billion chemical letters.”

Working off a display of images ranging from a fertilized egg being “sampled,” to a comic strip, Hudson raised questions about the implications for medicine (illnesses detected early, prescriptions based on genetic makeup), equality (out of three billion, only three million chemical letters differ from person to person), justice (corporations blaming “bad genes” for afflictions such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and reproduction.

Liz Lerman opened her part of the dialogue by stating the advantage of artists in exploring the nature of scientific advances.

“We get to expand the nature of what might be real or not real, true or not true,” Lerman said.

She added that working on Ferocious Beauty: Genome has been a process of building trust with scientists, learning from them and finding ways in which they can exchange ideas.
One scientist who contributed to Genome is Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Laurel Appel. Lerman shared an anecdote where she and one of the dancers, dressed as “father of genetics” Gregor Mendel, visited Appel’s laboratory. Appel, recognizing the character Mendel, began to update him on the advances of science since his heyday in the mid-1800s.

Audience questions focused mainly on aspects of genetic research they would like to see explored through dance. Lerman did not go into great detail about the premiere, reminding them that the show is still in development, but described her vision of the structure in two parts. Act one will depict ways to understand the science. Act two will explore topics such as identity and ancestry, aging and death, and the quest for genetic “perfection” as it relates to research funding and profit motives.

The premiere of Ferocious Beauty: Genome will be on Feb. 3 and 4, 2006. Tickets are available now by calling the University Box Office at 860-685-3355. Free Genome-related events include “Challenging Nature: Biotechnology in a Spiritual World,” a lecture by Lee M. Silver, professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs at Princeton University at 8 p.m. Oct. 11 in the CFA Cinema, and “The Double Helix: Law and Science Co-constructing Race,” a talk by Pilar Ossorio, assistant professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at 8 p.m. Nov. 10 in the CFA Cinema.

 
By Lex Leifheit, press and marketing coordinator for the Center for the Arts

Gruen Researches Empathy, Ethics and Chimpanzees, Philosophically


At top, Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy, explains “The Chimp Project” from her office in Russell House. She and  Hughes Fellow Shayla Silver-Balbus ’06 (pictured at left) studied chimpanzees in Ohio this summer.
Posted 10/01/05
Lori Gruen spent this past summer with curious students of an unsuspecting kind – chimpanzees named Emma and Harper. Gruen, an associate professor of philosophy and co-chair of the Wesleyan Feminism, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, formally known as the Women’s Studies Department, studied the chimpanzees at the Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center where she continues to gather information for an upcoming book on empathy.

“By exploring our attitudes and relationships with chimpanzees we can enhance our capacity to empathize with different others and get a glimpse at how empathy might have evolved,” says Gruen.

Gruen’s book will focus on, among others topics, chimpanzee history, sign language skills, comparative cognition and emotional and ethical intelligence. Gruen plans to continue working on the new book during her upcoming spring sabbatical.

“This is an opportunity for me to move away from practicing pure philosophy,” she says. “This is a feature of being engaged in the world.”

Whether in the field with chimpanzees or in the classroom with students, Gruen’s academic work always involves ethics. In her classes, one of which includes the popular “Reproduction in the 21st Century,” she asks that her students challenge their life choices.

Co-taught with Laura Grabel, professor of biology and Fisk Professor of Natural Sciences, “Reproduction in the 21st Century,” focuses on such hot button issues as the ethics of cloning, stem cell research, infertility, contraception and abortion. Offered for the first time last year, the class is again at it 65 student capacity. Gruen says an additional 130 students were on the waiting list. Grabel says that a previous incarnation of the class was taught without a real ethics component and that Gruen’s insights have brought a whole perspective to the scientific information that’s presented.

“Lori has brought that missing piece to the course, Grabel says. “She can teach the rich intellectual history of the philosophical field of ethics and teach students how to apply these concepts to crafting strong ethical arguments relevant to reproductive issues ranging from cloning to abortion.”

Much like in “Reproduction in the 21st Century,” whose subject matter often attracts the local and national media, Gruen longed to weave ethics into other classes across campus. This past summer she helped launch Wesleyan’s Ethics in Society Project, a similar program to the one she launched at Stanford University before coming to Wesleyan in 2000. The project awards Ethical Reasoning Capability Summer Development Grants to six Wesleyan professors who are responsible for incorporating ethics into their undergraduate curriculums.

The grant recipients for this year include: Christina Crosby, English for a course “Questions of Embodiment”; Norman Danner, Computer Science for “Cryptography”; Indira Karamcheti, English for “Postcolonial Literature”; Elizabeth McAlister, Religion for “Christianity and Globalization”; Sheila Mullen, Less Commonly Taught Languages for “American Sign Language and Current Issues” and Suzanne O’Connell, Earth &Environmental Science for “Introduction to Environmental Science”.

The Ethics in Society Project grants will be available to Wesleyan faculty again at the beginning of spring semester as well. For more information, visit www.wesleyan.edu/ethics.

“Wesleyan’s commitment to interdisciplinary work is great for students and myself as a scholar,” says Gruen. “It’s important to be able to think deeply and broadly about challenging issues. My students always want to learn how to respond to the world around them, all while keeping ethics in mind.”

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Wesleyan’s Board Chair to Kick off First Fridays


Posted 10/01/05
James van Benschoten Dresser, ’63, P’93, chairman of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, will be among the kick-off speakers of a new “First Friday” series being sponsored by the Center for Community Partnerships. The event is open to the Wesleyan community and will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at 167 High Street.

The series will feature presentations on the first Friday of every month and has been created by the Center for Community Partnerships for members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities who are interested in town-gown collaborations.

Dresser’s talk, titled “If These Walls Could Talk: A Century of Town Meets Gown in the van Benschoten House,” will focus on the history of the house at 167 High Street, which is the current location of the Center for Community Partnerships, but which used to be the home of Dresser’s grandfather, who was also a professor of Classics at Wesleyan and a long-time Middletown resident. Suzy Taraba, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, will present a companion presentation after Dresser’s talk that will focuses on the recent history of the building.

Admission to the event is free.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Professor Emeritus Morton Briggs Dies at Age 90


Pictured are Kay and Morton Briggs. Briggs, professor emeritus of romance languages and literatures, died Sept. 25. He worked at Wesleyan for 42 years.
Posted 10/01/05

Morton W. Briggs, a Wesleyan faculty member for over 40 years, died Sept. 25 at Middlesex Health Care Center at the age of 90.

Born in 1915 in Millbrook, N.Y., he was graduated from Cornell University in 1937. He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and obtained master’s (1939) and doctoral (1944) degrees from Harvard University.

He joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1943 and attained the position of professor of romance languages in 1956 with a specialty in French language and literature.  He held this position until his retirement in 1985 at which time he became professor emeritus.  He was twice director of the university’s program in Paris and just this spring was honored by a former student with the creation of the Morton W. and Kathryn I. Briggs Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship.

Morton served Wesleyan in numerous ways during his long and distinguished career, including chairman of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, director of the Honors College for two decades (1966-85), chairman of the Educational Studies Program (1973-1985), acting director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program and he was Wesleyan’s delegate to Phi Beta Kappa’s governing body, the Triennial Council, for many years. He was executive secretary of the University, secretary of the faculty, and secretary of the Academic Council.

Morton was a proud of the Middletown community and served it well. He was active in the Middlesex County United Way (board of directors, campaign chairman 1965, president 1967), the Middlesex Chapter of the American Red Cross (board of directors and chairman 1966-68), the Middletown Rotary Club (board of directors and treasurer) and The Church of the Holy Trinity.

His statewide activities included chairmanship from 1963–72 of the Foreign Language Advisory Committee for the state Department of Education.  He was also a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Council of Language Teachers.

Morton is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Kathryn (Kay) of Middletown; their children, Christopher of Marlborough, N.H.; Kirk of Vineyard Haven, Mass.; and Kate Holmes of Grand Junction, Colo.; five grandchildren; one sister, Elinor Sutherland of Millbrook, N.Y., and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8,  11 a.m., at Holy Trinity Church in Middletown.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Red Cross hurricane relief funds.

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

In preparation of the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center, portions of the old Fayerweather Gymnasium are being removed. Demolition is more than 80 percent completed as of Sept. 6.

 

Associated Building Wreckers tear the building apart, beam by beam, brick by brick.
Construction crew members demolish what is left of the Fayerweather pool, built in 1913. Alan Rubacha, Construction Services consultant, is the project manager.
The renovated Fayerweather Gymnasium will become Fayerweather Hall. The facility will host a ballroom, catering kitchen, theater, dance studio and storage. The new university center will be built on the right side of Fayerweather Hall. (Photos by Ryan Lee and Olivia Bartlett)

For more information on this project, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan/univcenter_detail2.html

Application Technology Specialist Creates Databases to Automate Tasks


Mary Schreck Glynn, application technology specialist, created the telephone directory database, media database and the student summer registration system.
 
Posted 09/09/05
Q: What does it mean to be an applications technology specialist?

A: Basically, an applications technology specialist evaluates new technologies and creates and supports academic and administrative applications using new and proven technologies. All the applications are database related.

Q: What is the purpose of these applications?

A: The general purpose is to service the Wesleyan community by automating tasks and sharing information.

Q: Can you give me a few examples of some of the tasks and information that have undergone this process?

A: Some recent examples include he telephone directory database, media database and the student summer registration system.

Q: How long do such projects generally take, and do you work on one at a time?

A: The length of a project can vary depending on the complexity of the project and its dependencies. Basically, I work on several projects at the same time.

Q: What is the process you follow to get from someone’s idea to actually completing a project?

A: The most important part of completing a project is the needs analysis phase. It is important to have a complete understanding of the users’ goals and to work out the business logic before programming. The needs analysis phase requires lots of meetings, detailed information from the users, prototype screens and workflow.

Q: The telephone directory’s database sounds like a large undertaking. How did this come together?

A: Along with Human Resources and Academic Affairs, we are working continually to try to improve the telephone directory process. There are three parts involved: first is the self-service module which allows faculty and staff access to change their personal data; second, is the module to help Human Resources and Academic Affairs update titles and employee information; third, is the process of printing and coordinating with the Information Technology Services printing service and the communications department.

Q: I also learned that incoming freshman can register for two classes in the summer, before they get to campus. Can you elaborate a bit on this pre-registration system and why it’s important?

A: The summer registration system is available to incoming students and is completed by mid-summer. Students fill in a series of screens with their preferences and the data is made available to the Academic Affairs office. In turn, the Academic Affairs office assigns courses and an advisor based on the student’s input. It is an important process since it helps Academic Affairs and student advisors become familiar with the students’ interests and it helps the students self assess and review the curriculum before they arrive on campus.

Q: What is the media database, and what are some of its features?

A: The media database allows faculty and staff to catalog all types of media including images, audio and video. The cataloged media is then grouped and stored in collections. The majority of media collections are course related and they are made available to students via the web.

Q: What other projects are you currently working on?

A: Currently, I am working with other departments on printing out the directory, library departmental collections, WesPress collections, Westel registration and internal applications.

Q: Are there special programs you use to create these? What programming languages do you use?

Some of the applications require vendor supplied solutions. However, the majority are home grown. Since Oracle is the university’s database standard, I am using the Oracle Application Server along with PL/SQL and javascript. Currently, we are looking into a couple of Oracle products, including HTMLDB and JDeveloper.

Q: How did you become interested in this?

A: I attended Fairfield University and earned a bachelor’s degree in English. When I graduated, I accepted a job at Yale University working with computer documentation. I learned a little about computers and moved into computer training. After a few years of computer training, I wrote a couple of programs and moved into the programming area and have since continued working in that area.

Q: Tell me about your hobbies and interests outside of work?

A: I enjoy lots of things outside of work, mostly, spending time with family and friends. My husband, Mike and I spend lots of time at hockey rinks and soccer fields watching our two children, Corey and Beth. My son Corey is a senior this year and Beth is in eighth grade.

Q: What would you say is the most unique thing about you?

A: I cheer for both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Q: Rumor has it that you’re the nicest person I’d ever meet.

A: Whoever told you, I owe them big money.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Head of Preservation Services Puts Wesleyan’s Books in a Bind


Michaelle Biddle, head of Preservation Services, uses a special tool to preserve a book in the Preservation Services in Olin Library. Biddle and her student technicians make page mends, reback books and remove mold from pages.
 
Posted 09/09/05
Q: When were you hired at Wesleyan and what was your job title then?

A: I was hired in 1983 as the assistant to the librarian. Initially, I was the clerk of the works for the $10 million library addition that was added in the mid-1980s. In 1988 I was asked to develop a preservation program for the library’s circulating collections. Now my job title is head of Preservation Services.

Q: What do you do?

A: I am responsible for developing and managing the library’s Preservation Services, with includes the book conservation lab. We are currently exploring ways in which the Material Processing Marking unit might cost effectively extend the life of new materials before being put on the shelves.

Q: What types of publications need preservation treatment?

A: In 1990 I surveyed the circulating collection. This revealed that 50 percent was in need of some type of repair and that 20 percent was on brittle paper. Because so many items need repair we only review items that have circulated or been used in one of the libraries.

Q: Are books that need treatment always old?

A: No. In the last 10 years publishers’ bindings have precipitously declined in quality. We have to repair more and more “new” books though the 19th century collection is in the poorest condition. We did not have air conditioning in Olin until 1985. Before that time the stacks would reach 120 degrees in the summer – essentially cooking the books.

Q: Tell me about the process of preserving a book.

A: We have a small book conservation lab in the connector between the Public Affairs Center and Olin. It is furnished with a hood where we take care of books with mold, various presses, a job backer, a board shear and many, many specialized binding and conservation tools, cloths and papers. We rarely rebind a book but do a wide range of repairs – page mends, rebacking, guarding and cleaning. Book conservation is a specialized field but any 12th century monk or Gutenberg would be quite familiar with what we do.

Q: What are some recent examples of materials that you have preserved?

A: Most of the student book repair technicians are preparing more than 30 folio sized volumes of The Graphic, a popular 19th century English periodical, for rebinding. It was originally half bound in leather which has rotted. The covers have come off the text block. The pages are getting torn and the sewing is coming undone as a result. The students are mending the tears, and the sewing of the text block, removing the old spine lining and relining the spines before the volumes will be sent to the library commercial bindery. When we work on large format books the lab is very crowded.

One student is working on an 1854 edition of Types of Mankind by Nott and Glidden for Special Collections. We had a lovely plate that had been found on the floor of the Olin but no book. It took some sleuthing to find the correct book, and when we did find the book it needed to be partially resewn and rebacked.

I am currently working on sewing and rebinding a 1925 book of German etchings for the Print Reference Collection, as well.

Q: What happens to these materials? Can people check them out, or are they kept in special collections?

A: The majority of the materials we work on are for the circulating collections so they can be checked out but some materials are in Special Collections in Olin and must be used there.

Q: What is your personal interest in these historical materials? Are you a history buff?

A: I read a couple of books a week – primarily on history, book or art history though I do love a good mystery.

Q: I understand you recently returned from a voluntary six-week archeological dig in Petra, Jordan? Why did you decide to do this?

A: Volunteering on an archaeological dig is a way of gaining a thorough understanding of what has gone on in the past at a specific place. Petra is an amazingly complex, very large archaeological site and it takes a long time to explore. I volunteered for the 21st season of the American Expedition to Petra because it is led by Dr. Philip C. Hammond, an authority on the Nabateans, the people who built and lived in Petra.

Q: Did you make any big discoveries?

A: This season we were working to establish the northern perimeter of a plaza that had been found in 2002. It is behind the Temple of the Winged Lions, the most important Nabatean temple in Petra. The Temple was built in 27 A.D. and destroyed in the massive 363 A.D. earthquake. I discovered some beads, coins, a lamp and many, many pieces of pottery. Everywhere you walk there is evidence of human habitation. And the country is spectacularly beautiful.

Q: What are your degrees in?

A: My bachelor’s degree is in Middle Eastern anthropology and history from the University of Texas.  I apprenticed with Roger deCoverly, chief binder of the London School of Printing, and over the years have studied with other book conservators, primarily in Italy. I also have a master’s of library science from the University of Rhode Island and a certificate in archival management from The National Archives.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: Refinishing woodwork is my current hobby. My husband, David, and I bought a house built in 1867 for $1. So far we’ve spent five years taking it apart, moving it nine miles from Easthampton to Hatfield, Massachusetts, rebuilding and restoring it. There are acres of woodwork that need to be refinished. I also create books. I am currently working on one about shoes found in the desert.

Q: What is your involvement with Middletown Alpha Delta Phi Society?

A: The Alpha Delta Phi Society is located at 185 High Street. We sponsor free events for the community including literary, film and poetry series, and a coffee-house series. We also have the oldest, continuously-operating eating club on campus, the Star & Crescent. I am the society’s volunteer archivist and last year I published a booklet on the first century and a half of their history titled Halls, Houses and Eating Clubs of the Middletown Chapter Alpha Delta Phi Society. In May 2006 we will be celebrating Alpha Delt’s sesquicentennial.

Q: Tell me about your family.

A: My husband, David, who attended Wesleyan, is Chairman of the Board of a bio-diesel coop in western Massachusetts. They turn used vegetable oil into fuel for diesel trucks and cars. After the dig in Petra, David joined me for a tour of Jordan. His fluency in Arabic facilitates touring in the Middle East. My son, Christopher, is in his final year of a computer engineering degree at Kettering University in Michigan.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Creativity Topic of Shasha Seminar


Posted 09/09/05
Accessing creativity will be the topic of discussion during the fourth annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns Oct. 6-8 at Wesleyan.

“The Shasha Seminar is a wonderful example of Wesleyan’s commitment to lifelong learning,” says Linda Secord, director of alumni education. “We expect this year’s discussion of creativity to be stimulating, giving participants newly informed perspectives that they will take with them as they return to their personal and professional lives.”

Through a series of seminars and hands-on workshops, alumni, parents and friends will expand their understanding of the creative process and its impact on human endeavors.

Past seminars have explored a wide range of issues, from global conflict to ethics to the environment. This year, experts will lead sessions on topics such as “Creativity as Collaboration,” “Scientific Genius and Creativity,” “The Power of the Arts to Change Lives,” “Breaking Rules, Making Rules,” and “Creativity in the Workplace.”

Attendees also can take workshops in Javanese Gamelan, African drumming, drawing, writing, and behavioral study of human speech and birdsong.

“The interaction among participants is always spirited and rich with ideas,” Secord says.

Howard Gardner P ’91, P ’98, the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University is this year’s keynote speaker.

Seminars speakers include:

Abraham Adzenyah, M.A. ’79, adjunct professor of music at Wesleyan; Ramon Alos Sanchez, a graduate student in film direction at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, Italy; Julie Burstein ’80, executive producer of Studio 360 at WNYC Radio in New York; John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus at Wesleyan; Anne Greene, adjunct professor of English at Wesleyan, director of Writing Programs, and director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference.

Also John Kirn, associate professor of biology and associate professor of neuroscience and behavior and chair of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program at Wesleyan; Liz Lerman, founding artistic director of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange; Ricardo Morris, director of the Green Street Arts Center; Janice Naegele, associate professor of biology, and associate professor of neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan; John Paoletti, the William R. Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, and director of the new museum project at Wesleyan.

Also Nick Rabkin P’08, executive director of the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College Chicago; Alan Robinson, a faculty member at Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Sumarsam, M.A. ’76, chair and adjunct professor of music at Wesleyan.

Endowed by James Shasha ’50, the Shasha Seminar supports lifelong learning and encourages participants to expand their knowledge and perspectives on significant issues.

The cost is $250 per person.

For more information or to register, contact Kathy Macko at kmacko@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2737. The Shasha Seminar Web site is: http://www.wesleyan.edu/shasha.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Observes Constitution Day


Posted 09/09/05, Updated 09.16.05

We The People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this, Constitution for the United States of America. –Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
 

We The People of Wesleyan University observed Constitution Day with a series of events Sept. 15-16.
 
Wesleyan’s observance is part of a nation-wide observance the U.S. Department of Education has mandated for all educational programs in all federally funded institutions. President George W. Bush signed into law on Dec. 8, 2004, Public Law 108-447, which established Sept.17th as Constitution Day. Wesleyan will celebrate it on Sept. 15-16.

Barbara Jones, university librarian, coordinated the events (see sidebar).
 
Libraries, Jones says, are under a great deal of pressure in regard to protecting the constitutional rights of library users.
 
“The Wesleyan University Library is dedicated to providing its users access to information expressing a variety of points of view, including those views that some of us might find despicable,” she says. “We are also dedicated to protecting the privacy of library users, so that in their search for knowledge, nobody is looking over their shoulder.”
 
Along with the events at Wesleyan, General Tommy Franks lead the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 on radio, television and via www.constitutionday.com. The celebration ended with bells ringing across America led from the Carillon on the grounds of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Penn. where George Washington fought the Revolutionary War.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Honor the Day

Wesleyan honored Constitution Day Sept. 15-16 with a series of events.

Thursday, Sept. 15

Noon –  Discussion by Paul Finkelman, professor of law at the University of Tulsa held an informal discussion with Wesleyan’s new Pre-Law Society. Kim Kubat, assistant director of the Career Resource Center organized the event. Olin Library’s Develin Room.

1 p.m. – Neely Bruce, professor of music, performed Bill of Rights followed by an announcement of the formation of Wesleyan’s new Pre-Law Society. Olin Library Lobby.

4 p.m. – Discussion on the Separation of Church and State by Paul Finkelman, professor of Law at University of Tulsa. Modest reception followed. Olin Library’s Smith Reading Room.

Friday, Sept. 16

Noon – Neely Bruce performed “Bill of Rights” with more than two dozen singers. Memorial Chapel. This is the first of the new Friday lunch-time concert series co-sponsored by the Music Department and the Center for the Arts.

Economics Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Abigail Hornstein, assistant professor of economics, studies corporate performance.
 
Posted 09/09/05
Abigail Hornstein has joined the Economics Department as an assistant professor.

Hornstein received her bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and history; her master’s degree in economics and international business from New York University Stern School of Business; and her Ph.D in economics and international business from the New York University Stern School of Business.

Her dissertation examined the capital budgeting decisions of multinational enterprises. She examined U.S. firms in the 1990s to determine if effective capital budgeting is associated with where a firm invests.

“I found that effective capital budgeting is strongly and significantly associated with multinationality after controlling for characteristics of the countries where a firm invests,” she says.

At Wesleyan, Hornstein is interested in exploring the relationship between corporate performance and corporate structure.

“In my work so far I’ve taken a narrow approach by examining the relationship between the efficacy of corporate capital budgeting decisions and various corporate characteristics, particularly multinationality,” she says.

Hornstein says she’d like to extend this work in several dimensions to ascertain the relationship between corporate capital budgeting and CEO turnover, corporate governance, and the use of patents to protect proprietary firm-specific knowledge.

Hornstein has held several economics-related positions outside of academia. In 1994, she worked in Hong Kong for a boutique management consultancy, advising a multinational clientele on issues pertaining to investing in China. In 1996, she joined HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation’s China research group, covering China’s foreign investment and foreign trade for the group’s research publications and the bank’s clients. In 1998, Hornstein assumed full coverage for HSBC of the ASEAN economies (Indonesia, Malyasia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).

Since her days as an undergrad at Bryn Mawr, Hornstein’s had a strong interest in the liberal arts environment.

“I’ve always believed strongly in the importance of a liberal arts undergraduate education and I’m thrilled to join a faculty that places such a strong emphasis on both research and teaching,” she says. “It is really exciting to have such an accomplished set of colleagues, and brilliant students to teach.”

Hornstein will teach Corporate Finance in the fall, Investment Finance in the spring and Quantitative Methods in Economics both semesters.

Hornstein married her husband, Seth Bittker, in July and they reside in Norwalk. Her hobbies include hiking, ceramics and cooking.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor