Olivia Drake

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

Cook Speaks at Meditations Show

CLEAR THINKING: Artist and teacher Brett Cook spoke to a group of more than 70 people during his opening reception for “Meditations” in the Zilkha Gallery April 20. Cook’s artwork will be on display through May 22.
Spectators view Cook’s “Documentation of Blackness,” on display in the gallery. The artists combines his life experiences, including his biracial upbringings and recent engagement with Buddhism, to comment on his social and cultural realities.
Cook encourages gallery-goers to color a collaborative piece. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Professor of German Studies Concludes                 35th Year at Wesleyan


Krishna Winston, professor of German Studies, chair of the German Studies Department, and coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, holds her translation of “Crabwalk” by Nobel-Prize-winning author Günter Grass.

 
Posted 05/23/05
In 1956, Richard and Clara Winston left their farm in Vermont to spend some time in Switzerland. Their two daughters, Krishna, 12, and Justina, 10, were enrolled in Swiss public school. They knew only a few words of German.

“There were little boys who brought their gym shoes to school in cloth bags,” Krishna Winston recalls. “As we were walking home, they would swing those bags by the drawstrings and hit us in the back of our legs, chanting, ‘Khaschdu Düütsch?’ which means ‘Do you speak German?’ We hated going to school.”

Yet those nine months in Switzerland ended up shaping Winston’s life.

Winston went on to earn degrees in German from Smith College and Yale University. In 1970, she was hired at Wesleyan as an instructor. Now a full professor and chair of the German Studies Department, Winston is concluding her 35th year at Wesleyan.

“I feel grateful for all the ways in which Wesleyan has allowed me to contribute,” Winston says. “I’m thankful for the opportunities I have had to learn in the course of committee service; for the friendship, support, and intellectual stimulation I receive from my colleagues in the department; for the joy of working with bright students in the classroom, and for the chance to act locally while thinking globally.”

At Wesleyan, Winston has taught more than 20 different courses in German and in English, including Dada and Expressionism, Thomas Mann, The Simple Life, The German Volksstück, and Giants of German Literature. She also regularly teaches language courses.

In addition to teaching, Winston coordinates the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, a highly selective mentoring program that prepares students of color for graduate study and eventual careers as professors. She also serves as advisor to the Student Judicial Board. Since 1979 she has been the campus Fulbright Advisor, and she also guides students applying for Connecticut–Baden-Württemberg Exchange and German Academic Exchange Service grants.

Winston is demanding of her applicants, who include seniors, graduate students and alumni. She has been known to ask students to revise their application essays as many as 10 times. This year, of 17 Fulbright applicants, seven received grants and two were named alternates.
“I love working with the grant applicants,” she says. “I get to meet some of the brightest seniors and alumni, and much of my work with them involves teaching writing.”

Robert Conn, associate professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and associate professor of Latin American Studies, says his colleague is one of the most committed and generous educators he knows. He admires her voluntary roles as advisor of the Mellon-Mays and Fulbright Fellowship programs.

“In her commitment to both these programs, Krishna is selfless and tireless,” he says. “Fulbright recipients and Mellon Mays undergraduate scholars owe Krishna a debt of gratitude. But so, too, do faculty at large who like myself are inspired by her intelligence, generosity, and work ethic. This institution would not be the same without her.”

Such service, she says, is a tradition in Wesleyan’s German Studies Department. The late German Professor T. Chadbourne Dunham was a driving force behind bringing minority students to Wesleyan in the mid-60s, and women to Wesleyan in the 70s. German Professor Lawrence E. Gemeinhardt was Wesleyan’s first Fulbright advisor and advisor to all of Wesleyan’s foreign students.

German Professor A.S. Wensinger, now professor emeritus, taught in and chaired the Freshman Humanities Program for many years and still serves on the Landmarks Advisory Board. And Peter Frenzel, also professor of German emeritus, took on the responsibility of training students to ring the South College Bells and spearheading fundraising for new bells, served as Dean of the Arts and Humanities and was Faculty Marshal.

“There was a sense of serving not just the department, but also Wesleyan and the larger community,” Winston says.

She took over as chair of the Freshman Humanities Program, and served on the Committee on Honors and General Education, the Wesleyan Press editorial board, and the Planning Committee for the Language Laboratory. In 1993–94 she did a stint as acting Dean of the College.

Outside of Wesleyan, Winston has served as president, secretary, and newsletter editor for the Connecticut Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, as a trustee of the Independent Day School in Middlefield, as an evaluator of books for publishers, as a member of the Fulbright-Hays National Screening Committee for Germany, and as long-time chair of the Middletown Resource Recycling Advisory Council. She has also chaired Wesleyan’s United Way campaign. For several years she was a member of the North End Action Team’s Housing Committee.

But these activities aren’t all that’s keeping her busy. Since her graduate school days, Winston has been a professional translator. To date, she has translated 25 books from German to English. She is currently working on Peter Handke’s 750-page novel “Crossing the Sierra de Gredos.”. She has also translated Günter Grass’s “Two States, One Nation,” “Too Far Afield,” and “Crabwalk.”

“Günter Grass invites all his translators to Germany and goes over the book we will be translating page by page with us, answering any questions and providing a running commentary,” she says. “It is a rare privilege for a translator to work so closely with an author.”

For her translation of Grass’s “Too Far Afield,” Winston received the Schlegel-Tieck prize and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, conferred by the German government.

“Translating is an art as well as a craft,” Winston says. “First, you have to plunge into the work, and try to capture the sound and rhythm of the text. After I complete the rough draft, I go over the manuscript at least four times, reading each sentence aloud to myself. It is a slow process and requires a great deal of what the Germans call Sitzfleisch, or persistence, but to get a sentence just right is such a satisfaction.”

Winston plans to continue working through her parents’ papers, which include a wealth of materials on writers exiled from Hitler’s Germany. She started this research three years ago, while she was a visiting fellow at the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute at Smith College, and her paper about ‘Second-Class Refugees’ appeared this year in volume of essays that grew out of the Institute’s “Anatomy of Exile” project.

“Often I’m working 18 hours a day,” she says, smiling. “But the things I do are so varied and interesting that they keep my energy up.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

University Archivist Researches, Teaches, Presents Wesleyan’s History


Suzy Taraba, head of Special Collections & Archives and university archivist, searches for a 15th century book housed in the Davison Rare Book Room. George W. Davison donated Olin Memorial Library’s oldest printed books.
 
Posted 05/23/05

Q: You’re the university archivist and head of Special Collections & Archives. What led you into this area?

 A: I was drawn to librarianship at an early age in part because my mother’s two sisters are librarians. Later on, after thinking about various other careers, I realized that librarianship, especially special collections librarianship, was a natural outgrowth of my education as well as being work that I enjoyed. The archival component of my career came later, when I worked at Duke and the University of Chicago.

Q: Where are your degrees from and in what?

A: I earned my bachelor’s of art from Wesleyan from the College of Letters in 1977 and a Master of Library Service from Columbia University in 1982. My College of Letters major was especially germane for my job here at Wesleyan.

Q: When did you come to Wesleyan and what were you doing before that?

A: I came back to Wes in 1997 as university archivist. I was promoted in 1998 to head of special collections and university archivist. Immediately before that, I was the head of Public Services in Special Collections and Archives at the University of Chicago. Before that, I was director for Collection Development in Special Collections at Duke University.  Before that, I was head of Rare Book Cataloging at Duke. And before that, I was senior rare book cataloger at Duke.

Q: What are your objectives as the university archivist?

A: My to-do list is endless, but my central goal is to get the greater Wesleyan community excited about Wesleyan’s fascinating history. That’s the first step in preserving it and documenting for the future.

Q: What types of material are included in the Special Collections & Archives?

A: Special Collections & Archives has first rate collections in many areas. Our collections include rare books, manuscripts, university archives, and local history.  We have materials in nearly all formats: paper, audio and video tapes, photographs, CDs and DVDs, electronic records and objects. We have superb rare book collections in English and American literature, history, poetry, Methodistica, 19th century British social and economic history, Arthuriana, fine press, and artists’ books.  We have a strong queer periodicals collection. We have the remains of the original Wesleyan Library.

Q: Can you give a few examples of projects people would use these archives for?

A: Three recent projects using the Wesleyan University Archives were extensive historical photo documentation research done by Rob Olson and associates as they worked on the new campus landscape plan; Web sites about Middletown and the river prepared by students in Vijay Pinch’s Waterways class; and an alumnus researching the history of Eclectic. The rare book collections are heavily used as well, most often in conjunction with class assignments.

Q: How do you go about helping people find what they need?

A: First, we listen carefully and ask questions to be sure we understand what they really want. Then we rely on a combination of our knowledge of the topic and of our holdings, and a range of different tools, including archival finding aids, the library’s online catalog, card files, published sources or other things to help them find sources.

Q: Do you recommend the Wesleyan community to send you copies of their publications to be archived?

A: We are definitely interested in additions to the Wesleyan University Archives. Materials you give to the archives today will support the researchers of the future.

Q: What are your thoughts on your job?

A: The work is always interesting and challenging. It’s extremely varied as well.  Although I do spend a fair amount of time in meetings, I also teach, write, acquire materials, do research and reference, supervise staff, plan for the future of Special Collections & Archives and work with donors. I especially enjoy working at Wesleyan because of my connections with the university going back to childhood. Wesleyan and Middletown feel like home to me. 

Q: Do you set up exhibits in the library?

A: I’m in charge of the library’s formal exhibit program, so I set the schedule and approve requests to install exhibits. The student art exhibits on the lower level and exhibits in the Olin lobby are not coordinated by me. I’m often, but by no means always, the one who puts together the exhibits as well.

Q: And you also give presentations and teach?

A: Teaching and presenting about our collections is an enormous part of my job.  This academic year, I gave presentations about our holdings to 45 classes of Wesleyan undergraduates, three graduate classes, and one graphic design class from Mitchell College. These classes ranged from English classes studying Shakespeare to early modern European history students to the Atomic Theory seminar. I’m a regular presenter at alumni events and professional meetings as well. In addition to sessions that are part of classes taught by Wesleyan faculty, I taught two classes of my own this year. During the fall semester, I taught a five-week course in the history of the book through the new Continuing Studies program. In the spring semester, I taught a full-credit, 13-week master’s level course, Texts in Context: The Book as Cultural Artifact, through the Graduate Liberal Studies Program. Teaching these classes was a wonderful, rewarding experience for me.

Q: What is your personal interest in the history of Wesleyan?

A: My connections to Wesleyan go back a ways, since my father, Wolfgang F. Taraba, came here in 1950-51 as a foreign student from Germany. He also taught German here from 1959 to 1963, so Wesleyan was very much a part of my early childhood.

Q: Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

A: Not too surprisingly, I love to read and visit libraries and museums, both art and history. I collect found photographs of women in couples or groups – imaginary ancestors, in a way. My partner, Marie Clark, and I live in Middletown in a 19th century house with our elderly Labrador retriever, Sappho, and our two cats, Sebastian and Victoria.

Q: Is there anything else that I should know about your role here in special collections?

A: I love my job!

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Administrative Assistant Makes Plans to Retire After 42-Year Career at Wesleyan


Georgie Leone, administrative assistant for the Center for African American Studies, has worked at Wesleyan for 41 years in four departments. She started here at the age of 18.
 
Posted 05/23/.05
Q: So, you’re one of those rarities.

A: Yes. I am originally from Middletown. We were referred to by the Wesleyan boys as “townies” way back when. I was born right here at the Middlesex Hospital. My maiden name is Lockhart and I am the oldest child of three children — the only girl and two brothers. One brother has passed on, but I have a baby brother who is 16 years younger than me. He obviously was a big surprise.

Q: When were you hired at Wesleyan and in what department?

A: Wesleyan hired me on October 14, 1963 to be a catalog assistant and the secretary to the head of the Catalog Department in Olin Library. I worked there for 15 years.

Q: How many departments have you worked for over the years?

A: I worked at the Graduate Liberal Studies Program as a secretary to the assistant director and I left there after 3 1/2 years. I then went to the Office of Admission for about two years as the secretary to one of the deans. And this year I will celebrate 21 years as the administrative assistant in the African American Studies Program, Center for African American Studies. I still can’t believe it myself that I have been at Wesleyan going on 42 years.

Q: What about Wesleyan has kept you here?

A: I enjoyed the work I did at the library and the people who I worked with were wonderful. I think most of them were in their early 30s and 40s and older, and me being 18 years of age I was like a little sister or daughter to some of them.

Q: When you came to Wesleyan, wasn’t in an all-male university?

A: Working at Wesleyan when you are 18 years old with that many male students around was so much fun. I definitely had a date every Saturday night if I wanted one. I wasn’t “boy crazy”, but I wasn’t Sister Theresa either so I can remember going to football games, dances and fraternity parties. Curfew was midnight for the girls to be on campus. The students dressed for dinner in the navy blue jackets. I really did meet some real nice guys back then, however, I ultimately married a high school classmate and we’ve been happily married for 39 years.

Q: What have been the major changes at Wesleyan that you have noticed in your time here?

A: I would have to say the addition of the women to Wesleyan in the late 1960s. I am from the ”old school” in many ways and it was difficult to get used to seeing the women around campus. I guess now it is old hat but back then was another story.

Q: What are your thoughts on your co-workers?

A: My co-workers are the best. The faculty that have come through our doors over the many years I have been here have been fantastic. The concern for the program and the members of its staff is a major priority. We definitely all get along very well. The only big change now is that I am turning out to be the “oldest in age” and not the youngest any longer. The new hires seem to be younger and younger all of the time. I am treated with a great deal of respect by the members of the faculty, staff and the students. I guess you might say my reputation has preceded me know matter where I have been. The faculty and staff at the center are my extended family.

Q: Do you interact much with the students?

A: The students have changed in some ways, but I do enjoy the interaction I have with them. I supervise about four to six students each semester as office assistants. They seem to be a little needier and maybe a little bolder. But they seem to know what they want and they go for it. In general, I would have to say that most of my dealings with students are positive. I always like the beginning of the school year when the frosh enter. They look so young and I feel like I have to “mother” them.

Q: What’s a day like for you there in the Center for African American Studies?

A: My day can change from minute to minute. It also changes with the time of the year. Right now I’m dealing with the graduation reception, students storage at our center and making sure that all of our senior majors have passed their spring courses successfully to complete the major. I also am on the phone a lot, and we hold a class in our lounge each semester so students are always in and out. I meet with people, take computer courses when necessary, take care of the office budget, faculty accounts and just be here.

Q: How has the African American Studies Program grown and evolved over your time there?

A: I think the program has seen some highs and lows during the years I have been here. I came to the department in 1984 on the first day of school. Can you imagine! And this was a first for me. I had never worked in an academic department before. In 1984 the AFAM major had just been approved. It was a big time and our first graduating class of AFAM Majors was in 1985. We had five of them. It was a very exciting time. Now we have anywhere from 15 to 20 each year. Then, the chair and the director were one and the same. A few years later a director was hired specifically to direct the center and the chair was a tenured faculty member. We now have two tenured faculty members serving, one as chair and one as the director. We also have five tenured faculty members as opposed to having one or two tenured faculty members in the earlier years. So I guess you can say we’ve grown in that respect. And that’s a good thing for sure.

Q: Being here so long, do many people come up to you and ask, “So, what was it like back then?”

A: Yes, they do ask, but most of the time I think they are more taken by the fact that I have been here so long. You don’t hear of anyone staying in one place of employment for a long time. I have one professor that when she introduces me to someone and tells them the length of time I have been here, she proceeds to tell them that, “Georgie knows where all of the bodies are buried.” And I guess she is right, I can go back and remember some things like they were yesterday, but then again, trying to remember what went on 42 years ago is not always easy. Some of it is starting to escape me.

Q: Can you elaborate on your community services?

A: I am very active in an organization called the Middletown Emblem Club No. 452. It is affiliated with the Middletown Elks Lodge in Middletown. I am a charter member and have been active since 1970 when the organization was instituted in Middletown. It is definitely a service club more than social. We foster and perpetuate patriotism, we are involved in many aspects of community service with the elderly and the youth. I also have been very involved in coordinating a program called “Hawkwing,” which provides children and the elderly on the Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota with warm clothing, personal items and books. Presently I am in the process of coordinating with the Head Librarian at the York Women’s Prison in Niantic with providing the women with books and personal items. I was chosen Citizen of the Year by the Middletown Elks Lodge in 2001 and was also chosen by the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Prevention Council as the Father Michael O’Hara Volunteer of the Year Award in 2002.

Q: What’s your involvement with drug rehabilitation services in the area?

A: I’ve put in many volunteer hours with our local Drug Rehabilitation Centers. I have received Emblem state and national awards for my volunteerism in Drug Awareness. I am also the Treasurer for the Substance Abuse Prevention Council in Middletown where I have been an active member for the past 10 years.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: In my not so spare time, I am an avid gardener and I love to flower arrange. I call it my therapy. Just let me play in that dirt and I let the rest of the world go by. I have also been an active member and Past President of the Portland River Valley Garden Club for the past 15 years. I also like to cook and bake and believe it or not I like to clean my house too.

Q: Tell me about your family.

A: My husband Ray and I are of Italian descent, you know the Mellili Sicilian’s that infiltrated Middletown over the years. We both attended and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1963. We do not have any children, but we have lots of nieces, nephews and now great nieces and nephews and they have grown up with us. They are scattered mostly in Florida and Texas.

Q: Do you have any plans to retire? If so, when?

A: Right now, I am looking at June 2006. I think 42 years is a long time to work and I would like to take some time for me. I would also like to be home with my mom for a while. She will turn 80 years old in June and has had some health problems this year. I want to be able to be home with her while the two of us can still have some fun shopping, go to the spa, take in a movie, or just stay at home and spend the day doing nothing at all. I think I am ready. It has been a glorious ride, but now it is time to get off.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Students Receive Awards, Prizes, Scholarships


Pictured in center, Migdalia Pinkney, administrative assistant for the Center for Community Partnerships and Lisa Currie, director of Health Education, congratulate Gabrielle Tynes-Labonte ’06 (left) and Vladrose Petit-Frere ’05 during the Academic Awards, Prizes and Scholarships program May 3. The students both received the Mosaic Award, given to four students who have brought about cultural awareness and education on race, ethnicity, culture or sexual orientation.

 
Posted 05/23/05
More than 240 Wesleyan students received accolades and formal recognition during the 2005 Academic Awards, Prizes and Scholarships program May 3 in the Russell House.

“These are honor students who represent the highest ideals of Wesleyan University: intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership and service,” says Peter Patton, interim dean of the college, vice president and secretary of the university and professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Students were honored for excellence in astronomy, music composition, biology, chemistry,  earth and environmental sciences, mathematics, history, film, women studies and computer science, among other subjects. Others earned awards for demonstrating outstanding leadership, special aptitude in the history or art, debating and public-spirited citizenship.

While celebrating these recipients of awards, prizes and scholarships, Patton also honored and thanked alumni and friends for their generous contributions and gifts. Several awards are the result of legacies of alumni, administrators, faculty and friends whose lives and work are honored through endowed gifts.

For the complete list of students and their awards go to:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/deans/awards2005.html.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor