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Winter Ice Storm Freezes Wesleyan’s Landscape

Following a winter storm and subzero temperatures on Jan. 20-22, students returned from Winter Recess to a campus crystallized in an icy sheathing. Several trees on campus succumbed to broken limbs.

Pictured below are scenes on campus on Jan. 22: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Wesleyan Assumes Leadership of Center for Creative Youth

Wesleyan’s Center for Creative Youth (CCY), is a precollege summer residency program in the arts for students ages 14–18. Talented high school students from across Connecticut, the United States and around the world will gather for four weeks of intensive study in the arts.

Wesleyan’s Center for Creative Youth (CCY), is a precollege summer residency program in the arts for students ages 14–18. Talented high school students from across Connecticut, the United States and around the world will gather for four weeks of intensive study in the arts.

As first announced in October 2018, Wesleyan has assumed leadership of the Center for Creative Youth (CCY) as an official program of the University. The first CCY camps under Wesleyan’s management will be offered in summer 2019. For 42 years, CCY was held on Wesleyan’s campus, but run by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). With state education cuts and the resulting financial strain experienced at CREC, CCY’s existence was in jeopardy. This transition to Wesleyan is not only the beginning of a bright new chapter for CCY, but the continuation of a beloved series.

CCY is a four-week precollege summer residential program. High school students from across Connecticut, the United States, and around the world gain hands-on experience in an advanced, progressive curriculum that focuses on performing, creative, and studio arts, while enhancing their critical thinking, interdisciplinary and multicultural learning, and leadership skills. Students leave the program with a better perspective on career and higher education choices. Approximately 60–100 students, ranging in age from 14 to 18, participate each summer. The program features daily arts classes in a variety of concentrations, including music, theater, creative writing, musical theater, and visual arts.

Employees on the Move

The Office of Human Resources announces the following hires, transitions, and departures between August and December 2018:

HIRES
Matt Glasz, director for annual giving, on Aug. 1
James Huerta, associate dean of admission, on Aug. 6
Emma Walsh, assistant director for internships and campus recruiting in Gordon Career Center, on Aug. 6
Michael Acosta, study abroad advisor in the Fries Center for Global Studies, on Aug. 13
Christian Camerota, director of editorial content strategy and creation in University Communications, Aug. 13
Aracely Montes, administrative assistant in chemistry, on Aug. 14
Jessica Tyler, web specialist in University Communications, on Aug. 27
David Chearo, chief of staff in the President’s Office, on Sept. 4
Joshua Blodgett, facilities business coordinator and rental property manager in Construction Services, on Sept. 10

Q&A with Amy Grillo on Education Studies

In addition to teaching at Wesleyan, Amy Grillo works with a nonprofit media/production company that makes films about teaching and teachers. “Our aim is to make visible the actual work of excellent teaching … (and) also to inform and inspire those currently in the classroom or those considering the profession.”

In this Q&A, we speak with Amy Grillo, associate professor of the practice in education studies. This spring, she is teaching Schools in Society and Practicum in Education Studies.

Q: You joined Wesleyan’s faculty during the fall 2018 semester. Welcome to Wesleyan! What are your overall thoughts so far on the University?

A: I keep pinching myself, which is to say that I am incredibly happy to have landed here. I’ve found the students to be lively and engaged, both with their academic work and with the world beyond Wesleyan. The staff and faculty seem similarly energetic and positive. I was most impressed getting to know this year’s batch of new faculty during orientation in August because they seemed to hit the ground with a natural interest in collaborating and supporting each other in both teaching and research, and very open to thinking creatively about pedagogy. Few things could make me happier than working with people who care about teaching as much as I do.

Q: What led you to Wesleyan? Where were you working/teaching prior to Wesleyan?

A: Immediately prior to coming to Wesleyan, I spent six years at Mount Holyoke College, where I taught in the Psychology & Education Department and also in the graduate Master of Arts in Teaching Program. That was supposed to be a one-year visiting faculty gig, but it kept expanding. Prior to that, I was a core faculty member at Vermont College, an unorthodox, low-residency BA program for working adult students. This was an amazing little college, where students met all the requirements of a liberal arts degree by designing and conducting a series of 16-credit interdisciplinary independent studies with the guidance of a faculty mentor and a group of peers. We did teacher education through this model as well, which was a wonderful way to prepare teachers who know how to break out of the boxes that the current system of public education so often puts them in. I’ve also taught at places ranging from Harvard to Hampshire College, I’ve served as senior class dean at Mount Holyoke, and I was a dean of students at the tiny, democratically run, progressive Marlboro College, in Vermont. In all of these settings, my work has always been about looking closely at how we think about and conduct various processes of teaching and learning. So, when I saw that Wesleyan was looking for someone to work with the Center for Pedagogical Innovation and develop and teach courses in education studies, it seemed too good to be true.

Brommer Hired as Associate VP for Human Resources

Lisa Brommer

On Dec. 3, Lisa Brommer was hired as associate vice president for human resources, succeeding Julia Hicks, who retired in September. Brommer comes to Wesleyan from Colorado College, where she was serving as interim director of human resources. In her work at Colorado College, she was known for creating professional development opportunities for staff, improving recruitment processes to ensure a diverse applicant pool, building leadership capacity at all levels, and putting systems in place to identify and retain top talent.

Brommer received her BA at the University of Sioux Falls and her MA from the University of South Dakota and earned both her SPHR and SHRM-SCP designations from the Society for Human Resource Management.

“In my short time at Wesleyan, it’s been exciting to hear from many campus leaders and the HR team about how we can better serve the campus community and ensure that we are as strong in our support of campus as we can be,” she said. “Helping campus locate talent, develop talent, and retain talent is central to the HR team’s mission and will be our focus going forward. I’m encouraged by the support I’ve received from the HR team, Andy Tanaka, and the many colleagues who have welcomed me to Wesleyan, and I look forward to doing some awesome work here on behalf of our students, staff, and faculty.”

Olt Joins Finance and Administration as VP for Finance

On Oct. 8, Christopher Olt joined Wesleyan as associate vice president for finance. Olt took on a role last held by Nate Peters before his promotion to vice president for the Office of Finance and Administration. Upon Peters’s retirement, the leadership structure of Finance and Administration was reorganized, reestablishing this new role.

Olt comes to Wesleyan with significant finance experience in education, most recently at Notre Dame High School of West Haven, where he was responsible for all aspects of finance, budget, and other operational areas including physical plant, information technology, campus safety, and risk management. He was previously a senior manager with KPMG and knows Wesleyan well, having worked on the University’s financial audit for several years.

Olt received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Connecticut and is a licensed certified public accountant.

 

 

Meislahn to Retire as Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, recently announced that she will retire. Meislahn will leave the University in September after the arrival of the Class of 2023, the 20th class she will admit to Wesleyan.

Meislahn came to Wesleyan from her previous role at Cornell University in January 2000 and is the longest-serving dean of admission in Wesleyan history. Over the past two decades, she has overseen a period of enormous growth and progress in Wesleyan admissions. For the Class of 2004, the first class admitted under Meislahn, Wesleyan received fewer than 7,000 applications and had a 27 percent acceptance rate. In contrast, nearly 13,000 applicants sought a spot in the Class of 2022, which enrolled this fall, and the acceptance rate was only 17 percent. Applications from students around the world increased dramatically during this period, and the international student population on campus has doubled.

In an email to the campus community, President Michael Roth ’78 wrote, “Nancy has led an admission and financial aid operation that embodies core Wesleyan values. She spearheaded several important initiatives to make Wesleyan more affordable for families in need of financial assistance, and expanded access to students from underrepresented backgrounds who may not have even considered applying here in the past.” Examples include building on long-standing relationships with organizations like Prep for Prep and A Better Chance and creating new partnerships with QuestBridge and the Posse Veteran Scholars Program.

Detroit Native Slobin Pens New Book on the Motor City’s Musical History

Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, Emeritus, is the author of Motor City Music: A Detroiter Looks Back, published by Oxford University Press (November 2018).

Slobin’s book is the first-ever historical study of music across all genres in any American metropolis.

According to the publisher:

Detroit in the 1940s–60s was not just “the capital of the 20th century” for industry and the war effort, but also for the quantity and extremely high quality of its musicians, from jazz to classical to ethnic.

Slobin, a Detroiter from 1943, begins with a reflection of his early life with his family and others, then weaves through the music traffic of all the sectors of a dynamic and volatile city. Looking first at the crucial role of the public schools in fostering talent, Motor City Music surveys the neighborhoods of older European immigrants and of the later huge waves of black and white southerners who migrated to Detroit to serve the auto and defense industries. Jazz stars, polka band leaders, Jewish violinists, and figures like Lily Tomlin emerge in the spotlight. Shaping institutions, from the Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers through radio stations and Motown, all deployed music to bring together a city rent by relentless segregation, policing, and spasms of violence. The voices of Detroit’s poets, writers, and artists round out the chorus.

Slobin grew up with classical and folk music backgrounds. His early work on folk music of Afghanistan shifted to studies of Eastern European Jewish music in Europe and America, film music, and theory of ethnomusicology.

 

Boulware Presents Paper on Labor Market Conditions at Economics Meeting

Karl Boulware

Karl Boulware

Karl Boulware, assistant professor of economics, presented a paper at the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) Annual Meeting on Jan. 4. The three-day meeting was attended by more than 13,000 economists, who gathered to network and celebrate new achievements in economic research.

Boulware’s paper, titled “Labor Market Conditions and Charges of Discrimination: Is There a Link?” examines whether the degree of labor market conditions affects the frequency of claims of discrimination based on race, sex, age, national origin, color, and disability.

“Our findings have implications for how macroeconomic policies might be used to promote equal opportunity in the labor market,” Boulware explained.

Economics majors Will Levinson ’19 and Avi Lipton ’20 also contributed to the project as research assistants.

This spring, Boulware is teaching courses on Quantitative Methods in Economics and Monetary Policy Transmission.

Murillo’s Poem Featured in American Poetry Review

John Murillo (Photo courtesy of American Poetry Review)

New poetry by John Murillo, assistant professor of English, is published in the Feb. 2019 issue (Volume 48, No. 1) of American Poetry Review. Murillo also is featured on the publication’s cover page.

His poem, titled “A Refusal to Mourn the Deaths, by Gunfire, of Three Men in Brooklyn,” is a nod to Dylan Thomas’s famous poem, “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.”

Sawhney Speaks at Tata Mumbai LitFest

Hirsh Sawhney, assistant professor of English, coordinator of South Asian Studies, spoke on a panel about the way in which outsiders write about India at Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest. Other panelists included, from left, memoirist Carlo Pizzati, Sawhney, writer Scott Carney, and renowned Indian publisher Karthika VK.

Hirsh Sawhney, assistant professor of English and coordinator of South Asian Studies, second from left, spoke on a panel at Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest about the way in which outsiders write about India. Pictured, from left, are fellow panelists: memoirist Carlo Pizzati, writer Scott Carney, and renowned Indian publisher Karthika VK.

Hirsh Sawhney, assistant professor of English and coordinator of South Asian Studies, recently participated in Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest. The ninth annual event was held Nov. 15–18 in Mumbai and was attended by more than 100 participants from around the world.

At the festival, Sawhney participated in a panel discussion about the way in which outsiders write about India, and how outside perspectives have shaped both Euro-American and South Asian perspectives on India.

“A lot of this conversation focused on the undying legacy of empire, and we had a nuanced conversation about issues of representation and authenticity, a discussion that seemed very relevant to parallel conversations occurring here at Wes,” he said. “The conversations were obviously focused on books and writers, and there were some big writers there, such as Allan Hollinghurst. But there were also provocative conversations about contemporary political issues, such as the rise of right-wing extremist policy and rhetoric in both Indian and North American politics.”

Employees Honored for Service to Wesleyan

On Nov. 2, the Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Service Recognition Luncheon for employees who have worked at Wesleyan for 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 or more years.

On Nov. 2, the Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Service Recognition Luncheon for employees who have worked at Wesleyan for 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 or more years.

On Nov. 2, the Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Service Recognition Luncheon for employees who have worked at Wesleyan 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or more years. Following a catered meal, Wesleyan President Michael Roth '78 asked the employees to share a favorite memory or comment on the biggest changes at Wesleyan during their tenure.

Following a catered meal, Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78, pictured at left, asked the employees to share their favorite memories and comment on the biggest changes they faced during their Wesleyan tenure.

Renee Johnson Thornton, dean for the Class of 2022, celebrated 20 years.