June 13, 2011

E-mail not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Volume 5, issue 42
June 13, 2011
The Fountain

Staff/Faculty Profile: Jennifer Hess Mouat


Language Learning Center Coordinator and Adjunct Assistant Professor of General Studies
Also: Over the summer, I’m working as the President’s Office correspondent

  • Birthplace: Salem, Ore.
  • Education: BA in English and studio art, Willamette University; MA in the word and the visual Iiagination, University of Wales, Lampeter; PhD in English literature, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
  • Years at Whitman: 6
  • Favorite… (any or all)
  • Film: “The Big Lebowski”
  • Book: “East of Eden” – Steinbeck
  • Play: “Taming of the Shrew” – Shakespeare (well, except the ending)
  • Favorite sculpture on campus: It’s a four-way tie between “Styx,” “Soaring Stones,” “Three Stories,” and the new Richard Jens Rasmussen memorial sculpture. I’m a BIG fan of all the sculptures on campus – and around town.
  • Best travel experience: I took a driving trip around the US and stayed at various Benedictine monasteries (an order that encourages the receiving of guests). I tried to drive on the back highways and look for the mythic seven-calendar cafes, à la advice from “Blue Highways”.
  • Interests/pleasures: Most of my interests and pleasures have been invaded by my children, who have become my interests and pleasures. At ages one and three, they take up most of my “leisure” time. When they’re awake, I enjoy walking, hanging out with extended family in the area, playing with our dog (a Kuvasz) and eating meals on the run. When they’re sleeping, I enjoy reading, writing letters, drinking wine and long phone conversations with far away friends. (My especially guilty pleasures include People magazine and gummy bears.)
  • Recent accomplishment: Honestly the first things that came to mind were home improvement projects. I think I must be getting old.
  • What people don’t know about me: I’m a Walla Walla native. My children likely will likely attend Berney Elementary School, which is the same grade school that both my dad and I attended.
  • A day in the life/on the job: I have more than one job here at Whitman. During the school year, I run the Language Learning Center (LLC) and teach a section of Encounters. This summer I’m helping out in the President’s Office. To keep it simple, I’ll do a day in the life during the school year. Here’s a typical Monday:
    • 6:45 a.m. One kid or the other shrieks me out of bed.
    • 7:15 a.m. After diaper changes and perhaps a shower (assuming the kids allow it), we move to the kitchen for toast and tea.
    • 8:45 a.m. gratefully hand off the kids and head to work
    • 9 a.m. open the LLC and take care of any new or ongoing tasks
    • 10 a.m. teach Encounters – 50 minutes of intense conversation about the BIG questions like: What is the human condition? How does suffering/mortality define us? What does it mean to live “the good life”? What is love? How do we “know” what we think we know? What does it mean to be “free”?
    • 11 a.m. Meet with students or do some grading
    • 12 p.m. run home for lunch – watch my kids turn their wardrobe and hairstyle into edible works of art.
    • 1 p.m. Back in the LLC. Often in the afternoon I spend time with some of our native speakers and enjoy vicariously participating in their conversation classes. Also, meetings with our ESL writing fellows/tutors, work on upcoming special events and projects for foreign languages and literatures faculty, answer student questions about technology or other language learning tools, organize the space, give tours, keep track of supplies, and maintain technology available for check out. One of my goals for the LLC is simply to be more noticeable on campus – for students, faculty, and staff to use the space more often.
    • 5:30 p.m. Close up the LLC and head home for dinner
    • 7:30 p.m. Kids in bed, collapse on the couch with Haydn and chat about the day, then turn to lesson planning and grading for class.
    • 11 p.m. (hopefully) Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • Favorite part of the job: The unexpected connections and conversations that arise between people in the LLC, and I especially love working with our native speakers, who come here from all over the world with the intent of sharing their language and culture with the campus.
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: The students – I love their passion, intelligence, commitment to finding balance, and their sense of fun. They’re inspiring.
  • What I’ve learned here: A liberal arts education, from both a teaching and a learning standpoint, contributes to one’s happiness. Learning how to learn is good for the soul.
  • Quote: “The biggest hindrance to learning is fear of showing one’s self a fool.” – William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways: A Journey into America


Staff news briefs

Keiko Pitter, outgoing CIO, says: “A funny thing happened on my way to retirement!” What happened was a job offer to serve as interim CIO for Lewis & Clark College, where incoming Whitman CIO Dan Terrio has worked for 10 years. She will fill the position vacated by Terrio for six months while Lewis & Clark conducts a search. But she will not cancel her first retirement priority – a trip to Japan with her family.

Parting Shot
By Greg Lehman, photographer/communications officer

parting shot

Summer College participants wait in Kimball Theater for a talk by Whitman alumnus Ashifi Gogo ’05, CEO of Sproxil, about his company's efforts to make it easier to weed out fake prescription drugs around the world. Full size.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Staff/Faculty Profile:
Jennifer Mouat
Staff News Brief
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. Editor: Ashley Coetzee. Managing Editor: Ruth Wardwell Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain