The Periclean Progress E-Newsletter
June 2011, Volume 7 Issue 5
National Office News
Each issue of the 2010-2011 Periclean Progress E-Newsletter features articles written by Periclean Faculty Leaders. In this issue, three Periclean Faculty Leaders (Marina Barnett from Widener University, Emily Kane from Bates College, and Maura MacNeil from New England College) provide brief updates on their work. The Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program ™ is supported by The Teagle Foundation and the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
Bates' Periclean Faculty Leader Organizes Community Talk: As part of its Harward Center for Community Partnerships' "Public Works in Progress" series, Bates College Periclean Faculty Leader Emily W. Kane recently organized a campus and community discussion on student perceptions of community-based research partners and the politics of knowledge. The presentation drew on an analysis of student journals from two seminars Dr. Kane teaches on "Public Sociology." Each seminar introduces students to competing perspectives on public sociology. Students engage in community-based research projects on social inequality in Lewiston, Maine.
Dr. Kane explored the politics of knowledge in community-based research, asking how the students in her seminar viewed academic partners and community partners in the knowledge-making process. She addressed the extent to which students viewed knowledge as an academic "product" applied to or for community partners. This contrast was investigated in the context of readings and discussions that emphasized power in knowledge-making and ways in which the structures of higher education privilege formal scholarship. Dr. Kane said, "Where we choose to recognize opportunity and knowledge is not a statement of where opportunity and knowledge actually exist, but a reflection of more dominant and hegemonic values of society. I think that this is something that I have definitely taken away from this seminar... I realize (better) the difference that I can make in my own back yard alongside community partners through social change that depends precisely on the different types of knowledge that both community partners and I bring to the table due to our different experiences."
Maura MacNeil and Inez McDermott at the Town Hall in Henniker, NH
New England College Students Explore Town Meetings:Over the past year, ten students from New England Collegehave been exploring New Hampshire's signature form of local government, the town meeting, in a unique multi-disciplinary course titled, "Exploring Community in Our Towns: The New Hampshire Town Meeting." The course is taught by Maura MacNeil, Associate Professor of Writing and the Periclean Faculty Leader at New England College, and Inez McDermott, Associate Professor of Art History. The ten students presented their creative responses to their study of participatory democracy in an exhibition at the New England College Art Gallery on May 9. Work on view included photographs, drawings, paintings, manuscripts, plays, installations, and other mixed media works. Throughout the course, students have had an opportunity to interact with New Hampshire citizens on the concept of the town meeting, including Paul Wainwright, whose book of photographs, "A Space for Faith," explores New England Colonial meetinghouses, and Howard Mansfield, an author whose work examines New England traditions.
Widener's Periclean Faculty Leader Delivers 2011 President's Lecture on Civic Engagement: Dr. Marina Barnett, the Periclean Faculty Leader at Widener University and Associate Professor in Widener's Center for Social Work Education, delivered the 2011 President's Lecture on April 11 titled "Taking it to the Street: Service Learning, Civic Engagement, and Community Based Participatory Research." Dr. Barnett borrowed the famous phrase "Takin' it to the Streets" from the Doobie Brothers as it aptly summarizes her incorporation of service learning into the curriculum. Her ability to engage students in research and projects beyond the limits of Widener's campus is what earned her the 2010 Fitz Dixon Award for Innovative Teaching and subsequently a spot at the President's Lecture podium.
Dr. Barnett stressed that her students "work" to create a balanced assessment of a community: "We walk blocks in Chester to collect data. We walk the city to learn the city." She said that this type of research is what gets the students engaged with the community. "I want them to come back one day and comment on a new stadium or ask if Phatso's Bakery is still around." In her research, Dr. Barnettidentified that Chester, a city with more than 38,000 residents, has no supermarkets and only three places to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. With the help of Dr. Chad Freed, associate professor of environmental science, and his students, Dr. Barnett's class mapped the data they collected.
Dr. Barnett hopes to continue this research endeavor with future classes to help bring the issue to light and hopefully initiate change in the city.
Periclean Colleges Name New Presidents:
Bates College: Nancy J. Cable was recently named the Interim President of Bates College effective July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, after which she will return to her position as Vice President and Dean of Enrollment and External Affairs.
Earlham College: John David Dawson is the new President of Earlham College. Dr. Dawson was most recently The Constance and Robert MacCrate Professor in Social Responsibility and Professor of Religion at Haverford College.
Hampshire College: Jonathan Lash is the new President of Hampshire College. Mr. Lash has served since 1993 as president of World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington, D.C..
Ursinus College: Dr. Bobby Fong is the new President of Ursinus College. Prior to joining Ursinus, Dr. Fong, was the President of Butler University.
Allegheny Students Lauded for Keen Business Sense: Allegheny College students showed off their business acumen at the Annual Gator Innovation Challenge held on the Meadville, PA campus on April 2. Eleven Allegheny teams competed for prizes totaling $1,750 submitting innovative business plans that included an aquaponics farm, a company that designs power strips, and a wellness center. Students Jordan El-Sabeh, Dan Johnson, and Elyse Schmitt won first place in the Gator Innovation Challenge for their plan for Unsoiled Agriculture, an aquaponics farm for growing lettuce and tilapia. The Gator Innovation Challenge is part of Alleghney's Managerial Economics Program, and was organized by economics faculty Chris Allison and John Golden. The panel of judges included three professors and two local businessmen.
Swarthmore Students Travel to Washington, D.C. to Advocate for Pell Grants: Ten members of the Swarthmore College Democrats traveled to Washington, D.C.on May 2 to speak with Members of Congress and their staffs about the issue of federal funding for Pell Grants.
" [The trip to D.C.] is something we've done in the past," Peter Gross '13, president of Swarthmore College Dems, said. "It's a great way to get experience in the political sector." In 2009-2010, almost eight million students nationwide received Pell Grants. Congress has voted to support the program through 2011. The Swarthmore College Dems want Congress to support the system in 2012 and many years into the future.The Dems chose to focus on this issue because it is relevant to many students at Swarthmore. Currently, about ten percent of Swarthmore students receive Pell Grants. The students met with Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a Swarthmore alumnus, and staff from Senator Carl Levin's (D-MI) office, also a Swarthmore alumnus, and Representative Rush Holt's office. Representative Holt was a Physics professor at Swarthmore. To prepare for the trip, the group researched the statistics behind Pell grants and developed a statement outlining how they believe Pell Grants are beneficial for the United States. Nick Allred '12, a Lang Scholar who attended the 2011 Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference, said, "We had been preparing for a month and it certainly helped: we knew what to say and our teams ran like well-oiled machines-except when derailed by gregarious staffers." This was the Dems' second trip to D.C. in three years to advocate an issue of importance to the Swarthmore community.
This story was excerpted from a story that appeared in the Swarthmore Phoenix.
Innovative Community-Based Learning Class at Drew: Drew University Political Science professor Patrick McGuinn has transformed his Public Policy and Administration course into a community-based learning class, joining colleagues in disciplines ranging from Chemistry to Theater in the largest single-semester offering of community-based learning classes in Drew's history. Dr. McGuinn's class introduces students to public policymaking and administration in America. It covers ideologies, values, and theories in public policy; the policymaking process; and public administration and bureaucracy. The students partnered with United Way of Northern New Jersey, researching and writing policy briefs on issues identified by that organization. Students gained an enhanced understanding of the policy challenges around housing, education, and anti-poverty issues as experienced by an organization attempting to address these needs in its community. Teams of students were assigned to each of the United Way's major issue areas: Income, Health, and Education. Each team wrote a report covering the background and political context of the issue; current policy landscape at the county, state, and federal levels; an organizational scan of public and private groups working on the issue; diagnosis of the policy problem; and possible policy alternatives.
Students at Hendrix Survey Citizens on Freedom of
Expression: Hendrix College students in Dr. Jay Barth's "Issues in Politics" course recently surveyed Arkansans on freedom of expression issues they discussed throughout the semester. Dr. Barth, M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics and Chair of the Department of Politics and International Relations, is the Project Pericles Program Director at Hendrix College. "In addition to examining the theme through the lens of the major subfields of our discipline (e.g. comparative politics, American politics, International Relations, political theory, etc.), the course also has as a common element an introduction to the research methodology of our discipline through a couple of small research assignments," said Dr. Barth. Connor Thompson, a freshman from Little Rock, is a student in the class and worked on the polling process. "We spend much of our time in class addressing these issues in the context of Supreme Court cases, which means we tend to grapple with the ideas of an extremely select (yet incredibly influential) group of people," he said. "Working on this poll has allowed us to see how a variety of people around the state feel about controversial topics related to free expression ... Having a poll such as this gives us the opportunity to examine the opinions of a much broader spectrum of individuals."
This story originally appeared on the Hendrix College website.
November 2-4, 2011
Project Pericles Program Directors' Conference
This conference is an opportunity for Periclean colleges and universities to share information about program development and activities, network with fellow Pericleans, discuss current and future opportunities for collaborations, and inject new insights and ideas for future initiatives.
November 9, 2011
New York City, New York
Project Pericles Presidents' Council Meeting
At this annual meeting, Periclean Presidents will share their perspectives on the development, implementation, and support of Project Pericles on their campuses. The Presidents' Council Meeting will be hosted by the Ford Foundation.
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