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Engage 2020 Off to a Running Start

E2020Wesleyan’s new Engage 2020 Initiative (E2020) is facilitating student educational experiences in the public sphere ahead of the 2020 elections. As part of this initiative, Wesleyan also is highlighting the contributions of higher education more broadly in promoting democracy.

Over the past few months, Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 has been speaking with other higher education leaders about the “shared responsibilities of higher education institutions for developing civically engaged citizens and contributing to the civic life of the United States.”

While the particulars of this work may look different at each institution, leaders at schools around the US have registered their commitment to three core principles:

  1. Developing civic preparedness is a core element of the mission of American higher education.
  2. Participating in American political life helps students learn from a diversity of ideas and people while developing skills for lifelong, active citizenship.
  3. Empowering students and teachers to engage with the complex issues facing the country are crucial facets of higher education’s contributions to the common good.

So far, over 60 other colleges and universities have joined Wesleyan in affirming these principles. These schools represent a broad cross-section of higher education, including public and private institutions, liberal arts colleges and research institutions, secular and religious colleges. A full list of these institutions, which will be continually updated as new schools sign on, can be viewed here.

Come Visit Current Wesleyan Exhibits on Campus Architecture, Student Printmaking, Photography

Wesleyan boasts several exhibits on display this month that are open to the public and are free of charge. View a collection of architect Henry Bacon’s campus plans and building designs, student artwork, professional photographs, a cardboard-art installation, an experimental musical commemoration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and more!

Be sure to check out the following exhibits! (Photos by Olivia Drake)

RING FAMILY LOBBY DISPLAY CASE:

usdan cases

The Ring Family Lobby display case, located on the first floor of Usdan University Center, features artwork by students in the Printmaking I (ARST 237) and Beginning Japanese Printmaking Woodblock Technique (ARST 261) classes. The classes were taught during the fall 2019 semester by Alexander Osborn, visiting assistant professor of art, and Keiji Shinohara, artist-in-residence.

artwork

Nicole Rizutto ’20 created this artwork in the Japanese Printmaking class.

OLIN LIBRARY:

Olin Library is celebrating Black History Month with several book displays, and the Wesleyan Music Department community is commemorating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) with an inspired, diverse mix of traditional and experimental tributes. Stop by to browse books about Ludwig van Beethoven, view his musical scores, and experience Leif Inge’s sound installation 9 Beet Stretch (2002), which stretches Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony into a 24-hour recording.

Materials sourced from Wesleyan's Henry Bacon Collection are displayed in Olin Library's new display cases located in the basement. Architect Henry Bacon, best known for designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., also helped shape the Wesleyan campus. He designed Wesleyan's Eclectic Society building (1907); the Skull and Serpent Society building (1914); Clark Hall (1916); the Van Vleck Observatory (1916); and provided the initial designs for Hall Laboratory (1927, now raised) and Olin Library (1928). The exhibit showcases Bacon's work on the Lincoln Memorial, correspondence letters, and work on Wesleyan's campus.

Materials sourced from Wesleyan’s Henry Bacon Collection are displayed in Olin Library’s new display cases, located in the basement. Architect Henry Bacon, best known for designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., also helped shape the Wesleyan campus. He designed Wesleyan’s Eclectic Society building (1907); the Skull and Serpent Society building (1914); Clark Hall (1916); and the Van Vleck Observatory (1916), pictured; and provided the initial designs for Hall Laboratory (1927, no longer standing); and Olin Library (1928).

$6M in NASA Funding Awarded to Projects with Contributions by Gilmore

NASA has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for new missions

NASA has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for new spacecraft missions. Wesleyan Professor Martha Gilmore is a science team member on two of these missions. Pictured is an artist concept of the solar system courtesy of NASA.

Marty Gilmore

Martha Gilmore

Not one, but two spacecraft mission concepts co-developed by Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology and professor of earth and environmental sciences, received second-round backing from NASA’s Discovery Program on Feb. 13. Both concepts—which were awarded $3 million each—would assess whether Venus was ever a habitable planet by examining its landscape, rocks, and atmosphere.

NASA’s Discovery Program, now in its ninth year, funds investigations to develop concept studies for new missions. Although they’re not official missions yet, the selections focus on compelling targets and science that are not covered by NASA’s active missions or recent selections. Gilmore’s projects were among four selected.

“Venus is the key to understanding how Earth-size planets evolve. Like Earth, we predict Venus had an ocean that may have lasted for billions of years. Like Earth, Venus may be volcanically and tectonically active today. These missions will target the modern and ancient history of Venus, as recorded in the rocks and the atmosphere. The oldest rocks on Venus are my speciality, and I would very much like to know what environment they record.” Gilmore said.

Brady ’15 Wins National Prize for Social Innovation for Nonprofit Work

Aletta Brady '15

Aletta Brady ’15, founder of Our Climate Voices, was honored with an Innovation Prize by the J.M.K. Kaplan Fund. (Photo courtesy of the J.M. Kaplan Fund)

Aletta Brady ’15 saw the power in collective storytelling to launch social justice campaigns such as Black Lives Matters and the #MeToo movements. Knowing that these movements were successful because of the power of words, Brady connected the idea of storytelling to the climate crisis, launching a climate-justice organization that was recently recognized by the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

The J.M. Kaplan Fund awarded Brady’s Our Climate Voices the J.M.K. Innovation Prize for its use of digital storytelling as a new model in the environmental field. The prize is awarded biennially to 10 nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit organizations tackling America’s most pressing challenges through social innovation. Each awardee receives up to $175,000 over three years and participates in a learning collaborative of fellow innovators to support their journey as change agents.

Tucker Authors Several New Papers on Science in Society, Modern Science

Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, is the author and co-author of several new publications. They include:

“A View of the Ocean, Between the Tropics (1765–1800),” published in Britain in the World: Highlights from the Yale Center for British Art by Yale University Press, 2019.

“Popularizing the Cosmos: Pedagogies of Science and Society in Anton Pannekoek’s Life and Work,” published in Anton Pannekoek: Ways of Viewing Science and Society by Amsterdam University Press, 2019.

Graduate Student McNeill Speaks on the Social, Cultural Aspects of the Black New Orleans Brass Band

graduate student speaker

As part of Wesleyan’s Graduate Speaker Series, Marvin McNeill, a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology, spoke about “Structures of Feeling and the Significance of Affectivity in the Social and Cultural Survivals of the Black New Orleans Brass Band,” on Feb. 7 in Exley Science Center.

McNeil explained how the institution of the Black New Orleans brass band represents a genealogic continuum that extends back to the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the Louisiana Territory. "This continuum connects a violent past, marked by physical abuse of black bodies in the form of institutionalized slavery, to a violent present confounded by systemic poverty, social injustice, and police brutality," he said. In spite of extreme oppression, the brass band community continues to enrich and enliven both local communities through their iconic musical offerings.

McNeill explained how the institution of the Black New Orleans brass band represents a genealogic continuum that extends back to the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the Louisiana Territory. “This continuum connects a violent past, marked by physical abuse of black bodies in the form of institutionalized slavery, to a violent present confounded by systemic poverty, social injustice, and police brutality,” he said. “In spite of extreme oppression, the brass band community continues to enrich and enliven both local communities through their iconic musical offerings.”

Solomon ’20 is Lead Author on Paper Published in Medical Journal

Eli Solomon ’20 shared a group project for Advanced Research in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience on “Oscillatory Markers of Neural Entrainment to Rhythm.”

Neuroscience and behavior major Eli Solomon ’20, pictured here presenting research at a poster session, recently co-authored a paper published in the journal Medical Care.

Lack of reliable transportation can prevent patients from making it to medical appointments or accessing other health care services.

In a recently published paper, lead author Eli Solomon ’20 explored and analyzed existing research on nonemergency medical transportation interventions. The article, titled “Impact of Transportation Interventions on Health Care Outcomes: A Systematic Review,” was published in the American Public Health Association journal Medical Care.

Solomon, a neuroscience and behavior major on a pre-med path, wrote the paper based on research he conducted in summer 2018 with peers at the University of California, San Francisco. While at UCSF, Solomon worked for San Francisco General Hospital, tackling social determinants of health with patients in the pediatric primary care clinic.

Solomon and his mentors searched three databases (Embase, PubMed, and Google) for studies of health care sector-sponsored programs that provided patients with assistance with nonemergency transportation, and directly assessed the impact of transportation assistance on health and health care utilization outcomes. Studies meeting inclusion criteria were graded for quality using standard grading criteria.

Students from Underrepresented Backgrounds Attend Professional Development Brunch

Ruthann Coyote, career advisor at the Gordon Career Center, offers tips on informational interviewing during the Pathways to Inclusive Education professional development brunch. 

Ruthann Coyote, career advisor at the Gordon Career Center, offers tips on informational interviewing during the Pathways to Inclusive Education professional development brunch.

More than 85 Wesleyan students and guests attended the Pathways to Inclusive Education (PIE) professional development brunch on Feb. 8 in Beckham Hall. PIE is a collective of cohort programs whose purpose is to remove obstacles along the pathways to secondary and postsecondary education for students who come from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

The program serves students in ninth grade through their senior year in college.

Hosted by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, participants represented the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program (McNair Fellows); Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows (MMUF); Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars Program (WesMaSS); Upward Bound Math-Science Program (Upward Bound); and other students of color on campus.

During the brunch, Ruthann Coyote, career advisor at the Gordon Career Center, presented tips on networking, and developing and sharing students’ own “elevator pitches.”

The event was held in preparation for the upcoming annual PIE conference held from 11 to 3 p.m. April 25 in Daniel Family Commons. Titled “Finding Your Path: Navigating Thoughts of Disappointment, Identity, and Career Crisis,” the conference will welcome back alumni from various stages in their careers to speak to students about finding their own career paths.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan in the News

1. Hartford Courant: “Jeanine Basinger, the ‘Professor of Hollywood,’ Is Wesleyan University’s Homegrown Screen Legend”

Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, Emerita Jeanine Basinger, whom this article notes has been dubbed “the professor of Hollywood” and “an iconic figure in American cinema, one of the most beloved and respected film history professors in the history of film studies” by The Hollywood Reporter, is interviewed on the occasion of her 60th year at Wesleyan, and the 50th since she created its film program. She talks about her next book on American film comedy, shares some of her favorite things, and muses on which actress would play her in a movie of her life.

2. Los Angeles Review of Books: “‘We Need More Vigorous Debate’: A Conversation with Michael S. Roth”

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, managing editor of Modern Intellectual History, interviews President Michael Roth in connection with his latest book, Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses. Roth discusses his career path from intellectual historian to university administrator and professor, and offers his unique perspective on debates surrounding freedom of speech and political correctness.

3. Los Angeles Times: “Kirk Douglas Dead at 103; ‘Spartacus’ Star Helped End Hollywood Blacklist”

Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, Emerita, comments on Kirk Douglas’s legacy following the film icon’s death at 103. Recalling when she first saw him on-screen in the 1940s, she said, “He wasn’t a traditional leading man, really, in looks, and yet he had an unmistakable charisma and power on screen—not just the glamour of the movie star, though he did have that, but real acting chops. So you knew he was going to be a star.” She added, “He was a very modern American antihero type, but he could also play anything, really.”

Office for Equity and Inclusion Celebrates Recent Successes

Since the arrival of Vice President for Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Officer Alison Williams ’81 six months ago, the Office for Equity and Inclusion (OEI) has made several updates and changes and is celebrating noteworthy successes.

“As we are cognizant of the many societal challenges we face, we continue to work in partnership with (other campus offices and programs) to ensure that our community strives to be free from discrimination, harassment, and obstacles that prevent everyone from being successful at Wesleyan,” Williams said.

Among the office’s recent updates are:

Pathways to Inclusive Education

The Pathways to Inclusive Education (PIE) programs include the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Program (McNair Fellows); Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows (MMUF); Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars Program (WesMaSS); Upward Bound Math-Science Program (Upward Bound); and First Things First (FTF).

This program also provides support to all members of the Wesleyan community who are marginalized or disenfranchised. Guided by Teshia Levy-Grant, dean for equity and inclusion, Wesleyan’s undergraduate students are busy searching for graduate school programs, applying for summer internships, and attending conferences. The annual PIE conference will be held on April 25 and will feature a panel of alumni speaking about navigating thoughts of disappointment, identity, and career crisis to finding your career path.

Specifically, the Upward Bound program has developed community partnerships with Middletown, Meriden, and New Britain high schools, working to help at-risk students matriculate to college through tutoring, mentoring, and college visits. For the first time, the Upward Bound Math-Science—Meriden/New Britain (UBMS) grant achieved all six of its US Department of Education–mandated project objectives for the 2018–2019 program year.

Wesleyan Named a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students

fulbrights

The 2019–20 Fulbright award winners include, from top left, Jordan Legaspi ’19, Emma Porrazzo ’19, Katelin Murray ’19, Amad Amedy ’19, Stephanie Loui ’14, Hai Lun Tan ’18, and Ulysses Estrada ’17. Not pictured are Ellie Martin ’16, Emma Distler ’19, and Rachel Yanover ’19.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recently announced that Wesleyan is included on the list of United States colleges and universities that produced the most 2019–2020 Fulbright U.S. Students. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

fulbright Not only is Wesleyan a top Fulbright producer nationwide with its seven grantees, but it also has more winners than any other liberal arts institution in Connecticut.

“We are delighted to see that the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2019–2020 Fulbright top-producing institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We are committed to the Fulbright Program’s goals of creating lasting professional and personal connections by sending passionate and accomplished U.S. students of all backgrounds to study, research, or teach English in communities throughout the world. These Fulbrighters serve as citizen ambassadors for the United States in their host communities, and we will benefit from the skills, knowledge, and global connections they build on their exchanges long after they return home.”

The Fulbright competition is administered at Wesleyan through Fulbright Program Advisor Magdalena Zapędowska, assistant director of fellowships in the Fries Center for Global Studies. The 2019–2020 grantees (who are all recent alumni) are: Jordan Legaspi ’19, Emma Distler ’19, Ulysses Estrada ’17, Amad Amedy ’19, Stephanie Loui ’14, Emma Porazzo ’19, and Katie Murray ’19. Ellie Martin ’16 also received a Fulbright, however she didn’t apply through Wesleyan. Fulbright grant offers were also extended to Rachel Yanover ’19 and Hai Lun Tan ’18, who declined them to pursue other educational plans. (See the 2019–2020 Wesleyan Fulbright announcement article here.)

Wesleyan was listed as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students in the Feb. 9, 2020, issue of The Chronicle of Education under the “baccalaureate institutions” category.

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. More than 2,200 U.S. students and over 900 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators are awarded Fulbright grants annually. In addition, some 4,000 Fulbright foreign students and visiting scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research, or teach their native language.

Wesleyan also was named a Fulbright U.S. Student Top Producer in 2017-18 and 2016-17.

Hatch Pens Book on the Secret Use of Drugs to Control Captives

Silent CellsAnthony Ryan Hatch, chair and associate professor of science in society, is the author of Silent Cells: The Secret Drugging of Captive America, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2019.

The book offers a critical investigation into the use of psychotropic drugs to pacify and control inmates and other captives in the vast US prison, military, and welfare systems.

According to the publisher:

Anthony Ryan Hatch demonstrates that the pervasive use of psychotropic drugs has not only defined and enabled mass incarceration but has also become central to other forms of captivity, including foster homes, military and immigrant detention centers, and nursing homes.

For residents of state-managed institutions, the American Dream too often has been warped into a drug-addled nightmare. Combining novel insights supported by rigorous scholarship with fresh, accessible writing, Hatch presents a powerful indictment of imposing psychotropics upon the caged powerless, building an unimpugnable case that unveils a deeply troubling pattern and also affords us the chance to end it.