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Science Explored through Series of Films, Discussion


Posted 04/01/06
In an ongoing initiative to increase connections between science and film at Wesleyan, a series of programs will be presented in April. This part of the series, arranged by Film Studies and Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is the last in the “Celebrating the Liberal Arts Tradition Through Film” program in which over 18 departments have participated.

This is the fifth semester the Film Studies Department has hosted the series of seminars, lectures, screenings and discussions.
 
“Film was born out of science, and now science is being reborn through film,” says Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, chair of the Film Studies Department and curator of Cinema Archives. “Both film and science are about time and space and require the ability for acute observation. We are thrilled by the opportunity to collaborate with our science colleagues.”
 
The programs are of particular interest to students enrolled in “Science and Film: Defining Human Identity,” taught by Bob Lane, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and Scott Higgins, assistant professor of film studies.
 
The upcoming programs include:
 
“A “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence” program will begin at 5 p.m. April 10 with a screening of “CONTACT” from 1997, starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. It will be shown in The Goldsmith Family Cinema at 5 p.m. April 10.
 
Around 8 p.m. there will be a panel discussion led by Bryan Butler, staff scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and science advisor to the film; Fred Cohan, professor of biology at Wesleyan; and Peter Gottschalk, associate professor of religion at Wesleyan. Butler will comment on the “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence” program depicted in the film and for which radio wavelength observations have been a major component. He will also discuss his experiences as a science advisor to this film, and share his perspectives about the use of science in Hollywood film-making. 
 
Cohan will comment on the origins of life on this planet, and the prospects of finding life elsewhere in the universe. Gottschalk will discuss how empirical science has historically challenged both anthrocentric and theocentric views in Western cultures and religions, and compare how discovery of life elsewhere in the universe would mirror the Copernicus revolution.
 
Following the short presentations, the audience will be invited to ask questions and share perspectives on these topics. This event is open to the public.
 
The films and lectures are supported by the Edward W. Snowdon Fund; the Fund for Innovation; the Deans of Divisions I, II, and III; the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department; the Astronomy Department; the Film Studies Department and the Cinema Archives.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Honorary Degrees, Medals Awarded during 174th Commencement


Posted 04/01/06
Wesleyan will commemorate its 175th anniversary of its institutional charter during the 174th Commencement Ceremonies May 25-28. Wesleyan’s charter was granted on May 26, 1831.

John Hope Franklin, professor of history, emeritus at Duke University will give the principal address at commencement and will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree during the ceremony.

In addition, Wesleyan will award honorary doctors of letters to Mary O. McWilliams ’71, president of Regence BlueShield, pioneering alumna and trustee emerita.

Franklin is an internationally-renowned historian, intellectual leader and lifelong civil rights activist. He has served on the National Council on the Humanities, as well as the President’s Advisory Commissions on Public Diplomacy and on Ambassadorial Appointments. Franklin’s numerous publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than 100 colleges and universities.

McWilliams ’71 previously served as president of PacifiCare of Washington where she converted the provider network into groups, expanded statewide, and launched Secure Horizons as a Medicare-Risk plan. She also served as founding chief executive officer for the Sisters of Providence Health Plans in Oregon. She received a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Wesleyan.

Wesleyan will also award the Baldwin Medal to Jean Shaw P‘79 and Biff Shaw ‘51, P’79. As an alumni leader, Biff Shaw’s diligent effort on behalf of Wesleyan underscores his commitment to public service. Jean Shaw has served Wesleyan since 1969 in many roles including director of the Center for the Arts, coordinator for exhibitions, events manger and coordinator of University Lectures. She has worked tirelessly to enrich the relationship between Wesleyan and Middletown. She played a key role as Reunion and Commencement coordinator and oversaw the joining of Reunion and Commencement into one weekend.
 
The commencement ceremony is scheduled to be held on Andrus Field, where seating will be unlimited. President Doug Bennet invites all parent-educators to participate in the academic procession.

“This initiative was introduced at the 1997 commencement and is becoming a much-beloved tradition at Wesleyan,” Bennet says. “I look forward to welcoming everyone to Wesleyan on this wonderful occasion.”

Academic regalia will be worn by all who participate in the procession and can be ordered through the campus bookstore.

The Office of the Dean of the College will contact graduating seniors with information regarding graduation announcements and activities for Reunion and Commencement Weekend.

Department Assistant Has Flair for Photography


Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant for the Chemistry Department, also works as a digital photography instructor at Green Street Arts Center.
 
Posted 04/01/06
Q: What keeps you busy in the Chemistry Department?

A: I never have two days that are the same and I enjoy the variety of my work. I work directly with the professors and students, and I have many skills and abilities that aid me to be flexible and detail oriented to whatever tasks comes my way. I work a lot with my computers and keep in touch with all that happens here at Wesleyan University through emails and memorandums. I work with an open door policy, people come first and paperwork second, so I tend to work longer hours at the end of the day to stay on top of deadlines, campus and departmental projects, and coordinating departmental events.

Q: What led you into this position?

A: I first came to Wesleyan in November of 2000 as a temp. I returned to Wesleyan in March 2001 as a floating temp, and in July, I was hired to work in the Department of Finance and Administration as an administrative assistant. I became a permanent employee in December 2001, when I was hired by Philippa Coughlin, director of the Office of Behavior Health as the department’s secretary. It was by Dr. Coughlin’s suggestion that I apply for the full-time opening in the Chemistry Department and my first day at my current position was August 3, 2003. I totally, love my position as the AA for chemistry. It offers me a wide variety projects and I enjoy working with the faculty and students.

Q: What are some of your job duties?

A: My responsibilities include preparing the agenda for the monthly meetings between the Chemistry department staff, the building manager, the stockroom support staff and the chair of the Chemistry department; overseeing the department budget; working with Payroll and Human Resources to oversee employee payroll; scheduling the workload of two undergraduate student workers; maintaining the Chemistry’s Web site, providing administrative support to faculty for grant applications; among several other duties in the office. Also, I designed an Access database that assists me in managing important departmental records and budget reports. Overall, I provide support for 16 professors, four staff, 31 student teaching assistants, 27 chemistry majors, 39 graduate students and a few research associates and postdoctoral fellow.

Q: You also coordinate the annual Peter Anthony Leermaker’s Symposium.

A: The 34th Leermakers Symposium is planned for May 11 this year, and the program title is “Challenges to Chemistry from Other Sciences.” Michael Frisch, visiting scholar in chemistry, is the 2006 chairman. Also, this year I am facilitating a new event. The Department of Chemistry is hosting the Student Awards for the Connecticut Valley Section of the American Chemical Society on April 29.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A: The long learning curve. It took me one academic year to learn all the various aspects and job responsibilities of being an administrative assistant in an academic department. I have a passion for learning and this position keeps me on my toes, there never is time to feel bored, and I enjoy working with my faculty, students, co-workers and the Wesleyan community at large.

Q: Do you have a personal interest in chemistry?

A: In 2005, I audited David Westmoreland’s Introduction to Chemistry and it opened my mind to the vast subject called, “chemistry.” Finally, I can understand the periodic table. I am amazed and inspired by the dedication that the professors and students have to excellence in their research and teaching assignments.

Q: What were you doing before you came to Wesleyan?

A: I worked for the San Diego Symphony, as the assistant to the director of Copley Symphony Hall. I coordinated events and rentals for the San Diego Symphony and Symphony Hall Promotions.

Q: Where did you attend college?

I have an associate’s degree in liberal studies and fine art from Middlesex Community College, an associate’s in photography/art from Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, California. I plan to complete a master’s in art from the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

Q: You’re also a teaching artist for Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center.

A: Anna Milardo, administrative assistant in physics, knew that I am a photographer asked me to photograph Green Street’s open house/reception for the Saint Sebastian School. It was in the planning committee for this event, that Ricardo Morris asked if I would be interested in teaching at GSAC. This resulted me teaching a digital photography classes for the After School Program, photo club for the After School Program and introductory to digital photography for adults.

Q: Tell me about your recent photo exhibition, “Divine Intersections,” at Green Street?

A: My current exhibition presents images that are essentially inspired by intuitive guidance and inner reflection upon the things that are familiar to me from my childhood and adult experiences. I have been intertwining photographic images taken of the natural world with scanned images of other forms of life such as plants and animals. My favorite images are restful, reflective, and build a sense of union between the mind, body and spirit connection (an example of Roslyn’s photography is seen in the image above-right).

Q: I take it this wasn’t your first show.

A: My first show was in 1996 and I have had several exhibitions in San Diego. In Connecticut, I have exhibited various art and photography shows through the Shoreline Artist Association, the Tracy Arts Center and the Essex Artist Association, and Face Arts Music in Deep River, Connecticut. My husband, William Brault is a gifted sculpture and painter and co-curates all of my photographic exhibitions. He is a talented custom framer and trained exhibition designer so it a perfect creative partnership.

Q: Have you volunteered your artistic abilities at any other non-profits?

A: In Connecticut, I have volunteered for arts organizations such as the Shoreline Arts Association, Images 2000 and 2001; Tracy Art Center in Old Saybrook and I am an active board member of the Friends of the Davidson Arts Center. In San Diego, I was an active volunteer for the Museum of Photographic Arts, the Holistic AIDS Response Program, The AIDS Foundation and with Grossmont College Student Exhibitions and Workshops.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Guitarist Brings Musicians from around the World to Expose Wesleyan Students to New Styles, Cultures


Cem Duruoz, private lessons teacher, just released his third CD, “Desde El Alma – Tango Classics.” The Turkey native performs internationally.  (Photo contributed by Steve Savage)
 
Posted 04/01/06
Q: Cem, how long have you been a private lessons teacher of guitar for Wesleyan’s Music Department?

A: I started to teach at Wesleyan in September 2003 right after finishing my advanced studies at The Juilliard School.

Q: How many student guitarists do you teach at Wesleyan?

A: I have about 10-12 students each semester. I am trying to increase the number of students, especially by encouraging good players to come to Wesleyan to begin with. I am proud of my students; they are all talented. Some of my current students will perform on April 7 at the Chapel Concert Series at noon.

Q: In addition to private lessons, what opportunities are there for budding guitarists on campus?

A: The most important one is our student guitar organization called “WesGuitars“, established last semester. We get together once every two weeks, play guitar and socialize. I encourage our guitarists to perform on various occasions such as the Chapel Series. Soon I will find venues in downtown Middletown are and other towns for concerts.

I am also working to bring guitarists from around the world to the campus so that all the guitarists at Wesleyan community could be exposed to their style and their cultures. Last year we had Carles Pons from Spain and Uros Dojcinovic from Serbia. This year so far we had a visit by Marcos Puña from Bolivia. The first guest invited by WesGuitars itself will be Spanish guitarist Juan Jose Saenz. He will give a concert of Spanish Music in Crowell Concert Hall on April 9.

Q: When did you first take an interest in classical guitar? At what age did you know you had a “knack” for the instrument?

A: I first heard the instrument at the age of 10. My cousin had already been playing it. Each time I would visit, he would let me try his guitar and show me techniques. I fell in love with the guitar the moment I touched it. I did not really have to hold and play; just touching the strings, making a sound and listening to it one by one was magical for me. Soon after, I started to take lessons. I remember asking my cousin to make copies of some difficult pieces and him saying “they are too difficult for you now.” During one of our family visits, I took the opportunity to hand copy them and surprised him few months later by playing them to him. Afterwards we did many concerts as a duo together.

Q: What is the ‘classical’ guitar?

A: Classical guitar refers to a nylon string acoustical guitar. In most cases this name seems to imply –wrongly- that it is used for classical music only. With this instrument one can play almost any type of music from anywhere in the world in addition to the Western Classical Music, which is the source of its name. However, in most places outside the U.S., when someone mentions the word “guitar” alone, they usually refer to the classical guitar. This is, after all, the original instrument just like violin and piano. I started directly with the classical guitar unlike many of my students and professional performers that I have met in the U.S. who first learned to play other types of guitar.

Q: Please elaborate on the guitar’s sound. Why does it appeal to you?

A: I think the main aspect of classical guitar sound is its warmth because of which the instrument lends itself to the performance of emotionally elaborate polyphonic music. The warmth comes from the nylon strings and the right hand fingernails. This combination provides the optimum sound and technique for bringing out the human emotions in almost any type of music in the world, as a soloist. Another peculiarity of the classical guitar is the way it is held. I think it is the only instrument that is “embraced” and held directly on ones heart. No wonder many classical guitarists are in love with their instruments!

Q: In 1990, you came to the United States from your native country, Turkey. What led you to the States?

A: The U.S. graduate education system is the best in the world. After staying in Turkey I wanted to get advanced degrees here and was able to get full scholarships in California. It is also important to get exposure to new repertoire, different approaches to music and participate in the classes of well-established musicians. All these opportunities widely exist in the U.S. At first I did not intend to stay, but after about six years, San Francisco started to feel like home as much as my home in Turkey.

Q: You recently released your third CD, “Desde El Alma – Tango Classics,” which is quite a style change from your first album, “Pièces de Viole”, which consists of gamba music by French baroque composer Marin Marais; and your second CD “Contemporary Music for Guitar.” What inspired you to change your musical interest for the third CD, and what type of audience is attracted to your music?

A: When making CDs I concentrate on a project and spend most of my energy to do the necessary research to understand the music and the culture that created it. Having studied at a French school for seven years in Turkey and having learned the language at the age of 11, I had a natural interest in the French Baroque music. This background and the music of the famous movie “Tous Les Matins du Monde” led to the first CD. The second CD is a reflection of my interest in supporting the creation of new music by playing works of emerging composers.
My third CD “Tango Classics” is my most recent project. I got involved in tango through the music of well-known composer Astor Piazzolla. He called his compositions “Nuevo Tango” or new tango, which had been disliked by traditional tango dancers. I wanted to explore what “old tango” was and its relation to the dance. When I was living in San Francisco I tried some tango dance lessons and quickly became addicted to the dance itself. Later I realized that there is a great collection of authentic tango music created by well-educated Argentine musicians and tango orchestra leaders. My CD is a compilation of various tangos that I like dancing to. Now I am looking forward to working on a new project.

Q: You’re an international artist. Where have you performed recently?

A: I’ve recently performed at the Weill Recital Hall/Carnegie Hall in New York, and in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, France, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Serbia-Montenegro and the U.S. in various guitar festivals and concert series. I have also appeared as soloist with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Turkey, the equivalent of New York Philharmonic there. Last year I was invited to the Istanbul Festival in Turkey, one of the biggest and most prestigious in Europe. There I collaborated with gamba player John Dornenburg and harpsichordist Yuko Tanaka to play the music of the 14th Century French Court.

Q: You’ve received critical acclaim in international magazines such as American Record Guide, Fanfare, Classics Today, Classical Guitar and BBC Music. The students you teach must feel honored to work with a famous musician!

A: I sometimes do feel famous! Nowadays, due to globalization it is ever more difficult to be individually recognized; there are so many musicians, so many CDs. However I have been working very hard to increase my output, and contribute to the music world. My students appreciate it; it is always exciting and inspiring to work with someone who has international experience and is a role model. I have to say it feels really good all of a sudden to hear your own CD played on NPR when driving, and felt very strange first time, when someone recognizes you having read an article or when someone stops you on the street and says he was at your concert. I think this aspect of music is very rewarding.

Q: Where are your degrees from?

A: I have a master’s of arts in composition from Stanford University, and another master’s degree in guitar performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. I later completed my graduate guitar studies at The Juilliard School with Sharon Isbin, a Grammy award winner.

Q: Do you write your own music?

A: Although I have extensively studied composition, I enjoy performing much more. Therefore I don’t compose much at all nowadays. However my compositional skills come very handy for arranging music to the guitar. Prime examples are on my French Baroque CD and the Tango CD. I have various collaborations with other composers. Some of them send their music to me, and I try to feature a new composer in every recital I play. I also commission music particularly written for me. One of these is a guitar concerto called “In and Out of Blue” by Robert Strizich. With Angel Gil-Ordonez, his Ensemble of the Americas and I are planning to perform this in the fall.

Q: You have an upcoming recital in Hartford on April 15 in conjunction with the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society, and another performance in New York May 27. What will you perform at these concerts?

A: The Connecticut Classical Guitar Society is one of the biggest in the U.S. I will be playing in their concert series on April 15. This program will include selections from my tango and baroque CDs as well as music from Rodrigo, Tárrega, Bach and Giuliani, composers well known to guitar audiences.

The concert in Merkin Hall/New York is part of an annual Turkish Cultural Festival organized by the Moon and Stars Project. It is titled “A Mediterranean Journey” and will include music from Turkey, Greece, Israel and Spain as well as tangos and Broadway favorites. In this performance I will be collaborating with a wonderful Greek/American soprano Demetra George.

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

A: My main hobby has been dancing tango for many years. After I did my first tango lesson in San Francisco I studied with most of the well-known Argentine Tango dancers. In San Francisco, I used to go dancing three nights a week. In Connecticut there are some venues for dancing tango, but many more are in New York and I go there every now and then to dance.

Q: For more information, where can people find you online?

A: My Web site is http://www.duruoz.com/
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor.

Study Gives Teeth to Leaf Activity


Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, researched why pointy-leafed plants are more common in colder climates.

Posted 04/01/06
Smooth or pointy – is there a reason?

If that question refers to a leaf, a study by a Wesleyan researcher may have an answer that includes some cold facts about sap flow and the weather.

The study by Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dana Royer and featured in a recent issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences looks at the characteristics of plants with pointy leaves versus smooth-leafed plants and finds the difference is more than just cosmetic.

The pointy or “toothed” leaves contain high concentrations of xylem, a type of tissue that facilitates the transportation of the plant’s sap, which is rich with nutrients and water. The water then evaporates from the leaves causing the plants to draw up even more sap.

“The result is a greater rate of sap flow earlier in the spring,” says Royer. “The process apparently helps to jumpstart the plants’ photosynthetic season.”

This may explain why so many trees and other plants in colder climates have pointy leaves.

“The colder the climates generally have shorter growing seasons so the greater rate of sap flow is very beneficial to these plants,” says Royer. “The trade-off is that there is a higher rate of water loss among these plants. So there still needs to be sufficient rain during the growing season.”

Royer and co-author Peter Wilf from Pennsylvania State University performed the study by analyzing the moisture transpiration and photosynthesis activity of more than 60 woody species in two decidedly different regions: Pennsylvania and North Carolina. They found that photosynthesis and transpiration activity increased by as much as 45 percent among toothed-leafed plants during the first 30 days of the growing season. The analogous rates of smoothed-leafed plants in the same regions were significantly less.

The findings, while not definitive, certainly provide yet another example of nature’s ability to adapt to varying conditions. However, Royer adds that, in this case, there could be negative implications with climate change.

“It’s very speculative, but most of these toothed leaf trees are hardwoods that, along with their environmental benefits, also carry economic value,” Royer says. “It would not take a large rise in average temperatures during the growing season to put point-leaf plants at a competitive disadvantage.”

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

FEMINIST POLITICS: Carolle Charles, associate professor of sociology from Baruch College, City College of New York, presents “From Confrontation to Negotiation: CONAP and a New Form of Doing Feminist Politics in Haiti” in the Center for African American Studies Lounge Feb. 27. Charles is the mother of Jane Charles-Voltaire ’07.

The well-attended event was sponsored by the the Center for African American Studies.  (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

WesGuitars Club Strummin’ Up Worldly Music on Campus, Local Community


Pictured at top, Alex Gorelick ’09 performs during a WesGuitars meeting March 9. Pictured in back, from left, are Bolivian guitarist, Marcos Puña and Cem Duruoz, private lessons teacher of classical guitar and WesGuitar coordinator. Pictured below is WesGuitars member Sylvia Ryerson ’09.
(Click the speaker button to hear
Gorelick playing Prelude No. 1 by Heitor Villa-Lobos)
Posted 03/16/06
Sylvia Ryerson ’09 came to Wesleyan with an interest in classic guitar, but no real ability to play the instrument. But after joining a new club called WesGuitars, she’s already memorized pieces by Brazillian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos and Cuban conductor Leo Brouwer.

“I’ve always loved the sound of classical guitar,” she says. “It’s great to sit in a room with a bunch of other guitarists and share what I’ve been working on, and hear music by others. It’s a really fun and encouraging group.”

WesGuitars, a campus group generated last semester, meets twice a month in the Davenport Campus Center. During the March 9 meeting, Ryerson played a Villa-Lobos composition live for the club. Afterwards, fellow WesGuitar members complemented her efforts and offered constructive criticism.

The performance-oriented meetings serve as an opportunity for players to get feedback, tell stories, discuss different composers, ask questions, meet guest artists and be inspired. Sometimes, the WesGuitars will break out into a jam session.

The Music Department’s Cem Duruoz, private lessons teacher of classical guitar, coordinates the informal club gatherings. He says the club’s purpose is to promote classical guitar awareness at Wesleyan and the Middletown community. The students may also perform in various concerts throughout the year.

Although the guitar originated in Spain, the students study music from American, Mexican, Turkish, Brazilian, Japanese musicians, among others.

“Everyone has their own diverse interests, so we encourage each other to learn music from all over the world,” says Duruoz, who has studied and performed internationally. “The students are always free to write their own music, too.”

Alex Gorelick ’09, a chemistry and music major, has played guitar for seven years. During the recent meeting, he performed “Prelude No. 1” by by Villa-Lobos and “Sakura,” a popular fast-fingered folk song from Japan. The song took him three months to master and memorize. Afterwards, guest artist Marcos Puña of Bolivia inspired Gorelick by playing the same song an octave higher.

“There are many variations on how to play a song, and writing the music for guitar is close to impossible,” Duruoz explains. “So much the way someone plays a song comes from the way they were influenced. I just recommend that they play the way they are most confident with.”

Graduate student Glenn Henshaw says audiences respond the varied sounds of the guitar. The instrument can be tender and sonorous or it can be deeply rhythmic and angular, he explains.

“The guitar is a relatively young instrument but it has timeless qualities,” says Henshaw, who is learning “Homenaje – Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy” by Manuel de Falla. “We want people to walk away from our performances and say, “I had no idea the guitar could do that.’”

The guitar repertoire is diverse and affective. Some members of the group have performed duets with pianists, flautists and vocalists. Guitar newbie Ryerson says her life-long experience with the violin and reading music has helped the learning process tremendously, even though the fingering on the violin and guitar are backwards.

Most of the club members take or have taken private lessons with Duruoz, however WesGuitars welcomes all musicians from campus and the surrounding area to join. Henshaw says the relaxed environment ensures that beginners or non-classical players can feel comfortable enough to pick up a guitar and play.

“Despite the fact that the Wesleyan music program is decidedly theory based there is widespread interest in performance; groups like ours will cater to both the casual and serious musicians on campus and in the community,” Henshaw says. “We’d really like to make Wesleyan and Middletown a mecca for classical guitar.”

The club will culminate this year with a concert as part of the Chapel Music Series on April 7. They also are sponsoring a concert by Spanish guitarist Juan José Sáenz at 7 p.m. April 9 in Crowell Concert Hall. He will play a program of Spanish works.

For more information on WesGuitars e-mail Cem Duruoz at cduruoz@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

5 Faculty Awarded Career Enhancement Grants

Posted 03/15/06
Five Wesleyan faculty members received Mellon Career Enhancement Grants for the 2006-07 academic year.Wesleyan, along with Amherst College, Grinnell College, Oberlin College, Pomona College, Reed College, Smith College and Williams College, are in the third year of a major collaborative grant from the Mellon Foundation to enhance faculty career development. Faculty members from each of the institutions compete for semester research leaves, summer stipend grants, and workshop grants designed to encourage and promote increased scholarly activity for the faculty of the eight institutions.

Hilary Barth, assistant professor of psychology, and Abigail Hornstein, assistant professor of economics, received Mellon Summer Stipend Grants. Laurie Nussdorfer, chair of the College of Letters and professor of letters and history, and Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of letters and history, received a Mellon Workshop Grant. Stephen Angle, associate professor of East Asian Studies, associate professor of philosophy, chair of the East Asian Studies Program and director of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, received a Mellon Semester Research Leave.

Proposals for these grants are reviewed at each participating institution by a committee including the academic deans. This is the fourth year the Mellon grants were issued.

  
Barth (pictured at left) and Hornstein (pictured at right) are among 16 professors from the eight colleges who received Mellon Summer Stipend Grants to be used in summer 2006. Recipients receive $4,500; an additional $3,500 is available for student research assistance for each recipient.

Barth’s research project is titled “Visual statistical processing in young children.” The project is based on the previous finding that adults can rapidly extract certain kinds of quantitative information from visually-presented sets.

“For example, after a very brief look at a large set of elements, we have a good idea of the average size of all of the elements in the set,” Barth explains. “We don’t have to be told beforehand to try to figure out the average size of this bunch of objects: we seem to extract this ‘statistical summary information’ about the set very quickly and automatically.”

This finding is relevant to her broader research program, which concerns the remarkable quantitative skills children possess even prior to formal education. The rapid extraction of statistical summary information from visual stimuli is likely to play an important role, yet scientists know very little about this ability in children. This summer, Barth and her lab assistant will explore the way this ability contributes to young children’s quantitative cognition.

Hornstein plans to work with Minyuan Zhao from the University of Minnesota to study the relationship between effective capital budgeting and the internalization of research and development using a panel dataset of U.S. firms in the 1990s. To estimate the efficacy of a firm’s capital budgeting decisions, she will use a self-developed process, and acquire patent application data from the U.S. Patent Office. Hornstein’s proposed study will examine issues that she discusses regularly with her Wesleyan students, for example corporate investment criteria, how firms make capital budgeting decisions, and how firms evaluate investments.

“This research may also be of interest to my colleagues who teach industrial organization courses as firms use patents to buttress firm boundaries and maintain first-mover advantages,” she explains.

In the long-term, Hornstein anticipates teaching courses that combine corporate finance and corporate strategy. These courses would share a common theme: how to develop and maintain a firm’s competitive edge while maximizing shareholder wealth.

  
The Mellon Workshop Grant received by Nussdorfer (pictured at left) and Kleinberg (pictured at right) is worth up to $25,000 and supports workshops designed and organized by faculty members on scholarly and pedagogical topics.

Nussdorfer and Kleinberg are spearheading a workshop collaboratively. It will be titled “Philosophy and Literature: Reading across the Disciplines,” and is scheduled for May 9-10, 2007. The professors are inviting several scholars to explore the intersections, relations and tensions between literary and philosophical studies.

The workshop’s morning sessions will be open to the public and academic community, in which two invited presenters, one from literary studies and one from philosophy, tackle the same text, each from his or her perspective. In addition, experts from Wesleyan and other area institutions will convene to explore specific aspects of topics raised in more detail, drawing on the insights of the public sessions.

“The focus will be not so much on what the two different disciplines are as on what literary scholars and philosophers actually do when they interpret a text, and what assumptions or mechanisms guide their arguments and interpretations,” Kleinberg explains.


Angle was one of 10 professors across the eight colleges awarded a semster leave. He could receive one semester leave with pay during the 2006-2007 year. Awards for semester research leaves are based on the strength of the proposal and evidence of previous scholarly accomplishment, with priority given to projects that show promise of substantial progress and that can result in products that will be ready for peer review by the end of the leave period.

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

New Manager is Booking on a Successful Career at Broad Street


Nancy Healy, manager of Broad Street Books, says the shop’s new cosmetic changes, like the new bookshelf behind her, are meant to create the ambiance of a small independent bookstore.
 
Posted 03/15/06
Q: When were you hired to manage Broad Street Books and how is it going so far?

A: I was brought on board in the last week of January. It has been an interesting and eventful month! I have spent this first month learning about the history of the store and getting to know my staff, as well as getting acquainted with Wesleyan. Things are going very well so far, and I am confident that things will continue to get better and better as we move forward.

Q: Please describe the purpose of Broad Street Books.

A: Broad Street Books is a full service bookstore. Our goal is to serve both the Wesleyan and Middletown community’s needs. Students can find all their text materials, a wide selection of trade books, basic supply needs, as well as Wesleyan clothing and gift products.

Q: I hear there has been some changeover at the bookstore.

A: There certainly has been some changeover! In addition to myself, we have a brand new textbook manager, Ben Brown. Ben had been our textbook coordinator for the last year and has had an opportunity to learn about the business from the ground up. Carrie Brochu has also recently come on board as our general merchandise coordinator. Carrie also comes from Barnes and Noble and will be involved in building and promoting our apparel and gift sections.

Q: How many employees are there?

A: Our store employs roughly 20 to 25 people at any given time.

Q: What was the purpose of the bookstore’s recent remodeling?

A: The bookstore recently underwent some cosmetic changes. The changes are meant to create the ambiance of a small independent bookstore, while still promoting our Wesleyan home. Shoppers will find a redesigned trade book floor, as well as the addition of display bookcases on our mezzanine level. We are in the process of redefining the Broad Street “brand.” I believe it is important that our presentation and selection are reflective of Wesleyan’s reputation, as well as respectful of the diverse community that we serve.

Q: As a manager, do you spend more time behind the scenes or do you get much time to mingle with customers and staff?

A: I believe that establishing relationships with my staff and with the community that our store serves is the single most important component to building our success. Our hours differ from many campus bookstores. We are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I work weekdays and at least one weekend per month and one night per week. This allows me to interact with all of my staff members, as well as the different segments of our shopping community.

Q: What are typical job duties as a book store manager?

A: I am involved in all facets of our business. Of course, I am responsible for ensuring the operational soundness of the business, customer satisfaction, and sales growth. Currently, two of my main focuses are increasing awareness of the bookstore through the promotion of unique events and networking within the Middletown community, and the re-design of our store website. This will help to provide family, alumni, as well as prospective students access to Wesleyan apparel and gifts, as well as giving students additional access to textbooks during the school year.

Q: What are your daily challenges?

A: Learning all the many aspects of a new company can be challenging. There is something new to confront everyday. However, while I have many friends who can’t imagine why I have stayed in retail all these years, the answer is simple. It is never boring. There are always new challenges in creating something. I find managing similar to directing a play. Somehow you are constantly engaged in creating the right dynamic both within your staff, as well as visually to entice your audience, grab their attention. When you finally get the right combination the results are extraordinary.

Q: What led you to Wesleyan and what type of field were you working in before?

A: Actually, I was contacted by a recruiter from Follett Higher Education, the company that runs the bookstore. At that time I was working for Barnes & Noble in the superstore division. I was immediately excited about the possibility of working in an atmosphere that promotes learning, growth and creativity. Previously, I had been an executive team leader for Target stores specializing in operations and merchandising.

Q: What is Follett Higher Education Group and what is the relationship with Wesleyan?

A: Follett Higher Education Group is the company contracted by Wesleyan to operate the bookstore. Follett operates over 700 bookstores at college campuses across the United States, as well as in Canada. Follett’s resources provide the store access to many text materials, in particular, a variety of used text titles to help ease costs for students.

Q: What is your favorite book section at Broad Street and why?

A: I’m not sure that I have a favorite section. I am quite intrigued by our faculty author sections. I find it fascinating what people are captivated by, and what they choose to write about. The same held true when I worked for Barnes & Noble. I was always interested in the local authors who came in. There are so many wonderful books published by smaller presses that simply don’t have the capital to promote them as vigorously as the larger publishing houses. I also love the children’s section.

Q: Do you enjoy reading, yourself? What are your other hobbies and interests?

A: I do enjoy reading. You would be most apt to find me with a biography or history book. I have many interests! I have been engaged in a genealogy project for over a year. It has been an extremely rewarding and fascinating experience. It certainly gives history a new face. I also enjoy music. I play the tenor saxophone and flute. And then there’s going to the theater, tennis and I am determined to learn to golf this year.

Q: Tell me about your family.

A: I am very fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive family. My life partner, Melissa, is a trainer with the Hartford Insurance Company. My 15 year old son, Chris, is the best part of everyday. We enjoy doing all kinds of things together. The beach, musicals, museums, and Red Sox games are some of our favorite things to do.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to your new Broad Street customers?

A: I am always available and open to new ideas. I am excited about the coming months and thrilled to have the opportunity to work on such a thriving campus. Please come visit!
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

’06 Class Dean Sad to See the Seniors Go


David Phillips, senior class dean, talks to seniors about their personal challenges, academic records, postgraduate options, and academic goals.
 
Posted 03/15/06
Sometimes a student’s academic problems are caused by something not-so-academic.

As a class dean, David Phillips spends much of his time advising students – discussing academic, social, and personal challenges and achieving personal goals. He’ll work with individual students, professors and even parents, to support students in their pursuit of a positive learning experience.

“What I like about my job is that I get to deal with the whole student rather than just a particular aspect of a student’s life,” Phillips says. “That’s our mission as class deans. We want to get to know them on an academic and personal level.”

Phillips, associate dean of the college and dean for the Class of 2006, oversees about 725 students in his class. He’s a source of information on academic standing; major choices; graduation requirements; university policies and procedures; and services, opportunities and resources available at the university and surrounding Middletown community.

As this year’s senior class dean, Phillips certifies students for graduation. He talks to the seniors about their academic records, postgraduate options and preparing themselves for life after Wesleyan. He runs an audit on every student to insure they have 32 credits and meet other graduation requirements.

“Each student’s credit analysis is about five pages long, so I go through a stack of papers about two feet high,” Phillips says, smiling. “It’s exciting to know that these students will be graduating soon and they will go off and begin their life-long careers.”

The New Haven, Conn. native has a special bond with the international community. Phillips, whose father worked for the State Department, considers himself an “international student” having lived in Peru, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand and India before returning to the States for college.

Some seniors he knows only through phone calls and e-mails, but others he sees on a regular basis during daily drop-in hours.

“I wish more would come by and say hello,” he says. “I get to meet a lot of the students that way.”

Class of 2006 president Pacho Carreno is a frequent visitor in the Dean’s Office. Phillips helped Carreno prepare for his post-Wesleyan career, at a real estate consulting firm in Boston.

“Dean Phillips has been my most helpful academic advisor at Wesleyan,” Carreno says. “His advice has enhanced my experience and has helped me to take advantage of the best that Wesleyan has to offer. I’m ready to graduate but I wish I could have an advisor like him guiding me through the real world.”

Maria Cruz-Saco, dean of the college, says as senior class dean, Phillips is instrumental in helping students complete their educational pathways at Wesleyan and as they move out into careers.

“David has a deep knowledge of Wesleyan’s students and the curricular requirements,” she says. “He is insightful, supportive, a problem-solver by-excellence and loves his advising role.”

Phillips came to Wesleyan six years ago as the associate dean of the college and dean for the class of 2006. It is his first administrative job, but his background in social history, cultural studies, and the history of technology makes him an ideal advisor for students with interests across the curriculum.

Phillips earned his bachelor’s of art in photography and printmaking and his master’s of art, in comparative social history from the University of California Santa Cruz. He earned his Ph.D in American studies from Yale University. His dissertation is titled “Art for Industry’s Sake: Halftone Technology, Mass photography, and the Social transformation of American Print Culture 1880-1920.”

Prior to Wesleyan, Phillips worked as an assistant professor at Bennington College; a site editor for the Center for Electronic Projects in American Culture Studies at Georgetown University; a teaching fellow at Yale’s American Studies Program; assistant director of the Asian American Cultural Center at the Yale University; and a Web developer for the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale.

In 2004, he taught a class on mass culture titled “The Culture Industry” for Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

“I enjoy teaching, but I really love being a class dean because you get to work with real people who have real issues in need of real solutions,” he says.

Next year, Phillips will become the first-year dean, as part of the Office of the Dean’s class management system implemented in 2004. He will stay with this class throughout their four years at Wesleyan.

“With Dave’s leadership we’re planning ways to enhance the first year experience,” Cruz-Saco says. “His position is at the moment more challenging that usual: helping seniors graduate, while at the same time, planning the transition for incoming students next year.”

This summer, Phillips will acclimate himself to the new student orientation program, but during his time off, he plans to continue learning guitar, develop online projects related to American studies and social history, and going for walks at the Portland reservoir with his wife Christina and his dog Lucky.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Campus Safety Upgrades Continue


Passers-by walk across Cross Street at a pedestrian walkway. Brightly-colored signs have been installed in the center of the street in an effort to improve campus safety.

Posted 03/15/06
In its on-going efforts to continually improve campus safety, Wesleyan has been taking various measures to upgrade services and capabilities appropriately. These include:

Pedestrian Safety
Brightly-colored signs have been installed in the middle of crosswalks on Church Street and Cross Street reminding motorists that they must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Lighting has been improved at several crosswalks and a new crosswalk signal will be installed on Washington Street.

Public Safety’s on-going dialogue with the city to investigate other areas for crosswalk improvement has yielded a plan for further improvements that will add traffic calming measures by moving curbs, removing on-street parking in some areas, adjusting crosswalk locations to fit pedestrian traffic patterns, installing raised crosswalks and improving signs both on the sides of the road and painted on the roadway. The plan is pending approval and funding by the city.

Fire Safety
During the last 12 months, new fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems were installed at Low Rise Apartments, and the wood-framed residences on Vine Street, Warren Street, Home Avenue.

Other renovations include fire alarm upgrades to 200 High St., 200 Church St., Center for the Arts Art Studio North and South, the CFA Cinema, 5A & B Fountain, 14 A, B & C Warren, and Physical Plant’s Cady Building on Long Lane.

In addition, part of a recent $10 Million Bond-funded project includes $2.5 Million for fire alarm and fire sprinkler upgrades to existing wood frame houses.

Campus Shuttle Program
The “RIDE” Campus Shuttle Program was expanded in the past year to insure safe and convenient transportation services for students during evening hours. The new Shuttle Program operates seven nights a week during the academic year from 7 pm until 4 a.m. In addition to the two shuttle lines, the program now offers a downtown shuttle every Wednesday through Saturday nights from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. The shuttle stops at several locations on Main Street every 20 minutes. Access for people with disabilities is available during the same times and over the same routes. All shuttle locations are in the vicinity of a blue light emergency phone and in well lighted areas. Pick up times have been added to all shuttle locations. Times and locations can be found at www.wesleyan/transportation.

In addition, all shuttle drivers have completed a driver safety course and attend several meetings each semester on driver safety and customer service skills. Each shuttle van has comment cards students can complete and send to the transportation services manager. All comments, complaints and suggestions are followed up on immediately.

Residence Hall Card Access
In the fall of 2006, Wesleyan will complete a comprehensive installation of electronic proximity access equipment on all undergraduate residence hall facilities accommodating more than 20 students. The new proximity access program uses student picture identification cards to provide visual verification of users, and create information related to who enters residences, as well as the time and date of entry.

Wesleyan is always looking for ways to improve campus safety. Please direct suggestions to David Meyer, interim director of public safety, at dmeyer@wesleyan.edu.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Wrestling Coach Says Recruiting Top Students, Top Athletes Secret to Success on the Mat


Drew Black, wrestling coach, stresses intelligence, power, quickness, superb conditioning, flexibility and a high degree of self-confidence with his Wesleyan athletes.
 
Posted 03/15/06
Q: You’ve been coaching wrestling at Wesleyan since 1998. What spurred your interest in the sport initially?

A: It all started my freshman year of high school in Mahwah, N.J. My brother was a sophomore wrestler on the team. My intention was to go and play basketball at the vertically challenged height of 4-foot-9 and 75 lbs. The wrestling coach spoke to me in the locker room just before the wrestling season was about to begin and said, “You may play basketball as a freshman, but after that JV and Varsity you will probably not play much. You should really think about coming out for wrestling. That weekend, my brother and I talked and I decided to try something new and took my basketball sneakers to the mat that Monday afternoon. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Q: What is the objective in wrestling?

A: Wrestling is the oldest sport known to mankind. It was part of the first Olympic games. I find that people who have never seen wrestling, all they need to do is come to one wrestling event and they will be hooked. It is difficult at first to understand the points awarded, but in basic terms, you have two people out at the center of the mat. The wrestlers start on their feet and look to take the other down to the mat. Next goal is to turn your opponent over and pin his shoulders to the mat for the pin and the win. In and around the takedown and pin there is a lot of maneuvering for an advantageous position to dominate your opponent. A college match lasts seven minutes with three periods.

Q: In addition to strength, what skills are needed to do this sport?

A: Wrestling takes intelligence, power, quickness, superb conditioning, flexibility and a high degree of self-confidence. In the sport of wrestling there is no place to hide. There are no time-outs or substitutes. It is you versus another opponent. One of the greatest feelings in the world is to work so hard for something and then achieve that goal within the circle on the mat.

Q: As an adjunct assistant professor of education, what classes do you teach?

A: I currently teach indoor technical climbing and fitness swimming, but have also taught the strength training classes as well.

Q: In addition to coaching wrestling, you’re also the strength and conditioning coach, and fitness center coordinator. In these roles, are you working with all Wesleyan athletes?

A: I work with many of our athletic teams. My goal is to have our student-athletes receive the best and most advantageous strength and conditioning programs needed for each student-athlete to reach his/her individual and team goals. Our student-athletes are some of the best and most dedicated people you will meet. Here they are at one of the best schools in the country, no one is getting a scholarship to play, yet so many of our student athletes want to train and prepare themselves to compete at a national level and represent Wesleyan with pride and honor.

Q: What is the Cardinal Speed and Agility Program?

A: It’s a program that has become extremely popular over the past eight years. I have come to learn that most of our student-athletes call this “Drew Black.” They say, “I have Drew Black today.” This is a voluntary program where in the fall and spring we have 75-90 athletes in our field house going through speed drills, agility drills, games and conditioning activities. I have even had a professor or two come and join in the fun.

Q: Where did you go to college and when did you decide to become a coach?

A: At Syracuse University I majored in athletic training and wanted to work with athletes in prevention and care of injury setting. I also wanted to get my teaching certification so I could be more marketable in a public school setting. This led me to Kent State where I was a graduate assistant in the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport. I did attain my teaching certification and this is where coaching became a love and passion. It was during my student-teaching experience at Stow-Monroe Falls High School in Ohio. The varsity wrestling coach needed a freshman/JV coach to help. It paid $2,000 dollars and to a college student that is like being a millionaire. I took the job and at my first tournament I said to myself, “Coaching is awesome, I think I want to coach and teach at the college level.”

Q: Before coming to Wesleyan, where did you work? What attracted to you to Wesleyan?

A: Before Wesleyan, I was the head wrestling coach, strength and conditioning coach and fitness center coordinator at Phoenix Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. When I applied to Wesleyan, I was not familiar with Wesleyan at the time, but soon came to realize what a great school and opportunity this was for me.

Q: You led Wesleyan’s wrestling team to the highest-winning season in history in 2001-02 with a 17-2 mark and four winning seasons over the past five years. The team has earned scholar All-American status in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. What is your secret?

A: To be honest, the secret lies within the people you are able to work with. Wesleyan is a great school, which does attract top people to this campus. As a faculty coach, I need to get in touch with the very best and brightest young men all around the United States. Part of the secret to successful teams and consistent successful seasons is having top students who are also dedicated and committed to the sport of wrestling.

Q: What do you look for in student-athletes and what lessons do you stress?

A: I have been fortunate to have some great student-wrestlers in my eight years here. I stress hard work, smart work and teamwork. This all starts with setting goals so there is a destination set. The process of being a top student and a top athlete is the secret to success. These are the things that each member of our team has 100 percent control over. They have control over attending every class, studying, seeking out professors for help and guidance. They have control over how much strength training, running, conditioning and mat-time they do throughout the year. They also have control over their nutrition, eating smarter and healthier. The last thing they have control over and something we talk about a lot is being a quality community member, their actions away from the classroom and the mat. At Wesleyan, we want the total package of a top student, top wrestler, and a top citizen in the community and beyond. Set these as priorities, focus on them, and have the student-athlete take responsibility and there you have it.

Q: What are your thoughts on Dan deLalla ’07, who received the New England College Conference Wrestling Association Championship title after sitting out the regular season with an elbow injury?

A: Dan is one of those special kids you get to work with at Wesleyan. He is a competitor and someone who is so positive. He believes in himself because he works extremely hard all throughout the year. I must admit that it was difficult for me to believe that Dan could sit out the entire season, train for two weeks and then win the New England Championship to qualify for the national tournament. It brought great life and excitement to our team and really boosted our team morale. The outlook and future of this wrestling program is bright due to Dan’s accomplishments, his leadership and also the great young talent that this team has right now.

Q: Josh Wildes ’08 and Mike Lima ’08 also took conference titles this year. Do you foresee them going far in the next few years?

A: The team and I are so excited about next year and the next three years. We did not having a winning season this year mainly due to the amount of injuries our team sustained. The future is very bright with quality wrestlers such as Josh and Mike. Both of these guys can be impact wrestlers for our program in the next two years, but both need to continue to dedicate themselves throughout the year, not just from November to February. There are many bright spots throughout our team. Jeremy Stuart ’08 is going to be tough the next two years as well. I should basically name our entire team right now because I see the potential in each of them to be very successful in the next few years.

Q: In 2005, the U.S. Marine Corps awarded you with a Coaching Leadership Award for your outstanding work in the development of leaders at Wesleyan and in the state. What was your reaction to this honor?

A: It was a great surprise. It was awarded to me at our annual National Wrestling Coaches Conference. I am just trying to give back to the sport of wrestling which has given me so much in my life. It is my pleasure to work hard for this great sport and to be involved in young people’s lives and try to set them in the right direction so they too can be successful people in the world today.

Q: What wrestling organizations are you a member of?

A: I have been a member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association for 11 years now, and member of the executive committee for eight years, and the president of our New England Wrestling Conference for four years.

Q: Does your family get into wrestling or other sports?

A: My wife, Jennifer; son Sean, 6; daughter Leah, 1 attend many of my colleague’s games and competitions. Right now, lacrosse games are Sean’s favorite and Leah is just happy to be with her brother. We also love to use Wesleyan as our playground. This is such a great environment to raise a family. My son Sean gets to be around great people, use the great facilities and play different sports and activities.

Q: Aside from wrestling, what are your other hobbies and/or interests?

A: I am pretty simple. I love to go out to eat. I also try to stay fit partaking in weight training, running, and the occasional noon faculty hoop games, especially after wrestling is over. My other hobbies are quality family time and playing with both Sean and Leah. My family is my pride and joy. Seeing them laugh is the best hobby.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor