June 29, 2015

Faculty and staff news briefs

In early June, Associate Professor of English and General Studies Sharon Alker, Assistant Professor of German and Environmental Humanities Emily Jones and Director of Instructional and Learning Technology David Sprunger traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, to participate in the annual Digital Humanities Summer Institute. They participated in courses designed to deepen scholars' understanding of what is possible with digital humanities, how to integrate it into their teaching and scholarship, and to develop specific skills that contribute to those goals. Alker and Jones learned the basics of coding in the command line and Python and were introduced to a digital toolkit that enables computer-assisted literary analysis with natural language processing. Sprunger attended a course designed for deans and department chairs that focused on supporting departments and faculty members using digital humanities in their teaching and pedagogy. All three also attended a series of lectures and colloquia on digital humanities projects, as well as two networking events organized by the University of Washington's Simpson Center for the Humanities, making contacts with scholars from UW and the NW5C. Alker, Jones and Sprunger are excited to share their experience with the college and explore ways to integrate digital humanities into their teaching and research practices.

Many Waters: Natural History of the Walla Walla Valley and Vicinity was just published by Keokee Books. Edited by Grace Farnsworth Phillips Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies Bob Carson, Many Waters features works by Whitman alumni, as well as faculty and staff members current and former. Alongside essays by Carson, the book includes works by community members including Matt Banderas, Leslie Cain, Clare Carson, Dale Cosper, Larry Dodd, Scott Elliott, Janice King, Kevin Pogue, Katrina Roberts and Pat Spencer, among others.

Professor of Sociology Michelle Janning will spend several weeks this summer in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a consultant for the Danish Institute for Study Abroad's Child Development and Diversity Program. She will give guest lectures, help design a new core course focusing on childhood, adolescence and marginality, and plan a guest Skype lecture for the fall 2015 semester. Janning has taught courses in comparative family sociology at DIS in the past, and will focus her new work there on constructions of childhood in a global society as part of her preparation to co-teach the cross-listed course "Global Childhoods" with Assistant Professor of Psychology Erin Pahlke, being offered for the first time in spring 2016. Janning and Pahlke designed this course as part of their participation in the Whitman College Global Studies fall seminar during 2014-15.

Assistant Professor of English Chris Leise recently published an article with Eleanor Gold '11. The result of an Abshire Scholar Award project in fall 2010, the essay "A Toast to Mr. Smiles: Chiasmus and Comitragedy in Suzan-Lori Parks's Signified Faulkner" was published in MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States. Among many other issues, this paper on a terrific novel called Getting Mother's Body connects dots across the past century to highlight how movement on women's reproductive rights has remained tragically stagnant while it simultaneously questions the stubbornly enduring association between masculinity and economic individualism.

Assistant Professor of Art Nicole Pietrantoni has received a 2015 Fellowship from the Artist Trust, which includes as part of the award a residency at the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, New York. "It's an incredible honor to be awarded a fellowship from the Artist Trust and I am truly grateful for this generous support," Pietrantoni said. "The award not only recognizes and validates the work I have already created, but quite literally invests in my vision and future as an artist."

Faculty and Staff News Brief

Campus Landscape News by Bob Biles, landscape supervisor

Arose by Any Other Name

Will Shakespeare famously penned: "What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet." So there is this fine little book by Diana Wells titled 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names. What follows are, mostly, Wells' words.

Legend says that the Christmas rose was so named because a young country girl visited the stable where Jesus had been recently born, where she wept because she had nothing to give the Christ child. Her tears fell in the snow and a hovering angel landed and showed her the Christmas rose poking through the snow to give as her gift. We also know this flower as Helleborus ranunculaceae and it can be found in front of Memorial Building, Harper Joy Theatre and in a few other locations scattered around campus.

This is probably little more than a legend, because all parts of the Christmas rose are poisonous, and had she actually given the plants to the newborn, Christianity may well have had a very different trajectory.

So how about that rose mentioned by the Bard? From earliest times, the rose symbolized love and passion. The Greeks associated it with the blood of Aphrodite's beloved Adonis; the Romans used roses in feasts and orgies with such abandon that, on one occasion, the guests were actually smothered by rose petals falling from the ceiling.

Party on, Wayne. And party on, Garth.


New hires

Please welcome our newest additions to the Whitman College staff and faculty.

Madison Hollenbeck
Admission Officer

Antonia Keithahn
Academic Resource Program Coordinator

Mary LeBlanc
Administrative Assistant to the Writing Center Director (Dean of Faculty)/Writing Support Specialist (Academic Resource Center)

McKenzie Lynn
Administrative Assistant, Fellowships and Grants

Lara Meyer
Administrative Assistant for Development

Dustin L Palmer
Math and Computer Science Technology Specialist

Justin Rose
Technology and Marketing Fellow for Student Engagement Center

Ian Rees
Assistant Men's Soccer Coach/Soccer Camp Coach


Campus Events

Kids Climbing Clinics

All kids climbs include admission, rentals and facilitation. Having fun while climbing is the primary aim of these sessions. No refunds for missed days. For ages 6 to 9. Cost: $64.

June 30, July 2, 20, 22, 27 and 29 at 5.30 p.m. Climbing Center, 320 Boyer Ave.

Climbing Day Trips to Spring Mountain, Oregon

Children under 13 need to be accompanied by an adult. Sign up at Whitman Climbing Center. Payment required at time of registration. Includes transportation, guides and all personal and group climbing equipment. Cost: $40 per person for Whitman students, staff, faculty and their family members; $60 per person for community members.

July 18 and Aug. 1 at 7.30 a.m.


Parting Shot

By Matt Banderas, visual editor/photographer

Parting Shot - June 29, 2015

Local teachers take part in the Summer Institute, talking with Whitman community members about how to integrate gardening into their teaching work.


The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications.

Send news relevant to staff and faculty members to thefountain@whitman.edu for inclusion in The Fountain. Photos are accepted and submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue.

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Compiled by: Bryce Heuett