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Final Curtain Call: Scheibe Retires after Four-Decades at Wesleyan


Psychology Professor Karl Scheibe will retire from Wesleyan this spring after a 42-year career here.
 
Posted 03/15/05

Fresh out of the Ph.D. program at the University of California at Berkeley, 26-year-old Karl Scheibe accepted a faculty position at Wesleyan University. Apparently, he liked his first job.

“It sure lasted a while,” says Psychology Professor Scheibe, who has spent the more than four decades since teaching and doing research at Wesleyan. “I’ve considered going to other universities, but never did. And I’ve never regretted staying here.”

Scheibe, a social psychologist known for his classes emphasizing relationships between psychology and theater, will take his final bow when he retires after the spring semester.

Throughout his career, he’s taught 20 different psychology courses, some of which are self-invented. In 1980, he introduced an experimental course titled “The Dramaturgical Approach to Psychology,” which proved to be popular with both psychology and theater majors. The course explores the use of the language of theater in the illumination of psychological questions, exploring issues such as politics in theater, audience effects, role-playing as a teaching and therapeutic technique, the actor’s identity problems and general theory of the mask.

Today, the class is so well-known, Scheibe interviews students before allowing them to enroll in the size-restricted class.

“The class isn’t for everybody,” he explains. “This is for people who really want to get engaged and take charge. People who would rather sit through a lecture shouldn’t be here.”

Psychology major Elizabeth Thaler ’05, says discovering the intersection of drama and psychology is intuitive to many students. The class, she says, helps students experience a real-life illustration of everything the psychology department teaches.

 “The first day there was a buzz of mystery and excitement, because all anyone knew about the class was that it was intense, revealing, and huge amounts of fun,” Thaler says. “The fun is very important—we make ourselves pretty vulnerable and at times go into dark territory. The fun keeps us eager for more.”

Thaler says Scheibe puts class into the students’ hands, but stands by as a guide, providing agency and support.

“There is a feeling of trust in that classroom that I haven’t experienced anywhere else at Wesleyan, and the trust works both ways. He seems infinitely wise yet eager to learn from his students; we’re all in it together,” she says. “In the weekly journals we write him, I feel free to talk honestly about almost anything, from my personal life to my complaints about the class. I didn’t walk in feeling that way, it was the way Scheibe leads us that opened me up.”

Scheibe applied for a position at Wesleyan based on its “yeasty qualities,” he said.

“Wesleyan was a traditional New England small college, but it had this known quality of change  –  this avant garde – on-the-edge element that other colleges around here lacked,” he says.

A faculty position at Wesleyan also came with a daunting reputation. Scheibe said he and other junior faculty colleagues were bathing in tenure anxiety from the very beginning.

When he was hired in 1963, he was one of only six psychology professors in the department; now there are 14 on tenure and tenure track.

Wesleyan’s 11th president, Victor L. Butterfield, was in charge of the all-male university. Fraternities were quite conspicuous on campus, and Scheibe found himself in the curious position between teaching and being one of the boys.

“I was 26. I was listening to the same music as the students and sharing their culture. I even chaperoned frat parties, as back then, parties had to have chaperones,” he says, recollecting memories of his early days. “Wesleyan was a very different place then. But then, as now, it was an exciting place to be.”

Scheibe was promoted to associate professor in 1967, was awarded tenure in 1968, and was promoted to professor in 1973.

“Wesleyan was rich and resourceful and it was able to afford the best professors in the nation,” he says. “It was a superior institution, and it still is.”

Like most professors at the time, Schiebe came to Wesleyan with a broad array of abilities. Throughout the years, his research has focused not only on psychology’s association with theater, but also on theoretical issues of psychology of self and identity. His current research interests also include problems of substance abuse and other excessive appetites.

Julie Glickman ’04, events assistant for the Center for the Arts, took two of Scheibe’s classes. Scheibe was also her academic advisor while she was pursuing her degree in psychology.

 “Professor Scheibe is a kind and compassionate man,” she says. “He had the ability to captivate not only a small seminar of 20 students, but an entire auditorium with 350 students. He was an exceptional instructor and mentor.”

Psychology master’s student Justin Freiberg says Scheibe creates a structure in his class that makes the students feel safe enough to share openly, and to be spontaneous.

“He makes students take the initiative in figuring out what exactly they just learned,” Freiberg says. “You might think to yourself that what just happened was really a bunch of improv, and while this is true, it is in connecting the classes back to the readings and to past studies, be they in psychology or drama, that the real value lies.”

In addition to teaching courses at Wesleyan, Scheibe taught two-week graduate-level classes at an English-speaking DUXX Graduate School of Business Leadership in Monterrey, Mexico during the entire seven-year existence of the program. He also had two Fulbright appointments at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo, the first in 1972, the second in 1984. He taught these in Portuguese.

In Brazil, Scheibe wrote his first book, “Beliefs and Values.”  He’s also the author of “Mirrors, Masks, Lies and Secrets,” “Self Studies” and “The Drama of Everyday Life,” published in 2000 by Harvard University Press. The book describes human lives as dramas, that “we all live in boxes,” that are “little theaters wherein the play is earnest and the players all convinced of their grasp on reality.”

Upon retiring, Scheibe has plenty to keep him busy. Currently a part-time clinical psychologist, Scheibe will continue to practice at his business in Old Saybrook. He’ll focus the bulk of his time as the director of the new Wasch Center for Retired Faculty. This new center, slated to open on Lawn Avenue in fall 2005 creates a shared intellectual and social community where retired faculty members can continue their scholarly activities and participation in university life. Here, Scheibe hopes to complete another book, which is well underway.

“As a retired faculty member, I and others, need a place to go to think and write and read. And, when I am retired, they’re probably going to want to give my office to someone else and I will need a place to put all these books,” a smiling Scheibe says, peering up at hundreds of hard cover books, files and notebooks.

Ruth Striegel-Moore, professor of psychology and chair of the Psychology Department, says her colleague will be missed by other faculty members and students alike.

“Karl Scheibe has been a tremendous force in the psychology department,” she says. “In the past 40 years, he has taught a broad range of courses to thousands of Wesleyan students, including The Dramaturgical Approach to Psychology, which exemplifies Karl’s impressive breadth of scholarship and teaching. His students attest to his passion for teaching and his dedication to mentoring.”

Scheibe says he will miss teaching and that it never became mundane. The students, he says, keep class motivating.

“Every semester had fresh students and it’s like directing Hamlet all over again,” he says. “Every cast was unique.”

A comedy and theater performance, honoring retiring Psychology Professor Karl Scheibe, is scheduled at 9 p.m. April 22 in the Center for Fine Art Theater. “Out of My Head: Performing Minds” is a revue constructed and performed by four Wesleyan graduates—Catie Lazarus (’98), Wendy Spero (’99), Katie Buck (’99) and Adam Koppel (’02). All were students of the Psychology Department and all are actively involved in comedy and theater. Scheibe is retiring after 42 years of service on the Wesleyan faculty. Tickets cost $3-$4.
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Haddad Joins Faculty in Government Department, East Asian Studies Program


 
Mary Alice Haddad, assistant professor of government and East Asian studies, came to Wesleyan in June 2004.
 
Posted 03/05/05

Mary Alice Haddad joined the faculty in the Government Department and East Asian Studies Program as an assistant professor in June 2004.

Haddad, a native of Washington, D.C., completed her undergraduate work at Amherst College and earned a Ph.D at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her dissertation, “Creating Citizens: Volunteers and Civil Society, Japan in Comparative Perspective,” was about civil society in Japan. Her primary area of research is comparative civil society, with a focus on Japan. 

“I am especially interested in traditional organizations like neighborhood associations and volunteer fire departments that have largely been overlooked by other scholars,” she says.

Haddad taught Japanese politics this past fall and is developing a course in Chinese politics that she expects to teach in 2006. 

Her current research includes an examination of the ways traditional Japanese civic organizations such as neighborhood associations, which were instruments of social control used by the fascist state to manipulate the people, have become institutions of democratic accountability now used by citizens to lobby the government.

Haddad is the author of a journal article “Community Determinants of Volunteer Participation: The Case of Japan” published in “Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Research” 33:3, September 2004 and a book review “The Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector in Japan” published in “Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Research” 33:2, June 2004. She is working on a manuscript titled “Performing Their Civic Duty: Voluntary Participation in the US and Japan in Comparative Perspective.”

Haddad said she is very committed to liberal arts education, and that’s among the reasons she came to Wesleyan.

“I was also attracted to the ways that Wesleyan promotes both teaching and scholarship among its faculty, without privileging one over the other,” she says.

Haddad lives in Middletown with her husband Rami. She enjoys sports, outdoor activities and pottery. Her first child is due May 3.

“May 3rd is the last day of class, so people can see me waddle around campus this semester as I grow increasingly round,” she says.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

   
COOKIN’ IT UP AFTER WWII: An exhibition titled “Cookbooks and Gender in Postwar America,” is on display at Olin Memorial Library through March 31. The exhibit brings together 30 cookbooks and printed ephemera that document cooking and gender in midcentury America, and explores the changing social conditions under which Americans lived and worked after the war.

Medical Aide Says Co-workers are Like Family


Robin Zup, a medical aide with the Health Services Department, is a Certified Medical Assistant and helps students seek medical care off campus.

 
Posted 02/23/05

Q: What does it mean to be a medical aide?

A: I really do not like the title medical aide. My actual title that I have earned through schooling is a Certified Medical Assistant. I have been trained both in clinical and administrative areas.

Q: What are your responsibilities?

A: I have many responsibilities here at the health center. Since I really enjoy working with numbers, I have been given the role of handling all of the accounting for all of the students who come into the health center. I also help students who seek additional medical care outside of the Wesleyan campus when needed.  Many projects come my way every week. Most say that I am the guru of everything depending on the situation. So yes, I do deal with the students each and everyday.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: It would first have to be my co-workers. They are really like my family. Some of them know me better than I know myself. The second thing would have to be the students. They are great, a lot of fun to deal with on a daily basis. Some of the kids I get to know pretty well.  I treat them as if they were my own. 

Q: Do you have kids of your own?

A:  I have two really nice kids. My daughter is Kayleigh, and she is 14, and my son is Cody, and he is 13. 

Q: How would you describe yourself? Your strengths?

A: This one is a hard one to answer. I would have to say that I am very much a perfectionist who is very smart with a really great sense of humor.

Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I was hired to work part time as a medical aide for 15 hours per week back in September of 1998. Over time I have been given additional hours, now I work 27 hours per week. I work every day, but the hours are scattered.

Q: Do you work anywhere else?

A: I do have another job outside of Wesleyan. I am a property manager for commercial real estate. I find this job to be therapeutic for me. It is a different type of job and I have different types of people to deal with. I do the work from home.

Q: You sound very busy. Do you have time for any hobbies?

A: My kids right now are pretty much my full time hobby. When I am not doing for my kids, there are a few things that I do like to do such as read, draw, ceramics or just hang out and do nothing. But most of all, I enjoy traveling.

Q: Where do travel? And when do you have time to travel?

A: Well, it’s nice, because I get the summers off, so I like to spend a month in Florida with the kids. We also try to go in April. My parents have a place there, so when we can get there, we go. We don’t like to stay at home.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Michael Calter Joins Chemistry Department as Associate Professor


 
Michael Calter teaches organic chemistry and researches synthetic organic chemistry, which deals with making complex, useful organic molecules from simple starting materials.
 
Posted 02/23/05
Michael Calter joined the Chemistry Department as an associate professor of chemistry in June 2004. Calter completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont and earned his Ph.D at Harvard University in the chemistry department. His dissertation was titled “First Total Synthesis of the Macrolide Antibiotic, Bafilomycin A1.”
At Wesleyan, Calter teaches organic chemistry and researches synthetic organic chemistry, which deals with making complex, useful organic molecules from simple starting materials.

 
“I’m interested in using the new molecules that my group synthesizes to study biological systems,” Calter said.   Calter chose Wesleyan based on the institutional commitment to education.
 
“The high faculty to student ratios, the involvement of most undergraduates in cutting edge research, and the rigorous course work required of the graduate students were just some of the manifestations of this commitment that were obvious even during the interviewing process,” he said. “There is also a real feeling of community among the faculty that is lacking at larger institutions.”   Calter recently co-authored a paper titled “Catalytic, asymmetric synthesis and diastereoselective aldol reactions of dipropionate equivalents,” published in the “Journal of Organic Chemistry” in 2004. He is currently organizing a symposium for the Chemistry Department that will bring together presentations by representatives from academia and industry. The symposium will be held on May 5. 

Calter lives in Middletown with is wife, Kimberley and children, Rachel, 12 and Christopher, 9. He has an amateur interest in the history of science, particularly where it intersects with the development of geometry, and the visual arts.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Adjunct Professor of Music Helps Students Create Music Here and Online


 
Ronald Kuivila, ’77, adjunct professor of music, smiles from the Grand Teton in Wyoming.
 
Posted 02/23/05

Q: When did you join the Music Department at Wesleyan?

A: I joined the department as an artist in residence in the early 80s and converted to adjunct associate professor in the early 90s. As an artist in residence, I was expected to teach three courses a year and maintain an active professional profile as an artist and composer. As an adjunct professor, I am expected to teach four courses a year, participate in committee work, and maintain an active professional profile. Most of the adjunct faculty in the Music Department began as artists in residence.

Q:  What do you consider yourself, musically, to be an expert on?

A: Live electronics, computer music systems, sound installation and American experimental music. I am also a mediocre pianist.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about your educational background and what led you into teaching music?

A: I was a Wesleyan undergraduate and I came to Wesleyan with an interest in experimental music. In fact, it was a video tape of Nam June Paik’s that featured Alvin Lucier that led me to apply to Wesleyan in the first place. After Wesleyan, I studied at Mills College, worked as a recorded engineer and was an artist in residence at Media Study/Buffalo and a creative associate at Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at SUNY Buffalo.

Q: You came to Wesleyan with an interest in experimental music, and now you’re also director of the electronic music and recording studios. Tell me about the studio, and what you can produce here.

A: There are two studios, a recording booth connected to two large recording studios that double as classrooms and rehearsal spaces and an electronic music studio. The studios are used for recording and producing student and faculty work. Much of the work we do in the electronic music studio takes the form of interactive systems and live electronics using various kinds of software and hardware.

Q: Can you give me a project example?

A: A particular focus is SuperCollider, a programming environment for computer music that is now distributed as free software. SuperCollider is being developed by a number of programmers located throughout the world through SourceForge, the largest open source software development site in the world.  My own work with SuperCollider has been primarily focused on my own work and making tools that enable students to be able to develop pieces quickly.  However, I recently provided a nerdier contribution by optimizing SuperCollider’s primary score library.

Q: In addition to your work on SuperCollider, I understand that you’re an active composer and scholar?

A:  This last year I have been doing more work as a scholar and curator. The most recent number of Leonardo Music Journal has an article of mine on the work of the composer and pianist David Tudor together with a CD of his work that I edited. Last spring I curated a group exhibition of sound works at the gallery Art in General in Tribeca. Most recently, a piece I made in collaboration with Ed Tomney was presented in New York City and a piece made while I was a composer in residence at the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College was presented in Oakland, California.

Q: Do you give presentations on your work and music?

A: As anyone who knows me will verify, I like to talk. Over the last year, I have given talks and participated in panels at the Getty Research Institute, the art department at Stanford University, the music department at Harvard, the great hall at Cooper Union in New York City and at Columbia University.

Q: How would you describe the musically-inclined students at Wesleyan. Where do these students end up working if they stick with a music degree?

A: Music students at Wesleyan are an extremely varied group. The only attributes they all seem to share are keen interest and intelligence. Students of mine have gone to graduate programs at RPI, the Art Institute of Chicago, Cal Arts, Mills College, SUNY Stony Brook, the Baden-Wurttemburg exchange program. Some are teaching, some are in the media industry, some are in the music software industry, some are pursuing careers in Europe and the U.S.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you here in the Music Department?

A: Normally, I teach two classes, run a group tutorial and individual thesis tutorials with undergraduate and graduate students. I also organize an annual festival of new and experimental music. One project in last year’s festival involved replacing the light classical muzak that emanates from the parking garage near Main Street with projects developed by students in my class.

Q: Outside of work, what do you like to do? Does it involve music?

A: Along with music, I love cooking. Many composers are also good cooks! I also enjoy sports such as skiing, hiking, swimming and squash.  I am a particularly bad squash player. I do some mountain climbing. Two years ago I climbed the Grand Teton with a friend and a guide.

Q: Is your family into music, too?

A: Actually, this is my most important project. During Valentine’s Day 2003, my wife, Bobbi, and I returned from China with our newly adopted daughter, Cai. Cai is definitely musically oriented. In the grocery store, she managed to get a crowd staring up at the speaker in the ceiling by pointing at it and saying, ‘music.’

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Plass Joins German Studies Department as Assistant Professor


 
Ulrich Plass studies German literature and continental philosophy with an emphasis on aesthetics.
 
Posted 02/23/05
Ulrich Plass joined the faculty in the German Studies Department as an assistant professor in 2004. He teaches language courses as well as classes on a range of other topics that fall under the interdisciplinary rubric “German Studies.”   Plass completed his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hamburg in Germany, received a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and completed his Ph.D at New York University with a thesis on the essay form in Theodor Adorno’s “Notes to Literature.”
  Plass is currently revising his dissertation for publication. It focuses on philosophical interpretations of literature within the social and cultural context of post-war Western Germany. Plass’s academic work encompasses German literature from Goethe to the present, as well as continental philosophy with an emphasis on aesthetics.   He is currently collaborating with friends on developing a conference about the intersections of popular culture and intellectualism in the works of the writer Rainald Goetz. In the next few years, he plans to work on 19th century poetry.   Prior to coming to Wesleyan, Plass met people who spoke highly about the university.
  “And it just so happened that I felt very comfortable and welcome here from the time I first visited,” Plass says. “I appreciate that Wesleyan’s size is very manageable, especially coming from Hamburg, Michigan, and New York, all places that can be nightmarishly confusing, if not hostile. I also really like the students, and I have been blessed with wonderful colleagues.”
 
Plass lives close to campus with his significant other.
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations Helps Raise more than $30M for Wesleyan Campaign


 
Carol Scully, director of Foundation and Corporate Relations seeks grants for the university from local and national foundations, corporations and private agencies.
 
Posted 02/23/05

When University Relations decided to spearhead a comprehensive campaign drive seven years ago, they needed someone to work with corporations, foundations and private funding agencies.

Carol Scully was their leading lady.

As director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, Scully helped Wesleyan raise more than $30 million from 219 funding sources for the recently completed Wesleyan Campaign. Most of these donations range between $10,000 and $3 million.

“We’ve been quite successful,” she says, modestly. “But it was a team effort.”

Scully has mastered a process to find grants. She begins by researching prospective sources – foundations, corporations and other public and private funding agencies – analyzing their support interests and how much they could give or have given in the past. She’ll send them a letter of inquiry, write up a grant proposal and invite them to tour Wesleyan. Each tour is catered to the program officers, and usually includes a meeting with President Doug Bennet.

“We love to have them visit, so we can show off Wesleyan, and show they’ll be making a good investment when they give to Wesleyan,” she says. “It’s usually easy to sell Wesleyan. Funders are attracted to an organization that knows where it is going.”

In addition to the Wesleyan Campaign, Scully’s office helped raise more than $1 million –  or 50 percent of the total dollars – to start-up and fund the Green Street Arts Center. The funds were contributed by corporations, foundations, and federal, state and local government agencies.

Many foundation grants during the campaign helped establish new academic initiatives. For example, grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have funded the Center for Faculty Development, a post-doctoral program at the Center for the Americas, and the environmental studies program. The Freeman Foundation gave Wesleyan $1.9 million that created the Asian Asian/American Initiative.  In 2000, the W. M. Keck Foundation awarded Wesleyan $500,000 to jump start its genomics program, and the Surdna Foundation gave three $75,000 grants in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to support the Service Learning Center, part of the Center for Community Partnerships.

“The key factor is to maintain good relationships with our donors,” she says. “When awarded a grant, we make sure we do what we said we would do and show results. Funders like to know their money has made a difference.”

Though Scully works for University Relations, she’s more than willing to help anyone, campus wide, with grant-writing procedures. She encourages faculty members to stop by with drafts of grant proposals used to fund their research or special projects.

“We’re sort of grant central here,” she says. “We edit, tutor and do whatever we can to be helpful. Sometimes people need help every step of the way, while others just need a signature.”

Scully’s office has collaborated with Academic Affairs and Financial Services to create a grant Web site, http://www.wesleyan.edu/grants. The site provides databases for corporate, foundation and government-affiliated funding sources and highlights the grant-writing process. The three offices work closely together to support the Wesleyan community in their search for external funding –  from the initial search for sources, to development of the proposal, to the administration of the award.

Scully, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Fairfield University and a master’s degree in communications from Syracuse University, said she acquired most of her grant-writing skills on the job. She worked in Wesleyan’s development office doing corporate and foundation giving between 1983 and 1987. She tutored English at Manchester Community College and wrote grant proposals for the Science Center of Connecticut and Saint Joseph College in West Hartford. And in 1997, she returned to Wesleyan as the director of foundation and corporate relations, building the new department from scratch. She oversees Betsy McCormick, associate director and Christina West-Webster, administrative assistant.

“She is an extremely effective Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations because she is very skilled, has extremely high standards, respects and works well with many different constituencies, and is thoughtful and proactive,” says Ann Goodwin, assistant vice president for University Relations. “She is also a delightful colleague and a consummate team player who is always looking out for what is best for Wesleyan. We are very lucky to have her.”

Scully is also co-chair of the Resource & Development Committee for the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics (PIMMS) Advisory Council.

“Working at Wesleyan is very rewarding,” she says. “I get to work with many different people from many different areas. It can be very interesting.”

Scully lives in Hebron, Conn. with her husband, Jack and children Dan, 15, and Maura, 18. Most of her free time is spent at high school athletic events or in her garden. But before spring hits, she’s going to take up a new sport herself – squash.

“The new squash facilities here at Wesleyan are quite appealing,” she says.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Professor’s Book to Kick-off Reading Celebration


 
Matthew Sharpe, assistant professor of English, is the author of “The Sleeping Father,” which will be part of Norwalk’s “One Book, One Community” celebration.
 
Posted 02/23/05
More than 20 publishers rejected the manuscript for “The Sleeping Father.” But one small independent publisher, Soft Skull Press, decided to take a chance. Since then, “The Sleeping Father” has earned critical praise, won the 2004 Independent Publishers Award for fiction in 2004 and been part of the “The Today Show Book Club.”
  In April it will receive one more distinction: the town of Norwalk will kick off its first “One Book, One Community” celebration with “The Sleeping Father.”   “The success of my book is almost making me revise my glass-is-half-full-of-air outlook on life,” says Sharpe, assistant professor of English.   This is Sharpe’s third published book and, so far, his most successful. More than 30,000 copies have been sold since its release in October 2003.   The “Sleeping Father” is a dark comedy about Bernard, a divorced father of two teenage children, who accidentally takes two incompatible antidepressant medications and lapses into a coma. When he comes out of it, his son and daughter attempt to rehabilitate him.   “The Sleeping Father combines family drama and social satire with elements of the wacky teen caper, all couched in finely-tuned language that is a pleasure to read,” says William Stowe, the Benjamin Waite Professor of English Language in the English Department. “It stands out for its clarity, and it’s up-to-date and playfully postmodern without being self-important or obscure.”
 
When writing “The Sleeping Father,” Sharpe wanted to understand the enormous change in American mental healthcare, which he says now relies much more heavily on psychopharmaceuticals than it did even ten years ago.
 
Sharpe adds that a The New York Times report indicated 120 million Americans took antidepressants in 2002.   “I know a lot of people who have been substantially helped by antidepressants, and even therapist friends of mine who favor the talking cure say some of their patients are too depressed to talk without the pills,” Sharpe says. “But still, if half the country’s taking them, I think we can safely say they’re over prescribed.”   Characters in “The Sleeping Father” have a comic bent, but Sharpe says they are decidedly realistic.
  “The book is always humane,” he says. “The characters may sometimes behave like figures out of a comic book or a laugh-track sitcom, but they are fully developed and elicit caring not just amusement.”   Sharpe, who joined the English Department last September, said some of his most profound influences have not been writers but people working in other fields. James Ensor, Julius Hemphill, Marlon Brando, and Violeta Parra, among others, have inspired him.
  Sharpe wrote his first story when he was 10 years old about a bulldog who was a construction worker.   “It was hard to write that first story and it’s been hard to write every story since then,” he says. “So why do I still do this? Because the career as an international supermodel didn’t pan out.”   Sharpe will also make a presentation about “The Sleeping Father” during a luncheon at the Norwalk “Festival of Words” on April 9 at Norwalk Community College.   Sharpe’s first book, “Stories from the Tube” is a collection of 10 short stories based on TV advertisements. His first novel, “Nothing is Terrible,” is loosely based on “Jane Eyre” and set in the late 20th century in New York City.
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

New Faculty, Renovated Classrooms, Scholarships, Financial Aid all Outcomes of $281M Wesleyan Campaign


Money from the Wesleyan Campaign helped to fund a variety of initiatives, including new facilities and refurbished facilities like this computer resource center in The Exley Science Center.
Posted 02/23/05

In October 2000, Board of Trustees Chairman Alan M. Dachs ’70 made a pledge to the Wesleyan community:

“I promise you that when you contribute to the Wesleyan Campaign, your gift will produce results and ensure Wesleyan’s legacy for the next generation and generations to come,” he said.

His promise is already being fulfilled.

Five years and $281 million dollars later, Wesleyan has renovated dozens of classrooms, added 20 new faculty positions across the curriculum, offered 140 additional scholarships and rejuvenated Clark Hall, Memorial Chapel and The Patricelli ’92 Theater and Ring Family Stage with the Zelnick Pavilion connecting the buildings. The Rosenbaum squash center with nine courts and the Andersen Fitness Center have also made a presence on campus.

These projects are all made possible through the Wesleyan Campaign, which capped its $250 million goal by $31 million on December 31, 2004.

“With the success of this campaign, we have learned that our alumni, parents and friends are incredibly generous and they know their gifts can help shape the university,” said Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for University Relations. “People had a wonderful time when they were students and that’s why they give. They want students to have the same opportunities that they had.”

The priorities of the Campaign came directly from the Strategy for Wesleyan and, of the funds raised, $47,160,000 went towards Endowment for Financial Aid; $48,700,000 to the Freeman Asian Scholars Program; $19,900,000 into the Fund for Excellence; $40,300,000 was directed toward Faculty and Academic Programs; $46,100,000 to support new facilities and the Campus Renewal Fund; $57,000,000 into the Wesleyan Annual Fund. An additional $21,800,000 pledged is currently undesignated.

Because of generous gifts to support financial aid, students are borrowing on average $8,000 less over their four years at Wesleyan.

“The students are the life blood of this institution, and lowering their post Wesleyan loans was one of our biggest priorities,” Wilson said. “The students are already seeing the effects of the campaign in their scholarship packages and through the physical environment.”

A record-setting 68 percent of alumni participated in the campaign, along with 3,472 parents, 219 corporations and foundations and more than half of the senior faculty.

This was Wesleyan’s second official campaign drive, built on the foundation of the Campaign for Liberal Learning, which raised $67 million by 1987. In 1995, a firm advised Wesleyan to set a $100 million goal for the Wesleyan Campaign. Wesleyan continued to set the bar higher. They decided to aim for a quarter of a billion dollars, a number that appealed to John Woodhouse ’53, chair of the Wesleyan Campaign.

“Some donors give $25 a year and 56 individuals or families made commitments of $1 million or more,” said Ann Goodwin, assistant vice president for university relations. “Each and every gift is incredibly important as Wesleyan continues to provide an excellent education for our students. We asked people to stretch for Wesleyan and they did!”

Although the campaign is over, University Relations is building on the momentum of the campaign to focus on the Wesleyan Annual Fund, further increasing the endowment for financial aid and emerging facility priorities, including support for the Usdan University Center and a new Life Sciences building.

The campaign has brought Wesleyan to a new level and it has given us the building blocks to maintain our level of excellence,” Wilson said. “But we can’t rest on our laurels. Excellence is dynamic. It doesn’t just stop.”

A “Thank You” in sound and photos from President Bennet on behalf of Wesleyan can be viewed at http://www.wesleyan.edu/campaign/thankyou/.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Campaign Contributions

$281 million was raised through the Wesleyan Campaign, which ended December 31, 2004. As a result, Wesleyan has been able to:

  • Hire 20 new faculty members, improving the student-faculty ratio from 1:11 to 9:1
  • Offer 140 new endowed and current scholarships to students
  • Secure the Freeman Asian Scholars Program, which enrolls 22 top-level Asian students in each class from 11 Pacific Rim countries
  • Create more than 40 multimedia classrooms
  • Build and open the Andersen Fitness Center and Rosenbaum Squash Court
  • Launch a new Center for Faculty Development
  • Design the Usdan University Center. Groundbreaking is planned for March
  • Establish six new professorships
  • Encourage more than 60 science students to participate in summer research each year
  • Convert a former Middletown school into the Green Streets Arts Center
  • Initiate new programs in areas such as environmental studies, genomics and bioinformatics, computational biology and bioethics
  • Develop a Center for Community Partnerships
  • Provide generous financial aid packages, reducing student borrowing by 25 percent
  • Create a visiting scholar-in-residence, an endowment for speakers in Jewish Studies and an endowment to benefit Jewish life activities
  • Build the Zelnick Pavilion and Center for Film Studies
  • Launch an endowment for the College of Social Sciences
  • Renovate the Center for the Americas, the Stewart M. Reid Admission Center, Clark Hall, Memorial Chapel, the Patricelli ’92 Theater and Ring Family Stage, Downey House
  • Study May Affect Future Land Use in Middlesex County


    Jessica Pfund, ’05 and Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, observe one of Middletown’s few remaining agricultural sites.
     
    Posted 02/23/05

    It started out with little more than an idea, some old aerial photos and a handmade map. Several months and a lot of hard work by three dedicated people later the result may provide a whole new way to evaluate and influence the look and growth of towns in Middlesex County for years to come.

    Not bad considering it all started out as a question from an inquisitive undergraduate.

    The undergraduate, earth and environmental sciences major Jessica T. Pfund `05, was a student Earth and Environmental Science 322: “Introduction to GIS (Geographical Information Systems),” in the spring of 2004. The class’s instructor, Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, had brought in a guest speaker, Sandy Prisloe, a geospatial extension specialist from the University of Connecticut’s Center for Land-use Education and Research (CLEAR).

    Prisloe’s presentation included a discussion of how satellite data were being used to quantitatively measure changes in Connecticut’s landscape and to infer the impacts of these changes on the quality of life and the environment.

    “Sandy mentioned that he had a map from the 1970s that showed the areas that were farmland at that time,” says Resor. “He also mentioned that, if someone was motivated to use data that was recently created by a the group at the University of Connecticut showing the land cover in 2002 and compare what was found to the data from 1970, it would be interesting to see how things had changed.”

    Pfund was intrigued, and she was looking for a possible research project.

    “Many of my classmates were doing studies that were more theoretical and scientific,” she says. “This seemed to have scientific and social implications for the local area that could have a relatively immediate impact.”

    After discussing the idea further with Resor, Pfund decided: this would be her project. 

    Aided by a $2,500 grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation and additional support from the Mellon Foundation and The University of Connecticut, Jessica, who was responsible for the bulk of the data collection, got to work.

    “I don’t think when I started I had an idea of exactly what I was getting into,” Pfund says, now almost a year into the project. “It’s been very interesting and exciting, but it’s also been a lot of work.”

    Much of this was linked to the differences in how the information being examined was generated. The images from the 1970 study were based on a hand-made mylar map that was in turn based on aerial photographs of the county. The information this would be contracted with was generated by images derived from satellite images of the same area in 2002.

    “The images and data didn’t match up,” says Resor. “The satellite images are way precisely located, but can’t image anything smaller than 30 meters. By contrast, the 1970s map was generated by aerial photographs and on the ground surveys that could capture small details, but weren’t necessarily as well located. So we had to find ways to account for the differences.”

    There were some other challenges too. For instance, the old maps identified the land as: “active agricultural,” “inactive agricultural” or “nonagricultural.” GIS images provided more than a dozen different characterizations, including assessments of soil viability for agricultural use and disposition of wetlands.

    Translating the GIS data also had some interpretive challenges that were produced because of how things have been done in the state over the years.

    “Because of the way small plots of land are often used in Connecticut, what LandSat (the satellite) may identify as a large lawn area may actually be an active or inactive cultivated field,” Pfund says. “This meant we had to visit some locations in person to verify exactly what the use was.”

    Currently there is still a substantial amount of data to crunch and quantify, but Resor and Pfund anticipate having the study done sometime in the spring. They will publish a report with Prisloe detailing their findings. There will be public presentations and discussions of the data at town meetings in Middlesex County. The towns can then use the data to better plan new housing and business construction.

    “A lot of towns in Middlesex County are proud of their rural atmosphere,” Resor says. “This information can help them maintain that atmosphere as they move forward with new developments.”

    However, the study has already generated a result that will be producing more benefits for the county. Resor received a service-learning grant from Wesleyan to expand his efforts in these types of studies. This spring, his students are working on similar projects for The Nature Conservancy, The Connecticut River Costal Conservation Commission, The Middlesex Land Trust and the Town of Portland.

    “It’s been pretty interesting to do a scientific study that actually has social implications and affects local issues,” says Pfund. “People don’t often think of scientists working that way.  It’s been a very rewarding project.”

     
    By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

    New Book Features Photos, Recollections of Wesleyan


    “Wesleyan University: In a New Light” is photographed by William Mercer, a 1964 alumnus. The book is for sale at Broad Street Books.
     
    Posted 02/23/05
    Wesleyan as it appears every day, Wesleyan as you remember it, and Wesleyan as you’ve never seen it before.

    Those are the images and words that fill “Wesleyan University: In a New Light,” a new book produced by University Relations and the Office of Communications.

    Rich with the colors, activities, and faces that populate the campus, the book features 150 high quality images taken during the 2003-2004 academic year by photographer William Mercer ’64. Mercer specializes in “on location photography” and images for specialty books. His images in this volume provide a fresh perspective to Wesleyan’s grand and familiar landmarks, as well as views on the smaller more intimate events that occur throughout the campus community during an academic year.
      President Douglas Bennet ’59 wrote the book’s introductory essay while Joseph F. Siry, professor of art, contributed a piece on Wesleyan’s distinctive architecture. Alumni, faculty from the present and past, and current students also provided short, insightful, personal impressions and recollections about the campus and its people.
    David Low, ’76, associate director of publications, was the book’s editor; Anne Bergen, director of development communications and stewardship was the project manager; Suzy Taraba ’77, the university archivist and head of special collections at Olin Library, served as archival consultant.

    Copies of “Wesleyan University: In a New Light,” are available for $39.95 through Broad Street Books at 860-685-7323 or at www.wes.bkstr.com. Faculty and staff receive a 10 percent discount; departments receive 20 percent off.