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Field Hockey Coach is Leading by Example


Patricia Klecha-Porter, head women’s field hockey coach, offers her team advice during half-time. She also is the assistant squash coach, and has worked at Wesleyan for more than 20 years.
 
Posted 07/28/06
Q: How were you first introduced to field hockey and squash, and at what age did you begin playing?

A: My older sister was involved in the sport of field hockey. After her practice she would play with me. Organized training began in ninth grade. Squash was introduced to me at Wesleyan under the Head Coach Don Long. He mentored and gave me a solid foundation of skills, strategy and coaching.

Q: At Ithaca College, you were a team captain and MVP in both field hockey and lacrosse. What were your secrets to success?

A: My strongest asset as a captain was the ability to show by example. I was determined to always compete hard every minute of the contest no matter what the score was. Respect the rules, respect your teammate and respect your opponent. Work at what is most productive and difficult for the opponent. I enjoyed communicating, encouraging my teammates to rally, do their best in both field hockey and lacrosse. What remained a constant with all three sports was my reminder that what effort you put into the sport, practice, game, was what you were going to achieve. My teammates knew that.

Q: What did you major in and why did you decide to pursue a career in coaching?

A: At Ithaca College I received a bachelor’s of science in physical education with a minor in psychology. At Springfield College I received a master’s of science in exercise physiology and cardiac rehabilitation. The coaching field had become an extension of my desire to pursue field hockey at the national level. Having the knowledge and training at a high level gave me the opportunity to teach and coach the sport.

Q: You’ve been at Wesleyan 21 years, 15 of which you were head coach of the squash team. What keeps your job interesting?

A: I truly enjoy watching players develop from the beginning of a season to the end, and their long term development, from their freshmen year to their senior year. Each fall, the team must pull together, from the early stages of the game to the end of postseason play. It is what gets them there that I have a passion for. I like to employ new ways of training, set a goal for that team for the season and create practices to make it happen. My gratification comes from observing their talent come together and over all improvement.

Q: What physical education classes do you teach at Wesleyan?

A: I teach Step Aerobics and Advanced Strength Training.

Q: In 1999, you were honored as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) field hockey coach of the year.

A: I was honored to be selected by my colleagues and to be honored as the Coach of the Year. I do credit the 1999  Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship team for this recognition. They were a solid team.

Q: As a field hockey coach, you guided the lady Cardinals to their most regular-season victories in team history with 11 in 2005, and have led the team to two ECAC New England Division III titles in 1999 and 2000. What are your other major accomplishments?

A: I was inducted into the Ithaca College Sports Hall of Fame and the New York State Section 5 Hall of Fame. In 2005 I was awarded the Chickie Possion Award for Service in Field Hockey in Connecticut.

Q: When does the field hockey season begin and how do you help prepare the team? What coaching lessons do you stress year after year?

A: Field Hockey season begins Sept. 1. Programs are set up for players to develop their fitness level. When the season begins we strive for players to play their best, work hard no matter what the score is, no matter how much time is on the clock. I stress to the team to be accountable for your actions, respect others, judge the situation and make the best decisions.

Q: You’ve taken your team to Bermuda, Barbados and the Netherlands. What is the advantage of these trips?

A: Tours are a definite perk for a team to develop bonding, friendship and camaraderie. To travel 10-12 days with each other, playing a sport you have a passion for in different countries makes the unknown exciting. Experiencing different customs and different styles of play allows the individual to go out of their comfort zone and accommodate, change and be charged with new ideas. Traveling allows for the students to become sports ambassadors for the U.S. and Wesleyan.

Q: You hold an International Umpiring rating, the highest level for umpires in the game of women’s lacrosse. Where have you umpired?

A: Besides numerous college games and NCAA playoffs here in the states, I have umpired for the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations World Cup during the summer of 2001 in Wycombe, England, the 2005 World Cup at the Navel Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and the International Owl tournament in Oshawa, Canada.

Q: What is the Cardinal Field Hockey Camp and what is your role with this camp?

A: The goal is to offer a fundamental clinic that exposes high school players to current techniques and skills of field hockey. The Cardinal Field Hockey Camp is an evening camp for 7-12th grade players. I direct, create the curriculum, manage the coaching staff and I am involved in the daily coaching. The camp has been running for over 10 years.

Q: At Wesleyan, who is your assistant coach?

A: Jen Shea is the field hockey assistant who played at Amherst College. She also is our head softball coach here at Wesleyan.

Q: You have competed at the Olympic Sports Festival.

A: The Olympic Festival was a great experience for me. It was an extensive selection process for athletes who where chosen by performing in the United States Field Hockey Association Developmental camps. I truly enjoyed the level of play and was honored to be selected twice in the 80s. I also had the opportunity to play with my younger sister on those teams.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests aside from sports?

A: I enjoy gardening, exercising, reading and doing home improvements.

Q: Tell me about your family, and do they enjoy sports, too?

A: I have a wonderful husband, Scott, who keeps me well balanced, two sons, Nathan and Andrew, and a daughter, Logan. All are involved with sports and keep me entertained!
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos by Brian Katten, sports information director.

Students, Alumni Bring Fatal Fire Story to Life through Play


The American Story Project, a theater company comprised of Wesleyan students and alumni, will perform We Can’t Reach You, Hartford at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 7-19.
Posted 07/28/06
In 1944, the Hartford Circus Fire caused more than 150 deaths during an afternoon circus performance. Although the cause of the fire remains officially undetermined, five employees of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus were charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the circus was forced to accept full financial responsibility for the fire that occurred during their show.

This tragic, yet compelling story, will be retold and performed by the American Story Project, a new theater company comprised of Wesleyan students and alumni. The seven-member group will premier We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, a play by Jess Chayes ’07 and Stephen Aubrey ‘06, at the Bedlam Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 7-19.

Under Chayes’s direction, the audience will witness the story of sad clowns, unlikely heroes and the forgotten tragedy under the big top. Performers include Annie Bodel ’08, Edward Bauer ’08, Elissa Kozlov ’08, Mike James ’07 and Hayley Stokar ’06.

In We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, Bauer plays the role of Emmett Kelly, a sad clown from the Depression-era 1930s who once performed as an actual member of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1942 to 1956. One of the most memorable pictures to emerge from the Hartford Circus Fire depicted Kelly, in full sad clown makeup, attempting to extinguish the flames that had already engulfed the entire circus behind him. Even until his death in 1979, Emmett Kelly never discussed what he saw that day in July.

James plays Meryl Evans, a band director who continued to conduct during the fire until the flames forced his musicians to flee.

“Jess really wanted to make the play a living document without following docudrama rules,” James says. “She and Stephen made something surprising. The play focuses mostly on the disaster’s periphery; it’s an eerie stage poem.”

This will be a second venture to the Fringe Festival for Chayes, James, Stokar and Kozlov. Last year, the American Story Project’s production of Tone Clusters premiered at the Bedlam Theatre and brought critical acclaim. The American Story Project has also performed at venues in Connecticut and New York.

“Each of our plays strives for honest, powerful expression among the more bizarre channels of the human experience,” Chayes says. “Each piece tackles difficult, haunting questions, striving not for answers, but for illumination, insight and a journey into the human condition.”

In 2001, a comprehensive history of the Hartford Circus Fire was published. Novelist Stewart O’Nan, author of “The Circus Fire: the True Story of an American Tragedy,” attended the company’s workshop performance in May. Afterwards, he wrote of the production: “We Can’t Reach You, Hartford re-imagines the tragedy of the Hartford Circus Fire with a strange and compelling immediacy. It’s a weird, nearly overwhelming tale, but director Jess Chayes, writer Stephen Aubrey and the players bring an intimate scale and bracing range to the material. Creepy, funny, touching–it’s a tour de force.”

A benefit performance of We Can’t Reach You, Hartford runs in Manhattan, N.Y., Aug. 2; and in Scarsdale, N.Y. on Aug. 3. For more information visit americanstoryproject.com.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

ITS VP Says His Department Can Handle Any Technology Problem


Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker has worked at Wesleyan 20 years. He was recently promoted to associate vice president of Information Technology Services.
 
Posted 07/07/06
When there’s nothing broken, don’t try to fix it.

That’s how Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker feels about Information Technology Services. The newly-promoted associate vice president of ITS says the university can feel comfortable that its technology needs are in good hands.

“I inherited a very hard working organization and I’m not intending to change anything drastically within the department,” Ravishanker says from his fifth floor office in Exley Science Center. “Technology problems can arise and hit us very fast, and our department is very capable of responding to these situations.”

This has always been the case, he says.

When Ravishanker arrived at Wesleyan 20 years ago, he shared a dual appointment in the former Wesleyan Computing Center and the Chemistry Department with David Beveridge, the University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics and professor of chemistry. Professor Beveridge’s group measured the movement of DNA molecules over time using molecular modeling program. Though they could only capture the motions over a hundred picoseconds (1 picosecond is one-trillionth of a second) the results from these simulations were huge.

He and Beveridge developed a program called Molecular Dynamics Analysis Toolchest, to analyze and present this data in a concise graphical format. This is still in active use by several molecular modeling labs.

“Keep in mind, this is 1986. Computer power was very limited, but we were doing cutting-edge simulations of DNA,” Ravishanker says. “It was very rare for a small university to have the computer equipment we had, and that has always been one of the best parts about working at Wesleyan. We are always able to go looking for the next best thing in technology and implement them.”

As technology became more complex, so did Ravishanker’s responsibilities. Although he enjoyed working in the Beveridge lab, he was offered a full-time management position in the Wesleyan Computing Center. The number of people using personal computers and applications such as e-mail was growing in leaps and bounds, and the Internet was just beginning to take form. Managing all these posed special challenges and Ravishanker wanted to be part of this, and jumped at the opportunity.

“I feel very privileged that I got to be part of the evolution of the Internet right from the start,” he says. “I had no idea the Internet would become so huge and simplify lives the way that it has. It’s been nothing but an exciting journey here.”

From 1994-1996, the Wesleyan Computing Center under went several iterations and changes in management. Ravishanker spent a year as interim director and was later promoted to director of Technology Support Services. He stayed in this role until June 2006, when he was promoted as associate VP.

“Ravi is one of the most energetic, customer-orientated, bright, down to earth, collegial people that I have ever worked with,” says John Meerts, vice president for Finance and Administration. “I’m supremely confident he will guide ITS in a superb fashion in his new VP role.”

Ravishanker leads monthly meetings for the entire ITS department to keep everyone abreast on each other’s projects and upcoming deadlines. He offers help and advice to anyone who needs it, and enjoys taking on his own projects when time allows.

Ravishanker is the E-Portfolio’s author and wrote several of its applications, such as the bulk email system and various e-mail tools. He’s mastered several programming languages including as Java, FORTRAN and PERL and understands all e-mail, server and networking issues on campus.

“I used to be a very hands-on manager,” he says. “I wanted to be able to do anything anyone else in this department can do, in addition to being a manager. But that has to change now.”

Ravishanker, a native of Sri Lanka, attended college in southern India and earned a Ph.D in theoretical chemistry Hunter College of the City University of New York. He has always had an interest in technology.

In his new VP role, Ravishanker has two immediate goals in mind. He wants to make Web Mail more efficient. A group of ITS staff are currently implementing various technologies to accomplish this. He also wants to explore with the cooperation of ITS staff opportunities available through Web 2.0 and see how these services can be advantageous to Wesleyan. The term Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that allows users to collaborate and share information online. He cites blogs and wikis as examples of Web 2.0 technologies. Leading by example, the “gone paperless” guru already uses a Web 2.0 blog to communicate with his department.

“Applying new Web technologies to enhance the sense of community and help collaborate better will be our goal in the coming year,” he says.

Ravishanker spends his free time playing golf and the occasional game of cricket. But he returns to the computer for his ultimate hobby – tuning into South-Indian music stations.

“I’m always humming along with them,” he says, smiling.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Chris Potter: Hockey, Golf Coach Busy on the Greens and Ice


Posted 07/07/06
Q: Chris, you’re the head men’s ice hockey coach and the head golf coach. How do you manage doing both?

A: I have a strong passion for both sports and I enjoy coaching both teams. It does get a little crazy, but being organized helps. Also, I have great support for both programs. Lastly, I am very fortunate to coach great student-athletes. They are very motivated and they know what it takes to balance their academics with athletics, which is not always easy.

Q: Who are your assistant coaches?

A: Jim Langlois and Matt Plante are assistant coaches in hockey. Jeff Gilarde is my assistant for golf. He has a great passion for the game and loves working with the players. Matt has been with me for two years and has been a tremendous asset for the program. We have been heavily recruiting for the past two years and he has done a great job. Jim has been with Wesleyan Hockey for more than 20 years and has a lot of experience in coaching. Having good people working with you is extremely important.

Q: How long have you coached at Wesleyan?

A: I have coached the hockey team for three years and the golf team for two and a half years.

Q: Do you consider ice hockey and golf at all similar?

A: I would have to say yes and no. I think the obvious reason for it not being the same is hockey is more of a team sport than golf. Golf you are out there on your own and you have to deal with ups and downs on your own. Golf can really test you mentally. Hockey from a coaching perspective is more difficult. We practice four days a week, focusing on how to get the team to work together to achieve our goal: winning. The team relies on individuals and the individuals rely on the team. I think where they may overlap is dealing with people on an individual basis. Coaching golf I tend to rely on coaching the individual and that can carry over to hockey. Not everyone is motivated the same way. Coaching golf has helped my coaching ability with hockey.

Q: How old were you when you began playing sports?

A: I started playing hockey when I was 4. I also played baseball growing up.

Q: At the University of Connecticut, you were a four-year ice hockey letterman, an All-American as a senior and a two-time all-NECAC and all-New England selection. When did you decide that you wanted to be a coach and where did you first coach?

A: At first, I always wanted to play. I was playing in Roanoke, Virginia after college and I really started to understand the game and learn more about coaching. I played for Frank Anzalone and he had a strong passion for the game and coaching. He was extremely detailed and always prepared. I finished my third year and received a call from my college coach Bruce Marshall. They started a graduate assistant program and asked me if I was interested. It was a great opportunity to get into coaching and further my education.

Q: What did you major in at UConn?

A: I graduated with an economics degree and earned my master’s in education.

Q: What classes do you, or have you taught, as an adjunct associate professor of physical education?

A: I teach a golf class, intro to skating and a fitness class.

Q: In 1997, you got involved with the USA Hockey-Team New England as an instructor, assistant coach, and later as a head coach. Are you still involved with this team?

A: I was fortunate to get involved with Team New England when I coached at UConn. Jim Tortorella at Colby College was the program director. I am still involved today and have also coached at the national festival for the 17 age group. New England is one of many districts in USA hockey. Every summer, New England runs a 13,14,15, and 16 camp in Burlington, Vermont. In conjunction with those camps we select players to participate in the national camps held in St. Cloud, Minnesota and Rochester, New York. For the past six years I have coached at the 17 festival, which this year is July 7-14. It is a great opportunity to see the best 17’s in the country and learn more about the game. Dallas Bossort, the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, played for Team Dakota at the 17 festival.

Q: Do you follow the National Hockey League?

A: I do follow the NHL and I am very pleased with the rule changes and the leagues focus on improving the game. I am a Bruins fan but disappointed with the trade of Joe Thorton. I always enjoy watching the Red Wings play.

Q: What months does the hockey season span? Golf season?

A: Golf has two seasons. We have a fall schedule and a spring schedule. The golf team will begin practice in September. We get right into it. The NESCAC’s are Sept. 9-10. It’s like playing for the championship the first week of practice. We finish the fall season in October and hockey picks up Nov. 1. Hockey feels like two seasons because we have six to seven games before exam break and Christmas break. The players are off the ice for about two weeks. They return the first week of January and we play every weekend into the first weekend in March. After the playoffs and depending how far we go it usually ends middle of March right before Spring Break.

Q: Where does the golf team practice and play?

A: We have a great relationship with Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. They have two 18-hole courses and a great practice facility.

Q: In your opinion, what makes an ideal student-athlete? Would you like to mention any individuals who will be key players on the teams next year?

A: I think we have a lot of the ideal student-athletes here at Wesleyan. You have to be self-motivated and utilize good management skills to be able to balance both. We have a good core of players coming back next year and the addition of some new faces. Will Bennett has been the team’s captain for two years and he will be joined by Ryan Hendrickson. Last season our goaltending emerged. Freshman Mike Palladino did a tremendous job in the first half and when Dave Scardella returned he stepped up and helped our team into the playoffs, which earned him NESCAC 2nd Team. I was also very pleased with our D-core last year the sophomores took another step and the freshman class really adjusted well. Dallas Bossort was recognized as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year.

Q: Do you continue to play hockey and golf aside from coaching the sports?

A: I do more golf than hockey, but I do occasionally skate. There is a charity league in Rhode Island I get to every now and then.

Q: Do you have any free time?

A: My wife, Lisa, and I have 15 nieces and nephews, so between spending time with them and hockey and golf, I am always busy.

Q: What are your thoughts on working in Wesleyan’s Athletic Department?

A: I have really enjoyed working here at Wesleyan. Duke Snyder built a tremendous hockey program and impressed a lot of people and they continue to give back. I have been amazed at the support. I look forward to adding to these two programs and continue to improve them everyday.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Summer Programs Extend Learning Year-Round


Harry Saranchak, a Wesleyan Writers Conference participant, reviews his writing outside the Davenport Campus Center June 19. The conference is one of 31 campus programs occurring this summer at Wesleyan.
Posted 07/06/06
Learning never ceases at Wesleyan, even in the summer.

 

The Cardinal Hoop Clinic. The Russian Intensive Program. The Health Professions Partnership Initiative. These are just a few of 31 on campus programs running during the summer months.

 

The programs are not just for college-aged students, either. Many are specifically designed for younger children and adults.

 

The programs actually began this year before the class of 2006 attended commencement May 18 with the Russian Intensive Program. May closed with the opening of the Hughes Summer Research Program.

 

June’s highlights included 50th edition of The Wesleyan Writers Conference and the beginning of the six-week-long Upward Bound program, which is designed to prepare selected students academically and socially for the upcoming school year. In addition to academics, students participate in activities addressing the issues which affect today’s teens: AIDS, teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol.

From June 26-August 11, Wesleyan’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science  (PIMMS) holds nine day-long summer institutes for area teachers. Teachers can take workshops on problem solving; using math games and activities to teach estimation; helping students master fractions, ratios, proportions and percents; and using technology in the classroom.

The Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI) began June 26 and ends August 4. Through this program, minorities who recently graduated high school can explore health professions. At Wesleyan, the students have the option to study anatomy, biochemistry, biology, biophysics, biotechnology, chemistry, pre dentistry, dentistry, epidemiology, biomedical engineering, genetics, pre-medicine, nursing, nutrition, pathology, pre-pharmacology, pharmacology, psychology, public health, science and biostatistics.

Several programs focus on athletics. The Cardinal Softball Camp, Summertime Sports Soccer Academy, Select Soccer Academy, Adult Baseball Clinic, Cardinal Field Hockey Camp, Fundamental Basketball Camps, The Lacrosse Schools, the East Coast Soccer Academy, the Total Volleyball Camp, and Tennis Camp all begin in July. Wesleyan coaches create the curriculum and teach at many of these camps, and Wesleyan student-athletes are often employed as instructors.

 

Summer activities round out Aug. 25 with International Student Orientation and New Student Orientation on Aug. 29.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Classical Studies Welcomes Latin Literature Expert to Department


Lauren Caldwell, assistant professor of classical studies, will teach Latin and a course on Vergil’s Aeneid next fall.
 
Posted 07/06/06
Lauren Caldwell was hired as an assistant professor of classical studies on July 1.

Caldwell has an A.B. in Classics from Princeton University and received her M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Michigan. Her research interests are Roman social history, Latin literature, Roman law and ancient medicine.

Strong support for the faculty’s scholarly and pedagogical goals attracted Caldwell to Wesleyan.

“I am strongly committed to my research and to my teaching, and Wesleyan does a remarkable job of supporting faculty scholarship, while also focusing on undergraduate instruction,” Caldwell says. “Universities that successfully balance these two parts of academic life are rare, and for this reason I am thrilled to be at Wesleyan.”

Moreover, since the days when she wrote a senior undergraduate thesis on literacy in the Roman world, Caldwell has recognized the value of students’ receiving close guidance from faculty.

“Wesleyan is wonderful because its small size allows faculty to follow students through their time at the university, especially in their major,” she explains. “When I visited the campus and the Classical Studies Department, I was impressed by both the students – many of whom asked excellent questions about my research and teaching – and by the faculty, who are dedicated to advising students and helping them gain the most they can from their coursework. I wouldn’t be here today without the support of advisers and mentors, and I am happy to have the opportunity to give some of that back at Wesleyan.”

Caldwell comes to Wesleyan from the Department of Classics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where she was a visiting assistant professor. At Georgetown, she taught intermediate and advanced Latin, including the authors Cicero, Vergil, Tacitus and Apuleius. She also taught the History of the Roman Empire and courses on Roman Egypt, Roman law, ancient slavery and ancient medicine.

At Wesleyan, Caldwell will teach First-Year Latin and a course on Vergil’s Aeneid in the fall and focus on revising her book manuscript, Scripted Lives: Girls’ Coming of Age in the Early Roman Empire, for Cambridge University Press. Her other publications include “Roman Girls’ Transition to Marriage in Legal Thought,” in Finding Persephone: Women’s Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean, forthcoming with Indiana University Press, 2007; and “Dido’s Deductio: Aeneid 4.127-168,” for Classical Philology.

Caldwell lives in Middletown with her husband, Bob, who is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Classical Studies. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, exploring Connecticut’s state parks, and, less often, traveling to Roman sites, most recently in Tunisia and Spain.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

SUMMER LECTURE: Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, pictured in center in blue, speaks to an audience as part of The Hughes Program in the Life Sciences Summer Lecture Series June 14 in Shanklin 107. Royer’s talk was titled “What Fossils Can Tell Us about the Climate and Ecology of Earth Millions of Years Ago.” The Wesleyan University Hughes Grant was awarded to encourage participation and interest in the life sciences by undergraduates. The Lecture Series is ongoing throughout the summer and open to the public. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

Seniors Start Web Site to Spur Balanced Political Dialogue


President Doug Bennet congratulates five Wesleyan seniors on their new endeavor, beyondpartisan.org. The students, who graduated in May, are, from left, Adam Jack Gomolin, Bill Ferrell, David Tutor, Robert Weinstock and Nathaniel Byer.
Posted 06/16/06
Last August, four Wesleyan seniors got together for a friendly chat on political issues, each disenchanted with the nature of Internet politics and the few venues available for American citizens to express their viewpoints in a neutral environment. True, there are hundreds of political-action Web sites, such as MoveOn.org and CitizenJoe.com, online periodicals, and single-view blogs, but the students felt the World Wide Web lacked a site that encouraged balanced and consensus-oriented dialogue.

That’s when the College of Social Studies majors Adam Jack Gomolin, Nathaniel Byer, Robert Weinstock and David Tutor entertained the idea of starting their own Web site.

The group of four asked their political and Web-savvy friend Bill Ferrell, from the Departments of Philosophy and Physics to join. After months of planning and five design renovations, the students registered the domain, beyondpartisan.org, on Jan. 26.

“BeyondPartisan.org is a response, on one hand, to bipartisan political incompetence, and, on the other, the hyper-speed, unilateralism and overwhelming partisanship of the blogosphere,” Gomolin says. “We believe that it represents a new wave of youth-oriented and Web-based politics, the ‘anti-blog’, or at least ‘multi-blog’.”

The site, co-engineered with the design firm Dreampod.com and software architects of Pacific Northwest Software, currently gets more than 500 visitors a day and has close to 1,000 registered users.

“On TV, you have all these talking heads yelling their viewpoints, and it becomes a contest of who can shout the loudest,” Tutor says. “Our goal with Beyond Partisan is to get viewpoints out there and constructively challenge each other. You may think you are red or blue, but read others’ viewpoints, engage with those you don’t necessarily agree with.”

Beyond that, Weinstock and the others see100 U.S. senators and 435 congressmen preaching partisanship and screaming sound bytes.

“The result is a vain discord that impedes honest legislation capable of helping Americans of all creeds and classes,” Weinstock says. “What are we? We’re honest solutions, or at least, honest starting points.”

The Beyond Partisan process begins with an issue-article, a brief and accessible piece focusing on a single policy area, meant to prompt dialogue with and between users. They offer article-specific commentary, independent forums and personal messaging. Ferrell says the site offers a level of administrator-user parity offered in few other venues, certainly none political.

“Simple, short and open dialogue,” Byer explains. “It is a conversation to which each American is invited. We must, as citizens, reflect upon our discussion and draw from it the shared values upon which we may move forward.”

The editors have posted articles on gay marriage, stem cell research, educational vouchers, abortion and ports-management, among other topics.

BeyondPartisan.org, they explain, is partly about going “beyond the beltway” mentality and myopia. For instance, in the cleverly punned “Our Civil Union”, co-written with another Wesleyan student, they offer a simple solution to the hotly-debated topic of gay marriage: limit the government to ‘civil unions’, while devolving the ‘religious bond’ to independent bodies. “If the Catholic church does not want to marry two gay Americans, that is their choice,” they note, “but no tax-paying American should be denied the secular privileges consistent with marriage because of their sexual orientation.”

This is not a new solution, they point out, just one roundly ignored by elected officials.

Charles Lemert, the John C. Andrus Professor of Sociology, is a BeyondPartisan.org reader and contributor.

“I’ve followed this project for most of the year and can honestly say that it is one of the most brilliant student projects I’ve seen in a long while,” he says. “The student leaders are themselves very smart of course, but the brilliance is in their ability to pull together BeyondPartisan.org. I’m pleased but not surprised that the site has attracted so much notice. The essays are very compelling and the political theme quite obviously needed.”

The students used their own out-of-pocket money to start the site and also received additional financial help and enthusiastic encouragement from President Doug Bennet.

Although the students graduated in May and are now in various locations across the country, they will continue to co-manage the site via the Web. Weinstock says the site will become self-sustaining by allowing other writers and patrons themselves to make lead story contributions: “The more patron-produced the site is, the more successful we have been.”

“This is a perfect opportunity for people our age who want to be engaged in politics to log on and discuss today’s issues,” Byer says. “It’s a place to bring and share ideas.”

Beyond Partisan is located online at http://www.beyondpartisan.org. Users can log on and sign up at http://www.beyondpartisan.org/login/register.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Busy with Summer Projects


Installation of fire protection systems in student housing and wiring are ongoing projects this summer.
Posted 06/16/06
Wesleyan’s summer to-do list is 98 lines long. And each must get checked off before the students return for fall semester.

Judd Hall’s fifth floor needs a renovation, student housing needs life safety improvements and the Center for the Arts needs its lighting replaced with energy-efficient bulbs. High Rise needs a security card access system installed, campus roofs need a maintenance plan and the Butterfields need two fire escape landings rebuilt.

“We have close to 100 projects we plan to complete this summer. Our priority continues to be the maintenance and restoration of our existing buildings,” says Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for Facilities. “It’s a never ending process.”

The summer’s tasks range from small maintenance projects like painting houses campus wide, to major construction projects like overseeing the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center.

Wesleyan’s renovation, construction and maintenance bill averages approximately $30 million a year. Included in the spending is a list of major maintenance projects, which total approximately $7 million according to Cliff Ashton, director of physical plant. Major maintenance projects are performed on campus to extend the life of buildings and their functions, Ashton explains. This can be anything from code and safety issues, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, exterior and structural shortcomings, cosmetics and immediate landscape issues.

For example, Olin Library needs a carpet stretched this summer to extend its life another couple of years. Davison Health Center’s infirmary needs stairwell handrails because they are below code requirements. Student wood-framed homes need carbon monoxide detectors in place.

“Our focus during the summer is generally on student housing and academic spaces while they are vacant,” Topshe explains. “However, major maintenance work will continue throughout the year on the remainder of campus. We have more than 100 major maintenance projects a year, and much of this work occurs during the summer when our buildings are less occupied.”

While projects like these will be ongoing throughout the summer, Wesleyan will pay special attention to safety requests such as installing several new blue light phones on campus, additional lighting in dark places near the Center for the Arts and installation of lighting behind Foss Hill.

With so many projects to handle, Wesleyan needs a capable team to make sure the work gets done. The Wesleyan facilities team employs almost 150 workers year round, about two thirds of which are Wesleyan employees. The remaining staff is contract workers in grounds maintenance, custodial, and project management. The facilities team includes 38 professional trade staff in physical plant. These plumbers, electricians, heating/ventilating/air conditioning technicians, carpenters and locksmiths assist with projects when they’re not busy maintaining existing campus buildings, while yet another group manages the power plant and energy management systems.

“We are fortunate to have a very talented facilities and physical plant staff that have been instrumental in supporting our projects,” Topshe says. “This adds tremendous value for Wesleyan since these are the people who know our buildings the best and are responsible for maintaining our buildings into the future.”

The summer work begins this month, with a major renovation on Foss Hill to install fire sprinklers, upgrade fire alarms, construct four new undergraduate program apartments, plus some general renovations. Work has begun to construct new compact storage in the Science Library basement and construction of a new 15 bed senior house on Fountain will be completed in August. Building renovations will take place in the English and Physics departments’ faculty offices, High Rise’s kitchens and bathrooms and the Athletic Fields.

Wesleyan is approximately three years into a $300 million strategic facility masterplan and several hundred projects have already been completed throughout the 2.7 million square foot campus.

The most notable projects include the renovations to Downey House for classrooms and academic offices, a new Center for Film Studies, an addition to the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, an addition to the Freeman Athletic Center, renovations to more than 80 classrooms throughout campus, renovations to the Memorial Chapel and ’92 Theater, construction of the new Bessie Schoenberg Dance Studio, renovations to create the Green Street Art Center, construction of new undergraduate student housing for 270 students on Fauver Field and 24 new beds for seniors on Fountain and Warren Streets, and the construction of a new synthetic turf playing field.

To view other major maintenance projects for the summer and the 2006-07 academic year, visit
http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan/other.html.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Adjunct Continues Film Editing Career while Teaching


Jacob Bricca will be appointed to adjunct assistant professor of film in July.
 
Posted 06/16/06
Jacob Bricca ’93, formerly a visiting assistant professor of Film Studies, will become an adjunct assistant professor in July. His appointment is for four years.

Bricca spent several years as a full-time film editor in Los Angeles, but left to come to Wesleyan to teach four years ago.

“I found Wesleyan a very empowering place as a student,” Bricca says. “The years I spent here were really important in helping me define who I was and what I thought about the world. I probably wouldn’t have considered it if it hadn’t been Wesleyan, but coming back here was a really attractive idea. I’ve found that I really love teaching, and still have enough time to keep active as a filmmaker.”

Bricca is the editor of Lost in La Mancha (2002), the feature documentary about Terry Gilliam that played in theatres worldwide, and Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew (2002), which won the Audience Award on PBS’s Independent Lens series in 2004. Other recent editing credits include Tell Me Do You Miss Me (2006), a music documentary about the rock band Luna, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2006, and What A Girl Wants, a short about the media’s impact on girls’ self-image that is currently used in media education programs throughout the country. He’s also had credits in Sink Or Swim (1998); Max, 13 (1999); Never Land (2000) and Dreamer (2000).

As director, Bricca recently finished his first feature Indies Under Fire: The Battle for the American Bookstore, the first documentary to look in-depth at the issues surrounding the growth of “super-chain” bookstores.

He’s taken editing and directing awards at the Berlin Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Chicago International Film and Video Festival and Trimmer’s Rock Film and Video Festival in Pennsylvania.

Bricca’s presented a paper titled “Found Footage and the Media Criticism Documentary,” at the 2004 University Film and Video Association Conference and “Teaching Documentary as an Extension of Fundamental Filmmaking Techniques,” at the 2003 University Film and Video Association Conference.

At Wesleyan, Bricca has taught Sight and Sound, Advanced Filmmaking and Senior Thesis Tutorial. In addition, he co-authored the Snowdon-funded “Celebrating the Liberal Arts Tradition in Film” series and co-directed and co-produced the 2004 “”Freeman Asian Scholars Program,” a series of 15-minute videos used by the Wesleyan’s Admissions Office in their recruitment efforts for the Freeman Asian Scholars Program.

Bricca received his bachelor’s of arts in film studies and sociology from Wesleyan and his master’s of fine arts in film editing from the American Film Institute.

Aside from film, Bricca loves music. This interest, he says, impelled him to go into video editing.

“When I was a kid, I made my mom listen to me play DJ as I cycled the LPs on and off the record player. I spend at least as much time listening to and learning about new music as I do watching new films,” he says. “At its best, a well edited film is very musical and rhythmic even when the subject matter has nothing to do with music.”

Bricca lives in New Haven and enjoys spending his free time with his wife and 2-year-old-son, Rory.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Crew Coach Celebrates 20 Years at Wesleyan


Phil Carney, head men’s crew coach, stands near the Connecticut River where the team practices and races.
 
Posted 06/16/06
Q: Phil, when did you first pick up an oar?

A: I started rowing in the spring of 1978, at St John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Mass. I was introduced to the sport by my friends from the school soccer team that I played on in the fall.

Q: You’ve been at Wesleyan for quite sometime. What keeps it interesting?

A: The upcoming year will be my 20th at Wesleyan, and it has gone by very quickly! The job is different every year as we strive to continually improve the program, but the main factor that keeps it interesting is the wide variety of bright, energetic, talented students that keep coming to Wesleyan.

Q: The men’s crew season ended in early May. Briefly recap the 2006 season.

A: We had a great season, and the record of our varsity eight was 9-3. The overall strength and depth of the squad can best be seen by looking at their outstanding day of races at the New England Championships. There, our first eight was 4th, our second eight took 3rd, our third eight placed 2nd, and our novice four also placed 2nd. A bit confusing, but overall this was a terrific day for the squad, placing us among the best programs in the region, and really good performances from all the crews.

Q: Who were your leading student-athletes and how does the roster look for next year?

A: Our only senior was Nathan Boon, who was a co-captain and a four-year member of our varsity eight. He had a great year, and we will miss him a great deal next year. Our additional returnees from last year’s crew are co-captain Matt Carey, Chris Cody and Jeremy Brown, who all had strong years. Kim Davies, Tom Volgenau and Alpay Koralturk moved up from our 2nd and 3rd varsity crews last year to make the first boat. Doug Cody, and Brian Studwell were two outstanding freshmen members of the first varsity as well.

Q: When does the men’s crew season begin and how do the athletes work to keep in shape year-round? Any lessons that you stress off-season?

A: We are on the water from Sept ­ November and again from Feb ­ May. In the off season, the guys follow a training program without coaches through the winter. The new erg room and addition to the freeman center have been a huge help to our team. The most important things through the winter that make us competitive in the spring are consistency in your training, and a strong commitment to your team. Doing the work without the coaching staff present can be difficult for some, but when the guys take ownership of the program in the winter time, we are a better squad in the end.

Q: Over your time here, what have been some of your or your team’s most memorable accomplishments?

A: We have had some really great crews here over the years, and it is hard to pick, but some of the most fun races we have had include winning the New Englands in 2004, some outstanding races over the years at the ECAC Championships including this years qualifying race where we made it into the top levels by less than 0.1 second in front of Orange Coast College, some great races at the Royal Henley Regatta in England. We have earned medals at all the Head Races in the fall over the years as well.

Q: Where did you attend college? When did you decide to become a coach?

A: I went to Trinity College and majored in religion. I started coaching immediately after graduation, and thought I would teach in a prep school and coach as well. I enjoyed coaching a great deal, got a great job here, and stuck with it.

Q: I understand that you’ve won several medals at the USRA Nationals as a member of the Pioneer Valley Rowing Association and have been a U.S. Rowing lightweight development coach in both 1988 and 1992. Aside from Wesleyan, where else have you coached?

A: I have coached at Trinity, Pioneer Valley, Thames River Sculls, Craftsbury Sculling Center in Vermont, Riverfront Recapture in Hartford, and for the Middletown Park and Recreation Department.

Q: Tell me more about the Riverfront Recapture Rowing Club, of which you found in 1993.

A: The Riverfront Recapture is a community rowing program serving the Hartford area. The program has grown tremendously. They now have a terrific boathouse in the North Meadows area of Hartford, and they serve the greater Hartford area. All of the public high schools in the city have rowing teams now through RRI as well. It has been a huge success there. I have been involved only periodically lately, but I will be coaching at a youth camp there later this month.

Q: Middletown has its own Parks and Recreation Department Crew Program. What is your role with this and where does the team compete?

A: I coached there for about three years, but ran out of time when my kids arrived! It was a blast, and we had about 100 people in the program by the end. It continues to exist in the summertime, and they compete in the Head of the Connecticut in the fall. We went to the Head of the Charles a couple of times as well, along with some local summer races.

Q: Your assistant coach, Kevin MacDermott ’02, was captain of the men’s crew during his senior year here at Wes. What influence does he have on the student athletes?

A: Kevin has been with the team for the past nine years, as an undergraduate and coach, and has been an instrumental part of our recent successes. This year especially, we have worked well as a team, co-coaching all the athletes on the squad. With his more recent undergraduate experience, he has had a real personal connection with a lot of the guys. He is bright, hard working and committed to the athletes and our success. I think he is on the road to an outstanding career as a coach.

Q: What classes have you taught as an adjunct professor of physical education?

A: I now teach sculling on the water in the fall, and Rowing for Fitness indoors in the wintertime. I have previously been a squash instructor as well.

Q: Where are you from originally? Do you have family in the area?

A: I grew up in Worcester, Mass. and presently I live in Deep River with my wife Sarah and our twins Jack and Isabel who are 3 years old. Sarah will be a visiting professor in the Psychology Department next year. Some of my family is still in Worcester, and my in-laws now live about five miles away from us in Essex.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests? Any plans for the summer?

A: The summer time is here, and finally there is some time to consider this question! I spend as much time as I can with Sarah, Jack and Isabel. The children are growing fast and time passing quickly. We do a lot of work on the house and yard, go for the occasional run, head for the beaches or a hike. I enjoy golfing a great deal, as well, but haven’t played much lately. This summer, we will likely head off for a weekend or two, to Cape Cod or even Sesame Place, but no big plans.

Q: What are your thoughts on working at Wesleyan?

A: It has been a great experience and opportunity for me to work at Wesleyan with the outstanding student-athletes and coaches. I think that coaching really exposes one to many people on campus, and in each interaction, be it Admissions, Development, Public Safety or an academic department. I am constantly reminded what an amazing collection of people live and work here. I am proud to be a part of this center for excellence, and I’m working hard to keep our program at the high standard of the university.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Service-Learning Director Expands Program Across Several Departments


Rob Rosenthal, professor of sociology and director of the Service Learning Center will celebrate his 20th year at Wesleyan in 2007.
 
Posted 06/16/06
Six years ago, Rob Rosenthal’s community research seminar became so popular students were knocking on President Bennet’s door requesting more classes like it.

“What we discovered was that there was a great need for classes that emphasized service-learning,” says Rosenthal, who would become the director of the new Service-Learning Center. “It’s a great way for students to be of service for the community and learn at the same time.”

Service-learning classes mesh regular classroom study and lectures with experiences in the real world. Rosenthal meets with outside agency directors to discuss ways Wesleyan students can be of assistance and works with professors to develop classes. In the classes, students are partnered with an outside organization or agency.

In 2003, there were only a few SL classes available in a limited number of departments, but Rosenthal pushed for more courses across all disciplines and upped the number five courses a year. During the 2005-06 academic year, students were take service-learning classes in biology, music, psychology, earth and environmental sciences and dance.

“Just like when you’re taking a science class and you have textbooks, lectures and labs, in these classes, your lab is the real world,” Rosenthal explains. “It really adds a whole new dimension to learning and to teaching. It’s a fantastic pedagogical approach which encourages students to take control of their own education.”

Rosenthal cites two recent course examples. Last year, Katja Kolcio, assistant professor of dance, taught a service-learning course called Dance Teaching Workshop: Theory and Practice. In this theoretical and practical course, she taught Wesleyan students how to teach dance and movement to children and adults. Practical teaching and service outside of Wesleyan campus was required for the class.

Likewise, Timothy Ku, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught Environmental Geochemistry as a service-learning course. Students studied the quantitative treatment of chemical equilibrium in natural systems such as lakes, rivers, and the oceans in the classroom, and then constructed a study of the North End landfill for the City of Middletown to see if methane and other gases could be economically harvested.

Next year, students will be teaching community theater in a juvenile training center, conducting research at a local community health center, and mentoring Spanish-speaking students at an area elementary school.

“It’s just wonderful that students can study theories in class and then go out and test these theories and argue about them with each other, based on their actual experiences,” Rosenthal says.

Serving as director of the Service-Learning Center is only one hat Rosenthal wears on campus. He spends half his time teaching classes in the Department of Sociology. Each, he says, are equally rewarding positions.

As a professor of sociology, Rosenthal is an expert on housing, homelessness, social movements and the culture of social movements. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his master’s of arts and Ph.D from the University of California Santa Barbara. He studied sociology at both institutions.

Rosenthal is the author of 18 published articles, seven of which cover the topic of homelessness. His book, Homeless in Paradise received the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award in 1995. He’s currently working on two books, The Persistence of Homelessness, and Playing for Change: Music in Social Movements, each to be published in 2007.

He teaches Introductory Sociology, Urban Sociology, Housing and Public Policy, and Music in Social Movements to undergrads, and recently taught Music in Social Movements to students enrolled in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program. In this class, Rosenthal questions how the actual use of music can create movement cultures. Students listen to musicians such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Rage Against the Machine, and Public Enemy and discuss how their music relates to movements in the United States including the labor, civil rights, new left, women’s, and current inner city movements.

Knowing that their professor has a deep affection for all music, Rosenthal’s students stock his music collection with home-made compilation disks.

“The great thing about being the ‘music guy’ is that students like to bring me all kinds of music to listen to,” Rosenthal says. “I’m interested in all music genres. Even the best of death-metal will be good.”

When Rosenthal is not teaching, he enjoys listening to music on his own times, playing basketball, and spending time with his wife, Sunny, and children Sam, 18, and Annie, 15, at their home in Middletown.

After 19 years at Wesleyan, Rosenthal hopes his future at Wesleyan is “more of the same.”

“Wesleyan has become so much of a positive force, I hope to see more of that and be part of it,” he says.

 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor