May 11, 2009

Volume 3, issue 36
May 11, 2009
The Fountain

Innovation in Teaching and Learning grants announced

In funding seven of 12 Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant proposals, Whitman continues an initiative designed to encourage individuals, departments and programs to develop new approaches to advancing student learning, to provide assistance to faculty and staff for designing and implementing these approaches, and to promote greater collaboration across divisions, departments and programs.

The 2009-10 recipients are: (click here for list with proposal synopses)

  • Sharon Alker, Theresa DiPasquale – English Department
  • Brien Garnand, Elyse Semerdjian and Brian Dott – History Department
  • Michelle Janning, Gilbert Mireless, Noah Leavitt, Bill Bogard, Keith Farrington, Helen Kim and Kari Norgaard – Sociology Department
  • John Kitchens and Bryan Lubbers – Education Department and WCTS
  • Rogers B. Miles – Religion Department
  • Deberah Simon, Mare Blocker, Charles Timm-Ballard and Kirsten Nicolaysen – Chemistry Department, Art Department and Geology Department
  • Phil Thompson, Kyle Singer, David Schmitz and Polly Schmitz – Office of Communications, WCTS, History Department and Alumni Relations

“This initiative exemplifies the Whitman community’s innovative spirit,” said Lori Bettison-Varga. "The proposals were very impressive, and the resulting work will bring new, creative approaches to learning both in and out of our classrooms."

Staff invited to May 12 faculty reception

All staff are invited to join in a celebration of faculty excellence at the 2009 Faculty Reception, set for Tuesday, May 12, 4 p.m. in the Young Ballroom, Reid Campus Center. No RSVP needed.

Among honors to be presented are the Suzanne L. Martin Award for Excellence in Mentoring, George Ball Award for Excellence in Advising, Robert Y. Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in Social Sciences, Thomas D. Howells Award for Distinguished Teaching in Humanities and Arts, A.E. Lange Award for Distinguished Science Teaching and the G. Thomas Edwards Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.

The 2009 Alumni Association Faculty Award for Service will be presented to Professor Bob Withycombe, and Professor Pat Spencer will be recognized for his 25 years of service. Professors David H. Carey, Robert A. Fontenot, Jean Carwile Masteller, Richard N. Masteller, Mary Anne O’Neil and Shu-chu Wei-Peng will be recognized as they retire from teaching at the college.

Faculty Accomplishments

Dave Glenn, professor of music and long-time baseball fan, recorded a jazz sextet CD in New York City last January, which has been picked up by Origin Records to be released in early June. The CD, “National Pastime,” is dedicated to the memories of jazz great Dennis Irwin and baseball legend Buck O’Neil, and all of the tunes have some relationship with baseball. Glenn wrote and arranged all the music on the CD, and some of the tunes are the direct result of a month-long road trip he took several years ago to attend 18 major league baseball games in 19 days in six different ballparks. Among the titles on the CD: “National Pastime,” “Roberto Clemente Bridge,” “The Denizons of Rathskellers,” “Blues for Buck O’Neil,” “Reliving the Glory Days,” “Lost in the Sun,” and “Bottom of the Ninth.”

Michelle Janning, associate professor of sociology and Garrett Fellow, recently completed (along with Lydia Hayes ’08) a needs assessment for the Walla Walla Early Learning Coalition. Funded by the Sherwood Trust, the project assesses both needs and assets in our community for families with children under five. Based on the Washington State Kids Matter Framework, the nearly 400 questionnaires that were collected from local Spanish-speaking and English-speaking parents and stakeholders who work with young children measured how community members view four key items: health and medicine; social, emotional, and mental health; early care and education/child care; and parenting information and support. In addition, parents of children entering kindergarten were asked about kindergarten readiness and resources available to them to get their children prepared to enter school. The results of the survey will provide both the Early Learning Coalition and the Sherwood Trust information so that their future efforts can target areas that are most pressing in the Walla Walla Valley. The full report and executive summary can be found on the Early Learning Coalition’s Web site.

David Schmitz, who supplements his day job as Whitman’s Robert Allen Skotheim Chair of History by also serving as the lacrosse coach, recently guided the team to the championship game. Last Saturday, the Whitman’s No.4-seeded lacrosse team defeated No.1 Southern Oregon in the PNCLL Division II semis 11-8. On Sunday, Whitman lost to Western Oregon 9-10 in double overtime. “It was the most exciting lacrosse game I’ve ever seen,” said Polly Schmitz, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “They were down 8-4 with five minutes to go and came back with about 30 seconds left to tie game to go into overtime.” Prof. Schmitz has coached lacrosse at Whitman since 1985.

Seven faculty-student teams receive Abshire awards

Seven pairs of faculty-students teams received Abshire Research Scholar Awards for the fall of 2009. Students are nominated by Whitman professors and projects are selected on the basis of merit. This group of scholars will study topics from a diverse range of disciplines, including foreign languages and literatures, history, chemistry and sociology. Click here for details.

Got events? Check events details in two places

Thank you to all of you who have submitted events to the Communications Office for publication in The Fountain and on the events section of the Whitman home page. Please continue to keep us informed of events that happen over the summer months and events that you have scheduled for the 2009-2010 academic year. Remember to please check details of your events in two places:

Please check a week or two before the event, in case time or place has changed or there is a typo to correct. Contact with changes or corrections. Thank you!

“Poetic License” installation dedicated

The long-awaited dedication of ’Poetic License,’ an art installation by Katrina Roberts, Mina Schwabacher associate professor of English/creative writing, and artist Buster Simpson, was held Friday, May 8. The installation features Roberts’ poetry embossed on license plates and attached to the waterway fence located behind the Fouts Center for Visual Arts.

Having her poetry “published” in such a seemingly unusual way Roberts said, “is definitely satisfying. The way it’s displayed arrests people during their habitual continuum. I feel honored to have worked with Buster Simpson.”

Yes, it was the old white Baptist Church!

An impressive number of Whitman historians from around campus correctly identified the photo in last week’s edition of The Fountain of the demolition of the “old white Baptist Church” that once sat on the corner currently occupied by the Reid Campus Center. Congratulations! Does anyone else have a challenge to offer? Send it to

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Monday, May 11
Recital: The Whitman College Hall of Music presents Blake Saunders, senior voice recital. 7:30 p.m., Chism Recital Hall. x5232

Friday, May 15
Recital: Fridays at Four presents faculty recital: Genevieve Baglio, voice; Melissa Loehnig, piano. 4 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Sunday, May 17
Dance: Sleeping Beauty Overslept will be presented by The Dance Center, Walla Walla; directed and choreographed by Idalee Hutson-Fish, 3 p.m., Cordiner Hall. Tickets available at Earthlight Books or at the door.

Thursday, May 21, Friday, May 22, Saturday, May 23
Theatre: “She Loves Me” is based on the book by Joe Masteroff. Music by Jerry Bock; lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The scene is Budapest, 1930, in an elegant parfumerie where two clerks, Georg and Amalia, constantly squabble during their workday. What they don’t know is that they are passionate pen pals by night, having answered the same lonely-hearts ad. This romantic musical gem is “one love affair that has only grown deeper with time,” wrote Frank Rich of The New York Times. 8 p.m., all three nights. May 23 is a benefit for the drama club and Whitman passes and season passes will not be accepted. For information, reservations and ticket prices, call the Harper Joy Box Office at x5180.

Saturday, May 23
Baccalaureate 2009: 3:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall. x5134

Sunday, May 24
Commencement 2009: Approximately 350 seniors graduate; Ryan Crocker ’71, former Ambassador to Iraq, will present the Commencement Address: “The Long War.” 11 a.m. on Memorial lawn. x5134

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

This cute little fuzzball of a photo is my choice for this week’s Parting Shot for two reasons:

  1. Never underestimate the “awww-cute” factor in people’s enjoyment of photos.
  2. The first photo I ever had published as a professional was a mom and ducklings very similar to this one.

So, I’m going back to my journalistic childhood. “Awww, cute!"   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
ITL Grants
Faculty Reception
Faculty Accomplishments
Abshire Awards
Got Events?
“Poetic License”
Church Demolition
Coming Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: