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Art and Art History Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor

 

This fall, Elijah Huge joins the Art and Art History Department as an assistant professor of art.

Huge comes to Wesleyan after four-years working for a large architectural office in New Haven, Conn. At Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Huge worked on the design team for the Minneapolis Public Library, which opened to the public in May 2006. While working there, he also pursued a series of academic and speculative projects.

“As the library neared completion, it was increasingly clear to me that rather than move on to another large-scale, long-term architecture project, I wanted to partake more fully in the intellectual vibrancy and open exchange of ideas that happens in a university environment,” Huge says.

In addition, Huge knew he wanted to continue design work and remain active in architectural practice. An opening in Wesleyan’s Art and Art History Department was the perfect opportunity.

“In light of these varied professional interests, Wesleyan presented an ideal opportunity: encouragement to pursue my own creative work while engaging bright, lively minds in the studio, and interacting with Wesleyan’s outstanding Art and Art History faculty,” Huge says. “The fact that I would be working in the Center for the Arts – a wonderful collection of buildings – was icing on the cake.”

At Wesleyan, Huge is teaching Architecture I and Studies in Contemporary Urbanism, which explores the physical and environmental design conditions that shape the built environment.

Huge holds a bachelor’s of art in architecture and history of art from Yale University, a master’s of architecture from the Yale School of Architecture. He also attended Princeton University School of Architecture as a Princeton University Fellow and Merit Scholar. While pursuing his degree at Yale, Huge worked as a teaching fellow and teaching assistant for several architectural design and history of art classes. In addition, he was selected through a competitive application process as an editor for Perspecta, The Yale Architectural Journal. Titled “Building Codes,” this issue was published in 2004 by MIT Press.

Also while completing his graduate studies, Huge started an architectural research group with a classmate to pursue speculative projects and design competitions. The group has met and worked continuously since its founding, garnering a number of awards, including an honorable mention for their entry to an ideas competition for the Highline, a 1.5 mile long elevated rail structure on the west side of Manhattan. Their entry was exhibited in Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Terminal over the summer of 2002. In the spring of 2005, Huge and the group won an international design competition for a new 26-acre park in Buzzards Bay, Mass. Development of the park’s design is currently underway.

Huge’s professional background contains stints at several architectural firms prior to working as a senior designer for Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. He worked as a designer for Turner Brooks, Architect of New Haven, on the Nicholas/DuPont House, West Yarmouth, Great Island, Mass. He held internships at Behnisch & Partner, Architekten and Buerling-Schindler, Architektenin Stuttgart, Germany; and Little & Associates, Architects in Charlotte, N.C. He helped design the Lothar-Gunther Buchheim Museum, Bernried am Starnberger See in Germany and the Daimler-Benz Exhibition Pavilion for the 1999 Detroit International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich.

In addition, Huge is currently on the City of New Haven’s City Planning Commission, and has formerly served as a commissioner for the City of New Haven Development Commission and as a Yale University President’s Public Service Fellow for The Community Builders, Inc. of New Haven. He was an exhibition coordinator for the “Architecture and Revolution: Charles Moore and Architecture at Yale in the ‘60s” exhibit in New Haven.

Huge lives in New Haven with his daughter and wife.

In addition to teaching, he is starting his newest design project — designing a home for a Web designer in New Haven.

Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art, works from his office in the Art Studios.
Barbara Jones, the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian, is the author of two books on intellectual freedom.
 
Posted 10/05/06
If a Wesleyan professor wanted to know what books students have read in the past, the staff at Olin Library would not be allowed or able to give him an answer.

“By law, we cannot report to anyone what anyone else has been reading, asking or viewing on the Internet,” explains Barbara Jones, the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian. “We have the right to provide people with information, but we do not have the right to share what information they have requested. Plus, we break the electronic link between the patron and the borrowed item as soon as the book is returned.”

Jones’ knowledge in this area is not just a result of he being a library administrator. She is also an internationally-acknowledged expert on intellectual freedom. It was this background that garnered Jones an invitation to speak on similar topics at three venues in Japan Aug. 28-31. The U.S. Embassy in Toyko, Japan hosted her visit.

She was accompanied by James Neal, vice president of Information Services and university librarian at Columbia University. Together, they spoke on “Intellectual Property and Intellectual Freedom.” Jones spoke primarily on the First Amendment and the U.S. Patriot Act; Neal spoke on copyright law issues in the United States.

Both of these issues are hot topics in Japan. Copyright laws in the U.S. are different from other parts of the world, Jones explains. And Japan contemplating its own version of the U.S. Patriot Act. Japanese library professionals are sensitive to these issues.

During World War II, library collections in Japan were heavily censored.

“In today’s prosperous and relatively open Japanese society, their librarians are very passionate about including all areas of thought in their collections and in daily discourse,” Jones says. “This is why they are so interested in U.S. library policies related to the First Amendment.”

Jones and Neal spoke at embassy and consulate information centers in Fukuoka, Sapporo and Toyko, Japan. Their audiences ranged in size from 50 to 150 people. Most in attendance were professionals, academics, legislature members, librarians and the general public. Radio, television and newspaper reporters also attended the meetings. The presentations were made in English and translated to Japanese.

In her talk, Jones brought up the importance of balancing security and privacy with the public’s right of access to information, how U.S. constitutional issues affect the international library community and how technology plays a role in controlling access to content. She also talked about how national security legislation can compromise librarians’ best practices in providing content and services, the importance of written polices and guidelines for library services, problems with information crossing national boundaries, and accessing electronic information.

Although the talk was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, Jones was able to speak against such U.S. government policies as Internet filtering requirements tied to federal funding, and the scope of the U.S. Patriot Act. While she is just as concerned about international terrorism as all U.S. citizens, Jones believes that current government policies that compromise library access and patron privacy in order to prevent terrorism are often ill conceived and do not achieve their objective.

Some Japanese audience members knew of her research in advance. Her book, “Libraries, Access and Intellectual Freedom: Developing Policies for Public and Academic Libraries,” is published in both English and Japanese. Her new book, “Intellectual Freedom in Academic Libraries,” is due to be published in spring 2007.

In these books, Jones takes first amendment theories and ties them to the real world of librarians in libraries with real patrons with actual examples of intellectual freedom problems.

“For example, it is all well and good to have a written policy on following the spirit of Connecticut state law regarding library patron privacy, but what should a student worker do when a distinguished faculty member asks the student to reveal what books a particular student has checked out?” she says. “What does that student do when an FBI agent approaches the desk and asks what books that student has checked out? Fortunately, such events don’t happen often at Wesleyan, but it’s important to know the legal and ethical obligations in such cases. My books are practical, but based on court decisions, legislation, and American Library Association policy.”

This fall, Jones begins her fourth year as Wesleyan’s head librarian. In addition to intellectual property, her interests include academic library space planning; legal issues; collection management and budgeting for the 21st century library; fundraising, library development and community outreach; scholarly communication in a digital environment; special collections’ role in the 21st century library and international librarianship.

The Chicago, Ill. native has various degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Columbia University, New York University, and she has a Ph.D in U.S. history from the University of Minnesota.

At Wesleyan, Jones has been an active member of the Deans’ Council, a coordinator for the Academic Technology Roundtable; chair of the Intellectual Property Committee; chair of the Library Space Planning Advisory Group; convener for the Information Literacy Discussion Group with faculty and librarians and the coordinator of Constitution Day events 2005-07.

Jones says she’d like to return to Japan to speak at other information centers in the country.

“I’m really hoping that once my new book comes out they will want to invite me back,” she says, smiling.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

A Sweet Sound: Chapel Receives New Piano


Neely Bruce, professor of music, plays the new, seven-foot August Foerster piano inside the Memorial Chapel Sept. 29.
Posted 10/05/06
The secret is in the strings.

That’s how Professor of Music Neely Bruce defends the exceptionally clear sounds of Wesleyan’s new chapel piano.

“This piano is extraordinarily beautiful, and quite different from the Steinway sound you may associate with a grand piano,” Bruce explains. “It is clearer, more agile, more evenly balanced and is the perfect size for the chapel. It is the best piano of its size on campus.”

The new August Foerster is a brand that’s legendary in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe. It’s the same type of piano that was favored by Serge Prokofiev, Emil Gilels, and most of the major Russian pianists of the first half of the 20th century.

The Music Department, with help from the Administration, purchased the $38,000, seven-foot instrument from piano dealer Wilhelm Gertz.

Three years ago, when the Memorial Chapel reopened, the department intended to move one of its 9-foot grand pianos into the space, however this proved impossible. A smaller Mason and Hamlin piano has been in use, but Bruce felt the piano was not appropriate for the chapel’s magnificent public space.

“The chapel piano is not just a concert instrument, it is used for weddings, funerals and memorials and campus worship,” Bruce says. “Many of you will appreciate that our community has this new resource.”

To introduce the new piano to the community, Bruce played a short recital Sept. 25 in the chapel.

“We are very privileged to have this great piano at Wesleyan,” he says.

(To hear the piano, view the video clips below of Neely Bruce playing.)

      
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Payroll Going Paperless


Posted 10/05/06
Wesleyan is pushing for its payroll to go paperless.

All faculty, staff and students who receive a Wesleyan payroll check now have the option of receiving their pay stub online. This will eliminate all paper-processing.

“By going all-electronic, this is going to save more than the 25 cents it costs to pay for the paper,” says John Meerts, vice president for Finance and Administration. “We’re going to save on distribution costs we well. And if you’re like me, I end up just tossing it aside, losing it or disposing of it. It will be more convenient not to get this every pay period.”

Going all-electronic can be completed in three steps.

First, sign up for paycheck direct deposit. Direct deposit eliminates the need to take paychecks to the bank, and an employee’s net pay is sent directly into his or her checking or savings account. To sign up, take a voided check to the Payroll Office located on the fourth floor of North College and complete the Direct Deposit Authorization Form. This form also can be printed from the Finance Web site at: www.wesleyan.edu/finance/financeDept/payroll/directDeposit.htt.
More than half of all students, staff and faculty already have direct deposit.

Secondly, register for a secure iPay viewer. iPayStatements allow employees and students secure, Web-based access to their pay statements and W2 wage and tax statements. This service is offered with secure, self service access to your pay data. You can enroll for iPayStatements online at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/finadm/introducing_ipaystatments_portfolio.htm
and access iPay through the staff and student Electronic Portfolio.

Thirdly, notify the Payroll Office to End Printed Pay Statements. Send an email to payroll@wesleyan.edu and request that printed pay statements are stopped. Employees should first make sure their pay amount is being deposited electronically into their bank account and they can access their electronic pay statement through iPay at least once.
Wesleyan’s Payroll Services and Finance and Administration Department will award anyone who completes the process with a $5 gift certificate to Pi Café or Red and Black Café.

All employees will continue to receive their W2 tax forms through the regular mail.

The idea to go all electronic is part of Project $AVE, an initiative to collect, review and implement new ideas for sustained cost savings and improved efficiencies throughout the Wesleyan community. More information is available at http://www.wesleyan.edu/projectsave/.

“We’ve had this option the past couple years, but now we want to make this a major initiative,” says Ed Below, director of administrative applications for Finance and Administration and Project $AVE coordinator. “It’s a win-win situation.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Presidential Search Committee Formed


Posted 10/05/06
Wesleyan’s Presidential Search Committee is fully constituted. The search committee is composed of alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students and is undertaking a comprehensive search to identify and successfully recruit President Douglas Bennet’s successor.

The charge of the search committee is to review candidates and recommend a slate of finalists to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will select Wesleyan University’s 16th president.

The search committee is staffed by Joan Adams, special assistant, and search firm consultants Jennifer Bol, Michele Haertel and Kristine Johnson from Spencer Stuart.

The full description of the search committee can also be found on the Presidential Search Web site at www.wesleyan.edu/presidentialsearch. The committee will be spending the month of October conducting outreach in order to write a comprehensive position specification.

Anyone may use the Web site to make comments or suggestions for the search committee to consider and/or if you would like to make a confidential nomination.

The Wesleyan University Presidential Search Committee members are:

Kofi Appenteng, ’81, P’07
Chair, Presidential Search Committee, trustee emeritus of Wesleyan University and a partner in Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP

Stephen S. Daniel, ’82
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of AllCapital

Jim Dresser, ’63, P’93
Chair of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and retired senior vice president and chief administrative officer of The Boston Consulting Group

Alex Dupuy
Chair of the Sociology Department, professor of sociology

Joseph J. Fins, ’82
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and professor of medicine

Susanne Fusso
Professor of Russian language and literature

Laura Grabel
Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of biology

Ellen Jewett, ’81
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and vice president, Investment Banking Division of Goldman, Sachs & Company

Michael McPherson, P’98
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and president of the Spencer Foundation

Brittany Mitchell
Member of the Class of 2007

Megan Norris, ’83
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and attorney and partner at Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone

Peter Patton
Executive Secretary to the Presidential Search Committee, vice president and secretary of the university and professor of earth and environmental science

Patrick Senat
Member of the Class of 2008

Ted Shaw, ’76
Trustee emeritus of Wesleyan University and director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

Shonni Silverberg, ’76
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and professor of medicine and director of the post-doctoral training program in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Ruth Striegel-Moore
Professor of psychology, Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences

Andy Szegedy-Maszak
Chair of the Classical Studies Department, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies, director for Faculty Career Development

John Usdan, ’80
Member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and president of Midwood Management Corporation

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

PLANT IN MEMORY: Wesleyan students, staff and faculty were invited to plant a daffodil in honor of those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

The daffodil garden will bloom next spring in front of North College.

Presidential Search Committee Forming


Posted 09/15/06
On May 4, 2006, Doug Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94, Wesleyan’s 15th president, announced his decision that the 2006-07 academic year will be the 12th and final year of his presidency. The Wesleyan Board of Trustees is in the process of convening an 18-person search committee composed of alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students to undertake a comprehensive search to identify and successfully recruit Bennet’s successor.

The alumni and trustee members of the search committee are Kofi Appenteng ’81 and chair, Stephen Daniel ’82, Jim Dresser ’63, Joe Fins ’82, Ellen Jewett ’81, Michael McPherson P’98, Megan Norris ’83, Ted Shaw ’76, Shonni Silverberg ’76, and John Usdan ’80. Peter Patton, vice president and secretary, will also serve as a member of the search committee.

In keeping with the process used in the search that resulted in Doug Bennet’s selection by the Board in 1995, the faculty will select five members and the student body will select two members to join the search committee.

Several other leading colleges and universities will be conducting presidential searches this year, so to ensure that Wesleyan has its first choice among search consultants, several trustees, staff, faculty and students initiated a competitive process to select a search firm in July.

Consultants Jennifer Bol and Michele Haertel from Spencer Stuart will work as search consultants to Wesleyan. They bring a combination of extensive experience in higher education plus world-wide experience in other markets.

“Many thanks to the faculty, student and trustee leadership for enabling the search consultant selection process to proceed so smoothly,” Appenteng says. “We look forward to working with as many of you as possible as we take this important next step in Wesleyan’s future.”

Appenteng says it is critical to have staff on campus to support the search process. Peter Patton, vice president and secretary of the university, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has agreed to serve as executive secretary to the search committee. Patton will be joined by Joan Adams, formerly the assistant to the dean of admission and financial aid, who will serve as special assistant to the Presidential Search Committee.

Current committee members have established a Web site to collect confidential nominations and feedback from the community at http://www.wesleyan.edu/presidentialsearch.

Anyone may make suggestions, comments or nominations to the search committee.

Once the search committee membership is complete, the full search committee will begin a more formal outreach process with the Wesleyan Community and review the submissions.

Definitive Strength and Conditioning Moves Online


Drew Black, wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach, explains how to use a medicine ball for strength training via video on a new Strength and Conditioning Web Site.
Posted 09/15/06

With moves like the spider lunge, chest fly, sumo squat, wood chop, push jerk and the inch worm, strength and conditioning lessons have never been so easy – and entertaining.

 

Through a series of online videos and written training plans, Drew Black, Wesleyan wrestling coach and strength and conditioning coach, shows how to properly execute 241 movements in the weight room. Some can be applied in the workplace or at home, as well.

 

The new Strength and Conditioning Web Site, launched Sept. 7, can be seen online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/athletics/strength/. All high-quality video clip demonstrations were filmed in the Freeman Athletic Center’s Andersen Fitness Center.

 

“This new site is for the entire Wesleyan community,” Black says. “Our fitness center is one of the most used facilities on campus and I want everyone to have a tool and resource they can turn to for information on how to reach their strength and fitness goals whether you are a varsity athlete, a recreational athlete, a lifetime fitness enthusiast, or someone who is recovering from an injury.”

 

In addition to the video clips, the site highlights six performance principles including sport specific training, multiple joint movements, multiple plane movements, ground-based movements, nutrition, rest and recovery, and periodization, a scientific, systematic training model used to continuously make gains in training.

 

It offers training notes on speed and agility, general strength programs, warming up, core training. Site visitors can download and print log forms to chart and record training sessions.

 

Black suggests a number of general strength training programs, categorized into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of strength training. Users can view a three-day program, weight training for total body, interval training ideas and a bodyweight strength program.

 

“These programs are set up into two different formats where you may choose how you would like to train during the week,” Black explains. “You may like to train your total body each time you lift or you may choose to train only certain movements such as upper body pushing movements, lower body only, and upper body pulling movements. Both methods are effective for increasing strength. It’s important to choose a plan that works best for you.”

 

Student athletes can use the site to enhance their individual’s athletic potential on the field, mat, ice, court and water. Since strength training is a major supplement to the athlete’s specific sport, the athletes always have access to the video-coach as they train.

 

Black says the site also will attract top prospective student-athletes to Wesleyan.

 

“There are not many sites around the country that offer this information,” Black explains. “It shows that we love what we do and at Wesleyan we strive for excellence.”

 

The site was designed by Ryan Lee, Web designer; coordinated by Jen Carlstrom, director of New Media Services; and categorized by Mary Glynn, application technology specialist. Michael Leone, son of Pat Leone, World Wide Web administrator, filmed and edited the digital videos.

 

Black, who initiated the idea for a video-coach Web site, says strength and conditioning are the two best supplements a person can add into his or her daily regimen.

 

“In order to run faster, jump higher, and be able to play longer, you must strength train, cross train, and condition your body,” Black explains. “Many of our fitness center users also have goals in terms of losing weight, become more flexible, get stronger, and put on some muscle. All of these goals will be realized and attained by following a strength program. Quality of life and quality experience in your sport are directly related to following a consistent strength and conditioning program.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

David Titus, Professor Emeritus of Government, Dies


Posted 09/15/06

David Titus, Professor Emeritus of Government, died on June 13, 2006.

Professor Titus taught at Wesleyan from 1966 until his retirement in 2004, serving as chair of the Government Department, the College of Social Studies and the East Asian Studies Program. He played a crucial role in establishing East Asian Studies at Wesleyan; he served as Resident Director of the Kyoto Program three times, and was a member and frequent chair of its Executive Board. His masterwork was his Palace and Politics in Prewar Japan, which established his reputation as a leading scholar of Japanese politics; it was translated into Japanese in 1979.

Professor Titus as an avid birdwatcher, and a vital participant in the Mattabesset chapter of the Audubon Society, which he also served as president. Until his recent stroke, he loved to play the violin, enlivening numerous campus occasions over the years.

He is survived by two sons, Brian and Jeffrey, a daughter in law, Rie, and two grandchildren, Sion and Neo. A memorial service will be scheduled in the fall.

 

Memorial donations may be sent to the Mattabeseck Audubon Society, c/o Alison Guinness, DeKoven House, 27 Washington St., Middletown, CT 06457.

