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Nominate Faculty for the 2018 Binswanger Prize

John Finn, Mary-Jane Rubenstein and Andrea Roberts and are the recipients of the 2017 Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Last year Wesleyan President Michael Roth honored (from left) John Finn, professor of government; Mary-Jane Rubenstein, professor of religion; and Andrea Roberts, associate professor of the practice, chemistry, with Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching during the 185th Commencement Ceremony on May 28, 2017.
Nominations are now open for 2018 recipients.

 

Recognize the Wesleyan faculty who have had a lasting impact on your academic and personal development by nominating them for the 2018 Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching!

Juniors, seniors, graduate students and Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) are invited to nominate up to three professors for 2018 Binswanger Prizes, which will be awarded during Wesleyan’s Commencement Ceremony on May 27.

The deadline for nominations is Feb. 12, 2018. NOMINATE NOW.

The Binswanger Prize is made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank Binswanger Sr. Hon. ’85 and underscores Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers who are responsible for the university’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Current faculty who have taught at Wesleyan for at least 10 years are eligible. Previous recipients are excluded for a period of 12 years after which they become eligible once again. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee of faculty and members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee.

The criteria for selecting the recipients is excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity and passion. Recommendations may be based on any of the types of teaching that are done at the university including, but not limited to, teaching in lecture courses, seminars, laboratories, creative and performance-based courses, research tutorials and other individual and group tutorials at the undergraduate and graduate level.

 

Rutland Speaks at Gaidar Forum in Moscow

Panelist Peter Rutland is the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought Peter Rutland was invited to speak at a forum held in Moscow this past week.

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, recently spoke on a panel of political economy experts at The Gaidar Forum 2018, held at the Presidential Academy of Economics and Public Administration in Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave the keynote address at the forum.

“How can Russia get onto a more knowledge-intensive, non–resource-based economic sustainable growth path? How can it escape from the middle income trap?” asks Rutland in his talk.

“You could look across the continent to China,” which has been amazingly successful in recent years, he says.

Russian companies do not invest at the same level as their rivals in other countries, Rutland argues, citing weak property rights, excessive role of the state and weak competition as critical reasons.

Mastrogiovanni ’79, Lala Pettibone and the Writing While Female Tour

Heidi Mastrogiovanni ’79 speaks on the Writing While Female 2017 Tour with her friend and fellow author, Teri Emory, whose book is also published by Amberjack. Mastrogiovanni notes that they frequently receive similar questions—on juggling career and home life—but observes that she does not believe John Irving, for instance, is regularly queried on this by his readership.

“The title character is, of course, a Wesleyan graduate,” says author Heidi Mastrogiovanni ’79, of her debut comic novel, Lala Pettibone’s Act Two (Amberjack Publishing, 2017). The novelist herself is also a comic actor, an animal welfare advocate and a screenwriter—and her second novel, sequel Lala Pettibone: Standing Room Only, will be available in August. To celebrate, she and a fellow Amberjack author—with similarly titled books, both with a reference to a second act—visited bookstores and venues across the country to talk about the writer’s life and the ways in which a book written by a female is perceived, welcomed and marketed.

In a question-and-answer interview, Mastrogiovanni speaks about her journey from Wesleyan to cross-country author’s events.

Q: You were a German and theater major at Wesleyan. How did this translate into a career in writing?

H.M.: Looking back, the connection is clear. It was at Wesleyan where I really grew to love spending time in the company of words. We read so much wonderful German literature, it was almost impossible to not be inspired. And being an actor in the Theater Department provided a solid foundation for developing an ear for dialogue—absolutely essential to a writer in any medium. Both majors shared an appreciation for the profound power of words.

After college, I moved to New York (back when you could still get a one-bedroom for less than $500 a month: AKA, the Stone Age) and formed a sketch comedy group with people I met at Manhattan Punch Line Theater. That’s when the urge to write really hit. We needed new material all the time, so I started writing sketches with another performer in the group. I discovered that saying a line and getting a laugh was addictive, and especially compelling when I’d also written the line.

Q: Where did the character of Lala Pettibone come from—how did she arrive in your head?

H.M.: Lala had such an unexpected arrival. My ideas for stories often come from an observed moment, a snippet of thought, a piece of overheard dialogue. Lala had two distinct phases in her journey to the forefront of my mind. It began with the first dog my husband and I adopted together, a wonderful, 12-year-old Beagle we named Eunice Petunia, because it just fit. Eunice had a lot of nicknames, among them “Baba Ganoush” and “Lala.” I have always believed—to borrow from T.S. Eliot’s words regarding the naming of cats—that a dog should have at least three different names.

Months after Eunice joined our family, the phrase “Lala Pettibone, Journalist to the Stars,” popped into my head out of nowhere. That was the first time Lala’s full name appeared to me—although she didn’t end up being a journalist to the stars.

Lala Pettibone is a lot like me in many respects. We’re both Wesleyan graduates, we were both widowed at a young age and found love again in our Act Two, and we both overuse ellipses in our writing. . . .

Kauanui Presents “Politics of Occupy Wall Street” Research in Qatar

J. Kehaulani Kauanui

J. Kehaulani Kauanui in Qatar.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, professor of American studies and anthropology, chair of American studies and director of the Center of the Americas, spent part of winter break in Qatar. She was there to present her research on “Settler Colonialism and the Politics of Occupy Wall Street: Indigeneity and the ‘Other’ 1%” for a panel on “Against Exceptionalism.”

Kauanui joined a global roster of leading scholars in American studies, Middle Eastern studies and other closely related fields who were invited to speak as part of a conference held Jan. 8–11 at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies with support from the Qatar National Research Fund.

The conference, titled “From Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park: The Arab Spring and the De-Centering of American Studies,” was co-organized by Eid Mohamed, assistant professor of American studies and comparative literature at the Doha Institute, and Melani McAlister, associate professor of American studies and international affairs at George Washington University. Its aim was to “internationalize the study of America to enable critical consideration of where and what is America—particularly in relation to the Arab uprisings and developments in the global map of power.”

Presentations from the conference are slated to be included in an edited volume available in late 2018.

For more information on the conference program and participants, visit https://de-centeringamericanstudies.weebly.com.

 

Wesleyan in the News

In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.

Recent Wesleyan News

1. President Michael Roth publishes op-eds in The Washington Post titled, “We can’t let cynics ruin college,” and “What is college for? (Hint: It’s not just about getting in.).” He also sat for an “On Leadership” interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

2. The Conversation: “The dangerous belief that white people are under attack”

Assistant Professor of Psychology Clara Wilkins writes about her research on perceptions of reverse discrimination in light of recent societal trends.

3. Marketplace: “Here comes the tax bill marketing”

Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, is interviewed about the proliferation of advertising campaigns focused on the federal tax reform law after its passage.

4. Hartford Courant: “President Trump Takes Page from P.T. Barnum’s Book”

Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history and chair of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, writes about the legacy of circus creator Phineas T. Barnum in connection with the recent release of the film about his life. Tucker is also associate professor of environmental studies, associate professor of science in society.

5. Association for Psychological Science: “Playing to Chronotype”

Assistant Professor of Psychology Royette Tavernier is interviewed about her research on the topic of sleep.

Recent Alumni News
1. TheNetworkJournal.com: Majora Carter [’88, Hon. ’13]: Social Entrepreneur

This profile of the founder of Sustainable South Bronx details her newest venture, StartUp Box #SouthBronx, “a tech social enterprise designed to help residents of low-income communities participate in the tech economy.”

2. SFGate.com: 5 Lessons You Can Learn from Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John [’99] [Also: Entrepreneur.com, RealwiseRealestate.com, Uncova]

Saint John offers common sense and inspirational keys that she says have helped her in business and in her personal life.

3. BroadwayWorld.com: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Will Honor Lin-Manuel Miranda [’02] with Monte Cristo Award! [Also:TheHollywoodTimes.net, CTNow.com]

4. Jewish Journal: Hello, Beanie: Feldstein [’15] Having a Moment With ‘Dolly’ and ‘Lady Bird’

In this profile, Feldstein discusses her roles in two award-winning productions, one on Broadway, one on screen and now in theaters. She tells writer Ryan Torok, “I loved Lady Bird so much because it [drew on] a much more vulnerable side of me than I was asked to bring forward [previously]. I was so nervous and excited to tap into that side of myself, after doing things more strictly comedic.”

5. TalkingBizNews.com: Reuters Names Five Global Industry Editors; including Jonathan Weber ’82

Weber, now based in Singapore, was previously West Coast bureau chief and later named technology editor. Reuters credits him for their “strong coverage of cybersecurity,” which “helped build the U.S. tech team into a competitive force.”

6. BostonGlobe.com: Lisa Chedekel [’82], 57, an Esteemed, Intrepid Journalist [Also: Courant.com]

After Chedekel’s death on Jan. 12, 2018, Vinny Vella of the Hartford Courant wrote of her career: “Chedekel had been a member of a team of Courant reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the deadly shooting rampage at the Connecticut Lottery Corp. . . . ‘Lisa was a fearless reporter and elegant writer,’ said John Ferraro, a Courant editor who worked closely with Chedekel. ‘She searched for truth wherever it led. She was an advocate for the powerless and a thorn in the side of the powerful.’”

 

Sorey MA ’11 and Orr Awarded Artistic Fellowships

Tyshawn Sorey (Photo Credit: John Rogers)

Tyshawn Sorey MA’11 (Photo by John Rogers)

Assistant Professor of Music Tyshawn Sorey MA ’11, a MacArthur “Genius” Award-winner, and Distinguished Fellow in the College of the Environment Allison Orr, artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, have been chosen as 2018 fellows by United States Artists (USA), an organization that illuminates the value of artists to American society. Sorey and Orr will each receive a $50,000 unrestricted award as part of the honor.

A total of 45 recipients were announced for the annual awards, which recognize achievements and innovation across nine disciplines, including architecture and design, crafts, dance, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, visual art, and writing. Dancer-choreographer-performance artist Okwui Okpokwasili, recipient of the 2015 Danspace/Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance Creative Artist Residency, and jazz chanteuse Somi, who performed as part of the Center for the Arts’ Performing Arts Series in October 2017, were also recognized for their work.

Since its founding in 2006, United States Artists has awarded more than 500 accomplished and innovative artists with unrestricted awards totaling over $22 million of direct support.

Library Access Services Assistant Jasmine Cardi: International Books and Local Clients

Jasmine Cardi, the weekend and evening supervisor for Interlibrary Loans—both for Olin library’s scholars in need of incoming books and outgoing volumes for academic institutions elsewhere—appreciates the institutional standard of service that she and her colleagues are able to provide.  (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

In this Q&A, we speak to Jasmine Cardi, who joined the Access Services staff at Wesleyan’s Olin Library on Jan. 7, 2013 (“Five years already!” she says). Now the weekend and evening supervisor, she provides support to the departments of Interlibrary Loan (ILL), Olin Reference, Reserves/E-Reserves, and Olin Circulation. With her arrival, the ILL office was able to lengthen their hours until 10 p.m. some evenings, offering availability for those geared to later study nights in the library.

Q: What do you like best about working for Interlibrary Loan?

A: I love seeing all the books we get from around the world—Italy and Russia, everywhere, depending on what people are studying. When we get one of these volumes from far away, we all think it’s really cool and just have to hold it and open it—before we quickly put it on the shelf for the borrower.

Q: How many people does ILL assist each year?

A: ILL serves hundreds of people, between borrowing from other libraries and lending to them. Last year there were almost 14,000 requests, combined.

Q: Tell us about Olin Library—as building, an institution, a workspace?

A: Olin is a unique building. My favorite place is on the second-floor balcony, overlooking the front foyer. I love the chandelier; I love on Saturday and Sunday morning when I come in to open the library, the way the sun shines through the windows and onto that chandelier. I actually took a picture one morning of that and made it into the screensaver on my phone.

When we think of a library, we think of books—but I love that libraries are evolving into places where the core value is patron service—whether it’s students, faculty, staff, co-workers, or the community.

Q: What’s your own educational background? Where did you begin your career?

A: I went to the University of St. Joseph back when it was an all-girls school known as St. Joseph College. My major was psychology and education with a minor in art history. Before coming to Wesleyan, I worked at Hartford Public Library for more than 10 years. Fun fact: My first job was at a library at age 16.

Q: Outside of work, what are your interests and hobbies?

A: I love to read and I run—I’ve done four half-marathons, and a lot of 10Ks and 5Ks, more than I can count. I also did my first Spartan race in November. They’re a mix of running and obstacle courses, and the tradition goes back to ancient Greece. I like that we’re bringing that into the contemporary culture; I’m training to do more this year. I also like to go boating on the Connecticut River. We have a small 14-foot boat; my husband’s family has been boating every weekend their whole life, and now it’s our tradition. We’ve been together 17 years and we make it a point to get out on the water at least once on Saturday or Sunday.

Q: Are there any challenging/surprising moments—an outstanding moment that illustrates your work day you’d like to share?

A: Much of my day is spent helping someone find something in the stacks, or finding it elsewhere via interlibrary loan. Many times it’s an urgent request, with a deadline in the next 48 hours. It’s like saving the day when you can find what is needed within that timeframe.

And another story: One night as I was getting ready to leave, a family came in with an urgent request. Their two middle-school children had reports due the next day, but the family had been out of power for a few days after a storm, and they needed to print their papers. The kids were so grateful that the library was open and we could help them be ready for school the next day. Their appreciation was heartwarming.

Library Oversees Wesleyan’s Archaeological Collections, Visual Resource Center

At right, Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history, taught his class, History of Science and Technology in Modern China, in Wesleyan's Anthropology and Archaeology Collections. 

Artifacts housed in Wesleyan’s archaeology and anthropology collection can be used as teaching aides.

In 2017, the Wesleyan Library began overseeing two programs.

The Wesleyan Museum, which houses the university’s archaeology and anthropology collection, has moved under the library’s oversight. These materials, located in the Exley Science Center, contain a broad variety of unique items, including Middle Eastern artifacts, historical materials from 18th- and 19th- century Middletown, missionary-collected objects from South America and Native American pieces including pottery and jewelry. Jessie Cohen is the manager of the collection.

The collection will eventually be discoverable through the library’s online catalog (OneSearch) so students and faculty will have the opportunity to find and physically work with historical objects alongside library materials that relate or speak to those objects.

The library also acquired the Visual Resource Center (VRC), which was formerly called the slide library. The collection is now significantly digital and is used by many faculty to teach across all disciplines. The VRC is managed by Susan Passman and Digital Media Specialist Nara Giannella.

“Bringing together these separate collections will allow students and faculty to work actively and synergistically with artifacts, visual materials, and related texts at the same time,” said Diane Klare, the interim Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian. “This will enrich the student learning process at Wesleyan as well as create enhanced research opportunities for outside scholars.”

(Adapted from an article by Diane Klare in the library’s newsletter Check It Out.)

Peters Discusses Highlights of Wesleyan’s Operating Budget

Nate Peters

Wesleyan’s operating budget in the last fiscal year included a total of $206 million in expenditures, with $210 million in revenue. Most of the university’s revenue (68 percent) comes from student charges, while the endowment, private gifts and government grants account for most of the rest. The operating budget lies behind everything Wesleyan does, and we’ve asked Nate Peters, vice president for finance and administration, to explain some of its highlights:

Q: What is Wesleyan’s projected total operating expenditure in the current fiscal year, and what has been our annual rate of increase? What are the primary drivers of that increase?

A: Total expenditures are projected at $214 million. Our cost trends are in the +4 percent range. Compensation (salaries and benefits) is the biggest driver – whether for existing faculty and staff or for new hires. Higher education is a labor-intensive enterprise. We are watching our medical benefits as they have dramatically trended upwards during the past several years. We are also making some investments in additional faculty, financial aid and major maintenance as outlined in Wesleyan’s strategic plan Beyond 2020.

Q: Are we more dependent upon tuition revenue than many of our peers? Why? What are the implications of this?

A: Yes, we are more dependent than many of our peers on student charges (tuition, room and board) revenue. Over two-thirds of Wesleyan’s revenue comes from this source. This is why enrollment is so important to our finances. Schools with larger endowments will rely less on student charges. For example, Williams relies on its endowment for about 50 percent of its revenue and only 35 percent on student charges.

Employees on the Move

The Office of Human Resources announces the following hires, transitions and departures for Sept.—December 2017.

HIRES
Kenichi Abe, postdoctoral research associate in Earth and Environmental Sciences, on Sept. 1
Jennie Setaro, psychotherapist in the Counseling Center, on Sept. 5
Katherine Williams, lab coordinator in psychology, on Sept. 5
Wesley Close ’15, assistant dean of admission, on Sept. 11
Demetrius J. Colvin, director, Resource Center, on Sept. 11
Joseph Dorrer, energy manager in Physical Plant, on Sept. 18
Lauren Borghard, associate director of annual giving, on Sept. 25
Pamela Ann Mulready, alcohol & other drug specialist in Davison Health Center, on Oct. 9
LeRoy General, development officer in major gifts, University Relations, on Oct. 16
Andrew Plotkin, project engineer in Construction Services, on Oct. 23
Jill Mattus, executive assistant to the vice president for student affairs, on Oct. 23
Himeka (Imee) Curiel, copy editor/writer in University Communications, on Nov. 6
Antonio Crespo, chief information security officer, on Nov. 13
Dana Kingman, assistant dean of admission, on Dec. 6
Jessica Downa, academic technologist in ITS, on Dec. 11
Marium Majid, development research analyst in University Relations, on Dec. 20

TRANSITIONS
Laurie Kenney, editorial marketing manager, University Communications, on Oct. 1
Louise Spielman, assistant designer in creative services, University Communications, on Oct. 2
Ryan Launder, administrative assistant, English Department. on Oct. 2
Zijia Guo, program manager for global initiatives, University Communications, on Oct. 16
Michael Schramm, development officer in major gifts, University Relations, on Oct. 23
Dana Gordon-Gannuscio, administrative assistant, Physics Department, on Oct. 30
Elizabeth Bianco, associate director of alumni and parent relations, University Relations, on Dec. 1

DEPARTURES
Cazimir Bzdyra, assistant technical director, CFA
Paul Wilson Cauley, researcher in astronomy
Janet Desmarais, administrative assistant in physics
Charles Fedolfi ’90, director of annual giving
Jordan Knicely, associate director of institutional research
Catherine Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships
Dean Maroun, carpenter
Samuel Marquez, public safety officer
Dena Matthews, publication production manager
Heather Minetti, fitness coordinator
Clare Rogan, curator, Davison Art Center
Lorna Scott, executive assistant to the vice president for student affairs
Benjamin Travers, video producer
Alysha Warren, director of survivor advocacy and community education
Kimberly Williams, associate director of Alumni & Parent Relations

Cybersecurity Awareness Training Coming in Late January

To help to protect yourself, your family, and Wesleyan University from malicious cyber activity, all employees will be asked to take new security awareness training.

The online training video is approximately 20 minutes long and will be available through the WesPortal under the Security section.

More information will be available through e-mail later this month.

Wesleyan Employees Honored for Service to the University

The Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon Nov. 1 in Beckham Hall. All employees who are celebrating their 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th year working at Wesleyan were honored at the lunch by President Michael Roth. The event concluded with a celebratory cake-cutting and a Wesleyan and world trivia game.

Steve Windsor celebrated 20 years.

Steve Windsor, senior database administrator, celebrated 20 years working for Information Technology Services.

Julia Hicks, chief human resources officer, welcomed the employees and their guests to the luncheon.