News for the Smith College Community //September 9, 1999
Symposia to Address Spanish, Religion
Religion in America
The symposium will kick off on Thursday, September 16, when Robert Orsi, professor of religious studies at Indiana University, presents "It's Good, But is it History? The Cultural Turn in the Study of American Religions" at 7:30 p.m. in Seelye 201.
Orsi, who has written several books and articles on the women in Roman Catholic history, is the winner of the 1998 Merle Curti Award in American Social History from the Organization of American Historians.
"We picked Robert Orsi because he culls a certain style of cultural anthropology to illuminate the piety of Roman Catholic women," says Daniel Horowitz, Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman Professor of American Studies, a coordinator of the symposium.
"Religion in America" originated when Horowitz, in conversations with Karl Donfried, professor of religion, determined it essential to focus attention on the fast-changing academic field and, if possible, discern the direction in which the field is headed. "In recent years the study of American religion has gone through exciting changes," Horowitz says, "in part in response to a more capacious sense of the range of topics that could be studied-more multi-cultural, more comparative internationally and more influenced by advances in a number of other fields."
One of the notable speakers in the symposium is Martin Marty, "surely the most eminent scholar in the field of American religion, someone whose work covers an enormous range," says Horowitz. Marty, who directs the Public Religion Project at the University of Chicago where he is Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, has written 50 books in his field, including a three-volume religious compendium, Modern American Religion. Marty will speak on "Getting 'Spiritual' about 'Religion' and Getting 'Religious' about 'Spirituality': American Trends and Urgencies" on Thursday, October 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Neilson Browsing Room.
On Tuesday, October 19, the symposium will continue with a talk by Ann Braude, director of the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, titled "From the Salem Witch Trials to Black Elk: American Religion in the Liberal Arts Curriculum" at 5 p.m. in Seelye 106. The symposium will conclude on Thursday, November 11, with "American Religion as Seen Through a Comparative and Cross-Cultural Kaleidoscope" by N.J. Demerath III, professor of sociology at UMass, Amherst, at 7:30 p.m. in Seelye 201.
For more information about "Religion in America" contact Barbara Day, extension 3520.
The Future of Spanish Education
A distinguished group of faculty members from a wide range of institutions across the U.S. will meet at Smith September 17-18 to consider Spanish-education issues during a national symposium titled "The Future of Spanish Departments on College and University Campuses." The symposium is expected to draw some 60 presenters and 200 attendees from across the country. The idea for the conference, says organizer Nancy Saporta Sternbach, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, is one that her own department had been discussing for several years. In the fall of 1997 when Sternbach and colleagues from Spanish departments from the Five College held their annual planning meeting, she invited them to join in organizing the forum as a joint venture.
A series of panel presentations and roundtable sessions will address topics such as the interdisciplinary uses of Spanish, new destinations and goals in study-abroad initiatives and the use of new technologies in language-learning. Keynote speakers will include Angela Labarca, professor of Spanish at Georgia Tech University and co-author of noted Spanish language textbooks, and David Maxwell, president of Drake University and former director of the National Foreign Language Center at Johns Hopkins University.
The conference and related planning
activities are supported by a variety of sponsors, including
the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese,
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Program for Cultural Cooperation
between Spain's Ministry of Education and Culture and United
States Universities, Institito Camões of Lisbon, The Consulate
General of Spain in Boston, Five Colleges, Inc. and the Spanish
departments of the Five Colleges.
According to conference organizer Peter Rose, Sophia Smith Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, the conference will focus on three challenges: examining relations between America's minority and new immigrant communities; how respect and cooperation can be fostered in relation to generational, gender, class and political differences within various ethnic groups; and ways to overcome intergroup barriers to create "a more perfect union."
Along with panels addressing each of these topics, there will be a keynote address, presented by Guinier, and performances by Deavere Smith and by Sweet Honey in the Rock, the African-American female a cappella ensemble.
"Our objective is to have our lecturers and panelists assess the present and suggest concrete initiatives for future actions, both on our campus and well beyond Smith's gates," says Rose.
Other participants in the panel discussions will include: Rubén G. Rumbaut, Michigan State University; Katharine H.S. Moon, Wellesley College; Mary Catherine Bateson, George Mason University; Charles V. Willie, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Larry Toy, Foundation for California Community Colleges; Rudy Crew, chancellor of the New York City school system; Evan S. Dobelle, Trinity College; Kathryn Rodgers, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund; Betty Burkes, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Gary Rubin, New York Association for New Americans; Milton D. Morris, Creative Futures International; Roberta Uno, University of Massachusetts/Amherst; Gilbert Cardenas, University of Texas; and Ginetta Candelerio, Andrea Hairston, Ellen Kaplan and Yvonne P. Daniel, of Smith.
The conference, which will include "In the Shadow of Intolerance," an exhibition of documentary photographs depicting the civil rights struggle from the collection of Sam Zailin of Biddeford, Maine, will be free and open to the public.
Two Grants to Fund Sciences
Smith has received a $150,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Florida, and a $70,400 grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, of Irvine, California, both of which will fund projects and programs in the sciences.
The Davis grant will support a two-year expansion of the college's rapidly growing neuroscience program. The grant will fund faculty and curriculum development and the purchase of complex lab equipment and computers used in courses in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and molecular neurobiology. Part of the grant will also support student research on campus and at major neuroscience research centers. The neuroscience program at Smith, long a minor and first offered as a major in 1996, has doubled course offerings during the past 10 years, increasing class enrollment by 72 percent.
The Beckman grant will fund the research projects of four students studying in the biomedical sciences. The grant, which is designated exclusively for students who have committed to producing a senior honors project, will provide scholarships for two students each in the academic years 1999-2000 and 2000-01 as well as for the summer before and after their senior years. Scholarship recipients for 1999-2000 are Gianna Muir-Robinson '00 and Elizabeth Nolan '00.
Smith was one of only four liberal arts colleges nationally to have received the Beckman grant. About 30 percent of Smith students major in the sciences.
Prez in the Public Eye
President Ruth J. Simmons continued her life in the public eye during the summer. In early August, she addressed the National Urban League's 1999 Annual Conference, "Agenda 2000: Equality and Power for the New Millennium," in Houston. Simmons spoke during a conference held from August 8-11 that included plenary sessions on "Affirmative Action: No Retreat to Tokenism" and "The Police and People of Color: Can't We All Just Get Along?" Also appearing at the conference were Texas Governor and presidential candidate George W. Bush, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Time Editor Jack White and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
Also during the summer, Simmons was elected to the board of directors of Texas Instruments (TI), based in Plano, Texas. In its announcement of Simmons' election, TI noted that the company "is actively involved in promoting educational excellence in science, engineering and math, with a special focus on increasing opportunities for women and minorities who have been underrepresented in technical fields in the past." Smith recently established an undergraduate engineering program, the first at a women's college in the United States.
Simmons was recently appointed to the Women's Progress Commemoration Commission by President Clinton. Joining the commission at the same time were Ann F. Lewis, counselor to the president at the White House, and Molly Murphy MacGregor, executive director of the National Women's History Project. The commission, which will advise the Secretary of Interior on ensuring the historic preservation of sites that have been instrumental in American women's history, is a bipartisan group established by Congress to honor the 150th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first national congregation on the conditions and rights of women in the U.S.
In May Simmons received the Medal for Distinguished Service from Columbia University Teachers College, honoring exceptional achievement in education. Other recipients of the medal have been Margaret Mead, Kenneth Clark, Maya Angelou, Fred W. Friendly, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot and Bill Cosby. The award to Simmons cited particularly "the extraordinary leadership [she] has provided to Smith College and the nationally important voice [she] has given to both higher education in general and women's college in particular."
On August 18, the president appeared on ABC television's 20/20 during a segment on "mallspeak," a topic that has elicited extensive media attention during the past year. The term mallspeak was popularized in a Boston Globe article last January in which the president was quoted. Since that article appeared the national media has devoted considerable space to the topic, often citing Smith's and Mount Holyoke College's efforts to introduce the teaching of effective oral communication into their curricula.
On Monday, September 27, Simmons will give the keynote address at the Women in Technology International's 1999 east coast technology summit in Boston. Simmons will be joined at the conference by presenters Maryfran Johnson, executive editor of Computerworld, Ellen S. Kitzis, a vice president of Compaq, and Patricia B. Seybold, a highly regarded computer consultant and author of Customers.com.
The president, by recent invitation from Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, is serving as a member of the advisory committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health. The committee is the principal advisory group to Secretary Shalala and her department and NIH Director Harold Varmus on policy issues, especially in the areas of biomedical research, medical science and biomedical communications. Simmons' term on the committee will end in September 2000.
The Tree Must Come Down
It's been standing, growing and spreading its roots for more than 100 years, since the early days of Smith's existence. But the towering silver maple standing across from the Lyman Conservatory must come down, according to by C.L. Frank and Co., a local arboricultural firm hired by the college, and the college's consulting landscape architect, Shavaun Towers '71. An analysis of a core sample from the tree revealed substantial rot in some of the tree's major branches that extend over College Lane. "We have enjoyed this majestic tree for many years," says Lissa Harris, interim curatorial assistant at the Botanic Garden, "but it has become structurally unsound and potentially dangerous."
The tree will be cut down on Friday, September 17, and removed Saturday, September 18. College Lane will be closed between the Hopkins parking lot and Sabin-Reed during the takedown of the tree.
Computer Access For All
Self-study recommendations are alive and well and still being implemented at Smith. One specific goal-enhancing staff communication-was achieved this past spring when access to electronic information for all staff members became a reality. Computers were installed in various locations at Physical Plant, RADS, the Botanic Gardens and Public Safety. Each department appointed a computer liaison to assist employees with account set-up and provide on-going individual training. Training sessions were held to instruct employees in computer basics, the use of e-mail and the Internet. The improvement of on-campus mail distribution was achieved through more frequent mail deliveries, as in the case of RADS employees, and the addition of individual mailboxes for Physical Plant and Public Safety employees.
In case you were wondering...
...why the traffic signal at John
M. Greene Hall has remained on flashing-yellow continuously for
the last several weeks?
In an April 2, 1999, review of biographies
of Thomas Edison and Polaroid camera inventor Edwin Land in the
Times (London) Literary Supplement, J. L. Heilbron says that
"Land relied much more on university-trained scientists
than had Edison, although he thought that even MIT took too long
to bring students to the research frontier; and he found some
of his best recruits not where Edison would have looked, in technical
schools, but in the art-history department at Smith College.
(A) professor of art history there advised him about photography
and a key member of his staff, Mero Morse ('45), who was to pioneer
Polaroid's development of black and white film for instant photography
came from Smith with no knowledge of chemistry."
Sources of further information, if any, are indicated in parentheses. Notices should be submitted by mail, by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by fax (extension 2174).
Nominations for Honorary Degrees
Josten Performing Arts Library (ext.
Van Drivers Wanted
Faculty & Staff
The Staff Council Activities Committee is sponsoring a day trip to historic Salem, Massachusetts, on Saturday, October 16. For $20 per person, the event is open to all employees, faculty and guests. Bus leaves Ainsworth parking lot at 8 a.m. and will remain in Salem until 5 p.m. Visit "The Witch City's" many attractions during its month long "Haunted Happenings" celebration including the Witch Museum, Witch House, House of the Seven Gables, New England Pirate Museum, Peabody Museum and the tall ship "Friendship." Call the Staff Council voice-mail (ext. 4424) and press "1" for the Activities Committee reservation line. Prompt payment is required.
Presidential Open Hours
Course Registration and Changes
Major Certifications--Class of '00J
Mall Crawl to Ingleside
Smith Goes to the Big E
Class of 2000 Parking
John M. Greene Hall Storage
Neilson Library Carrel Sign-up
Josten Library Carrell Sign-Up
Explore Your Museum
Service Organizations of Smith
The first S.O.S. project of the year at the Food Bank Farm, harvesting vegetables for distribution to local food programs, will take place Saturday, September 25. Volunteers should meet in the chapel parking lot at 8:15 a.m., returning at 12:30 p.m. Wear old clothes and shoes (ext. 2756).
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 13
Other events and activities
President's open hours for students. First come, first served. 4-5 p.m., College Hall 20
Field hockey vs. Keene State
Tuesday, September 14
Lecture: "The Use and Abuse of Literary 'yellow-face' in the Early 20th- Century U.S." Yoshiko Uzawa, professor of American literature., Metropolitan University, Tokyo. 5 p.m., Seelye 109
Informational meeting for juniors and seniors planning to apply for admission to health professions schools. Information on admissions exams, application services and more provided by the Board of Prehealth Advisers. 5 p.m., Burton 101
Informational meeting for the Class of 2002 to discuss issues, academic policies and decisions concerning sophomores. Sponsor: Dean of the Sophomore and Junior classes. 7 p.m., Seelye 110
Other events and activities
Tennis vs. Springfield
Volleyball vs. Springfield
Wednesday, September 15
Workshop: "Time Management." Sponsor: Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching and Learning (ext. 3056). 4:15 p.m., Seelye 307
Informational meeting for Class of 2002 members who did not attend Tuesday's meeting. See 9/15 listing. 5 p.m., Seelye 110
Other events and activities
Soccer vs. Amherst
Thursday, September 16
Symposium: "The Future of Spanish Departments on College and University Campuses" registration. For information, extension 3362, 3469 or see www.smith.edu/spp/forum.html. 7 p.m., Neilson browsing room
Lecture: "It's Good, But Is It History? The Cultural Turn in the Study of American Religions." Robert Orsi, Indiana University. Part of "Religion in America" symposium. See story, page 1. 7:30 p.m., Seelye 201
Open meeting: The Louise B. and Edmund J. Kahn Institute invites Smith College and Five College faculty interested in participating in its 2000-01 project, "The Anatomy of Exile," with organizing fellow Peter Rose, Sophia Smith Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. (Ext. 3721.) 5 p.m., Dewey common room
Workshop: "Drop-in Drawing." First in a series for artists at all levels. Works in the Museum of Art will inspire drawing and other art-making. Free; no registration required. Instructor: Liz Chalfin, artist and museum educator. 5:30-7:30 p.m., Museum of Art
Mandatory training session for S.O.S. house representatives. Meet other S.O.S. reps and board members and learn about this year's events. Dinner provided. (S.O.S. office, ext. 2756.) 6-8:30 p.m., Bodman Lounge
Other events and activities
Language lunch tables
Friday, September 17
Shabbat service. Dinner follows in Dawes House Kosher Kitchen. 5:15 p.m., Dewey common room
Other events and activities
Language lunch tables
Alumnae House tea. Sessions Complex and Capen House are cordially invited to attend. 4 p.m., Alumnae House living room
Saturday, September 18
Other events and activities
SGA student organizations fair. Representatives from student organizations and extracurricular groups will share information about their activities and sign up new members. 1-4 p.m., Chapin Lawn Fair (in case of rain, Scott Gym)
Bicycle registration and crime prevention information session. Bring your bicycle to register with Public Safety. Learn where and how to secure and store bikes. All bicycles must be registered (see student handbook). 1-4 p.m., Chapin Lawn Fair (in case of rain, Scott Gym)
S.O.S. welcome party. Learn about community and on-campus opportunities for volunteers as companions, tutors, case advocates, hot-line workers or house representatives. Presentations at 2:45 p.m. followed by Q&A. 2:30-3:30 p.m., Chapin Lawn Fair (in case of rain, Ainsworth lounge)
Sunday, September 19
Roman Catholic Eucharistic Liturgy. Fr. Bill McConville, OFM, Celebrant. Sunday supper follows. All welcome. 4:30 p.m., Chapel*
Joint Smith/Amherst Hillel Yom Kippur Service. 6:30 p.m., Johnson Chapel, Amherst College (bus leaves from Chapel at 5:45 p.m.)
Other events and activities
"Oliver Larkin" features a selection of watercolors, drawings and marionettes by the former Smith professor. Organized by Luce curatorial assistant Maureen McKenna. On October 16, the Museum of Art will host "Art and Life in America: A Celebration of the Legacy of Oliver Larkin and American Art at Smith College." Registration forms (due by October 1) available on line at www.smith.edu/artmuseum. For more information call Maureen Mckenna, ext. 2770. September 10 through October 24. Main Gallery, Museum of Art
"Prints by Paul Gauguin" features the French impressionist's works from his first lithographs on zinc to the woodcuts for "Sourire," a journal he published in Tahiti. Organized by Ann Sievers, associate curator of prints, drawings and photographs, in honor of Elizabeth Mongan. Through October 30. Print Room, Museum of Art
"A Century of Physics" features 11 posters of milestones in the history of physics produced by the American Physical Society (APS) to celebrate its centennial in March 1999. For more information see the APS Website at www.aps.org. Through September 30. McConnell foyer