Desktop Support Specialist Learned Programming on IBM Mainframe


Harriett Epstein, desktop support specialist, troubleshoots problems Wesleyan employees may encounter with their computers.
 
Posted 09/15/06
Q: When did you come to Wesleyan and for what department?

A: I came to Wesleyan in July 1998 as a desktop configuration specialist for the PeopleSoft Team in Information Technology Services.

Q: Explain what a desktop support specialist does.

A: It is the responsibility of a desktop support specialist to perform trouble-shooting and remediation of software and hardware problems on computers and peripherals and install and configure new desktop computers and peripherals. We also provide support/coordination for special projects requiring technical expertise within supported departments and ITS.

Q: Who are the other members of the desktop support team? How many student-workers does the office employ?

A: Phil Dean, John Hammond, Sean Gomez, Shawn Hill, Todd Houle, and Ben Jackson. Each desktop support person has access to one or more student workers. ITS employs students in many capacities including the helpdesk, the store, classroom and lab support and more.

Q: What led you to be a desktop support specialist?

A: Desktop support is my second career. For 20 years I was an analysis/portfolio manager/trader for the Travelers Investment Management Co. (TIMCO). Our group at TIMCO had the first PC on the market, an Apple, and then the first IBM PC. There was no such thing as desktop support and I learned applications and operating systems from documentation, vendors and books. Desktop support was a natural second career given my background with computers. Previous to being at Wesleyan I was a desktop support specialist with a specialty insurance company.

Q: What is your background with computers? Are you self-taught or is this something you learned in college?

A: I started programming in college on an IBM 1620 mainframe that was as big as the office I share with Ben Jackson and Sean Gomez and as powerful as a calculator. When I went to college in the 60s, personal computers had not yet been invented. I taught as a graduate assistant the only undergraduate computer course offered at the University of Connecticut and used the mainframe in my graduate work. At TIMCO I did lots of programming on the mainframe in FORTRAN, FOCUS and BASIC. Then when PCs were invented I started using PC-based applications such as LOTUS 123 and Turbo BASIC. I have taken several programming and application courses and one PC hardware course but I am mostly self-taught. I enjoy learning by solving challenging problems.

Q: What are your degrees in?

A: I got my bachelor of arts in math education from the University of Connecticut School of Education in 1969, and a master of science in statistics also from UConn in 1971.

Q: What are typical concerns Wesleyan employees have with their computers?

A: E-mail, MS Office Suite, printing and home computing top the list of employee concerns. Recently, spyware/malware/adware has been one of the biggest challenges that concern us all at Wesleyan. By clicking on what seems to be an innocuous Web link, one can install programs that run in the background. These programs will spawn many processes that will use system resources and render the computer non-functional.

Q: Are the issues you deal with pretty standard or is every visit a new challenge?

A: Most printers, laptop and peripherals purchased through the Wesleyan Computer Shop have been tested in the Wesleyan environment and are pretty standard. Printers and computers purchased outside of Wesleyan may have incompatibilities with our systems. Non-standard computers, laptops or desktops, are very time consuming to work with since we may not have ready access to standard images and device drivers. The biggest challenge is the hand-held device including smart phones. These devices come in so many different models with rapidly changing technology. We often haven’t seen a particular device when asked to install and configure to work with Wesleyan systems. We have found that some do not provide the functionality people want or expect within the Wesleyan environment.

Q: Can you think of an example of a computer issue that really stumped you, but later you were able to overcome it?

A: Many times I can’t solve a problem without doing some research. One recent issue was setting up the Blackberries to download Wesleyan email. The first Blackberry was easy but the second was not. I found that during the first installation some information was stored on the Blackberry server that was suppose to make subsequent installations easier. I knew what information needed to change but I had to work my way through the Blackberry customer support tiers to find a person that understood the issue and could tell me how to solve it.

Q: How many “customers” do you see on an average day? How do you prioritize your work load?

A: On average, probably six or more in person and more on the phone or by email. I try to schedule part of my day with non-urgent requests, such as newer equipment to those who have older working equipment. My first priority is to work with those who can’t perform their job functions and remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

Q: Do you perform regular equipment maintenance on all machines or do most people just call in when there is a problem?

A: Some maintenance is done automatically. For example, Microsoft updates and security patches are pushed to faculty and staff computers from a central server. The same is true of updates to Norton Antivirus. We do not have a regular maintenance program but I check on the health of a computer when ever I visit one. Most problems are not maintenance problems and people call, email or submit issue to my queue.

Q: If a new employee is starting at Wesleyan and needs a new computer, what is the process to get that employee a machine and all of his or her software and network connections?

A: The purchase of a new computer rather than a used must be approved and a budget number provided. I will work with the user department to determine if the customer needs a laptop or a desktop and order the equipment through the store. The store provides me with the computer complete with standard image which will already have most commonly used Wesleyan software, such as, the MS Office Suite, Eudora and MeetingMaker. When a new employee is entered into the Human Resources system, a process is initiated that includes ITS operations setting up accounts for standard Wesleyan systems. I will then customize the computer by naming it, adding it to the Wesleyan domain, adding user accounts, adding the computer to inventory, setting up our back-up system, configuring email and MeetingMaker and installing and configuring any additional software or hardware. I then setup the computer on the customer’s desk and try to meet with them on their first day on the job.

Q: What are the most positive aspects about your job?

A: I enjoy working with all the different staff and students and seeing them succeed. The ITS team is great and have a great relationship with my office mates Ben and Sean. We often get return visits from ITS student alums who have gone on to successful careers.

Q: Do you personally use a PC or Mac?

A: I have always used a PC at home. Some of the applications I use, such as Microsoft Access, are not supported by a Mac.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?

A: I’m an outside person. I have a rowing shell housed in the Jaycees Community Boathouse in Hartford and I’m a coxswain for the Hartford Barge Club rowing out of the same boathouse. Rowing fills my mornings from 6 to 7 a.m. After work and on weekends I try to cycle four or five days a week on group rides with various cycling groups. My real passion is alpine skiing and I’ve skied all over the United States, Canada and Europe. I’m hoping for early snow in the mountains.

Q: Where did you meet your partner, Jeff?

A: People get a kick out of finding out that Jeff and I grew up four houses apart on the same street and went to the same schools. He is a competitive rower, strong cyclist and fearless skier.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Director of Employee Benefits Says Good Benefits Attract, Keep Staff at Wesleyan


Pat Melley, director of Employee Benefits, is preparing for Open Enrollment for 2007 in November. She hopes to meet several Wesleyan employees during this time.
 
Posted 09/15/06
Being Wesleyan’s director of Employee Benefits is a huge benefit on its own.

 

Pat Melley, who was hired into this role in August, says she enjoys this opportunity to problem solve, mentor and collaborate.

 

“I think of Wesleyan employees as my customers, and I strive to serve them the best that I can,” Melley says from the Office of Human Resources. “I love the challenge of answering questions from faculty and staff, listening to their suggestions, strategizing and resolving benefits issues.”

 

Melley oversees all aspects of the benefits function. She helps new faculty and staff members enroll in their benefits, which may include medical and dental insurance, life insurance, retirement savings plan, flexible spending accounts and disability insurance, among others. Wesleyan employees also receive educational assistance, retiree benefits, and relocation and housing benefits.

 

“The benefits at Wesleyan really are fabulous, and that helps attract the best faculty and staff, and keeps them here,” she says.

 

Judy Buden, assistant director of Employee Benefits, is helping Melley with her new position and the academic environment. They make up the Employee Benefits Office.
 

Melley, who holds a bachelor’s of arts in English from Fairfield University, brought a strong benefits background to Wesleyan, having worked both in employer and vendor settings. She is a Chartered Life Underwriter, and most recently worked for a company in Bloomfield, Conn., where she directed the Human Resources department including all employee benefits programs. There, she helped the start-up company grow from nine employees to 300 people.

 

“I really enjoyed the entrepreneurial aspect of that job, but I get that sense from Wesleyan also,” she says. “It’s a nice change from the corporate world. Here, at Wesleyan, we seem to have free reign in creativity and when a question arises, we can act upon it.”

 

In November, the Benefits Office will begin Open Enrollment for 2007, a period in which employees can opt for changes in their insurance and retirement plans. She wants to take advantage of this time period to meet several employees face to face.

 

“It is very helpful for me to gain an understanding of our employee population so that I can do a better job providing benefits,” Melley says.

 

When she’s not meeting with Wesleyan employees, she’s meeting with insurance company representatives to negotiate prices, benefits plan designs and customer service metrics. She researches peer institutions to make sure Wesleyan’s benefits are comparable.

 

This year, Melley hopes to improve customer service in the office, maintaining an open-door policy and placing a heavy emphasis on promoting wellness and fitness. When employees are healthy, the price of health care can more readily be controlled, she explains. Melley also hopes to update and design a user-friendly Benefits Web site, which will help answer common questions Wesleyan employees may have.

 

She’s hoping to stress inter-office communication and hold additional workshops to make sure all employees know what benefits they are entitled to have.

 

The Yonkers, N.Y. native lives in Windsor with her husband, Jay, and has two daughters Micaela, 20, and Claire, 16. In her spare time she enjoys early morning runs, going to the gym, cooking and downhill skiing.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Economics Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Cameron Shelton, assistant professor of economics, is an expert on public economics, political economy and macroeconomics. His office is based in the Public Affairs Center.
 
Posted 09/15/06
Cameron Shelton has joined the Economics Department as an assistant professor.

Shelton’s research is based on the political economy of fiscal policy.

“By using panel datasets that cover multiple years and countries, I investigate how a country’s political institutions, economic institutions, and demographic factors combine to affect patterns of public expenditure and, ultimately, macroeconomic performance,” Shelton explains.

Shelton has written three papers based on tests of theories, which are under review for publication. Topics include political business cycles, supply and demand of public goods, and variation in government spending patterns. He will present his work at a conference this month in Ireland.

As a result of his studies, Shelton has learned that:

  • The explosive growth in government spending in rich countries since 1970 is due almost entirely to increased social security expenditures as populations age.
     
  • Countries with more ethnically diverse populations tend to spend less at the federal level and more at the local level so as to accommodate heterogeneous preferences. The same is true of more populous countries. The effect is particularly strong in education and healthcare– goods where people are likely to have differing conceptions of proper policy.
     
  • Countries with a more unequal distribution of income tend to spend more on redistribution, as do countries with better political rights and broader political representation.
     
  • Recently, he has found evidence suggesting that US fiscal policy systematically favors “important” voters: those voters that parties target for mobilization or conversion.
  • The former Jaedicke Scholar received his Ph.D in political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Afterwards, he spent one year teaching courses on game theory, economic growth and political institutions at the Stanford International Policy Studies Program.

    He came to Wesleyan in July seeking an environment with a balance between teaching and research and the opportunity to work with bright and eager-to-learn students.

    “Wesleyan rewards faculty both for teaching and advising undergraduates and for doing top quality research,” Shelton says. “Students and colleagues expect that both will be done in a diligent, competent, and inspired manner. The university and Economics Department seem to provide the resources to enable dedicated pursuit of all aspects of academia. And the students are, by all accounts, outstanding.”

    This fall, Shelton is teaching Macroeconomic Analysis and Introduction to Game Theory. In the spring he will teach a course on public economics and fiscal policy.

    Shelton grew up in Davis, Calif., with academia in his blood. His father, Robert, is a former professor of physics and is now the president of the University of Arizona. His mother, Adrian, is and has been a senior business/legal analyst for several universities. His brother, Christian, is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Riverside; and his sister, Stephanie, is a medical student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Shelton graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, with degrees in both physics and economics. As an undergrad, he worked in several labs both at the University of California-Davis and Stanford on a variety of research projects in solid state physics. Despite his love for the explanatory power of physics, Shelton came to appreciate economics more than physics, and pursued his graduate studies in economics.

    Shelton resides in Middletown. He enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and tennis, and going running, cycling, social dancing and inline skating.
     

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor