Olivia Drake

WesHome Program Teaches Students How to Live


Barbara Spalding, associate director of Campus Fire Safety, teaches housemates Sally Smyth ’07 and Kara Brodgesell ’07 how to plunge a toilet and shut off a water valve at their student residence as part of the WesHome Program.
Posted 10/05/06
Home sweet home. Or is it?

If a student’s residence is too hot, has a broken toilet, a burned-out entrance light, sticky windows or drafty doors, his or her home may not be more sour than sweet.

WesHome, a new program spearheaded by Physical Plant and the Campus Fire Safety Office, teaches students how to use, maintain and be safe in their Wesleyan habitats.

Wesleyan currently has 143 wood-framed homes, which house more than 554 students. Already, about 40 Wesleyan staff members have “adopted” their own WesHome.

“At Wesleyan we teach students all kinds of things, but we haven’t educated them how to live in their homes,” says Barbara Spalding, associate director of Campus Fire Safety.

On Sept. 29, Spalding visited the six students living in the 88 Home Ave. house. She brought along a pizza, soda, cookies and a plunger.

“Does everyone know how to use this thing,” she asks, smiling.

After a brief introduction, Spalding gathers with the students in their living room. She asks if the students are having any problems with their home, and takes note of their concerns. Any immediate problems are reported to Physical Plant.

Spalding then goes down a checklist, making sure their keys, doors, lights, windows, appliances, exhaust fans and heating system work. She explains where they are able to park, where their fire extinguishers are, when trash and recyclables are collected, how to close a storm window, how to hang a shower curtain inside the bathtub and how to control their thermostat.

She talks about prohibited items and behaviors such as using candles, burning incense, the use of electric heaters and halogen floor lamps, or placing furniture too close to the heaters.

Basements and attics are locked and Spaulding reminds students that unauthorized access to these areas will lead to a $500 fine.

Heating issues alone are worthy of an extensive talk. Spalding estimates that half of the students living in Wesleyan’s wood-framed homes have no idea where their home’s thermostat is located.

“Before you call Physical Plant and say your home is too hot or too cold, make sure your thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature that everyone in your home can agree on,” Spalding says. “Fixing the heat is not usually a housing problem, it’s a behavior problem.”

Spalding proceeds with a home tour, showing the residents their boiler, electric box and fire alarm panel in the basement. She teaches the residents how to plunge a toilet and shut off a water valve.

Residents also receive an Emergency Planning Notebook, which contains a photo of the home, exit plans, emergency phone numbers, links to personal safety Web sites, Emergency Blue Light locations, fire alarm and sprinkler information, trash and recycling information, energy saving tips, cable modem information and a family-contact emergency form for each of the home’s residents.

Meredith Katz, an 88 Home Avenue resident, says she enjoyed learning how her home away from home works.

“Our home-mom, Barbara, taught us everything we need to know about maintaining a happy household,” she says. “Now we know how to respect and preserve our beautiful home.”

The WesHome program is seeking staff and faculty volunteers to adopt a home. For more information, contact Barbara Spalding at 860-685-3780.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Voices of Liberal Learning Examine Issues that Shape Our World


Posted 10/05/06
Poetry, slavery, monks and dialects are among several topics of this year’s Voices of Liberal Learning seminars.

Voices of Liberal Learning is a series of stimulating educational programs and presentations available to the Wesleyan community.

“The Voices of Liberal Learning programs enrich the intellectual exchange among members of the community and offer the kind of substantive, outside-the-classroom learning experience treasured by all of us,” says Linda Secord, director of alumni education and university lectures. “We have a remarkable selection of educational programs throughout the year which will foster the evolution of knowledge and understanding at Wesleyan and challenge participants to think in new ways. I welcome everyone to take advantage of these offerings.”

Speakers and events occurring on campus during the Fall 2006 schedule are:

8 p.m. Oct. 4, Russell House, 350 High Street
An Evening with Poet Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart’s poetry met a wide and appreciative readership with the publication of In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

8 p.m. Oct. 5
Mansfield Freeman Lecture
Japan as the Earth Writ Small: Ecological Issues
Seminar Room, Mansfield Freeman Center for Asian Studies, 343 Washington Terrace
Conrad Totman, professor emeritus of history, Yale University, will consider how industrialization has transformed Japanese society, making global rather than local environmental factors central to the history.

8 p.m. Oct. 10
Contemporary Israeli Voices — How Poets Think
Russell House, 350 High Street
Agi Mishol, Israeli poet, and Lisa Katz, her English translator, will lead a discussion about using marginal details and how they lead to metaphor.

8 p.m. Oct. 11
An Evening with Lynne Tillman
Russell House, 350 High Street
Lynne Tillman is a fiction writer, cultural critic, and oral historian whose books include Haunted Houses, The Broad Picture, No Lease on Life, and This Is Not It. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

8 p.m. Oct. 17
What’s Hot in Astronomy?!
McKelvey Room, Steward M. Reid Admission Building, 70 Wyllys Avenue
William Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University, will look at recent discoveries in the universe and their implications.

4:15 p.m. Oct. 19
Fall Lecture Series: Revisiting Slavery
Center for African American Studies (CAAS) Lounge
Veteran Hartford Courant journalists Anne Farrow, Joel Lang ‘68, and Jenifer Frank will speak on “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery.”

2 p.m. Oct. 21
Wesleyan Writers Conference 50th Anniversary Celebration
Featuring Readings by 2006 Conference Writers Katha Pollitt and Alexander Chee ’89
Russell House, 350 High Street
Award-winning journalist Katha Pollitt is known for her provocative columns in The Nation and essay collections including Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism. She will read from her new book, Virginity or Death! Alexander Chee’s first novel, Edinburgh, won numerous prizes and he received a 2003 Whiting Writers’ Award. His new novel, Queen of the Night, will be published this year.

5 p.m. Oct. 21
Dwight L. Greene Symposium
Unconventional Wisdom: Plurality and Innovation in Corporate America
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street
Darryl B. Hazel ’70, president, Ford Customer Service Department, Ford Motor Company; Amy Radin ’79, chief innovation officer, Citigroup. The symposium, held in honor of Dwight L. Greene ’70, began in 1993 as a memorial to Greene’s life and work.

8 p.m. Oct. 24
Contemporary Israeli Voices: Death of a Monk — The Relation Between History and Fiction
Russell House, 350 High Street
Alon Hilu, a finalist for the Israeli Saphir Award, will discuss the relationship between the historic blood libel of Damascus in 1840 and his novel, Death of a Monk, a gay retelling of the Damascus Affair. Hilu received the 2006 Presidential Prize for Literature for Death of a Monk.

8 p.m. Oct. 25
An Evening with Poet Jeffrey Skinner
Russell House, 350 High Street
Jeffery Skinner has published five collections of poetry. In addition to his work as a poet, Skinner has had success as a playwright, having had his short plays produced in New York, Ohio, and Kentucky. Currently he is professor of creative writing at the University of Louisville.

4:30 p.m. Oct. 26
Listening to Chinese Painting
Center for East Asian Studies, 343 Washington Terrace
Susan Nelson, professor emeritus, Fine Arts and EALC, University of Indiana
Chinese landscape painting ranks among the great achievements of world art, capturing the beauty, grandeur, and variety of nature, and giving a sense of the unending dynamism of the cosmic forces—the qi—that shape it. Those forces are manifest in the sounds of nature as well as in its visible forms; Chinese painters, seeking to convey the essence of landscape in all its dimensions found ways to suggest its sonorousness in a silent medium. How to read this aural imagery, and some broader questions about sounds and images, are the subject of this talk.

8 p.m. Oct. 26
Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns: Triumph of the Sports Culture
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street
Frank Deford, senior writer at Sports Illustrated, commentator on Morning Edition on NPR, regular correspondent on the HBO show, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel kicks off the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns with his informed perspective on the role of sports in contemporary culture.

7:30 p.m. Oct. 30
Contemporary Israeli Voices: Out of Sight
Goldsmith Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies, 301 Washington Terrace
Daniel Syrkin, winner of Best Director Prize and Best Cinematography Prize, Israeli Academy Awards 2005 will lead a talk and movie screening.

4:30 p.m. Nov. 2
Enzheng Tong Memorial Lecture: An Underground Palace in Ancient China — The Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (d. 433 BC)
Seminar Room, Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, 343 Washington Terrace
Robert Bagley, professor of art and archaeology, Princeton University will lead an examination of the richest discovery ever made in Chinese Bronze Age archaeology, the burial and contents of the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng.

8 p.m. Nov. 7
Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression
Public Forums: The Affirmative Side of Free Speech
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street
Cass R. Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago Law School, and author of many articles and books on constitutional law and free speech. This event is named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Hugo L. Black.

8 p.m. Nov. 8
An Evening with Poet Anne Waldman
Russell House, 350 High Street
Anne Waldman is the author of over 30 books of poetry and prose. She is a two-time winner of the International Poetry Heavyweight Championship Bout in Taos, New Mexico and co-founder, with Allen Ginsberg, of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

4:15 p.m. Nov. 8
Fall Lecture Series: Revisiting Slavery
Lois Brown, “Cultivating Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and Enterprise in Colonial New England.”
CAAS Lounge
Lois Brown, an associate professor of English at Mount Holyoke College specializes in nineteenth century African American fiction. She has won awards for her discovery and republication of a largely unknown 1835 biography of a freeborn African American child. She is currently working on a book about African American novelist Pauline Hopkins.

7:30 p.m. Nov. 9
Asian Migrations and Intimacy
Center for East Asian Studies, 343 Washington Terrace
Nayan Shah, associate professor, University of California at San Diego
Professor Shah’s lecture, drawn from his new research project, pursues the history of the migration of men from the province of Punjab in British colonial India to Canada and the United States from 1890 to 1950. Court cases illuminate how regulatory systems shape subjectivity, social dynamics, and categories of race and sexuality in twentieth century North America.
Shah, author of Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is currently teaching a course at Wesleyan on the history of interracial and intercultural intimacy generated by the migrations from Asia in the Americas.

7:30 p.m. Nov. 9
Shackleton Memorial Symposium: A Living History of Marie Curie
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street
Susan Marie Frontczak presents a one-woman dramatization of the life of Madame Curie, the first European woman to earn a doctorate and the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes.

8 p.m. Nov. 14
Contemporary Israeli Voices: Writing about the Holocaust with Humor
Russell House, 350 High Street
Amir Gutreund, winner of the 2002 Buchman Prize from Yad Vashem Institute for Our Holocaust and the 2003 Sapir Prize for Seashore Mansions, will hold a conversation about his memories as a son of Holocaust survivors.

4:30 p.m. Nov. 15
Cyber-History, Memory, and Violence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for East Asian Studies, 343 Washington Terrace
Peter Perdue, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and professor of history, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In the spring of this year, Chinese students at MIT protested an educational web site on East Asian history developed by Professors John Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa. Professor Perdue will discuss the implications of this incident for researching modern Chinese history.

4:15 p.m. Nov. 29
Fall Lecture Series: Revisiting Slavery
Gerald Foster, “American Slavery: A Most Complete Story”
CAAS Lounge
Dr. Gerald Foster is Scholar-in-Residence at the United States National Slavery Museum, the first American museum dedicated to the history of slavery. The museum is currently under construction in Fredricksburg, Va.

8 p.m. Nov. 29
Public Scholarship and Community Engagement
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street
Nancy Cantor, chancellor and president, Syracuse University will speak on community engagement.

4:30 p.m. Dec. 7
Singing the Way Home: A Personal Research into Hokkien Dialect Songs
Center for East Asian Studies, 343 Washington Terrace
A lecture by Singapore actress Ang Gey Pin. Brought up in Singapore in a time when the use of dialects was strictly restricted, theater artist Ang Gey Pin describes how she searched for songs in her family’s Chinese dialect Hokkien. In this talk, she emphasizes the connection between imagination and memory, linking the process of recovering cultural heritage to her own creative experience as a performer.

For more information contact Linda Secord at lsecord@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-3003. To learn more about these programs and their sponsors visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/175/liberal.html.

Presidential Search Forum Provides Insight


Jennifer Bol, a consultant from Spencer Stuart, the agency selected to assist the Presidential Search Committee in recruiting Wesleyan’s new president, asks the Wesleyan audience what they are seeking in the university’s new president.
Posted 10/05/06
Pam Tatge wants a university president who has traveled or studied abroad. Michael Whitcomb wants a president who respects a diverse staff and student body. Suzy Taraba wants a president who values a liberal arts education.

These were all suggestions presented during a presidential search open forum Sept. 29 in Russell House. Wesleyan President Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94 announced his decision that the 2006-07 academic year will be the final year of his presidency.

The forum was set up by members of the Presidential Search Committee to hear views and gain valuable feedback to be used in the search process.

“We’re here to find a leader who will thrive here and inspire our staff, faculty and alumni,” said Presidential Search Committee Chair Kofi Appenteng ’81, P’07. “Doug Bennet’s leadership has strengthened the university considerably during the past eleven years, and the Presidential Search Committee is seeking to build upon this momentum.”

The attendees also met Jennifer Bol and Michele Haertel, consultants from Spencer Stuart, the agency selected to assist the Presidential Search Committee and the Board of Trustees in identifying and successfully recruiting Wesleyan’s 16th president.

Bol led the forum, requesting that attendees speak about what qualities they’d seek in a new president. Ideas from the audience were numerous and varied.

Pictured at left, speaking, Suzy Taraba ’77, university archivist and head of Special Collections, said she hopes the new president will respect and honor Wesleyan’s unique history with the trend of mainstreaming in mind.

“I’m looking for a president who can understand that Wesleyan’s history is terrific and not something to be ashamed of,” she said.

Carol Scully, director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, suggested that Wesleyan and the new president continue to actively promote the value of a liberal arts education with policy makers and funders of higher education.

“We have noticed that funding for the liberal arts has declined at several major national foundations,” she said. “We need to insure that liberal arts institutions are part of the broader conversation about higher education in this country.”

Pam Tatge ‘84, director of the Center for the Arts, stressed that the new president should know the importance of using the arts in interdisciplinary ways, have experience working abroad, and have an interest in developing a positive relationship with the Middletown community.

“We’ve had a good track record under Doug Bennet’s legacy, and we need a new president who also can see the community relationship as an asset,” she said.

Makaela Kingsley ‘98, associate director of Reunion Leadership Giving, suggested that having some sort of connection to Wesleyan would be a plus; and Faraneh Carnegie ‘05, assistant director of Regional Programs and Networks, pointed out that the new president should value and respect Wesleyan’s diverse community.

“I’d hope the new president would like to continue to insure diversity among students, staff and faculty,” said Michael Whitcomb, director of Institutional Research.

Bol also asked the audience to describe the culture of Wesleyan.

Taraba explained that Wesleyan students tend to be “interested in everything,” and Camille Dolansky, associate director of Parent Programs, described Wesleyan’s students as “nice and intelligent.” John Driscoll ‘62, alumni director, summed up the student body in one word.

“They’re feisty,” he said. “We think of arguing as a sport. We get very excited about points of view.”

Others said they wanted a president who values athletics, racial and economic diversity, had good listening and public speaking skills, values alumni from different backgrounds, enjoys spending time with students, who has the ability to back up why decisions are made and someone who understands the economics of higher education.

“I hope our next president will understand the vision of the university and get people excited and keep moving forward towards this vision,” said Pat Tully, associate university librarian.

Paula Lawson, associate provost, hopes the committee doesn’t rule out someone from a business or law background.

“This is the 21st century and we can think more broadly,” she said. “It’s OK to think outside the box.”

For more information on the Presidential Search Committee, go to:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/newsletter/campus/0906pressearch.html

Current committee members have established a Web site to collect confidential nominations and feedback from the community at http://www.wesleyan.edu/presidentialsearch.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Scientists Share Research at Molecular Biophysics Retreat


Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology, speaks on “Neurons looking back before firing: the timing of action potentials” during the Molecular Biophysics Retreat Sept. 21.
Posted 10/05/06
Established and budding scientists attended the Seventh Annual Wesleyan University Molecular Biophysics Retreat at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown on Sept. 21. The retreat is an annual celebration of the Molecular Biophysics Program, which is co-directed by David Beveridge, professor of chemistry and Ishita Mukerji, associate professor and chair of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Organized this year by Beveridge and Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, the event was supported by the Edward W. Snowdon lecture fund, the Molecular Biophysics Program, the departments of Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The retreat was designed to bring together students and faculty in the molecular biophysics and biological chemistry programs and provide them an opportunity to discuss their current research, explore new ideas and possible collaborative work. About 50 people attended this year’s retreat.

Jacqueline Barton, pictured at right, the Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, was the keynote speaker.

Barton discussed how electrons move through DNA structures and how this process can mediate DNA damage and repair.

“By researching what happens inside the cell that leads to DNA mismatch formation and repair, we may better be able to understand how certain types of cancer occur,” Barton says.

In a complementary talk titled “Mopping up after messy polymerases,” Professor Hingorani discussed her research on mechanisms of DNA damage and repair, involving proteins linked to carcinogenesis.

The event also featured 26 posters by several Wesleyan students and alumni including, Katherine Augustyn, a fifth year graduate student at the California Institute of Technology and double major in chemistry and molecular biology and biochemistry.

Augustyn’s poster detailed how electric charges migrate through DNA, more specifically how cells, like those exposed to UVA radiation, could be damaged by charge migration. She also spoke with students about her research at a Wesleyan Women In Science seminar Sept. 22.

Rex Pratt, Wesleyan University professor of chemistry, described his studies about a class of enzymes that catalyzes the last step in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.

“These enzymes are the targets of beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin,” says Pratt. “Our aim is to learn more about these enzymes at a molecular level to assist further drug development.”

Ryan Pelto, a fourth year chemistry graduate student at Wesleyan, who conducts research with Pratt, presented a poster about bacterial resistance to current ß-lactam antibiotics and how ß-lacatamase enzymes play a major role in bacterial defense mechanisms.

Other Wesleyan University scientists presented research, including new faculty member Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology, neuroscience and behavior, and T. David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry.

Aaron’s research investigates how neurons communicate with each other and produce precise patterns of activity. The title of his talk was “Neurons looking back before firing: the timing of action potentials.”

“In this ongoing work, we are demonstrating that slow currents in some groups of neurons produce, in a sense, a memory of past communications from other neurons,” says Aaron.

“Thus, the decision of when to fire an action potential can incorporate messages from further back in time than had previously been assumed. This research may help us understand how precision is produced in a network that appears at first glance to be composed from imprecise elements.”

Westmoreland’s talk was titled “Marcus Theory and Atom Transfer: It’s not just for electrons.

“The most important type of atom transfer, both from a biological and an industrial point of view, involves the transfer of a single oxygen atom,” says Westmoreland.

Westmoreland’s talk reported on the progress in showing how the conceptual framework previously developed for reactions that involve transferring a single electron can be extended to include single atoms as well.

He hopes that this work will provide new insights into the functions of a number of important enzymes and may point to new industrial catalysts.
 

By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations; photos by Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Celebrates 100 years of Hosting Government Documents


Erhard Konerding, Olin Library documents librarian, flips through the pages of Survey for the Transcontinental Railroad, dated 1860, located in Wesleyan’s Congress Serial Set in Olin Library. In 1906 Wesleyan became a designated depository for U.S. government documents.
Posted 10/05/06
In October 1906, United States Representative George Lilley allowed Wesleyan’s libraries to receive publications of congress, the president, federal courts and federal agencies, at no cost. Wesleyan was designated as one of the nation’s few depository libraries, under the auspices of the U.S. Government Printing Office.

In October 2006, Wesleyan libraries are celebrating their centennial as a Depository Library for United States Government publications. Judy Russell, superintendent of documents, will take part in the ceremony, scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 20 in Olin Memorial Library.

An exhibit will accompany the celebration. It will feature documents from 1906-2006 and focus on the technologies that were present at the time.

“We are fortunate to receive the publications, whether monographs or subscriptions; both would cost us lots of money if we purchased them or subscribed,” explains Erhard Konerding, Olin Library documents librarian.

Konerding estimates there are about 1,100 designated Depository Libraries in the U.S., however the number is declining. The Regional Depositories, averaging one per state, receive 100 percent of the offerings; other libraries varying percentages. Wesleyan receives, free of charge, about 30 percent of the publications offered in pre-selected categories by the Government Printing Office, and is required by federal law to make them available to the general public.

Students, faculty and staff can access United States Government publications from the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the United States government in several formats: paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, diskette, videocassette, and online. Wesleyan’s collection emphasizes the social sciences, and is strongest in Congressional publications, statistics and government policy.

The main documents collection is housed on the Ground Floor of the Olin Library stacks.  Publications printed after 1976 are listed in Wesleyan’s library catalog, or online at http://www.marcive.com/webdocs/webdocs.dll.

As part of the centennial celebration, Olin’s Special Collections and Archives will be hosting an exhibit inside the library tentatively titled “A Century of Government Information.” This exhibit will feature examples of government documents, which Wesleyan possesses.
For more information on the U.S. Government Information offered through Wesleyan’s libraries, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/collections/govdoc/govweb.html.

 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

City of Middletown Honors Wesleyan’s 175th


President Doug Bennet and Midge Bennet accept a proclamation honoring Wesleyan’s 175th anniversary from City of Middletown Majority Leader Tom Serra.
Posted 10/05/06
The City of Middletown honored Wesleyan University with a proclamation honoring its 175th anniversary. The designation was made during the City of Middletown’s Common Council meeting Oct. 2.

President Doug Bennet and Midge Bennet accepted the proclamation in front of the council members and the public. The proclamation is mounted on a wall plaque.

Following the ceremony, President Bennet presented a brief history of Wesleyan, noting that it was founded in 1831 through collaboration among Middletown’s civic leaders.

Some of these leaders were Methodists, some not, but all of them agreed that establishing a college in what was then a booming metropolis of 7,000 people would be a good thing for the town. So they banded together and purchased the land and buildings on High Street that had comprised Partridge’s Academy, which had closed for financial reasons.

Willbur Fisk, a young Methodist minister and educator got to work establishing the college that would become Wesleyan. In his first inaugural address, he articulated a value that remains fundamental to the way we think about education. He said: “Education should be directed in reference to two objects: the good of the individual educated and the good of the world.”

“175 years later, Wesleyan has let go of its affiliation to the Methodist church, but not its indebtedness to its home city, nor a sense of common purpose with the people of Middletown,” Bennet said at the meeting. “We hope to continue contributing to the city’s welfare. Thank you for this honor.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor and Elan Barnehama, contributing writer

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

PLANT IN MEMORY: Wesleyan students, staff and faculty were invited to plant a daffodil in honor of those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

The daffodil garden will bloom next spring in front of North College.

Football Coach Begins Season with 40 Returnees, 19 Starters


 

 

 

 

 

Frank Hauser, head football coach, has been preparing Wesleyan Cardinals for competition Sept. 23. Hauser, who graduated from Wesleyan in 1979, has been coaching at Wesleyan 20 years.

Posted 09/15/06
Q: Frank, the football season kicks off Sept. 23. Is it difficult to prepare the team for competition in such a short period?

A: Practice began August 30 which gives us over three weeks to prepare for the opener against Middlebury College That is plenty of time.

Q: The Cardinals had seven consecutive non-losing seasons from 1997 to 2003. What are your goals this year to get Wes back on a winning-streak?

A: Two points of emphasis are improving the running game and limiting turnovers. Accomplishing those things is a good start toward getting us back on the winning track.

Q: You’re leading a team that includes 40 lettermen and 19 returning starters. How does this raise your hopes for a winning season this year?

A: We are returning some very good players from last year’s team. I expect improvement from all of our players, based on their hard work in the off-season.

Q: Who are your top returnees?

A: Defensively, we return Quincy Francis GLSP ’06 at linebacker, who earned a second-team all-NESCAC honor in 2005 with 61 total tackles, six behind team leader Tim O’Callaghan ’08, who also returns. We also have linebacker Ethan Pickett ’09; defensive backs Jeff McLaren GLSP 06, Joe Pepe ’07, Brian Valerio ’07, Steve Secundo ’07 and Kwasi Ansu ’09; defensive linemen John Harding ’09, Brian Smithson ’07, Brian Mahr ’07 and Tom Addonizio ’08.

Q: Tell us about Wesleyan’s offense.

A: Wesleyan’s offense boasts the total yardage leader in the NESCAC. Our quarterback Zach Librizzi ’08 averaged 195 yards a game in 2005 while also leading all starting quarterbacks in rushing yards with 204. He’ll be targeting Mark Noonan ’08, Matt Barnum GLSP ’06, Blake Curry ’07 and Ryan Walsh ’09. In the backfield, Wesleyan has its top two ball-carriers back in quad-captain Phil Banks ’07 and Garth Mitchell ’08. Banks also had 17 catches out of the backfield. Starting linemen returning are tri-captain Corey Baker ’07, Brett Valentine ’09 and Dan Glyck ’07. Also returning from injury last season is lineman Steve Cohen ’08.

AJ Taucher ‘08, who averaged 37.2 yards a punt to rank fourth in the NESCAC, and placekicker Chris Helsel ’09 round out the returning starters.

McLaren, who along with Librizzi were CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine District I academic All-Americans as well as starting defensive midfielders on Wesleyan’s national semi-finalist men’s lacrosse team in 2006, handled the bulk of the team’s kick returns in 2005, averaging 6.3 yards on punts and 24.4 yard on kickoffs.

Q: You’re a 1979 Wesleyan alumnus, and former linebacker and wrestler for the Cardinals. Since you know all about being a Wesleyan student-athlete, do your players ever ask for your advice on how to manage their academic life and sports?

A: Players often ask advice about academic matters, particularly when they are freshmen and sophomores. Knowing the rigors of the academic programs at Wesleyan, I make certain to give them any help I can. The players know that academics come first at Wesleyan and we would have it no other way.

Q: You’re entering your 14th year as head coach with a 57-47 career, and 20th year as a Wesleyan coach. What has kept you here all these years?

A: I came back to Wesleyan in 1986 when Bill MacDermott, my former head coach at Wesleyan, hired me as the defensive coordinator. I was then appointed head football coach at Wesleyan in 1992. The thing that has kept me at Wesleyan for so long is the quality of the student-athletes. Our football players are very serious about both their academic work and their football. They work hard in the classroom and on the field and are a pleasure for me to work with.

Q: Does it surprise you that a Division III school like Wesleyan can boast so many NFL ties?
Former players include Bill Belichick ’75, head coach of the New England Patriots; Eric Mangini, ’91 head coach of the New York Jets; Jeff Wilner ’94, former Green Bay Packer and Denver Bronco; and Don Lowery ‘77, former vice president for player development and community affairs for the New England Patriots.

A: It doesn’t surprise me because Wesleyan prepares its students to do anything they choose to do. We have former players working in medicine, law, business, education and a variety of other fields. It is not surprising that these Wesleyan alumni have risen to the top of their profession in football.

Q: In addition to being the head coach, you are the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Who are the team’s assistant coaches?

A: We have John Raba coaching the inside linebackers; Doug Mandigo coaching defensive backs and also coordinating the defense; Hugh Villacis coaching the offensive line; James Wallace ’05 coaching the tight ends; Jophiel Philips coaching wide receivers; Clewi Challenger coaching outside linebackers; Keith Hellstern ’98 coaching running backs; and Shem Johnston-Bloom ’06 coaching the defensive line.

Q: What classes do you teach as an adjunct professor?

A: I teach fitness, strength training and golf.

Q: Are you involved in football activities outside of Wesleyan?

A: We as a football staff work numerous camps in the summer, particularly in the New England area.

Q: As a sports fan, what teams do you root for?

A: I have rooted for all Boston teams since I was a kid in Rhode Island, particularly the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Now that Eric Mangini, who played for me at Wesleyan, is the head coach of the New York Jets, I am certainly a Jets fan as well.

Q: What are you hobbies?

A: Golf. I love the game. It is the best way I know to participate in a competitive sport throughout your life.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Faculty, Students offer Reflections at Sept. 11 Memorial


Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, reads a Sanskrit prayer during a Sept. 11 Memorial Service in the Memorial Chapel while Jason Harris ’09, left, listens.
Posted 09/15/06
On Sept. 11, 2001, Marc Arena ’07 was in class when his high school principal announced over the P.A. that the World Trade Center towers were struck by two planes. He and his classmates at Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, N.Y. gathered around a radio, listening in awe.

With an ear on the broadcast, and a pencil at hand, Arena wrote a poem.

“Bodies leaping from 61 floors. Like roaches in the light. The people flee from the dark cloud. The shrapnel rain. Suffocating smog and fumes. Complete darkness even in daylight,” Arena wrote.

Five years later, Arena presented this poem during a “9-11 Memorial” Sept. 11, 2006 in the Memorial Chapel. He was one of six speakers who offered a reflection or poem during the 45-minute service, attended by Wesleyan students, faculty and staff.

Jewish Rabbi David Leipziger Teva organized the service, noting that 1,825 days have passed since the terrorist attacks; 3,500 Wesleyan undergraduates have received degrees; and a baby born on Sept. 11, 2001 could be attending kindergarten this year.

Leipziger Teva read off 24 names of Wesleyan alumni and friends who perished in the attacks, starting with Maile Hale ’97 and Andy Kates ’85.

“Let us reflect on all those who were killed five years ago today,” he said. “They were our fathers, our wives and our children. They were alumni – students who walked the halls we walk today. They were friends and loved ones of our beloved Wesleyan community.”

Like Arena, Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history, associate professor of letters, shared his memories of Sept. 11, 2001 with the audience, mentioning that his first day teaching classes at Wesleyan was at 10:30 a.m. that morning. Not knowing what to do, he asked the students to speak. Several wanted to explore the reasons of what led to the attacks.

Kleinberg followed his story with summarized points adapted from French philosopher Georges Sorel’s “Reflections on Violence.”

By reading a Sanskrit prayer excerpt, Ron Jenkins, professor of theater, mimicked how victims of terrorist bombings in Bali prayed during a ceremony at Ground Zero.

“I chose to read and discuss this ceremony because I believe it is important to understand 9/11 in an international perspective, and to reflect on cultures like Balinese Hindus,” Jenkins said. “They live in the world’s largest Muslim country and chose to respond to terror with art instead of war.”

Elizabeth Willis, assistant professor of English, said as a poet, she was struck by how poetry was being circulated on the internet post Sept. 11. She read 1969 Pulitzer Prize poet George Oppen’s “Power of the Enchanted World” and an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Leaves of Grass.”

Other speakers included Karl Scheibe, professor of psychology, emeritus, who read Robert Frost’s “Choose Something Like a Star,” and Jason Harris ’09 who shared a reflection titled “Is it Just a Myth?”

In addition to the memorial, panelists spoke on the topic, “9/11 in Retrospect: in what ways, if any, has the world changed?” in the Public Affairs Center. Donald Moon, dean of the social sciences and John. E. Andrus Professor of Government served as moderator.

Panelists included Peter Gottschalk, associate professor of religion; Bruce Masters, professor of history; Joel Pfister, professor of English and Len Burman,’75, director of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.

Bells rang at 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m., the times when planes struck the World Trade Center.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

 

 

 

 

The following poem was written by Marc Arena ’07 (pictured above)  while listening to the radio during live broadcast coverage of Sept. 11, 2001.

The day shattered by the pierce of the P.A.
“The World Trade Center has been hit by a plane.”
Think nothing of it I thought until it collapsed

The World Trade Center fell
The Pentagon hit
Nation emergency

Bush in the air
Light hearts reeled in
Fleeing along Broadway
Cell phone calls frantically placed
The inferno burned the towers like roman candles

Reporters choking back fear
To comfort and inform the people
The thickness of the smoke
Surpasses the tension in the air

War seems only footsteps away
My parents may have been called to aid the victims
Please don’t let that be true

Car bomb explosion
How long has this been planned?

“It is the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history”

Children stranded at schools

“New York City is on full terrorist alert.”

Nation-wide breakdown

“Breaking News”

Family on Chambers St.
Ashley in school, crying
Fabienne at work, wondering
Jon at work, worrying

THE SECOND TOWER COLLAPSED!
Reporters are desperately attempting to state their names
Leave their recognition upon the world and their condolences to all
What can’t be said at the time can be read

Bodies leaping from 61 floors
Like roaches in the light
The people flee from the dark cloud

The shrapnel rain
Suffocating smog and fumes
Complete darkness even in daylight

Falling sands
Human coal dowsed with water
The state department possibly attacked
Thanks god I’m not 18

NYC is in shambles
One hour of chaos
The hum of work overshadowed
by the moans of fatality

Reports from the air suspended
Everyone is a suspect
The task was taken out successfully
In the kamikaze tradition

The globe paralyzed
Gone!
The entire nation’s honorary capital is relatively destroyed

There might as well be war
This is war
Casualties are imminent

Giant flame-throwers erupt from the towers
Sirens blaring and muffling the sounds of panic

Tragedy

Half hour between collapses

C
O
L
L
A
P
S
Ed

“The word here is Oh My God.”

People trapped inside
10:31

“Smoke tidal wave.”

The skyline altered forever
The sky lined by smoked
The smoke lined by tears
Of a nation

Read another Sept. 11 poem, spoken during the recent Memorial Service, here.

Libraries and the Constitution After 9/11 Topic of Constitution Day


Posted 09/15/06
Wesleyan celebrated the 10th anniversary of Constitution Day.

According to Federal law, Wesleyan and other federally-funded institutions are required to offer programs commemorating the Constitution.

“We want to take something that is required by law, and turn it into something meaningful for the Wesleyan community,” says the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian Barbara Jones.

Jones, whose primary professional interests include intellectual freedom, presented a talk titled “Libraries and the Constitution After 9/11” in recognition of Constitution Day 2006 Sept. 19 in the Smith Reading Room in Olin Library. R

Jones has served one term as chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and two terms as a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee. She was the first chair of the American College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Intellectual Freedom Committee. Jones has spoken to library, general academic, legislative and community groups about the First Amendment in libraries of all types, and has just returned from a lecture tour in Japan.

Olin Library will celebrate its centennial as a depository library with an event during Homecoming, including an exhibit in the library on the Constitution.

Constitution Day, Inc., a non-partisan non-profit organization, coordinates an annual national simultaneous recitation of the Preamble across all of America. All 50 states participate in a roll call in the order they ratified the Constitution or were admitted to the Union.

This year, General Colin Powell led a nationwide annual recitation of the preamble. The recitation was dedicated to and honored the United States military.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Economics Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Cameron Shelton, assistant professor of economics, is an expert on public economics, political economy and macroeconomics. His office is based in the Public Affairs Center.
 
Posted 09/15/06
Cameron Shelton has joined the Economics Department as an assistant professor.

Shelton’s research is based on the political economy of fiscal policy.

“By using panel datasets that cover multiple years and countries, I investigate how a country’s political institutions, economic institutions, and demographic factors combine to affect patterns of public expenditure and, ultimately, macroeconomic performance,” Shelton explains.

Shelton has written three papers based on tests of theories, which are under review for publication. Topics include political business cycles, supply and demand of public goods, and variation in government spending patterns. He will present his work at a conference this month in Ireland.

As a result of his studies, Shelton has learned that:

  • The explosive growth in government spending in rich countries since 1970 is due almost entirely to increased social security expenditures as populations age.
     
  • Countries with more ethnically diverse populations tend to spend less at the federal level and more at the local level so as to accommodate heterogeneous preferences. The same is true of more populous countries. The effect is particularly strong in education and healthcare– goods where people are likely to have differing conceptions of proper policy.
     
  • Countries with a more unequal distribution of income tend to spend more on redistribution, as do countries with better political rights and broader political representation.
     
  • Recently, he has found evidence suggesting that US fiscal policy systematically favors “important” voters: those voters that parties target for mobilization or conversion.
  • The former Jaedicke Scholar received his Ph.D in political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Afterwards, he spent one year teaching courses on game theory, economic growth and political institutions at the Stanford International Policy Studies Program.

    He came to Wesleyan in July seeking an environment with a balance between teaching and research and the opportunity to work with bright and eager-to-learn students.

    “Wesleyan rewards faculty both for teaching and advising undergraduates and for doing top quality research,” Shelton says. “Students and colleagues expect that both will be done in a diligent, competent, and inspired manner. The university and Economics Department seem to provide the resources to enable dedicated pursuit of all aspects of academia. And the students are, by all accounts, outstanding.”

    This fall, Shelton is teaching Macroeconomic Analysis and Introduction to Game Theory. In the spring he will teach a course on public economics and fiscal policy.

    Shelton grew up in Davis, Calif., with academia in his blood. His father, Robert, is a former professor of physics and is now the president of the University of Arizona. His mother, Adrian, is and has been a senior business/legal analyst for several universities. His brother, Christian, is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Riverside; and his sister, Stephanie, is a medical student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Shelton graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, with degrees in both physics and economics. As an undergrad, he worked in several labs both at the University of California-Davis and Stanford on a variety of research projects in solid state physics. Despite his love for the explanatory power of physics, Shelton came to appreciate economics more than physics, and pursued his graduate studies in economics.

    Shelton resides in Middletown. He enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and tennis, and going running, cycling, social dancing and inline skating.
     

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Director of Employee Benefits Says Good Benefits Attract, Keep Staff at Wesleyan


    Pat Melley, director of Employee Benefits, is preparing for Open Enrollment for 2007 in November. She hopes to meet several Wesleyan employees during this time.
     
    Posted 09/15/06
    Being Wesleyan’s director of Employee Benefits is a huge benefit on its own.

     

    Pat Melley, who was hired into this role in August, says she enjoys this opportunity to problem solve, mentor and collaborate.

     

    “I think of Wesleyan employees as my customers, and I strive to serve them the best that I can,” Melley says from the Office of Human Resources. “I love the challenge of answering questions from faculty and staff, listening to their suggestions, strategizing and resolving benefits issues.”

     

    Melley oversees all aspects of the benefits function. She helps new faculty and staff members enroll in their benefits, which may include medical and dental insurance, life insurance, retirement savings plan, flexible spending accounts and disability insurance, among others. Wesleyan employees also receive educational assistance, retiree benefits, and relocation and housing benefits.

     

    “The benefits at Wesleyan really are fabulous, and that helps attract the best faculty and staff, and keeps them here,” she says.

     

    Judy Buden, assistant director of Employee Benefits, is helping Melley with her new position and the academic environment. They make up the Employee Benefits Office.
     

    Melley, who holds a bachelor’s of arts in English from Fairfield University, brought a strong benefits background to Wesleyan, having worked both in employer and vendor settings. She is a Chartered Life Underwriter, and most recently worked for a company in Bloomfield, Conn., where she directed the Human Resources department including all employee benefits programs. There, she helped the start-up company grow from nine employees to 300 people.

     

    “I really enjoyed the entrepreneurial aspect of that job, but I get that sense from Wesleyan also,” she says. “It’s a nice change from the corporate world. Here, at Wesleyan, we seem to have free reign in creativity and when a question arises, we can act upon it.”

     

    In November, the Benefits Office will begin Open Enrollment for 2007, a period in which employees can opt for changes in their insurance and retirement plans. She wants to take advantage of this time period to meet several employees face to face.

     

    “It is very helpful for me to gain an understanding of our employee population so that I can do a better job providing benefits,” Melley says.

     

    When she’s not meeting with Wesleyan employees, she’s meeting with insurance company representatives to negotiate prices, benefits plan designs and customer service metrics. She researches peer institutions to make sure Wesleyan’s benefits are comparable.

     

    This year, Melley hopes to improve customer service in the office, maintaining an open-door policy and placing a heavy emphasis on promoting wellness and fitness. When employees are healthy, the price of health care can more readily be controlled, she explains. Melley also hopes to update and design a user-friendly Benefits Web site, which will help answer common questions Wesleyan employees may have.

     

    She’s hoping to stress inter-office communication and hold additional workshops to make sure all employees know what benefits they are entitled to have.

     

    The Yonkers, N.Y. native lives in Windsor with her husband, Jay, and has two daughters Micaela, 20, and Claire, 16. In her spare time she enjoys early morning runs, going to the gym, cooking and downhill skiing.
     

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor