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New Directors Head Human Resources Department


Pat Melley, left, and Julia Hicks have been promoted to directors of Human Resources.
Posted 01/22/07
Julia Hicks and Pat Melley have been appointed to the position of director of human resources for Wesleyan University.

A national search for the head of Wesleyan’s Human Resources organization has been underway for the past few months, during which Hicks and Melley came forward to propose their partnership to lead the human resources department.

“I believe each has the credentials and leadership qualities we need and that together they have the experience to advance all aspects of our service to the campus community,” says John Meerts, vice president for Finance and Administration.

Hicks joined Wesleyan in May 2004 as associate director of human resources and was promoted to senior associate director in 2006. She has over 25 years experience in all areas of human resources and has held progressively responsible human resources positions with major organizations in Connecticut and New York. Hicks will be responsible for compensation, performance management, employee and labor relations, recruitment and staffing.

Melley was hired as director of employee benefits in July 2006. She will continue to be responsible for all employee benefits and now will oversee the payroll department. Melley has over 20 years of experience in employee benefits, payroll and human resources. In addition to a background in brokerage and reinsurance, she has been responsible for designing, implementing and leading the human resources departments of two companies.

Both Hicks and Melley have the skills and qualifications required to successfully lead human resources as we move forward with new initiatives, Meerts says. Although each will have specific points of focus as outlined above, employees may feel free to contact either of them for assistance. Ultimately, both are responsible for the performance of the Human Resources Department.

“Please join me in congratulating both Pat and Julia on their new appointments and wishing them continued success,” Meerts says. “I also want to thank the search committee for their hard work and Dan Michaud for having lead the Human Resources Department while the search was underway.”
 

By Justin Harmon, director of Public Affairs. Photo by Olivia Drake.

Civil Rights Activist to Speak on Martin Luther King, Jr.


Posted 01/22/07
Wesleyan will celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a keynote by the poet, author and civil rights activist Sonia Sanchez, pictured at left, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Memorial Chapel.

Professor Sanchez’s works are often passionate poems or works of prose that touch on social issues of modern and past times. Many of her poems are blunt, passionate and painfully truthful. She addresses the history of African-Americans from slave times to modern oppression. From Malcolm X she also learned how to present her poetry and always sustain the attention of the audience.

Sanchez refers to the influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. She met King in 1957 during a stop on his book tour. In an interview with a Seattle newspaper, Sanchez reflected on Dr. King’s work and recalled her reaction to his death. A more in-depth biography can be found at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/276.

“We are excited to have such a prominent poet and civil rights activist at Wesleyan for this important celebration,” says Rick Culliton, dean of Campus Programs and member of the MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee. “Professor Sanchez’s poetry speaks to the legacy of Dr. King in so many ways and we are honored to welcome her to campus to help us remember Dr. King and his many accomplishments.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration received funding from the Office of the Dean of the College, the President’s Office, and the Office of Affirmative Action, with planning and support from a committee of staff, students and faculty.

The MLK Jr. Celebration Planning Committee consists of Ruby-Beth Buitekant ’09; Kevin Butler, dean of Student Services; Rick Culliton, dean of Campus Programs; Nicole Chabot, Student Activities program coordinator; Diana Dozier, associate director of Affirmative Action; Persephone Hall, assistant director of Human Resources; Julius Hampton, ’09; Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations; Cathy Crimmins-Lechowicz, director of Community Service and Volunteerism; Tim Shiner, director of Student Activities and Leadership Development; Gina Ulysse, assistant professor of African American studies and anthropology.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

An Evening With Bill Cosby Raises $2.5M for Scholarships


Bill Cosby mingles with Midge and Doug Bennet during a gala benefit in New York Jan. 17.(Photo by Bill Burkhart)
Posted 01/22/07
Bill Cosby donated his talents to a gala benefit performance at the Pierre Hotel in New York City Jan. 17, raising $2.5 million for Wesleyan scholarships from the more than 400 individuals in attendance. Cosby, father of Erica ’87, is widely known for his personal commitment to education and his generous support of educational causes.

Cosby spoke warmly of the efforts by Wesleyan alumni to support financial aid and said, “Mrs. Cosby and I believe that the price of education in the United States of America shouldn’t be unattainable.”

He delivered a comedic monologue that had the value of education as a central theme. Following the performance, Vice President for University Relations Barbara-Jan Wilson announced that a four-year Wesleyan scholarship had been named in Cosby’s honor.

Cosby received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Wesleyan in 1987.

Men’s Ice Hockey Takes Europe by Storm


At top, The men’s ice hockey team played the HC Valvenosta in Laces, Italy over Christmas break while touring Europe and playing several games. At right, members of the team take in the sights in Innsbruck, Austria.

Below, Wesleyan plays the Caldaro Under-26 squad in Caldaro, Italy. (Photos contributed by Chris Potter)

Posted 01/22/07
During the winter holiday break, the men’s ice hockey team toured Germany, Austria and Italy, competing against four local club teams, and winning all the games while beating opponents by a combined score of 30-1.

“I’m afraid the competition there wasn’t quite up to level we expected,” said fourth-year head coach Chris Potter. “But it still gave us a chance to skate, practice a few new things and improve our game overall.”

The planning for the trip began almost two years ago. Wesleyan teams are permitted foreign travel once every four years. Following the 2004-05 season, Coach Potter and his upperclassmen began discussing options. “We talked about the Czech Republic and Scandinavia, but in the end this trip won out,” Coach Potter explained.

Using numerous fund-raising techniques to help cover the $1,900 cost per individual, the team accumulated enough money to bring a contingent of 36 people, including all 32 players, the three coaches and the head athletic trainer. They were joined by 30 family members, bringing the total for the trip to 66.

The three-country trip began in began in Munich, Germany, a city that left an impression on at least one player.

“I thought our three days in Munich were the best,” said forward J.J. Evans ’09. “It seemed so European and I thought the bratwurst was spectacular. Even though I got a kiss from an Italian girl on New Year’s Eve when we were in Bolzano, I’m still going with Munich.”

For team captain Will Bennett ’07 Innsbruck, Austria was a favorite. He also said the location of the team’s final contest against the Caldaro (Italy) Under-26 squad, an 8-0 Wesleyan win, was amazing.

“This rink was dropped right into the countryside,” Bennett said. “It made you wonder how they managed to build it where they did.”

Soon after returning, the Cardinals managed to get their skates back on for their regular-scheduled home games on January 5 and 6. Wesleyan won both to extend its current unbeaten streak to five games and hold a 5-3-2 overall record. It is the first time the team has held a winning record after 10 games since 1988-89.

“I’m seeing the team starting to gel,” said Coach Potter. “I think the trip was valuable and I made some interesting rooming assignments to help the players get more comfortable with each other. I’m hoping the whole thing will pay off as the season progresses.”
 

By Brian Katten, sports information director

Web Site Teaches Haitian Celebration Through Text, Sound, Video


A new learning objects tool, designed by Associate Professor Elizabeth McAlister, features multimedia tools to help teach the story of Rara.
Posted 01/17/07
In Haiti, the people celebrate their African ancestry and religion with a Rara festival, a culturally rich musical and dance event.

Elizabeth McAlister, associate professor of Religion and chair of the Religion Department, associate professor of African American studies, and associate professor of American studies, has studied this tradition for 15 years. Through a newly-created teaching tool, she hopes people can gain new insights on the Rara festival.

Designed by Wesleyan’s Learning Objects Studio staff, the Web site, http://rara.wesleyan.edu/ is available for academic and public use. The site is already being used at classes at New York University and Swarthmore.

“My hope is that people interested in Rara, students, musicians, artists, travelers and other researchers, will be able to use this Web site as an interactive study guide,” McAlister says.

McAlister’s interest in Rara dates back to 1991 when she began researching Haiti’s vibrant culture, often celebrated through Rara. In 2002, she published a book titled, “Rara! Vodou, Power and Performance in Haiti and its Diaspora.” The Web site serves as a companion piece to her book on Rara.

“After my book on Rara came out, internet technology made it possible to display the photographs and videotape that I made in Haiti, together with my friends and collaborators,” she explains.

Through the online tool, McAlister posted a 15-minute film about Rara, music and dance clips. She included images, video and audio clips of Rara as a carnival; Rara as a religious obligation in Vodou; Rara and the Christians and Jews; Rara gender and sexuality; Rara and politics; and Rara in New York City.

In each section, McAlister includes media, notes from the field, and an analysis, often adapted from her book.

When explaining Rara as a form of carnival, McAlister explains, in the analysis, that “the ‘tone,’ or ‘ambiance,’ of Rara parading is loud and carnivalesque … As in Carnival, Rara is about moving through the streets, and about men establishing masculine reputation through public performance. Rara bands stop to perform for noteworthy people, to collect money. In return, the kings and queens dance and sing, and the baton majors juggle batons-and even machetes!”

The site includes clips on several Rara bands including La Belle Fraicheur de l’Anglade in Fermathe, Mande Gran Moun in Darbonne, Rara La Fleur Ginen in Bel Air, Rara Inorab Kapab in Cite Soleil and Rara Ya Seizi.

Donning traditional Rara costumes, which are known for their delicate sequin work and vivacious colors, dancers are shown in action, in low or high bandwidth videos of dances and music. In one clip, a queen and two kings dance the “mazoun.” Traditional instruments such as bamboo and the paper-fabricated konet are shown in several accompanying images like the one at right.

The music featured on the Web site was produced by Holly Nicolas, postal clerk, and mixed and mastered by Peter Hadley, conductor of Wes Winds.

McAlister, who lived in Haiti to study Rara, says she walked with the bands, took them seriously and listened to what they had to say.

“My book, and now this Web site, tell that story,” she says.

For more information on the Learning Objects Studio go to: http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Press and Marking Coordinator Fills the Seats at CFA Performances


Adam Kubota, press and marketing coordinator for the Center for the Arts helps more than 275 shows a year get publicity at Wesleyan and with the local media.
 
Posted 01/17/07
Q: When did you first come to Wesleyan, and when were you officially full-time for the Center for the Arts?

A: I started as interim CFA press and marketing coordinator at Wesleyan in November of 2005, filling in for Lex Leifheit while she was the interim assistant director of the Green Street Arts Center. Lex finished her assignment in February, leaving me to look for a new job. Fortunately for both of us, she was hired as the permanent assistant director of Green Street in September of 2006 and I was able to apply for her previous position.

Q: Explain your role as the press and marketing coordinator for the CFA.

A: At its most basic, my job is to fill the seats for the events that we put on. It’s mostly about raising awareness and engaging people through a variety of methods by pitching stories to the press, increasing distribution of our brochure and email newsletter. As for promotion, we try to reach people from all over Connecticut and the region, members of the Middletown community including Wesleyan faculty and staff, but most importantly, Wesleyan students.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?

A: The biggest challenge is staying organized. The CFA has a hand in producing over 275 events a year. It is my job to see that they are all, in some way, brought to the attention of the public. Thankfully, I get a lot of support from my co-workers in making sure it all happens smoothly.

Q: How did you familiarize yourself with the job?

A: Lex has been and continues to be a great resource to me in my job—she definitely helped to show me the ropes. Since I am also responsible for publicizing Green Street events, we are constantly in contact. And obviously, my experience as interim marketing coordinator in 2005 has helped me in being the permanent marketing coordinator.

Q: Who are the key people you interact with on a daily basis?

A: CFA Director Pam Tatge; Art Director John Elmore; Associate Director for Programming and Events Barbara Ally; Events Coordinator Jeff Chen; Box Office Manager Kristen Olson; Financial Analyst/Gallery Coordinator Camille Parente; the Green Street Arts Center staff and the CFA student workers.

Q: What activities consume most of your time while in the office?

A: I spend a significant amount of time writing press releases, e-mails and listings on the computer, as well as attending meetings. Truthfully, I wish that I could get out more often and interact with the Wesleyan Community—it’s something to shoot for as I settle into my job and streamline things a bit more.

Q: What are your own interests in the arts and do you attend any CFA-sponsored events?

A: As a bassist who performs in a variety of styles including, jazz, classical and contemporary music, I am always performing or going to concerts. Considering this fact, working at the CFA is a dream job. I try to go to our events as much possible. It’s really gratifying to see the fruits of our labor in a well-attended performance.

Q: Are there any exciting, worth-mentioning events coming up in the next couple months we should be aware of?

A: Yes, the Joe Goode Performance group is coming Feb. 2-3. Like me, they are from the San Francisco area and their company of virtuosic dancers tackles such issues as gay marriage and the AIDS crisis.

Singer-songwriter Paul Brady, who has penned hit songs for the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Joe Cocker, is appearing for the Crowell Concert Series Feb. 16.

My pick-of-the-semester is jazz pianist Cedar Walton on April 27. Cedar is a real living legend—his resume reads like the history of jazz!

Q: Where are you from initially and how did you end up in the area?

A: I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, in a small town on the Peninsula called Belmont. I moved to Connecticut about four years ago to study with double bassist Robert Black, who is known for his work with the Bang On a Can All-Stars, and do graduate work at the Hartt School of Performing Arts.

Q: Where were you working before Wesleyan?

A: My first job in arts marketing was at Real Art Ways, a great alternative art space in Hartford. Over last summer, I worked for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven.

Q: Where are your degrees from and what were your majors?

A: I have a bachelor’s of arts in music from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where our mascot is the Banana Slug! I also received my master’s of music in double bass performance from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: Most nights and weekends, I am busy performing music. I do a lot of gigs with my band in addition to working as freelancer. I play bass—both the upright and the electric. As I mentioned before, I perform in many styles but I am most at home with improvised music like jazz and contemporary music.

As for hobbies, I like fishing, Frisbee golf, running, playing basketball and seeing exhibitions of contemporary art. I am excited to say that I am taking a vacation to Peru in March—the plan is to hike from Cuzco to see the ruins of Macchu Picchu.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: At this point, I’ve been on the job for just a few months and I’d really like to meet more people who work on campus. It helps me a great deal to know what other people’s roles on campus are. So, if you are interested in any of the things that I do, please send me a quick e-mail.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Associate Director of Athletics Makes Time for All Sports


Richard Whitmore, associate director of Athletics, oversees the scheduling of all 15 Wesleyan athletic facilities, including the Wesleyan Natatorium.
 
Posted 01/17/07
On any given day, there are 29 athletic teams, 10 intramural sports, several sport-related clubs or Wesleyan employees all vying for a rink, court, pool or field to use for practice or play.

It is the job of Richard Whitmore, associate director of Athletics, to schedule Wesleyan’s athletic facilities with those who need them. And when occupied, he insures the venue is safe, secure and teams are equipped properly.

“Half of my job is working with people to schedule the facilities, but I also spend a lot of time coordinating the games and making sure everyone has everything they need prior to their game, meet or match,” Whitmore says. “There’s always something new happening, and that makes working in this field very exciting.”

Whitmore meets with at least a dozen Wesleyan coaches every day, and interacts with numerous students who drop by, e-mail or call in facility requests. He attends most home-games, of every sport, to make sure the athletes have everything they require for the event. Preparing the fields with proper markings, fencing and seating also is completed under his supervision.

“Being able to watch a little bit of every home game is a great benefit to this position,” Whitmore says.

Whitmore came to Wesleyan in 1999 as the athletic facility manager. He later took on the role of managing the 1,500-seat Spurrier-Snyder Rink, which is occupied 18 hours a day between October and March. Nowadays, he oversees all 15 facilities, including the Macomber Boathouse, Rosenbaum Squash Center, the John Wood Memorial Tennis Courts, Bacon Field House and the new Smith Field for field hockey, soccer and lacrosse.

“Wesleyan is extremely fortunate to have Richard as a member of the Department of Physical Education administrative staff,” says John Biddiscombe, director of Athletics and chair of the Physical Education Department. “He has an outstanding background as a Ivy League student athlete, a successful college head coach and athletic administrator. Also, his user friendly management style is appreciated by the students, faculty and staff and the smooth operation of the athletic facilities is a direct result of his efforts.”

Whitmore also helped with the planning of the Freeman Athletic Center addition. Prior to its opening in January 2005, he’d have to manage the athletic affairs in the old Fayerweather Gymnasium and the former Alumni Athletic Building.

“It’s so great to have everything under one roof now,” Whitmore explains. “It not only makes managing these facilities much easier, but it’s good for our student athletes and spectators alike. Now we can have a hockey game, an indoor track meet and swim meet all going on at the same time, in the same building, and this gives visitors a real sense of what our athletic program is all about.”

In addition, Whitmore says the new athletic center offers facilities equivalent or better than other liberal arts colleges in the area.

It’s not only Wesleyan coaches and athletes who seek space in the Freeman Athletic Center. University Relations has requested rooms during graduation. Middlesex Youth Hockey has its base of operations out of the Spurrier-Snyder Rink, and area high schools use the Andersen Track for their competitions.

Whitmore, along with Kate Mullen, head coach of women’s basketball, and Kirsten Carlson, administrative assistant, use the campus-wide program Scheduler-Plus to keep track of spaces being used at certain times.

“It can be challenging to stay on top of things, but somehow we manage to do so,” Whitmore says.

Whitmore, a native of Waterville, Maine, is a former basketball, baseball and football player himself. His father, Dick Whitmore, has coached Colby College’s men’s basketball team for 38 years, and served as athletic director from 1986-2003.

Richard Whitmore attended Brown University, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts in American civilization in 1990. During his junior year, he tore a ligament in his knee during the basketball season, ending his career. Nevertheless, a teammate wrote the NBA, requesting that Whitmore be considered as a candidate for the draft under the provisions of the Hardship Rule.

“No one else from an Ivy League school had made it into the NBA draft as a Hardship candidate before,” Whitmore says, smiling. “I sure got a lot of local press from that one.”

Like his father, he decided to take a coaching career path starting at Daniel Webster College as a basketball and baseball coach. He also worked as a sports information director. In 1996, he moved to Kenyon College in Ohio, also to coach basketball and baseball.

“Coaching was a fun part of my life, and I enjoyed working with the students one-on-one, but I also enjoy the administrative side of sports,” Whitmore says. “I am glad to be doing what I do now.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

THE PRESIDENT’S VOICE: Hunter King ’08 uses an audio-recording device to record the voice of President Doug Bennet Dec. 13. King will use Bennet’s voice clips during his surf-music radio program, Storm Surge Of Reverb, which airs from midnight to 1 a.m. Friday mornings on WESU 88.1 FM. King invited Bennet to record after hearing him speak at the High Rise residences. “I noticed that he was speaking in a very cool, very low voice,” King says. “I thought it would be fun if I could have him record a few voice breaks for my show.” (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)
Below are two audio-video clips of the recording:

  

Director of Administrative Systems Pushes Technology in ITS, University Projects


Steve Machuga, director of administrative systems for Information Technology Services, helps lead projects for Student Services, University Relations and Financial Systems and HR/Payroll.
 
Posted 12/20/06
Q: You have the ultimate responsibility for the success of ITS administrative systems projects. Please explain what “administrative systems” are.

A: Administrative systems are used by the administrative offices of the University and their student, faculty and staff customers. The administrative systems cover the business side of the university. I’d divide them into three major categories: Student Services, University Relations and Financial Systems combined with Human Resources/Payroll. They include student services offices such as Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, Admission, WesCard Office, the Graduate Services Office and GLSP.

Q: Who works on these operations?

Daune’ Oliveira, PeopleSoft product manager in Finance and Administration; Dan Koepf, Rich Langer and Tom DiMauro, analyst programmers in ITS have a lot to do with these. Dan’s 25-plus years of experience are one of the keys to our success. Deb Treister, director of University Relations Operations and analyst programmers Jane Jylkka, Sharon Cwirka and Doug Baker all feel a real responsibility to help UR meet their fundraising goals. Working with University Communications, we are continually improving our e-mail communications, WesNet (the Alumni Portfolio) and basic outlook and research.

We have worked with Financial Services, Financial Planning and HR/Payroll to put more and more self-services in the Portfolio. Ed Below, director of Administrative Applications for Finance and Administration; and analyst programmers Annette Howard, Barbara Spadaccini and Darrell Lawrence work on these systems. We get additional support across all applications from Pat Leone, world wide web administrator, Mary Glynn, application technology specialist and Steve Windsor, database administrator as well as the network, server specialists that work with James Taft, assistant director of technology support services. I know that I’ve given an awful lot of names, but everyone is important to getting stuff done.

Q: Why do you promote the appreciation and utilization of technology throughout campus?

A: At a very basic level, technology is simply a tool. I think of tools as incredibly humanizing – because they leverage human talent. A university is in the business of leveraging and growing human talent – technology in its way can help tremendously.

Q: What projects are you most proud of?

A: I’m proud of a much of what we have done, but I’ll just give you one example. The Pre-Registration System that the Registrar’s Office developed with ITS help is just a great example. It helps create the advisable moment – where a faculty adviser and student can review academic history, student goals, and course availability to make informed decisions about course selection. Anna van der Burg, university registrar, has gotten faculty feedback on the system and we will be incorporating that in the future.

Q: How else have you applied technology throughout campus?

A: In general, I’m proud of the availability of secure student and employee self-service applications on the Web. In the past, data that could help in decision making was trapped in the institutional databases – maybe you would get to see it in monthly reports. Now the Web has really allows us to share this data on a real-time basis. The Portfolio System has been key to this sharing. Mike Roy, director of Academic Computing Services and director of digital projects; Dan Schnaidt, academic computing manager for Arts and Humanities; Jolee West, academic computing manager for NSM; and Manolis Kaparakis, academic computing manager for the social sciences have been instrumental is conveying faculty needs regarding data access. These are not earth-shattering innovations but they are things that our university constituents have a right to expect

On a less philosophical note, the university has made a strategic and financial investment in information technology. I know that Ravi [Ganesan Ravishanker, associate vice president for Information Technology Services] has a strong belief in returning that commitment – in the form of customer-service and innovation.

Q: Do you strive to build a strong working relationship with all administrative offices?

A: My job is to be helpful, solve problems and have a good time doing it.

Q: You’re also the lead coordinator of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act at Wesleyan, which requires institutions to protect the privacy of their customers, including customers’ nonpublic, personal information. What does this entail?

A: Gramm-Leach-Bliley is a congressional act that is meant to help protect individual’s private data. In the papers, you read every other week about an institution or company having its computer system compromised – the most recent one being the 800,000 individuals records at UCLA. Think of its this way: the institution’s computer system is comprised, however, the real potential for damage is the compromising of our students, alum, faculty and staff data. We have a responsibility to protect it. There’s more on that at http://www.wesleyan.edu/its/glb/.

Q: What is your background with computers? What are your degrees in?

A: I have a bachelor’s of arts in English from Fairfield University and a master’s of science in computer science from Rensselaer at Hartford. My final paper was: “A C++ Information Abstraction System.” I have not written any C++ in a very long time.

Q: I’ve seen you mountain biking at Wadsworth Falls State Park. Is this a big hobby of yours?

A: Mountain biking is a lot of fun. It’s a little scary and mostly healthy. Shawn Hill, a desktop support specialist, and I ride at 6:30 a.m. before work at Wadsworth. It’s a good loop: up and down hills, over a few logs, through a stream and home – with a herd of deer thrown in every now and then. Occasionally, we’ll ride pass Susanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, out there playing her bagpipes behind the Wadsworth mansion. It’s a glorious morning when we hear the bagpipes.

Q: You’re also a GLSP student.

A: Yes. I just finished my final paper for Rob Rosenthal’s “Music in Social Movements” course. It was interesting course. It was pretty cool that I had seen two of the musicians we studied: Holly Near and Thomas Mapfumo at the Center for the Arts.

Q: Tell me about your family and pets.

A: My wife is Sari Rosenblatt. She is a genuine, good person. I have two daughters Nora, 17, and Anne, 14. They are not particularly interested in hanging out with dear old Dad. I have to watch “Gilmore Girls” just to have something in common with them. Our dog, Courtney, is a gift from God. Sari says the best thing about Courtney is that she doesn’t talk. She is a sweet, old mongrel who crosses her paws, very-lady-like, in whatever patch of sunlight she can find. I’ve convinced that she is waiting for one of us to deliver a spot of tea.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Graduate Students, Alumni, Faculty Present Papers at Ethnomusicology Conference


At left, ethnomusicology students Marzanna Poplawska, Nick Hockin, Amy Ingram and Hae Joo Kim gather during the Society for Ethnomusicology’s 51st Annual Conference Nov. 16-19 in Honolulu.

Posted 12/20/06
Nine Wesleyan graduate students studying ethnomusicology ended a recent conference on a high note.

Each student presented papers at The Society for Ethnomusicology’s 51st Annual Conference Nov. 16-19 in Honolulu. This year’s topic was “Decolonizing Ethnomusicology.”

“The annual convention is the focal point of the year; these meetings offer a great chance to network with fellow grad students, eminent senior scholars, and former alums,” says Mark Slobin, professor of music. “In addition, this is a record-breaking number of graduate students that presented.”

Thembela Vokwana presented “Can We Sing Together? Performing Nationhood through Choral Festivals in South Africa.” Andrew Dewar presented “Sonic Explorations: On the Analysis of Intercultural Experimentalism;” Marzanna Poplawska presented “Diaspora or not yet–Indonesian Christians in the USA;” and Junko Oba presented “280,000 Invisible Men: Music, Identity, and the Story of Nikkei/Zainchi Brazilian Community in Japan, Summer 2005.”

Hae Joo Kim presented “Riding the Wave of Nostalgia and Melodrama through Dae Jang Geum;” Po-wei Weng presented “The Survival of Oral Tradition in a Modernizing Genre: ‘Oral Notation’ in Taiwan’s Peking Opera Percussion Music;” Ian Eagleson presented “Rural Popular Music and Ethnic Identity: Benga Dance Bands of the Luo Community in Western Kenya;” Chris Miller presented “Indonessian Musik Kontemporer and the Issue of ‘Western Influence;’” Vincenzo Cambria presented “Decolonizing the Archive: Documentation and the Production of Knowledge in a Participatory Ethnomusicological Research in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.” Amy Ingram presented “Parang: Finding a Place for Spanish Creole Identity in the Trinidadian National Calendar; and Nicholas Hockin presented “Drums, Headscarves, and Mothers’ Dances at Weddings in Bamako, Mali: Local Change on the Margins of Globalization;”

This was Hockin’s second time presenting a paper at the SEM conference. This year, the Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology, presented segments of his dissertation, which is scheduled to be completed next year.

“Presenting our ideas in paper sessions allows us a chance to get vital feedback from our peers, not to mention developing public speaking skills. Networking is an integral aspect of the conference, enabling members to share personal and professional insightsthat broaden our understanding of the field and of each other,” Hockin says. “And we develop a sense of what the latest trends are by checking out presentations, reading paper topic titles and abstracts, and by browsing and/or buying books.

In addition to the students, Slobin and Su Zheng, associate professor of music and East Asian studies, chaired panels at the conference. Eric Charry, associate professor of music and Rob Lancefield, manager of Museum Information Services and registrar of collections at Davison Art Center presented papers. Sumarsam, chair of the Music Department and adjunct professor of music, attended the conference, along with several students and recent alumni.

The nine graduate students are among 22 current students studying music. They are an unusually varied group, Slobin explains, including students from Brazil, China, South Africa, Ghana, Mexico, Taiwan and Canada. They are part of the 46-year old program’s interest in drawing the widest spectrum of students from among the substantial pool of applicants; selectivity runs at about 20 percent.

The Music Department faculty wants their students to be well rehearsed, so prior to the conference, they drill the students in the skills of preparing a paper abstract, developing a quality 20-mimute presentation, and delivering it in a lively and well-organized way.

“Usually our students’ papers stand out for the attentive response they draw from listeners, as opposed to the many droning, rapid-fire, or inaudible papers we sit through at the dozens of panels,” explains Slobin, pictured at left, center.

Wesleyan ethnomusicology Ph.D candidate Amy Ingram has attended a few SEM conferences in the past, but this was her first time presenting at the conference, and her first time presenting her dissertational material to her peers.

“I think that the conference is certainly a necessary rite of passage for all grad students,” Ingram explains. “It helps us all to gain the perspective of how our learning experience at Wesleyan compares to other graduate programs. Receiving feedback from peers and committee members certainly reinvigorated my motivation to keep writing, and meeting others during the social moments between panels was really beneficial.”

Following the conference, the Wesleyan affiliates held a party to draw the past and present students together.

In 2008, the SEM convention will be held at Wesleyan in the new Susan Lemberg Usdan University Center.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos  contributed.

Scholastic Honor Society Welcomes New Members


Wesleyan senior Maggie Arias was one of 15 seniors welcomed to Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest national scholastic honor society during a ceremony Dec. 13. Also pictured, at left, is Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics and PBK secretary;  Mark Hovey, president of the gamma chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and Jane Tozer, assistant to the vice president of University Relations and PBK treasurer and event coordinator.
Posted 12/20/06
Fifteen Wesleyan students were inducted into the oldest national scholastic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, during an initiation ceremony Dec. 13.

 

Election is limited to 12 percent of the graduating class, and based on general education expectations and by having a grade point average of 90 or above. Students are nominated by their major departments.

 

“As individuals and as a group, you have contributed a great deal to Wesleyan through your intellectual engagement in the academic work and residential life of the institution,” said President Doug Bennet during the induction ceremony. “Recognizing your accomplishments is certainly one of the highlights of my job and while I won’t claim that my delight exceeds your own, it comes pretty close.”

 

Phi Betta Kappa was founded in 1776, during the American Revolution. The students join the ninth oldest Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the United States—founded in 1845.

 

The organization’s Greek initials signify the motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

 

“I am struck by the breadth and scope of academic interests, and the depth of study reflected across this group,” Bennet said. “A number of you have chosen double majors allowing you to combine those interests in your professional goals.  You have furthered your varied interests through summer activities and internships and research.

 

“Many students excel at Wesleyan, but those of you here today have taken on the challenge of a liberal arts education by investing yourself in everything you do. In a university where academic excellence is common, you stand out. That’s why membership in Phi Beta Kappa is such a singular honor. “

 

The students include:

 

OWEN RANDALL ALBIN, a double major in the American Studies Program and in neuroscience and behavior. Albin sings with the Wesleyan Spirits, one of the oldest all-male a cappella groups in the country. He is also a member of the Wesleyan sketch comedy group, Lunchbox, where he writes comedic skits and acts in them. A senior interviewer for the admission office, Albin and has been a teacher’s assistant for biology and chemistry classes. After graduation he hopes to do a few months of clinical volunteer work somewhere in Africa.

 

MARGARETTE “MAGGIE” ADELINA ARIAS, a psychology major, was inducted into Psi Chi last spring, the Psychology Honor Society. As part of a research team during her sophomore year, she worked closely with a local elementary school to implement a peer mediation program to reduce playground violence.  Three of her four years here at Wesleyan, she has worked at the Edna C. Stevens School in Cromwell in the after-school program, Kids Korner. Her plans include grad school, and plans to go into counseling or clinical social work.

 

HYUNG-JIN CHOI, an economics major, has sung with the a cappella group “Outside-In” for three years and won the intramural basketball championship his sophomore year. A Freeman Scholar, Choi has helped organize events for the Korean Students Association. After graduation Hyung-Jin will return to Korea to serve in the military for two years then plans to go to graduate school and further pursue his studies in economics. 

 

JACK MICHAEL DiSCIACCA carries a double major in mathematics and physics. During his junior year he was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship to fund research during the 2006-2007 school year. DiSciacca plans to attend graduate school to study either pure or applied physics.

 

CHRISTINA ANN DURFEE is a double major in mathematics and psychology. While at Wesleyan, Christina won the Robertson Prize and Rae Shortt Prize in mathematics. Her plans for the future remain uncertain, but Durfee is currently debating between going into the actuarial sciences and going to graduate school for math.

 

JACOB STUART GOLDIN is majoring in economics and government. During his sophomore year, Goldin organized a student group that worked with local organizations to push for gay marriage legislation in Connecticut. Eventually he plans to go to law school and/or graduate school in economics.

 

HANNAH GOODWIN-BROWN, a music major, won the Wesleyan Concerto Competition her sophomore year and performed the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Wesleyan orchestra. She went abroad to the Republic of Georgia, something no one at Wesleyan has done before, and was captain of the women’s ultimate Frisbee team. Goodwin-Brown hopes to work with plants in a professional capacity, perhaps getting a degree in either landscape architecture or horticulture.

 

MAXFIELD WESTGATE HEATH, a music major, is an active composer/pianist in several groups of many genres including jazz, rock, and hip-hop. He has recorded several albums and is in the process of recording a debut studio album of his own songs. He plans on studying composition in grad school in preparation for making a living through some combination of writing/recording/performing and teaching. 

 

CHEUK KEI HO, a math and economics major, is a member of the Wesleyan Spirits and has performed extensively on and off campus for the last four years. He is a Freeman Scholar and studied in Italy during his junior year fall semester. He plans to work in the investment banking division of J.P. Morgan Hong Kong after graduation.

 

CHEN-WEI “JACK” HUNG, a double major in economics and French studies, is a native of Taiwan and is a Freeman Scholar. He has learned French as his third language and studied in Grenoble for a semester. Hung was co-chair of the Wesleyan Model United Nations Team representing Slovenia, Hungary, and Malaysia in different MUN (Model United Nation) Conferences. He also served as a resident advisor for a year, taking care of 35 students. After graduation he will go to New York.

 

GRETCHEN MARLIESE KISHBAUCH carries a double major in psychology and science in society. She served as project director on research co-sponsored by Wesleyan’s Department of Psychology and the Middletown branch of the State Department of Children and Families.  During this time she directed a research team of undergraduate and graduate students investigating child maltreatment.  She was awarded membership in Psi Chi, a national psychology honor society.  She is currently co-developing and co-leading a student form on Global Health Issues in the Science in Society Department. Kishbauch plans to pursue graduate study in public health.

 

MANG-JU SHER, a physics major, is a Freeman Scholar. While at Wesleyan she started learning Japanese and violin.  She loves cooking and plans to pursue a Ph.D in physics.

 

BECK LARMON STRALEY is an earth and environmental science major. The bulk of Beck’s energy is currently focused on Venus. When not studying, Straley can be found at a residential life staff meeting, giving tours on campus to prospective students and their families, destroying the “gender binary,” or running.

 

ZHAOXUAN “CHARLES” YANG, an economics and mathematics major from China is a Freeman Scholar. Yang was captain of the Ping Pong Club for two years, co-chair of the Chinese Students Association, and a resident assistant. After graduation, Yang will be working for J.P Morgan Securities in their Hong Kong Office.

 

KEVIN ALAN YOUNG is a double major in history and Latin American studies.  During his time at Wesleyan, Kevin has taught 6th and 7th graders at Summerbridge Cambridge in two six-week courses in literature and a self-designed social studies class on the Vietnam War. He also served as a faculty advisor and organized a camping excursion for 75 students and 20 teachers. He has been a Big Brother volunteer, mentoring a nine-year-old boy.  On campus, Kevin has been active in United Student Labor Action Coalition, Students for Ending the War in Iraq, Nagarote-Wesleyan Partnership, and English as a Second Language. Young studied abroad in Nicaragua, and he received a Davenport Grant to spend nine weeks in Chiapas and Oaxaca in southeastern Mexico conducting research on popular education programs.  Young’s future includes graduate school in Latin American history and hopes to teach at the college and/or high school level.

 

To view additional photos go to the Wesleyan Connection’s Campus Snapshot section at http://www.wesleyan.edu/newsletter/snapshot/2006/1206phibetakappa.html.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Betty Tishler Celebrates 97th Birthday at Wesleyan


Pictured at top, from left, Gina Driscoll, associate director of stewardship, Penny Apter; Betty Tishler, and Philip Bolton, chair of the Chemistry Department and professor of chemistry. Pictured at left, President Doug Bennet reads a Proclamation to Tishler. (Photos by Olivia Drake and  by Roslyn Carrier-Brault)
Posted 12/20/06
Betty Tishler, wife of the late Professor Max Tishler, celebrated her 97th birthday Dec. 14 in the Exley Science Center. Tishler’s family and friends, Wesleyan affiliates and students attended.

During the two-hour party, President Doug Bennet presented Tishler with a Mayor’s Proclamation that acknowledged Tishler for her contributions to the greater Middletown community.

Tishler, who was married to Max Tishler for 55 years until his death in 1989, raised two sons, Peter and Carl, and has three grandchildren.

She was a partner in her husband’s productive and distinguished career at Merck pharmaceuticals from 1937 to 1970. Max Tishler led the development of new drugs and vitamins, which culminated in his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Honor from President Reagan. His developments included products for heart disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, mental depression and infectious diseases.

The Tishlers came to Middletown in 1970. They had an immediate and lasting impact on Wesleyan, especially the Chemistry Department, to which Betty Tishler remains especially devoted today.

She has established prizes at Wesleyan for art, music and for an annual piano competition, and most recently a Research Chair in Medicinal Chemistry in honor of her late husband.

In addition, she is a regular and generous supporter of the Middlesex County United Way.

Over the past 36 years, Tishler’s vitality, resilience, curiosity, generosity, and engagement have marked her as a special citizen of Wesleyan and Middletown.