Tidbits & Briefs
President Pelton Takes Spring Sabbatical;
Larry D. Large Serves in as Interim
University President M. Lee Pelton is on sabbatical this spring semester as part of an exchange with the University of Strasbourg in Alsace, France. University of Strasbourg Professor Ludwig Kreitz is teaching at Willamette this semester on the history of European politics.
Larry D. Large, a familiar Willamette figure, is serving as interim president until Pelton’s return in July. Large served as acting president at Willamette in 1978; he has also held several other positions at the university, including vice president and dean of students.
After Willamette, Large went on to leadership positions at Reed College, the University of Oregon, the chancellor’s office of the Oregon university system and two presidencies: one at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and an interim position at Sierra Nevada College. He has also worked extensively as a private consultant, assisting higher education institutions with strategic planning, fundraising, mergers and acquisitions, and accreditation.
Large earned his bachelor’s degree from Portland State University, and his MA and PhD from the University of Oregon. Two of his children are Willamette graduates: one from the College of Liberal Arts and one from the College of Law.
Tenth-Anniversary Student Scholarship Recognition Day Invites Alumni Participation
Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is a spring tradition for celebrating exemplary scholarship and creativity among Willamette students. On April 21, students will once again play the role of professor to share their research and present musical, theatrical and dance performances to fellow students, faculty, family and friends.
This year, special emphasis will be placed on making SSRD a more discursive, interactive gathering — this starts with an invitation for alumni to attend campus events.
Student research presentations from 2009 included the following:
- Wine Will Lead the Way: A Study of Biodynamic Viticulture in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
- Interviews With Evil: Representation and Reinterpretation of Classic Fairy Tale Villains
- The Fabric of Control: Confinement in Women’s Fashion
- Exploring Asymmetric Organic Catalysis: Glucosamine Derived Catalysis
For more information on this year’s SSRD, visit willamette.edu/cla/ssrd.
College of Liberal Arts Faculty Retirements
The university bids adieu to four popular CLA faculty members this spring.
Gerry Bowers (English), Linda Bowers (English), Martha Gavilanez-Uggen (Spanish) and Roger Hull (art history) have earned legions of dedicated students through the years. Each retires having secured a place among the university’s most revered faculty for the passion they have displayed both in and out of the classroom.
Alumni are invited to an April 23 TGIF event to recognize these professors.
For details and RSVP information, visit willamette.edu/alumni/events.
The Princeton Review Lists Willamette Among Best Values
Willamette was named among the nation’s 50 “Best Value” private colleges and universities this semester by The Princeton Review.
“Parents want to get a good return on their educational investment and ensure that their student is prepared to succeed in the global economy,” said Madeleine Rhyneer, vice president for admission and financial aid. “This ranking acknowledges Willamette’s powerful educational experience and investment in our students.”
Robert Franek of The Princeton Review reports that, “Among the nearly 16,000 respondents to our 2009 ‘College Hopes and Worries Survey’ of college applicants and parents, 85 percent said financial aid would be ‘very necessary’ for them this year. However, there are many first-rate institutions offering outstanding academics at a relatively low cost of attendance and/or generous financial aid, including some that may surprise applicants.”
Selection criteria for the ranking covered more than 30 factors and used the most recently reported institutional data from the 2008–09 academic year. Primary considerations included academic quality, costs of attendance and financial aid.
Law Professor Testifies in Church and State Debate
College of Law Professor Steven K. Green traveled to Texas recently to provide his expertise on a contentious education issue: the role of Christianity in American history classes.
Green, a national expert on church and state issues, testified before the Texas State Board of Education on behalf of the Texas Freedom Network. The board was considering a new social studies curriculum that included proposals to emphasize the religious influences on the nation’s founding principles.
Green, who directs Willamette’s Center for Religion, Law and Democracy, argued that the curriculum proposals were “inaccurate and unwarranted.”
“I fully support exposing children to the religious influences of our nation’s history,” he testified. “Religion has played a very important ideological and institutional role in the nation’s government. However, there is a crucial pedagogical and legal difference between the academic study of our religious past and exposure of children to misleading religious truth claims, particularly if they’re for the purpose of instilling religious devotion.”
New academic standards would dictate what Texas K–12 students learn in class and could affect textbooks used by schools nationwide. The Board of Education delayed its decision on the curriculum until May.
Willamette MBA Recognized in ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes’
The Aspen Institute’s “Beyond Grey Pinstripes” survey recognized Atkinson Graduate School of Management as a top global MBA program for innovation in social and environmental stewardship.
Willamette MBA appears in the “Global 100” list at number 47 overall (an improvement of 11 places from last year) and number 20 for the effectiveness of its courses in reinforcing ethical and socially conscious decision-making.
“The ranking speaks to the value of the Willamette MBA as an internationally recognized program,” said Dean Debra Ringold, JELD-WEN professor of free enterprise. “Our mission is to educate passionate students who will become socially conscious managers in business, government and not-for-profit organizations.”
Management programs from 24 countries participated in the 18-month effort to map the landscape of teaching and research on issues of business and society.
Data collected in the survey, as well as the list of top business schools, is available at beyondgreypinstripes.org.
Native American Artist Addresses Stereotypes through Live Painting
Native American artist Bunky Echo-Hawk visited campus as part of this year’s Founders Day celebration in February to engage community members in discussions of cultural issues facing Native Americans — and he used their feedback to create an original painting during the event.
A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Echo-Hawk asked the Willamette audience to share cultural concerns and personal experiences with stereotypes. As they talked, he transformed a blank canvas into a portrayal of the historical tensions between Indian people and white America, symbolized by a figure of General Custer “riding” an Indian.
In Custer’s hand, a sign reads “Free Ride?” The words, chosen by the audience, reference the idea that the U.S. has been built upon the backs of Indian people; it also touches on the perception that Native Americans receive undeserved government handouts.
Echo-Hawk has created nearly 300 paintings live in front of audiences. He sees his work as a way to empower youths and correct stereotypes about Native Americans.“It can set sparks off in people’s minds, in people’s hearts, and inspire them to want to look at these issues and do something about them,” he says.
His painting will become part of the collection at Willamette University’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
Professor Jerry Gray Selected for Endowed Chair of Economics
Professor Jerry Gray was awarded the Peter C. and Bonnie S. Kremer Chair of Economics, a privately endowed professorship given to a scholar who is also an experienced and dedicated influence in the classroom.
“With this position, I feel a sense of excitement — and responsibility — to ensure that Willamette’s students are able to think critically about economics,” said Gray. “Understanding economics is an essential part of a robust liberal arts education.”
Gray was named Oregon’s 2005 Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Students and faculty remark on his enthusiasm, dedication and humor in the classroom. He is known at Willamette for the hours he spends outside the classroom helping students learn about economics.
“Jerry is remarkable in his ability to translate the most complex and abstract concepts into terms anyone can understand,” said David Douglass, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “The Kremer Chair is fitting recognition of his talents as a teacher.”
“We are honored by the Kremers’ generosity and deeply grateful for their recognition of the importance of excellent teaching,” said Interim President Larry D. Large. “The many benefits of this endowed chair will be realized now and for many generations of students to come.”
About the Peter C. and Bonnie S. Kremer Chair of Economics
The $1.5 million endowment was established by Willamette alumni couple Peter and Bonnie Kremer.
Peter Kremer ’62 majored in economics and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Stanford. Bonnie Kremer ’62 graduated with an English degree. “Our experience at Willamette has given us both a good foundation,” Bonnie said. “That’s something we want to support.”
Willamette Academy in the Press
Willamette Academy, the university’s college access program for students historically underrepresented in college, was recognized in a national College Board publication for success in serving Latino students.
An article in The Oregonian also named Willamette Academy one of the state’s “beacons of achievement” in education.
Willamette Academy is a self-supporting initiative established by Willamette in 2001. It offers ongoing college preparatory and family support programs that help Salem-Keizer students graduate from high school and pursue higher education.
The academy is the only Northwest program highlighted in the College Board’s guidebook, Resources for Increasing Latino Participation and Success in Higher Education. Willamette Academy was highlighted alongside national organizations such as Educational Talent Search and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
The feature in The Oregonian praised Willamette Academy’s achievement in “empower[ing] students who in many instances are the first in their families to attend college.”
“These commendations are an honor and a testament to the great people who support our program and believe that a college education is for everyone,” says Roberto Casarez, executive director of Willamette Academy. “We are funded by Willamette donors, community members and foundations, and it’s their investment in Willamette Academy that helps high school students and their families prepare for college and success in life.”
Since Willamette Academy was founded, 93 percent of its students have graduated from high school, and more than 90 percent are currently enrolled in colleges throughout the U.S.
Visit Willamette Academy online at willamette.edu/academy.
2010 TIUA Class Arrives
This year’s group of Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) students arrived on campus in early February. Among the 59 women and 39 men are students from Tokyo International University’s schools of language education, international relations, business and commerce, economics, and human and social sciences.
Since arriving, TIUA students have worked with International Peer Coaches (IPCs) — each of whom is a U.S. Willamette student — in groups of 11–12 in order to acclimate to new academic and residential setups. Several other programs, such as the Tomodachi (friendship) families program, are set up to help TIUA students as they transition from studying at a commuter campus in the Tokyo area to living on a residential campus in Salem.
The current TIUA students will live and work in Salem until their departure in mid-December.
For more on TIUA, visit tiua.edu.
Ethnobotanist Maria Fadiman Gives 2010 Dempsey Lecture
Ethnobotanist and Professor Maria Fadiman visited campus in February to speak on the relationship between humans and their environment. She examined sustainable agriculture in the Galápagos and the relationship between indigenous tribes and companies in the forests of Ecuador.
Her lecture, entitled “Igniting Hope in the Galápagos and the Amazon: How Coffee and Shamanic Trees are Balancing Humans and Nature,” was part of Willamette’s annual Dempsey Environmental Lecture Series. In it, Fadiman discussed how shade-grown coffee helps forge a more balanced relationship between human inhabitants and the island ecosystem of San Cristóbal in the Galápagos.
When not working in Africa, Ecuador or the Galápagos Islands, Fadiman is an assistant professor of geosciences at Florida Atlantic University. She earned her doctorate in geography from the University of Texas at Austin and began her research in Ecuador with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation.
For more information, visit willamette.edu/events/dempsey_lecture.
College of Law Graduates Dominate Washington State Bar Exam
In addition to topping the Oregon State Bar exam in 2009, Willamette law graduates surpassed those of all other law schools on the Washington State Bar exam as well. Among first-time takers of the summer exam, 92.3 percent of Willamette graduates passed. The overall passage rate for Washington’s first-time takers was 79.1 percent — a difference of 13.2 percentage points.
“Once again, Willamette graduates have surpassed their peers on the bar exam,” said College of Law Dean Symeon C.Symeonides. “In both Oregon and Washington, our graduates have proven that their legal knowledge and skills are second to none. We are extremely proud of their great achievements.”.
Art by the Park Adult Workshop Returns
Alumni and other members of the Willamette community are invited to enroll in the secondannual Art by the Park workshop for adults.
With the help of professors, several new student clubs (including the Alternative
Agriculture Community) have set up systems for reclaiming compost for use
at the Zena farm, investigated soil types and cover crops for the five-acre
plot, and explored options for crop rotations. Students are continuing work
on a kitchen garden section, which yields produce that can be sold to Bon
Appetit, Willamette’s caterer, for use in campus dining halls..
Lodging is provided in campus apartments and food is coordinated by Bon Appetit, whose staff will also offer a class on the Art of Latin Cooking.
Course topics are likely to include beginning color theory, Chiaroscuro (the study of light and shade), photography, portrait drawing, Sumi-E painting and others.
Zena Forest Farm and Garden Come to Life
Students and professors have been at work since last summer on a new university farm at Zena Forest. The project serves both as a research tool and as a way to grow local produce for campus consumption.
With the help of professors, several new student clubs (including the Alternative Agriculture Community) have set up systems for reclaiming compost for use at the Zena farm, investigated soil types and cover crops for the five-acre plot, and explored options for crop rotations. Students are continuing work on a kitchen garden section, which yields produce that can be sold to Bon Appetit, Willamette’s caterer, for use in campus dining halls.
Crops used so far include vetch, clover, rye (cover crops), winter wheat and vegetables. Club members also choose seeds and decide on crops for the upcoming growing seasons. These will likely include lettuces, spinach, kale, chard, beets, onions, heirloom potatoes, peppers and berries. Special considerations are given to produce types and their timing/growing requirements.
The work extends into the classroom. A new course, taught by Professor Jennifer Johns and titled From Seed to Table: The Biology of Food, includes 25 students who work in a lab-type environment at the farm and study the practical and economic issues surrounding local food growing projects.
For more, visit the Center for Sustainable Communities at willamette.edu/centers/csc.