Tag Archive for faculty

Geoff Hammerson: Teaching Students to Love the Outdoors

Geoff Hammerstein, left,

Geoff Hammerson, left, teaches students enrolled in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program about the biology of amphibians and reptiles in Summer 2008. (Photos by Kyle St. George)

Geoff Hammerson hopes that the students who take his Graduate Liberal Studies Program week-long immersion course Life Among Snow and Ice this March get “an appreciation for the diverse and abundant life of parts of Earth that relatively few people experience” and learn how life copes with challenging conditions.

Hammerson has been teaching GLSP classes since 1985. His classes on the environment and nature are usually widely popular. In fact, as this article comes out the March 2009 course is fully enrolled. Most recently he has taught a course on the biology of reptiles and amphibians

Faculty, Students Explore Imagination Through Dance

Dancing the Imagination," was performed at the Patricelli '92 Theater on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. "Dancing the Imagination" was an evening of conceptually, visually, and kinesthetically compelling dance performed and directed by Rachel Boggia, visiting assistant professor of dance.

Iddrisu Saaka, artist in residence, performs a dance titled "Jovian Suite" Oct. 30 in Patricelli '92 Theater. The dance was part of "Dancing the Imagination" - a conceptually, visually and kinesthetically compelling project directed by Rachel Boggia, visiting assistant professor of dance.

Psychology Faculty, Student Study Emerging Sign Language in Nicaragua

Anna Shusterman, left, and Lisa Drennan '09 speak to a Deaf man by using Nicaraguan Sign Language. The language is only 30 years old.

Anna Shusterman, left, and Lisa Drennan ’09 speak to a Deaf man by using Nicaraguan Sign Language. The language is only 30 years old.

In the United States, Deaf people have had the ability to communicate by using sign language since the early 1800s. But in Central America’s largest nation of Nicaragua, the Deaf community had no formalized language until 30 years ago.

This emerging language, known as Nicaraguan Sign Language, is the topic of a recent study by Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, and psychology major Lisa Drennan ’09. The language was first created by local children to communicate with their friends and family and is rapidly changing.

“Nicaraguan Sign Language is certainly not a hodge-podge of different sign languages – it has its own structure, its own grammar, its own phonology, and its own words,” Shusterman says. “So it’s of great interest to researchers who are interested in the birth and evolution of language.”

Shusterman, whose broader research focuses on the development of language and thought, works with the Deaf community in Managua, Nicaragua to understand which cognitive capacities are spared despite limitations in language, and which cognitive capacities suffer when language is impaired. She invited Drennan to accompany her on a 10-day research trip in June.