WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College research teams comprised of 20 students and 12 faculty members are scattered this summer from the island of Maui to the mountains of Mongolia, from the dusty alcoves of England's University of Oxford library to the dry mesas of New Mexico's Zuni Indian Reservation.
Funding for research projects involving Whitman students is provided each summer by the Perry Scholar Research Award program. Established in 1996, the Perry research program enables faculty to employ outstanding students during the summer months as junior collaborators in professional scholarship and research.
The program, which was funded with an initial endowment of $1 million, honors Louis B. Perry, Whitman's eighth president. Perry, who led the college from 1959 to 1967, retired in 1985 as chairman of the board for Standard Insurance. He also served on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education for 11 years, including five years as president. He and his wife live in Walla Walla.
Here is a synopsis of the 2000 Perry summer research projects:
Early Internationalism: Visiting Oxford for Clues
For Michael Caughey, a senior politics major from Puyallup, Wash., and assistant professor of politics Jeannie Morefield, summer research will include a visit to the Bodleian Library archives at the University of Oxford in England. There, they will scour the unpublished works and letters of Gilbert Murray and Alfred Zimmern, two Oxford professors who were instrumental in establishment of the League of Nations in 1919. Their hope is to find previously overlooked clues concerning the origins of the league.
Morefield has a book manuscript, "Families of Mankind: Liberal Idealism and the Construction of Twentieth Century Internationalism," currently under review at Princeton University Press.
"While much has been written about the League of Nations as an institution, very little is known about its intellectual foundations, about the origins of the internationalist dream that gave it shape and meaning," Morefield says. British political theorists and intellectual historians have tended to dismiss the league as a largely failed social and political experiment that has little resonance in modern times. "In contrast, my work suggests that a deeper exploration of the birth of the League of Nations -- and, in particular, its roots in the British philosophical tradition known as new liberalism or liberal idealism -- is extremely important to understanding today's global system."
Although a number of historians and philosophers have perused the Bodleian archives over the years, virtually no one has combed the Murray and Zimmern collections for information on either the League of Nations or internationalist theory, Morefield says. Examining the documents in detail, while it probably will not radically change the central argument of her manuscript, will considerably enrich it, she adds.
The research project will also give Caughey the opportunity to do research for his honors thesis. The thesis will possibly focus on a comparison of the treatment of minorities in Germany and Eastern Europe during the first half of the century with the treatment of ethnic Chinese and other minorities in Indonesia during the second half.
"Murray and Zimmern were both deeply concerned with minority issues and helped formulate league policies in this regard," Morefield says. "Because they wrote extensively about the issue in published works, there is little doubt that they also had much to say about them in their letters. Knowledge of these letters would give (Caughey) unprecedented insight into the development of the internationalist framework in which the international community came to understand minority populations during the inter-war era."
Caughery is a 1997 graduate of Rogers High School, Puyallup.
Mountains of Mongolia: Understanding Glaciers, Climate Change
Whitman geology professor Bob Carson and two of his students, seniors Alison Gillespie (Edmonds, Wash.) and Justin Merle (Kent, Wash.), are part of a research project in the mountains of northern and west-central Mongolia. The project will focus on modern ice caps, cirques and valley glaciers, leading to a determination of how much more extensive those conditions were during the past two and possibly other glaciations.
"Glaciers are very sensitive indicators of climate," Carson says. "Learning about the nature of glaciers in the past allows us to infer climate change."
The geology of Mongolia is poorly known except in connection with mining. Alan Gillespie and Raymond Burke, two of the few Western geologists to have studied the glaciation of Mongolia, are leading the research project.
Collecting data at four different sites this summer will allow researchers to learn more about the age and magnitude of each glaciation and then do modeling of climate change, Carson says. Short-term results, including senior thesis work, will include surficial maps and relative ages and magnitudes. Long-term results should include absolute ages of Mongolian glaciations, their correlation with glaciations elsewhere, and their significance with respect to climate change over the last 150,000 years and perhaps longer.
Carson expects his students to learn a great deal about geology field techniques as well as the geography, tectonics, climate, vegetation and people of Mongolia. The students will also be expected to present an academic paper on their summer work at a regional geology meeting.
Gillespie is a 1997 graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds, Wash. Merle is a 1997 graduate of Kentridge High School, Kent, Wash.
Small Farmers on Maui: The Economics of Survival
Whitman economics professor Pete Parcells and Danica Noble, a junior economics major from St. George, Utah, will collect and analyze data to help measure the social and economic impact of proposed zoning legislation on small farms and undeveloped areas on the island of Maui in Hawaii.
Maui is essentially divided into two regions -- a developed tourist area and the eastern half of the island that includes the city of Hana, small farms and much undeveloped land. Parcells and Noble will analyze data, some of which they must collect, to measure the impact of proposed legislation to reclassify over one million acres from agricultural zoning to more development-oriented zoning.
That legislation will have "tremendous social and economic impacts on small farmers throughout the state," Parcells says. At this point in time, he adds, "These impacts are not very well understood nor currently measurable."
The results of their study will be outlined and graphed in a report written in a format understandable to legislators and government officials with limited knowledge of social and economic measurement techniques, Parcells says.
They plan to present their findings to the Hawaiian Legislature and the Western Regional Science Association, and submit an article to an academic journal. Their results will be included in a much larger study, titled "Small Farmers Survival Project," being conducted by Hawaii's Thousand Friends, a 20-year-old, nonprofit land-use organization.
Noble is a 1996 graduate of Wasatch Academy, Mt. Pleasant, Utah.
Morality & Diplomacy: Turning Away from Right-Wing Dictators
Vanessa Walker, a senior history and biology major from Brightwood, Oregon, is assisting history professor David Schmitz this summer with research on the second volume in his study of U.S. policy toward right-wing dictatorships in the 20th century. His first book, "Thank God They're on Our Side: The U.S. and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965," was published last year. His second book, tentatively titled, Morality and Diplomacy, will examine the years after 1965, when U.S. support of dictatorial regimes became an openly contested issue.
Schmitz and Walker are focusing this summer on the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter and the challenges to existing policy that emerged in the wake of the Vietnam War. Specific points of study are the Nixon administration's support of Augusto Pinochet's bloody rise to power in Chile and Carter's emphasis on human rights.
Walker is assisting Schmitz in identifying both primary and secondary sources relevant to the project, and in analyzing specific records and sources. She will write periodic summaries of her research as well as an essay on either Carter's human rights policy or Nixon's policy toward Chile.
They plan to divide one week of their summer study between the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, and the Library of Congress. "By the end of the summer (Walker) will have experienced all aspects of historical research, from the conception of the project, through the research, discovery, analysis and rethinking of ideas, to seeing how I begin to incorporate the work into the largest project," Schmitz says.
Walker is a 1996 graduate of Sandy (Oregon) High School.
Collaborative Conservation: Including Views of the Nez Perce, Zuni
Joey Bristol, a senior politics and environmental studies major from Chewelah, Wash., is working this summer with associate professor of politics Phil Brick on the writing of an essay on Native American involvement in the collaborative conservation movement.
Developing in response to the political and legal gridlock that has enveloped many environmental debates, collaborative conservation emphasizes the importance of local participation, sustainable natural and human communities, inclusion of disempowered voices, and voluntary consent and compliance rather than enforcement by legal coercion.
The movement's goal is to connect preservation advocates with developers, commodity producers with conservation biologists, and local residents with national interest groups, and to find workable solutions to disputes that might languish for years in the existing legal and political system.
Brick recently served as co-editor of "Across the Great Divide," an edited volume on the collaborative conservation movement. The book includes a chapter about two groups, Hispanics and the rural, working poor, that have been traditionally excluded from natural resource decision-making. Although a third essay about Native Americans failed to materialize in time for that book, the collaborative conservation movement's flagship journal wants to publish such an essay later this year.
Brick and Bristol will write the essay after conducting a series of interviews with Nez Perce tribal leaders in Lapwai, Idaho, and the Zuni Conservation group in New Mexico. Brick said Bristol will have a "unique opportunity to learn about issues such as Native American tribal sovereignty, native conservation traditions, and political interaction between the tribes and outside interests, especially environmental groups.
Bristol spent part of his last academic year at the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica, where he saw first-hand the challenges facing native participation in local conservation efforts. He is a 1997 graduate of Jenkins High School, Chelewah, Wash.
Newspaper Reporting: A Prison & Its Host Community
Sociology professor Keith Farrington and Brianne Testa, a senior sociology major from Port Orchard, Wash., are spending the summer doing an in- depth analysis of items that appeared in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin newspaper regarding the Washington State Penitentiary from 1976 through 1983.
Their goal is to identify any and all newspaper references to the penitentiary and its presence within the Walla Walla community, and to identify occurrences within the community, along with characteristics of the community, that might conceivably have some relations to the presence of the prison (e.g., criminal acts, fluctuations in the real estate market, expenditures on social services, the overall quality of life, etc.).
They expect to produce a detailed and comprehensive bibliography of articles, editorials, letters to the editor, advertisements, etc., relating to the prison and/or Walla Walla in general.
A year ago, Farrington and a now-graduated student conducted the same type of newspaper study for the years 1970 through 1975. Information from that study has proven "invaluable in helping me to really understand prison-related events as they happened during the first half of the 1970s -- a period which was, incidentally, especially tumultuous and dangerous within the penitentiary," Farrington says.
Earlier this year, Farrington and his first student collaborator presented their findings at the annual meetings of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The paper focused on the local newspaper's coverage of the prison and the ways in which that coverage was possibly shaped by national trends and events in penology (the Attica prison riot, for example), the Vietnam War, the proliferation of liberal and rehabilitative correctional philosophies, local concerns and fears about the prison, and the "muckraking" journalistic approach favored by at least one staff reporter at that time.
The time period (1976-83) being examined this summer covers an equally significant and infamous era in the prison's history, one that Farrington notes was characterized by riots, homicides, escapes, and institutional lockdowns, followed by the eventual "taking back" of the prison by prison officials.
Although acknowledging his basic familiarity with the history of the prison and its relationship to Walla Walla, Farrington says he is "amazed by the way in which my understanding improves both in depth and breadth, and also how it sometimes changes rather dramatically" through comprehensive data analysis.
Farrington, who has collaborated with more than 30 Whitman students on academic papers or articles, plans to eventually include his latest research in a book-length monograph on what exactly it means -- objectively and subjectively -- for a particular town or city to be a "prison community," using Walla Walla as a case study to elucidate basic principles.
Testa is a 1997 graduate of South Kitsap High School, Port Orchard, Wash.
Textbook Revision: Updating Latin American History
Revising a top Latin American history textbook is anything but a small task. Fortunately for Julie Charlip, an associate professor of history, she has help this summer from two of her top students, senior history majors Valarie Hamm of Port Townsend, Wash., and Mollie Lewis of Forest Grove, Oregon.
At the request of history division editors at Prentice Hall, Charlip is revising the text "Latin America: A Concise Interpretative History" to include the most recent scholarship in the field. The book was written in 1972 and last revised in 1994.
"Because it is a textbook that covers a large timespan and geography, the literature that must be reviewed is sizable," Charlip says. Hamm and Lewis are helping by reading relevant books and articles and then writing brief summaries.
Both students have the option of choosing particular topics of special interest to them. Lewis, for example, is interested in issues of race and ethnicity, how different cultures deal with minorities, as well as labor history and the history of social movements. Lewis plans to compare race and ethnic group relations in the U.S., Latin America and Great Britain in her oral exams next year. Hamm, an aspiring journalist, is interested in the ways that historians explain their ideas.
As the summer progresses, Charlip and her assistants will routinely compare notes, discuss the material and reach conclusions that will be added to the textbook. Areas in the text that need updating include the views of indigenous people before their conquest, the role of women and gender, issues of race and ethnicity, and recent issues in Latin America, such as the drug war, NAFTA and Chiapas.
Hamm is a 1997 graduate of Port Towsend (Wash.) High School. Lewis is a 1997 graduate of Catlin Gabel School, Portland, Oregon.
Math Student Turns Editor: Senior to Help with Text Revision
As associate mathematics professor Russell Gordon prepared to revise his 1996 textbook, it made sense to ask one of his top students to help. Derek Garton, a senior math and music major from Hillsboro, Oregon, is assisting with this summer's revision of "Real Analysis: A First Course," an undergraduate text that is used by 40 to 50 colleges.
Many math textbooks are revised every four or five years, and Gordon's publisher has asked him for a second edition. The publisher also has paid six reviewers to provide feedback on the first text.
"Most of the responses were quite positive, but the reviewers also identified some aspects of the text that could be improved," Gordon says. "I have considered the criticism as well as my own experience with the book and now have a good idea of the changes I would like to make."
Garton is "ideally suited" to help complete the revision, Gordon says. "He has just finished taking the course in which the text is used and was one of the best students that I have had."
Garton's responsibilities for the summer include reading comments from the reviewers and providing his perspective on the points they raise. He also will read and discuss possible revisions, work exercises to check for clarity and range of difficulty, help proofread the manuscript, and assist in preparing some of the figures in the text.
"The last two chapters will be completely new to (Garton) and his input on these chapters will provide a fresh perspective on the clarity of presentation," Gordon says.
Garton is a 1997 graduate of Glencoe High School, Hillsboro.
Spinning the Web: Making Environmental Information Available
In the first phase of what assistant chemistry professor Frank Dunnivant sees as a multi-year project, senior astronomy/biology major Jeni Brown (Bellingham, Wash.) is helping disseminate information about local environmental issues through the Internet.
A number of complicated and pressing environmental challenges are facing the local area, Dunnivant says. They include the quality and quantity of drinking and irrigation water, a multi-million dollar renovation of the city of Walla Walla's wastewater treatment facility, the possible breaching of dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, and potential energy shortages facing the Northwest.
Numerous private and public organizations are "pushing their own agenda in these matters and it is difficult for members of the public to tell fact from fiction," Dunnivant says. This is especially true, he adds, when the general public is lacking in technical knowledge (as well as a readily available source of information) about systems and services related to the environment.
Dunnivant's project is aimed at the creation of informational Internet websites. Web presentations can range from a history and description of Walla Walla's Mill Creek Watershed to a virtual tour and discussion of how the city's wastewater treatment plant works. Virtual tours and discussions are also possible on Whitman's Mill Creek Wilderness Campus and its future uses, various energy sources supplying the local area, and operation of the Walla Walla solid waste disposal and recycling facility. Other possibilities include a map and descriptions of major sources of pollution in the area, including the drainage of pesticides from farms, smoke from burning harvested cropland and wastes created by food processing plants.
Dunnivant and Brown will collect data for the websites through library and newspaper searches and site interviews with the managers and operators of relevant facilities. They also want to develop an extensive photographic documentation of those facilities.
"We will be working with each organization, agency and industry in an effort to make this a collaborative, beneficial effort to all parties, and to provide the public with a comprehensive view of the issues," Dunnivant says.
Brown is a 1997 graduate of Sehome High School, Bellingham.
Visual & Narrative Analysis: Understanding Preservice Teacher Beliefs
Nicole Madsen, a May graduate of Whitman and a candidate for a Washington State Teachers Certificate, is helping assistant professor of education Ann Watts Pailliotet with ongoing research involving preservice teachers and the tacit beliefs they hold on the nature of students, schooling, educational roles, instructional practices and proper learning outcomes.
Madsen, a history major from Jerome, Idaho, will assist Pailliotet in analyzing visual and written data she has collected over the past three years from students in her Introduction to Education course. Students at the beginning and end of those classes drew large pictures of teachers and wrote narratives explaining how the pictures reflected their beliefs about what teachers know and do.
Pailliotet and Madsen will independently examine all drawings for such elements as use of space, proximity and size; symbols, colors, number and type of objects; absence of certain objects; changes between initial and later drawings; and repeated objects or themes.
Previous research has shown that tacit beliefs held by preservice teachers are often simplistic, inaccurate, naive and overly romantic, Pailliotet says. Unless preservice teachers learn to examine and understand their early beliefs, she adds, their learning process may suffer, and they may perpetuate irrelevant or inadequate instruction.
Pailliotet describes Madsen as one of the most talented students with whom she has worked, noting that her earlier work in a Media Literacy class was of graduate-school quality. In that class, Madsen practiced critical analysis of various print and visual media, learning to deconstruct visual representations in the search for hidden messages.
Pailliotet and Madsen hope to present their findings to an annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, and to present a manuscript for publication in a leading education journal.
Madsen is a 1996 graduate of Jerome High School.
Pro & Con: Debate Students Probe Privacy Issues
Seven members of Whitman's nationally-ranked debate team are researching and publishing five handbooks containing in-depth policy argumentation on privacy issues in employment, medical records, consumer information, and search and seizure. Working with Whitman director of forensics Jim Hanson, the students will prepare arguments, supported by expert testimony, that justify or reject changes in U.S. privacy policies.
The booklets will be published by West Coast Publishing and made available to high school and college debate educators and participants. Each of the Whitman students also will write essays aimed at advancing some aspect of argumentation theory. These essays will be included in the booklets.
Jessica Clarke, a politics major and 1996 graduate of Redmond (Wash.) High School, is the project's senior researcher. She graduated from Whitman in May.
Acting as junior researchers are senior Keola Whittaker, a politics-philosophy major and 1997 graduate of Roosevelt High School, Honolulu, Hawaii; juniors Brian Simmonds and Emily Cordo, two politics majors and 1998 graduates of Lincoln High School, Portland, Oregon; junior Nicholas Thomas, a rhetoric major and 1998 graduate of Sunnyside (Wash.) High School; and sophomores Scott Daniel, a 1999 graduate of Mountlake Terrace (Wash.) High School, and Thad Blank, a 1999 graduate of Boise (Idaho) High School.
The students will research policy journals, books, major newspapers and law journals to develop their privacy arguments. Issues to be investigated include the use of genetic tests on employees, restrictions on employee communication, police searches, company policies on employees' personal lives, and the sharing of medical and consumer purchasing information. Hanson will assist the students in constructing and organizing the arguments, editing their work, monitoring their adherence to accepted research methodology, and taking them through the process of making publication-ready material.
Supply & Demand: Measuring Monetary Stability
Assistant professor of economics Halefom Belay, with help from Grace Namuli, a senior economics major from Uganda, is studying the stability of money demand under different policy environments. Their summer work is a continuation and enhancement of Belay's earlier work on money demand, which will be published in the "Journal of Money, Credit and Banking."
"We propose to develop a formal econometric model of money demand function and test the model's reliability . . . when policy regime changes," Belay says. Traditional models are characterized by a strong emphasis on the demand side of the economy. Rather than giving money supply a passive role, it needs to be tested explicitly, he says.
A solid understanding of money demand is necessary for the conduct of monetary as well as fiscal policy, Belay says. "Policy makers attempting to maintain a stable level of real output are aided if the demand for money at that desired output level is stable and predictable. If, on the other hand, money demand is unstable and hard to predict, policy makers may do better to stabilize the interest rate rather than the money supply. The knowledge that the demand for money is subject to such random shifts is important for economic policies designed to control business fluctuations."