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Water properties topic of Sept. 30 Scholars' Convocation

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am


GRINNELL, IA—The remarkable properties of water will be the topic of a Scholars’ Convocation by chemist Geraldine Richmond on Thurs., Sept. 30 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus. Richmond, who is the Richard M. and Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, will discuss recent studies about the molecular makeup of water and its importance and impact on the environment. Her lecture titled “Going Nonlinear to Understand Environmentally Important Processes at Liquid Surfaces” will use examples such as water’s ability to sculpt rocks, break down metals, and sustain functions in the human body. Richmond’s Oregon lab studies “the environmentally important processes at aqueous surfaces, using laser-based techniques and molecular dynamics simulations.” Richmond is also the chair and founder of COACh, an organization that encourages women involved in careers in science and for which she has won national recognition. Richmond’s Grinnell lecture is part of the college’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation series. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please contact the event’s sponsoring organization as soon as possible to make a request. -30-

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Scholars' Convocation speaker to discuss dichotomy of Iran

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am


GRINNELL, IA—Anthropologist William Beeman will offer perspectives on “Iran is Not What You Think It Is” in a Scholars’ Convocation at Grinnell College on Thurs., Sept. 16 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

Beeman is the author of several books on international communication dynamics, including “Language, Status and Power in Iran,” “Culture, Performance and Communication in Iran,” and “The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs:’ How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other.”

Beeman’s lecture is part of Grinnell’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation series. The University of Minnesota anthropology professor has also gained attention for his work as an actor and singer. His research interests include performance studies, particularly in the countries of Iran, Japan, and South Asia.

Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please contact the event’s sponsoring organization as soon as possible to make a request.

Rosenfield symposium on "What is social justice?" Sept. 13-15

Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights will open the 2011-12 academic year with a three-day symposium, Sept. 13-15, focused on “What is Social Justice?”

Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program, said the symposium will provide “opportunities for conversation with practitioners and theorists about what we mean by social justice.” In 2010, Grinnell launched the Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize awards program to honor individuals under the age of 40 who demonstrate leadership, creativity and accomplishment in effecting positive social change, The first winners of the Grinnell Prize, announced in May, will be on the Grinnell campus Oct. 25-27 to receive their awards and make public presentations during a Social Justice Prize symposium, also co-sponsored by the Rosenfield Program.

“The September symposium will help to provide context and prepare us for the dialogue that will take place when the winners arrive on campus in October. We anticipate lively discussion from our global campus community and invite the public to join in,” Purcell said.

The Sept. 13-15 symposium will include the following free, public events to be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell campus:

• Tues., Sept. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Grinnell faculty members including Kesho Scott (American studies and sociology), Chris Hunter (sociology), Lakesia Johnson (gender, women’s and sexuality studies), and Monty Roper (anthropology and global development studies) will open the symposium with a discussion of social justice from interdisciplinary and personal points of view.

• Tues., Sept. 13, 8 p.m.: Edward Hailes, Jr., managing director and general counsel of the Advancement Project, will discuss “The Characteristics of a Just Democracy,” from his background as a civil rights lawyer, former NAACP administrator and Southern Baptist pastor.

• Wed., Sept. 14, 4:15 p.m.: “Connecting Social Justice and Social Entrepreneurship” will be the focus of a talk by Sara Gould, Atlantic Philanthropies senior fellow at the Foundation Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the disadvantaged. Gould will also conduct a workshop for students interested in managing a social justice organization.

• Wed., Sept. 14, 8 p.m.: Bread and Puppet, a Vermont arts collective focused on human rights issues, will perform using life-size puppets. The troupe will be on the Grinnell campus for a week-long residency of workshops with students. A documentary about the group will be shown at 4:15 p.m., Fri., Sept. 9 in Room 302 of Alumni Recitation Hall.

• Thurs., Sept. 15, 11 a.m.: Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. will deliver the opening Scholars’ Convocation of the academic year on “Choosing Grinnell’s Future.” Kington initiated the Grinnell Prize when he joined the college in 2010 to provide social change role models for Grinnell students.

• Thurs., Sept. 15, 4:15 p.m.: Kristin Kalsem, professor of law at the University of Cincinnati will discuss “Social Justice Feminism.”

• Thurs., Sept. 15, 8 p.m.: David Estlund, Lombardo Family Professor of Humanities, Brown University, will close the symposium with “Utopophobia,” looking at the ethical basis for social justice beliefs.

For more information about the September or October social justice symposia, contact Sarah Purcell, purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

Alumni awarded service project grants in home communities

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA— Two Grinnell College alumni have been awarded Lori Ann Schwab Alumni Grants for service projects in their home communities.

The Schwab alumni grants are named for the late Lori Ann Schwab who died while an arts student at Grinnell in 1994. The $1,500 grants support projects at non-profit service organizations and public schools where Grinnell alumni participate.

The 2010 Schwab Alumni Grant winners are:

  • Rachel Bly, a 1993 Grinnell graduate who is involved in the Arts Academy in the Grinnell community where Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff volunteer to expand the cultural, linguistic, and theatrical offerings for area children.
  • Amy Knapp, a 1992 Grinnell graduate who helped to found Neighbors’ Development Network (NDN) in Chicago. NDN’s current focus is outreach to children in Chicago’s west side neighborhoods through nutrition programs and community gardens.

The Schwab Alumni Grants are open to Grinnell College graduates from 1992 to 1998 who are committed as staff members or volunteers in the recipient organizations. More information about the alumni grants is available at http://www.grinnell.edu/offices/socialcommitment/awards/schwabalumni.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.


Russ Adams '85 honored at Grinnell Alumni Reunion

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am


GRINNELL, IA—Grinnell College recognized the professional accomplishments and service contributions of nine alumni during Alumni Reunion Weekend, June 2-6 on the Grinnell campus. Alumni Award winners are members of reunion classes who have distinguished themselves in their careers and communities and embody Grinnell’s mission of life-long learning and service.

Russ Adams, a 1985 graduate of Grinnell College from Minneapolis, Minn., received an Alumni Award. Following is the citation read about Adams’s accomplishments: “For more than two decades, Russ Adams has worked to make communities more livable, diverse, and environmentally friendly.

At Grinnell, Adams received his degree in American studies and earned All-Conference honors as a member of the varsity football team. After graduation, he worked for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and was executive director of the All Parks Alliance for Change. In 1995, he joined the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability (AMS) as executive director. He has helped raise millions of dollars to fund mixed income communities and affordable housing. He and his organization have also championed racial and economic justice issues, sustainable development and better urban growth policies.

In addition to his community work with AMS, Adams has served on the boards of the Minnesota chapter of the Sierra Club, the Sustainable Resources Center, and the Community Shares Fund. In 2006, he took a leave of absence from his job to work as field director for Keith Ellison’s successful campaign to become the first Muslim-American member of Congress.

For his efforts to make communities more inclusive and livable, Grinnell is proud to honor Russ Adams.”

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.

Citizen science workshop on insects offered at CERA

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA— If creepy crawlies give you the heebie jeebies, then this workshop may be for you. The Grinnell College Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) is hosting a two-day citizen science workshop June 18-19 for those interested in learning more about the amazing diversity of insects.

Participants will receive hands-on instruction in methods of finding and collecting specimens in the field (like sweep netting, pitfall trapping, soapy bowls, night-lighting), and then identifying and photographing their collections in the Environmental Education Center laboratory at CERA. The workshop will be led by MJ Hatfield, insect enthusiast and expert from Ames; Jackie Brown, professor of biology at Grinnell College; and John Pearson, botanist and ecologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The workshop is designed for beginners, and most appropriate for those over 16 years old. For a $100 registration fee, each participant will receive an insect collection and preservation kit, workshop materials, and lunches and snacks for Friday and Saturday. High school and college students may participate at a reduced rate. More information about the workshop is available at www.grinnell.edu/academic/biology/cera/insects-workshop, or by contacting Larissa Mottl at 641-269-4717 or mottll[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Grinnell College Center for Prairie Studies, Grinnell College Department of Biology, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Transportation Living Roadway Trust Fund, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa Native Plant Society, and the Iowa Prairie Network.


Summer fun at Faulconer Gallery

Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2010 12:00 am



GRINNELL, IA--Grinnell College's Faulconer Gallery is offering free hands-on art activities for area children and families throughout June and July.

The Faulconer Arts Outreach in the Parks will offer children a choice of activities at each session held on-campus and in city parks. Activities include ceramics, painting, drawing, collage, truck glittering, sculpture, and more, according to Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and community outreach. No registration is required, and parents are welcome to participate with their children.

The Faulconer Arts Outreach program schedule includes:

• June 21, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Arbor Lake shelter house

• June 23, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts

• June 28, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Merrill Park, west shelter

• July 1, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Central Park

• July 6, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Ahrens Park shelter house

• July 7, 10:30 a.m.– noon, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts

• July 12, 10:30 a.m.– noon, Central Park

• July 14, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Bailey Park

• July 19, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Jim Miller Park

• July 21, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts

• July 26, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Jaycee Park

• July 28, 10:30 a.m. – noon, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts

Faulconer Gallery will also offer a series of puppetry and performance workshops, June 30, July 1-2, featuring the internationally known Eulenspiegel Puppets. Registration is required for some of these free shadow, finger, and hand puppet workshops by contacting Woodward at 641-269-4663 or woodward[at]grinnell[dot]edu. For a complete listing of Eulenspiegel events, visit the Faulconer Gallery

website at http://www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery/events.

In addition, Faulconer Gallery is partnering with Drake Community Library, area 4-H groups, Poweshiek County Fair, The Galaxy, and the Davis Stars program to provide off-site programming. Groups interested in planning an activity in Faulconer Gallery, should contact Woodward.

The Faulconer Arts Outreach summer programs are made possible by partnerships with Faulconer Gallery, Drake Community Library, Iowa Arts Council, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, and Grinnell Parks and Recreation.



Trustees approve faculty promotions

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am


This spring, the Grinnell College Board of Trustees announced the promotion of faculty members to new ranks for the 2010-11 academic year:

• Promoted to full professor: Vicki Bentley-Condit (anthropology); Katya Gibel Mevorach (anthropology); Kathleen Skerrett (religious studies); and Susan Strauber (art).

• Promoted to associate professor with tenure: Jennifer Williams Brown (music); Monessa Cummins (classics); Karla Erickson (sociology); Astrid Henry (gender, women’s and sexuality studies); Tammy Nyden (philosophy); Elizabeth Prevost (history); Sujeev Wickramasekara (physics); and Shawn Womack (theatre and dance). See image galleryfor background information about these newly tenured faculty members.

• Promoted to associate professor: Phillip Jones (library).

• Moving from active teaching to senior faculty status: Kent McClelland (sociology) and Edward Phillips (classics).

• Moving from senior faculty status to professor emeritus: Douglas Caulkins (anthropology); Gerald Lalonde (classics); and Dennis Perri (Spanish).

Background information:

Jennifer Williams Brown, associate professor of music. B.Mus., University of Illinois; M.A., Ph.D., Cornell University.

Brown, who teaches music history and directs Collegium Musicum, joined the music department in 2005 with previous teaching at Louisiana State University, the University of Rochester, and the Eastman School of Music. She is one of the leading musicologists in the field of 17th-century Baroque opera. In 2008, her edition of Francesco Cavalli’s “La Calisto” won the Claude V. Palisca Award, one of the highest honors given by the American Musicological Society. In addition to her teaching, Brown is regularly invited to serve as a peer reviewer of scholarly manuscripts and grant applications. She has also served on the off-campus study board and as co-leader of the early-career faculty group.

Monessa Cummins, associate professor of classics. B.A., Wichita State University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Cincinnati.

Cummins accepted a tenure-track appointment in the classics department in 2005, after teaching a full range of courses in ancient literature, history, archaeology, and art on a part-time or replacement basis for many years. In addition to her teaching and publications on the ancient Greek poet, Pindar, Cummins has served on the admission board and the curriculum committee. The 2008 graduating class honored her with an invitation to deliver their baccalaureate address.

Karla A. Erickson, associate professor of sociology. B.S., Illinois Wesleyan University; M.A., Hamline University; Ph.D., University of Minnesota.

Erickson began teaching in the sociology department in 2004 after completing her doctorate at the University of Minnesota. In 2009, she published “The Hungry Cowboy: Selling Service and Community in a Neighborhood Restaurant,” a behind-the-scenes look at the dynamics of class, race, and community. Erickson is conducting research for two new projects: a local project with nurses’ aides and other end of life workers; and a collaboration book project on privilege and professional perseverance in law schools. These research interests carry into local service on the ethics committee of a retirement and hospice-care community and the board of Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

Astrid Henry, associate professor of gender, women’s and sexuality studies. B.A., Sarah Lawrence College; M.A., New School for Social Research; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In 2008, Henry came to Grinnell to teach gender and women’s studies and English, after teaching at St. Mary’s College where she also served as director of the women’s studies program. She is the author of “Not My Mother’s Sister: Generational Conflict and Third Wave Feminism,” a recognized text in women’s studies curricula. Henry helped to design the structure for the new gender, women’s, and sexuality studies major and served on the Center for the Humanities advisory board. Since 2006, she has been a member of the governing board of the National Women’s Studies Association, currently serving as secretary.

Tammy Nyden, associate professor of philosophy. B.A., University of Nevada-Las Vegas; M.A., Baylor University; Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University.

Since coming to Grinnell in 2005, Nyden has taught a full range of philosophy courses. Last fall, she and a faculty colleague team-taught an interdisciplinary course called “Space, Time, and Motion,” which included her research interest in the history of science. In 2007, she published “Spinoza’s Radical Cartesian Mind.” Nyden has served on the ad hoc faculty governance committee, humanities core committee, Expanding Knowledge Initiative advisory board, neuroscience concentration committee, scholarship selection committee, and the ad hoc ombuds committee.

Elizabeth E. Prevost, associate professor of history. B.A., Trinity College; M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University.

Prevost, who came to Grinnell in 2004, teaches British history, the history of the Empire, and African history, from the introductory level to advanced seminars. Oxford University Press recently published her book “The Communion of Women: Missions and Gender in Colonial Africa and the British Metropole.” Prevost’s record of service to the college includes involvement with delegations sponsored by the Center for International Studies, service as faculty advisor for several off-campus study programs, on the curriculum committee, and the ad hoc task force on certification in the liberal arts for incarcerated students.

Sujeev Wickramasekara, associate professor of physics. B.S., University of Southern California; Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin.

A theoretical physicist, Wickramasekara teaches courses at all levels of the curriculum. Prior to his arrival at Grinnell, he held postdoctoral positions at the University of Texas, Austin and Rice University. His scholarly productivity includes publication of 35 articles, many in first-class, peer-reviewed journals, and numerous lectures at conferences and universities in the U.S., Poland, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Italy, and Austria. Wickramasekara has served on the technology concentration committee and the scholarship selection committee and coordinated the department’s weekly seminar series.

Shawn Womack, associate professor of theatre and dance. B.F.A., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; M.F.A., University of California-Riverside.

Womack came to Grinnell in 2003, after holding previous positions at Wright State University, Ohio State University, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In addition to teaching choreography and directing the college’s dance company, Womack has taught introductory and advanced courses in theatre. Her choreography has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of California, and the Ohio and Iowa Arts Councils. Service to the college includes participation in the liberal arts in prison program, the Center for the Humanities and interdisciplinary studies advisory boards, and the public events committee. She is a founding board member of Studio 6, the after-school arts program in the Grinnell schools, and has served as a panelist for the Iowa Arts Council’s grants program.

Adult Community Exploration Series offering free summer courses

Tuesday, Jun. 8, 2010 11:30 am | Contact: To register, send email to calendar@grinnell.edu; for questions, call 641-269-3178.

GRINNELL, IA—Grinnell College will offer the Adult Community Exploration Series (ACES) throughout the summer with courses taught by faculty in political science, English, and chemistry. The courses are free, and registration is requested to assist instructors in preparing for class needs. All ACES classes will be held on Wednesday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Pioneer Room of the college's Old Glove Factory, located at 733 Broad Street in Grinnell, unless otherwise noted. To register, send email to calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu; for questions, call 641-269-3178.

Courses for summer 2010 include:

“Can Technology Save Democracy?”

June 16, 23

Taught by Barbara Trish, associate professor of political science

The Internet age has created politics marked by abundant information and new paths and techniques for political actors to compete. Citizens, journalists, campaigns, and government also jockey to capitalize on Internet opportunities, seen by some as the key to political success and by others as the key to effective democracy. This course will explore the new Internet-based politics and consider the extent to which these developments are fundamentally new or the high-tech version of politics-as-usual, and whether technology can save democracy.

Barbara Trish teaches courses on U.S. politics, research design, and quantitative reasoning. Her scholarship focuses on political parties and campaigns, and she has most recently examined Organizing for America, the governing-era iteration of President Obama’s campaign organization. Trish is an administrator of the college's Program in Practical Political Education (PPPE) and is actively involved in Grinnell's long-standing relationship with Nanjing University.

“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”: Studies in the African American Sonnet Tradition"

June 30, July 7

Taught by Shanna Benjamin, assistant professor of English

Literary critics and historians have argued that prosody, the rhythm and intonation received from America’s colonial masters, faced a powerful insurgency in the 19th century with Whitman’s sweeping “Song of Myself” and Emerson’s declaration of artistic independence from “the courtly muses of Europe.” African American poets sought ways to imbue so-called “white” forms with the rhythm and imagery of black life. This course will examine representative poems by Claude McKay, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Wanda Coleman to understand how they adapt the sonnet to express the vibrancy and vulnerability of African American life.

Shanna Greene Benjamin teaches African American and American literature and culture and seminars on neo-slave narratives, black women writers, and black literature beyond race. A graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Benjamin serves as faculty coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program for students of color interested in college teaching.

“Mass Spectrometry and Magnetic Resonance: From CSI to MRI, the science behind ‘popular’ spectroscopy”

July 14, 21

Taught by Andrew Mobley, associate professor of chemistry

Please note: this course will be held in the Robert N. Noyce ‘49 Science Center, Room 2022

This course will cover the basics of the science behind the mass spectrometry seen on popular TV shows that feature forensic science such as “CSI,” “Law and Order,” or Mobley’s personal favorite “Bones.” The modern imaging technique called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will be covered from the standpoint of its chemistry equivalent, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). By the end of the course, participants should have a basic understanding of what these techniques can and cannot do, by analyzing data from Grinnell College instrumentation.

Andrew Mobley has taught organic chemistry at Grinnell since 1999. He received a B.A. from Carleton College and then worked with Professor Robert Bergman at the University of California at Berkeley where he received his doctorate. He became interested in his specialty, NMR spectroscopy of organometallic compounds, during a post-doctoral fellowship in Germany.


2010 Pulitzer Prize winner gives reading at Grinnell College

Wednesday, May. 11, 2011 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA—Paul Harding, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, will read from his work in the final event of the Writers@Grinnell series at 8 p.m. on Thurs., May 6 in the Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the Grinnell College campus.

Harding’s first novel “Tinkers” was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. National Public Radio’s John Freeman includes Harding’s “devastating first book” in his list of the “few perfect debut American novels.” He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has taught writing at Harvard University. He currently teaches at the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop and is teaching a six-week short course in fiction at Grinnell College.

On May 13 at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, student writers will read from their work in The Grinnell Review, the student-run literary and art magazine of Grinnell College. The winners of the Writers@Grinnell writing contests will be announced, with student literary prizes including the James Norman Hall ’10 Aspiring Writer Award, the Henry York Steiner Memorial Prize for Short Fiction, the Lorabel Richardson/Academy of American Poets Prize, and the Selden Whitcomb Prize in Poetry.

For more information about the Writers@Grinnell program, go to http://www.grinnell.edu/academic/english/creative/conference/. The Bucksbaum Center is located at 1108 Park St. and the Rosenfield Center at 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell College campus.