Campus News & Events

Author, Poet C.D. Wright to Teach 3 Master Classes at Shapiro Center

Author and poet C.D. Wright will teach three masters classes this fall. On Oct. 14, she will hold a poetry reading and book signing event in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. (Photo courtesy of © Miriam Berkley/ Blue Flower Arts)

Author and poet C.D. Wright will teach three masters classes this fall. On Oct. 14, she will hold a poetry reading and book signing event in the Shapiro Creative Writing Center. (Photo courtesy of © Miriam Berkley/ Blue Flower Arts)

This semester, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center is hosting three master classes taught by award-winning author and poet C.D. Wright. Master classes are open to all poetry-writing upperclassmen free of charge. Each class will last 2.5 hours and include one dinner. The classes will meet Sept. 23, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, and the deadline to apply is Sept. 12.

Wright is currently the I.J. Kapstein Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University where she teaches advanced poetry.

Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has published over a dozen books, including Rising, Falling, Hovering, Like Something Flying Backwards: New and Selected Poems, and a text edition of One Big Self: An Investigation, focused on Louisiana inmates. She has published several book-length poems including Deepstep Come Shining and Just Whistle.

She also has composed and published two state literary maps, one for Arkansas, her native state, and one for Rhode Island, her adopted state. Wright is formerly the State Poet of Rhode Island, and with poet Forrest Gander, she edited Lost Roads Publishers for more than 20 years.

Wright is winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in March 2011 for her most recent title, One With Others: [a little book of her days], which was also a finalist for the National Book Award and was selected as winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Her honors include awards from the Wallace Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts as well as the Lannan Literary Award. In 2004 Wright was named a MacArthur Fellow; in 2005 she was given the Robert Creeley Award, and elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Rising, Falling, Hovering won the International Griffin Poetry Prize.

Amy Bloom ’75, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence and director of the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, emphasized that the key merit of the masters program is the opportunity to work with a professional writer.

“The motivation [behind the program] was to bring some of America’s best poets to Wesleyan and to give the students the opportunity to work with them,” Bloom said. “[Wright is an] outstanding, articulate American poet with a passion for poetry and teaching. It’s not just she’s professional, it’s that she’s so gifted.”

The classes are capped at a dozen participants, all selected by Bloom and Wright based on a submitted cover letter. Bloom stated that the limit is designed to keep the classes intimate and to ensure that all students have the opportunity to work closely with Wright.

Wesleyan Nearly Doubles Its Teach for America Cohort

Wesleyan nearly doubled its number of Teach for America participants this year over 2013, the national organization said. With 19 participants in the 2014 cohort, Wesleyan is tied for third among “small schools”  (those with under 2,999 students) who send graduates into the corps.

The Wesleyan alumni join the most diverse corps in Teach for America’s 25-year-history, with one third of the members the first in their families to attend college, half identifying as people of color, and nearly half Pell Grant recipients as undergraduates.

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, they recruit and develop outstanding individuals to commit to teach in high-need schools. This fall, 10,600 corps members will be teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country.

“Many of our students are passionate about addressing educational inequality, and see Teach for America as a perfect place to launch their careers,” said Sharon Belden Castonguay, director of the Wesleyan Career Center.

Wesleyan, which sent 10 graduates to TFA in 2013, tied this year with the University of Richmond and came in behind DePauw University and Spelman College, both with 20 participants. To learn more about Teach for America, go here.

Student Music Scene Celebrated at THE MASH (with Photo Gallery)

More than 20 student bands participated in THE MASH on Sept. 5. Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the third-annual event highlighted the student music scene at Wesleyan and kicked off the year-long campus and community-wide Music & Public Life initiative.

Bands performed concurrently on stages at Olin Library, the Butterfields, North College and at the base of Foss Hill.

Bands and soloists included Jacob & The Masters, Quasimodal, David Stouck, Mixolydians, Andrew Hove, Slavei, all-caps LADD, Materiq, Trillion Dollar Boys Club (Butts Reunion Tour 2k14), jdv plus™, MFDP, Don Froot, Mazel Tones, Sam Wasn’t There, Veeblefetzer, Rhys feat. Matt Chilton, Isaac Butler-Brown, Tomato Goblin, Jack and Katie, Banjoshi and Chef. The faculty-staff band, Smokin’ Lilies, also performed.

THE MASH is co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Green Street Arts Center. (Photos by Harry Jiang ’18, Gabe Rosenberg ’16 and Jack Gorlin ’16)

The MASH, Sept. 5, 2014. (Photo by Harry Jiang '18)

The MASH, Sept. 5, 2014. (Photo by Harry Jiang '18)

Rohde Hired as Wesleyan’s New Director of Public Safety

Scott Rohde will become director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Scott Rohde will become director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Scott Rohde will become Wesleyan’s new director of Public Safety on Oct. 1.

Since 1998, Rohde has served as director of Police Services at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where he managed safety and security operations for a campus population of 10,000 students, faculty and staff. Prior to working in higher education, he worked for 10 years in municipal policing in a small town in Wisconsin.

Rohde holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and a BS from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where he majored in criminal justice and minored in sociology.

“After an extensive search, I’m confident that we have found an experienced director who will work collaboratively with all of us to promote the safety and security of our community,” said Michael Whaley, vice president for student affairs, in an all-campus e-mail. “I want to extend my sincere thanks to the students, faculty and staff who served on the search committee for this important position, as well as to the many members of our campus community who interviewed finalists. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Tony Bostick, who has served as interim director, and to the entire Public Safety team for their hard work and leadership during this transition.”


Writing at Wesleyan Announces Fall Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry

Novelists, poets, visiting writers and editors are among the speakers at Writing at Wesleyan’s Fall Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry.

All talks are held at 8 p.m. in the Russell House. They are free of charge and open to the public.

The dates and speakers are as follows:

Sept. 17

Amy Bloom '75

Amy Bloom ’75

Amy Bloom ’75 is Wesleyan’s Distinguished Writer in Residence and the author of the acclaimed novel, Away, and a new novel, Lucky Us, published by Random House in July 2014. Also well known for her three collections of short stories, she has been nominated for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has appeared in Best American Short StoriesPrize Stories: The O.Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and the Atlantic Monthly, among other publications, and has received a National Magazine Award. Amy will also appear on Saturday, Sept. 27 for a Family Weekend Event.

Oct. 1
Ailish Hopper is the author of the poetry collection Dark-Sky Society, selected by David St. John, and the chapbook, Bird in the Head, selected by Jean Valentine and published by the Center for Book Arts. Her poems have also appeared inAgni, American Poetry ReviewPloughshares, Poetry, and Tidal Basin Review, among other journals. She teaches at Goucher College.

Volleyball Coach Lackey to Retire After 37 Years, Hundreds of Victories

Wesleyan head women’s volleyball coach Gale Lackey, the senior athletics department member with 37 years of service, will retire in June. In her 30th year coaching volleyball, Lackey is also the senior woman administrator in athletics and an associate athletics director.

Gale Lackey, head coach of women's volleyball, will be inducted into the Connecticut Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Gale Lackey, head coach of women’s volleyball.

Lackey began coaching at Wesleyan in 1978, handling both field hockey and women’s lacrosse and leading the field hockey squad to its only undefeated campaign — and a subsequent berth in the Wes Athletics Hall of Fame —  in 1980.  She took over as volleyball coach in 1985.

“The time is right,” Lackey said. “Coaching and teaching here has been a blessing.  Wesleyan has given me the opportunity to pursue a variety of endeavors and ongoing support to grow professionally throughout my career. The energetic passions of my colleagues, the students, faculty, staff and alumni make Wesleyan a very special place.”

Lackey has the distinction of coaching Wesleyan women’s teams to Little Three championships in three different sports (volleyball, field hockey and lacrosse). With 464 career women’s volleyball victories at Wesleyan (and 477 in total) heading into the 2014 season, Lackey was named New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year in 2001.

Rabban ’71 to Deliver Constitution Day Lecture Sept. 17

David Rabban '71

David Rabban ’71

David Rabban ’71 will speak on “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the American University” during Wesleyan’s annual Constitution Day Lecture.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Smith Reading Room inside Olin Memorial Library. The lecture, hosted by the Friends of the Wesleyan Library is free of charge and open to the public.

This talk will cover the judicial treatment of free speech and academic freedom at American universities from the 1950s to the present. It will explore the First Amendment rights of professors, students and universities as institutions, and the tensions that arise when these rights conflict.

Center for the Humanities Explores “Mobilities” in Fall Lecture Series

Meritocracy and Mobility, Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival, and What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize are just three of the topics to be discussed during the Center for the Humanities' fall lecture series.

Meritocracy and Mobility, Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival, and What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize? are three of the topics to be discussed during the Center for the Humanities’ fall lecture series.

Over the past decade, a new approach to the study of mobilities has emerged involving research on the combined movement of peoples, animals, objects, ideas and information. This can be viewed through the lens of complex networks, relational dynamics, and the redistribution or reification of power generated by movement.

This fall, Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities will offer 10 lectures on the theme of “Mobilities” as part of its lecture series. Five of the speakers are from Wesleyan.

All talks begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public, and are held at Daniel Family Commons. The dates, topics and speakers are:

Sept. 8
Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’ Birds
Cary Wolfe, professor of English, Rice University

Sept. 15
Beyond Synthesis: The Return of Micro History in Global Contexts and the “Relationing” of History
Angelika Eppel, professor of history, Bielefeld University, Germany

Sept. 22
The Roma Question in France and the Return of Race
Éric Fassin, professor of sociology, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

Fowler, Baum, Students Present Paper at Political Science Association Meeting

Leonid Liu '14, Laura Baum, P. Marshal Lawler '16, Michael Linden '15, Eliza Loomis '15, Zachary Wulderk '15, Erika Franklin Fowler at the American Political Science Association meeting.

Leonid Liu ’14, Project Manager Laura Baum, P. Marshal Lawler ’16, Michael Linden ’15, Eliza Loomis ’15, Zachary Wulderk ’15 and Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler attended the American Political Science Association meeting.

Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, Project Manager in the Government Department Laura Baum, and four students presented a paper titled, “A Messenger Like Me: The Effect of Ordinary Spokespeople in Campaign Advertising” at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association Conference, Aug. 30 in Washington, D.C.

The student authors are P. Marshal Lawler ’16, Michael Linden ’15, Eliza Loomis ’15 and Zachary Wulderk ’15.

The paper considers the effects of using non-elite spokespeople (ie. “the everyman”) in political advertising. The authors draw upon the Wesleyan Media Project’s vast database of political advertising, as well as original coding on almost 300 ads, and a new large-scale survey data set assessing the effectiveness and credibility of 2012 campaign ads. They found that using ordinary spokespeople is a common tactic, particularly in negative campaign advertising, and that their use is associated with higher credibility scores than ads without them, even after controlling for partisanship and political sophistication.

The paper grew out of a fall 2013 pilot course at Wesleyan, GOVT 378 Advanced Topics in Media Analysis. Read the full paper online here.

Shinohara’s Monotypes to be Exhibited at Plantsville Gallery

Supp. Image_Opus-12_monotype_12x11_2008The work of Keiji Shinohara, artist-in-residence of art, artist-in-residence of East Asian studies, will be exhibited at a gallery in Plantsville, Conn., Oct. 4-31.

The exhibition at Paris in Plantsville Gallery, titled, “Whispers of the Infinite: The Art of Keiji Shinohara,” represents the first time that Shinohara’s monotypes will have been exhibited in the United States. An opening reception will be held Oct. 4 from 6-9 p.m.

Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, Shinohara trained for 10 years as an apprentice under the renowned artist Keiichiro Uesugi, and became a Master Printmaker. Shinohara then moved to the U.S., and has been teaching at Wesleyan since 1995. He has been a visiting artist at more than 10 venues, and had 40 solo shows, both in the U.S. and Japan.

His nature-based abstractions are printed on handmade kozo paper using water-based pigment onto woodblocks in the ukiyo-e style, the traditional Japanese printmaking method dating to 600 CE. Though Shinohara employs ancient methods in creating his woodblock prints, he also diverges from tradition by experimenting with ink application and different materials to add texture to his prints. He personally executes all the steps involved in the printmaking process, from carving the woodblock to printing by hand. Elegantly understated, these works are a fusion of Japanese aesthetic and Western modernism.

See more images from the exhibition below.

Supp. Image_Opus-14_monotype_12x11_2010Supp. Image_Opus-20_monotype_12x11_2011

McNair Summer Fellows Perform Research, Prepare for Grad School


McNair Fellow Raquel Ibarra ’16 and Ishita Mukerji, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division, director of technology initiatives, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, speak at the Research in the Sciences poster session on July 30.

This summer, 13 students had an opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor to conduct research, as well as get a leg up in the grad school application process, through the McNair Program. For 10 weeks, they studied topics in psychology and neuroscience, earth and environmental science, biology, physics, and science in society.

The McNair Fellows, all rising juniors and seniors, are either low-income, first-generation college students or members of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate school. The fellows may be engaged in research in any field, though the vast majority focus their studies in the sciences. This summer, eight fellows were fully funded by McNair, three were partially funded by McNair, and two others received funding from other sources, according to Ronnie Hendrix, associate director of the McNair Program.

Former Artist-in-Residence Redpath Remembered for Teaching Folklore

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of

Jean Redpath, a Scottish-born singer who delighted audiences worldwide and was described by The Boston Globe as “something very close to Scotland’s folk singer laureate,” died Aug. 21 at age 77. She brought her musical talent and extensive knowledge of Scottish history to Wesleyan and the Middletown community as an artist-in-residence in the 1970s.

According to her official website, Redpath arrived in the United States in 1961 with $11 in her pocket.