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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Patricia Williams of Columbia Law School and Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic will come to Grinnell College for events on Jan. 19-20. All events are free and open to the public, and will take place in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Patricia WilliamsOn Monday, Jan. 19, Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University and recipient of a 2000 MacArthur "genius grant," will give a "teach-in" on "Hoping Against Hopelessness: An Anatomy of Short Lives." The teach-in, an interactive mix of lecture and discussion, will start at 10:30 a.m. and resume at 1:30 p.m. after a break for lunch.

Ta-Nehisi CoatesOn Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m., Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, will give a lecture titled "The Case for Reparations." Coates's June 2014 cover story of the same name, which focuses on race relations in America, set a record for number of downloads in a single day from The Atlantic's website.

"Fostering respectful interactions in a diverse community is a critical part of Grinnell's mission," says Poonam Arora, chief diversity officer and associate dean of Grinnell College. "It is an honor to welcome Mr. Coates and Professor Williams to Grinnell, and I look forward to hearing their words as we come together to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day."

Sponsors include the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; the Office of the President; the Peace and Conflict Studies Program; the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice; the Student Government Association; the Office of the Dean; and the Center for the Humanities.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center is located on Eighth Avenue, with accessible parking on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

2013 Grinnell Prize Winners Announced

The 2013 Grinnell Prize—a $100,000 award presented to young innovators in social justice—will be presented to the founder of a group supporting refugee rights in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the leaders of an organization using an innovative business model to support women’s economic development in Africa.

Winners

Emily Arnold-Fernández is founder and executive director of Asylum Access, the only international organization solely dedicated to supporting refugee rights in countries of first refuge in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Instead of the traditional humanitarian aid approach, Asylum Access’ innovative model helps refugees rebuild their lives through access to safety, legal work opportunities, education and the ability to move freely and make empowered choices for themselves.

Elizabeth Scharpf is the founder and chief instigating officer of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), and Julian Ingabire Kayibanda is the chief operating officer of SHE Rwanda. A social venture that invests in overlooked ideas that can have a significant positive impact, SHE is increasing women’s access to affordable menstrual products by manufacturing low-cost maxi pads using local agro-waste, primarily in Rwanda, but soon globally.

One of the largest prizes honoring social justice, the Grinnell Prize is presented annually to leaders under 40 who are making creative innovations in social justice.

See the winner’s page for more information about the winners and their organizations.

The 2013 Grinnell Prize recipients will spend the week of Nov. 3 in Grinnell meeting with students in classes, and the wider community in events that are open to everyone ranging from informal lunches, pub quiz night and bowling to an award ceremony, reception in Des Moines, and individual presentations about their work.

See the full symposium schedule for details.

Kate Walker Selected as Vice President of Finance and Treasurer of the College

President Raynard Kington is pleased to announce that Kate Walker will be the next vice president of finance and treasurer of Grinnell College. Walker is currently the assistant vice president of finance for Macalester College, and she will begin work at Grinnell on October 21, 2013.

Walker will succeed Grinnell Vice President and Treasurer Karen Voss, who has for some time been planning her retirement. Voss will assist with the orientation and transition process.

“Kate will bring to the position optimism, vision, integrity, strong analytic skills, and significant financial experience in higher education,” says President Kington. “We are very grateful to Karen Voss for more than 25 years of service to the College and for building such a strong and dedicated department.” Grinnell routinely earns high marks in the national higher education community for its sound financial management practices.

Walker comes to Grinnell with a proven record of achievement and leadership in the higher education and private foundation sectors. She has more than 25 years of business administration experience including accounting and finance, budgeting/forecasting, human resources, information technology, facility management, investments, and general business operations.

“This position is an exciting and fitting next step in my professional career,” Walker says. “It's not often that one gets the chance to advance to a higher level of leadership with an institution of the caliber of Grinnell.  My six years as Macalester College's assistant vice president for Finance have been among the most satisfying in my career, and they prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities ahead at Grinnell.  I'm honored to become part of Grinnell's leadership team as we work together to prepare the next generation of world leaders."

Walker holds a B.A. degree from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, where she currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the executive MBA program. She has been involved in many community activities in the Twin Cities, including the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Valley Chamber Chorale, and the Minnesota Twins Community Fund.

Why Blog?

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:24 | By Anonymous (not verified)

Posted by: Raynard S. Kington

I want to do everything I can to ensure good communication on campus. My first choice is always to meet and talk with you all in person, with time for some questions on your part and some listening on my part. But I realize 1) we can’t always do that, and 2) not everyone will be able to attend such events when we do. So from time to time I’ll share information I think you need to know and ideas I believe are worth thinking about. I welcome your comments — although I can’t respond to them individually, I will review them, and may respond to them generally in this ongoing, online conversation. My first few postings will catch me up from last semester.

Thoughts on the Rankings Season

Fri, 2013-01-04 02:24 | By Anonymous (not verified)

 

Posted by:  Raynard S. Kington

Alas, the ranking season is upon us once again. Colleges and universities across the country are ranked on everything from food to politics, from sustainability to hipster-ness, from rigor to partying. Newspapers, magazines, online postings, and blogs follow each release noting which colleges rank where and which has gone up or down to the delight or horror or, rarely, the indifference of those of us with vested interests — administrators, board members, students, alumni — across the nation and, increasingly, around the world.

For many, U.S. News & World Report is ranked among the most important of the rankings. Over the 25 years of the U.S. News rankings, Grinnell has been as high as ninth and volleyed through the top 20 (14, 11, 18), along with many of our peer colleges that have also experienced fluctuations in the rankings — especially as data points such as alumni giving have risen and fallen with the economic times and as the methods for ranking have changed.

Many of you may have read the insightful article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker last year, “What College Rankings Really Tell Us” about the use and misuse of college rankings. I encourage you to read it if you haven't. While I acknowledge that the rankings serve as one source of information for prospective students and families, Grinnell College does not make institutional, academic, or administrative decisions based on U.S. News or other rating agencies. In 2007, Grinnell President Russell Osgood and 18 other national college presidents signed a statement committing to make institutional data available on college websites, instead of relying on the rankings to distribute the comparative information. Grinnell continues to follow this practice by providing the Common Data Set on our website and welcoming inquiries at any time.

As many in the Grinnell community read and talk about the various rankings in this season of rankings, it is important to remind everyone that whether we go up or down on any list, the public rankings are not the standard by which Grinnell College judges itself. We judge ourselves against the best Grinnell College we can possibly be. Our goal should always be to provide the best possible Grinnell education to a diverse and talented group of students who are best suited to be transformed by that education. This means we must continually look for ways to improve our support of our faculty, enrich the learning experiences of our students, and provide the resources and opportunities that set our students up to succeed as active and contributing citizens of a global community.

The College is in the midst of a strategic planning process, seeking input and ideas from a broad range of stakeholders. This plan will guide Grinnell’s future while remaining true to our heritage and mission that values undergraduate teaching and research, diversity, and innovation in programs such as the First-Year Tutorial, study abroad, the Grinnell Science Project, and Writing Across the Curriculum.

We can all take the opportunity prompted by the release of ratings to think deeply about what we are as an institution and community and what we aspire to be. Most importantly, let us commit ourselves to engaging in a lively deliberation during the coming year that will lead to a concrete plan to become the best Grinnell College that we can be.