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Online Biographic Site of Wriston ’11 Debuts


Wesleyan’s Academic Media Studio created the website, www.henrymerrittwriston.org, in honor of Wesleyan alumnus Henry Merritt Wriston, B.A. ’11, M.A. ’12.
Posted 02/27/08
This month Wesleyan’s Academic Media Studio premiered www.henrymerrittwriston.org, a biographical portrait of distinguished professor, college president, and foreign policy expert Henry Merritt Wriston, ‘11.

Created though support by the Wriston family, the non-profit educational site was designed to provide textual, visual and audile information about the life and work of Henry Merritt Wriston and serve as a research portal for scholars investigating liberal education, college administration, internationalism, domestic and foreign policy and more.

The website presents a complete biography as well as an interactive timeline exhibiting nearly 200 original archival photographs organized according to five eras of Wriston’s life. It features links to additional resources and a library of more than 100 of Wriston’s speeches, articles, books, and letters spanning over six decades of his distinguished career. The information is organized by type, by topic, and by decade for user-friendly browsing, and the text has been made completely searchable using a custom Google search. In addition, the media section features five hours of audio clips of sample speeches of this dynamic speaker, as well as accounts of his life by his daughter Barbara, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and others.

Henry Merritt Wriston (1889-1978) advanced the ideals of liberal education and internationalism throughout his distinguished life as a dynamic speaker, prolific author, professor, college president, and foreign policy expert. A graduate of Wesleyan University (B.A. 1911, M.A. 1912), Wriston returned to his alma mater to serve as a professor of history (1914-1925). His doctoral dissertation, “Executive Agents in American Foreign Relations” (Harvard University, 1922) became a standard text in the U.S. Department of State.

Wriston served as president of Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin (1925-1937) and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (1937-1955), where his tenure had powerful transforming effects. At both schools he reorganized the curriculum to emphasize his commitment to liberal education, an ideal he first experienced at Wesleyan and later articulated in his best-known work, The Nature of A Liberal Arts College (1937). He has been called “the greatest president Brown ever had.”

Wriston also maintained active roles in numerous educational organizations, including the first president of the Association of American Universities (1948-1950).

In Washington D.C., Wriston served as chairman of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Commission on National Goals (1960), chairman of the Secretary of State’s Committee on Personnel (1954), and member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Foreign Service (1956-1958), earning a reputation as the architect of the reorganization of the Foreign Service of the State Department. He was involved with many organizations dedicated to foreign policy and served as president of The American Assembly (1957-1963) and president of the Council on Foreign Relations (1951-1964).

Wriston served as a trustee of many boards and was received numerous honors and 30 honorary degrees during his lifetime.  His legacy includes his many writings and speeches, as well as The Wriston Fellowship at Brown, the Wriston Art Center at Lawrence, and the Henry Merritt Wriston Chair in Public Policy at Wesleyan.
 

By Mariah Klaneski BA ’04 MA ’07 and David Pesci, director of media relations

Music Department to Host Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology


Posted 02/27/08
Being home to one of the oldest ethnomusicology programs in the country, it was only fitting that Wesleyan host the 53rd annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), Oct. 25-28.

All activities will take place on the Wesleyan campus, primarily in the Center for the Arts, Usdan University Center and Memorial Chapel. The meeting will take place during fall break to accommodate the more than 850 academics, students, professional musicians, and public sector administrators expected to attend.

Events during the three day meeting will include conference-style panels, performance workshops, and concerts. A one-day pre-conference on Oct. 24 titled “Toward a 21st Century Ethnomusicology,” will include visiting scholars from China, Indonesia and Africa. The meeting will also include webcasting and videoconferencing with students and colleagues in their home countries for a global discussion.

Known throughout its history for curricular innovation, Wesleyan boasts undergraduate and MA theses on South Indian, Native American, Irish, Jewish, Indonesian, Japanese, African, and experimental music, blues, and jazz written in the 1960s. The first Wesleyan ethnomusicology Ph.D was granted in 1971. The late Wesleyan Professor David McAllester was a co-founder of SEM in the 1950s, and in the 1960s he co-founded Wesleyan’s World Music Program, which has supplied two presidents to SEM, MacAllester and Mark Slobin, chair and professor of music.  Wesleyan University Press published the journal Ethnomusicology from its inception until 1971. SEM met at Wesleyan in 1975.
 
The current Music Department faculty, which has trained scores of ethnomusicologists, dates from the 1960s up to the present and includes Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music; Slobin; Sumarsam adjunct professor of music; I. Harjito, artist in residence, music; Su Zheng, associate professor of music, associate professor, East Asian Studies; Eric Charry, associate professor of music; David Nelson, artist in residence; B. Balasubrahmaniyan, adjunct instructor in music

Other longterm areas of specialization include experimental music, composition, creative music, and jazz and feature Alvin Lucier, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music; Anthony Braxton, professor of music; Neely Bruce, professor of music; Ron Kuivila, adjunct professor of music, director of the electronic music and recording studios; and Jay Hoggard, adjunct associate professor of music

The department’s 16-member fulltime faculty is rounded out by experts in conducting, Angel Gil-Ordóñez, associate professor of music; and musicology/theory Jane Alden, assistant professor of music, assistant professor of medieval studies; and Yonatan Malin, assistant professor of music.  Wesleyan has long stressed the integration of performance and scholarship and has an unusually large number of ensembles (called performance study groups) directed by full and part-time faculty, and occasionally by graduate students, that span the globe, including West Africa, South India, Indonesia, Eastern and Western Europe, China, Japan, Korea, the Caribbean, and North America.

Wesleyan alumni with Ph.Ds in ethnomusicology currently hold teaching positions at Yale, Brown, Duke, Tufts, Hampshire, Trinity, Wesleyan, New England Conservatory, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Kenyon, Lewis and Clark, Florida State, San Francisco State, and Central Conservatory (Beijing), among many others.

For further information, contact Music Department Associate Professor Eric Charry, who is chair of the SEM 2008 Local Arrangements Committee, at echarry@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2579.

Student-Produced Radio Program Highlights Wesleyan Faculty


From left, Noah Hutton ’09 and Jeremy Finch ’09 are co-producers of the new WESU 88.1 FM show, “The Faculty Lounge.”
Posted 02/27/08
Over radio waves, Neely Bruce chatted about his recent musical compositions; Peter Mark expressed his opinions on the recent crisis in Kenya; and Patrick Dowdey spoke on his passions as a museum curator.

Bruce, professor of music; Mark, professor of art history and professor and director of African American studies; and Dowdey, curator of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and adjunct assistant professor of East Asian studies and anthopology, had the opportunity to speak on their scholarly work during a student-engineered radio program, “The Faculty Lounge.” The show, which launched Feb. 1, airs from 1 to 2 p.m. every Friday on WESU 88.1 FM. It is also broadcast through a live audio stream at www.wesufm.org.

“Too often we get honed in on a particular department or focus at the university and lose track of what is going on in the rest of the school,” says the show’s creator, Noah Hutton ’09. “The Faculty Lounge provides a space for questioning and hopefully understanding the incredibly diverse work of the Wesleyan faculty.”

Hutton developed the idea for “The Faculty Lounge,” as a way for WESU to engage with and understand the vast array of scholarly work presented by Wesleyan professors. He and Jeremy Finch ’09 are co-producers of the show.

Every week, the show hosts interview a different Wesleyan faculty member and offer glimpses into their scholarly work to listeners in the campus community and beyond. The show ranges from the formal to the informal, and the guests are asked to provide their own music for the show’s scheduled breaks.

“Faculty members at Wesleyan are always doing really great things out of the classroom that people may not even know about,” Finch says. “I’m always curious about how they ended up at Wesleyan and what type of research interests they have outside of teaching.”

The Feb. 15 show featured an interview with Jorge Arevalo Mateus, an ethnomusicology Ph.D candidate who recently won a Grammy for his role as a producer of “The Live Wire,” a rare recording of a live Woody Guthrie performance. The Feb. 22 show featured John Paoletti, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history, for a discussion on his recent curated exhibition with Wesleyan students at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.

Upcoming episodes of “The Faculty Lounge” will include interviews with Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, chair of the Film Studies Department and curator of Cinema Archives; and Mary-Jane Rubenstein, assistant professor of religion, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies.

Hutton and Finch interview the professors; however they encourage their peers to provide faculty suggestions for the show. The interviews are conducted prior to airing, but Hutton and Finch hope to incorporate live interviews in future shows. This would enable listeners to call in and ask live questions to the faculty interviewee.

Hutton and Finch don’t claim to be experts in any of the topics addressed on the show, however they do conduct some background research before going into an interview. They aim for all interviews to be not only educational, but engaging and entertaining.

“Someone like James Lipton from ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ probably has a staff of five people doing research before each interview session. We don’t have a research staff like that, so it makes things a bit trickier when you just try to wing it,” Finch says. “When interviewing faculty, it’s a different dynamic because you are not in a classroom, there’s not a grade, and you introduce them with their first names.”

Finch grew up listening to Terri Gross on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” and learned from her approach.

“I loved the way she could ask such a complicated, leading question in such a benign, concise way,” Finch says.

The producers encourage listeners beyond the Wesleyan community to tune in and learn about cutting-edge scholarly work being conducted by local professors. Hutton says the show appeals to a diverse audience, including NPR fans.

“There is a growing trend among universities of publishing taped lectures and other class materials on the internet for the general public. I think this program taps into that trend while still offering an entertaining, made-for-radio show,” Hutton says.

The show is broadcast immediately after “Democracy Now,” so the producers hope “open-minded folks” will keep the radio on afterwards and get a taste for the interesting research going on at Wesleyan.

“’The Faculty Lounge’ is an excellent example of how WESU functions as a service to thousands of listeners throughout central Connecticut and Wesleyan University. At the same time programs like this empower students by providing a venue for them to hone valuable broadcast communication skills,” says Ben Michael, WESU general manager.

Both Hutton and Finch have more than two years experience working with the campus radio station.

Hutton, an art history major, trained to be a DJ during his freshman year, and hosted a weekly jazz show before creating The Faculty Lounge. He also is the station’s vice president.

Finch, an East Asian studies major, spent the past two years hosting a folk and rock show called “Passenger Side” but has put that aside for “The Faculty Lounge”. He plans to host a music show next summer.

“I’m confident about the future of radio and excited about the different possibilities that it provides to connect with people,” Finch says. “The Faculty Lounge is just one way we can make connections.”

Past shows are recorded and posted online at http://facultylounge.mypodcast.com/.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Nobel Prize Winner Speaker at First Year Matters Program


Posted 02/27/08
Nobel Prize winner and University of Massachusetts Medical School professor Craig C. Mello, Ph.D, pictured at left, will be presenting a lecture as part of Wesleyan’s First Year Matters program. The talk, titled “Return to the RNAi World: Rethinking Gene Expression, Evolution and Medicine,” will begin at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in Shanklin 107.

The event is free and open to the public.

Mello and his colleague Andrew Fire, Ph.D, of Stanford University, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2006 for their discoveries related to RNA interference (RNAi).

“We are excited and honored that Dr. Mello has accepted an invitation to speak with our community about the discovery of RNAi, and its impact on the study of disease, medicine and society,” says Sarah Lazare, associate dean of Student Academic Resources and director of First Year Matters.

“Dr. Mello and his work fit perfectly into First Year Matters’ theme: Legacy and Impact. By providing students with the opportunity to speak directly with a Nobel Laureate it reminds them that their own engagement in academic endeavors has the potential to impact and change the world,” Lazare says.

Mello is the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine at the medical school. He was also designated an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in 2000. HHMI is a $13 billion medical research organization that employs more than 350 eminent researchers at 72 medical schools, universities and research institutes worldwide.

There will be a reception following Mello’s presentation. The event is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College, Academic Affairs, Departments of Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and the Career Resource Center.
 

By Corrie Balash Kerr, associate director of media relations

Associate Director of Regional Programs and Networks Coordinates Programming for Alumni Clubs


Faraneh Carnegie ’05, associate director of regional programs and networks, staffs external events, meets with current and potential volunteers and is the staff liaison to the Alumni of Color Network.
 
Posted 02/27/08
Q: Faraneh, you are a recent Wesleyan alumna and now associate director of regional programs and networks in the Office of University Relations. Did you ever imagine you’d end up working at your alma mater?

A: I wanted to stay at Wesleyan after graduation. I applied for the position in University Relations on the recommendation of my colleague Frantz Williams ’99, associate director of parent development. I was intrigued by the opportunity to travel and meet with Wesleyan alumni and parents around the country, and I was interested in seeing Wesleyan’s operations from a different vantage point.

Q: At Wesleyan, what did you major in and what activities/groups were you involved in as a student?

A: I majored in French studies and history. I was a Senior Interviewer for the Office of Admission and an Editor for Historical Narratives, an undergraduate journal produced by student in the History Department. I was also a writing tutor and Red and Black caller.

Q: How did your degree, or experiences at Wesleyan, help prepare you for working in University Relations?

A: While at Wesleyan I learned the importance of flexibility and innovation, which are invaluable assets when dealing with alumni volunteers. Wesleyan alumni and parents are quite passionate and vocal and have no reservations about expressing themselves. As an alumna myself, and having had such a great experience at Wesleyan, I feel well-placed to advocate for Wesleyan’s needs to alumni and parents.

Q: Please explain what Regional Programs and Networks are.

A: Regional Programs and Networks is a subsection of the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. We coordinate the programming for alumni and parent clubs in all of the regions in the U.S. where we have a concentrated group of alumni. I work specifically with the Alumni of Color Network.

Q: What is your role with the Alumni of Color Network?

A: I serve as staff liaison to the Alumni of Color Network. I work closely with student groups and the Office of Diversity and Academic Advancement to engage alumni of color and facilitate meaningful interaction between alumni and students of color.

Q: How many members are in the network and what are your objectives?

A: The Alumni of Color Network includes all Alumni of Color, alumni who self-identify as Black, Latino, and/or Asian Pacific American. The Alumni of Color Network includes the Asian Pacific American Alumni Council (APAAC), the Black Alumni Council (BAC), and Wesleyan Latino Alumni Network (WesLAN) Each Council develops events and programs that reflect specific interests and experiences of alumni of color. The Councils work to establish ties between alumni, students, parents of students of color and the University. The Network also promotes interests pertaining to communities of color and collaborates with University offices to assist and support on- and off-campus programs.

Q: And what is your role with the Alumni of Color newsletter?

A: I am the editor of the Alumni of Color Newsletter. All alumni of color receive the newsletter via email. The Newsletter typically includes a feature story on an alumnus/a, campus happenings pertinent to alumni of color and articles on issues of diversity. Alumni are also encouraged to share their updates with each other in the “Here’s What We’re Doing section of the newsletter.

Q: Who are the key people you work with?

A: I work closely with Sandy Tello ’06, assistant director of regional programs and networks, and Christine Colfer, administrative assistant. Jen Jurgen, senior associate director of regional programs and networks, supervises our team.

Q: How do you spend the bulk of your day?

A: I spend much of my time working closely with our alumni volunteers, on the phone, via email and occasionally in person to plan and pull together events in their regions and to update them on what’s happening at the university. I also spend a lot of time creating invitations, print and for web, updating our regional club pages and drafting briefing materials and remarks for our events.

Q: Do you have to travel for your job?

A: Yes I do. I’m on the road a couple times a month staffing events and meeting with current and potential volunteers.

Q: As a staff member in University Relations, are you involved with Homecoming/Family Weekend or Reunion and Commencement Weekend events?

A: We’re all very involved in staffing events during Homecoming/Family Weekend and Reunion and Commencement Weekend. It’s a great opportunity for us to meet alumni and parents and showcase the University. I am specifically responsible for coordinating the Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium during Homecoming/Family Weekend.

Q: What do you like best about working in UR?

A: It’s a wonderful working environment! I really enjoy working with my colleagues; specifically my immediate team, and I really enjoy the work I do. It’s really invigorating to spend time meeting and working such a dynamic group of alumni and parents. The Wesleyan community is really unique.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I grew up in Maine and Jamaica. My parents still live in Maine.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?

A: I really like to read and I’ve recently gotten really into running. My goal is to complete a half-marathon at the end of the summer. I also love fashion and fancy myself as Stacey London from What Not To Wear.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Psychology Class Creates Book Drive to Benefit Local Elementary School


Posted 02/27/08
Along with returning to campus with suntans (or sunburns), new spring duds and a backpack full of work to complete by the end of March, Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, would like students to bring back one more thing from break: a book for Middletown gradeschoolers.

The “Bring Back a Book” Book Drive is the brainchild of students in Juhasz’s Psychology of Reading Class. The drive will be going on throughout the week of March 24.

The idea is for Wesleyan students come back from break with new or lightly used books that are appropriate for first to fifth grade students and place them in collection boxes around campus. The books collected will be given to students at Middletown’s Commodore Macdonough Elementary School to build up classroom libraries.

“Research suggests that children become more skilled at reading when they have access to rich libraries containing many books that interest them,” Juhasz says. “Yet urban schools, such as Macdonough, often do not have enough resources to build rich classroom libraries.”

Juhasz said that collection boxes will be placed at Usdan, Judd Hall, the Center for Community Partnerships, the Freeman Athletic Center, some student residences and other locations to be determined. Faculty and staff are welcome to donate books as well.

Students in Juhasz’s class have been working to help teach kids to read throughout the semester. The students, such as Abby Sedney ’10, noticed that most classrooms in Macdonough “had very small libraries or no libraries at all,” Sedney says.

Students initially thought about adding to the classroom libraries by donating service-learning funds to buy books. However, the idea of a book drive was floated and the students liked it, thinking it may garner more books for the school.

“We’re hoping this book drive can help the kids at Macdonough become more interested in reading,” Sedney says. “By collecting from so many people, we’re hoping to give each student an opportunity to read books that interest them, not just books that follow the lesson plans. We figured spring break would be a great time to hold the drive because we are well aware of how hard it is for students to buy or find elementary level books while on campus. We’re hoping students can look through old books at home, or have an opportunity to go to a book store and pick out a book or two.”

“I think that the book drive will be a nice way for Wesleyan students to gain awareness about educational issues in the Middletown community that the typical Wesleyan student may not think about on a daily basis,” Emily Rosen-King ’08 says. “This will be a positive gesture showing that we care about the well-being of MacDonough Elementary school, which is just a five-minute walk from campus.”

For more information and to inquire about donating a book, email Juhasz at bjuhasz@wesleyan.edu or call her at 860-685-4978.
 

By Corrie Balash Kerr, associate director of media relations

Films, Guest Speakers Bring Israeli Culture to Wesleyan


Dalit Katz, adjunct assistant professor of religion, meets with Avi Nesher, director of the Israeli film, The Secrets. Nesher’s film is part of the ongoing Ring Family Wesleyan Israel Film Festival, coordinated by Katz.
Posted 02/27/08
Last June, Dalit Katz fell in love with two contemporary Israeli films shown at international film festivals. 
 
“I saw these movies and I told myself, ‘I am going to bring these films to Wesleyan,” says Katz, adjunct assistant professor of religion.
 
Katz stayed true to her word.
 
The films, titled Jellyfish (2006) and The Secrets (2007) are both part of the 2008 Ring Family Wesleyan Israel Film Festival ongoing through April 29. The festival, sponsored by the Jewish and Israel Studies Program, Film Studies Department and Religion Department, features evening film screenings and discussions with movie directors and film critics.
 
Katz created the Israel Film Festival in 2006 to promote Israeli culture on campus.
 
“Israeli films are unlike any Hollywood movie,” Katz explains. “They are very innovative, unique and unexpected. Some are about daily life in Israel and others are wonderful stories. Audiences are moved by these films.”
 
After every film, a guest speaker shares his or her viewpoint on the film, offers an academic reading or a critical commentary, and participates in a question and answer session with attendees in the audience. Past speakers have included Miri Talmon-Bohm, visiting assistant professor of religion; Laura Blum, film critic; and Avi Nesher, director of The Secrets and recipient of Jerusalem International Festival Achievement Award 2006.
 
“We have internationally well-known directors and film critics here on campus, and this is an incredible opportunity for our students to ask questions and hold discussions with these wonderful speakers,” Katz says. “It was amazing to see the sparks between the audience and Avi Nesher, when he spoke. Having these speakers creates a rich, holistic experience for our students.”
 
Upcoming films and guest speakers include:
 
March 3. Someone to Run With, a story about a boy who tries to track down, through the streets of Jerusalem, the owner of a lost Labrador and to piece together the incredible story behind the owner’s disappearance. The film is based on acclaimed Isreali writer David Grossman’s best selling novel. A presentation and discussion will be led by musician Christopher Bowen, who composed the music to the film Jellyfish.
 
“Someone to Run With is a real must-see movie with beautiful scenes from Jerusalem,” Katz says.
 
March 24. Live and Become, a story of a Christian boy from Sudan whose mother forced him to assume a Jewish identity of another boy who died in order to send him to Israel and save him from hunger and death in his own country. A discussion will be led by Laura Blum, film critic.
 
April 29. Jellyfish, a story of three women whose intersecting stories weave an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. A discussion will be led by the film’s director and internationally acclaimed writer Etgar Keret, who will talk about this film and read some of his short stories.
 
Films are shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Goldsmith Family Cinema, located at 301 Washington Terrace inside the Center for Film Studies.
 
Katz incorporates the films into all three of her Hebrew-based courses. Students enrolled in her HEBR102, HEBR202 and HEBR412-Advanced Tutorial, are assigned 250-500 word writing responses – in Hebrew – after each film as part of the curriculum.
 
“I ask my students to write their opinions of the movie, analyze a character, give me feedback about what they thought of the movie, or offer a general reaction,” Katz says. “It’s always interesting to see how they relate to the film or a particular character.”
 
Wesleyan students also take advantage of the festival’s guest speakers, posing an array of questions for the Israeli film experts. The speakers talk in English after the film, but also attend Katz’s Hebrew courses to converse solely in Hebrew. This exposure to native speakers makes the courses an excellent linguistic and cultural opportunity, Katz explains.
 
“Our guests have commented on how prepared our students are,” Katz says. “Our students are genuinely so interested in the speakers, they come up with several questions to ask them, and they really show enthusiasm about learning about Israeli culture and the language. It’s our amazing students that set Wesleyan apart from other universities.”
 
She encourages her students to bring their friends and families to the films and guarantees the general audience will find the Israeli films appealing. All films have English subtitles.
 
Katz, a hobbiest movie-goer, says she developed an interest in Israeli films years ago, and “buys them and watches them” often.
 
“But my real hobby is making the advertisement posters visible and promoting the film festival here at Wesleyan,” Katz says. “I know once someone sees one film, they will become interested and want to see more.”
 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Archivist to Survey Islamic Manuscripts in Nigeria


Michaelle Biddle, head of Preservation Services at Olin Library, will conduct a survey of Islamic materials during a five-week sabbatical in Africa.
Posted 02/27/08
Michaelle Biddle, head of Preservation Services at Olin Library, was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria to travel to the country in March to conduct a survey of Islamic manuscripts and related materials. Wesleyan has granted her a five-week sabbatical so she can travel to locations such as Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Maiduguri to assess materials and help with preservation efforts.

The work of Biddle and more than 20 other archivists and librarians will assist the Arewa House in Kaduna. The Arewa House has been awarded a State Department Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation grant to conduct the survey and develop a strategy for the preservation and eventual digitization of particularly endangered items. The Arewa House has been working closely with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, to seek ways to preserve and digitize Nigeria’s rich Islamic manuscript heritage that is in danger of being lost due to the lack of conservation efforts, according to Henry Mendelsohn, Information Resources Officer at the Embassy.

Biddle was invited to become involved in the project due to her extensive training and experience in working with manuscripts. She has previously worked as an Islamic Art bibliographer, with Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. (Antiquarian Oriental and African Booksellers), and has worked in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, England. She has studied manuscript binding, preservation techniques, and is presently a M.A. student in Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester (U.K.)

“I will be engaged in prioritizing preservation needs using specific criteria: impact, feasibility and urgency; weighing appropriate collections-related factors: use, storage, condition and value; then will be making informed value judgments before reaching a decision on actions that might be taken,” Biddle says.

Biddle says she will bring back photos to Wesleyan to showcase her work and plans to publish articles about her experience.
 

By Corrina Balash Kerr, associate director of media relations. Photo by Olivia Drake.

Whaley Becomes VP for Student Affairs


Posted 02/27/08
Michael Whaley, formerly the interim dean of the college, was promoted to vice president for student affairs on Feb. 21.

In addition to supervising a large and complex office, he has worked imaginatively with the vice president for academic affairs to develop programs that connect faculty and students outside the classroom in a variety of co-curricular activities. The change of title to vice president for student affairs reflects the duties of the position as it has evolved at Wesleyan, and positions the office as an integral part of the educational enterprise.

“Mike has a true gift for hearing students, for understanding their issues, and for working with them to enhance the meaningfulness of their time at Wesleyan,” says Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “That’s part of the reason why the Wesleyan Student Assembly so strongly expressed support for this appointment. The importance of his efforts cannot be overstated; the academic success of our students and the impressions of Wesleyan they take to heart depend heavily upon what happens outside the classroom. Mike believes we can do much more to infuse co-curricular activities with intellectual excitement, and I share his enthusiasm.”

Whaley holds a bachelor of science in microbiology from Cornell, and masters degrees in counseling and higher education from Central Connecticut State University. Since 1997, he has served with distinction as dean of student services, becoming interim dean of the college in 2007.

He has worked with students and faculty in numerous capacities, including the development of a strategic facilities plan, improvement of relations with city residents, enhancement of services for students with disabilities, oversight of the student judicial system, and improvements to orientation activities. Throughout his tenure he has been a strong advocate for effective student governance as well as active student participation in institutional decision making.

“Mike is well known on campus and admired for his sensitivity and his thoughtfulness, his leadership and his ability to engage diverse aspects of the student body in building a joyful community of learning,” Roth concludes.

Student Dancer Promotes, Writes for New Urban Dance Magazine


 

Dance major Brittany Delany ’09 , far left, writes for Hot Stepz Magazine, based near Boston. She also helps advertise magazine-sponsored dance events.
 
Posted 02/27/08
Brittany Delany ’09 grew up improvising pop and hip hop movements in her family room. Now she’s danced her way into Hot Stepz Magazine as a writer and publication promoter.

Delany, a choreography/performance dance major and French studies major, voluntarily works for the urban dance publication, subtitled “the soul of dance.” The magazine focuses on modern-day dance styles such as Krump, Caribbean, dance hall, stepping, hip-hop and B Boy B Girl while emphasizing the historical culture of dance movements.

“I am very committed to the heart of this magazine,” Delany says. “Hot Stepz is for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds who have an interest in all kinds of dance. It provides a platform to support those in the performance arts and it explores dance histories.”

The magazine debuted in January and featured an interview with Shane Sparks, choreographer for the MTV Music Awards and for the hit show So You Think You Can Dance. Other articles included a biographical account of Katherine Dunham, a history of Flamenco dancing; and a fashion spread and interview with Francesca Harper, who plays on Broadway in “The Color Purple” musical. The magazine’s primary consumers are men and women of all ethnic backgrounds between ages 16 and 40.

Hot Stepz Magazine was visualized by 13-year-old Neeca Wilder and her mother, publisher J. Lynda Blake, in Dorchester, Mass. last year. Their goal was to create a publication that would help to give deserving dance pioneers and aspiring artists national exposure by capturing their talents in each issue. Delany befriended the mother-daughter duo and instantly offered to help promote the magazine and its dance-culture events.

In June 2007, Delany helped organize the Hot Stepz Freestyle Dance Party and freestyle dance competition in Boston, and the Hot Stepz-sponsored “Liquid Steel” dance audition in Cambridge, Mass. in July. The events welcomed all styles of dance from ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop to Caribbean, krump and B Boy. More recently, the Hot Stepz-sponsored dance crew ‘Status Quo’ has been successfully competing for the top spot in MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew.

In addition to working on the promotional aspect of the magazine, Delany also writes for the publication. She’s written about the 2008 Leap Year Dance Marathon, hosted by Rozann Kraus of the Dance Complex in Cambridge. And she’s interviewed Janille Hill, the leader of the step team ‘A Chosen Few’ to write about stepping.

“It was very interesting to learn that stepping originates from slavery, when slaves would use percussive foot stomping and hand clapping as a way to communicate. African American fraternities and sororities developed and popularized this form,” Delany explains. “We have a great step group here too—WEStep.”

Delany’s interest in dance began at a young age, where she’d dance to popular songs, and dabble with moves to Caribbean and African beats. In seventh grade, at the Milton Academy near Boston, she became a member of their Dance Ensemble.

“One of my favorite performances was during my second year. We performed a dance that was daring and experimental and just fun,” Delany says, who is pictured at left. “It was all about being funky. We made our costumes out of bubble wrap and duct tape.”

In high school, the budding performer collaborated with students and began working with her teacher, Kelli Edwards. She experimented with modern, jazz, dancehall, tango, improvisation and hip-hop styles. Naturally, when applying for colleges, Delany sought an institution with a solid, world-renowned dance program and student dance groups. Wesleyan’s dance major, featuring technique courses in modern dance, ballet, jazz, Javanese, Bharata Natyam, West African dance, among others, was strongly appealing.

She also enjoys the major’s courses on dance composition and production, theory, dance history and improvisational “site-specific” dance, where a dancer approaches a space not reserved for dance.

“A few of us did (site-specific dance) right here in Usdan,” Delany explains. “We took off our boots, took note of available spaces, climbed on chairs, clumped ourselves into nooks and the window frames … then we’d take an object like this chair, turn it on its side, explore it and extrapolate a movement from it. I really love negotiating a situation in a short moment.”

Delany, who has a growing interest in the history of dance and writing, says she’s not sure what she’ll do after Wesleyan.

“Whatever I end up doing has to be creative,” she says. “Creativity is my passion.”

For more information on Hot Stepz Magazine, go to http://www.hotstepzmagazine.com/
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Advances Green Computing Methods


Shawn Hill, desktop support specialist, front, and Catalino Cuadrado, junior instructional media specialist, send a document to a printer in the Science Tower Computing Lab. Three printers in the lab are set up for duplex printing, which is just one way Wesleyan is implementing “green” computing methods.
Posted 02/01/08
First came green energy, then green chemistry, and now Wesleyan is exploring green computing as another way to fight global climate change and become a more sustainable institution and community.

“We are in the process of implementing several green computing ideas to support the university’s mission to become a responsible environmental steward,” explains Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker, associate vice president for Information Technology Services.

In November 2007, President Michael Roth signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, stating that Wesleyan will exercise leadership in the community by modeling ways to eliminate global warming emissions and leave a smaller environmental footprint.

As a result, ITS created a Green Computing Committee. The group meets regularly to discuss technology policy, software, and hardware changes that ITS can initiate so Wesleyan faculty, staff and students use technology more sustainability. They have been working on ways to save energy, minimize electronic waste, purchase chemical-free equipment, and promote green computing campus-wide.

“We can all do things at the office and at home to make our technology-based environment a little greener,” says Shawn Hill, desktop support specialist and head of the Green Computing Committee.

The Green Computing Committee is working with Academic Affairs and Administrative departments to phase out older computers and monitors on campus when possible. Older computer and monitors are more inefficient than current models.

This past summer, using an energy usage monitoring tool, ITS tested a variety of computer models found at Wesleyan and estimates that a Mac G5 computer without a monitor (for example) can cost Wesleyan up to $270 a year in electric bills, whereas a Mac 17-inch laptop can costs only about $30. Old, bulky CRT monitors cost up to $120 a year to power, whereas the slim LCD monitors may only cost $25 annually. Old Wesleyan monitors are recycled at the Exley Science Center loading dock off Pine Street.

Students can help reduce carbon emissions by simply turning off their monitors, or shutting down their computer when they are away. The cost of electricity in Wesleyan’s wood-framed homes is about 66 percent more expensive than on campus, according to Physical Plant.

“While using the ‘Power Management’ settings of your computer does save energy, it is always better to shut the computer off if you plan not to use it for a stretch of time,” Ravishanker advises. “This will not only save energy, but it will extend the life of your computer.”

About 600 faculty and staff office computers have been part of a night-time remote backup service, requiring users to leave their machines running 24-hours a day. ITS is currently experimenting with morning computer backups, a process that would eliminate the need to leave machines overnight.

“Users on the morning backup schedule may experience slower response times when the backup is occurring, but we believe that users who volunteer for this backup schedule will appreciate being able to help reduce Wesleyan’s carbon emissions,” Hill notes.

He estimates that up to $185 a year – per computer – could be saved by those electing for day-time backups. Another option is to back up computers manually, a simple process that can be explained by any of Wesleyan’s desktop support specialists.

Printers – especially the massive office units – are the largest energy-eaters of all, costing Wesleyan up to $440 a year each in electricity charges when left on 24-hours a day. A simple solution is to power them off after office hours, or whenever they are not in use.

“When possible, we should avoid printing on paper,” Hill says. “Readings, assignments and documents can be distributed in electronic format, and the recipients can reduce paper usage by reading documents on the screen and using the track changes feature in Microsoft Word to mange edits.”

If printing is the only option, the Green Computing Committee suggests you send the document to printers that offer duplex printing to minimize paper waste. Newer printers, such as one in the Science Library and four in the Science Tower Lab, have the ability to print on both sides of a piece of paper.

ITS also is implementing automated power supplies, which work on an electric timer and shut down computers and printers when students’ computer labs are closed. These timers can be programmed from a touch-screen in ITS.

“We are finding resources to purchase more of these power supplies, and hopefully within a year we’ll have all 60 of Wesleyan’s multimedia rooms on automated timers,” says Heric Flores, manager of Instructional Media Services. “They will pay for themselves in about three years.”

Flores already installed the automated units in Beckham Hall, where audio amplifiers, mixers, speakers and other equipment were powered 24-hours a day. The average use time of this equipment is three hours a day.

“Even when they were in ‘sleep mode,’ we were still wasting 2,000 watts of electricity a day by leaving them on all the time.”

That’s equal to running 20, 100-watt lights all day at a cost of about 40 cents an hour. In time, the bill runs high.

Computers themselves also are going green. Wesleyan is working towards buying environmentally friendly hardware based on Electronic Product Environmental Assessments Tool (EPEAT) standards. EPEAT evaluates electronic products in relation to 51 environmental criteria such as elimination of lead, mercury, plasticizers in certain applications; using post-consumer recycled plastic or renewable/bio-based plastic materials; packaging devices in marked, recyclable materials; and adopting ENERGY STAR specifications.

“We’re hoping to buy energy-efficient computers with lead-free chips, recyclable plastic parts and efficient power supplies,” Hill says. “When one of these green computer is retired, our hope is that we can recycle a significant percentage of the components, producing minimal electronic waste.”

The Green Computing Committee has set up a blog open to the campus community at http://greencomputing.blogs.wesleyan.edu/. The blog provides suggestions for more economical, environmentally-friendly uses of technology. The committee encourages the Wesleyan community to share their own green computing ideas via the blog.

“We hope you’ll use this blog to learn more about institutional and personal changes that can make a difference here at Wesleyan and in your life off-campus,” Hill says. “We would like all students, faculty and staff to think sustainable when making technology decisions here at Wesleyan and of-campus as well.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Senator Kennedy to Address Class of 2008


U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy is currently the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He will speak at the 176th Wesleyan commencement.
Posted 02/01/08
U.S. Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy will deliver the main address at Wesleyan’s 176th commencement in May.

Senator Kennedy, a Democrat, is the senior senator from Massachusetts and the second longest-serving current member of the U.S. Senate.

“Senator Kennedy has long been a thoughtful and energetic supporter of higher education in the United States,” says Wesleyan’s President Michael Roth. “In this time of great change at our universities, it is particularly important to hear his perspective.”

Throughout his career, Kennedy has been an advocate for universal health care, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights, assisting individuals with disabilities, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

“Senator Kennedy’s career of service to our highest national ideals models the qualities of leadership and civic engagement that liberal arts colleges and universities seek to develop in our students,” Roth says. “We are proud to host so powerful an advocate for education and civil rights, and particularly to have him address our graduating seniors, their families, and the larger Wesleyan community.”

Kennedy is currently the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee, and on the Armed Services Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Seapower Subcommittee. He is a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the Congressional Friends of Ireland, and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Kennedy’s ties to Wesleyan include his son, Edward Jr. ’83, who will be celebrating his 25th reunion this year, and step-daughter Caroline Raclin ’08, who will be receiving her bachelor of arts degree at the ceremonies. Kennedy himself received an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan in 1984.

Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School. He lives in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, with his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy. Together, they have five children – Kara, Edward Jr., and Patrick Kennedy, and Curran and Caroline Raclin. They also have four grandchildren.

Wesleyan’s 176th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 25.
 

By David Pesci, director of media relations