Campus News & Events

Grossman Presents Papers in Switzerland, Norway

The economic crisis that led to the recent recession is only one of the reasons Grossman decided to write Unsettled Account. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman, professor of economics, recently presented a talk titled, “An historical perspective on regulatory competition versus cooperation: the view from economics” at the third annual Conference of the University Research Priority Program. The conference, held June 1-2 at the University of Zurich Institute of Law, was titled, “International Aspects of Financial Regulation: Competition vs. Coordination.”

Grossman’s talk focused on cross-border cooperation between international bank regulators in the wake of the U.S. subprime and European debt crises—an effort to enhance banking stability. Examples include the Basel capital accords and European Stability Mechanism. Grossman put these into historical context by looking at episodes of cooperation—and competition—between federal and state regulators in the U.S. during the 19th and early 20th centuries. He presented evidence on several episodes in which state and federal regulators loosened regulations to help banks under their supervision gain a competitive advantage over banks in neighboring jurisdictions. Although cooperation is feasible in some areas of regulation, Grossman argued that regulators will always be inclined to compete—that is, favor their own banks at the expense of others.

On June 20, Grossman presented a paper at the Third CERP Economic History Symposium, held at Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, in Oslo.

The paper, co-authored by Grossman and Masami Imai, professor of economics, professor of East Asian studies, is titled “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain: The Impact of Connected Directors on 19th Century British Banks.

The paper utilizes data on the presence of prominent individuals—that is, those with political (e.g., Members of Parliament) and aristocratic titles (e.g., lords) — on the boards of directors of English and Welsh banks from 1879-1909 to investigate whether the appointment of well-connected directors enhanced equity value for bank shareholders.

Their analysis of panel data shows that the appointment of connected directors did not increase equity returns (as measured by the capital gain plus dividend yield on bank shares), but rather that the appointment of MPs to directorships had negative effects on bank equity returns.

Students Take Intensive Courses During Summer Session

Summer Session students perform an experiment in Research Associate Rosemarie Doris's Biology I lab.

Summer Session students perform an experiment in Research Associate Rosemarie Doris’s Biology I lab.

A student sketches animal skulls in Kate Ten Eyck's Drawing I class.

A student sketches animal skulls in Kate Ten Eyck’s Drawing I class.

This summer, dozens of Wesleyan students are completing a semester-long course in only five weeks. Classes started on May 27 and conclude June 25.

The intensive Summer Session is open to students who feel they have the academic qualifications and stamina to complete intellectually challenging courses in a compressed schedule.

This summer, students are taking courses in drawing, writing creative nonfiction, financial accounting, legal thinking, principles of biology, introduction to programming and developmental psychology. Wesleyan faculty Anna Schusterman, James Lipton, Rosemarie Doris, Douglas Foyle, Marin Gosman, Anne Greene, Kate Ten Eyck, among others, are teaching the courses.

Morgan Models the Evolution of Plasma as a Visiting Professor in Tokyo

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Tom Morgan is a visiting professor in Tokyo, Japan.

Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics, is spending the month of June as a visiting professor at Seikei University in Tokyo, Japan. He is collaborating with Professor Tomoyuki Murakami on modeling the evolution of plasma (an assembly of ions and electrons) created by injecting energy into water, “a substance with many interesting properties and applications,” Morgan explained.

The work focuses on water in both the vapor phase and as a liquid.

Morgan also is collaborating on this experimental work with Professor of Physics Lutz Huwel at Wesleyan. Huwel uses a pulse of laser light to provide the energy input to the water.

“The goal of the research is to understand the mechanisms responsible for the transport and evolution of the energy as time passes,” Morgan explained.

An additional focus is on how the laser light radiation energy that is deposited near the surface of water is dissipated into kinetic energy of ejected ballistic water droplets that have been observed in the lab to rise high above the water.

“There are many potential applications of underwater plasmas to the environmental, biotechnical and medical fields,” Morgan said.

The visit to Seikei University is partially funded by presidential initiative funds supplied by the Director of Global Initiatives. The funds support international faculty collaborations.

Morgan met Murakami several years ago through a common collaborator in Belfast, N. Ireland. The scientists share overlapping research interests and have published one paper together.

“Physics is a very global collaborative discipline,” Morgan said.

Learn more about Morgan’s research online here.

Kolcio Attends White House Event, Presents Research in Ukraine

Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, writes about the role dance organizations played in developing dance as an academic discipline in her new book. Ph.D programs in dance, for example, were not available in the 1950s and 60s. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Katja Kolcio

Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, associate professor of environmental studies, was invited to attend White House Ethnic Day on June 2. The event brought together about 160 leaders from various ethnic communities for a discussion on immigration reform and foreign policy. The foreign policy discussion dealt predominantly with Ukraine, Kolcio’s area of interest.

The event was attended by White House representatives including Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama; Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Foreign Domestic Council; Felicia Escobar, special assistant to the president for immigration policy; Manar Waheed, deputy director for immigration policy; Michael Carpenter, special advisor to the vice president for Europe and Eurasia; and Celeste Wallander, special assistant to the president and senior director, Russia and Central Asia, National Security Council.

The discussion was preceded by a reception on Capitol Hill on June 1 with members of Congress.

In June and July, Kolcio will travel to Ukraine to present her research on somatic theory—which is premised on body-mind integration—and lead workshops in somatic practice geared toward the issues of displacement and PTSD. She has been invited by three different non-profit groups of mental health professionals and specialists in PTSD, a combination of psychiatrists, therapists, social workers and clergy, who assembled to address the increasing incidence of trauma and displacement due to the unexpected Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea and subsequent fighting on the border between Ukaine and Russia.

Learn more about Kolcio in this video.

Wesleyan Works on Utilities Infrastructure Improvements, Landscaping Projects this Summer

Physical Plant-Facilities recently enhanced the area in front of Weshop.

Physical Plant-Facilities recently enhanced the area in front of Weshop.

This summer, crews around campus are hard at work on several major maintenance and capital projects designed to support Wesleyan’s ultimate goal of creating a more interconnected and sustainable campus.

Physical Plant-Facilities seeks to foster a synergistic residential and academic experience by creating visual and functional transparency between indoor and outdoor spaces, preserving and enhancing opportunities for informal learning, improving formal learning spaces, showcasing learning and living in action, and integrating learning opportunities with Middletown.

Landscaping projects include replacing the sidewalk in front of College Row, from Wyllys Avenue to Church Street, with a 15-foot-wide asphalt path featuring four seating vignettes; landscape improvements at Andrus Field; landscape renovation, including an outdoor learning space at the Center for the Humanities; Cross Street sidewalk replacement between Fountain Street and Pine Street; and sidewalk replacement throughout the Foss Hill complex, including steam line replacement on High Street; hot and chilled water piping replacement at the Center for the Arts; main electrical equipment replacement at Olin Memorial Library; and transformer replacement at Judd Hall.

Other projects include renovations at Pi Café; waterproofing and new flooring at the Bacon Field House; new academic and office space for the Center for Pedagogical Innovations at 116 Mount Vernon Street; laboratory renovations at Hall-Atwater, Exley Science Center, and Judd Hall; and the replacement of the penthouse roof at Exley Science Center.

All projects are scheduled for completion before the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Several major maintenance and capital projects are taking place on the Wesleyan campus this summer.

Several major maintenance and capital projects are taking place on the Wesleyan campus this summer.

Jimmy Stewart Stars in Free Summer Film Series

stewardfilmsThis July, Wesleyan’s 2015 Summer Film Series presents “Hollywood Icons: Jimmy Stewart,” a four-film series sponsored by Wesleyan’s College of Film and the Moving Image (CFILM). Films will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in July at the Center for Film Studies.

All films are free and open to the public and will be preceded by an introduction by Marc Longenecker, CFILM’s programming and technical director. The “Hollywood Icons: Jimmy Stewart” film series includes Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (July 7), Harvey (July 14), Rear Window (July 21), and Winchester ’73 (July 28).

See Wesleyan’s Summer Film Series website for more information.

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Conference Teaches Participants about New Media, Fiction Writing, Journalism

Conference participants had time to write and reflect, in addition to attending seminars, workshops, readings, panel discussions, and manuscript consultations.

Wesleyan Writers Conference participants took time to write and reflect, in addition to attending seminars, workshops, readings, panel discussions and manuscript consultations. (Photos by Laurie Kenney)

The Wesleyan Writers Conference celebrated its 59th year by welcoming more than 60 new and seasoned writers and others interested in the writer’s craft to the Wesleyan campus June 10-14.

The Wesleyan Writers Conference has been useful to writers at different stages of their careers.

The Wesleyan Writers Conference has been useful to writers at different stages of their careers.

Headed by Wesleyan Writers Conference Director Anne Greene, adjunct professor of English and director of Writing Programs, the conference featured seminars, workshops, readings, panel discussions and manuscript consultations led by Wesleyan faculty and other nationally known writers, editors and agents.

Conference topics included the novel, short story, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, biography, journalism, writing for film and TV, new media, writing about food and travel, writing about science and medicine, preparing your work for publication, and how to sell your work.

Alumni, Parents Host Summer Sendoffs for Students Around the Globe

Students at a sendoff in Washington, D.C. in July 2014.

Students at a sendoff in Washington, D.C. in July 2014.

Alumni, students, their families, faculty and staff are invited to attend Wesleyan’s Summer Sendoff gatherings, happening around the globe throughout the summer. Generously hosted by alumni and parents, these casual receptions are the perfect opportunity to welcome Wesleyan’s newest students and their families to the community.

Sendoffs will be held in the following locations this summer: Washington, D.C., June 25; Denver, July 14; Chicago, July 19; San Francisco, July 19; Beijing, July 26; Mamaroneck, N.Y., July 30; Seattle, Aug. 1; Seoul, Aug. 1; West Hartford, Conn., Aug. 4; Boston, Aug. 6; Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 11; Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 13; New York City, Aug. 18; Philadelphia, Aug. 20; and Los Angeles, date to be determined.

For more information, including registration, visit the Summer Sendoff website.

Watch a video about Summer Sendoffs here, and see a photo album of 2014 Summer Sendoffs here.

David Potts ’60 Describes a Period of Change at Wes in New Book

arupc_coeds_1969_002David Potts ’60 has published a long-awaited second volume of Wesleyan history, Wesleyan University, 1910-1970: Academic Ambition and Middle-Class America (Wesleyan University Press, 2015). In an interview in the new issue of the Wesleyan magazine, he describes a time of great change at Wesleyan, culminating in the arrival of women students on campus.

Potts tells the Wesleyan magazine about his motivations for writing the book; the different challenges posed by the second volume compared to the first; Wesleyan’s record of setting trends in higher education; and major institutional changes and figures in the university’s history.

7 Faculty Promoted, 1 Awarded Tenure

In its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure on Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance. He joins seven other faculty members who were awarded tenure earlier this spring.

In addition, seven faculty members were promoted to Full Professor: Mary Alice Haddad, professor of government; Scott Higgins, professor of film studies; Tsampikos Kottos, professor of physics; Edward Moran, professor of astronomy; Dana Royer, professor of earth and environmental sciences; Mary-Jane Rubenstein, professor of religion; and Gina Athena Ulysse, professor of anthropology.

Brief descriptions of their research and teaching appear below.

Associate Professor Krishnan teaches studio- and lecture-based dance courses on Mobilizing Dance: Cinema, the Body, and Culture in South Asia; Modern Dance 3; and Bharata Natyam.  His academic and choreographic interests include queering the dancing body, critical readings of Indian dance and the history of courtesan dance traditions in South India. He is a scholar and master of historical Bharatanatyam and also an internationally acclaimed choreographer of contemporary dance from global perspectives.

Professor Haddad teaches courses about comparative, East Asian, and environmental politics. She has authored two books, Building Democracy in Japan and Politics and Volunteering in Japan: A Global Perspective, and co-edited a third, NIMBY is Beautiful: Local Activism and Environmental Innovation in Germany and Beyond. She is currently working on a book about effective advocacy and East Asian environmental politics.

Professor Higgins teaches courses in film history, theory, and genre, and is a 2011 recipient of Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching.  His research interests include moving-image aesthetics, feature and serial storytelling, and cinema’s technological history. He is author of Harnessing the Rainbow: Technicolor Aesthetics in the 1930s and Matinee Melodrama: Playing with Formula in the Sound Serial (forthcoming), and editor of Arnheim for Film and Media Studies.

Professor Kottos offers courses on Quantum Mechanics; Condensed Matter Physics; and Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics. He has published more than 100 papers on the understanding of wave propagation in complex media, which have received more than 3,000 citations. His current research focuses on the development of non-Hermitian Optics. This year, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has recognized his theoretical proposal on optical limiters as a high priority strategic goal of the agency.

Professor Moran teaches introductory courses such as Descriptive Astronomy and The Dark Side of the Universe, in addition to courses on observational and extragalactic astronomy.  His research focuses on extragalactic X-ray sources and the X-ray background, and his expertise in spectroscopic instrumentation combined with an insightful conceptual appreciation of galaxy formation have positioned him as a leader in observational black hole research.

Professor Royer offers courses on Environmental Studies; Geobiology; and Soils.  His research explores how plants can be used to reconstruct ancient environments, and the (paleo-) physiological underpinnings behind these plant-environment relationships.  His recent work on the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate over geologic time has had significant impact on the field of paleoclimatology.

Professor Rubenstein teaches courses in philosophy of religion; pre- and postmodern theologies; and the intersections of religion, sex, gender, and science.  Her research interests include continental philosophy, theology, gender and sexuality studies, and the history and philosophy of cosmology.  She is the author of Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe, and Worlds without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse.

Professor Ulysse offers courses on Crafting Ethnography; Haiti: Between Anthropology and Journalism; Key Issues in Black Feminism; and Theory 2: Beyond Me, Me, Me: Reflexive Anthropology. Her research examines black diasporic conditions. Her recent work combines scholarship, performance, and exposition to ponder the fate of Haiti in the modern world and how it is narrated in different outlets and genres.  She is the author of Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, A Haitian Anthropologist and Self-Making in Jamaica, and Why Haiti Needs New Narratives.

Wesleyan Awards 799 BA Degrees at 183rd Commencement

New graduates toss hats following the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

New graduates toss hats following the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Graduates, their families, and other members of the Wesleyan community who gathered for the 183rd Commencement ceremony on May 24 were treated to some life advice in the form of rap, courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, this year’s Commencement speaker and the composer, lyricist and star of the hip-hop musical Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

“I’m going to sing a little bit, so if you made a bet that I’d be rapping during the Commencement address, your friend owes you money,” Miranda joked.

He drew upon the stories of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr to discuss two different approaches to life: charging forward in the spirit of Hamilton—”I’m not throwing away my shot”—versus holding out for just the right moment to take action–“Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.”

Miranda spoke of falling in love with the “instant gratification” of theater at Wesleyan.