News for the Smith College Community //September 7, 2000
All You Need to Know About Student Finances
What's Smith been up to this summer? Quite a bit, as a quick look around campus will show. From the construction of the parking garage to the relocation of Wesley House, it's been a summer of campus-altering changes. But one of the most significant changes didn't involve any cranes, concrete or hardhats. Rather, it happened quietly, and without scaffolding, in College Hall 10: As of July 1, the Office of Financial Aid and the Bursar's Office merged to create the new Office of Student Financial Services (SFS).
As the name suggests, the office merger is all about service. It's a way for the college to more effectively assist students and families with billing, financing, and financial aid. The merger came out of Smith's 2020 self-study, a campuswide project initiated by President Ruth Simmons to reinvigorate and strengthen Smith for the 21st century. The study's exploration of student services led to a yearlong review of the former offices of financial aid and the bursar. Using focus groups, student surveys, and studies of other colleges' operations, the evaluation team made more than 100 service recommendations.
"They ranged from very easy to very tough," says Myra Smith, director of Student Financial Services. "Forming the SFS was one of the big recommendations. And we implemented it because we believed it was the best way to offer students a comprehensive financial services unit."
The first step was to determine the scope of the new unit. In the end, it was decided that anything involving educational financing would be handled by SFS. "Anything that involves students [and finances], that's us," explains Smith. "Whether it's about student employment, tuition payments or financial aid, SFS is where students should turn."
The overriding goal, according to Smith, was the consolidation of services. She explains how, in the past, a billing inquiry from a parent may have taken a week or more to investigate. That's because the former Office of Financial Aid would have had to explore any financial aid dimensions while the Bursar's Office would have had to examine its half of the bill. Now, with personnel and data housed in one location, an answer can be provided within an hour.
To offer this consolidated service, staff members of the merged offices were trained in all of SFS's responsibilities. Training session topics covered monthly payment plans, refunds and advances, state grants, study away, and Ada-specific issues. The person who had previously specialized in each function led the workshop and remains available to help coworkers in developing their own expertise.
The only service that has been redirected since the merger is the processing of student pay vouchers. While SFS is still involved in posting student employment opportunities, vouchers should now be taken to the Payroll Office in College Hall 8.
Meanwhile, the staff of SFS is adjusting to the increased volume of inquiries that has accompanied the merger. But they're also excited about being better able to serve Smith students.
"The creation of SFS has greatly
improved how we deal with both students and parents, and that's
gratifying," says Smith. "We're striving to offer comprehensive
answers. We want to answer a question once, answer it right here,
so that the whole process of financing an education is easier
for them. We want to save them legwork-and worry."
Picker Hosts Engineering Exemplars
The Picker Program in Engineering and Technology will host four exemplars of professional engineering this fall during its first colloquium, designed to inspire Smith students to explore the field.
The colloquium, titled "Executive Access: Top Engineering Professionals Share Their Work and Insight," will begin on Tuesday, September 12, with a lecture in Seelye 201 titled "Engineering Cultures: Knowledge for the Global Engineer," given by Gary Downey, director of the Center for Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Downey is known for his research in cultural studies of science, technology and medicine as well as the ethnography of engineering education.
On October 5, Assistant Surgeon General Robert C. Williams, chief engineer for the U.S. Public Health Service, will lecture on "Public Health Services Engineers: Engineering for Life." Williams is also the director of the Division of Health Assessment and Consultation Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Later in the semester Iwona Turlik, vice president and director of the Motorola Advanced Technology Center, will give a presentation. A fourth colloquium speaker is yet to be scheduled.
Domenico Grasso, director of the Picker Program, says the objective of the colloquium is to present Smith's engineering students with forward-thinking ideas that lend a cultural perspective as well as professional experience in addressing issues in the field.
"We want students here to have access to fairly high-level thinking," he says. Toward that end, Downey was invited to share with students his theories on engineering cultures, "a perspective on engineering that might not otherwise be considered."
A question-and-answer session will follow each lecture in the colloquium.
Now in its second year, Smith's engineering department -- the first of its kind at a women's college -- recently moved into its new location in a temporary building constructed next to Lawrence House. The new department currently has 20 first-year students and sophomores designated to major in engineering and 25 students enrolled in its first-semester class, "Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering."
Students Stand to be Counted
Early this year, Northampton formed a Complete Count Committee to prepare for the federal census that took place on April 1. Members of the committee, who represented public agencies, schools and private businesses, worked for several months to develop strategies to encourage participation in the Census 2000. Each person counted represents $1,400 per year in federal dollars coming into the city for the next 10 years. With 2,500 students, Smith was an important part of Northampton's count (the city has approximately 30,000 residents who are not Smith students).
Enumerating the Smith population seemed like a daunting task, but as it turned out, Smith students did a fabulous job of counting themselves. Only seven students did not respond to the census -- likely some kind of a new world record! Congratulations everyone. Thanks for participating.
Online Art Assisted by Davis Grant
Are Smith's art and art history buffs out of luck? It would seem so, considering the major construction pro-jects that have rendered the Museum of Art's impressive collection unavailable to students and faculty during the next two years. Thanks to a substantial grant Smith received on May 1, however, now may be a better time than ever to undertake a course, or a course of study, in art history.
The $300,000 grant, awarded by the Davis Educational Foundation, will support Smith's project of developing digitized images for use across the college curriculum. The project began two years ago when the art department, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and $260,000 in museum and college funding, started digitizing their slide collection and selected pieces from the Museum of Art. Facing the museum's two-year closing, the art department decided to step up the digitizing project and dedicate "an extraordinary commitment of time and financial resources to capture many of the museum pieces electronically prior to the closing of the museum in December 1999," says the college's proposal to the Davis Educational Foundation. Smith's digitizing efforts, adds the proposal, were assisted by "recent developments in electronic imaging capabilities [that] have revolutionized pedagogical possibilities for integrating digitized images in the arts and humanities curriculum."
With many of the college's 300,000 slides, 75,000 mounted photos, and 24,000 museum objects already successfully digitized, the art department will use the Davis grant to begin a "careful, systematic cataloging of the existing resources in order to ensure that they are useful to faculty, students, staff, and outside visitors," states the proposal.
Daniel Bridgman, a member of the art department, explains, "This Davis grant will enable us to do a very major upgrade of [our current] visual resource, making it available to users wherever they are." Thanks to the grant, a student interested in researching impressionist art will be able to conduct her research by searching for and examining images from any computer with an Internet connection -- in a computer lab, in her home or even from abroad. Even an up-and-running on-campus art museum couldn't match that kind of convenience.
"It's all very new and exciting," says Bridgman, who expects an early version of the searchable database to be available to students this month, and a major upgrade to take place midsemester. Eventually, he says, "the Davis grant will enable us to build multiple collections, so we will have separate collections for the Smith museum, the art department slide collection, for the geology department -- we'll gradually move into other areas that require visual database resources. We've even begun to talk to the Rare Book Room about putting highlights of their collection on-line."
Cabinets Showcase Smith News
It's no secret to some here on campus that Smith College is frequently in the news. But now everyone can sample the headlines and articles written about the college from publications across the country and around the world. Three custom-designed display cases have been posted in central locations on campus to showcase Smith news items from various publications. The glass-faced, enclosed cases are located in the foyer of the Alumnae House, the reception area of the Office of Admission, and the main reference area of Neilson Library.
"Smith has been making quite a bit of news lately," notes Laurie Fenlason, director of media relations, and that's something to be proud of. We want the people who visit here and the people who study and work here to see what the world is reading about Smith."
The display cases were designed by Lisa Lukas, Smith's interior designer, who planned each one to complement its campus locale. The setting of the case also determined its size and type of metal finish, she said. The content of the display cases will be continually updated by the Office of College Relations as Smith continues to generate news stories. Right now, they feature a range of items about Smith's people, programs and alumnae. While each display generally holds a different selection of clippings, prominent articles may be included at multiple sites.
Currently featured in two locations is an August 4 New York Times article describing how New Yorkers are benefiting from the renovations at the Smith College Museum of Art through an exhibition of 74 paintings and sculptures to the National Academy of Design Museum in Manhattan. The display case at Neilson includes a July 31 Daily Hampshire Gazette article that commends Smith as a standout in Northampton's census efforts, and an op-ed piece from the Miami Herald that was written by President Ruth Simmons. Meanwhile, in the admission office, visitors and prospective students can read about Smith's top-ten standing in the Yahoo! rating of the "100 Most Wired Schools."
So make it a point to check the new campus display cases -- and read all about Smith. You also can access summaries of Smith news items on-line. They're available around the clock on the college's Web site at www.smith.edu/newsoffice/inthenews/.
It's Back: The Annual Plant Sale
If you've ever wanted to own something from Smith's Botanic Garden, now you can. On Saturday, September 16, the Botanic Garden will hold its annual plant sale, which will offer a vast assortment of perennials, houseplants, trees and shrubs, all of which have been propagated from the collections in the conservatory and outdoor gardens. This year's sale will be held in Capen Garden (off Prospect Street), a new location from past sales, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the Friends of the Botanic Garden are invited to a special "early bird" hour at 9 a.m.
Among the offerings this year are some plants that are rare or unavailable in the nursery trade. "What truly distinguishes this sale is the range of plants," says Michael Marcotrigiano, new director of the Botanic Garden. "We have tropical to hardy plants for sale in one location. It represents the breadth of the Botanic Garden collections."
Some highlights of this year's perennials include Amsonia hubrechtii, Aster "September Ruby," Clematis heraclifolia, Digitalis "Strawberry Pink," Heuchera "Chartreuse," Meconopsis cambrica, Phlox "Scarlet Flame," and Platycodon grandiflorus "Apoyama." Among the trees and shrubs offered are Stewartia pseudocamellia, Magnolia denudata, Sciadopitys verticillata, Cryptomeria japonica "Globosa Nana," Enkianthus campanulatus, Syringa "Scotia," and Zenobia pulverulenta. The houseplant category includes Columnea gloriosa, Costus speciosus, Podocarpus falcatus, and Stanhopea insignis.
Marcotrigiano describes the sale as an opportunity to introduce the public to a wider range of plants than may be available in common trade. "Along with sharing our rich plant community, we also regard the sale as educational outreach," he says.
Proceeds benefit the programs and activities of the Botanic Garden of Smith College, including funding for internships, Web site development and plant publications. To further support the Botanic Garden and take advantage of the "early bird" shopping hour, come to the plant sale at 9 a.m. and join the Friends of the Botanic Garden. Memberships cost $10 for students, $25 for individuals, and $50 for families. Along with receiving the Botanic Garden's biannual newsletter and a copy of C. John Burk's Celebrating a Century: The Botanic Garden of Smith College, members are invited to plant show preview parties and travel study programs.
Whether you have a green thumb or just
want a Smith-propagated plant on your windowsill, the staff of
the Botanic Garden welcome you to this annual event. For more
information, call extension 2742.
No ScoreBoard this week.
Sue Payne, head coach of the riding
team and a lecturer in Exercise and Sport Studies, has been awarded
the 2000 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Lifetime Achievement
Award. Citing Payne as "an all around caring human being
who has introduced, provided for and improved the intercollegiate
riding program for hundreds of students," the IHSA commended
her for her 26 years of service to Smith. Payne, who serves as
president of the local IHSA chapter and chair of the IHSA Nominating
Committee, as well as a member of the NCAA membership and ad
hoc committees, has coached two Cacchion Cup riders, two national
champions, and four reserve champions at Smith. Payne has also
coached two Regional High Point riding teams to national tournament
Sources of further information, if any, are indicated in parentheses. Notices should be submitted by mail, by e-mail email@example.com) or by fax (extension 2171).
Fine Arts Center
Faculty & Staff
ESS Fitness Classes
College Club Evening
The registration deadline for the November election is October 18. Those who wish to vote in their hometowns should apply for an absentee ballot now to ensure that they can cast their votes in the November election.
S.O.S. House Reps
New Student Payroll
Josten Carrel registration
Photograph the Poets
To learn more about these jobs, stop by the center to pick up descriptions, fill out applications and sign up for an interview. For more information, call Leslie Hoffman, ext. 3037.
Sophian Press Workshop
Sources of further information, if any, are shown in parentheses at the end of event descriptions. An asterisk following a listing indicates that the event is open to the public. Admission charges, if any, are listed when known. Items for this section must be submitted on Event Service Request Forms.
Monday, September 11
Meeting for sophomores interested in careers in the health professions. The Board of Prehealth Advisers will provide information on requirements for health-profession schools. 5-6 p.m., Burton 101
Auditions for the Food Chain, by Nicky Silver. Maggie Wood '01, director. Hilarious comedy about our bumbling search for love. Auditions are open to all students and community members. Callbacks will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 7-10 p.m. 7-10 p.m., Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts*
Field Hockey vs. Becker. 7 p.m., athletic field*
Tuesday, September 12
Lecture "Deep Ocean Circulation and Atmospheric CO2 During the Past 400,000 Years." Benjamin P. Flower, Department of Marine Science, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. Sponsor: Department of Geology. 4:15-5:30 p.m., Sabin-Reed 101A.
Welcome back meeting for students returning to campus after studying abroad. Meet other returning students as well as deans and faculty. View last year's yearbooks. Refreshments provided. 5-6 p.m., Seelye 207
SGA Senate meeting Open forum. All students welcome. 7 p.m., Seelye 201
Volleyball vs. Babson. 7 p.m., Ainsworth Gym*
Wednesday, September 13
Faculty meeting Preceded by tea at 3:45 p.m. 4:10 p.m., Alumnae House
Informational meeting for the class of 2003. Discuss important academic issues and policies. Attendance strongly recommended for all sophomores. 7-8 p.m., Wright auditorium
Gold Key Guide meeting First all-guide meeting of the year. 7-8 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room
Thursday, September 14
Lecture "Using Literature by Ethnic American Women as a Creative Coping Technique." Edith Blicksilver '48, professor emerita of literature, Georgia Institute of Technology, and author of The Ethnic American Woman: Problems, Protests, Lifestyle. Reception and booksigning will follow. 5 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Friday, September 15
Smith Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (SSFFS) meeting 4:30-6 p.m., Seelye 208
Opening reception for "Standing Women of Callanish," an exhibition of mixed media sculptures by Smith alumna Mary Craig McLane. 4-6 p.m., Alumnae House Gallery*
Saturday, September 16
Tennis vs. MIT. 1 p.m., tennis courts*
Sunday, September 17
Feminists of Smith Unite weekly meeting. 7-8:30 p.m., Women's Resource Center, Davis
Quaker (Friends) meeting for worship begins at 11 a.m. Preceded by informal discussion at 9:30 a.m. All welcome, childcare available. Bass 203, 204*
Roman Catholic mass Fr. Stephen-Joseph Ross, OCD, celebrant, and Elizabeth Carr, Catholic chaplain. Dinner follows in Bodman Lounge. All welcome. 4:30 p.m., chapel
Standing Women of Callanish Mixed media sculptures by Smith alumna Mary Craig McLane. Through October 24. Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Opening reception is Friday, September 15, 4-6 p.m. Alumnae House Gallery*