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Arabic virtuoso Simon Shaheen in concert Apr. 12

Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Arabic virtuoso Simon Shaheen will lead an instrumental quartet in performance at Grinnell College on Tues., Apr. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Sebring-Lewis Hall of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Shaheen, who is considered one of the most significant contemporary Arab musicians, entertains listeners with “soaring technique, melodic ingenuity and unparalleled grace” on the violin and oud, a stringed instrument commonly used in North Africa. His music ranges from jazz to Western classical styles with strong Arabic influence. For the past six years, Shaheen has focused his energies on his band Qantara which has been nominated for more than a dozen Grammys. He is currently on an international tour with a quartet of members of Qantara.

Tickets are required for this free public performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office, beginning Thurs., Apr. 7, noon-5 p.m. Limited tickets are also available from the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3101 or go to http://www.grinnell.edu/car/confops/publicevents/.

Shaheen’s appearance at Grinnell is sponsored by the college’s Public Events Committee. The Bucksbaum Center for the Arts is located at 1108 Park St. 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.


U.S. immigration experts to examine all sides of timely policy issue Apr. 11-14

Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA


Immigration—complicated policies, controversial possibilities. A Grinnell College symposium on “U.S. Immigration Policy,” Apr. 11-14, will examine a wide range of viewpoints on this timely topic, with experts on both sides of open and closed borders; representatives of immigration and asylum services; and interdisciplinary perspectives on the way forward.

“No matter what your point of view,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the college’s Rosenfield Program, “there’s agreement that U.S. immigration policy is broken. It’s a topic of local, state, national, and international concern that touches people in unexpected ways, and we plan to explore all sides of this policy issue.”

The immigration policy symposium, sponsored by Grinnell’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, will include the following free, public events:

• Mon., Apr. 11, 12 noon: Immigration-related student presentations based on tutorial projects, mentored advanced projects (MAPs), and Alternative Break projects. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 2nd floor atrium.

• Mon., Apr. 11, 7 p.m.: Teach-In by members of the Grinnell faculty providing interdisciplinary background on immigration from the fields of sociology, history, political science, and anthropology.

• Tues., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, will argue for tighter controls in “Mass Immigration vs. Modern Society.” The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization which examines the impact of immigration on U.S. resources. Kirkorian frequently testifies before Congress and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NewsHour with James Lehrer, CNN, and NPR.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Jonathan Blazer, policy attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, will discuss the interaction between federal and state immigration laws. The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to advancing the rights of low-income immigrant families. Blazer’s main focus at the law center is on promoting immigrant access to economic supports and educational opportunities.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 8 p.m.: Representatives from immigration services throughout the state will lead a panel discussion on “Iowa and U.S. Immigration Policy.”

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 11 a.m.: The Scholars’ Convocation on “A Nation of Immigrants?” will be delivered by Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia University. Her book, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” has won numerous awards for addressing the controversial topic of immigration reform.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 4:15 p.m.: Jeffrey Heller, a New York City asylum attorney, will offer perspectives on representing asylum seekers. Heller has taught clinical immigration and asylum law, written on immigration issues for Bender’s Immigration Bulletin and The Westchester Guardian, and opened his home to released immigrants for more than 25 years. Heller’s daughter Rebecca is a senior history major at Grinnell.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 8 p.m.: Wall St. Journal editorial board member Jason Riley will close the symposium with a discussion of his book “Let Them In,” which stresses the economic value of open borders. Riley has worked since 1994 at the Journal, where he continues to write on social issues such as immigration reform.

All symposium events will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell,purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091.



Ashraya Dixit '14 awarded Davis Project for Peace

Monday, Mar. 14, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College student Ashraya Dixit will implement an international peace project this summer, thanks to a $10,000 award through Davis Projects for Peace. Davis Projects for Peace are funded by internationalist and philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who committed $1 million to fund grassroots projects through a competition on 74 college and university campuses.

Dixit, a first-year student from Kathmandu, Nepal, will work this summer to pilot a straw bale construction project in Kapilbastu, Nepal, an area frequently hit by flash floods and earthquakes. The Straws of Steel project will include a workshop to introduce community members to the low cost, energy efficient building technique, actual construction of straw bale houses, and documentation of the construction process in the disaster-prone area.

The Davis Projects are designed to encourage and support motivated college students to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, IA. 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.


Mini-grants to local projects announced

Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA

Eleven Grinnell area organizations will benefit from more than $30,000 in grant support from the Grinnell College Mini-Grant Program for arts, educational and community initiatives.

“We increased both the maximum grant amount and the total grant funds available from the program this year so we were better able to meet community needs,” said Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement. The maximum award increased to $7,500 for the annual mini-grant program, which has, since 2002, funded more than $131,000 in small-to mid-scale projects for the Grinnell area.

Traditionally, the grants review committee has been comprised of faculty, staff and Grinnell College students from the local area. This year, the review committee, led by Chavez-Silva, added two community members, Rick Ramsey and Monique McLay Shore.

Of the 25 proposals submitted, the volunteer committee designated full or partial funding to the following projects this spring: Drake Community Library for electronic book service; Grinnell Area Arts Council for computer and office equipment; Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce for website development; Grinnell Big Brothers Big Sisters for activities to support mentor matches; Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool for a school bus; Grinnell Little League for field upgrades; Grinnell Parks and Recreation Department to improve Arbor Lake shelters; Grinnell Police Department for patrol bicycles; Grinnell Regional Medical Center for electronic records wireless access; PALS animal shelter for insulated pet doors; and Poweshiek County Fair Association for campground improvements.

For more information about the mini-grant program, contact Chavez-Silva at 641-269-3900,chavezsm@grinnell.edu, or visit the website: http://www.grinnell.edu/Offices/communityenhance/minigrant. - 30 -


"The Pillowman" takes stage Nov. 18-21

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA—The Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance will stage “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh, Nov. 18-21, in Flanagan Arena Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the Grinnell campus.

The play, directed by Craig Quintero, assistant professor of theatre, is a graphic murder mystery told by a short-story author who reveals, through his writing, chilling details of a series of child murders.

Quintero met the playwright last summer and selected the “Grimmsian fairy tale for the 21st century” for its “dark, poetic and visual qualities.” The set design for the production encloses the audience in a police interrogation room, “in an attempt to make the world of the play more immediate and inescapable,” Quintero said. The production’s subject matter is considered not suitable for children under the age of 16.

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. for the Nov. 18, 19, and 20 performances and 2 p.m. for the Sun., Nov. 21 performance. Tickets are required for this free event and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts ticket office beginning Nov. 15 from 12-5 p.m. daily. The Bucksbaum Center for the Arts is located at 1108 Park St. on the Grinnell College campus. Box office and ticket information is available at http://web.grinnell.edu/theatre/facilities/box_office.html or by calling 641-269-4444.


Author and journalist Adam Hochschild to deliver Scholars' Convocation Oct. 7

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA—Author, journalist and historian Adam Hochschild will discuss “Twelve Men in a Printing Shop, London, May 22, 1787: A Great Human Rights Movement is Born” in a Scholars’ Convocation at Grinnell College on Thurs., Oct. 7 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

Hochschild has published extensively about historical and contemporary human rights abuses and international humanitarian interventions, focusing particularly on sub-Saharan Africa. His first book “Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son” drew acclaim and was followed by seven history works now translated into 13 languages.

His most recent book, “Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves,” will be the basis of his Grinnell talk. The book is considered “a powerful study of the movement to end slavery in the late 18th and early 19th century British Empire.” The co-founder of Mother Jones, Hochschild also writes for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, and is often heard on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

Hochschild’s lecture is part of Grinnell’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.


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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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.

Author Edward Hirsch '72 to read for Writers@Grinnell

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA—Award-winning author Edward Hirsch will read from his poetry as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at 8 p.m. on April 19 in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.

Hirsch, a 1972 Grinnell graduate, is the author of more than 10 books of prose and poetry, including the 2008 collection “Special Orders.” He has won major awards including the Lavan Younger Poets Award, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

On April 22, poet Terri Witek and visual artist Cyriaco Lopes will perform “the day you left,” a collaborative work weaving together poetry and video, at 8 p.m. at the Faulconer Gallery in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The performance is the culmination of “but here all dreams equal distance,” an exhibition of collaborative text and images by Witek and Lopes that will run in the Gallery through April 25. Witek, a member of the English faculty at Stetson University, and Lopes, a member of the art and music faculty at John Jay College, will be on the Grinnell campus for a week-long residency co-sponsored by Writers@Grinnell and presented in conjunction with an upcoming Center for the Humanities symposium on space, place, and memory, April 21-23.

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