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August 2012 Archives

Eastern Presents Printmakers Network of Southern New England

Written by Chris Herman

akus - collection B.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - The Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will host an exhibition by Printmakers Network of Southern New England (PNSNE) titled "Score 2012" from Aug. 30-Oct. 1, with a special opening reception on Sept. 6 from 5-7 p.m. The exhibition, which includes PNSNE's sixth portfolio, celebrates the organization's 20thanniversary.

"Score 2012" features the work of such New England artists including Shirley Bernstein, Joan Cole, Eric Goldberg, Melody Knight Leary, Amanda Lebel and Rhea Nowak.
Founded in 1992 by four artists and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the organization today is a loose-knit network of artists and printmakers who remain independent, yet have common goals.


Akus on the Edge.jpg"I have been involved with the Printmaking Network of Southern New England since our first organizational meeting 20 years ago," said Shirley Bernstein, former assistant professor of visual arts at Eastern. "I was drawn to the idea of promoting printmaking by educating potential printmakers and the public through workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions. I find this group and their work personally inspirational. The network creates an environment that encourages collaboration within as well as networking outside the group."

akus-joy.jpgScore 2012 showcases both PNSNE's 2012 portfolio and individual works of art, which explore a variety of printmaking techniques and creative expression of regional, contemporary printmakers. Lebel, assistant professor of visual arts, said she used a technique called "designed repeat" to emphasize the conundrum of collecting, in that even when more is added, the collection is never complete. "I began working on both of my prints for the exhibition while teaching screen printing at Eastern last semester," said Lebel.  "Students were able to see my process throughout the semester and with this exhibition will be able to experience the final pieces."

PNSNE meets six times a year, visiting numerous museums and gallery sites prior and school print studios in Southern New England, picking central locations to give members an opportunity to visit different print workshops and exhibitions. PNSNE has collaborated with local New England poets to produce a book titled "Travel." Their work has been featured in many venues, including Wheaton College, Fairfield University, the Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut and the Newport Art Museum. 

 For more information on Score 2012, contact the Akus Gallery at (860) 465-4659.

Solving the Puzzle: Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus & You

Written by Chris Herman

            Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will be hosting Yale's Traveling Peabody Museum Exhibit "Solving the Puzzle: Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus & You" in the J. Eugene Smith Library from Sept. 25-Oct. 5. The traveling exhibit focuses on Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus as models for exploring the interplay between environmental change, biodiversity and vector-borne diseases.
The exhibit presentation addresses key components of the pathogens, vectors and hosts for each disease such as essential information about the distinctive tick and mosquito life cycles and how humans interact with these cycles. The exhibit will also provide an examination of common and differing elements of the diseases, as well as the differences between bacterial (Lyme) and viral (West Nile) pathogens.

"It should be a very interesting and educational exhibit," said Eastern assistant librarian Tracy Sutherland.  "As the chair of the library program committee and the librarian liaison for the HPE department I thought it more than appropriate to bring to Eastern Connecticut State University."

Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History is funded by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Both awards are provided by the Division of Clinical Research in the National Center for Research Resources at the NIH.

For information on the exhibit, contact Tracy Sutherland at or call the J. Eugene Smith Library at 1-877-587-8693.

Cid Honored by American Ecological Society

Written by Dwight Bachman

cid head shot.jpgWillimantic, Conn: -- On 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 Eastern Connecticut State University, at the annual ESA 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 time, 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 childcare facilities at the annual conference for the first time, and focusing attention on the work/family balance issues experienced by professional women.
Since then, Cid has worked on increasing recruitment of minorities in ecology, especially Hispanic females, through educational outreach to 4th-6th graders. Her multimedia science education program, "The Urban Ecologist," is 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 mentoring women and minorities in ecology, through professional academic leadership development programs that she helped create through the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS). Cid serves as a member of the CCAS board of directors and has a National Science Foundation grant to help promote career development of women in the sciences.

Eastern Named a "Best College in the Northeast"

Written by Dwight Bachman

Best in North eastern 2013.jpgWillimantic, Conn: -- Eastern Connecticut State University is one of the best colleges in the Northeast, according to the nationally known education services company, The Princeton Review.  Eastern is one of 222 institutions The Princeton Review recommends in its "Best in the Northeast" section of its website feature, "2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region," that posted Aug. 20 on
"The University community is honored to be included in The Princeton Review's 'Best Colleges in the Northeast' for the third time in four years," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez.  "What is most gratifying is that much of this recognition can be attributed to the survey of our students that The Princeton Review conducted.  Our students seem to appreciate the residential, liberal arts experience that we offer -- small classes, personal attention from faculty, and a vibrant campus life.  The fact our students feel Eastern is affordable is also important to families in these challenging economic times." 

"We're pleased to recommend Eastern Connecticut State University to users of our site as one of the best schools to earn their undergrad degree," said Robert Franek, Princeton Review's senior vice president/publisher.  "We chose it and the other terrific institutions we name as 'regional best' colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs. From several hundred schools in each region, we winnowed our list based on institutional data we collected directly from the schools, our visits to schools over the years, and the opinions of our staff, plus college counselors and advisors whose recommendations we invite. We also take into account what students at the schools reported to us about their campus experiences at them on our 80-question student survey for this project. Only schools that permit us to independently survey their students are eligible to be considered for our regional 'best' lists."
For this project, The Princeton Review asks students attending the schools to rate their own schools on several issues -- from the accessibility of their professors to quality of the campus food -- and answer questions about themselves, their fellow students, and their campus life.  Comments from surveyed students are quoted in the school profiles on The Princeton Review site.  Student comments in the profile on Eastern are "A smaller school with smaller classes;" Eastern's "thorough liberal arts curriculum" is conducted within a "comfortable learning environment;" and "I went to academic advising and I was amazed about how fast I was helped and it actually made a positive difference in my work."  The campus life was also highlighted: "There are always activities gong on such as movies, parties, crafts and comedians. You will never be bored at this school."

Eastern Connecticut State University is the state's public liberal arts university. Eastern serves approximately 5,600 students each year on its Willimantic campus and satellite locations.

About The Princeton Review

Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review ( is a privately held education services company headquartered in Framingham, MA. The Company has long been a leader in helping college and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through its test preparation services, tutoring and admissions resources, online courses, and more than 150 print and digital books published by Random House, Inc. The Princeton Review delivers its programs via a network of more than 5,000 teachers and tutors in the U.S.A., Canada, and international franchises. The Company also partners with schools and guidance counselors worldwide to provide students with college readiness, test preparation and career planning services.

Eastern Named a "2012 Great College to Work For"

Written by Dwight Bachman

Great College Image.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - For the fourth year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University 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, released today in The Chronicle's fifth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are 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."

The Chronicle is the nation's most important source of news about colleges and universities. "The institutions that the Great Colleges program recognizes provide innovative educational experiences - while also offering their employees outstanding workplace experiences - and we are eager to help readers learn more about them," said Liz McMillen, The Chronicle's editor. The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was employee feedback.

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThinkLLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous "Best Places to Work" programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.
For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle's web site at

New Major in Women and Gender Studies

Written by Dwight Bachman and Chris Herman


Women Gender Studies Image.jpg Willimantic, Conn. - Ninety-two years ago this month in 1920, 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.

earh-ame[1].jpgYet, even with President Obama signing into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act in 2009, and signing an executive order establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls, women still earn only 77 cents to every dollar that men earn in the workplace. This wage gap increases for women of color in Connecticut, with African-American women earning 64 cents for every dollar and Latinas earning 52 cents.

To help students better understand the historical factors that play a key role in 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. This past spring, the Connecticut Board Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education approved the new major.  It is available to all students beginning this fall semester. Eastern is the only public Connecticut college offering a degree in Women's and Gender Studies.


tina fu 4 (3).jpg "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. 

maya 2 (2).jpg

The fact 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."

bart-cl3[1].jpgGrounded in the liberal arts, the Women and Gender Studies major provides an interdisciplinary approach to stimulate the examination and analysis of  how factors such as race, class, culture and sexuality work together to impact the complexity and challenges of women and other groups in the United States.  The new major is rigorous, requiring students to take 36 credits from a wide range of academic departments, and weaves in a research and experiential learning component. Fourteen full-time faculty teach Women Gender and Studies courses.

The demanding gateway course and prerequisite to the major is Introduction to Women Studies, which gives students a sound theoretical overview and orientation to women and gender studies. The capstone course is a senior project, an intensive writing 400 level independent study course. The program provides structure for the assessment of student learning outcomes.

Anna Maria Cardinalli-Padilla (2).jpgCritical for McDonnell is how the new major links the classroom to the real world of work in a wide range of workplace settings:  "The character and demands of Connecticut's workplace are changing as the role of women grows in importance and in the extent of their contributions. Many companies, corporations, government and private agencies are in need of employees capable of understanding women and gender issues in areas such as personnel, employee training, social, health and other support services."

"With this new major, students will be able to apply their acquired knowledge, analytical skills and competencies in these everyday situations," McDonnell continued. "Students also will be prepared to pursue further academic study in fields such as law, social work, the media, public policy, health care, education and education administration, politics, business, psychology, and communication and in non-profit organizations." 
The program will provide internships in agencies across the state, including those in women's health such as Planned Parenthood, the news media -- including the Norwich Bulletin -- a and transgender advocacy groups, just to name a few.

McDonnell said the new major embraces a global perspective as well: "It is generally not known that women own only one percent of the world's wealth, or that of the 100 million homeless people in the world, most are women and dependent children, or that every day, 50,000 people, mostly women and children, die as a result of poor shelter, polluted water and inadequate sanitation."

Starsheemar Byrum, an Eastern alumna who minored in Women Studies at Eastern and earned her master's degree in Women Studies at Southern Connecticut State University, is coordinator of Eastern's Women's Center.  Byrum believes the new major will enable students to critically engage problems on many levels, including trends in the women's movement, social injustice in the workplace and in family life.

"The Women and Gender Studies Program makes accessible an intersectional lens, where students can examine how gender, race, class and multiple identities interact to shape human experience," said Byrum. "Through comprehension of how different systems contribute to social inequality, women and men alike will have another mode of entry to learning how to confront and challenge root causes of social issues like gender-based violence. We yearn for a socially just world; this program will help to foster social responsibility and positive social change."

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

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