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Community education courses available this summer

Wednesday, May. 16, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College faculty will offer courses in biology, chemistry, economics, and statistics through the Adult Community Exploration Series (ACES) this summer. The free courses, co-sponsored by the Community Education Council and Grinnell College, will be held on Wednesday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Caulkins Room at Drake Community Library, 930 Park St. Registration is requested to assist instructors in preparing for class needs. To register, send email to calendar@grinnell.edu, or call 641-269-3178.

Courses for summer 2012 include:

June 6, 13

“Water,” with Luther Erickson, professor emeritus of chemistry

These lectures will focus on water as a unique chemical substance (H2O) with unusual properties and as an essential resource to meet individual and collective needs. The source, composition, treatment, distribution, and cost of water—provided by Grinnell, area communities, and bottled water companies—will be examined and compared. Engineering projects and associated conflicts to manage and redistribute water flow will also be discussed, along with progress toward the articulation and acceptance of a water ethic.

Luther Erickson, professor emeritus of chemistry, taught courses in physical, inorganic, and analytical chemistry and pursued an active research program with Grinnell undergraduate collaborators described in about 40 scientific publications. He also taught a First-Year Tutorial about water for 25 years of his 50-year career at Grinnell and developed a drinking-water analysis module for the introductory analytical chemistry course that continues in use.

June 20, 27

“Thinking About Evolution, A History,” with Ken Christiansen, professor emeritus of biology

This course will consider early thinking concerning the diversity of living organisms and, later, the various attempts to explain “the enigma of fossils.” For example, it is commonly believed that Darwin was the first to offer ideas about evolution. Not so! How about Aristotle? By the 18th century, ideas of evolution were in the air, and theories were developed by natural philosophers, including Lamarck. The course will cover the Darwin years and end with recent changes in views of evolution.

Kenneth Christiansen, professor emeritus of biology, taught many courses in biology, including evolution. His research interest began with the study of dragonflies and later moved to the study of collembola in caves, an ideal laboratory for the study of evolution. Christiansen has published several books and numerous articles, many co-authored with Grinnell students.

July 11, 18 [July 18 session will meet at 1:30 p.m., instead of 10 a.m.]

“Fools and Their Money” with Mark Montgomery, professor of economics

This course will examine how financial markets thwart smart people and reflect on the nature of society. For example: in 1720, Sir Isaac Newton, one of history’s most brilliant intellects, lost his life savings investing in a bogus trading company; in 1995, London’s Barings Bros. Bank, which had helped finance the Louisiana Purchase, was bankrupted by speculations of an employee in a Singapore office; during the 1990s and early 2000s, Bernie Madoff’s investment clients included some of the wealthiest people and most prestigious institutions.

Mark Montgomery is Donald L. Wilson Professor of Enterprise and Leadership and professor of economics. He teaches mathematical economics, the economics of education, and environmental economics. His research has appeared in numerous economics journals, and his essays have been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Dallas Morning News, The Mystery Readers Journal, and various edited volumes. He is also co-author with Tinker Powell, associate professor of economics, of the mystery novel, “Theoretically Dead.”

July 25, August 1

“Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics,” with Jeff Jonkman, associate professor of mathematics and statistics

These lectures will focus on some of the reasons people mistrust statistics and some of the effects of that mistrust. Mark Twain, who attributed the quote to Benjamin Disraeli, popularized this description of the “three kinds of lies” over 100 years ago. Today, many of us are still reluctant to trust statistics. The course will explore ways that people and organizations use statistics to “spin” study results, and some of the possible consequences for modern research. The course will also consider the use of statistics as vital for generating new knowledge.

Jeff Jonkman, associate professor of mathematics and statistics, came to Grinnell in 2009, after a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and faculty positions at Mississippi State University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Jonkman’s primary research is in the area of meta-analysis, which deals with statistical methods for combining results of different studies about the same treatment or phenomenon. He has also worked on statistical methods for dose-response data in pharmaceutical studies.


White House honors for Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell

Thursday, Mar. 8, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), a student-run nonprofit microfinance lending organization at Grinnell College, was named by the White House this week as one of the top five winners of  the “Campus Champions of Change Challenge.”

SEG represented the only Iowa college and the only small college in the 15 finalists of the White House challenge, which began last fall to highlight innovative ideas on college campuses and to inspire community involvement. 

“The work of the Social Entrepreneurs is an excellent example of creative collaboration and compassion in a global context,” said Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. “Current Grinnell students, recent alumni and community partners have reached out locally and globally to improve the lives of others.”

In its five years of operation, SEG has expanded from providing international loans for small projects in remote communities to also assisting individuals in the local community. The microfinance organization has loaned more than $37,000 in 44 countries, with $13,000 going to 25 individuals in the Grinnell area. A volunteer board of Grinnell students, alumni and local residents oversees the lending and fundraising.

This is the second White House recognition for a Grinnell program in two years. In January 2011, the Grinnell Science Project was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring of students underrepresented in the sciences.

The SEG award also represents Grinnell’s long-standing commitment to social justice. In 2010, the college initiated The Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize program to recognize individuals under 40 whodemonstrate leadership in their fields and show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change throughout the world. 

Six SEG members will attend an event at the White House on Mar. 15. The Grinnell organization will be featured—along with UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and University of Arkansas—on an upcoming segment of mtvU.

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.                    


Alumni scientists earn prestigious NSF research fellowships

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

Grinnell College is responding to the nation’s call to fill the scientist pipeline. This year eight Grinnell graduates have been awarded highly competitive research fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The prestigious fellowships carry a $30,000 stipend and $10,500 cost of education allowance for up to three years of study at some of the world's most highly regarded research institutions.

The Grinnell graduates named NSF Fellows for 2010:

Grinnell student to implement Davis Project for Peace

Friday, Mar. 19, 2010 11:30 am


GRINNELL, IA--Grinnell College student Ami Shrestha 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.

Burling Listening Room/Microform Room Renovation Update

Mon, 2011-08-01 10:07 | By Anonymous (not verified)


Burling Library is nearing the conclusion of the major renovation of its Listening Room and Microforms Room.

The expansion of the Listening Room’s public area allows library patrons to have direct access to most of the collections of over 20,000 DVD, VHS, Blu-ray and compact discs, not only during the Listening Room office hours, but whenever Burling Library is open.