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Tag Archive 'faculty achievements'

roth

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 will be the recipient of A Better Chance award in June.

In recognition of Wesleyan’s commitment to equity and inclusion, A Better Chance Foundation will present President Michael Roth with its 2014 Benjamin E. Mays Award.

Named for the famed civil rights pioneer, the Mays award is presented annually to a leader in education who individually and with their institution demonstrate a clear commitment to diversifying higher education.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by A Better Chance,” Roth said. “The Wesleyan community has been enriched by the students who come to us through the foundation.”

The foundation’s mission is to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society. The oldest national organization of its kind, ABC annually recruits, refers and supports about 500 scholars in grades 6-12 at more than 300 member schools in 27 states. Many of these scholars go on to elite universities.

Every year, A Better Chance recognizes its top Scholars and honors leaders in the community who are committed to promoting education and diversity.

Every year, A Better Chance honors leaders in the community who are committed to promoting education and diversity.

Wesleyan has been one of A Better Chance’s strongest college partners, with more than 250 A Better Chance Alumni matriculated over the past 50 years, more than nearly any other American university.

“Our work continues toward greater diversity and a more inclusive and equitable residential college experience,” Roth said. “And I know that with the help of A Better Chance and other partner groups, we’ll get closer to our goal every year.”

Roth will accept the award in New York on June 20.

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Assistant professor of music Paula Matthusen has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy, which will allow her to spend the next year in the Eternal City working on the compelling compositions that distinguish her career.

Matthusen is a composer of acoustic and electronic music who, among other things, teaches Laptop Ensemble at Wesleyan, and records sound in historic structures and architecture. The resulting work reflects the character of these spaces, which include the Old Croton Aqueduct in New York. As an American Academy fellow, she will visit the paths of the Roman aqueducts.

“I’m elated,” Matthusen said. “It’s a very great honor and a wonderful opportunity.”

Each year, through a national competition, the Rome Prize is awarded to approximately thirty individuals who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities. The American Academy in Rome provides extended time and support (room, board, stipend, work space, and freedom from every-day cares) for each fellow to pursue his or her own work and to live among other artists and scholars.

“The Rome Prize in composition has been awarded to such musical luminaries as Samuel Barber, Elliot Carter, and David Del Tredici,” said Dean of the Arts and Humanities Andy Curran. “We are extremely proud that Paula, who reflects the strength of Wesleyan’s music program, has been admitted to this select group.”

Her Old Croton Aqueduct work, developed by working with the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, was called “eden’s arch of promise bending,” after a line in an ode composed at the opening of the waterwork in 1842.  The Aqueduct was closed in the mid-20th century, but for more than 100 years, it brought water from Westchester to Manhattan and enabled New York City’s enormous growth. The composition explores the nature of the aqueduct through field recordings and samplings of its resonant frequencies. Go here to listen to an excerpt.

The New York Times has praised Matthusen’s “creative vitality” and “vivid imagination.”

The Academy is a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. Founded in 1894, the Academy was chartered as a private institution by an act of Congress in 1905. On the occasion of the Academy’s centennial, the President of the United States signed a joint resolution of Congress in recognition of the Academy’s contribution to America’s intellectual and cultural life.

Pictured below are photos taken at Paula Matthusen’s “Laptop Ensemble” class on April 7. She also teaches a class on “Total Harmony.” (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

stu_tec_2014-0407184955 (more…)

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General's legacy.

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General’s legacy.

Growing up, Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem heard many family stories of his grandfather, a member of the Norwegian resistance movement during World War II. Little did he know then that he would go on to uncover new truths about a celebrated German general, and ignite a public debate over the general’s place in history.
Grimmer-Solem holding a photo of his grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, and his father, Eivind Solem, taken in 1939, one year before the German invasion of Norway. Odd Solem, part of the Norwegian resistance movement, was arrested by the Gestapo and met General Hans von Sponeck in prison in 1942.

Grimmer-Solem holding a photo of his grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, and his father, Eivind Solem, taken in 1939, one year before the German invasion of Norway. Odd Solem, part of the Norwegian resistance movement, was arrested by the Gestapo and met General Hans von Sponeck in prison in 1942.

Grimmer-Solem’s grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, was arrested by the Gestapo along with two other Norwegians during the German occupation of Norway in the summer of 1940. He was sentenced to death by a German military tribunal, but had his sentence reduced to a prison term in Germersheim. There, he met and befriended General Hans von Sponeck, a German general who was court-martialed and imprisoned for refusing to follow Hitler’s orders during a major Soviet counteroffensive on the Crimean Peninsula in 1941 by withdrawing his troops from Kerch, likely saving the lives of thousands of soldiers. Von Sponeck was ultimately executed on the orders of Heinrich Himmler following the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, while Solem and the other prisoners narrowly escaped an SS execution squad and survived the war.

In the decades since the war, von Sponeck has been celebrated in Germany for his moral courage, with an Air Force base, city streets and other monuments named after him. Along with the tales of von Sponeck’s kindness toward Grimmer-Solem’s grandfather, the general’s unusual reputation as a heroic “anti-Nazi” sparked Grimmer-Solem’s interest. Since he regularly teaches a course on Nazi Germany and knows the literature on the role of the Wehrmacht (Germany’s unified armed forces from 1935-45) in war crimes in the Soviet Union, he began to have questions about von Sponeck’s career when it became clear that the general had commanded units of the German 11th Army during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, in the summer and fall of 1941. War crimes and crimes against humanity are well documented within the area of operation of the 11th Army. Grimmer-Solem undertook a detailed investigation of von Sponeck’s military career in the German Military Archives in March 2013 (more…)

Marty Gilmore

Marty Gilmore will present her research in Hartford on April 8.

Marty Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environmental studies, will present her work with the MARS Rover missions on Tuesday, April 8 at the final Science of Screen of the year.

The monthly Science on Screen events pair local scientists with screenings of popular movies. Gilmore’s presentation of her research will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a screening of Mission to Mars.

Gilmore’s primary research involves using images of the surface of Mars and Venus to interpret geological processes and history. For example, her research includes searching for clues regarding where and when there might have been water on Mars. She is also interested in the future of planetary exploration: how to bring back soil samples from Mars and Venus and using artificial intelligence to improve the capabilities of the Mars Rovers.

The presentation and screening will take place at Real Art Ways at 56 Arbor Street in Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit the website.

Gina Athena Ulysse

Gina Athena Ulysse

On March 6, Gina Athena Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, presented “Why Haiti Needs a Higher Love I,” a performative meditation on representation, ripostes and self-making at Central Connecticut State University’s Center for Africana Studies 20th Anniversary Conference.

On March 10, Ulysse and Jungian analyst and author Craig Stephenson participated in a public dialogue titled “Possession and Inspiration – Between the Psyche and the Spirits: A Conversation about Therapy and Vodou” at the CUNY Grad Center in New York City.

Susanne Fusso, professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, delivered a paper at a symposium on “Dostoevsky beyond Dostoevsky,” held at Brown University, March 15-16. Merging Darwinian theory, Romantic poetry and the complexities of human morality, the Dostoevsky symposium offered multiple perspectives on novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s work.

Fusso’s paper was titled “Prelude to a Collaboration: Dostoevsky’s Aesthetic Polemic with Mikhail Katkov.”

The conference was attended by scholars from Yale, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, St. Petersburg State University, Brandeis, University of California – San Diego, and other institutions.

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman is the author of an op-ed titled, “The Monetary Cosmopolitans,” published March 27 on Project Syndicate, a website that publishes commentary “by global leaders and thinkers.” Grossman expresses support for a new trend toward countries appointing foreigners, and those with considerable foreign experience, to what is widely considered a country’s second most important post: that of the head of the central bank.

“This represents a major departure from the tradition of filling central banks’ top leadership positions with people who have spent most of their careers there—a tradition that, over time, allowed central banks to be taken over by ‘groupthink.’ With the entrenchment of a particular ideology or mode of thinking, monetary policymakers increasingly missed—by choice or inertia—opportunities to change, reinvigorate, and improve the running of these vital institutions.”

Read more here.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, was a distinguished guest panelist at the 2014 Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the Humanities Conference at the University of California – Los Angles on March 7. She spoke on “Hawaiian Indigeneity, (Same-Sex) Marriage, and the Racial Politics of Colonial Modernity.”

She also spoke on “Till death Do Us Part? Settler Colonialism and (Same Sex) Marriage in Hawaii,” at the Women’s Studies and Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies on Feb. 20 and “New Directions in American Studies: Settler Colonialism and Critical Indigenous Studies,” at the Circuits of Influence: U.S. Israel, and Palestine Symposium at New York University on March 1.

She’ll speak on “Hawaiian Indigeneity and the Contradictions of Hawaiian Self-Determination,” at Tufts University, March 26 and on “Debt and the Commons: The Historical Present of Property and Indigenous Dispossession” at The Settler Colonial ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ and the Politics of Contemporary ‘Reclamation’” Symposium at Harvard University Law School on March 28.

David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, and chemistry graduate student Breanna Craft presented a paper titled, “pH-Dependent Mechanisms of 1H Relaxivity in a Series of Structurally Related Mn(II) Cyclen Derivatives” at the 245th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society held in New Orleans, La. in April 2013.

Westmoreland, Craft and chemistry graduate student Sarah Hensiek also presented a paper titled, “Solution Dynamics of Transition Metal Complexes of Cyclen Based Ligands Containing Amide and Carboxylate Functional Groups.”

Eirene Visvardi, assistant professor of classical studies, gave three talks in 2013 including “Afraid, They Judge. Afraid, They Act: Collective Fear in Greek Tragedy and Democratic Politics,” at Texas Tech University on May 6; “Emotional Acts: The Case of Pity,” at Yale University on Sept. 28; and “Teaching Euripides’ Medea,” at Columbia University on Oct. 13.

Michael Roberts, chair and professor of classical studies, spoke about “Pompatic Poetics: Claudian’s Epithalamium for Honorius and Maria and Some Features of Late Latin Poetry,” at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on March 21. He also presented a paper titled “Venantius Fortunatus on Poetry and Song,” at the annual meeting of the International Society for Late Antique Literary Studies at Brown University, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2013.

Roberts also is the Robert Rich Professor of Latin and professor of medieval studies.

Book by Bill Firshein.

Book by Bill Firshein.

Bill Firshein, the Daniel Ayers Professor of Biology, emeritus, is the author of the book, The Infectious Microbe, published by Oxford University Press in January 2014. Firshein is the founding faculty member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department.

In The Infectious Microbe, Firshein uses six different critical diseases to illustrate how viruses and bacteria are spread. He discusses the relationship between man and virus, and how to defeat viruses.

The book will help non-scientific readers better understand the issues surrounding the spread of disease.

Thomas Broker ’66, professor of biochemistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, described the book as an “engaging journey into the world of pathogens” and a “must-read for everyone concerned with their personal, family and community health and with national and global health policies, or who has simply wondered about the nature of the infectious diseases to which we are all susceptible.”

Order the book online here.

On March 5, the Wasch Center hosted a book-signing party for Firshein, pictured at right.

On March 5, the Wasch Center hosted a book-signing party for Firshein, pictured at right.

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