THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS VOLUME XXII NUMBER 3 FALL 2007
  
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Class of 2011    Honors Program
Distinguished Teacher    Faculty Members Awarded Grants
KSC Surplus Finds Second Life    Helen Keller Project
First Endowed Chair    New Director for Cohen Center
Vincent Awarded Fellowship    Tenure, Promotions Announced
Journalism Award    'Climate Neutral' Campus
Photos by Ann Card

Class of '11 Settles In, Convenes

Photo by Ann Card
The skirl of pipes led the march to the New Student Convocation on August 26.
On August 25, more than 400 members of the College community came out on a hot August day to help the incoming class of 2011 settle into their dorms. "It went remarkably well, in spite of unbelievable conditions," said Vice President for Student Affairs Corinne Kowpak. She noted that good spirits prevailed even with road construction, new roundabouts at either end of Winchester Street, and a heat index well over 100 degrees.

The 1,361 members of the class of 2011 officially entered the Keene State College community on Sunday by marching through the gates at the head of Appian Way. Led by Mark Polifrone '83 on the bagpipes, the incoming freshmen were "clapped on to campus" by faculty and staff as they marched to the Spaulding Gym for the New Student Convocation.

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Photo by Mark Corliss
A cohort of Honors students gathers in Great Hall in Fiske.

New Program, New Director, New Scholarships
Thirty-six of this year's incoming freshmen are enrolled in the College's new Honors Program, which incorporates creative and critical inquiry through work with fellow students and professors and enrichment activities on and off campus. Students admitted to this academically challenging program maintained a high GPA through high school and submitted a portfolio of their academic work. Dr. Beatriz Torres, assistant professor in the Communication Department, was appointed the Honors Program director in May.

This semester, Honors students enrolled in one of two designated Honors Thinking and Writing sections: "Skin, Sex, and Genes" or "The Science and Literature of Plants." In the spring of '08 and both semesters of their sophomore year, they will enroll in designated Honors Integrative Studies (IS) Perspectives sections. Later, they will participate in a study abroad experience and share a senior capstone IS course. Residential honors students are housed together in a living-learning community on the third floor of newly renovated Fiske Hall.

All of the students admitted into the program have received scholarship grants from the William T. Morris Foundation. The College received this $100,000 institutional scholarship grant in part because of the enthusiasm of a KST student guide, Ryan Murphy, who happened to have a member of the Morris Foundation as part of his visiting student and parent group tour of the campus.

"Ryan's honesty and passion for the school was so genuine that it reached people who might have been put off by his alternative fashion style," says Admissions Director Peggy Richmond of the tour guide, who graduated last spring. "This was truly a student-inspired gift!"

Distinguished Teacher Named for 2007

Dr. Therese Seibert
Dr. Therese Seibert, professor of sociology and anthropology, has received the 2007 Alumni Association Distinguished Teacher Award. The award is based on four criteria: excellence in the classroom, encouragement of independent thinking, rapport with students both in and out of the classroom, and effective student advising.

Dr. Seibert is founder and director of the student-centered Community Research Center, and co-chair of the KSC Service-Learning Initiative. Along with Michael Hanrahan and Karrie Kalich, she launched KSC's service-learning initiative with a grant from Campus Compact of New Hampshire.

Colleagues and students who nominated her repeatedly described a dedicated teacher and mentor with an exceptional ability to integrate classroom learning and community service. "Noteworthy (are) her exceptional abilities to bring faculty, students, and community agencies together in events that became catalysts for both exceptional learning and positive community action," wrote a colleague in a nominating letter.

Dr. Seibert joined Keene State in 1998 and was granted tenure in 2003. In 2002, she offered "Holocaust and Genocide," a course that initiated a new focus for her teaching. During the spring 2007 semester, she taught "Race, Class, and Katrina," which involved a service-learning project that took students to New Orleans to assist with relief efforts. Also last spring, she received a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation grant to support work in Rwanda during the summer. While in Rwanda, she developed a study abroad course on Rwandan society and genocide, and began research on rescue during the genocide.

Faculty Members Awarded Grants
It was a busy summer for grant activity on campus. Susan Ericson-West in the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research reports that there were many new awards, including:

45 Tons of Furniture, Five Tons of Clothes, 1,005 Board Feet of Oak: KSC Surplus Finds Second Life
Keene State's sustainability and recycling coordinator Mary Jensen reports that Keene State often contributes to the wider regional and even international communities with materials that, while they are no longer useful on campus, still have a potential second life. In May, the College partnered with the Institution Recycling Network (IRN) to move more than 736 pieces of dorm furniture (beds, bureaus, and usable mattresses) from residence halls to their new homes in Managua, Nicaragua. Nancy Balla in Residential Life, Jim Draper in Purchasing, Bud Winsor in Grounds, and ROCKS worked together to coordinate the project.

While Purchasing makes every effort to sell campus materials at the monthly Surplus Sale, some things, like our oldest bed frames, are difficult to move. Jim Draper and Bud Winsor worked with Charlie Sheaff in TDS to convert the pieces into 1,005 board feet of recovered oak (valued at about $3,000) for the woodworking studio. Students typically buy their own wood. Charlie plans to use it in a manufacturing class for a mass-produced project, or it will be offered at a severely reduced price to other woodworking students. Thanks go to Grounds staffers Nate DeMond, Ken Maynard, and Gary Hodge for disassembling and delivering the wood.

NEH Grant for Helen Keller Project
Last May, the College received a grant of $199,740 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project entitled "Helen Keller in Her Times." The project is arranged around several themes, including the historically rooted experiences of disability, class, and gender; how models of language acquisition have changed over time; Keller's use of and manipulation by various media as an international celebrity; and her efforts as a human rights activist.

Over the next three years, a partnership between Keene State, the Hampshire Educational Collaborative, and the Disability History Museum will develop curriculum materials for secondary and higher education that will place the life and legacy of Helen Keller in historical context.

The project director is Graham Warder, a contract lecturer in history at Keene State, who has worked for the Disability History Museum in the past. The institutional grant administrator is Mary-Ellen Fortini. All materials financed by the grant will be made publicly available on both the Disability History Museum and PBS websites.

The work is connected with the ongoing production of a documentary film, Becoming Helen Keller, produced by Laurie Block and tentatively scheduled to be broadcast nationally by PBS in 2010. Through the grant, primary sources about Helen Keller from various archives will be collected, digitized, and annotated for classroom use. Background essays by scholars from across the nation will also be produced, and classroom activities will be outlined and piloted.

Photo by Mark Corliss
President Giles-Gee and benefactors Rick and Jan Cohen

KSC Announces First Endowed Chair
The creation of the College's first endowed chair was announced at a reception on September 17, 2007, in the Marion Wood Reading Room of the Mason Library. A generous gift from benefactors Janet and Richard Cohen has funded the Cohen Endowed Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which will enable the College to strengthen its leadership role in Holocaust Studies and expand that leadership to genocide studies. A scholar who has made original contributions to the discipline will fill the position made possible by the largest single gift the College has ever received.

"This gift is transformational for the Cohen Center and for the College as a whole," says College president Helen Giles-Gee. "This endowed chair gives the center's academic program the power to broaden its intellectual scope and reach a new level of academic excellence."

The Cohen Center currently supports a minor in Holocaust studies, which combines historical background with an interdisciplinary exploration of the Holocaust through film, literature, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, sociology, women's studies, and other history offerings. The curriculum gives students a firm knowledge of the Holocaust and helps to develop an understanding of its precipitating factors and legacy. With a deeper awareness of such issues as prejudice, discrimination, and racism, students are better able to analyze contemporary political situations and to think critically about ethical responsibility.

"Tikkun Olam – a Hebrew phrase meaning ‘to repair the world.' I believe this is the purpose, the imperative, of higher education," Janet Cohen said at the announcement. "The Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College keeps this lesson at the heart of its every utterance, and the students and visitors who pass through its doors feel it, learn it, know it. Rick and I are delighted to be able to encourage the center's expansion into genocide studies by endowing the Cohen Endowed Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies."

New Director for Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies

Dr. Henry F. Knight
Dr. Henry F. Knight has assumed the position of director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies. Dr. Knight comes to New Hampshire from Tulsa, Okla., where, over the course of 16 years, he served the Jewish Federation of Tulsa as director of the Council for Holocaust Education, taught "The Christian Problem of the Holocaust" at Phillips Theological Seminary, and was university chaplain and the applied associate professor of Hermeneutic and Holocaust Studies at The University of Tulsa.

A graduate of the University of Alabama and Emory University's Candler School of Theology, Dr. Knight is an ordained Methodist minister who specializes in post-Holocaust Christian theology. His publications include Confessing Christ in a Post-Holocaust World, "The Holy Ground of Hospitality: Good News for a Shoah-Tempered World" in Good News After Auschwitz? Christian Faith Within a Post-Holocaust World, and "Locating God: Placing Ourselves in a Post-Shoah World" in Fire in the Ashes: God, Evil, and the Holocaust.

In 1996, Dr. Knight cofounded the Pastora Goldner (now Stephen S. Weinstein) Holocaust Symposium, an international gathering of Holocaust and genocide scholars that meets biennially at Wroxton College in northern Oxfordshire, England. He cochairs the symposium with Dr. Leonard Grob of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

"Dr. Knight – ‘Hank' to his friends – will add immeasurably to the vision of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies," says former director Paul Vincent. "He will provide new breadth and depth to our academic program."

Vincent Awarded Five-Month Pinchas and Mark Wisen Fellowship
Dr. Paul Vincent has been awarded a five-month Pinchas and Mark Wisen Fellowship to pursue his research project, "The United States and the Crisis of Nazi Racial Policy, 1938-1941." The fellowship award is $3,000 per month for a five-month residency period at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The fellowships support significant research and writing about the Holocaust. Visiting scholars have access to more than 38 million pages of Holocaust-related archival documentation and other extensive research materials.

Faculty Tenure, Promotions Announced
The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees, on recommendation from its Academic Affairs Committee, has promoted 13 Keene State College faculty members, awarding tenure to six professors.

Tenure:

  • Ann Atkinson (Communication)
  • Karen Honeycutt (Sociology), Associate
  • Denise Junge (Chemistry), Associate
  • Anna Kaladiouk (English)
  • Jeff Timmer (Physical Education), Associate
  • Mark Timney (Journalism)

Promotions:

  • Dorothy Bauer (Education), Professor
  • Rosemarie Bernardi (Art), Professor
  • Deborah Black (Education), Professor
  • Prudence Cuper (Education), Associate
  • Karen Jennings (Psychology), Associate
  • Ellen Nuffer (Education), Professor
  • Yuan Pan (Art), Associate
  • Therese Seibert (Sociology), Professor
  • Paul Vincent (History), Professor
  • Michael Welsh (Political Science), Associate

Academic Appointments Announced

  • Ockle Johnson will serve as Interim Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies.
  • Elisabeth Roos will be the Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities.
  • Sue Castriotta will be the Assistant Dean of Sciences and Social Sciences.
  • Prudence Cuper will be the Assistant Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies.

The assistant dean positions are half-time appointments that will provide support for the deans and leadership of the schools.

Pam Smart Retrospective Wins Journalism Award
Keene State journalism students continue to receive recognition for their publication Justice in New Hampshire, a 15-year retrospective of the Pam Smart murder trial, which was published in The Equinox on April 20, 2006. Students in journalism professor Marianne Salcetti's Public Affairs reporting class spent 14 months studying the Pam Smart murder case, which shocked New Hampshire in 1991. Pam Smart was sentenced to life in prison without parole and currently resides at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility New York.

This spring, the students won a Journalists' Mark of Excellence Award in In-Depth Reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, and a Newspaper Guild-CWA honorable mention for the 2006 David S. Barr Award, which recognizes students for a journalistic achievement that has helped to right a wrong, correct an injustice, or promote justice and fairness. The competition included submissions from college student newspapers in the United States and Canada.

Justice in New Hampshire, a 24-page printed publication, contains exclusive material researched and written by students, who searched records, conducted interviews, tracked down defendants, and filed 60 Freedom of Information requests. (Fewer than 25 percent of these requests were approved, and the students filed challenges on all refusals.) The publication questions whether Smart could have received a fairer trial, given nonsequestering of the jury, possible juror misconduct, ballistics' issues, and evidentiary authentication of wiretap materials.

President Commits to ‘Climate Neutral' Campus
Last May, President Giles-Gee signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), joining more than 300 colleges and universities committed to climate neutrality, significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and education and research on climate change.

Pondside III photo by Mark Corliss
Pondside III residence hall, a model of green construction.

Scientists say carbon dioxide emissions are the primary way college campuses and businesses heat up the atmosphere, so presidents signing the commitment pledge to eliminate their campuses' greenhouse gas emissions over time to ultimately achieve climate neutrality. The pledge sets interim deadlines to complete an emissions inventory within one year and, within two, to create a detailed plan and set a target date for reaching the goal.

Mary Jensen, coordinator of Campus Sustainability and Recycling programs, says Keene State began a campus emissions inventory in 2005, which is currently being updated and expanded. The President's Council for a Sustainable Future, with members from across the campus, has been advancing sustainability initiatives since 1996. These include the new Pondside III dorm, built to LEED silver standards; the use of biodiesel in all campus diesel vehicles and equipment; and the Green Bike program, which since 2002 has offered refurbished free bikes for campus use. For more information, visit www.keene.edu/sustain/ and www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.