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Nov. symposium celebrates Liberal Arts in Prison Program

Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program will celebrate its First Year of College Program offering at the Newton Correctional Facility during a Nov. campus symposium with national speakers on the benefits of education for incarcerated individuals.

Since 2003, Grinnell students and faculty have taught courses at Iowa correctional facilities, and in 2009, the college began a pilot program at the Newton facility to offer courses for Grinnell credit. Last summer, the Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program admitted the first class to its new First Year of College Program, which enrolls incarcerated students in a rigorous course of study equivalent to a first year at Grinnell.

Grinnell program coordinator Emily Guenther credits Grinnell students' and faculty commitment to academic rigor and social justice for the success of the program. “Education is one of the most effective ways to prevent repeat offenses and help the incarcerated leave prison better able to lead constructive lives,” Guenther said. “The November symposium celebrates Grinnell’s commitment to the Liberal Arts in Prison Program and offers opportunities to engage with experts in criminal justice and education.”

The following events are free and open to the public:

• Nov. 3, 4:15 p.m.: Marc Mauer, one of the nation’s leading experts on criminal justice policy, will present “America’s Race to Incarcerate” about the rise in mass incarceration. Mauer’s reports and publications on sentencing policy, race, and the criminal justice system are among the most widely-cited in the field.

• Nov. 16, 8 p.m.: Max Kenner, founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative in New York, will present about the role of liberal arts colleges in prisons. The Grinnell program, which is supported by the Lilly Endowment, a gift from a Grinnell trustee, and Bard College, was among the first members of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts at Bard College.

• Nov. 17, 4:15 p.m.: Grinnell alumni Katie Jares and Noga Ashkenazi, who have done extensive prison-related work since graduation, will join a former inmate and student in a panel discussion about the college’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program. Jares and Ashkenazi volunteered in the program while Grinnell students.

• Nov. 17 at 8 p.m.: Noga Ashkenazi, a 2009 Grinnell graduate, will present clips from a documentary she is producing based on her teaching experiences at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. Ashkenazi will be joined in the discussion by a former inmate and student who is featured in the film.  The screening will be held in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.

More than 50 Grinnell students volunteer regularly at the Newton and Mitchellville correctional facilities, tutoring and facilitating a variety of classes that have earned the respect of the Iowa Department of Corrections. Grinnell students also tutor at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.

All events will be held in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101, located at 1115 8th Ave. in Grinnell. For more information about the Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program or the Nov. symposium, contact Emily Guenther, coordinator, at grinnellinprison@grinnell.edu.


First Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize Symposium Oct. 25-27

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA

Grinnell College will host its first symposium dedicated to the Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize on October 25-27. The Symposium – co-sponsored by the college’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights – includes an awards ceremony and presentations by the 2011 prize winners: Boris Bulayev and Eric Glustrom (Educate!); James Kofi Annan (Challenging Heights); and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub (Encounter). Noted civil rights lawyer Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will present the keynote address, “With Justice for All,” on the final day.

The Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, established by Grinnell in 2010, recognizes individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. The 2011 winners, selected from more than 1,000 nominations from 66 countries, will receive $100,000 awards, half to the individuals and half to their respective organizations. On Tuesday evening, Oct. 25, President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., will honor the inaugural winners during an awards ceremony.

Over the next two days, winners will deliver public presentations on their work:

• Boris Bulayev, co-founder and executive director, and Eric Glustrom, co-founder and president, Educate! (shared award / presentation), on “Why I Quit the Basketball Team to Join Educate!- Jumping in the Deep-End”

• James Kofi Annan, president, Challenging Heights, on “Passion, Commitment, and Innovation: The Critical Success Factors in Community Project Sustainability”

• Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, founding executive director emeritus, Encounter, on “Authentic Peace-building: A Justice That's Not Just Us”

In addition to formal presentations, award winners will meet with students, faculty and staff in classrooms and informal settings to discuss their approach to social justice, sources of inspiration and success in overcoming obstacles.

“Social justice has been an integral part of the Grinnell mission since our founding in 1846. It contributes to our academic programs and culture on campus, and it inspires our alumni throughout their lives,” explained Kington. “The Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize and Symposium program underscores our deep commitment to fostering positive social change.”

Public events during the three-day symposium on the Grinnell campus include:

• Oct. 25, 8 p.m., Herrick Chapel: Grinnell Prize awards ceremony.

• Oct. 26, 4:15 p.m., Herrick Chapel: Presentation by Kofi Annan, Challenging Heights.

• Oct. 26, 8 p.m., Herrick Chapel: Presentation by Bulayev and Glustrom, Educate!

• Oct. 27, 11 a.m., Herrick Chapel: Convocation by Dees, Southern Poverty Law Center.

• Oct. 27, 4:15 p.m., Herrick Chapel: Presentation by Weintraub, Encounter.

The Symposium coincides with the Call for Nominations for the 2012 Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, with entries accepted through November 14, 2011. Details of the program and the nomination process are available at www.grinnell.edu/grinnellprize.

For additional information about symposium events, contact Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program,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.



"Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage" by World Food Prize lecturer Jo Luck

Monday, Sep. 26, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - 2010 World Food Prize laureate Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, will deliver a public lecture at Grinnell College on Wed., Oct. 12 about her experiences in leading the world hunger assistance organization. Her lecture, “Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. A light buffet dinner will precede in the Harris Center atrium. At 6:30 p.m., following the lecture, there will be a public reception in the atrium with music by Too Many Strings Band.

Luck served as president and CEO of Heifer International from 1992 to 2010, and director of international programs from 1989 to 1992. Under her leadership, the organization, which brings food- and incoming-producing livestock to impoverished families, grew from 20,000 to 500,000 supporters and expanded scope of efforts throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Grinnell has hosted World Food Prize lecturers for more than six years as part of a World Food Prize outreach program at Iowa educational institutions during the week the prize is awarded. The 2011 World Food Prize will be awarded at the state capitol Oct. 13 to John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, who led significant hunger and poverty reduction efforts in their respective countries.

Luck’s lecture is sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave. on the Grinnell campus. For more information about the Rosenfield Program, 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.


"Live in HD" bringing the Metropolitan Opera to Harris Center

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College has partnered with New York City’s Metropolitan Opera to offer the final three shows of the 2011-12 season “Live in HD” at the Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. Each show will be preceded by a half-hour opera talk by Jennifer Williams Brown, associate professor of music at Grinnell.

On Sat., Feb. 25, the Italian opera “Ernani,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi, will be presented with English subtitles. Audience members should plan to arrive by 11:30 a.m. for the opera talk, with the performance to begin at noon.

The French opera “Manon,” composed by Jules Massenet, will be performed on Sat., Apr. 7. Audience members should arrive by 10:30 a.m. for the opera talk, with the English-subtitled performance to begin at 11 a.m.

Verdi’s “La Traviata” will be performed on Sat., Apr. 14 at noon, with the opera talk to begin at 11:30 a.m. The opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles.

Synopses of the shows are available at http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history/stories/. Details for the 2012-13 “Live in HD” season will be announced at a later date.

Tickets are required for each performance and can be purchased at the Harris Center on the day of the show: $15 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets will also be on sale at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell, beginning Feb. 17. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3235.

Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave., with available parking east of the center on 10th Ave. 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.


"Family Album" reconstructs memories at Faulconer Gallery

Friday, Jun. 10, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Family photos, old and new, reconstruct memories in the summer exhibition opening at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery on June 24.

Using digital photographic techniques, California-based artist Liz Steketee offers creative insights into the art of photographs that explore the dynamics of family life and the lasting effects of memories. The artist combines old and new family photographs as a means of revisiting “the epic scenery of the everyday,” documenting her life as a wife and mother, and “the joy, the agony, and the irony of life’s experiences.”

“‘Family Album’ makes an immediate connection with gallery visitors because nearly everyone has or takes family photos,” said Daniel Strong, curator of the exhibition and associate director of the gallery. “Many of the scenes depicted in Steketee’s works will be familiar: family gatherings, trips to the beach and to the ice cream parlor, or sitting at home in front of the TV.

“We also hope the exhibition will encourage visitors to experiment in their everyday lives with photography’s creative potential. Not everyone is inclined to draw or paint but everyone takes pictures, and thanks to the genius of a camera on every cellphone, we’re all artists now.” Faulconer Gallery will host several “Family Album” public events this summer:

  • Fri., June 24, 11 a.m.: exhibition opens.
  • Sun., June 26, 3 p.m.: flute and piano concert with Rebecca Stuhr and Royce Wolf.
  • Thursdays, June 30-Aug. 18, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: yoga with Monica St. Angelo.
  • Sun., July 24, 3 p.m.: concert by Turlach Ur, including traditional and contemporary bagpipe tunes
  • Thurs., Aug. 4, 5-7 p.m.: Families@Faulconer, an exhibition and reception for young artists who created work during summer outreach programs.
  • Fri., Aug. 26, 4:15-6 p.m.: “Family Album” back-to-campus reception.
  • Thurs., Sept. 1, 4:15 p.m.: gallery talk by artist Liz Steketee.

“Family Album” is open June 24 through Aug. 21 during summer gallery hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. From Aug. 23 to the exhibition closing on Sept. 4, “Family Album” will be open during regular gallery hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery.


"Can China Save the World?" convocation by modern China historian Karl Gerth '88

Monday, Sep. 19, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Modern China historian Karl Gerth will question “Can China Save the World?” at a Scholars’ Convocation on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.

Drawing on research in his latest book, “As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything,” Gerth explains how—from brand choice to environmental quality—citizens around the world are affected by the everyday choices made by the Chinese population.

Gerth, a 1988 Grinnell graduate, has conducted research in China and Japan for more than 25 years, with special interests in consumerism, nationalism, environmentalism, and everyday life under communism. His previous book, “China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation,” focused on the role of nationalism in forming a consumer culture in pre-World War II China. He currently teaches at the University of Oxford, where he is a fellow and tutor at Merton College.

Gerth’s Grinnell lecture is part of the college’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation series. 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.


Rockjazz pianist ELEW to perform in Herrick Chapel

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Rockjazz pianist ELEW will bring his physical playing style to Grinnell College, Thurs., Mar. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell campus. ELEW combines ragtime, rock and pop with “mesmerizing piano theatrics” to create a style that has complemented tours for artists such as Josh Groban, Wynton Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Roy Hargrove, and Cassandra Wilson, among others.

Known as an “imposing, explosive force” at the keyboard, ELEW released his first album in 2010 featuring “blistering piano recreations” of tunes by Coldplay, The Killers, and others in his own rock-jazz tradition. His second CD, “ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 2,” is expected to be released early this year with interpretations of classics from Michael Jackson to Katy Perry to the Doors.

Tickets are required for the Grinnell performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office, beginning Mon., Feb. 27, 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 tohttp://www.grinnell.edu/car/confops/publicevents/.

The ELEW performance at Grinnell is sponsored by the college’s Public Events Committee. Herrick Chapel is located at 1128 Park St. 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 orcalendar@grinnell.edu.


New dean of admission and financial aid appointed

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington has appointed Joseph P. Bagnoli, Jr., of Berea College to lead Grinnell’s strategic recruitment and financial aid programs. Bagnoli will join the Grinnell staff on Feb. 23 as vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid.

Bagnoli currently serves as dean of enrollment and academic services at Berea, his alma mater, with responsibility for admission, financial aid, athletics, academic services, and student records and accounts. Berea College, located in Berea, Ky., is recognized for its abolitionist founding as the first interracial, coeducational college in the South and its unique student labor program in which all students participate to earn a tuition-free education.

“Joe’s impressive record of service at Berea, both personally and professionally, demonstrates high-level commitment to the goal of strategically enrolling a diverse student body, while balancing challenging demographics and economic times,” Kington said. “He shares Grinnell’s drive for social good and academic excellence, and our desire to extend educational opportunities to disadvantaged college-bound students.”

Bagnoli previously served as director of admissions and financial aid at Concord College in West Virginia and as an admissions counselor at Berea. He holds a master’s degree in student personnel services from Eastern Kentucky University and is completing his Ph.D. in educational policy studies and evaluation at the University of Kentucky.

“Grinnell’s history of social action and its reputation as a leader in access to higher education among elite liberal arts colleges compelled me to pursue this position,” Bagnoli said. “I believe Grinnell can play an increasingly important role in the diversification of higher education nationally by acting upon its own convictions, and I look forward to engaging in that work.” Bagnoli is the second member of his family to join the Grinnell campus; his oldest daughter is currently a first-year student.

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.


Briefly: Media and Politics

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - The Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights will sponsor a Feb. 1 campus visit from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman. Shribman will discuss “American Politics and the Press in a Period of Transition” at 4:15 p.m. in JRC 101.

Shribman joined the Post-Gazette in 2003 from The Boston Globe where he was assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief. His previous experience includes national politics coverage for The Wall St. Journal and The New York Times, as well as reporting for The Washington Star and The Buffalo Evening News. In 1995 he received a Pulitzer Prize for his “My Point” column which is syndicated nationally.

Shribman’s visit to Grinnell will also include meetings with students and the Career Development Office to arrange potential journalism internships.

"Sandow Birk's American Qur'an" open in Faulconer Gallery

Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - “Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an” will open Fri., Jan. 27 at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery. The exhibition, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsburgh, will be on view in Grinnell through Mar. 18.

Birk, a California-based artist, has been engaged for the past six years in transcribing and illustrating an English translation of the 114 Suras, or chapters, of the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text. Based on traditional models of manuscript illumination, Birk’s adaptation combines handwritten text with images drawn from contemporary American life. The Faulconer Gallery exhibition includes 85 painted panels from the ongoing project, which the artist plans to complete in 2014.

Birk was drawn to the Qur’an out of curiosity, seeking to educate himself about a book that many have formed opinions about, but fewer have actually read. “Given the global situation, the Qur’an may be the most important book on Earth, but few Americans know anything about it,” Birk told the New York Times in 2009. “I’m attempting to create visual metaphors that go along with the text and hopefully make it more accessible to Americans, more relevant to American life.”

Six of the panels in the exhibition, representing chapters 36 and 37 from the total 114, are part of Grinnell College’s permanent art collection, purchased in 2010.

“The purpose of the college’s art collection is education, and it is the Faulconer Gallery’s mission to use the collection in provocative ways to foster greater understanding,” said Daniel Strong, associate director of the gallery and curator of exhibitions. “Here is an artist who, when he’s completed the project, will have spent a decade of his life studying and interpreting the Qur’an solely for the purpose of educating himself about it.”

Strong explains that while most of the imagery is relatively benign, the artist found it impossible to avoid controversial events that have recently defined American life, such as devastation by Hurricane Katrina (one of the chapters in the college’s collection) and at the World Trade Center (in a chapter titled “Smoke”). “Art is a perfect means to launch the discussion. The Qur’an can’t be reduced to a few incendiary passages, nor can they or should they be disregarded. This exhibition is a quest for fuller understanding through beautifully executed art,” Strong said.

Educational programming, organized by Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and public outreach, also provides a wide variety of platforms to learn about Islam, including an open invitation for reading of the Qur’an. “Gallery visitors are invited to read aloud from the Qur’an in any language that feels right to them. We believe their experience will be enhanced from listening and reading. All are welcome to come,” Woodward said.

All events sponsored by Faulconer Gallery are free, open to the public, and located in the gallery unless otherwise noted:  

  • Jan. 27, 4:15-6 p.m.: Opening reception.
  • Jan. 30, 4:15 p.m.: Panel discussion on “Islam in Iowa” with Kamal Hammouda, adjunct Muslim prayer leader; Mervat Youssef, assistant professor of French and Arabic; and Imam Taha Tawil of the Mother Mosque of America, who will speak on their experiences as Muslims in the state.
  • Feb. 9, 4:15 p.m.: Student roundtable on “The Qur’an in America,” facilitated by Caleb Elfenbein, assistant professor of religious studies and history.
  • Feb. 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m.: Community Day with a variety of hands-on activities.
  • Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.: Open mic night, co-sponsored by Grinnell Review and Grinnell College Libraries, featuring original works by Grinnell students and others who wish to share favorite writers or composers.
  • Feb. 16, 4:15 p.m.: “Visualizing Islamophobia” discussion with Max Leung, lecturer in sociology, based on his research on the identities of Arabs and Muslims in America.
  • Feb. 28, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by artist Sandow Birk, discussing his ongoing project.
  • Thursdays, Feb. 9-Mar. 15, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: Yoga with Monica St. Angelo. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. Mats provided for beginners and experienced practitioners.

More educational events will be offered in March. Faulconer Gallery, located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St. on the Grinnell campus, is open Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery.