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Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Mon, 2013-03-04 11:17 | By Anonymous (not verified)

When introducing the iPad, Steve Jobs said " “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

Grinnellians are experts at marrying the liberal arts with technology, medicine, business, and anything else that catches their attention.

While many Grinnellians go on to earn higher degrees in fields they love — proportionally, Grinnell ranks in the top 10 among all U.S. institutions at producing Ph.D.s. — others are busy creating brand new fields.

The same practices that make liberal arts majors marketable in an ever-changing world — critical thinking, examination of life, encounters with difference, and free exchange of ideas — are perfect for the entrepreneurs driving that change.  A quick search on LinkedIn reveals hundreds of Grinnellians who founded, own, or run businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations. 

“Entrepreneurship and the liberal arts are both about ideas. Entrepreneurship isn’t about tools or techniques. It’s really about asking, ‘Does this idea make sense?’” explains Mark Montgomery, Donald L. Wilson Professor of Enterprise and Leadership and professor of economics.

Tools and techniques can be learned as needed, but critical thinking, the heart of a liberal arts education, needs cultivation. “Ultimately, tools aren’t going to help you create something new. The liberal arts teach you how to think about the world in a different way,” he adds.

The Wilson Program helps students apply their liberal arts education to the theory and practice of innovation, enterprise, and leadership in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors.  It supports a huge number of internships as well as courses on innovation and entrepreneurship and short courses taught by successful alumni who share their real world experiences and lessons.

The program is expanding, says Montgomery, and his goal is to make it the best small college program in the country. 

Read more about Grinnell innovators and entrepreneurs in The Grinnell Magazine Fall 2012, including:

  • Robert Noyce ’49, the “mayor of Silicon Valley,” who co-invented the integrated circuit and co-founded Intel, as well as mentoring many key Silicon Valley entrepreneurs including Steve Jobs
  • Joel Spiegel ’78, whose work with Amazon changed the landscape of the online marketplace
  • James H. Lowry ’61, a diversity expert who transformed business’s way of viewing, embracing, and leveraging diversity
  • Kevin Schmidt ’91, co-founder of the first mental health cooperative in the country
  • Hilary Mason ’00, chief scientist at bitly and a leader in the new discipline of data science

Dr. Kelley Donham is the Third Speaker in Prairie Studies Series, "Chemical Contaminants in Our Environment"

4:15 p.m., ARH 102, informal discussion with Professor Donham
7:30 p.m., ARH 102, lecture, "Intensive Livestock Production Systems: Occupational and Environmental Concerns"

On Wednesday, February 6, the Center for Prairie Studies is sponsoring a visit to campus by Dr. Kelley Donham, Professor and Associate Head for Agricultural Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Health in the College of Public Health, The University of Iowa. At 4:15 p.m., Dr. Donham will participate in an informal discussion about occupational and environmental health issues in Iowa agriculture, including issues relating to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). At 7:30 p.m., also in ARH 102, he will present a lecture, "Intensive Livestock Production Systems: Occupational and Environmental Concerns." The public is invited to both events. Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Donham earned a B.S in Premedical Sciences and a M.S. in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University. He practiced veterinary medicine for several years before returning to the University of Iowa as a faculty member in 1973. He achieved the rank of full Professor in 1984.

At the University of Iowa, Dr. Donham developed an MS – PhD degree and Certificate program in Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Iowa, the first and one of the few teaching programs today in agricultural medicine. The program focuses on specialty training for health care and occupational health professionals in health and safety issues in the farming community.

Dr. Donham's research has focused on occupational and environmental health concerns relative to intensive livestock housing, having conducted the original studies in this area beginning in 1974. In addition, he studies diseases of agricultural workers, particularly respiratory diseases, zoonotic infectious diseases, and intervention methods for prevention. He has published over 140 articles, three books, and numerous chapters in these areas. With co-author Anders Thelin of Sweden, he authored the first text book for the field, Agricultural Medicine: Occupational and Environmental Health for the Health Professions (Blackwell, 2006).

An Athlete's Community of Support

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


If you’re a student-athlete (emphasis on “student”), you will almost certainly love it at Grinnell. Sure, depending on your sport, you can find higher levels of athletic competition at other schools, but to find a place where you can be encouraged to excel in the classroom just as much as you excel on the field (or in the pool or on the court) is a much rarer phenomenon. The key to Grinnell’s success in both the academic and athletic spheres is the support the athletes receive not just from teammates and coaches, but also from professors and the student body at large. All these people care about my development as a human being and push me on multiple levels to achieve beyond my expectations.

I know that at some schools, being a “jock” would be all that defined me, but at Grinnell, people recognize that’s not all I am. Even if I spend much of my time at the athletic center, no one’s stopping me from exploring additional facets of campus life. I get to be a student, a tour guide, a writer, a varsity athlete, and anything else I feel like pursuing, all at once. It’s kind of liberating, knowing that people will let you be you.

And it’s personal here. You can see it in the class sizes (the student to teacher ratio is about 10:1) and within our athletic programs, too. My senior year of high school, when I was applying to colleges, I filled out maybe a dozen athletic inquiries online. In response, I received mostly generic, automated messages thanking me for my interest. But within 24 hours of sending my information to Grinnell, the head volleyball coach e-mailed me personally with some additional questions, like: What was I looking for from a college athletic experience? What was my philosophy of the game? He recommended I come to Iowa and experience the Grinnell community for myself.

I remember that word specifically: “community.” It has been the most relevant word in the last three years of my life while at college. Before I was even officially enrolled at Grinnell, the volleyball and softball teams made me feel welcome with personal e-mails and phone calls. Once I was here, I became part of a culture in which literally everything is an all-campus community event, where everyone, even the soonto- be-graduating seniors, cares about supporting his or her fellow students.

It really hit me during the last home volleyball game of the 2009 season. Looking up into the stands, I realized the gym was packed, vibrating with the crowd’s energy. But it wasn’t only other athletes who came out to support us, and it wasn’t just the student section that was crowded — professors, dining services and facilities management employees, the president of the College, and people from town who had no discernible connection to anyone on the team all turned out for our match, some with painted signs, some with painted bodies. Buoyed by this incredible support system, we won every one of our home conference games that season.

At Grinnell, you don’t have to choose between great athletics and high-quality academics. You can have both, plus a couple thousand people cheering you on the whole way.

Erin Labasan '11 is a Psychology Major from Neotsu, OR.

Interpreting Test Scores

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Interpreting Test Scores

To interpret an individual student's standardized achievement test scores, please refer to the following concordance table which compares scores of the two national achievement tests.

1440 and up 33 and up
1400 - 1430 32
1360 - 1390 31
1330 - 1350 30
1290 - 1320 29
1250 - 1280 28
1210 - 1240 27
1170 - 1200 26
1160 and below 25 and below

Grinnell College first-year students have an average (mean) composite score of 1325 for the SAT and 30.0 for the ACT. Nationally, the average SAT score is approximately 1011 and the ACT is 21.1.

Although the writing scores for both ACT and SAT are recorded in a student's official college record, the Admission Office currently does not use the writing portion of either test to determine admissibility.

International students also have scores for the TOEFL (the Test of English as a Foreign Language). It measures a person's proficiency in English; it is not meant to be an indicator of academic ability. In order to measure language competency, sub-tests are broken down into three areas: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and grammar.

The test is offered in paper-based and most recently, internet-based formats. The scoring systems differ for each:

640-677 273-300 111-120
590-637 243-270 96-110
550-587 213-240 79-95
513-547 183-210 65-78
477-510 153-180 53-64
437-473 123-150 41-52
397-433 93-120 30-40
347-393 63-90 19-29
310-343 33-60 9-18
310 0-30 0-8

We do not have a minimum TOEFL requirement for admission to Grinnell College.  However, because of the high demands placed on our students in terms of reading and writing, we look to admit applicants who can demonstrate a very strong command of the English language.  For the class entering in August 2011, the mid-50% TOEFL (internet-based) score was 99-105.

Off-Campus Study

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:23 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Off-Campus Study

Grinnell is affiliated with nearly 100 off-campus study programsworldwide, and we offer two of our own:  Grinnell-in-London and Grinnell-in- Washington. By the time they graduate, 55-60% of all Grinnell students have studied in a semester-or year-long program, either domestic or overseas.

As an adviser, it's important to raise the topic of off-campus study (OCS) early with your advisees.  Although they will not be eligible to study off-campus until their fifth semester at Grinnell, planning should start sooner. Students typically learn about programs and apply during their second year, but this process can start sooner if you direct it. Although studying in a new environment is a valuable learning experience in and of itself, the College believes the opportunity will be even more enriching if closely integrated with a student's coursework on campus. During the application process, great emphasis is placed on selecting a program that is compatible with academic goals, thus close planning among the student, his/her/hir adviser, and the OCS Office is advised. Further information is available on the OCS webpage.

Reading Lab

Director Joan Mohan provides individual and small-group instruction to help students: strengthen verbal skills, emphasizing critical comprehension and vocabulary; improve reading efficiency; acquire more effective study strategies (such as managing time, concentrating, remembering, test-taking); improve ESL (English as a Second Language) proficiency and pronunciation. The Reading Lab is located at 1321 Park Street, across from Younker Hall.

Grinnell Peace Studies Student Conference 2014

The Grinnell College Peace and Conflict Studies Program is seeking undergraduate student paper submissions addressing issues of peace and conflict from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities for the Grinnell Peace Studies Student Conference February 28 - March 1, 2014.

After receiving paper abstracts, the program will decide which papers will be accepted and organize papers into themed panels. Students will receive word of acceptance, which panel they are on, and names of fellow panel presenters and their papers by mid-January. Final papers are due February 7, 2012. At that time, faculty respondents for each of the panels will receive copies of the papers for the panel they will be leading. Presentations will be limited to 15 minutes for each paper. Panel sessions will allow time for a short faculty introduction, presentations of three or four papers, followed by discussion, including questions from the faculty respondent.

Conference Deadlines

250 word (max) abstract due December 20, 2013

Acceptance and panel assignment sent no later than January 15, 2012

3000 word (max) final paper due February 7, 2014



  • All submissions should be sent electronically as attachments to vetterv[at]grinnell[dot]edu.
  • Please put your name, email address, school, and title of your paper on a cover page for both abstract and paper. Document titles should start with your last name. Email subject lines should read “Peace Studies Conference Abstract" or "Peace Studies Conference Paper.” Contact Val Vetter, coordinator, Peace and Conflict Studies Program for more information vetterv[at]grinnell[dot]edu
  • Submissions from undergraduates attending any institution are welcome.
  • There is no registration fee. The program is not able to cover travel or off-campus lodging costs. However, we can arrange for student presenters from off campus to stay with Grinnell students. We can arrange for a limited number of off campus faculty to stay at campus guesthouses. A dinner and lunch will be provided for all participants.


 See the 2012 Conference Program and the 2010 Conference Program for past submissions.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Environmental conflict
  • The role of social media in effecting change
  • Interfaith dialogue
  • International conflicts
  • Education and peacemaking
  • Economic development and peacebuilding
  • Language, power and conflict
  • The arts and peacebuilding
  • Trauma healing and the arts
  • Trauma and identity
  • Mediation
  • Restorative justice
  • Peace vs. justice
  • Peace, conflict and human rights
  • Feminist perspectives on peacebuilding
  • Truth and reconciliation commissions
  • Transitional justice initiatives
  • Peace psychology
  • Ethnic conflict
  • Culture and violence
  • Bioethics
  • Human trafficking and human rights
  • Alternatives to violence
  • Community building
  • Nonviolent regime change

Spring 2012 Seminar: Gender and Identity in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa

Grinnell faculty from a variety of disciplines are spending the academic year 2010-11 studying the complex issues of gender and identity in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. Under the guidance of Professors Susan Ireland (French), Kathy Kamp (Anthropology), and Mervat Youssef (Arabic), these faculty members are reading and discussing a detailed bibliography of scholarly works to prepare for a two-week trip to Egypt, where they will meet with scholars and NGO leaders. Upon return to Grinnell, the faculty members will prepare a series of short courses and a film series for 2011-12, to share their knowledge with the members of the Grinnell College community. The seminar builds upon interest at Grinnell in Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic history, and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies.