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Player of the Year Ranked 5th Nationally for Kills


Lisa Drennan ’09 was named New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year in 2006 following a vote of the conference coaches.  A second-team all-NESCAC choice as a freshman, Drennan led the NESCAC and was fifth nationally in Division III for kills per game this season, averaging 5.56, which also is a Wesleyan team record.
 
Posted 11/17/06
Q: You were just named New England Small College Athletic Conference
(NESCAC) Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year. How does that make
you feel?

A: I feel really great about winning NESCAC player of the year. I have worked so hard this season, putting my all into every practice and every game. It is incredibly rewarding to work as hard as you can, and see that others recognize how hard you have worked.

Q: What do you think makes you such a talented volleyball player?

A: Probably the number one thing is my competitive attitude. I really love competing and winning. I also really just love the game of volleyball. My love of the game makes me work harder, run faster and jump higher. Of course, my height, 5’11,’’ helps with my hitting a little too.

Q: When did you first start playing organized volleyball?

A: I have been playing volleyball all of my life. However my first “organized” team was in 7th grade. I guess I was one of the better players then, but I would say I did not develop into a real volleyball player until 9th or 10th grade.

Q: You came to Wesleyan from Ann Arbor, Mich. Is that where you grew up?

A: Yes. I’ve lived there my whole life.

Q: What was it like growing up in the shadows of the University of Michigan?

A: Amazing. I have always been a big supporter of University of Michigan’s volleyball team. I have gone to most of their games, and attended their volleyball summer camp several years. Just this past summer, I helped coach their camps. This was such a great experience for me. I learned a lot from the coaches, the Michigan head coach and the players. Also whenever the coaches (mostly Michigan volleyball players) were on a break, we would play around a little. For them, they were just “messing around,” for me it was some of the most competitive volleyball I have ever played. Playing with a top 10 Division 1 team was an amazing experience. I definitely grew a lot as a player through this experience alone.

Q: How did you become interested in attending Wesleyan?

A: I first learned about Wesleyan through friends from my high school who are now seniors at Wesleyan. They all spoke so highly of Wesleyan, and often compared it to our high school, which I was really fond of. When I visited Wesleyan, the thing that struck me most about Wesleyan was the student body. Everyone seemed so intelligent, unique and approachable. I knew Wesleyan was a great school academically, but also that the students were not competitive with one another. People at Wesleyan are more concerned about learning and less about the grades they receive. This was incredibly appealing to me.

Q: What other colleges did you consider attending?

A: I applied early decision to Wesleyan. I was pretty much set on coming here.

Q: How do you like it here at Wesleyan?

A: I absolutely love it here. I have loved everyone I have met here. I have made great friends. I can not imagine playing on a team anywhere else; our team is like a family. I have really liked (almost) all of the classes I’ve taken, and professors I have had. I haven’t decided on a major yet, but I am leaning towards Environmental Science and Psychology.

Q: You played softball and basketball at the Greenhills School in
Michigan along with volleyball. What other sports do you play now?

A: I would like to play intramural softball, and I am going to try out Ultimate Frisbee this spring.

Q: Tell us about your parents John and Lyn.

A: My parents have always been so supportive of everything I do, volleyball and everything else. They are such amazing people, and certainly my number one role models. I get along so well with my parents, and am so thankful for their unconditional love and support. During high school they came to every one of my volleyball, basketball, and softball games. Not to mention, my dad was my softball coach for several years. I was worried that by coming all the way out to Connecticut they would hardly ever get to see me play. This has not been the case at all. Last year and this year they have made it to a lot of games, including the NESCAC quarter finals and semi-finals this year. My dad came all the way out to Maine last year for NESCAC finals. We lost in the quarter-finals on Friday, and so my dad was stranded in Maine for the rest of the weekend! My whole family, not just my parents have been so supportive of my volleyball. I have an older brother and sister who were able to make it to several games this year. My family is so supportive of me, and I think I play even harder when they are here watching me, because I want to show them my thanks for all of their support.

Q: If you had to credit one person with helping you get to this point
in your volleyball career, who would it be?

A: I really can’t say there is just one person who helped me get here. My family goes to an island every summer in northern Ontario, where my family and friends all play volleyball on the rocks. I have played there since I was really young. I think this is where I developed my love for the game. So I suppose I can give credit to my family and friends for playing with me from such an early time in my life.
 

By Brian Katten, sports information director

Department of Archeology Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Posted 11/17/06

Daniella Gandolfo has joined the Department of Archeology as an assistant professor.

 

Her research areas of interest include urban anthropology; urbanization and urban social movements; social and cultural theory; anthropological writing. She has done fieldwork research in Latin America and the United States. 

 

Gandolfo comes to Wesleyan from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University where she completed her doctoral degree and taught a course on cultural anthropology. Prior to that, she taught in the Department of Anthropology at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. She has gained additional teaching and professional experience from Barnard College in New York, the University of Texas, and the Ford Foundation in New York. She has participated in research projects dealing with educational reform in Lima and New York City, where she did extensive fieldwork research in public schools.

 

Gandolfo, who is fluent in English and Spanish, was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She received a bachelor’s of arts in archeology at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and a master’s of arts in anthropology at the University of Texas. Her dissertation, The City at its Limits: Taboo, Transgression, and Urban Renewal in Lima, Peru, was completed at Columbia University.

 

Her dissertation deals with the social impact of an urban renewal project of the downtown area of Lima, which it takes as a point of departure to examine relations of class and race in the city. As an outgrowth of her dissertation, she has become interested in urban “informality” and its influence on urban planning and city politics, and in new forms of urbanization in Peru.  She has started fieldwork research on these themes in Lima and in Puquio, a small city in the southern highlands of Peru.

 

She started teaching at Wesleyan in the fall semester.

 

“Wesleyan offers what, to me, is an ideal environment to keep growing as a teacher, researcher, and writer,” she says. “I enjoy the smaller-sized programs with great faculty and students.”

 

Gandolfo says Wesleyan allows her to maintain strong links between teaching and her research interests, and enjoys sharing her research interests with the students.

 

“I have already benefited greatly from sharing work in progress with students, who thrive with complex questions and problems,” she says.

 

Gandolfo is the author of “José María Arguedas,” published in the Biographical Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology in 2004, and The City at its Limits: Taboo, Transgression, and Urban Renewal in Lima, Peru, which will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007.

 

Gandolfo has made numerous presentations, most recently at the New School University in New York and the American Anthropological Association Meeting in Washington, DC. In addition, she is involved with professional associations including the American Anthropological Association, the American Ethnological Society and the Latin American Studies Association.

 

Gandolfo lives in Middletown and New York City, with her husband, Chris Parkman.  She enjoys jogging, hiking, cooking and knitting – a hobby inherited from a long line of women knitters and embroiderers from the south of

Peru.

 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Report Shows Impact of Digital Imaging on College Teaching, Learning


Posted 11/17/06
Digital images are changing the way professors teach at colleges and universities, but often only after the huge expense of personal time and resources, according to a new study titled “Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning,” published on Academic Commons, a Web journal that Wesleyan’s Michael Roy helps to edit.

The study, commissioned by Wesleyan University and the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), suggests ways of how the teaching profession as a whole can harness these new resources in a more efficient manner.

“The big story here is that we’ve still got a long way to go before we realize all of the educational and scholarly possibilities afforded by digital images in particular, and new media in general,” says Michael Roy, director of Academic Computing Services, Digital Projects and Academic Commons founder. Roy is pictured at left.

“Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning” details the results of an intensive study of digital image use by more than 400 faculty at 33 liberal arts colleges and universities in the Northeast. The report makes a set of recommendations for optimizing the deployment of digital images on campus.

Wesleyan and NITLE undertook the study in 2005 in response to questions about how digital image use might be changing teaching practices in higher education.

The impact on teaching is at the heart of the study. One third of participating faculty reported digital images had changed their teaching greatly. Those teaching image-based subjects found that having anytime/anyplace accessibility to a “vast variety of images from a variety of sources,” has given them greater flexibility and creativity in the classroom. With new access to images provided by the Web and other sources, faculty teaching non-image-based subjects are often using images for the first time or using substantially more, and are more likely to build them into the core substance of their teaching. New relationships to images stimulate ideas about visual thinking and visual learning that are themselves changing approaches to teaching.

“Faculty, however, often feel like lone pioneers in their transition to using digital images as because support, resources and infrastructure at local and national levels in many cases are not sufficiently in place to allow them to use these new resources to their full potential,” Roy explains. “In addition to the pedagogical interest of the report, related issues of image supply, support and infrastructure make up much of its fabric.”

Key findings include:

1. Tools and services are badly needed to assist faculty organize, integrate, catalog and manage their personal collections. Most faculty use images from their personal digital image collections (91 percent), assembled from many sources, rather than from licensed (30 percent), departmental (19 percent) or library collections (14 percent). Campuses should define and enhance the relationship between individual faculty collections and emerging institutional collections.

2. Available resources need to be made easier to find. Faculty are often unaware of digital image resources on campus and as a consequence expensively-produced, often licensed resources go underused. Similarly, while faculty call for high-quality, dependable and free online databases of images, these often do exist, but evidently need to be better publicized and more easily discoverable.

3. Fair Use is vulnerable on many campuses. For several reasons, visual resource curators and instructional technology departments are often risk-averse and shy of exploring the possibilities for faculty to legally use copyrighted digital images in their classrooms and on closed course websites. Creating institutional copyright policy, with full community participation and expert copyright legal advice, is an important first step for campuses to be clear about legal responsibilities and the rights of intellectual property users.

4. Image “literacy” skills need to be developed for optimum use of digital images by teachers and students. As digital images become widely used, many faculty need pedagogical support, especially for ideas and assistance in how to use images most effectively, as well as for opportunities to share pedagogical needs and discoveries with their peers. In addition, students often fail to grasp the skills needed to work with images. Many need training in image literacy (analyzing or reading images, including maps), digital literacy (handling and manipulating image files), and image composition (creating and communicating through images).

5. Transitioning to digital image resources affects every level of an institution. Few appreciate the cross-institutional implications of creating digital image resources and the production and presentation facilities required to satisfactorily work with the new medium. Empowering and funding cross-department, cross-functional groups to make coordinated, informed decisions is one good way for laying the right foundations. Dedicated imaging centers can highlight issues, focus decisions and bring disparate parts of the campus together around the benefits that coordinated digital image production and delivery can bring.

This report is rooted in the faculty experience of going digital, as shown in 400 survey responses and 300 individual interviews with faculty and some staff at 33 colleges and universities: 31 liberal arts colleges together with Harvard and Yale Universities. Two-thirds of the survey respondents worked in the arts and humanities, 27 percent in the sciences and 12 percent in the social sciences. Faculty were self-selected.

The report is online at http://www.academiccommons.org/imagereport.

WesWELL Director Promotes Prevention


Lisa Currie, director of health education at WesWELL, promotes mindfulness and responsibility in all areas of health and wellness in order to prevent disease, injury and other health problems.
 
Posted 11/01/06
Q: Lisa, the Davison Health Center is home to three health-related offices, WesWELL, Health Services and the Office of Behavioral Health. How do these divisions differ?

A: WesWELL is the health education office so we focus on prevention education on health issues relevant to college students. Health Services is our medical clinic, which provides treatment and preventative care for illness, injury, sexual health, travel consults and such, while the Office of Behavioral Health for Students offers confidential mental and emotional health support. We like to consider the Davison Health Center “one stop shopping” for our student’s health needs!

Q: As the director of health education, which division do you oversee, and how long have you worked in this position?

A: I have overseen WesWELL since I joined Wesleyan in July 2000. And as the sole professional staff member in the office, I sometimes joke that I am WesWELL, though of course that’s not true – I supervise a great group of students who round out the staffing.

Q: What is the mission of WesWELL?

A: Our mission is to promote mindfulness and responsibility in all areas of health and wellness in order to prevent disease, injury and other health problems. We strive to promote good health of mind, body and spirit by helping members of the Wesleyan community, particularly students, connect with resources and gain knowledge that will aid in the enhancement of their well-being, encourage self-discovery, and support their intellectual proficiency and academic success.

Q: Do you meet with students one-on-one or what is your interaction with them?

A: I do meet with students one-on-one, but more often I lead workshops or discussions with groups and work with student peer educators who then go on to create their own outreach efforts. If I do meet with an individual student, it might be to help a Residence Life staff member with programming ideas, to assist a student who is looking for resources or ideas on a health issue or even as a judicial referral for an alcohol violation.

Q: In addition to offering health education programs, how does WesWELL help students?

A: The Peer Health Advocates and I reach out to students in a variety of ways – workshops are just one method. We might sponsor an outside speaker or provide a training to help students build new skills. I also sponsor a number of non-credit fitness classes for students and employees every semester. Students who drop by the office will also find we have a health resource library with books, videos, journals, periodicals, and brochures that address many different issues.

We even advocated for changes to campus policy and practices to help create a healthier environment for students. The most notable example of this is the implementation of smoke-free residential living areas in 2002. The Peer Health Advocates lead the effort and the policy was implemented the following academic year.

Q: What are typical concerns or questions students have when they visit the WesWELL office?

A: It really varies. Since we address a wide range of issues, it could be a student who has a concern about a friend who is engaging in risky drinking behaviors or who is seeking funding for an event on breast cancer awareness or who is simply looking for information for eating more healthfully. But truthfully, the thing that gets students in our office most often is the free safer sex supplies. Though, most of our traffic is not from office visits – we have much more contact with students outside the office through our outreach programs and such. I also answer a large number of phone and email questions from student each week as well.

Q: What are a few examples of the non-credit classes you offer and where is this information available?

A: WesWELL started offering yoga classes to students sometime in the 1990s, long before my arrival. We continue to offer yoga, along with meditation, tai chi, kung fu, and our most recent addition, cardio kickboxing. About 125 to 150 people enroll each semester. All the details can be found on the WesWELL website at www.wesleyan.edu/weswell. Online registration runs in the early weeks of each semester.

Q: What is the Student Health Advisory Committee and what is your involvement with them?

A: SHAC is a committee of students who help advise Health Services, and my office to a lesser extent, on what are current issues of concern amongst students and how we can better serve those needs. It is co-chaired by Joyce Walter, director of Health Services, and Jeff Walker, a student. I sit on the committee and assist the group in the outreach efforts they create to educate the student body on available services and health issues.

Q: What are a few recent examples of WesWELL-coordinated events?

A: The Sexual Health Expo is ours. It was the brainchild of Joshua Pavlacky, one of my Peer Health Advocates. He envisioned a fun, safe, educational environment where students could learn about all aspects of sexual health and I think we’ve been fairly successful in creating that. Other than that, we don’t have too many recurring events since the health needs of students change continually. We typically collaborate with Health Services and Behavioral Health to offer a series of discussions and workshops throughout the year. An example is a recent presentation by Davis Smith, our medical director, on the new HPV vaccine and changes to the availability of emergency contraception. We also have collaborated with Aramark the last couple years on a multi-part “Feed Your Brain” series on healthy eating and cooking to help students eat better.

Q: What are your degrees in and from where?

A: I earned my B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and my M.S. in Education – College Student Development from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse. That’s not what most people would consider a very traditional path into college health education, but it’s worked for me!

Q: You’ve spoken at numerous colleges and conferences including Connecticut College, Trinity College and University of Connecticut with a program titled “Coming Out of the Fridge.” Please explain what this program is about.

A: I started speaking about my experience with compulsive eating about four years ago, partly to educate about this less-talked-about eating disorder but also to help myself in my ongoing recovery and healing. I use my personal experience to illustrate the facts about this disorder. I get a great deal of satisfaction from public speaking and having the chance to impact the audience with my words and experiences. I’m realistic enough to know it may not be life-altering hearing me speak, but it might be what encourages someone to get help for themselves or someone they love.

Q: What are your personal goals as a health educator working with college students?

A: I often say to students “I want to help you put the tools in your toolbox that you need to be healthier.” So to me, health education is all about skills development and knowledge building. It’s also about helping students learn how to critically examine their choices around their health and striving to make choices that will help them succeed at a higher level both inside and outside the classroom.

Q: If anyone has a question about WesWELL, how do they get in contact with the office?

A: WesWELL is located on the second floor of the Davison Health Center at 327 High Street. Students can stop by Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm or evenings by request. They can also contact me at 860-685-2466 or e-mail lcurrie@wesleyan.edu. Our web site is http://www.wesleyan.edu/weswell/.
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By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Director of Public Safety Aims to Build Strong Rapport with Community


David Meyer, director of Public Safety, oversees two captains, four supervisors and 20 officers and patrol people that work around the clock.
 
Posted 11/01/06
Though David Meyer wears plain clothes to work every day, he still has the approach and sensibilities of an officer in uniform.

In the past 27 years, Meyer has worked his way up the ranks from patrol person to officer to supervisor to captain. In October 2005 he was named interim director and in May 2006, he was promoted to director of Public Safety.

“It’s a unique position to be in because as the director, I have to be available 24-7 for whatever might come up,” Meyer says from his second-floor office in the Public Safety Building on High Street. “Heading a department that is a 24-hour operation can be a real challenge.”

Meyer says he rarely works a regular schedule, and Monday through Friday shifts are unordinary. He and two captains rotate their schedules so at least one of them is available at all times. If an incident is serious, Meyer will be notified whether he is on or off duty.

As the new director, Meyer has a few goals in mind. For one, he wants to build a stronger rapport with the campus and Middletown community, and hopes the Public Officers can gain more respect for their problem solving abilities.

“We are geared towards helping people resolve issues and we pride ourselves on that,” Meyer says.

Meyer says implementing new technology, such as having computers in patrol vehicles, is on his list of to-dos. He wants to train his staff to use certain technology and equipment to make their jobs easier.

Meyer also wants to make the department more efficient and stresses that all officers work on being and doing their best every day.

“This department isn’t me. It’s every patrol person, supervisor and officer in here,” Meyer says. “They do an outstanding job and I regularly get compliments about how courteous and professional the staff is.”

The Office of Public Safety consists of Meyer, two other captains, four supervisors and 20 officers and patrol people. The staff is multifaceted, and staff members are called upon to do everything from break up physical confrontations to respond to mechanical problems.

Often times, they will be asked to make a uniformed presence at certain Wesleyan events such as football games and Reunion and Commencement Weekend. They not only work at keeping these events safe, they are available to offer friendly assistance to anyone in need.

Although Meyer’s job as director is primarily administrative, he still makes time to go on site. Recently, he worked at Homecoming/Family Weekend events. He regularly helps out at Residential Life functions.

Maureen Isleib, associate director of Residential Life, has worked with Meyer for six years and has requested his presence at dozens of events. Beneath that gruff exterior, she says, is a man who really cares about the safety and security of our community. 

“In particular, over the past few years we have teamed up to educate students about precautions they can take to ensure their own safety, and Dave actively solicits feedback from student leaders regarding how to best reach out to the campus,” Isleib says. “He’s not a man who just sits behind his desk, he leads by example often staffing many of the large events on campus, including the parties that run into the early hours of the morning.”

When Meyer started at Wesleyan in 1979, the Office of Public Safety was located in the basement of North College. His office remained there until 1999 when it moved to a former graduate student house on High Street.

During his time here, Meyer says he’s noticed a trend in campus consolidation, and this benefits his department tremendously.

“I’ve seen a lot of change on campus like the Freeman Athletic Center addition and the new Fauver Field Residences, which is a great thing for the campus,” Meyer explains. “Wesleyan doesn’t really have any boundaries. It blends in with the community, so it’s always good to bring the students in closer, and when they are closer, it’s easier for us to keep them safer.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Economics Professors Take on Role of Editors for National Journal


Gil Skillman, professor of economics and Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics are the co-editors of the Eastern Economics Journal.
Posted 11/01/06
Two Wesleyan professors are devoted to making one of the country’s leading economic journals even better.

Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics and Gil Skillman, professor of economics, are the co-editors of the Eastern Economics Journal. Jacobsen and Skillman volunteered to assume editorship of thee publication in July 2005. They will complete their term in 2010.

“This is a rewarding opportunity as well as an important service to the profession,” Skillman says. “Helping authors turn a interesting but perhaps undeveloped ideas into solid contributions to the field can be very gratifying.”

The Eastern Economics Journal, established by the Eastern Economic Association in 1973, publishes papers written from every perspective, in all areas of economics. The journal is published four times a year and features between eight and 10 articles per issue.

The editors seek advice from their 16-member editorial board, three associate editors, and get production assistance from managing editor Bill Boyd. Boyd is Jacobsen’s spouse.

The journal considers manuscripts addressing a broad range of concerns including issues in economic methodology and philosophy as well as more standard contributions in economic theory and empirical economic analysis. The theoretical and empirical arguments in these papers are generally couched in formal mathematical terms, although submissions using less technical analytical methods are also accepted.

Labor productivity growth in Chile, the demand for recycling services, salary in major league baseball, the sexual division of labor with households and anti-discrimination programs in the job market are all topics discussed in the journal’s most recent issue.

“We are particularly interested in articles that have a neat idea that may be a little out of the mainstream of economics, that don’t fall neatly into a standard research category, and that other economists may find intriguing,” Jacobsen says. “For instance, an upcoming issue will feature two articles debating about whether or not the penny should be dropped from our currency system.”

As new editors, Skillman and Jacobsen have several goals in mind. Their immediate goal is to publish a backlog of accepted manuscripts that were on hold prior to their editorship. Once they are caught up, they hope to become more selective with their manuscript selections. They are presently publishing about 25 percent of all submitted articles. Increased selectivity would help to raise the publication’s national profile.

Jacobsen and Skillman also want to expand their subscription by finding a commercial printer than can offer advertising and publicity. Already, the association distributes the journal to 700 members and 300 libraries, nation-wide. They also want to expand the journal’s presence online.

“We believe that electronic publications are the wave of the future,” Skillman says. “Indeed, the journal already manages the editorial process online, as authors can submit their papers online, and referees file their reports online as well.”

In addition, Jacobsen and Skillman want to create special symposia issues, in which several articles tackle the same topic. “Agent-based” computer modeling of complex economic interactions is one potential focus area.

When manuscripts are submitted, Jacobsen is the first to see them. She divvies up the submissions between herself and Skillman.

“It’s fortunate Gil and I have varied specializations,” she says. “I handle the more empirical articles, and ones on feminist economics, and give Gil any manuscripts on micro theory, Marxist or institutional economics.”

The editors skim the papers to make sure they contain original work and do not have glaring errors of reasoning or methodology. If the paper passes this initial screening, they send the paper to two or three “referees” who are considered experts in that particular field of economics.

Within a three-month period, the referees offer their feedback. If positive, then Jacobsen and Skillman will most likely eventually accept the manuscript for publication, although they generally recommend that the author first makes revisions. The editing and revising process can take up to 12 months.

Once finalized, the manuscript goes into a queue and awaits publication space.

“We have a pretty steady stream of article submission and there’s always lots of reading to do, but we don’t mind,” says Skillman. “We get to learn a lot along the way.”

Wesleyan, which is credited on the journal, has been supportive of the editors’ efforts, giving them both financial resources for some of the journal’s overhead expenses and some course relief.

The Eastern Economic Journal is online at http://www.iona.edu/eea/publications/publication.htm.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Former Wesleyan Trainer Dies


Posted 11/01/06
Walter Grockowski, a former Wesleyan trainer and trainer for the 1972 Winter Olympics, has died at the age of 86.

Grockowski died Oct. 25 at High View Health Care Center in Middletown.

He began his 39-year tenure in the Athletic Department in 1947. He became the school’s head athletic trainer in 1973, a position he held until retirement in 1986.

His involvement in athletics went beyond the university. For many years, Grockowski helped with athletic events around Middletown, where he made his home, especially events organized by the city parks department and the American Legion.

A native of Pittsfield, Mass., Grockowski moved to Middletown when he was 6. He graduated from Middletown High School and the New Haven College of Physical Therapy. Between high school and college, he spent two years in the Navy as a pharmacist’s mate.

Grockowski was one of four athletic trainers for the U.S. Olympic Team during the 1972 Winter Olympics, in Sapporo, Japan. He was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in 1984, and the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

New Method Gives Insight into Plant Characteristics During Global Warm-Up, Says Professor


Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, presented his research on leaf economics at the Geological Society of America in October.
Posted 1./1./6/font>
Many scientists have long believed a major clue to rapid global warming is locked in leaf fossils that are millions of years old. Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, has just found a key.

Royer and colleagues have generated a reliable method to ascertain from fossils from the Eocene period, 34 million to 56 million years ago, the leaf mass per unit of leaf area, an important trait that is related to “leaf economics.” His findings were highlighted at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), which was held in Philadelphia from October 22-25.

“The early Eocene was a period when the planet experienced intense warming,” Royer says. “Quantify the leaf economics of that time allows us to see how plants and the environment around them responded to a warm-up and compare that with what’s happening now.”

Which brings us back to leaf economics, or more precisely, what kind of leaves the plants had and how quickly they grew. In essence, plants tend to be relatively quick or slow growing. Quick-growing plants tend to have a low leaf mass per area. They are typified by thinner leaves, a higher photosynthetic rate and use more nutrients. They also tend to have faster lifecycles and be more susceptible to insect damage. Plants with a high leaf mass per area tend to be slow-growing and have thicker leaves that are more resistant to insect damage. They also display slower photosynthetic rates, use fewer nutrients and longer lifecycles.

Obtaining these types of measurements is simple enough in present day, but, in all but a few examples, has been difficult to generate in the fossil record.

Royer and his co-investigators were able to solve this puzzle by relating leaf mass to the width of the petiole, the thin stalk that connects the leaf to the branch. Heavier leaves require thicker petioles for reasons of support. In fossils, petiole width and leaf area can therefore be measured to estimate leaf mass per area. They tested their methods on Eocene fossils from sites in Washington and Utah.

Royer hopes that this new method will open up a new area of inquiry into the fossil record that can provide important data for helping us understand the effects of climate change today.

“It’s always a best case scenario when you can find something from the geological record that helps us learn something new and useful about our own world,” Royer says.
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Wesleyan a Top Fulbright Scholar Producer


Wesleyan Fulbright Program Advisor Krishna Winston helps students apply for the Fulbright grants. Six students received the award this fall.
Posted 11/01/06
For the second year in a row, the Chronicle of Higher Education named Wesleyan as one of the “Top Producers of Fulbright Awards for U.S. Students.” The report was published in the Oct. 20 edition.

Under the “Bachelor’s Institutions” category, Wesleyan tied for 9th place with St. Olaf College of Northfield, Minn. and Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. In 2006-07, Wesleyan had 23 Fulbright applicants, with six students receiving awards.

The students who were awarded Fulbrights are:

Cara Chebuske ’06 and Amie Kim ’04 are currently in South Korea, teaching English as a foreign language. Emily Garts, Kate McCrery and Rose Tisdall, all of the class of ’06, are in Germany teaching English. Elizabeth Langston ’05 is in France teaching English. Laura Goldblatt ’06 also received the French Government Teaching Assistantship but declined the award, and Roger Yang, M.D. ’99 was named an alternate; he had applied for a grant to study Chinese alternative medicine in Australia.

“Wesleyan can be proud of these results,” says Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, who has served as Fulbright Program Advisor since 1979.

In recent years, the number of applicants with whom she works has risen from an average of 12 to more than 20, thanks to the larger number of Wesleyan students participating in study-abroad programs and the internationalization of the curriculum.

“Opportunities for teaching English have increased dramatically, and now attract a good percentage of the applicants, eager to be on the giving end in the classroom instead of the receiving end,” Winston says.

The Fulbright program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program, offering opportunities for students, scholar, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, teaching and work in the creative arts. The program was established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

This fall, the 1,200 American students who received Fulbright awards are conducting research, taking courses, or teaching English in 122 countries.

Winston works very closely with seniors, graduate students and alumni, helping them refine their projects and write and rewrite their proposals and personal statements.

“I enjoy my role as Fulbright Advisor because I come to know very able and interesting students from a wide range of disciplines, including graduate students, and because I am essentially giving them individual writing tutorials,” she says. “I learn a great deal from discussing the projects with the applicants, and they learn a great deal about how to present their ideas cogently and concisely.”

Winston recruits faculty members with international experience to serve on the Campus Fulbright Committee, which interviews all the applicants who are on campus and any alumni who live within traveling distance of Middletown. This fall, the members of the committee were Annemarie Arnold, Robert Conn, Alice Hadler and Catherine Ostrow.

“I am tremendously grateful to these colleagues who give up an afternoon and an evening to interview up to 20 students,” she says.

For more information on the Chronicle of Higher Education ranking and the full report, go to: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=q24mrmr4fpl57kywxgkz2lwlp4sr6twy#top.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Global Warming Topic of Schumann Symposium


Posted 11/01/06
When it comes to global warming, where on earth are we going?

That is the question scholars hope to answer during the 3rd Annual Robert Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium titled: “Where on Earth Are We Going? Global Climate Change and Vulnerabilities: A Perspective for the Future.”

The event is open to the public and takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at Exley Science Center Room 150.

“Given the trend of global warming, we need to think about these issues and prepare for them and adapt,” says Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies and event coordinator. “

The symposium will begin with a welcome message by Wesleyan President Douglas Bennet and a perspective by Sally Smyth ’07.

Four internationally-recognized speakers will conduct presentations at the symposium and answer audience questions.

“The speakers will be addressing everything from food and energy to extreme weather to human health to global interactions,” Chernoff says. “Global warming affects not only the sea level but human health. Hopefully this will make a big difference to all of us and change how the way we act as a community.”

“Failed and Failing States: A Growing Threat to Social Stability and Economic Progress” will be presented by Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit, interdisciplinary research organization based in Washington, DC. Brown has authored or coauthored 50 books and is the recipient of many awards, including 23 honorary degrees, a MacArthur Fellowship, the 1987 United Nations’ Environment Prize and the Borgström Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, and has been appointed an honorary professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“Healthy People 2100: Climate Change and Human Health” will be presented by Kristie Ebi, an independent consultant based in Alexandria, Va. Ebi is an epidemiologist who has worked in the field of global climate change for 10 years. Her research focuses on potential impacts of climate variability and change, including impacts associated with extreme events, thermal stress, food-borne diseases, and vector-borne diseases, and on the design of adaptation response options to reduce current and projected future negative impacts. Her scientific training includes a master’s degree in toxicology and a Ph.D. and MPH in epidemiology.

“Global Climate Change and Hurricanes” will be presented by Judith Curry, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Curry received a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Chicago and currently serves on the National Academies Climate Research Committee and the Space Studies Board, and the NOAA Climate Working Group. She has published over 130 refereed journal articles. Curry is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. She is a recipient of the Henry Houghton Award from the American Meteorological Society.

“Apocalypse Now or Brave New World? Two Scenarios for Social and Cultural Responses to Global Warming” will be presented by Alaka Wali, curator and director at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Wali has a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. She is responsible for coordinating a range of programs designed to enhance interdisciplinary work at the museum, strengthening public programming on cultural issues and promoting efforts to link the museum closer to the Chicago community. She is the author of two books, several monographs and over 30 articles.

John Hall, from the Jonah Center for Earth and Art, will have concluding remarks.

Chernoff anticipates an audience of more than 400 people, including college and high school students who are bussed in for the event. Audio tapes from last year’s symposium were donated to five area high schools and implemented into their curriculum.

“We invite Wesleyan students, faculty and staff, but we encourage the local community to come and ask questions and meet the speakers,” Chernoff says. “This is an opportunity to meet these scholars and learn from them first hand.”

“Where on Earth Are We Going” is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Fund for Wesleyan’s Environmental Studies Program. Funding for the Environmental Studies Program also provides funding for the Long Lane Farm Annual Pumpkin Festival run by Wesleyan students and the Earth Day keynote address at Wesleyan.

For more information on the symposium contact Valerie Marinelli, administrative assistant, at 860-685-3733. More information and video clips from former symposiums, go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/escp/.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

A SPECIAL COLLECTION: Kendall Hobbs, reference librarian, and Suzy Taraba, university archivist and head of Special Collections, flip through the pages of Secret City of Broken Scams. This book, written by Fred Rinne and illustrated by Scott Williams, was one of 30 artists books on display during the Artists’ Books Open House hosted by Special Collections and Archives Oct. 12.

The open house display featured a pop-out three-dimensional book titled The Veil, written by Julie Chen and published by Flying Fish Press of Berkley, Calif. Books owned by Special Collections & Archives cannot be checked out, but they are all available for viewing by the Wesleyan community and public.
Robin Price and Terri Tibbatts examine a book by Shireen Modak Holman and Tom Galt. Pictured in the foreground is Tibbatts’ book, Water for Tea
Anne Thompson reads one of the books on display. Pictured in the foreground is a one-of-a-kind book titled New Chapter by Laura Davidson. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Asian Languages, Literatures Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Shengqing Wu, assistant professor of East Asian languages and literatures, is an expert on modern Chinese literature and culture.
 
Posted 10/16/06
Shengqing Wu has joined the Asian Languages and Literatures Department and East Asian Studies Program as an assistant professor.

Wu, a native of Hangzhou, China specializes in modern Chinese literature and intellectual history.

“Wesleyan’s commitment to the excellence of liberal arts education, its top-notch faculty, the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, and its convenient geographical location were all big attractions for me,” she says.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chinese literature at Fudan University in Shanghai, with a special emphasis on the late imperial era.

In 1996, Wu came to the United States to study Western theories of literatures, cultural studies, and gender studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. There, she expanded her research to include Chinese prose narrative and poetry and intellectual history, with a focus on both new and traditional literary forms from the 1890s to the 1940s. Her dissertation was titled: “Classical Lyric Modernities: Poetics, Gender, and Politics in Modern China (1900-1937).”

At UCLA she received a Lenart Travel Fellowship through the Division of Humanities, a Research Assistantship through the Center for Chinese Studies; a Confucian Studies Fellowship and a Chancellor’s Dissertation Year Fellowship. In 2005-06, she received an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University.

Wu has already taught numerous classes on Chinese-related topics. At UCLA she taught Chinese language and classical Chinese. At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, she taught Chinese ghost stories, fourth-year Chinese readings in classical and modern literatures. At the University of Kentucky, she taught beginning Chinese, gender politics in Chinese literature, Chinese film and literature, and a course titled “All under Heaven: Conceptions of Chineseness over Time and Space.”

And at Wesleyan, this fall, she is teaching fourth-year Chinese and gender politics in modern Chinese literature. In the future, she will teach classes on Chinese film and culture.

“I’ve enjoyed the fact I am able to live across the cultures and help the students to gain some knowledge about China and East Asia,” she says.

Wu, who worked as an editor for the Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House, is the author of essays and a book in Chinese. Her research paper “ ‘Old Learning’ and the Re-Feminization of Modern Space in the Lyric Poetry of Lü Bicheng (1883-1943)” appeared in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. She is preparing her book manuscript tentatively titled The Treasured Pagoda in Ruins: Poetics and Literati Communities in Modern China.

Wu resides in Middletown.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor