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August 2012 Archives

Eastern Offers Women's and Gender Studies Major

Women Gender Studies.jpgNinety-two years ago this month, the U.S. Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Today, women are mayors of cities, governors of states, CEOs at major corporations and leaders of universities. They run for president and vice president of the United States, vote in more presidential elections than men and graduate from college in higher numbers than men, including at Eastern Connecticut State University. Yet women still only earn 77 cents to every dollar that men earn in the workplace. To help students better understand the historical factors that impact the status of gender in America, and the means by which women and other social groups have tried to achieve equality, Eastern is offering a new major in Women and Gender Studies, available to all students beginning this fall semester.

 "We've been working on this major for three years, an effort that begun under the former director, Marcia McGowan. To be the first in the state to have this major?  It's exciting," said English Professor Maureen McDonnell, who began serving as director of Women's and Gender Studies in fall 2011. "We will be able to offer students a quality academic program in gender studies," said McDonnell, who earned her doctorate in English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan before she began working at Eastern. "Given Eastern's commitment to the liberal arts and to undergraduate education, it is fitting that Eastern is the only public Connecticut college offering a degree in Women's and Gender Studies. In this academic field, our students learn about the achievements and activism of women and other historically underrepresented groups as they consider the ways in which gender and other identities shape social experiences in a liberal arts context."

"Empowering our students to lead socially responsible lives in an increasingly diverse society is a fundamental element of Eastern's liberal arts mission," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "How gender impacts our personal and social experiences is an important part of the dialog on our campus, and the new Women and Gender Studies program will enhance our culture of respect and inclusion.  Promoting leadership roles for women in our society is especially important on a campus where 54 percent of the students are women. The fact that the program is being offered by faculty across several academic disciplines is also appropriate for our liberal arts campus. I look forward to the discussions of social justice and equity that will take place as a result of this new program."

For more information about Eastern's new major in Women and Gender Studies, contact Maureen McDonnell at mcdonnellm@easternct.edu or call (860) 465-4570.

Eastern Named a "2012 Great College to Work For"

campus.jpgFor the fourth year in a row, Eastern has been named as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results in The Chronicle's fifth annual report on The Academic Workplace were based on a survey of more than 46,000 employees at 294 colleges and universities.

In all, only 103 of the 294 institutions achieved "Great College to Work For" recognition for specific best practices and policies. Eastern won honors in three categories this year: "Collaborative Governance"; "Compensation and Benefits"; "Facilities, Workspaces and Security."

"We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For'," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Receiving this national recognition once again from the Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying, especially given our high ranking in three important areas of campus operations. The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus is a strength that helps us better serve our students and the State of Connecticut."

Lavin Bears Olympic Torch

Olympic Torch - Lavine running.jpgJames Lavin, associate professor of health and physical education, is home from London, where he helped carry the Olympic torch to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The torch travelled around the United Kingdom prior to the Games, with torchbearers running in their home towns. Lavin lives in South Cumbria, two hours from Manchester. He met the mayor of Lancaster at the beginning of his run, and was invited to an official reception for all the local torchbearers at Lancaster Town Olympic torch -showing torch to school children.JPGHall.

The weather was not the best during the torch run, but the crowds still turned out in force. Lavin had a great time. "It was a real honor. Since my run, I have visited a number of schools in my uniform with the torch to talk about the Olympics and what it means. The students have been thrilled to see and touch the torch. I've also been a guest of honor at a number of track and field events."

Torchbearers were given their own individual torch, with the Olympic flame passed on from torchbearer to torchbearer. The moment the flame is passed on is called "the kiss" because the two torches are put together. Lavin got to keep the actual torch he ran with. He plans on bringing the torch to campus, before passing it onto his children.

Fiesta Time!

bridge to the future - orange dancers-good shot.jpgOn Aug. 9, 40 students from Windham Middle School celebrated their achievements after participating in Eastern's summer camp for math and language arts. The celebration showcased the students' skill in original poetry and cultural dance.

"Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future" is a 6-week summer enrichment camp for Windham middle school students, many of them English Language Learners (ELL) that provides academic skills building and Bridge to the Future- group dance.jpgrecreation and cultural enrichment. The academic curriculum is based on the Windham Public Schools middle school curriculum for math and language arts.
The program, run by Eastern's Center for Community Engagement (CCE), includes one day of instruction and one-on-one tutoring and one day of active application of the previous day's lesson. Each morning, campers focused on math and language arts with the goal of improving foundational skills. The camp also offered cultural enrichment and recreational activities in the afternoon. Bridges to the Future helps students build self-confidence, proficiency in the English language and an understanding of Latino culture. Lessons are provided by professional instructors with guidance from a Windham Middle School teacher.

Fourteen Eastern student tutor/mentors and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers helped staff of the program, including Emmanuel Achigbu '12, Ibraheem Adebanjo '13, Federica Bucca '13, Elise Davis '12, Evan Glenn '15, Adaliz Hernandez '15, Michael McEleney '13, Kimberly Mines '14, Rachel Murad '13, Matthew Pappalardo '14, Jonathan Yackel '13, Cheronda McKinnon '14, Sarah Flores '13 and Meaghan Coyle '14.

Workshops Enhance Teachers Performance in AP Courses

ap worshop - cowles.JPGFrom July 16-20, more than 140 teachers participated in workshops that Eastern hosted to enhance instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The summer institute covered introductory AP biology, experienced AP biology, AP English language and AP English literature.  The workshops are designed to help increase the awareness of AP classes within school systems and provide teachers with methods to enhance their students' knowledge ap courses-English lit teachers.jpgin the areas of math, science and English.

The workshops are a collaborative initiative between Eastern, Project Opening Doors (POD) and Project Step2Stem. Project Opening Doors is funded by a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI); Project Step2Stem is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Both grants work in partnership with EASTCONN, which runs both programs.

Studies have shown a steady decline of American students pursuing math and science courses. According to the NMSI website, only 18 percent of 12th-grade students performed at or above the proficiency level in science. Project Opening Doors has helped to raise these figures -- the number of students in AP math and science increased 12 percent in 2009, which is twice the national average and three times the average in the state of Connecticut, according to the POD website.

Here in Connecticut, in nine schools participating in the Project Open Doors program, the pass rate among students taking AP math, science and English exams rose to 38 percent compared to the state average of 13 percent.

Learning How to Best Serve Veterans

veterans- schmidt and starr lead discussion.jpgOn July 24, 58 veteran-certifying officials, along with state, federal and university financial aid officials representing more than 20 institutions of higher education, corporations and other organizations from across the state, converged on campus to participate in the annual Connecticut Veterans Administration Certifying Officials conference.

The conference, organized by Kathy Wrana, assistant director of financial aid, and Leah Porter Tanger, secretary for the Office of Financial Aid and Veteran's Affairs, was designed to discuss changes to the Post 9/11 GI bill, as well as other veteran's education programs. "We really want to learn how colleges and universities can better serve veteran students, and to build collaborative support between colleges and universities within the state," said Wrana.  "We would also like to strengthen relationships with federal and state Veteran Affairs agencies."

Topics included setting up Veterans Oasis centers; supporting veterans with special needs; National Guard benefits, especially, tuition waivers; best veteran practices on college campuses; and engaging a growing veteran population. Above, Larry Schmitz and Pam Starr led roundtable discussion on "Student Transition/V.E.T.S Center." 

Carmen Cid Honored in Washington D.C., New Haven and Hartford

Cid.jpgOn Aug. 9, more than 4,300 ecologists from around the world were on hand in Portland, OR, when the Ecological Society of America (ESA) honored Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, at its annual conference. The society presented Cid with its America Diversity Award in appreciation for her 20 years of ongoing work in promoting diversity among current and future ecologists.

Cid began presenting her research at the annual Ecological Society of America conference in 1978.  At that point, she was the only Hispanic ecologist and one of very few women in her area of expertise -- forest and wetland ecology. By 1991, she was appointed chair of the first ESA Women and Minorities in Ecology Committee, and coordinated the development of the first ESA strategic plan to enhance recruitment and retention of women and minorities in ecology. During her tenure, she was successful in implementing child care facilities at the annual conference for the first time, and focusing attention on the work/family balance issues experienced by women in the field of ecology.

Since then, Cid has worked on increasing recruitment of minorities in ecology, especially among Hispanic females, through educational outreach to 4th-6th graders. Her multimedia science education program, "The Urban Ecologist," was part of the award-winning women in science learning series Project Wonderwise, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, and is part of the after-school program curriculum for 4-H clubs in 28 states and Canada. Cid has continued to mentor women and minorities in ecology through professional academic leadership development programs that she helped develop for college deans and department chairs in national programs coordinated by the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), on which she serves as a member of the board of directors, and with which she has a National Science Foundation grant to help promote career development of women in the sciences.

On Aug. 25, the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) presented Cid with a "Latina Citizen of the Year" award at its annual award ceremony in New Haven. Cid was honored for two decades of work in enhancing career development of Latinas in the sciences.

Eastern Students Present at Annual National Conference of Problem Gambling

Thumbnail image for gambling awareness.jpgFour Eastern Connecticut State University students and their faculty advisor participated in the 26th Annual National Conference of Problem Gambling in Milwaukee, WI, on July 13. Students Hannah Carroccia, Graham Cooper, Katherine Roomie and Justin Szela joined Eastern Social Work Professor Thomas Broffman to present data on Eastern's semester-long Campus Gambling Awareness Campaign during the conference.

According to the National Conference of Problem Gambling, young people are two to three times more likely to develop a gambling problem than adults. The mission of the conference was to increase public awareness of pathological gambling; ensure the widespread availability of treatment for problem gamblers and their families; and to encourage research and programs for prevention and education. The conference was designed for people with a wide range of involvement in gambling issues. Participants included clinicians, researchers, public policy makers, law enforcement, students and those in recovery, as well as their family members. 

Eastern's campaign is a learning project that Social Work juniors carry out in conjunction with their social work community practice and statistics classes. Broffman said Eastern is the only college in the nation with a gambling awareness semester. The program is in its fourth year and is funded by Connecticut Council of Problem Gambling (CCPG).

During their presentation, students were careful to point out that they were not anti- or pro-gambling, but merely collectors of data on gambling behavior among students to see how widespread gambling is. Their research examined housing policies at various private and public universities in Connecticut.

Those interested in more information about the national campaign can visit www.npgaw.org. For more information on Gambling Awareness Semester at Eastern, contact Broffman at (860) 465-0298 or broffmant@easternct.edu.

Peace and Human Rights Panel

Eastern's Peace and Human Rights Committee, PHRC, will host a panel, "Ambassadors for Peace and Human Rights." on Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. President Nunez will welcome the audience and greet the presenters, after which Philosophy Professor Hope Fitz will note some of the highlights of the Peace and Human Rights Committee that has organized and sponsored various events for the past 13 years.  Moderator William Salka, professor of political science,  will introduce the panel.

The featured speakers of the panel will be Eudora Pettigrew, PH.D, former chairperson of the IAUP (International Association of University Presidents)/United Nations Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution, and Peace; and Charles Prewitt, Professor Emeritus and former teacher of the Peace and Human Rights core course for the Peace and Human Rights Minor on campus.  Pettigrew will speak on Human Rights issues in general.  Prewitt will speak on his conscription to work on the Manhattan Project.  Other presenters include Professors of Political Science Nicole Krassas and Christopher Vasillopulos;  Fitz; History Professor Stacey Close; Mary Curran, associate professor of geography; Visual Arts Professor Gail Gelburd; English Professor Raouf Mama; and David McLeod, a graduate student majoring in Education, who will address the issue, "Transphobia: Is it Fear or Hate."

New Office of Student Transition and Assistant Dean in Continuing Education


Marty Levin.jpgIn an effort to support Eastern's strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing student retention, the University has established the new Office of Student Transition. The office is part of the Academic Services Center, and will be staffed by Marty Levin, its director, and Pam Starr, associate counselor. Their offices are currently on the fourth floor of the J. Eugene Smith Library.

The expansion of Eastern's international activities, including international exchange, study abroad, and global field courses has also created an increased need for administrative support for those programs. Indira Petoskey has been appointed to the position of assistant dean in the School of Continuing Education to support international programming, the expansion of non-credit offerings, and the support of the globalization of Eastern's curriculum.

Levin can be reached at (860) 465-5589 or levin@easternct.edu and Starr can be reached at (860) 465-5578 or starrp@easternct.edu. Petoskey can be reached at (860) 465-5066 or petoskeyi@easternct.edu. Her office is on the second floor of the Wood Support Services Building.

Indira.jpgPam Starr.jpg

Eastern's Coleman Inaugural Pick To LEC Hall of Fame

sports-Coleman USE 300 dpi.jpgEastern alumna Allison Coleman (Jewett City) has been selected as one of only two women's basketball players tabbed as inaugural inductees into the Little East Conference Hall of Fame. The 11-member inaugural class is composed of five athletic administrators, four former student-athletes and two coaches. The inductees will be honored during a ceremony at the Providence Marriott Hotel on Oct. 27.

"We are extremely excited to have Allison represent Eastern Connecticut in the inaugural class of the Little East Conference Hall of Fame," said Director of Athletics Jeff Konin. "Allison was an outstanding basketball player at Eastern, and is an even better individual.  She reflects all of the positive attributes we strive to instill in our student athletes."
Coleman was the most decorated women's basketball player in NCAA Division III history when she graduated and became the first four-time Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III All-America. The 2004 State Farm/WBCA National Player of the Year led Eastern to a 101-17 record (.856 winning percentage) and four postseason appearances. Coleman was the catalyst for the Warrior squad that reached the 2003 NCAA Division III National Championship Game.

The only four-time Little East Player of the Year in conference history guided Eastern Connecticut to a share of two regular-season conference championships. Coleman is the only student-athlete in program history to record 1,000 career points (1,991) and rebounds (1,134). She is also the program leader in assists (579), and steals (369). Named to the LEC women's basketball 25th Anniversary Team last year, Coleman was previously inducted into the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in April of 2010 as the fifth Eastern individual to gain that honor in the 23 years of its existence.

Eastern Swim Team Earns Scholar All-America Status

sports-ecsu_swim_team_300dpi_4339.jpgFor the fourth time overall, and second time in 2011-12, the Eastern women's swim team achieved Division III Scholar All-America status from the College Swimming Coaches' Association of America (CSCAA).

As a team, Eastern's 25 student-athletes achieved an aggregate grade-point average of 3.13 this past spring under 16-year head coach Maureen Fahey, whose teams have featured 25 selections to the Little East Conference All-Academic Team in the five-year history of the award, and 43 E-Club Scholar-Athlete Award recipients in 16 years.

"The success that our swimmers have achieved in and out of the pool is a testament to Coach Fahey's commitment toward developing well-rounded student athletes," said Jeff Konin, Eastern's director of athletics. "This recognition by the CSCAA reflects our student-athletes' dedication to Eastern's mission."


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