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July 2010 Archives

Eastern Named "A Great College to Work For"

Written by Tim Talley

 

Great College to Work For.JPGWillimantic, Conn. -   For the second year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University has made the list of "Great Colleges to Work For" released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. ModernThink LLC, an independent research company, surveyed 275 colleges and universities and more than 41,000 employees at those institutions to develop its findings. Only 97 colleges were awarded the prestigious honor, as opposed to 247 last year. The program is the second largest workplace recognition program in the country, after Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" program. 

            Between 400 and 600 employees were surveyed at each college or university and each institution was also asked to fill out an organizational questionnaire. In addition to being recognized as a "Great College to Work For," Eastern placed in the top 10 among medium-sized colleges in the category of "Collaborative Governance." Eastern was also noted for the president's annual semester meetings with teachers and students to discuss campus issues.

            "We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For' two years in a row," said Eastern President Elsa Nuñez. "Receiving this national recognition from The Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying. I am especially pleased to see that we were again ranked in the top 10 among institutions our size for having shared governance at Eastern.  The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus gives us a heightened capacity to better serve our students and the State of Connecticut."

For complete survey results, visit

http://chronicle.com/section/The-Academic-Workplace/156  

 

Textbook Rental Program Coming to Eastern

Written by Tim Talley

                         Students Will Have New Way to Reduce Costs

 

Textbook Rental Wide.JPG 

Willimantic, Conn. -   Eastern Connecticut State University, along with its sister universities in the Connecticut State University System (CSUS), will be offering students a new cost-saving option when they return to classes this fall.  A textbook rental program is being launched that will allow students to rent textbooks for 45 percent of the cost of purchasing a new textbook.  Textbook purchases typically cost students hundreds of dollars each semester.

            The new textbook rental option underscores the cooperative commitment to textbook affordability between CSUS and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Books that are available as part of the new rental program will be identified both in the bookstores and online. At Eastern, for example, more than 200 titles are to be included in the program this fall. 

            The new program is operated by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, which runs the bookstores at Eastern, Central, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities. Students attending the four CSUS institutions will be able to rent their books from either the university bookstore or online through the bookstore website.

            "I am very pleased that our students now have this rental option to significantly reduce the cost of their textbooks," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "This partnership between our faculty and Barnes & Noble Booksellers is welcome news to families as they manage the costs of their sons' and daughters' college education."

 

Textbook Rental close up.JPG

 

            The textbook rental program, which will be available to new and returning students, includes the following features:

·                     Students can highlight or mark the rented books just as they would if they purchased a book and planned to sell it back to the bookstore.

·                     Students can convert their rental to a purchase during the first two weeks of class.

·                     The rental period lasts for the duration of the term/semester. Books are due back at the bookstore no later than 10 days after the last day of finals. Students can return the books in person or by mail.

·                     Courtesy e-mails will be sent out as the end of the semester approaches, reminding students to return their books (if an email address is provided). Books not returned (or returned in unusable condition) will be subject to replacement and processing fees.

·Students can pay rental fees using any form of payment currently accepted by the bookstore, including student financial aid and campus debit cards (for security reasons, a valid credit card must be provided regardless of the method of payment).               

              While the rental of textbooks will offer students the lowest up-front cost for textbooks, a used textbook remains the least expensive option - provided it is being reused by a faculty member for the next term and can be sold back to the bookstore for 50 percent of its purchase price, according to Barnes & Noble.

            Effective this month, the federal Higher Education Reauthorization Act requires that colleges and universities make efforts to provide information about required textbooks that students can use to save money.  This will include, for example, providing the ISBN number of required textbooks.  ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, and every published edition of a book receives a new ISBN.  Publishers are also now required to provide faculty with information that will allow them to consider price and other options when determining books to require for their classes. 

            Barnes & Noble piloted its rental program last year at 25 campus bookstores across the country.  The company reports that more than 90 percent of students surveyed said they would rent from their campus bookstore again.  Each CSUS university bookstore has a dedicated webpage with detailed information on the textbook rental program, including a list of frequently asked questions and answers.  Eastern's bookstore website is found at www.easternct.edu/ecsu/bookstore.htm.

For more information about the textbook rental program, please contact the Eastern Bookstore at (860) 465-5283.

 

Eastern Professor Wins Google Grant

Written by time Talley

 

Pauley Wins Google Grant.JPGWillimantic, Conn. -    Benjamin Pauley, assistant professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University, along with Brian Geiger, director of the University of California-Riverside's Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR), have received a $50,000 grant from Google. Pauley and Geiger will be looking for ways to provide more precise bibliographical identification of books scanned at sites like Google Books and the Internet Archive. 

            Their proposal has been selected to be among the first 12 projects exploring ways to leverage the massive scale of the Google Books archive for new directions in digital humanities research. Google's internet database contains more than 12 million books in more than 400 languages.

            "We will work to match texts from Google Books against the bibliographical records of the English Short-Title Catalog (ESTC) which contains the highest quality records available of printed copies of books before 1801," said Pauley.  "In the first phase of the project, staff at the ESTC will use their established automated computer-matching processes to try to identify as many works as possible.  Inevitably, though, a great many works will escape their algorithms, in part because the metadata that Google provides is sometimes flawed.  At that point, we will build on the work that my web site, Eighteenth-Century Book Tracker, has already begun to enlist students and scholars in identifying works that the ESTC's computer-matching system was unable to match."

            The project's benefits are two-fold. First, gaining access to a full extract of Google's own database for matching will allow Pauley and Geiger to present users with links to freely available digital facsimiles of hundreds of thousands of pre-1801 books. Those links will be associated with exacting bibliographical records, which is good news for scholars and students at universities like Eastern, who generally don't have institutional access to the very expensive proprietary databases that have provided similar access to users at research one universities and elite private colleges for more than a decade.

            Second, by providing Google with authoritative identifications of the works they have scanned, the project will improve the metadata for thousands and thousands of texts at Google Books, bringing an entirely new level of accuracy to a resource that millions of people use every day, allowing Google to improve the results they present their users.

            "This is a really exciting opportunity where we can potentially involve Eastern's students, either in the form of undergraduate research projects or pre-professional experiences," said Pauley. "Working on a project like this would be enormously beneficial for students hoping to attend graduate school in English, history or other humanities disciplines." 

 

            For more information about the Google grant please contact Benajmin Pauley, at (860) 465-4574 or email him at pauleyb@easternct.edu. 

 

Eastern Alumnus Named Rhode Island ...

Written by Tim Talley

Dr  Chace receiving his check.jpg

From left: Tom Kowalczyk, co-chair of the Aquidneck Island Watershed Council Education Committee; Jameson Chace; Pamela Harrigan, vice president & CFO, Crown Collision Centers; and Edward Sortwell Clement, Jr., Esq., executive director of the Aquidneck Land Trust.

 

Willimantic, Conn. -Jameson Chace '89, assistant professor of biology and biomedical sciences at Salve Regina University in Newport, has been named Rhode Island's first "Face of Success" by Crown Collision Centers, Rhode Island's largest family-owned and operated full-service collision center. Chace was chosen from more than 60 candidates because of his expertise and passion in ecology.

"I'm humbled," said Chace. "There are so many ways to measure success, and there are so many people who are doing fantastic things here in Rhode Island. It's great to see a group like Crown Collision take a strong interest in what's going on in Rhode Island, that's really important."

"It has been fun and inspiring to start this campaign on Rhode Island's college campuses and talk with so many different students and faculty about who and what they see as a great success in ways big and small," said Rachelle Breault, general manager of Crown Collision Centers. "It's apparent that Dr. Chace has gone above and beyond in his ecological environmental work and teachings, greatly impacting and inspiring his students in the process, which you really can't put a price on and is exactly what the Faces of Success Campaign is all about."

"Professor Chace took the time to personally challenge and inspire me academically," said Salve Regina University student Gabrielle Corradino, who nominated Chace for the award. "He makes a concerted effort to motivate everyone from the novice environmental enthusiast to the impassioned scientist."

Chace opted to divide his $500 Faces of Success prize among two local environmental organizations with whom he and his students are heavily involved- the Aquidneck Land Trust and the Aquidneck Island Watershed Council. The money will be used to expand the Aquidneck Island Watershed Monitoring Program by involving Aquidneck Island High School students.

Crown Collision developed the Faces of Success campaign to recognize people who live or work in Rhode Island who are doing great things at home, work or in the community.  For more information about the Faces of Success campaign, contact Pamela Harrigan at (401) 728-8800.

 

Eastern to Host Advanced Placement Workshops

Written by Tim Talley

Willimantic, Conn. -   Eastern Connecticut State University will host a series of Advanced Placement (AP) summer institutes July 19-23. Ninety-one teachers will be participating in the workshops, which will be held in Eastern's Science Building. Topics will include AP calculus, biology, English language, English literature and statistics.  A total of nine workshops covering both beginning and advanced topics will be provided.

            The workshops are a collaboration between Eastern, Hartford-based Project Opening Doors (POD) and the Willimantic-based Project Access for All. The goal of the workshops is to help increase the awareness of AP classes within the school systems and  facilitate teachers in methods to enhance their student's knowledge in the areas of math and science. Both of the projects are funded by a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in partnership with the Connecticut Business Industry Association (CBIA), which runs the program.

Donna Wadstrup, Internal Projects Manager of POD, spoke on behalf of Cam Vautour, president of POD. "The uniqueness of this collaboration is that it pairs university professors with high school AP teachers," stated Wadstrup.  "Participants are given the unique perspective of what is expected both in a high school, as well as a university treatment of Advanced Placement material. The participants, in addition to receiving instruction from two different perspectives, have the opportunity to interact with their peers for a full week.  Dr. Vautour is hopeful that this year's program will prove even more successful than last year's."

            Statistics have shown that there has been a steady decline with American students in the areas of math and science. 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 has increased 12 percent within the last year, which is twice the national average and three times as much as the State of Connecticut, according CBIA's website.

"We are pleased to host workshops for experienced and new teachers," said Elizabeth Cowles, professor of biology and AP workshop organizer.  "Our purpose is to make everyone feel comfortable and confident with the AP curriculum and more importantly, to develop an AP community.  To quote from a Watkins Glen (NY) school, 'the foundation of every nation is the education of its youth.'  We embrace that premise and keep the promise to all students.  Students are our future." 

 

For more information, contact Elizabeth Cowles at (860) 465-4385 or email her at cowles@easternct.edu.  

 

Eastern Hosting Future Teachers

Written by Dwight Bachman

 

Willimantic, CT --  About 30 high school juniors and seniors from more than 20 Connecticut school districts are receiving an inside look at what it takes to become a teacher as they participate in the 14th Annual Summer Institute for Future Teachers program at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. The program started on July 6 and runs through July 30.

Eastern and the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) created the program, which aims to increase the number of students who consider teaching as a career; emphasizes the growing role technology plays in teaching and learning; and expands efforts to recruit teachers from the diverse communities in Connecticut, said David Stoloff, professor of education and director of the University's Center for Educational Excellence.  Stoloff and education faculty members Leah Barbuto and Hannah Sellers, as well as Kathy Randall, CREC's interdistrict grants coordinator, serve as the leadership team for the program.  Faculty members also include Terrell Green, a Glastonbury elementary school teacher, and Ramona Nishball, a Windham Tech teacher.

During the program, students are immersed in coursework and field trips; work with pre-school and elementary schoolchildren; integrate educational theory with practical experience; and study and live within the rich multicultural environment of Connecticut classrooms.

Students in the program prepare and present lesson plans; create positive learning environments which celebrate cultural diversity; give detailed reports defending their choices for classroom layout; maintain journals reflecting on their teaching observations and experiences; and develop websites and electronic portfolios.  

Successful participants will receive three undergraduate credits for a course entitled "Teaching in the 21st Century."  A special theme this year is international and intercultural virtual exchanges via wikispaces and the development of electronic portfolios as a learning and teaching tool.  SIFT will have an open house for parents, school principals, counselors, teachers, and other community members on July 15 and will showcase student projects and accomplishments on July 30.

For more information about the SIFT program, contact David Stoloff at (860) 465 - 5501 or stoloffd@easternct.edu .

 

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