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Against Reason: Anti/Enlightenment Prints

“Against Reason: Anti/Enlightenment Prints by Callot, Hogarth, Piranesi and Goya,” an art exhibition exploring the darker side of the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, opens Friday, April 3, at the Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, France, and elsewhere in Europe began to question religious and political authority, embracing the notion that humanity could be improved through critical reasoning. The Enlightenment produced scientific discoveries, legislative reform, pioneering philosophical texts, wars, and revolutions. It also supported the institution of slavery. 

Featuring prints by Jacques Callot, William Hogarth, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, "Against Reason" examines the dangers of secularism, nationalism and a scientific method that dismisses rather than exalts the qualities that make us both human and humane.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, was curated by Timothy McCall ’15, Maria Shevelkina ’15, Dana Sly ’15, Emma Vale ’15, Elizabeth Allen ’16, Mai Pham ’16, and Hannah Storch ’16. The students worked under the direction of J. Vanessa Lyon, assistant professor of art history, during a fall 2014 exhibition seminar.

"With Good Reason: Conversations, Celebration and Music" will be held at Faulconer Gallery at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 17, featuring the opportunity to speak with student curators and hear music from the Enlightenment period. Faculty members from the departments of philosophy, English, and French will join student curators in a roundtable discussion on the themes of the exhibition at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the gallery.

"Against Reason" will be on view through Sunday, Aug. 2. The Faulconer Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This exhibition includes a loan of four prints from Legacies for Iowa: A University of Iowa Museum of Art Collections Sharing Project, supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in a lot behind the building just north of Sixth Ave. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

 

Grinnellian Receives Gilman Scholarship

Emma Lange ’16 has been awarded a federally funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to support her study abroad during the spring 2015 semester.

Lange plans to study the impact of technology on democracy and citizenship at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Denmark is hailed as having a strong democracy and deeply happy citizens," Lange says. "Learning from Danish political scientists and experiencing Danish life will be formative in my studies of political and social science. I also will have a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the social integration of technologies and politics through a course titled Rewriting Democracy: iCitizenship and e-governance in a Nordic Context."

At Grinnell College, she is active in mock trial and serves as administrative coordinator for the Student Government Association and as an advocate for first-generation college students.

"I am extremely appreciative of the Gilman Scholarship for making my semester abroad a possibility," Lange says. "In addition to academic growth, my semester in Copenhagen will provide great personal growth.

"This will be the first time I meet my father's extended family. After World War II, my grandparents emigrated from Germany to the United States, while other family members resettled in Denmark. We have recently reconnected with my father's family in Copenhagen, and I am very excited to meet and spend a few months getting to know my relatives."

Lange is the third member of her family to attend Grinnell. Her older brothers, Adam and Andy, graduated from the College in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Andy also received a Gilman International Scholarship, which supported his study abroad in Freiburg, Germany.

About the Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship is a competitive federal grant program that "provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide." The program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.

Emma Lange ’16 is majoring in political science and technology studies and is from Carroll, Iowa.

Lopatto receives national honor for advancing science

David LopattoGrinnell College Professor of Psychology and Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Professor of Natural Science and Mathematics David E. Lopatto has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

As part of the Education Section, Lopatto was elected as an AAAS Fellow for his comprehensive and practical assessment of undergraduate science research experiences, including student learning outcomes, career choices and attitudes across a range of institutional settings.

Lopatto is among 401 AAAS members who have been selected as Fellows by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The accomplishments of the new Fellows will be celebrated at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in February in San Jose, California. This year’s AAAS Fellows also will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Friday, Nov. 28.

"It is exciting to be honored by AAAS, an organization that values the synthesis of science and science education," Lopatto said.

In addition to teaching in the psychology department since 1981, Lopatto has served terms as chair of the faculty and interim dean of Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. He currently directs the College's Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.

His research on the psychology of learning and motivation has come to focus on the learning outcomes of undergraduate experiences in science, especially the effect of undergraduate research experience on student learning, career choice and attitude. He is the author of several surveys for the assessment of undergraduate science learning that are used by more than 150 institutions and more than 10,000 undergraduates annually. 

His extensive published work includes Science in Solution: The Impact of Undergraduate Research on Student Learning. This influential work uncovers the complex career and personal gains undergraduate students acquire from doing authentic research with faculty mentors.

In his book, Lopatto suggests that undergraduate research may be a generator of scientists from across diverse groups of students. Personal development is the deep outcome of a research experience from which career choices grow, Lopatto found. These undergraduate research experiences benefit students across the science disciplines, having characteristic features that enable success.

These features include good mentoring, student input, working in teams, optimal structuring and opportunities for communication. Research presented in the book documents the connection of these features to the benefits of undergraduate research. Such benefits include career clarification, improvement of technical and research skills, and experience with communication and the larger scientific community. They also include a variety of personal benefits, including greater independence of work and thought, tolerance for obstacles and growing self-confidence.  

A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Lopatto received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Kenyon College. He also holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Ohio University.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

Grinnell College professor receives national honor for advancing science

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College Professor of Psychology and Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Professor of Natural Science and Mathematics David E. Lopatto has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

As part of the Education Section, Lopatto was elected as an AAAS Fellow for his comprehensive and practical assessment of undergraduate science research experiences, including student learning outcomes, career choices and attitudes across a range of institutional settings.

Lopatto is among 401 AAAS members who have been selected as Fellows by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The accomplishments of the new Fellows will be celebrated at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in February in San Jose, California. This year’s AAAS Fellows also will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Friday, Nov. 28.

"It is exciting to be honored by AAAS, an organization that values the synthesis of science and science education," Lopatto said.

In addition to teaching in the psychology department since 1981, Lopatto has served terms as chair of the faculty and interim dean of Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. He currently directs the College's Center for Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

His research on the psychology of learning and motivation has come to focus on the learning outcomes of undergraduate experiences in science, especially the effect of undergraduate research experience on student learning, career choice and attitude. He is the author of several surveys for the assessment of undergraduate science learning that are used by more than 150 institutions and more than 10,000 undergraduates annually. 

His extensive published work includes "Science in Solution: The Impact of Undergraduate Research on Student Learning." This influential work uncovers the complex career and personal gains undergraduate students acquire from doing authentic research with faculty mentors.

In his book, Lopatto suggests that undergraduate research may be a generator of scientists from across diverse groups of students. Personal development is the deep outcome of a research experience from which career choices grow, Lopatto found. These undergraduate research experiences benefit students across the science disciplines, having characteristic features that enable success.

These features include good mentoring, student input, working in teams, optimal structuring and opportunities for communication. Research presented in the book documents the connection of these features to the benefits of undergraduate research. Such benefits include career clarification, improvement of technical and research skills, and experience with communication and the larger scientific community. They also include a variety of personal benefits, including greater independence of work and thought, tolerance for obstacles and growing self-confidence.  

A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Lopatto received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Kenyon College. He also holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Ohio University.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

Finding Faculty Mentors

At Grinnell, finding professors who want to mentor you is easy. Working with smart, engaged students is what professors love.

So when Karen Shuman and Chris French, associate professors of mathematics and statistics, decided to offer a summer research project to first- and second-year students, they had more students apply than they could accept.

“We thought we’d try a Mentored Independent Project (MIP) that would give students a taste of research and the mathematical writing process,” Shuman says. “Our hope was that the experience would encourage students to continue to take mathematics and statistics courses and to apply for MAPs [Mentored Advanced Projects, available to second- and third-year students] and off-campus programs in subsequent summers.”

Shuman and French selected six students to participate in the MIP. All had completed linear algebra or beyond. Lizzie Eason ’17 and Caleb Leedy ’16 were interested in math but had never done research before and wanted to find out what it was like.

Rachel Knak ’17 saw the project as a way to “solidify my decision to become a math major.” 

The Benefits of Math Research

During the first two weeks of the five-week MIP, students spent six hours per day learning about graph theory and spectral theory. For the next two weeks, they explored their own projects, with guidance from Shuman and French. In the final week, students focused on writing up their results and giving mini presentations to each other.

“The best part of the MIP was I got to do whatever I wanted to do with math,” Knak says. “I needed help from Karen and Chris, but my work was a lot more original than most math classes.”

“I got to dig in deep to what numbers mean,” Eason says. “I had more creative freedom.”

“Now that I understand math research itself,” Leedy says, “the process isn’t so foreign. It’s been very interesting and rewarding.”

French notices quite a difference among math students who’ve done research. Shuman agrees. “These experiences do far more than a year of courses.”

Developing a Community of MIPsters

“There was an energy and enthusiasm I haven’t seen before,” Shuman says about the students who became known as the MIPsters. “That was partly because of the community they formed.”

Students talking and gesturing towards at a white boardFrench agrees. “Caleb Leedy did really nice work on a project involving writing computer code to compute certain characteristics of graphs. Rachel Knak, meanwhile, was doing a more theoretical examination of certain aspects of graphs. I got so excited when the two students joined forces, and Rachel realized her project could be advanced because of Caleb’s code. “

“You could hear the cheering in the corridor,” Shuman says.

It wasn’t just the MIPsters supporting each other, though.

“Karen and Chris were super supportive,” Eason says. “They pushed us enough to get to the answers ourselves and helped us figure out what to look for.”

“They attacked problems in different ways,” Knak says.

Even though Shuman and French are married, Shuman says, “We’d never done mathematics together before. We weren’t sure how it would work, but in the end, we decided we’d like to do more math together.”

Joining forces to help students grow intellectually — that’s something Grinnell does well.

Lizzie Eason ’17 is majoring in math and theatre and is from Lamoni, Iowa. Rachel Knak ’17 is majoring in math and religious studies and is from Burlington, Iowa. Caleb Leedy ’16 is majoring in math and economics and is from Maitland, Fla.

Education in the U.S.

J. KozolJonathan Kozol, a nationally recognized expert on education and New York Times bestselling author, will deliver a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, in Herrick Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kozol has devoted most of his life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. He is considered by many to be the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.

Kozol’s lecture will address the continuing and growing resegregation of minority children in America’s schools, and how the rising charter school movement actually exacerbates these trends. He also will explain why meeting the needs of poor students of all races is fundamental to the future of our country. In addition, he will discuss why his work matters in predominantly white communities like Grinnell.

 “Mr. Kozol has broad and deep experience with the United States education system, and it will be a privilege to hear his insights,” says Grinnell College Life Trustee Penny Bender Sebring ’64. “I am pleased to welcome him to Grinnell.”

Sebring is co-founder of the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions program, which sponsors Kozol’s lecture along with the Office of the President and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

After graduating from Harvard and studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in the 1960s, Kozol taught school in a poor black neighborhood of Boston. He won the 1968 National Book Award for his first book, Death at an Early Age, which was based on the journal kept during his first year as a teacher.  

His 1995 bestseller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor Kozol shares with Langston Hughes (1954 winner) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1955).

Ten years later, Kozol exposed the conditions he found in nearly 60 public schools in 30 different districts in The Shame of the Nation, which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list the week it was published. In this book, he concluded that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

His latest book, Fire in the Ashes, has drawn widespread critical acclaim. This book tracks inner-city children from infancy to young adulthood, showcasing stories of triumph and tragedy.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

The First-Year Tutorial

Grinnell’s First-Year Tutorial is the one class you’ll have in common with every other first-year student. It’s a small seminar class, usually limited to 12 students, and the only course required for all majors in Grinnell’s individually advised curriculum.

The First-Year Tutorial comes in many academic flavors. Here’s a taste for fall 2014:

  • Time
  • Stuff: The Meaning of Possessions
  • Perspectives on Life in the Universe
  • Cult of Grinnell
  • “Monsters Incorporated”: A History of Monsters, from the Renaissance to the Muppets

Nearly three dozen different topics, which vary from year to year, are offered each fall. Entering students choose their top five. Then the College assigns them to a class.

What do you learn in the tutorial?

While course content varies considerably, each tutorial focuses on these skills: college-level writing, critical reading, and college-level oral communication. The tutorial will introduce you to a college librarian, library resources, and the college’s academic honesty policy and practices.

“The tutorial is the first increment in a life-long process of learning to write,” says Jerry Lalonde, professor emeritus of classics. He adds, “It allows the teaching of writing in an intense way.”

Lalonde has taught the tutorial many times, beginning in 1970, the first year it was offered, because he enjoys being part of new students’ transition to college. In fall 2014 he will teach Humanities I: The Ancient Greek World.

Student discussion group in Faulconer GalleryBecause he knows you and other students have a wide range of abilities, Lalonde grades partially on improvement. “A first draft should be the best they can do at the time. A second draft will be done after feedback and possibly a conference,” he says. 

Eliza Willis, professor of political science, asks students to rewrite, submit new drafts, and to seek advice from other students to improve writing. “I’ve started doing a lot more peer reviews,” she says. “I think that’s very effective both as instruction you get from other people, and also from learning about your own writing.”

In fall 2013, Willis taught a tutorial called Making a Difference in the Fight Against Global Poverty. “I have students write a grant application. I think it’s a really good skill to develop,” Willis says. “Students have told me they use that persuasive writing skill right away.”

While students write plenty in the course, they also work on public speaking skills.

Willis teaches “how to enter a discussion, how to act towards other people in a group, the proper way to interact. For example, saying ‘I’d like to comment on this particular point’ or ‘I’d like to change the subject’ — I emphasize those skills a lot.”

Lalonde appreciates intelligent and disciplined discussion of subject matter. He recently introduced an assignment he calls “civilized conversation” that prevents students from saying “like” over and over, for example.

How do you choose a tutorial?

Easy, right? Just pick five topics that interest you.

Willis suggests choosing something you don’t know much about rather than something you know a lot about. “Be open-minded,” she says.

Jenny Anger, associate professor of art history, agrees. “Follow your gut,” she says. “If something appeals to you, try it.”

Zaw Bo ’17, an international student from Myanmar, says, “Definitely choose a topic you’re interested in, because that’s what you’ll be talking about for four months.” He was drawn to Willis’s tutorial on global poverty because he’s interested in the topic. Bo adds, “I would have been happy with any other choice.”

Overall, it’s what you bring to the course — your enthusiasm, your interest, your willingness to learn — that makes a huge difference in your experience.

Lalonde says, “The tutorial’s greatest virtue is that it gives advisers and advisees a close relationship.”

 

Program Preps Students for Grinnell

A pre-orientation program is helping put new Grinnellians at ease — a week before classes begin — through tours, workshops, and social events.

“It has helped lower my stress,” says Dasaan McCrimmon, a first-year student from Philadelphia, Pa.

The five-day program introduces students to the campus and college resources. Each student is paired with a student mentor.

David Chang, a first-year from San Diego, Calif., lauds the program. “Being in PCPOP with other students from across the nation, and a lot of them being students of color and minority students, I think that’s great,” he says. “It’s great to know people and know where things are.”

Jocelyn Acosta is a mentor and third-year sociology and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies major from El Monte, Calif. “It’s an awesome program,” she says. “It’s important for students to have one-on-one attention.”

PCPOP participants have fun while exploring campus. Some of their activities include:

  • Scavenger hunt and campus tour
  • Dinner with President Raynard S. Kington
  • Leadership Panel with Student Government Association (SGA)
  • Ice Cream Social
  • Visits to the writing, reading, and math labs
  • Discussion about wellness and financial management

Joan Mohan, director of the Reading Lab, makes students feel comfortable seeking help. She shows them resources about time management and discusses good reading and study habits.

“How did you ever learn anything in your life?” she asks. “It takes time. It takes practice, repetition, perseverance, a little bit of patience, a little bit of bravery, and, me nagging along.”

The program is organized by the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership (OIEL).

Jocelyn Acosta ’16 sociology and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies major from El Monte, Calif. Dasaan McCrimmon, a first-year student from Philadelphia, Pa. David Chang, a first-year student San Diego, Calif.

Outreach to Active Minds

At the Grant O. Gale Observatory and in parks around town, two members of the College community are making sure that children in Grinnell keep their minds working over the summer.

Arts in the Parks

Kids apply dye to their cloth under the adults' watchful eyesYou can’t miss Tilly Woodward’s glitter-covered truck, which appears in parks around Grinnell for her Art in the Parks program. Over the course of six weeks, she makes her rounds so kids from all over Grinnell have access to a high quality art experience.

With activities ranging from painting, drawing, and collage to tie-dyeing and glittering Woodward’s truck, the participants are limited only by their own creativity. Each year, there’s also a group project. “This year, we’re working on a 3-foot tall rendition of the Statue of Liberty in clay,” says Woodward. The top half, which has contributions in clay of more than 200 kids, is ready to be fired in the College’s kiln.

Some sessions are held outside the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the College’s campus, and the kids are encouraged to take a break and cool off in the Faulconer Gallery. Those sessions as well as the Drop in and Draw events coming up later this month encourage kids to interact with art and create their own.

Summer Astronomy Program

Students concentrate as Cadmus shows a quick experiment to illustrate a pointFor two decades, physics Professor Bob Cadmus has hosted a summer astronomy program for middle school students. The three sessions have the overarching theme of life — what makes planets suitable for life, the life and death of stars, and the life of the universe.

Cadmus started the program in part to combat the socialization of middle school girls away from science, which he observed in his daughters at the time. “I wanted to create a program where girls who have an interest in science can feel supported,” he says. The program is open to all middle school students, though, and most years there’s a pretty even split between boys and girls.

Sessions consist of a lecture and discussion, an activity outside, and time spent looking through the telescope. When he’s explaining how stars are formed or evidence that the big bang occurred, Cadmus isn’t afraid to discuss complexities, but he focuses on the broader concepts and demonstrates them with everyday examples.

In the summer months that are saturated with athletic and social events, Woodward and Cadmus are happy to offer something different.