Roth on Menand’s ‘The Marketplace of Ideas’

In The Los Angeles Times, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth reviews Louis Menand’s latest book: The Market Place of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. Roth says the slim tome examines some of the challenges and conditions faced by universities and colleges today. This includes the question: “How do you create a general education program required by all undergraduates?” There is also an examination of the faculty and the process by which they become college-level educators.”This slim volume of loosely linked essays doesn’t offer any solutions to the resistance to innovation at America’s best universities,” Roth writes, “but it does show how we have created professional academic conformity.”

Royer: New Study Improves Ancient Climate Record

In a news piece in Nature, Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, comments on a new soil study that improves the data on carbon dioxide levels present millions of years ago. Accurately putting this data in perspective helps sciences place current carbon dioxide and climate levels in context to past conditions where carbon dioxide levels were elevated.

Grossman: 00’s Economic Errors Avoidable in Future

In an opinion piece for The Hartford Courant, Richard Grossman, professor of economics, discusses the financial perils the nation and world faced during the first decade of the 21st Century, including the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the collapse of the American housing market, and the effect of fringe financial products and deficit spending. He also goes on to discuss how these types of situations can be avoided in the next decade and beyond with the application of some sound, common sense policies.

Yohe: Climate Conference A New Starting Point

In a piece posted by ABC News, Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, is quoted in the wake of the December Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Why many in the news media were quick to characterize the conference as a “failure” the article contends that it may be decades before its affects – positive or negative – are truly known. Yohe says the conference created ‘new diplomatic territory’ and has produced an iterative process that will require frequent adjustment and more discussion from all countries involved.

Basinger on Nancy Meyers’ Films, Characters

In The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, contrasts the films and characters of Nancy Meyers with those of other writer-directors, including Frank Capra. “She makes it easy for the actors and the audience,” Basinger says. “They can slip into their parts and be happy, and we can slip into our seats and be happy.” Meyers is the writer-director of the new film “It’s Complicated.”

Stark: Where Are Students in the Health Care Debate?

In an opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed, Laura Stark, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of science in society, discusses how recent and pending college graduates are deeply affected by the current machinations over health care in Congress, but have been curiously silent as a group, especially compared with their overwhelming involvement in the election last year. Stark’s students Suzanna Hirsch ’10, Samantha Hodges ’11, Gianna Palmer ’10, and Kim Segall ’10, contributed to the piece.

Yohe on the Costs of Climate Change

In a recent issue of Newsweek, Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco professor of economics, discusses the potential costs of climate change, and the long-term risks of not acting to stem the effects of man-made contributions to the problem.

Bruce’s Performance Among Year’s ‘Most Memorable’

A trombone orchestra conducted by Neely Bruce, professor of music, that played in the rotunda of the Guggenheim in New York City, was named one of the year’s 10 Most Memorable Performances by Alex Ross of The New Yorker. There is a video link within the Ross piece that allows readers to hear a portion of the performance. The orchestra, consisting of 80 trombones, played Henry Brandt’s “Orbits” as part of the “Make Music” festival in New York City this summer.

Swinehart on Paul’s ‘Unlikely Allies’

In a review published in The Chicago Tribune, Kirk Swinehart, assistant professor of history, praises Unlikely Allies, the new book by Joel Richard Paul. Swinehart says Paul’s book breaks new ground detailing stories of little-known spies from the American Revolution and yet it also contains the “menacing atmospherics of an Allen Furst novel, and the intellectual verve for which Furst’s spy thrillers are justly admired.”