Light snow dusted campus Jan. 26–27, while students were away on winter recess. (Photos by Olivia Drake)
by Olivia Drake •
A paper co-written by Elizabeth (Beth) Hepford, assistant professor of the practice in TESOL (teaching English as a second language), is the recipient of the 2021 Research Article Award presented by the American Association For Applied Linguistics (AAAL).
According to the AAAL, “the award is bestowed annually upon the author of a published refereed journal article which is recognized by leaders in the field to be of outstanding quality and to hold the broadest potential impact on the advancement of applied linguistic knowledge.”
Titled “An illusion of understanding: How native and non-native speakers of English understand (and misunderstand) their Miranda rights,” the paper was originally published by the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol. 26, No. 2 in 2019.
The Miranda rights, which state the legal rights of an arrested person under the law, are often misunderstood by suspects. The purpose of the study was to compare the understanding of the Miranda rights among native and advanced speakers of English to determine whether standardized assessments of second language (L2) speakers of English proficiency can predict comprehension of the Miranda rights. Their results show that most L2 participants failed to understand their Miranda rights and “displayed significant disadvantages in basic level processing in comparison to native speakers. Furthermore, they were unaware of the failure: using linguistic resources at their disposal these advanced L2 speakers constructed alternative meanings that created an illusion of understanding.”
At Wesleyan, Hepford also is assistant professor of the practice, education studies, and assistant professor of the practice, English. This spring semester, she is teaching WRCT 110: Academic Writing in the U.S. for International Students and WRCT 135: Writing about Research: U.S. Style.
She’s an applied linguist whose research includes second language development, civics education for English learners (ELs), and how multilingualism is used as a marketing tool. Her research in second language development centers on longitudinal case studies with statistical analyses of the development of language complexity, grammatical accuracy, vocabulary, and fluency under the theoretical framework of complex dynamic systems theory.
by Olivia Drake •
A new play written by John Long MALS ’96 is available for online viewing through the Phoenix Stage Company’s YouTube Channel.
Titled Learning Experience, the play explores individual experiences of living in quarantine during the pandemic in the first half of 2020. Eight people, ranging in age from 18 to 70s, tell their stories in the form of monologues to be posted online. The stories reveal what their lives were like before the pandemic and how they’ve changed during isolation.
“Some characters work from home, some go into work, some don’t work at all, but all are motivated to share a learning experience online to communicate with people they will never meet or know,” Long explained. “By turns moving and humorous, these characters share a desire to continue living, learning, laughing, and growing in a time of crisis that affects everyone.”
To watch the play, go to www.phoenixstagecompany.org and follow the link to the play on the theater’s YouTube channel.
Theater, Long says, has always adapted and survived for thousands of years. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, theatermakers continue to adapt.
by Olivia Drake •
This winter, the Gordon Career Center is hosting four “fireside chat” style Winter Alumni Career Conversation events between prominent alumni and current students. Guests include Kimberley Martin ’03, NFL reporter for ESPN; Jon Turteltaub ’85, film/TV director and producer; Jesse Greenspan ’06, director of supply chain and logistics, Partners in Health; and Dana Peterson ’98, chief economist, The Conference Board.
by Olivia Drake •
Several Wesleyan faculty and alumni have been featured in national media outlets recently. They include:
The New York Times—Christina Crosby, 67, Dies; Feminist Scholar Wrote of Becoming Disabled
NBC News—Biden Picks Jessica Rosenworcel [’93] as Acting FCC Chief
NBC Think—Trump’s ‘1776 Commission’ Tried to Rewrite U.S. History. Biden Had Other Ideas.; by Robyn Autry
Inside Higher Ed—Everything Won’t Be Different; by Michael Roth ’78
NPR’s Short Wave—Let’s Go Back to Venus!; features Martha Gilmore
MyRecordJournal.com—WRESTLING: Paint It, Black! Wesleyan Coach Drew Black of Cheshire Tabbed for National Hall of Fame
The New York Times Magazine—Poem: Variation on a Theme by Elizabeth Bishop; poem by John Murillo (PDF attached)
Thrive Global—What We Learned From Teaching a “Living a Good Life” Course During the Pandemic; by Steven Horst, Stephen Angle, and Tushar Irani
The Washington Post—Germany Looks Ahead to Life Without Merkel. But the Leadership Race is Leaving Voters Cold.; quotes Sarah Wiliarty
Forbes—Meet Joe Biden’s Science Team; Narda Jones ’91 will serve as Biden’s Office of Science and Technology Policy legislative affairs director
EXBulletin—Starting From the First Take, She’s Leading New Developments for ESPN Podcasts in 2021; Kimberley Martin ’03
The Bitter Southerner—Marion Brown’s [MA ’76] Musical Portrait of Georgia
Patch—America’s Coach Declares Distance Running is About to Boom; features Jeff Galloway ’67
The Atlantic—What the Chaos in Hospitals is Doing to Doctors; features Joseph Fins ’82, MD
The Wall Street Journal—Covid is Reshaping Death. And Maybe Life.; by Katy Butler ’71
Washingtonian—Meet Our 2020 Washingtonians of the Year; includes Alan Miller ’76
The Middletown Press—Have You Heard ‘Little Dark Age’ on TikTok? Did You Know the Band Behind It Has Ties to Connecticut?; features MGMT (Ben Goldwasser ’05 and Andrew VanWyngarden ’05)
by Olivia Drake •
Each year, three faculty members are presented the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching during the Commencement Ceremony. The Binswanger Prize recognizes outstanding faculty members as exemplified by a commitment to the classroom, student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion.
Juniors, seniors, graduate students, and GOLD alumni (Graduates Of The Last Decade) are eligible to nominate up to three professors who had the most enduring impact on students’ Wesleyan experience.
An invitation to nominate will be sent on Jan. 30 by Vanessa Guida ’04, chair of the Binswanger Committee. For questions, contact Gina Driscoll (email@example.com), associate director, alumni and parent relations.
View past Binswanger recipients online here.
by Olivia Drake •
Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books, 2020) explores the legacy of institutional, accepted violence against Blacks and Latinos and the personal and societal wreckage wrought by long histories of subjugation. The collection includes a sonnet triggered by the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn men that becomes an extended reflection on the history of racial injustice.
The PEN/Voelcker Award, which comes with a $5,000 prize, is awarded to a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence. Rae Armantrout’s Conjure and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s The Age of Phillis, which are both published by Wesleyan University Press, also are longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry (read more). Winners will be announced in February.
The Believer Book Awards honor works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that are the best written and most underappreciated. The shortlists and winners will be announced online in the spring.
Murillo also is the author of Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher, 2010; Four Way Books, 2020), which was a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award (2011) and the PEN Open Book Award (2011). His honors include two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a pair of Pushcart Prizes, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.
His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. Most recently, Variation on a Theme by Elizabeth Bishop appeared in the Jan. 14 edition of New York Times Magazine.
At Wesleyan, Murillo also is director of creative writing and assistant professor, African American studies. This spring, he’s teaching ENGL 337A: Advanced Poetry Workshop, Radical Revision.
by Olivia Drake •
“What is the good life?”
“What should I value?”
“What should I believe?”
These are the questions that more than 760 alumni, parents, and friends of the University are exploring this winter as part of a three-part mini-course titled Living a Good Life.
Taught by Wesleyan Professors Steven Horst, Stephen Angle, and Tushar Irani, the course gives attendees the chance to participate in activities during each one-hour virtual webinar. Attendance is encouraged for all three classes, but not required.
The mini-series is based on Wesleyan’s Living a Good Life undergraduate course, piloted during the Fall 2020 semester.
The course is part of the University’s new Window into Wesleyan virtual event series created by the Office of Advancement’s Alumni and Parent Relations Office.
On Jan. 14, Steven Horst, professor of philosophy, lectured on “Means and Desires.”
On Jan. 21, from 7 to 8 p.m., Stephen Angle, professor of philosophy and Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, will speak on Daoism.
And on Feb. 1, from noon to 1 p.m., Tushar Irani, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of letters, will lead a session on Stoicism.
All three of these lectures will be recorded and shared with registrants when available. Register for the mini-series online here.
“We’re so excited by the interest from alumni and parents in this opportunity,” said Dana Coffin, associate director of alumni and parent relations. “I think it goes to show that the larger community has such an interest in maintaining a lifelong connection to Wes and appreciates the opportunities to engage with our incredible faculty.”
For more information, see:
- “Ancient Philosophy, Meet Modern Pandemic: Students at Wesleyan meet mostly in-person to discuss virtues and ideals in a complex modern moment,” published in The New York Times on Oct. 19, 2020.
- “Philosophical Debate Serves as Living a Good Life Course’s Midterm,” published in News @ Wesleyan on Oct. 26, 2020.
- “Teaching Philosophy as a Way of Life,” by Stephen Angle, Steven Horst, and Tushar Irani, published in The Daily Nous on Dec. 8, 2020.
- “What We Learned From Teaching a “Living a Good Life” Course During the Pandemic,” published in Thrive Global on Jan. 14, 2021.
by Olivia Drake •
This month, Wesleyan is launching two new MOOCs (massive open online courses) on the Coursera platform. Enrollment for both classes is free of charge.
Take Action: From Protest to Policy launches on Jan. 17 and is taught by Mary Alice Haddad, John E. Andrus Professor of Government, and Sarah Ryan, attorney and associate professor of the practice in oral communication. Jeffrey Goetz, associate director, Center for Pedagogical Innovation, also assisted with creating the course.
by Olivia Drake •
Works by three Wesleyan alumni are published in the Winter 2020–21 issue of Ploughshares. Founded in 1971 and published at Emerson College, Ploughshares is an award-winning journal featuring the freshest voices in contemporary American literature.
The issue includes: “The Man at the Top of the Stairs, On Rendering the Inner Life” by Steve Almond ’88; “Private Practice” by Fay Dillof ’87; and “Reading for the Plot” by Christina Pugh ’88.
Almond, an English major, is also the Kim-Frank Visiting Writer at Wesleyan this spring. He’s the author of 11 books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America (Workman Publishing, 2004) and Against Football: One Man’s Reluctant Manifesto (Melville House Books, 2014). His stories and essays have appeared in Best American Short Stories, the New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. His most recent book is William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life (Ig Publishing, 2019).
This spring, Almond is teaching Writing Certificate Senior Seminar: Writing and Publishing at Wesleyan.
Work by Dillof, a university major, is published or forthcoming, in New Ohio Review, Green Mountains Review, FIELD, Barrow Street, Rattle, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She has been awarded the Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry and the Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry.
Pugh, who majored in English and French language and literature, has published five books of poems, including Stardust Media (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020), winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and Perception (Four Way Books, 2017), named one of the top poetry books of 2017 by Chicago Review of Books. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, and other publications. A former Guggenheim fellow and visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, she teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Pugh’s Stardust Media was also featured in this April 2020 “You Just Have to Read This…” article by Sara McCrea ’21.
The Ploughshares Winter 2020–21 Issue, edited by Editor-in-chief Ladette Randolph and Poetry Editor John Skoyles, also features poetry and prose by Nick Arvin, Gina Ochsner, Sylvie Baumgartel, and Jennifer Givhan, as well as Kelli Russell Agodon, Justin Balog, Shauna Barbosa, J. Mae Barizo, Christopher Buckley, Michael Burkard, Nora Caplan-Bricker, Elaine Hsieh Chou, Emily Cinquemani, Katie Condon, Jackie Craven, Caroline Crew, Evgeniya Dame, Shangyang Fang, Corey Flintoff, Jessica Goodfellow, Matthew Henry, David Keplinger, Ted Kooser, Laurie Lamon, Michael Lavers, Kathleen Lee, Eugenia Leigh, Ruth Madievsky, Alexandra Marshall, Gary McDowell, Paul Muldoon, Janice Northerns, Suphil Lee Park, Madelin Parsley, Emily Pittinos, Jeremy Radin, David Roderick, Craig van Rooyen, Noah Warren, Mason Wray, He Xiang, and Jane Zwart.
by Olivia Drake •
The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most memorable of the modern era. From the threat and real-life toll of a global pandemic to domestic clashes over social, racial, and political injustice, 2020 was full of challenges—and the Wesleyan community met each one head-on. We banded together to keep our students and staff safe and pushed each other to show our resilience, to step up and speak out, and to use our trademark creativity to adapt and lead the way in addressing our new socially distanced and politically charged reality.
In this timeline, we look back and explore some of the University’s accomplishments and happenings amid an evolving pandemic.
Jan. 21: The Jewett Center for Community Partnerships announces the grantees of the JCCP Student Innovation Fund. Students from a range of majors and backgrounds—all with shared interests in utilizing resources in innovative ways to positively impact the greater Middletown community—applied to this fund. Read the story.
Feb. 2: In response to the World Health Organization announcing an outbreak of a novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Wesleyan’s Chinese community (particularly students and parents) bands together to help their fellow citizens. The student-initiated group WesInAction raises more than $23,000, which is used to purchase medical equipment for hospitals in the pandemic’s epicenter in Hubei province, China. Read the story.
by Olivia Drake •
Ronald Schatz, professor of history, is the author of The Labor Board Crew: Remaking Worker-Employer Relations from Pearl Harbor to the Reagan Era, published by the University of Illinois Press on Jan. 11, 2021.
According to the publisher:
Schatz tells the story of the team of young economists and lawyers recruited to the National War Labor Board to resolve union-management conflicts during the Second World War. The crew (including Clark Kerr, John Dunlop, Jean McKelvey, and Marvin Miller) exerted broad influence on the U.S. economy and society for the next 40 years. They handled thousands of grievances and strikes. They founded academic industrial relations programs. When the 1960s student movement erupted, universities appointed them as top administrators charged with quelling the conflicts. In the 1970s, they developed systems that advanced public sector unionization and revolutionized employment conditions in Major League Baseball.
Schatz argues that the Labor Board vets, who saw themselves as disinterested technocrats, were in truth utopian reformers aiming to transform the world. Beginning in the 1970s stagflation era, they faced unforeseen opposition, and the cooperative relationships they had fostered withered. Yet their protégé George Shultz used mediation techniques learned from his mentors to assist in the integration of Southern public schools, institute affirmative action in industry, and conduct Cold War negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Schatz’s research focuses on 20th century U.S. history and labor history. He investigates labor and management, conservatism, labor and religion, arbitration, and Connecticut history.