January 25, 2009

Volume 4, issue 22 January 25, 2010
The Fountain

Call to action: work study funding threatened

About 500 Whitman students and tens of thousands of students at other colleges and universities in Washington State who rely on state-funded financial assistance through Work Study are in danger of losing this critical support. The proposed state budget calls for the elimination of the Washington State Work Study Program and the Washington Scholars program that reduces funding for Whitman students by more than $400,000.

While the Need Grant program has been salvaged and restored to the proposed budget, it’s not enough. Work Study is immensely important to students and to campus productivity.

Marilyn Ponti, director of financial aid, joins ICW (Independent Colleges of Washington) in asking all campus community members to take action and let our legislators know that the state of Washington must amply fund work study.

ICW makes it easy to communicate our concerns. This link takes you to the ICW site, where you’ll find a ready-to-go online submission form. Or feel free to write letters to the editor locally and regionally. For contact information, call or e-mail Ruth Wardwell, director of communications, at wardwers@whitman.edu or x5768.

Bruce Magnusson named director of Global Studies Initiative

Following in the exceedingly dedicated and successful footsteps of Associate Professor of Politics Shampa Biswas, inaugural director of the Global Studies Initiative, Bruce Magnusson, associate professor of politics, has been selected by the Committee of Division Chairs to take over as director at the end of the current academic year, reports Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of faculty.

The position is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Responsibilities of the director include administration of the grant, which involves recruiting participants and coordinating a faculty development seminar each year as well as an annual summer workshop; planning and coordinating the annual global studies symposium; and co-editing the volume that will emerge from the proceedings of the symposium.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the second annual Global Studies Symposium, titled “Contagion,” 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, Maxey Auditorium. Click here for details.

Haiti relief effort on campus

Not long after the news on Jan. 12 that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake had devastated Haiti, Whitman community members began raising funds to support the relief effort.

Pat Spencer, professor of geology, asked campus community members to give to the American Red Cross. With the help of Patti Moss, Division III assistant, he collected $2,055 in the name of the Whitman College community. They collected funds until Jan. 19.

Donations from Red Cross boxes in residence halls and academic buildings were collected Sunday. No information is available yet on the amount collected.

Jack Lazar ’13, just days after arriving on campus to begin his first semester, urged the community to contribute to Whitman for Haiti through the Partners in Health Web site.

There may be other efforts in the works. Whitman community members also have contributed directly to the Red Cross through the local Red Cross office at the edge of campus.

“The Whitman College community and the college itself have been supportive of the American Red Cross and the Blue Mountain chapter in particular,” said Terry Hackney, local director. “We see from Whitman College a strong sense of social awareness, and that we appreciate.” The local Red Cross chapter had raised about $7,000 (as of Jan. 21), not counting funds raised on campus.

Did you know? An admission primer

For those who missed last week’s PAC Tour of Penrose House – home of the admission and financial aid offices – here are a few facts from Tony Cabasco ’90, dean of admission and financial aid:

  • In 1995, 1,200 students applied to attend Whitman; 84 percent were admitted. In 2009, 3,500 students applied; 34 percent were admitted.
  • In 2010, about 95 percent of prospective students will apply online.
  • “Our approach is that there’s a difference between recruiting students and recruiting future alumni,” Cabasco said. At Whitman, nine out of 10 students graduate. That means an admission officer talking to prospective students is talking to future alumni. “We make long-term relationships.”
  • Admission officers travel six to seven weeks between September and mid-November.
  • The admission process begins with a pool of about 100,000 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. This pool is narrowed to about 32,500 students. More than 10 percent of them – hopefully about 3,500 this year – will apply. The financial aid packages are decided in March and April. “We run a marathon for nine months, and then we sprint,” Cabasco said of his staff.
  • From now through mid-March, admission officers will read at least 70 applications a week. Each application is read at least two times. Over spring break, the staff will hole up in the Penrose House conference room for two weeks to review applications and decide which 1,500 students to admit. Ultimately, about 400 students will commit to Whitman by the May 1 deadline.
  • Then it’s time to regroup and start over again. “It’s as much an art as it is a science,” said Cabasco, noting that the admission officers feel privileged to work for a college that sells itself very well. Students want to come to Whitman. “We have a strong waiting list.”

Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

Bob Carson, Grace Farnsworth Phillips professor of geology and environmental studies, and Clare Carson, associate dean of students: academic support services, led a group of students (16), alumni (two) and a doctor (a parent of one of the Whitman students) over winter break to Kenya, to study the region’s natural history, culture and environmental problems and do a seven-day traverse over Mt. Kenya. During the fall semester the students took a course on East Africa to prepare them for the expedition. The field trip gave students an opportunity to apply what they learned in the classroom and, in particular, to work with Professor Carson to interpret the complex geology of Mt. Kenya. The group is pictured at Point Lenana, the 16,355-foot peak of Mt. Kenya, the second highest mountain of Africa. Among many findings, one that stands out for Prof. Carson is the “alarming rate at which the glaciers are retreating. We were able to get under the largest remaining glacier and take spectacular photos. I’ve already sent a number of images to other geologists.”

Janis Breckenridge, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures (Spanish) reports that under her guidance, Spanish major Bécquer Medak-Seguín ’10, has successfully placed an article for publication in the top-tier, academic journal Letras Femeninas. This peer-reviewed journal specializes in scholarly works relating to the field of Hispanic women’s literary and cultural production. Bécquer’s article, “A mi madre le gustan las mujeres and Pepi, Luci, Bom: Lesbian Parodying, Lesbian Parodied” discusses the ways in which two Spanish films push discursive limits of gender performativity and intertextuality. This article will appear in the 2010 special volume dedicated to cultural representations of lesbian sexuality. Dr. Breckenridge’s own article, “Plotting Lesbian Desire: Self-Conscious Storytelling and Female Homoeroticism,” will appear in the same journal.

Whitman women musicians collaborate to raise funds for women’s shelter

The four-day Shelter for Freedom event included a film screening of “Cargo: Innocence Lost” on Jan. 17. President Bridges met with Anne Archer, actress and founder of Artists for Human Rights (AFHR), and Michael Cory Davis, director and writer of the documentary.

Through spoken word and piano, viola, cello and violin performances, 17 women – many of whom are faculty members at the three local colleges – filed somberly onto the Chism Hall stage on Jan. 15 and expressed deep concern for the plight of women and the hope for the future represented in the new Walla Walla Helpline Women’s Shelter.

Amy Dodds, Whitman adjunct assistant professor of music, organized Whitman’s participation in the four-day “Shelter for Freedom” fundraiser to support the shelter. The “Be Free: Humanity Through Poetry and Music” event at Chism featured the research of Susan Pickett, Catharine Gould Chism Endowed Chair of Music, who illuminated the life stories of a century of women composers who faced myriad challenges as they pursued their art.

Other Whitman faculty who performed the works of women composers were Jackie Wood, senior lecturer of music; Karen Zizzi, lecturer of music; and Robyn Newton and Genevieve Baglio, music assistants. Laura Curtis, music assistant, performed “Tango for Piano,” a composition she collaborated on with John David Earnest, adjunct assistant professor of music. Kristin Vining-Stauffer composed “I will Reach Out my Heart,” a song written especially to close the Friday night event.

“We were all so honored to be up there with each other, pouring our hearts into something together for the sake of women in trouble,” Dodds said.

Shelter for Freedom raised more than $10,000, “a strong start to this campaign of awareness and support for the women’s shelter,” she said.

New climate change lecture series announced

The Department of Politics, the Global Studies Initiative and Environmental Studies are sponsoring a new lecture series, titled “Conversations on Climate Change.” Phil Brick, Miles C. Moore professor of politics, is coordinating the series. “Despite growing scientific evidence that our planet will warm substantially in the 21st century unless global emissions of greenhouse gasses are significantly reduced, climate change languishes on the political agenda, he said. “Four evenings this spring, we will gather to explore ways to think about climate change that can expand our grasp of what a warming planet will mean for all of us and for future generations. Please join us!”

The inaugural lecture is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in Olin 130, featuring Nils Christoffersen, executive director of Wallowa Resources, an award-winning nonprofit organization in northeastern Oregon.

Click here for the complete series schedule.

Glover Alston Center is next stop on PAC tour series

The new Glover Alston Center fulfils a long-time goal for the college: to create a welcoming space to further Whitman’s commitment to sustaining a diverse community. In meeting this goal, the bonus is a stunningly beautiful decor. Check it our for yourself on a tour sponsored by PAC (Personnel Advisory Committee), scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11. Meet at the center – 26 Boyer Ave. Please RSVP to Mary Luckstead at luckstd@whitman.edu. Also, on Jan. 27, learn about the history of teh house. See event listing below.

Coming Events
All free unless otherwise noted

Tuesday, 1/26
Film: Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Admission is free for Whitman students, faculty, and staff with valid IDs. Cordiner Hall, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, 1/27
G. Thomas Edwards Lecture: Zahi Zalloua, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures (French), delivers the G. Thomas Edwards Lecture. "Fidelity to the Unruly, or Reading Literature Ethically." Prof. Zalloua’s talk discusses recent trends in ethical criticism, exploring alternative ways of conceptualizing the relation between ethics and literature, ways that foreground the experience of aesthetic otherness in the event of reading. 7:30 p.m., Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Wednesday, 1/27
Presentation: Learn about the history of the home that is now the Glover Alston Center. Presenter is Mary Meeker, local historic homes researcher for Walla Walla 2020. 4 p.m., Glover Alston Center, 26 Boyer Ave. Discussion and Q&A to follow. Click here for more about the center.

Thursday, 1/28
Henry M. Jackson Lecture: “Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Communities from Malawi to Oregon,” presented by Nils Christoffersen, executive director of Wallowa Resources, an award-winning nonprofit organization in northeastern Oregon. 7:30 p.m., Olin 130. Contact x4944.

Friday, 1/29
Art/Reception: “Tabletop Meditations: The Art of Steve Miller.” Paintings and ceramics works. On display in the Memorial Building through March 26. Artist reception is 4 p.m.,Jan. 29, Memorial 3rd floor.

Wednesday, 2/3
O’Donnell Lecture: San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Jonathon Curiel presents “From the Alamo to Elvis Presley: How Arab and Muslim Culture have changed America for the better.” Ashton J. and Virginia Graham O’Donnell Visiting Professorship in Global Studies Endowment. 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium. Learn more here.

Thursday, 2/4
Visiting Writers Series: Featured speaker is Anthony Doerr. 7 p.m., Kimball Theatre.

Tuesday, 2/9
Rempel Lecture: Speaker is Sean B. Carroll, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and genetics and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin, addressing “Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species.” 7:30 p.m., Maxey Auditorium. Contact x5135.

Click here for events posted on the Whitman Web site.

Athletic Events – Home Games

Women’s Basketball (Sherwood Athletic Center, George Ball Court)
Friday, Jan. 29 – 6 p.m. vs. Lewis and Clark College
Saturday, Jan. 30 – 6 p.m. vs. Willamette University
Friday, Feb. 12 – 8 p.m. vs. Pacific Lutheran
Saturday, Feb. 13 – 8 p.m. vs. Puget Sound
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – 6 p.m. vs.Whitworth

Men’s Basketball (Sherwood Athletic Center, George Ball Court)
Friday, Jan. 29 – 8 p.m. vs. Lewis and Clark College
Saturday, Jan. 30 – 8 p.m. vs. Willamette University
Friday, Feb. 12 – 6 p.m. vs. Pacific Lutheran
Saturday, Feb. 13 – 6 p.m. vs. Puget Sound
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – 8 p.m. vs. Whitworth

Men’s Tennis (Bratton Tennis Center)
Friday, Jan. 29 – 1 p.m. vs. Lewis-Clark State College
Friday, Jan. 29 – 6 p.m. vs. UC-Santa Cruz

Swimming (Harvey Pool)
Friday, Jan. 29 – 6 p.m. vs. Puget Sound

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

Having always loved finding the surreal in the real and the contrasts of mixed lighting, I couldn’t resist trampling some of the vines along the creek near Hunter to get this view of rocks, water, trees and Prentiss.   Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Work Study Threatened
New Director for Global Studies Initiative
Haiti Relief
Did You Know?
Faculty Accomplishments
Shelter for Freedom
New Climate Change Lecture Series
Next PAC Tour
Coming Events
Athletic Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to thefountain@whitman.edu. Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain