The e-newsletter of Eastern Connecticut State University
October 2011 Archives
A recent study of faculty at U.S. universities by the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), confirms that Eastern Connecticut State University has the largest percentage of minority faculty of all higher education institutions in Connecticut.
The report is found in the Sept. 30 edition of the Washington, D.C.-based Chronicle of Higher Education. Twenty-six percent of Eastern's faculty members are minorities, compared to 16 percent at Yale and Central Connecticut State Universities; 15 percent at the University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University; and 14 percent at Western Connecticut State University. Capital Community College had the highest figure among community colleges at 23 percent.
More than 3,800 two- and four-year colleges and universities from all 50 states were analyzed. Complete results of the research are found at http://chronicle.com/section/Faculty-Data/133.
"We are pleased to see that we have achieved such success in having a faculty that reflects the world around us," said Eastern's President Elsa Núñez, "and we are proud to know that our University is taking a leadership role in Connecticut in enhancing the diversity of our faculty. Having a faculty that represents a global society benefits all of our students by providing them with a rich, multicultural experience on our campus, and is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts college. It is important that our students understand how their liberal arts education prepares them to live, work and lead in their communities once they graduate. The skills and perspectives they learn on our campus will allow them to interact more effectively with clients, co-workers and fellow community members of Connecticut's increasingly diverse population."
More than 500 families took advantage of the beautiful fall weather to attend this year's Open House on Oct. 16, a 15 percent increase from last year. In addition to the information fair held in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium -- where more than 30 academic and administrative departments had display tables -- 1,200 prospective students and their families also had the opportunity to visit with the President and with faculty; tour campus; see the library; and become familiar with housing, financial aid and other services. A special feature this year was an information session exclusively in Spanish, targeting families of Latin-American heritage. "While we know that college students need strong English skills, many of them have parents who will be more comfortable hearing the details about Eastern and admissions, housing and financial aid in Spanish," said Christopher Dorsey, acting director of admissions. "We want to help these families more easily navigate the admissions process as much as we can."
More than 125 runners participated in the third Annual Poverty Awareness Marathon on Sept. 23 at Eastern Connecticut State University to help Health and Physical Education Professor Charles Chatterton's "Taking Strides to Brake the Cycle of Poverty" initiative. The marathon was Chatteron's 48th since he began running them in 2006 to raise public awareness on poverty in America. Participants also collected more than 600 nonperishable items to donate to the Convenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic.
The marathon, coordinated by Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, exceeded the goal of 462 nonperishable items, which reflects the estimated 46.2 million people now living in poverty in America, the highest number in 52 years. Athletes on Eastern's men's lacrosse team, women's soccer team, volley and softball teams, and numerous other Eastern organizations participated in the marathon, which was covered live by Fox News/WTIC-TV/Channel 61.
Eastern's first blood drive of the year took place on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, generating a total of 164 productive pints. We could not have had such a successful American Red Cross blood drive without the help of the 29 student volunteers who donated 62 hours of their time to do check-ins and provide refreshments at the canteen. The aroma of the made-to-order pancakes, given to our donors, permeates the Student Center on the days we host a drive.
The blood drives take place four times during the academic year. Students, faculty, and staff generously donate the gift of life on a regular basis. Residence Halls become involved with blood donations in a friendly competition called the Dean's Cup. The hall with the highest number of donations, along with other requirements, will be eligible to win this coveted trophy for the year. As a result, Eastern is acquiring a statewide reputation of being bighearted in service to our community. "When I first donated blood, it was my freshman year at Eastern and I was hoping to overcome a lifelong fear of needles," said Shannon Ellis '11. "Looking back now, I do it out of fairness to others; I would want someone to be willing to donate blood if I needed it and I should be doing the same. The process is easy-going, the nurses and staff have always been friendly to me. The pancakes are great!"
Future drives at Eastern are scheduled for:
Dec. 5-6, 2011 - 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. BTR
Feb. 6 - 7, 2012 - 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. BTR
April 17, 2012 - 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. BTR
Appointments can be made online at www.givelife.org sponsor code Eastern, or by contacting Irene Cretella at 860-465-0090, firstname.lastname@example.org.
L-to-R: Mimi Cedrone, Assistant Professor Allison Weinsteiger, Bonnie Lundblad, Assistant Professor Steve Nathan, Laura Markley and Calvin Underwood.
Eastern Connecticut State University was well represented this year at the New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference (NEIGC) from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Middlebury College. Eastern students Mimi Cedrone, Bonnie Lundblad, Laura Markley, and Calvin Underwood, and Assistant Professors Allison Weinsteiger and Steve Nathan from the Department of Environmental Earth Science participated.
The three-day gathering brings together educators, the private sector, government and other groups to showcase a broad range of field trips exploring all aspects of regional geology. This year, Eastern students participated in a field trip that focused on watershed protection, with the highlight of seeing firsthand the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irene.
Jaw-dropping views of scoured riverbanks, washed out bridges and collapsed buildings brought textbook photos to life for the students. This is earth science, with nature's forces working so ferociously that you wouldn't want to be there as it happens. For the students, this was the perfect enticement to mark their calendars for next year's NEIGC.
John Mandelman, a shark physiologist at Boston's New England Aquarium, discussed the worldwide plight of sharks, rays and skates in a presentation titled "Who's Menacing Whom: Human Threat to Sharks, Rays and Skates" on Oct. 5 in the Science Building. Each year, millions of these creatures are caught intentionally for use in everything from shark fin soup to dietary supplements and cosmetics. In addition, large numbers are caught accidentally when people are fishing for other species like tuna and swordfish. After being dragged in nets, sometimes for hours, they are hauled onto boats, and eventually discarded. That is where the story generally ends.
For Mandelman, this is where the story begins. He explained that while some species are very robust, many are more fragile and do not survive the ordeal of being caught. His work has been influential for management agencies, and underscores the importance of minimizing incidental catch and handling. Mandelman said the future of sharks and their relatives depends on implementing changes based on this kind of research. Mandelman's presentation was part of Eastern's University Hour Series.
Nine accounting firms from across the state participated in an accounting career fair hosted by Eastern's Accounting Society on Oct. 6 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The Accounting Society is a student club that helps accounting majors and minors network obtain internships and jobs in the accounting field. The club encourages students to follow the dress code of business-formal attire. "We wanted students to start practicing the role of an accounting professional," said Nathaniel Walsh, club president. "They need to know how important is to make a great first impression on their potential future employers."
The firms included State of Connecticut Auditors of Public Accounts; Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants; BlumShapiro, J.H. Cohn LLP; Kforce Professional Staffing; Pratt & Whitney; RMI Corporation; Simione Macca & Larrow LLP; and Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C. For more information about the Accounting Society, e-mail email@example.com
On Sept. 2, more than 100 students, faculty and staff heard Jeffrey Fuhrer, executive vice-president for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, explain that the U.S. economy's problems are cyclical, not structural. The speech was part of the David T. Chase Free Enterprise Institute's Distinguished Lecturer Series. Fuhrer discussed current regional, national and international economic trends with particular emphasis on the regional New England economy.
"Cyclical issues can be addressed tthrough central bank monetary policy and government fiscal measures, such as spending and taxes. He based that on employment data that showed large losses across every sector except government and health care. "If you keep calling it structural, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have to watch out for that."
Fuhrer expressed confidence in Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, whom Fuhrer has known for 20 years. "He's doing his best to keep financial markets functioning. The Fed influences the dollar," he said, "but a good U.S. fiscal position is the best thing to strengthen the dollar."
William Leahy, associate executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, has been selected by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to serve as liaison and energy reduction coordinator for the higher education sector as part of DEEP's new "Lead by Example" program. The program responds to Governor Malloy's pledge to make Connecticut the most energy efficient state in the nation. It is designed to meet the goals of Public Act 11-80, which calls for a 10 percent reduction in energy used by State facilities by 2013 and a further 10 percent reduction by 1018.
In support of the initiative, the State Bond Commission recently authorized $15 million to implement energy-saving retrofits in state buildings, address deferred maintenance issues, reduce the costs of emergency repairs, lower long-term maintenance costs and leverage dollars for construction of new buildings.
Leahy will be working with the Connecticut State University System and Connecticut Community Colleges to assist them in identifying energy saving opportunities and implement Lead by Example projects.
On Sept. 28 in the Student Center Theatre, Art Munin used historical examples during his University Hour presentation to illustrate the reality of "white privilege" in the United States. Citing unfair treaties signed by Native Americans and Mexican Americans in the 1800s, as well as the continued economic, social and political disenfranchisement of African Americans to this day, Munin concluded "...a system of white privilege that has developed over centuries is perpetrated today and accepted as the natural order of things. Those in power still have privilege."
Munin used an illustration of three fish to further make his point. The small fish, who has nothing, says "There is no justice in the world"; the middle fish concedes "there is some justice in the world"; and the big fish, which eats both the middle-sized fish and the small fish, says, "The world is just."
Munin told the students "though we have our first African American president, the success of one man does not undo century-old racism. We do not live in a post-racial society. Society has been tricked into believing racism is gone. Overt racism has become covert racism. Justice just doesn't happen; you have to make it happen."
Maureen Rust, school library media specialist for Wheeler High/Middle School in North Stonington and a member of the board of directors for the American Friends of Kenya, visited Kenya in July and took this photo at the Teresa Nuzzo School, a parochial K-8 school in the Thika District of Kenya. Rust says Sister Mabel, the school's headmistress, is a powerful advocate for reading at the school. "She makes sure every child has a book in their desk for recreational reading and asked the children to show us their choices. It was wonderful to see Professor Mama's book being so proudly displayed and read by children from around the world!
Eastern's field hockey team may not have a winning season or return to the Little East Conference playoffs, let alone win their first conference tournament championship, but Erika Malito, tri-captain from Killingly, says the team's hard work and teamwork is making this a rewarding season anyway. While this year's team will likely finish under .500 for the fourth time in her career, Malito insists that the team chemistry, persistence and work ethic is the best that she's experienced at Eastern.
"We work really hard," points out the psychology major, who feels that coaching field hockey at some level is in her future. "We have two-hour practices every day, we watch film to see what we need to do to improve and we try to work on that at practice." After winning only one of 11 conference matches in 2010, the Warriors are still searching for their first LEC victory of 2011 after half of the 11-game regular-season conference schedule. It will likely take 4-5 wins in the final six conference matches to bring the team its first conference playoff berth in seven years.
Head Coach Christine Hutchison praises Malito for her role in elevating the team's play over the past several seasons. "Erika has been a great captain because she's positive and cares about the team on and off the field. She works hard to get everyone involved and to get everyone to improve themselves as teammates in the off-season and in practice. She pushes her teammates to reach the next level."
(For more news about Eastern athletics, visit www.easternct.edu/athletics.)
Eastern Connecticut State University was again ranked in the top 30 public regional universities in the North by U.S. News and World Report in its 2012 rankings, released on Sept. 13. The North Region covers 11 states and extends from the northern tip of Maine to the Pennsylvania/ Ohio border, and south all the way to Maryland. "This news is a tribute to our entire campus community," said President Elsa Núñez. "In particular, we are encouraged by results which showed that our 'institutional reputation,' as measured by a survey of our peers, was at an all-time high. This criterion is weighed heavily in the U.S. News ratings, so we are very excited about that. Congratulations to everyone on campus!"
Eastern Connecticut State University has been named one of the five top workplaces in Connecticut among large organizations in the Hartford Courant/Fox Connecticut list of Top Workplaces for 2011. The announcement was made in a report published by the Hartford Courant on Sept. 25. A total of 45 organizations were cited: 20 small, 15 medium and 10 large. Eastern was the only institution of higher education recognized. Other organizations cited included: NBC-TV, CT; Rogers Corporation; Comcast; Webster Bank; East Hartford Public Schools; Mark Twain House; Magellan Health Services; the UCONN Foundation, Inc. and the Village for Families and Children. The survey was conducted for the Courant/Fox-Connecticut by the Exton, PA-based independent research firm, WorkplaceDynamics LLC. A total of 793 employers were invited to participate and in all, 12,685 employees at participating firms filled out the self-administered, anonymous survey instrument.
"We are honored to be recognized by one of Connecticut's leading sources of news and information as a top workplace in Connecticut," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "While Eastern was recognized in the large organization category, our campus has always prided itself on its sense of community and for being a welcoming, inclusive environment for students, their families and the community-at-large. This announcement is a wonderful reminder that Eastern is also a great workplace for our faculty and staff and I am delighted that we were among those recognized."
More than 200 students, faculty and staff and area residents attended a reception on Sept. 8 for Visual Arts Department faculty members who presented their works as part of the Akus Gallery's latest exhibition, "Double Time: Exhibition 2011." Another 450 people have visited the gallery since the reception. The exhibition runs through Oct. 16, perfect timing for prospective students and their families attending the Office of Admissions Open House that day.
The exhibition features the work of 32 full-and part-time Visual Arts Department faculty members/artists who employ a variety of media from the traditional to the innovative. "These artist/faculty members not only create vibrant accessible images, they are equally committed to sharing their methodologies and insights," said Gail Gelburd, professor of art history and chair of the Visual Arts Department. "They have been able to accomplish this by doing 'double-time' - working as professional artists, as well as mentors to their students."
For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit: www.easternct.edu/akusgallery. Shown here, students view Professor Claudia Widdiss's "Untitled" 2011, while another takes a picture of Professor Qimin Liu's "Six-Degree Link: The Student Project" 2007-2009.
"Ovid died in exile, yet his poetry has outlived Rome," said Sir Salman Rushdie in describing the power of literature to an audience of 750 people on Oct. 4 in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. Rushdie's lecture was the first in this year's Arts and Lecture Series. "We are the only creature on Earth that tells stories to understand each other."
During his 75-minute talk, Rushdie explored the role that fiction and poetry play in revealing the impact of external forces on individual character and the human condition, what he called "the collision of public and private lives" and the struggle between individual freedom and power. "Our lives are full of grand narratives," he explained -- politics, religion, family traditions.
"Literature's role is to help us understand, to help us belong, to educate and entertain." In fact, Rushdie said, literature's examination of uncomfortable truths -- "The insanity of the real" -- is fundamental to a free society. "When power is not scrutinized, it misbehaves," he noted.
Rushdie said that art, like no other part of our lives, has the ability to "go to the frontier and push out." One of his favorite lines, he said, came from the Saul Bellow book, "The Dean's December," in which a dog in Romania is imagined to be thinking, "For God's sake, open the universe a little more."
Rushdie said that literature historically has played a powerful role in exposing political and social truths. He recalled the impact that Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had in the 1850s, and Abraham Lincoln's famous remark, "So you are the little woman who started this great war." Today, with the globalization of culture and the impact of mass communications on the world stage, "politics is total and impacts all of us. We (writers) are no longer able to separate the public and private lives of our characters."
Rushdie also talked about the years he spent in hiding after the "fatwa" was announced by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini following the publication of Rushdie's most controversial work, "The Satanic Verses" in 1988. He said he believed he had probably lost the opportunity to write two novels during that time, but said he was more concerned about the dangers the fatwa imposed on the people around him. One person was murdered and at least two attacked due to the persecution.
He lamented today's world, where people's lives are forever changed by forces beyond their control. "It was Heraclitus who said a man's character was his fate. The people who died on September 11, 2001, did not die because of their character, because they were lazy, mean-spirited, or possessed some other character flaw. Today, our lives are controlled by things that do not happen in our own houses."
Rushdie has written 10 novels, including "Grimus," "Midnight's Children" (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981), "The Satanic Verses," and "The Ground Beneath Her Feet," as well as a book of stories and three works of non-fiction. He has received literary awards and honors from England, Germany, the United States and many other nations, and is an honorary faculty member of six major universities.
Earlier this year, History Professor Stacey Close was awarded an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship to work with Dr. Sonia Manjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer at Wesleyan University in Middletown. In addition to her leadership at Wesleyan, Manjon advises the State of Black Connecticut Alliance, serves on the leadership council of the Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, and is a State Commissioner for Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs.
"It's a pleasure to welcome Stacey Close to campus," said Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. "Wesleyan will surely benefit from the expertise he brings, and I hope he will fulfill his professional goals through his association with us."
Close has taught at Eastern since 1993 and received Eastern's Teaching Excellence Award in 2004. He has served as the director of the Center for Educational Excellence and as chair of the History, Philosophy, Political Science and Geography Department.
"Dr. Close has been one of our most popular professors at Eastern for many years," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez, "and I am delighted that he is advancing his professional portfolio as an ACE Fellow at Wesleyan this year."
An authority on African American history, especially in the Hartford area, Close has published journal articles and book chapters on related topics. Through the ACE program, Close plans to develop a base of knowledge that will contribute to Eastern's advancement. "While I want to work to increase my knowledge in strategic planning, resource allocation, budgeting, and management at the senior level, I would also like to learn more about equity, diversity, retention and community engagement," said Close, in discussing his fellowship plans at Wesleyan.
Since 1965, hundreds of vice presidents, deans, department chairs, faculty, and other emerging leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program, the nation's premier higher education leadership development program in preparing senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities.
David Kaczynski agonizes when he says he'd drop everything to see his brother, Theodore (Ted), who is serving life in prison for killing and wounding people for nearly 18 years as the so-called "Unabomber." But so far, after nearly two decades, it hasn't happened. On Sept. 21, in the Betty R. Tipton Room, Kaczynski and Bess Klassen-Landistold their stories in hope of raising awareness using what they call "The Restorative Justice Approach."
After a series of bombing incidents, David Kaczynski and his wife suspected Ted to be the person killing people and finally told the FBI. Their decision ended years of searching for the "Unabomber," the most wanted person in America.
Klassen-Landis, who was 13 years old when her mother was brutally raped and murdered, had to deal with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for 37 years.
Kaczynski and Klassen-Landis believe victims need to heal themselves rather than lining up with a criminal justice system that focuses on retribution. "The system, especially the death penalty, doesn't prevent violent crimes from occurring again. More important, it does not restore the victim or the community, where many individuals indirectly affected are suffering," said Klassen-Landis.
"Talking about suicide has not caused more suicides. Not talking about it has. Every 15 minutes, someone in America commits suicide," said Maris Murphy in a gripping presentation in the Betty R. Tipton Room on Sept. 14. Her brother, Kirk Andrew, killed himself years after being subjected to "The Sissy Boy Experiment," a government-funded project that took place at UCLA during the 1970s to purge boys with effeminate behavior of what researchers called the "Sissy Boy Syndrome." Murphy says what the government put her brother through impacted him for the rest of his life. Her presentation was sponsored by the Intercultural Center.
Murphy, who has been featured in Anderson Cooper's CNN documentary series, was sitting at work when she got the news. "It was a horrific day when I was called and told, "Your brother has been found dead. He left a note saying, 'The darkness keeps calling. I must go'."
She showed films of the researchers explaining how they believed they helped Kirk. Their reports concluded his "behavior was gone," even offering proof the experiment was a success. But at 38, Kirk hung himself from a ceiling fan. Murphy says now she wonders how he made it that long. The family believes what the government called a success, in fact, destroyed Kirk Andrew.
More than 125 faculty and staff stopped by in the Connecticut Room on Sept. 29 to congratulate Mark Masinda, building maintenance supervisor, and wish him the best in his retirement. Over his 27 years on campus, Masinda was known for his leadership, sense of humor, commitment to excellence and support of the University. In 2010, he was honored with the Hermann Beckert "Friend of the University Award" from the Alumni Association. President Elsa Núñez said her first glimpse of Masinda was on a video introducing her to Eastern in 2006. In the video, Mark not only praised Eastern's beautiful grounds but made it a point to say the entire community was proud of the campus. "He even pitched the value of a residential campus as an important aspect of the liberal arts," said Núñez. "Mark got it!"
Approximately 50 students, faculty, staff and area residents gathered in Shafer Auditorium to enjoy faculty members perform at Eastern's Brown Bag Series on Sept. 9. The series occurs once a month, usually on the second Friday of the month. Brown Bag is a series of informal events, usually involving students playing pieces with the intention of gaining performance experience, but the first series of the semester features faculty because students are just beginning new pieces. Here, Richard Jones-Bamman plays his five string banjo. Also, Anthony Cornicello presents his own original arrangement, "Waves from The Interactive Piano."
On Sept. 27, representatives from the Office of Career Services at Eastern conducted a workshop in the Mead Hall Commons to guide Eastern students through the Career Services website. The workshop allowed students to examine their interests, abilities, values and personality preferences in choosing a suitable major and career path. Students were also able to explore "Discover," an online resource that can help determine a major based on educational, career and life goals. They also learned about Major Resources, another online resource that provides information on job titles and employers; job and internship links; resources at the J. Eugene Smith Library; associated clubs at Eastern; and related skills for each major.
Eastern is holding its first blood drive of the year from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. If you are between the ages of 18 and 60; would be willing to donate to any person in need; and can meet the health guidelines, you will also have the opportunity to register as a bone marrow donor at the blood drive. It's quick and painless - only a cheek swab is required. To sign up for your appointment, visit: www.redcrossblood.org
- code Eastern, or contact Irene Cretella at (860) 465-0090 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Quinones, the only senior on the women's cross country team, has done many things to reach her goal of qualifying and competing in the NCAA Division III national championships. A third-year transfer from Rider University, Quinones wants to be competitive in the Little East Conference championships in late October; place in the NCAA Division III New England Regional; and qualify for nationals, scheduled for Nov. 19 at Winneconne, WI.
Last year, Quinones won the Fitchburg State University Jim Sheenan Memorial Classic with a time of 21:18. This year, she finished first again with a time of 21:02. "I think she's doing great," says Head Coach Frank Poulin. "She had a great summer, running 70 miles a week, and it is paying off."
Along with her talent comes great responsibility as a leader. "Amanda gets the whole team believing in themselves as much as Amanda believes in herself," said sixth-year assistant coach Brent Terry. "She goes beyond just being talented; she works hard and gets everybody to succeed as well."
(For more news about Eastern athletics, visit www.easternct.edu/athletics.)