Olivia Drake

Grounds and Special Events Manager Knows the Landscape


Dave Hall, grounds and special events manger, stands in front of an old elm tree planted along College Row. Wesleyan once had hundreds of elms on its property, and now only a few remain. The rest have fallen prey to old age or disease.
 
Posted 09/09/05
When Dave Hall takes a daily stroll across Wesleyan’s campus, he has no destination in mind. He simply enjoys the luscious landscape. It is, after all, his masterpiece.

As manager of Wesleyan’s grounds and events, every tree, shrub, flower garden and grassy knoll is part of his canvas.

“Most people walk through campus looking straight ahead or at the ground,” Hall says, gazing into an elm. “There’s a whole new world to see if you look up. There’s lots of interesting trees to see here on campus.”

Hall has memorized where virtually every tree stands on campus. He knows their species, in many cases their age and even their quirks. As he walks through campus he points out some of his favorites.

The 1826-built Russell House property hosts Wesleyan’s oldest trees – four cut-leaf European beeches. Hall suspects these were planted inside the iron fence just after the Russell House was built.

Another campus oldie grows in front of the Davison Arts Center. Recognized by its gray, elephant-skin-like trunk, this beech is more than 150 years old. And then there’s the pink-blossomed cherry tree atop Foss Hill.

“I couldn’t even guess as to how old that cherry is,” Hall says. “But it sure is gorgeous in early spring when it turns into a pink cloud.”

The President’s patio possesses the second largest Japanese zelkova tree known in Connecticut. The state’s third largest is down the street in front of Alpha Delta Psi.

Hall says a giant sycamore, located between the Center for the Arts’ North and South Studios, is one of Wesleyan’s most striking trees. Its spotted bark makes it a prime study for student’s art projects.

“You should see this tree in the winter,” Hall says. “When there’s snow on the ground and the tree is all barren except for its branches, it brings ideas of suspense and horror stories.”

The campus landscape has changed drastically over Wesleyan’s 175 year history. In a 1830s photograph, Hall points out a row of elms lining a sidewalk to North College. Today only one remains. Dutch Elm disease was the main culprit.

“Those elms used to be all over,” Hall says. “There were probably hundreds of them here in the 1800s, and now there are only 20 left on campus.”

Wesleyan’s formerly abundant hemlocks have also been destroyed by a human-imported nemesis known as the wooly adelgids. And then there was the huge oak tree on Church street.

“It was a sad, sad day when we had to take down that old oak between Shanklin and the library,” Hall says, noting that it had rotted from inside-out.

But when one tree goes, another is planted — or transplanted — if possible. In the early 80s, a series of five-year-old pear trees were removed from the Judd Hall area and transplanted in front of College Row on High Street. Hall calls these white-blossoming trees “the soldiers.” They’re lined up in formation.

He also helped plant the mature red oaks on College Row in the early 1980s.

“You know that you’ve been here a long time when you see trees grow from seedlings to full size,” he says, grinning.

Nancy Albert, university coordinator of events and Russell House Programs, admires Hall for nurturing the rose arbor behind the Russell House. She also counts on his advice when planning outdoor events.

“Dave knows what lies beneath the ground, so stakes do not accidentally sever phone or computer lines, and he has an uncanny memory about what was done over the past years,” she says. “Plus his weather instinct is the best. If he says it’s going to rain, follow his advice.”

Hall, who grew up in Lincoln, Maine never took any agriculture or landscape classes. Hired into Wesleyan as an equipment operator, Hall self-taught himself grounds management. Now he oversees Wesleyan contractors Stonehedge Landscaping, which handles many of the university’s grounds crew needs.

Hall says no two days are alike. Some days he’ll oversee sidewalk repairs, remove fallen branches, or plant shrubs. Recently, he helped set up the football stadium. In the winter, he oversees snow removal.

He’s constantly responding to calls from Public Safety, Physical Plant or other departments needing grounds service.

“I like how nothing is monotonous, and the things that I do here make a difference and I can feel good about that,” Hall says. “Whether it be removing a low branch as a safety issue, or planting a new shrub that makes campus look more beautiful, the things that I do to make campus better can be very fulfilling.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services Spearheads Transportation, Bookstore, Laundry Services


Manny Cunard, director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services, works from his new office on Pine Street.
 
Posted 09/09/05

When Manny Cunard came to Wesleyan two and a half years ago, several services were in need of structure. Others needed to be invented.

“I resolve problems,” says Cunard, director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services. “That’s what this job is all about. You have to be committed to problem solving to provide the best services for Wesleyan’s students, staff and faculty.”

Cunard is responsible for such operations such as the campus bookstore, dining services, the House Sale Program, laundry services, graduate student housing, transportation services and student residence revenue management. He also oversees campus services such as the Rental Properties Program, Wesleyan Station and mail services, the Memorial Chapel, Russell House and ’92 Theater and non-academic scheduling and reservations.

When Cunard came onboard, one of his first initiatives was to re-cast the campus bookstore.

“There was a local book store, but it wasn’t meeting the needs of Wesleyan’s students and faculty,” he explains. “The new Broad Street Books services Wesleyan, it supports its academic needs, and Wesleyan sees some revenue from it.”

The new bookstore also sells used books to students at a reduced cost.

Cunard also initiated the One-Card Access Program. It allows students to use their Wesleyan ID card to gain entry to dormitories or the gym, or pay for laundry, photocopies, campus meals. Faculty and staff also have the option of putting funds into their One-Card account for use at campus dining halls, vending machines.

Wesleyan ID cards are also equipped with an encoded stripe that allows students, staff and faculty to use The Middletown Cash Program at 17 participating off-campus venues.

“We’ve seen a tremendous response from the One-Card Program,” Cunard says. “Now students and staff have the option to break away from the routine and go have a good meal downtown or use a variety a services using a single card.”

Cunard also help improved Transportation Services for the campus. A shuttle runs between 7 and 4 p.m. seven days a week around campus and makes loops downtown Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Marcello Curridori, manager of Transportation Services, says Cunard always treats his staff with respect.

“Manny has a positive attitude and down to earth personality which motivates staff to do a great job everyday,” Curridori says. “Not only that, he’s very knowledgeable and reliable. We can always count on him to answer any questions we might have.”

Cunard has his hands full of projects this semester. He’s working on the Dining Services master planning, a new design for the bookstore, a student driver policy, a senior prototype house project and planning auxiliary services’ role in the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center. He’s also placing new laundry and vending machines on various sites on campus.

To get these tasks done, he meets daily with managers of each auxiliary service or campus service and discusses issues and university priorities. In addition, he seeks input from students, student groups and parents. He responds to concerns about student services and costs of those services.

“Faculty members will ask for more vending machines, and parents call with food service questions,” he says. “I deal with stuff like this all the time.”

Cunard, who holds degrees in zoology, chemistry, counseling psychology and higher education, spent 12 years working at Loyola University; nine years at Colorado State and eight years at the University of Virginia. During those stints he managed housing programs, student life and activities, bookstores, retail issues and other auxiliary services.

Three years ago, the Rhode Island native applied for the newly-created director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services position at Wesleyan.

“Along with the challenges of the job, being part of a small, New England university seemed like a perfect next step in my already exciting career,” he says.

At Wesleyan, Cunard is part of several campus committees that meet to discuss ways to better services on campus. These include the Dining Services Advisory Committee, the Bookstore Advisory Committee, the Campus Auxiliaries and Facilities Advisory Committee, the Graduate Student Housing Advisory Committee and the Scheduling and Events Committee.

Through these committees, Cunard has the opportunity to meet with students and staff from other departments. They discuss issues such as student living conditions and housing needs, meal choices, book prices and bookstore services, campus events and other services.

Cunard helps Wesleyan staff and faculty find places to live through the Rental Properties Program and House Sales Program. He also contributes to creating living space for local residents. As a Middlesex Habitat for Humanity board member and site supervisor, Cunard devotes much of his free time helping to build homes with other Habitat members. He also spends time with his wife of 36 years, Donna, his grown daughters Sarah and Elisabeth, and his 10-month-old granddaughter, Brianna.

In whatever time is left, Cunard enjoys restoring foreign cars. In the past-three years, he’s refinished a Triumph TR6 and Jaguar XKE, as well as an MGB for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Currently he’s half-way finished with an Austin Healey 3000.

“I put them in shows, or drive them to work or around town. They’re just my passion,” he says.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Assistant Dean of Student Services Co-Advises Student Judicial Board


Kevin Butler, assistant dean of Student Services, is the contact person for students with physical differences and co-advisor of the Student Judicial Board.
 
Posted 09/09/05
Q: When were you hired at Wesleyan?

A: I was hired in fall of all 2004 and started in January 2005 as the assistant dean of Student Services.

Q: What led you to working at Wesleyan?

A: I have excelled in conflict resolution and judicial affairs at several institutions. I thought it would be interesting to advise a student judicial board, which is something I hadn’t done before.

Q: And what is your role with the Wesleyan Student Judicial Board?

A: I’m co-advisor with Michael Whaley. It gives me the opportunity to mentor students and help them understand what it means to “uphold community standards,” and how to successfully communicate that through the decisions the Board makes.

Q: Where did you learn about the judicial board process?

A: I have worked on judicial boards at Johnson and Wales and been the primary judicial hearing officer for my area as a hall director and area coordinator at Bryant University, Johnson and Wales and Quinnipiac University. In total I have about eight years experience being involved in judicial processes at various institutions. I wanted to be a part of a process that leaned more towards student involvement rather solely administrators making all the decisions.

Q: What are your other duties as an assistant dean?

A: My position exists to support students in their endeavor to succeed here at Wesleyan. In addition, I have replaced Dean Rick Culliton as the main contact for student with physical differences. Last semester I was able to streamline the process for students who need accommodations under The Americans with Disabilities Act/504 who requested housing and other accommodations. The next step for me will be to start working to offer programming that may help our community become more aware of how people with physical and learning differences are living and functioning every day.

Q: Do you interact with students on a daily basis?

A: I do have some interaction with students on a daily basis, however not as much as I would like. Because I’m new on the staff here, students are just realizing that I can be a resource for them. During orientation for the class of ’09 I was able to meet a number of incoming and returning students and start building a rapport with them.

Q: What are some of their concerns or questions, and how do you go about resolving problems?

A: I have had the opportunity to talk with some students regarding judicial procedures, sanctions and disability and difference accommodations but I think that being here at the beginning of the term will make it easier for me to make connections with students.

I am very honest with students. When they come to me seeking advice I try to be constructive and developmental. If I don’t know the answer to a questions I try to steer them in the right direction towards someone who is better suited to provide them with the information they are seeking. I always try to get the student to look at both sides of any situation and empower the student to speak up for themselves if that is necessary and/or take responsibility for their part in the situation.

Q: What other offices do you meet or collaborate with?

A: I collaborate with Graduate Student Services, Residence Life, the Class Deans, Health Services, Behavioral Health and Student Activities and Academic Affairs.

Q: Do you feel most students are aware of all the services Wesleyan offers?

A: Probably not. I only say that because there so many.

Q: What goes on during your day here?

A: It varies from day to day. It is the way Student Affairs professionals survive. It is extremely difficult to anticipate what any day will bring. I am very happy to be working at an institution where my student affairs colleagues understand how important it is to be flexible and have a wealth of knowledge regarding student life issues that ensures our preparedness in case of emergency and celebration.

Q: Why do you enjoy working with students and their issues?

A: I enjoy working with all students but especially those students that are working through situations for the first time. I enjoy having conversations with students regarding their reasons for being at Wesleyan and how getting an education may be one of the most important things they will ever do.

Q: What qualities does it take to be the assistant dean of Student Services?

A: When I am asked this question I am reminded of a book I once read in Philosophy 400 class “Insight into Insight”. One of the books topics was the “ah-ha” factor; the realization of an idea. When you are able to witness that process it can be absolutely inspirational. It takes patience and understanding to work in Student Services. There always seems to be someone who needs something. And there’s the rub. Helping students is what keeps me enthused about what I do.

Q: Where did you attend college and what are your degrees in?

A: I got my bachelor’s of arts in theater from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, and my master’s of fine art in performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Q: Are you still interested in the arts? What else?

A: I am very interested in film and theater. I used to play a lot of racquetball until I came to Wesleyan. Now I play a lot of squash. I sing in my church choir and play volleyball once a week. I do a little writing when I can which has been happily complicated by the birth of my son.

Q: And what is his name? And your wife’s?

A: Marshall. He’s seven months old. My wife Carleen works at Quinnipiac University. She coordinates community service and experiential learning.

Q: What sums up your personality?

A: I am always willing to help.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wes-HAUL Volunteers Help Make the Move


 

At top, Wes-Haul volunteers Daniel Rubin ’06 and Hanako Moondance ’06 carry a refrigerator into freshman Jennifer Bunin’s room in the Fauver Field Residence during Arrival Day Aug. 29. At right, Ian Renner ’08 helps carry students’ belongings into Clark Hall.

 
Posted 09/09/05
U-HAUL? Not here. Leave that up to Wes-HAUL, a team of volunteers that welcomed new students to campus. They unloaded cars, carried belongings, directed traffic and answered questions during students’ Arrival Day Aug. 29.

Wes-HAUL started five years ago as a small University Relations initiative and has evolved into a cross-university effort. More than 35 volunteers, including Wesleyan staff members, five spouses and kids of staff members, Diversity Peer Educators, and members of the football team, participated this year. All volunteers received a Wes-HAUL t-shirt, breakfast and lunch.

“This year, everyone worked so hard and was genuinely welcoming despite the hot and humid day,” says Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of Alumni Relations and secretary of the Alumni Association. “I love being part of the team and I look forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come.”

Wes-HAUL volunteer Ian Renner ’08 manned Clark Hall, where lived during his freshman year. By 10:30 a.m. he had already moved in two mattress covers and two car loads worth of student belongings.

“I’m enjoying meeting and welcoming the freshmen,” he says, during a break. “It’s good to see the new people moving in the hall.”

Daniel and Louise Walunis of Cleveland, Ohio appreciated the Wes-HAUL help when moving their daughter, Valerie ’09 into her residence.

“Before I could even park the car and return, they had moved everything in,” Daniel Walunis says. “The helpers made the transition very smooth. It was well managed.”

Christine Colfer, administrative assistant for Regional Programs and Networks volunteered for Wes-HAUL, a “once a year opportunity” to meet new students and parents. Her husband, Daniel Colfer, a Public Safety officer, and their daughter Haynie, 12, were also on hand to help.

“Being a staff member, I don’t get to get out much and see the kids and the dorms,” Christine Colfer says from the Fauver Field Residences. “And they give you lunch and a t-shirt. What could be better?”

Kiersten Haynie liked what she saw, too.

“I want to come to Wesleyan someday,” Haynie says. “It seems like a good place to go to school.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer next year can call 860-685-3836 or e-mail mjkingsley@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

100 Expected at Alumni and Parent Volunteer Weekend


Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of Alumni Relations, Ciaran Escoffery ’00 and Roxanne Williams ’98 share a laugh during a previous Alumni and Parent Volunteer Weekend at Wesleyan.
 
Posted 09/09/05

When Karen and Michael Haley sent their son, John ‘07, to Wesleyan in 2004, they were anxious to learn more about the community in which he would be spending the next four years.

That year, they attended an Alumni and Parent Volunteer Weekend. They not only became informed, they became involved.

“We were so impressed that weekend with how cordially we were welcomed and made to feel a part of the Wesleyan community, that we decided to become parent volunteers,” Michael Haley says. “Our son is our one and only and it has always been our pleasure to participate in his activities.”

The Haleys will return to campus Sept. 23-24 to attend another Alumni and Parent Volunteer Weekend. They are among more than 100 registered for the informational event.

“Alumni and Parent Volunteer Weekend is designed to better inform both new and experienced volunteers about all the exciting things that are happening here, and give us a chance to thank our volunteers for the time and talents they give to Wesleyan,” says Gemma Ebstein, director of Alumni and Parent Relations.

During the course of the weekend, volunteers have the option of attending Wesleyan Annual Fund (WAF) and other Alumni Association meetings, as well as special programs with Wesleyan President Doug Bennet, Vice President for University Relations Barbara Jan Wilson and Board of Trustees chairman Jim Dresser ’63. Jack Mitchell ’61, CEO and chairman of Mitchells of Westport, Conn. and Richards of Greenwich, Conn. and author of Hug Your Customers, The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results, is this year’s keynote speaker.

Two special classes, “Parent Volunteering 101” and “Electronic Tools and Resources for Alumni and Parent Volunteers” will be offered. In addition, attendees will receive a tour of the new Fauver Residence Halls.

Since attending the first volunteer weekend, the Haleys have twice assisted at WESeminars; volunteered for Spring and Fall calling; spoke at two WestFest Parent-To-Parent Seminars; volunteered at a swimming championship, and twice volunteered to assist with moving-in day. This year they will become members of the WESeminar Committee and the Executive Committee of the Parents’ Council.

“Since my son so much enjoys being on campus with his friends, he only comes home for school holidays, so being on campus gives us an excuse to occasionally have lunch or dinner with him,” Karen Haley says. “More importantly, we also get to meet other parents whose students are facing the same experiences and challenges as John and have the opportunity to exchange practical information and ideas with them.”

The Wesleyan Annual Fund National Committee, WESeminar Committee, Parents Council Executive Committee, Nominating Subcommittee, Alumni Association Executive Committee, and several 2006 Reunion Committees will hold meeting during the weekend.

Wesleyan has approximately 3,401 active volunteers and always welcomes more.

Makaela Kingsley ’98, associate director of Alumni Relations, urges guests who have never volunteered to attend this event. She guarantees they’ll leave with a volunteer assignment.

“Some volunteers help with a single event or project a year, while others chair a club or committee and give their time to Wesleyan every week,” Kingsley says. “But each and every one of them is important. They are the nuts and bolts behind planning events, raising funds and building Wesleyan’s reputation.”

The weekend is free of charge and financial assistance is available to help with travel and accommodations for those who need it. Volunteers are welcome to bring guests, spouses and children.

Shuttles will be available to transport guests between campus and the Inn at Middletown, where several of the sessions will take place, throughout the weekend.

For more information or to register for Alumni and Parent Volunteer Weekend, contact Kingsley at mjkingsley@wesleyan.edu or call 860-685-3836, or Camille Dolansky, assistant director of Parent Programs at cdolansky@wesleyan.edu or call 860-685-3756.

Additional information on volunteering opportunities can be found at http://www.wesleyan.edu/alumni/volunteers or at http://www.wesleyan.edu/parents/volunteer/.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at Wesleyan


Posted 09/09/05
The University Recycling Committee has implemented a new campus-wide recycling system.

Mixed paper, glass, metal, plastic, corrugated cardboard, batteries, printer cartridges and even old furniture can now be collected and recycled.

“Recycling is required by law in Connecticut, and is the obligation of every member of the Wesleyan community,” says Bill Nelligan, the Wesleyan recycling coordinator and associate director of Environmental Health and Safety. “We hope that the Wesleyan community will join this effort to make Wesleyan a leader in waste reduction and environmental responsibility.”

Nelligan says recycling saves resources, energy, reduces pollution, cuts generation of greenhouse gases and reduces disposal costs.

Members of the University Recycling Committee worked for a year on the project, ordering new recycle bins, labels, creating brochures and designing a Wesleyan Recycles Web site, http://www.wesleyan.edu/recycling. The site provides answers to frequently asked questions, a guide to reducing and reusing items, recycling tips and links to the National Recycling Coalition and the City of Middletown’s recycling information. A detailed list of what can and cannot be recycled at Wesleyan is posted on this site.

Committee members are currently distributing recycling containers at departments and residences campus-wide. Custodians will be responsible for removing recycling materials from the hallways and trash rooms and place them in the appropriate outdoor container.

Nelligan test-trialed the new recycle bins in Physical Plant. He placed the bins under staff people’s desks.

“It took 30 days for one office person to fill a trash two-thirds of the way full. Everything else he would haven thrown away was recyclable,” Nelligan says. “Recycling is definitely working at Physical Plant, and we’re hoping it can work campus-wide.”

Ninety-five-gallon recycling bins have been scattered in 30 locations around campus.

Major recycling categories are mixed paper, glass/metal/plastic and corrugated cardboard.

Paper products that can be recycled include white/colored paper, envelopes, manila folders, carbonless office forms, newspapers, magazines, hardback/paperback books, junk mail and corrugated cardboard.

Glass/metal/plastic items that can be recycled include plastic containers, glass jars, bottles, beverage cans, milk and juice boxes, aluminum food containers and clean aluminum foil are recyclable.

Paper, cardboard and glass/metal/plastic bins are available at locations around campus.

Styrofoam, batteries, florescent bulbs, computers and electronic equipment, printer cartridges, motor oil, scrap metal and even old dorm furniture and mattresses also can be recycled. For more information on where to drop these items off at, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/recycling/where-category.html.

To order a bin, or for additional information, visit the Wesleyan Recycles Web site at or call 860-685-2771. For pick up call 860-685-3400 or e-mail recycling@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Reaches Out to Students, Citizens Displaced by Hurricane


Posted 09/09/05
Wesleyan University will offer Connecticut residents enrolled at colleges and universities in areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina the opportunity to take fall semester classes at Wesleyan, and Wesleyan students, faculty and staff have begun to coordinate other efforts for relief opportunities.

The university has reached out to students from Connecticut who attend colleges in areas affected by the storm. These students may apply for status as visiting students and enroll in classes on a space-available basis. Wesleyan will work with families to ensure that their total costs do not exceed their existing commitments to the schools in which they had been enrolled.

To date two students have accepted the offer and several more are working their way through the application process.

The deadline to register was Sept. 12. Admission decisions were made on a rolling basis. Students will need to enroll by Monday, Sept. 19, since Wesleyan classes will be in their third week.

Campus housing is nearly full, so most visiting students will be expected to commute. The University will assign what housing is available to students from outside commuting distance.

Students in the program will have their courses posted to an official Wesleyan transcript, which will be made available to them upon their request.

Some students may want to consider options other than enrolling in classes. Students who wish to speak with an adviser about either community service or internship possibilities may call Wesleyan’s Career Resources Center (www.wesleyan.edu/crc/) at 860-685-2180.

Katrina occurred before students returned to campus from summer break but already the Wesleyan community has begun to respond. Numerous faculty, staff, and students have reported making contributions of cash and supplies to The Red Cross and other charity organization. A candlelight vigil on Sept. 8 drew more than 150 people. A benefit party for people of color affected by Hurricane Katrina was held at Malcolm X House on Sept. 9 and student groups met Sept. 12 to discuss further efforts.

“This is an initial response to a tragic and uncertain situation,” says Wesleyan President Doug Bennet. “It is also an important moment for the educational community to come together to help these students.”

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

A Technological “Academic Commons” for Liberal Arts Colleges


Academic Commons, a Web site developed by two Wesleyan staff members and a staff member from Alma College launched in August.
 
Posted 09/09/05
Colleagues from liberal arts colleges interested in technology-related issues can read original articles on the topic, share their own ideas and even collaborate with their peers on a Web site launched this month called Academic Commons (http://www.academiccommons.org).

The site offers a forum for investigating and defining the role that technology can play in liberal arts education.

The idea for the project came out of a series of meetings that took place at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College. Michael Roy, director of Academic Computing Services and Digital Projects, and John Ottenhoff of Alma College spearheaded the project. Jennifer Curran, functional project manager for Wesleyan’s EPortfolio, is the publication’s managing editor.

Roy says the intent was to create a space where faculty, technologists, librarians and other stakeholders in the academic enterprise could think critically about the impact of technology on liberal education.

“There are many other venues for talking about technology and education more generally, and there are plenty of opportunities for technologists to talk with other technologists, and librarians with other librarians, and so forth, but we did not find any other space that looks at this particular niche,” Roy says.

Academic Commons publishes essays, reviews, interviews, showcases of innovative uses of technology and vignettes that critically examine technology uses in the classroom. The first edition features essays on copyright issues, using technology in learning to speak the language of film and the dangers of ”just-in-time” education. The site offers links to a variety of interesting teaching, learning and technology projects.

The Web site also has built-in collaboration software to encourage people to use the space to work together on projects.

Roy and Curran foresee building a genuine community of like-minded people all working in this specialized territory.

“We are all wrestling with the complex and evolving relationships among technology, new media, and liberal arts education,” Curran says. “Technology challenges higher education professionals to think beyond conventional notions of the liberal arts and to broaden their understanding of what it means to be ‘liberally educated.’ Our hope is that our counterparts at institutions of higher education across the country will find this space useful in their efforts to explore these ideas and to take an active part in shaping the relationship between technology and liberal arts education.”

 
By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

Going . . . Construction crews demolished sections of the old Alumni Gym, also known as “the Cage” July 20 through Aug. 5. The new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center building will be constructed in this location. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

 

Going . . .
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GONE.

Fitness Coordinator Promotes Active, Healthy Lifestyles for Wesleyan Employees


Heather Minetti, adult fitness program coordinator, climbs Last Dollar Pass at 11,000 feet during a trip from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah this summer.
 
Posted 08/17/05
Q: How do you apply your love for exercising and fitness enthusiasm into your position as the Wesleyan Adult Fitness Program coordinator?

A: I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Wesleyan community. Here, we are surrounded by a very diverse and interesting staff and an administration that actively supports and views opportunities for personal wellness as a benefit that should be available to all. Within walking distance from all corners of campus are outstanding facilities, including indoor and outdoor tracks and tennis courts, one of the finest natatoriums in New England, a new 10,000 square foot fitness center as well as new squash courts. These just scratch the surface. It is easy to get excited about coming to work in this kind of an environment.

Q: Do you consider yourself to be a positive role model for the Wes community?

A: I try to role model a healthy active lifestyle, a positive attitude and I try to encourage and support safe and effective participation at all levels of intensity, in our fitness programs. Over the years, I have seen many self-professed “non-exercisers” blossom into athletes and make tremendous lifestyle changes. Helping someone break through a personal fitness barrier is particularly satisfying.

Q: Do you coordinate classes and teach?

A: My role is to develop, market and assure the provision of a range of wellness programming for all staff. Points of emphasis include the hiring of quality, experienced, instructors, ensuring diversity in the type and intensity of classes and, most importantly, the safety of all participants.

I look forward to the close interaction, camaraderie and feedback when actively participating and routinely teach at least one class each semester. This summer, Wesleyan supported my participation in an excellent two-day conference on osteoporosis that I hope to integrate into my work.

Q: What are a few examples of Adult Fitness classes at Wesleyan?

A: Our goal is to offer a range of wellness opportunities and to encourage safe participation at each level of intensity. We have offered fun, movement oriented activities like ballroom and swing dance, a variety of stretching/toning classes, tai chi, yoga, pilates, as well as strength training, low-impact aerobics, water aerobics and sport specific classes such as squash instruction.

Q: You’re also the Lunch & Learn Program coordinator. Tell me a bit about that program.

A: The Lunch and Learn program is an educational series that focuses on current health and wellness as well as quality of life topics and issues. This past year featured nationally recognized physicians in the fields of dermatology and cancer care as well as a debate about the Atkins Diet.

Q: Why should the average, sit-at-a-desk and stare-at-a-computer all day Wesleyan employee take advantage of these programs?

A: There is no down side to taking advantage of the outstanding facilities we have at Wesleyan and by adding a bit of exercise to your day. Whether you join us for a walk, or try tai-chi or ballroom dance, ice skating or do some strength training, you will feel better, interact with some fascinating people, laugh more and, you just might return to that computer refreshed and energized for the afternoon.

Q: I understand you recently returned from a bike trip out west. Where did you go?

A: A group of friends got together and completed an epic six-night trip on mountain bikes from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah. This was a self-guided trip following unpaved logging and forest service roads with an occasional technical riding section. The route is linked by a series of one-room huts that we reserved almost a year in advance.

Q: How many miles did you trek, and/or how many mountains did you climb?

A: The trip was just a little over 200 miles long. As we traveled along, we either passed by or traversed through three distinct mountain ranges: the San Miguel and Sneffels Ranges in Colorado and the San Juans in Utah. All three feature multiple peaks in excess of 12,000 feet. Mount Sneffels, at more than 14,000 feet is the highest peak. All were heavily snow covered.

Q: How long have you biked, and what other physical activities do you enjoy, and why?

A. I have been biking since I was 10-years-old. My first group adventure ride was a trip from Nova Scotia to Bakerville, Connecticut at age 16. In addition to biking, I have a passion for cross-country skiing, classic style. This year I am committed to taking a couple of lessons in freestyle or skate-skiing. Other outdoor sports that I enjoy are hiking, flat water kayaking and recently I began to do a little running.

Q: Where are your degrees from and in what?

A: I have a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy from the University of Colorado, a bachelors degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut, and a masters degree in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut.

Q: How long have you worked at Wesleyan?

A: I have been working at Wesleyan since January 1991.

Q: Do you have other hobbies in addition to fitness-related hobbies?

A: Yes, I play in a cribbage tournament each summer and I love to read as well as enjoy quiet time.

Q: How many bikes do you have?

A: I have both mountain and road bikes. I bought my mountain bike used about 12 years ago for $150 from the Mountain Biking Center at Mount Snow, Vermont. Great deal, great bike, which I have put at least a couple thousand miles on.

Last fall, as a birthday gift, my husband purchased a new road bike for me. A Trek 5000. It really is a finely crafted, aggressive riding machine. I am working hard to elevate my riding in order to match the performance of this racing machine, and to keep up with Joan Adams, assistant to the dean of admission.

Q: How long have you been married?

A: My husband, Gary, and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We feel fortunate as our interests in adventure travel and fitness have merged over the years. We hike, bike, paddle and ski together. One point of diversion is Gary’s interest in long-distance backpacking. I prefer a long day-hike. Who can argue with a nice hot shower and a glass of wine at the end of the day?

Q: Anything else I should know about you?

A: Thank God I married an Italian who knows his way around a kitchen. Cooking is just not my strength.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

49 Fellows Present Research during Hughes Poster Session


At left, Hughes Associate, Mellon Fellow and Earth and Environmental Sciences Major Maya Gomes ’06 discusses her research with interested onlookers during the 17th annual Hughes Summer Research Program Poster Session Aug. 5. Gomes’ poster was titled “Understanding the Genesis of Jarosite in Qualibou Caldera, Saint Lucia as an Analogue for Mars.”
 
Posted 08/17/05
Chimpanzee studies, eating behaviors, mice brains and even sperm banks were topics of research presented at the 17th annual Hughes Summer Research Program Poster Session Aug. 5 at the Exley Science Center.

After 10 weeks of intense research, 49 Hughes Fellows presented their projects. Hughes Fellows are supported by the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The fellows worked one-on-one with Wesleyan faculty advisors.

Students presented a wide array of projects. Matthew Donne ‘07 presented his work on “Hedgehog Signaling and Blood Vessel Development.” Owen Kiely ’06 presented research on “Uncovering the Timetable for Functional Incorporation of New Neurons in the Adult Brain.” And Alexandra Ogrodnik ’06 presented her research titled “Gypsy Moths, Invaders vs. Local Caterpillars.”

For the students presenting, the program gave them a variety of research opportunities that would’ve been difficult to replicate during the school year.

“What I liked about this most was that it gave me a lot of field experience that I otherwise would never have had,” says Daniel Silva ’07. “It really showed us how different the field could be from laboratory conditions.”

Silva and Ulyana Sorokopoud ’08, both Hughes Fellows, presented the poster “”Metapopulation Analyses of Freshwater Fishes and Macrovertebrates: Ecosystem Assessment of the Matabesset and Eight Mile River Water Sheds.”

“Doing this work in the field was really eye-opening,” says Sorokopoud. “For example, we took multiple times samples over a month. During that period we could see a number of changes that took place in the habitat, some subtle, some not so subtle. But they were nothing we would’ve seen under lab conditions.”

For Hughes Fellow Jenna Gopilan ’07, who presented “The Effects of Serotonin on Adult Neurogenesis in the Dentale Gyrus of DNA Pkcs Mice,” the experience was all about lab conditions, which was a good thing.

“I was able to devote entire days in the lab and perform more experiments, which helped me generate a lot more useful data,” she says. “I could have never fit that much work in with my class schedule during the semester. Getting a chance to devote full days and weeks to my work in the lab was perfect.”

The poster session was accompanied with laboratory tours and a colloquium. Martha Gilmore, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. Gilmore spoke on “Mars: Wetter than Ever.”

Michael Weir, professor of biology and chair of the Biology Department is the director of the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences. Laurel Appel, visiting associate professor of biology and senior research associate is the program coordinator.

Students applying for the 2006 Hughes Program must do so by March 3, 2006. The grant budget allows for 18 stipends, but with generous contributions from participating departments and faculty, as well as Financial Aid funds, the program can accept between 40 and 50 students each year. Students are responsible for their own housing.

For more information contact Maureen Snow, administrative assistant for the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, at msnow@wesleyan.edu.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Psychology Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Steven Stemler, a new assistant professor of psychology, will teach Psychological Statistics this fall.
 
Posted 08/17/05
Steve Stemler has joined the Psychology Department as an assistant professor.

In an era of increasing specialization, Stemler says he admires Wesleyan for recognizing the importance of training undergraduate students to value the diversity of knowledge accumulated across different fields of study.

“There is a tremendous value to studying such topics as classical languages, hard sciences, social sciences and the arts simultaneously,” he says. “I believe that a liberal arts education results in a well-rounded person who will be capable of seeing broad perspectives on complex issues without being stuck into the kind of black and white thinking that seems to be increasingly encouraged in today’s society.”

This fall, Stemler will be teaching Psychological Statistics and anticipates teaching other courses on educational psychology, intelligence, the psychology of good and evil and the psychology of conflict resolution.

The Washington State native received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington and his master’s of education and Ph.D from Boston College. He completed his postdoctorial research at Yale University.

Before coming to Wesleyan, Stemler was the assistant director of the Yale University Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise (PACE) for more than three years. He also held an appointment with the Framingham State College International Educational Program, a program in which faculty members are sent to various developing countries to teach intensive, two-week courses in their area of specialization. Stemler taught courses in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

Stemler’s research intertwines education and psychology. He studies the purposes of schooling articulated by school mission statements, historical documents, legal court precedent and other sources. His goal is to develop assessments of creativity, wisdom, social and emotional skills that meet the same rigorous standards for testing quality as conventional tests.

He presented a paper titled “Measuring teachers’ practical skills,” at the annual meeting of the International Association of Cognitive Education and Psychology in Durham, England in July; and another paper titled “Practical intelligence and teacher preparation” at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Montreal, Quebec in April.

Stemler lives in Hamden, Conn. with his wife Karen and their two yellow labs, Alex and Jack. He enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, walking the dogs, and spending time with his wife.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor