Lawrence alumna named the university’s first dean of academic success

Lawrence University’s Center for Academic Success, a reorganized effort to help students realize their full potential will be led by an alumna with more than 20 years of experience working with undergraduates, especially those from non-traditional student populations.

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Monita Mohammadian Gray

Lawrence Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows has named Monita Mohammadian Gray as the college’s dean of student academic success. She begins her new duties Sept. 1.

It will be a homecoming on two fronts for Gray, who graduated from Lawrence in 1992 and later spent nine years (1996-2005) working in the Lawrence admissions office.

As dean, Gray will serve as a liaison between the Center for Academic Success and students, faculty, staff and other various offices that focus on student success during college as well as after graduation, including career and counseling services, residence life, multicultural affairs and academic advising.

The Center for Academic Success was created earlier this year by merging the Office of Student Academic Support with the Center for Teaching and Learning. The Center uses a “success” approach that regards each student as having the ability to take complete advantage of the Lawrence educational experience. It is based on the idea that many success characteristics are related and become integrated as each person develops as an individual with intellectual, creative and emotional abilities.

“I am extremely excited that Monita Mohammadian Gray is coming to Lawrence as our first dean of academic success,” said Burrows. “Her enthusiasm, background and commitment to student success will enrich our efforts to help all students get the full benefit of their Lawrence experience. Her focus on success as the driving force behind student support services will serve us all well.”

“Monita knows us inside and out, understands what it means to succeed as a Lawrentian…Throughout the years, she has led the charge on multiple initiatives targeting student retention and she has worked tirelessly to enhance the academic performance and college experience of key populations.”
— Rosa Tapia, search committee member

Gray said it was Lawrence’s philosophy toward student success that attracted her to the position.

“Lawrence is taking a more holistic approach to thinking about how students are performing in the classroom, how students are experiencing the university, how they are able to take advantage of opportunities,” said Gray, a native of Oshkosh. “The foundation of the position and the institutional support behind this work is what I found attractive.”

Kate-Frost_Center-for-Academic-Success-newsblog
Kate Frost, associate dean of academic success, will work with Gray to help students achieve their maximum potential.

“I think there is tremendous opportunity to collaborate with faculty, student affairs, athletics, diversity and inclusion, admissions, and all of the other units on campus to learn how we can support students and remove barriers to their success,” she added. “I see this position as a shift from a model where we tried to solve the problem of only those students who need the most help to one of helping all students, even high-achieving students, reach their maximum potential.”

Since 2005, Gray has held a variety of student-focused positions at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. For the past two years, she has served as Hamline’s assistant dean of students, providing strategic leadership of programs and processes related to the experience and success of transfer students, students with disabilities, veterans and first-generation students. She also spent six years directing Hamline’s Center for Student Success & Transition, working with students in difficult academic, social, emotional or personal situations to ensure their success.

Alan Sickbert, dean of students at Hamline, called Gray “a kind, bright, passionate and innovative leader who puts students first in her work.”

“She has been an innovator for better serving students who are often overlooked within the campus community, including first generation students, transfer students, veterans and commuter students,” said Sickbert. “She leads by example and she creates community and teams as part of her style of supervision and student development efforts. She will be greatly missed at Hamline, but we are happy that she is returning home to her alma mater to continue her career.”

Scott Corry, associate professor of mathematics who served on the search committee, cited Gray’s “wealth of experience in many areas crucial to academic success.”

“She is perfectly suited to help us transition toward a more holistic approach to student success,” said Corry. “Monita’s previous experience as both a student and staff member at Lawrence give her special insight into Lawrence’s culture, although she fully recognizes that Lawrence has changed over the years.”

In her new role, Gray will focus on all things that impact students and help them maximize their academic success.

“Students face many challenges that impact their ability to focus on fully engaging their college experiences,” said Gray. “They may have mental or physical health concerns, financial stress, family issues, or feelings of being overwhelmed by the academic expectations of their courses. I want to build on the strong programs, services and support that already exist to help students reach their full potential.”

Monita-Mohammadian-Gray_newsblog3Because of her past affiliations with Lawrence, Rosa Tapia, associate professor of Spanish and a member of the search committee, said Gray “will hit the ground running.”

“Monita knows us inside and out, understands what it means to succeed as a Lawrentian and already has strong connections and allies in our community,” said Tapia. “Throughout the years, she has led the charge on multiple initiatives targeting student retention and she has worked tirelessly to enhance the academic performance and college experience of key populations. I am thrilled to have Monita as a colleague and can not wait to start working together to strengthen Lawrence and our commitment to an engaged, transformational college experience for all students.”

Since 2011, Gray has served on Lawrence’s alumni board of directors, including the past two years as a member of the board’s executive committee.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lawrence, Gray earned both a master’s degree in educational policy and administration with an emphasis in higher education and a Ph.D. in organizational leadership and policy development from the University of Minnesota.

Gray and her husband, Jim, are the parents of two boys, Robert, 6, and Wyatt, 4.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence recognized with national award as one of the country’s healthiest campuses

Lawrence University has been named a national recipient of the 2016 Healthy Campus Award, the only national recognition of its kind.

Lawrence was one of only six institutions in the country honored by Washington, D.C.-based Active Minds, the nation’s premier nonprofit organization for supporting the mental health of students.Healthy-Campus-Award_newsblog1

Announced Tuesday (8/23), the award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate excellence in prioritizing and promoting the health and well-being of their students.

“I am very enthusiastic about this award as Lawrence has been working hard to investigate and understand wellness behaviors on campus for the last several years,” said President Mark Burstein. “Creating a safe campus culture, where students look out for each other and are empowered to make healthy choices, ensures that our students can be fully present in their educational pursuits.”

Now in its second year, the Healthy Campus Award involves an extensive application process as well as multiple endorsements and interviews. Each applicant is assessed across eight criteria, with winners chosen by a panel of prominent researchers and health and higher education experts.

“Lawrence University stands out because it invests in students’ physical and mental health on a comprehensive scale and for the long term,” said Alison Malmon, executive director and founder of Active Minds. “Lawrence is a model of what’s possible when a college prioritizes a campus culture of health, safety and well-being.”

Erin Buenzli, director of wellness and recreation at Lawrence, called the national award “an exciting honor.”

“It is very gratifying to be recognized nationally for our efforts to improve the overall well-being of our campus community,” said Buenzli. “This recognition affirms the dedication of many people at Lawrence who have worked diligently together in making Lawrence a community that puts a high value on the importance of a holistic approach to wellness.”

Healthy-Campus-Award_newsblog2In selecting Lawrence for the national honor, the award’s review panel cited several steps Lawrence instituted that they considered “best practices”:

• Campus-Wide Collaboration: Eight years ago, Lawrence embarked on a more active role in the health and well-being of the campus, resulting in changes to its mission statement and strategic plan. A president’s committee was formed to address everything from alcohol awareness and mental health resilience to sexual assault prevention. Enterprising efforts helped fund additional staff to support healthy campus goals.

• Integrated and Centralized Services: Lawrence integrated its counseling, health and recreation services into a new centrally located Wellness Center, after which student use of health and wellness services increased by 300 percent. Alumni support enabled Lawrence to create an innovative Mind Spa Center that, among other programs, offers biofeedback sessions that teach students how to understand and control the body and mind’s response to stress.

• Healthy Balance Statement: As part of an effort to change an achievement-oriented and competitive culture around workload and stress levels, Lawrence now requires a healthy balance statement on all syllabi to reinforce the school’s expectation that students, staff and faculty consider wellness when making choices each day.

• Bystander Training: Students worked with the administration to require that anyone hosting a party on campus – whether or not alcohol is involved – complete a comprehensive bystander training program. Evaluations show that the training makes students 92 percent more likely to notice a safety problem and 85 percent more likely to intervene.

“Lawrence is a model of what’s possible when a college prioritizes a campus culture of health, safety and well-being.”
— Alison Malmon, executive director/founder, Active Minds

According to Active Minds, students enrolled at schools that focus on campus health often find that the programs and services offered there are life changing.

Healthy-Campus-Award_Max-Edwards_newsblog
Max Edwards ’17

“As a college athlete, mental and physical wellness is a huge part of my life,” said Max Edwards, a senior from Appleton, majoring in economics, who is a two-time all-conference runner on the cross country tream and a conference champion distance runner on the track team.

“Lawrence has helped me be my healthiest, happiest and most balanced self in the classroom and on the track,” Edwards added. “The wellness center’s biofeedback sessions helped me manage my pre-race nerves and other areas of my life.  I reached an unprecedented level of calmness and focus before my track races and was attentive and cool during high pressure academic exams.”

Joining Lawrence as a 2016 Healthy Campus Award recipient were California State University, Long Beach; Jefferson College; Sacramento State University; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Nancy Truesdell looks forward to new role, responsibilities

During her 25-year career at Lawrence University, Nancy Truesdell has worn several different hats. At the end of the 2016-17 academic year, she will transition once again, moving from her current role as vice president for student affairs into new responsibilities as special assistant to university President Mark Burstein.

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Nancy Truesdell

The university will begin a national search for her replacement this fall. Once a new vice president for student affairs is hired, she will move to her new role, where she will lead efforts to improve administrative efficiency, update university policies and procedures, and help deepen the sense of community on the Lawrence campus.

“Working in student affairs provides a wonderful blend of daily student contact, administrative decision-making and interaction with dedicated staff and faculty who share my love of Lawrence,” said Truesdell. “It is an honor to work with bright, creative and hard-working Lawrentians. I have appreciated the opportunity to get to know generations of students, hire and train exceptional staff members, create programs and make changes that have enhanced the student experience. I’m excited to take on the challenge of a new role with new responsibilities. I plan to continue to do my best to serve this institution that means so much to me.”

Truesdell brought nearly 20 years of student affairs experience with her when she joined the university in 1991 as director of the Career Center. Since then, she has been involved with virtually every aspect of student campus life. She was named dean of students in 1997. Ten years later, she was promoted to the position of Vice President of student affairs and dean of students. In 2015, Curt Lauderdale was named dean of students while Truesdell retained her title and duties as vice president of student affairs.

“Nancy’s leadership and skill have strengthened Lawrence in innumerable ways,” said Burstein.  “Her focus on what is best for our students, on enhancing campus community, and on farsighted efforts to improve the education we offer have been a hallmark of her tenure.  I look forward to having her expertise and energy invested in new challenges that face the university.”

During her tenure, Truesdell was the driving force behind the creation of the university’s Diversity Center, Hiett Hall, which introduced suite-style living to the campus, and the Warch Campus Center. She organized the expansion of the Volunteer and Community Service Center, created the Health and Wellness department, directed the development of new orientations for students and parents, helped launch CORE, a student-mentoring program for freshmen and transfers, and led the establishment of the office of spiritual and religious life.

In 1998, she was recognized with the university’s Babcock Award, which honors a person whose involvement and interaction with students has a positive impact on the campus community.Nancy-Truesdell_newsblog2_retirement

Prior to Lawrence, Truesdell held administrative positions at Cornell University, Heidelberg College, Sweet Briar College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, among others.

Active in the greater Fox Cities community, Truesdell is a member and former chair of the board of directors of Harbor House domestic abuse programs, and a former member of the board of Appleton’s A Better Chance program.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Ripon College with a degree in English and earned a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Eight tenure-track appointments joining the Lawrence faculty this fall

The Lawrence Symphony Orchestra will perform its next season under the baton of a new conductor.

Mark Dupere, who has co-conducted the concert orchestra at Michigan State University since 2013, joins the Lawrence University faculty as assistant professor of music and director of orchestral studies.

Dupere is one of eight new faculty members appointed to tenure track positions at the rank of assistant professor beginning with the start of the 2016-17 academic year. Fall term classes begin Monday, Sept. 12.

Joining Dupere will be Timothy Albright, conservatory of music (trombone); Israel Del Toro, biology; Thelma Jimenez-Anglada, Spanish; Constance Kassor, religious studies; Nancy Lin, art history; Graham Sazama, chemistry; and Becquer Seguin, Spanish.

“I am very pleased that we are continuing to add to the excellence of our faculty through the appointment of these talented teacher-scholars and teacher-performers,” said Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows. “Each will add significant strength to our educational programs.”

Tim-Albright_newsblog• Timothy Albright, conservatory of music
A trombonist who has performed with artists as diverse as Barbra Streisand, Jay-Z and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Albright arrives from State University of New York – Purchase College, where he directed the trombone choir and coached small jazz ensembles. He also has taught at The Juilliard School. During an extensive performance career, he has played with the Metropolitan Opera Company orchestra, New York City’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Alan Ferber Big Band, the New York Chamber Brass and the Atlantic Brass Quintet, among others.

Albright has served as trombonist in more than a half dozen major theatre productions, including the Broadway shows “Evita,” “Spamalot” and “Amazing Grace.” His performances also include numerous film and television credits, among them the movies “Noah” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and Disney Channel’s “Little Einsteins.”

A native of St. Helena, Calif., Albright earned a bachelor of music degree in applied music-trombone performance and jazz and commercial media from Eastman School of Music.

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Mark Dupere

Mark Dupere, conservatory of music
Dupere brings international experience to his appointment as assistant professor of music and director of orchestral studies. A cellist, Dupere has performed professionally with more than a dozen orchestras, chamber ensembles and other groups in the United States as well as Belgium, England, France and the Netherlands.

Beside Michigan State University, Dupere has served as a masterclass conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival and guest conducted the Musica Redemptor Baroque Orchestra in Austin, Texas, the Cypress Symphony in Houston and a production of “Les Miserables” in Michigan, among others.

Dupere, who grew up in Phoenix, earned a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from the University of Texas, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Baroque cello from the Royal Conservatory in the Netherlands and a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from Michigan State.

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Israel Del Toro

• Israel Del Toro, biology
A native of El Paso, Texas, Del Toro uses distribution and diversity of ant populations as models for the study of the effects of climate change on ecosystem processes, including soil movement and nutrient cycling. His research sheds light on how those changes can affect other plant and animal life in the area.

He arrives at Lawrence from the University of Copenhagen’s Center of Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, one of the world’s leading research institutes on climate change, where he has been conducting research since 2014 as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow. In addition to the NSF, he has conducted research supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and grants from the Ecological Society of America, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the National Geographic Society and the American Museum of Natural History, among others.

Del Toro earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas-El Paso and a master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

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Thelma Jimenez-Anglada

• Thelma Jimenez-Anglada, Spanish
Combining scholarly interests in violence, human rights and migration, Jimenez-Anglada’s current research focuses on trafficking, specifically of narcotics and humans in Latin America and U.S. Latino communities.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who also has lived extensively in New York and Chicago, Jimenez-Anglada was the recipient of the 2015 Lectureship Award from the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. She has contributed to the Caribbean Foundation for the Humanities’ Digital Encyclopedia project, on slavery and the culture of the sugar plantation.

Jimenez-Anglada, who speaks five languages, earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Hispanic Studies from the University of Puerto Rico and a doctoral degree in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies from the University of Chicago, where she was a preceptor for its Center for International Studies.

Constance-Kassor_newsblog• Constance Kassor, religious studies
Kassor, who specializes in the study of South Asian religions, with special expertise on Tibetan Buddhism, comes to Lawrence after spending the past two years teaching at Smith, Hampshire and Amherst colleges in Massachusetts.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Kassor has spent considerable time teaching and conducting research on 15th-century Tibetan Buddhism. She has studied and taught in India and Nepal, which led to several meetings with the Dalai Lama. She spent part of 2013 teaching a course on Buddhist key points at Kathmandu University’s Rangjung Yeshe Institute. She also directed Smith College’s Tibetan Studies in India program for three years.

Her scholarship has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Fulbright Institute of International Education.

Kassor earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Smith College with a certificate in Buddhist studies and a doctorate in religion from Emory University.

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Nancy Lin

• Nancy Lin, art history
A scholar of East Asian art, Lin’s research focuses on modern Japanese and Korean art (late-19th century to mid-20th century), with specialized expertise in painting. Lin, who grew up in Chicago, spent the past year as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Korea Institute. Previously she spent a year (2011-12) as a visiting scholar at Korea’s Seoul National University’s Kyujanggak Institute and the previous year as a researcher at Japan’s Tokyo University of the Arts.

A former deputy editor-in-chief of the Chicago Art Journal, Lin earned a bachelor’s degree in history of art & East Asian Studies at Bryn Mawr College, a master’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago.

Graham-Sazama_newsblog
Graham Sazama

• Graham Sazama, chemistry
Sazama joins the Lawrence faculty after three years as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An inorganic chemist specializing in material science and sensors, he is co-holder of a U.S. patent on the detection of amines.

A Wisconsin native who grew up in Chippewa Falls, Sazama has been the recipient of a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship and has previously taught as a Fellow at Harvard University. His research has led to seven co-authored published scientific papers and he has made nearly a dozen presentations at national and regional conferences.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and earned his Ph.D.  in chemistry at Harvard.

Becquer-Seguin_newsblog
Bécquer Seguín

• Bécquer Seguín, Spanish
A public intellectual who specializes in 19th-century transatlantic art and literature, Seguín comes to Lawrence from Cornell University’s Department of Romance Studies. He spent last fall as a visiting scholar at the Complutense University of Madrid and was previously a John E. Sawyer and Andrew W. Mellon Seminar Graduate Fellow at Cornell.

A prolific writer, Seguín has published more than two dozen academic articles, reviews and translations. He also writes regularly for The Nation, the oldest continually published weekly in the United States, and other magazines. Additionally, he has presented at more than 30 professional conferences throughout the United States and abroad.

Seguín, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and literatures (Spanish) from Whitman College and a master’s and doctoral degree in Romance studies from Cornell University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Wriston Art Center galleries’ summer exhibition series features painters Lichtner and Grotenrath

The work of “Wisconsin’s first couple of painting” — Schomer Lichtner and Ruth Grotenrath — will be featured in Lawrence University’s third annual summer exhibition series at the Wriston Art Center galleries. The exhibition opens July 15 and runs through Aug 14.

Summer-exhibit_Schomer-Lichtner_newsblog
Schomer Lichtner, “Untitled,” 1980, screenprint, Collection of Lawrence University.

In conjunction with Appleton Downtown Inc.’s “Art on the Town” event, the Wriston galleries will be open Friday, July 15 from 6-9 p.m.

The galleries’ summer series is designed to engage the Fox Valley community in conversation about Midwest artists and artworks.

Married in 1934, Grotenrath (1912-1988) and Lichtner (1905-2006) became known as “Wisconsin’s first couple of painting” for their prolific work. First employed as artists by the Works Project Administration during the Depression, they painted Regionalist style murals in U.S. post offices throughout the Midwest. They later taught art and design for many years in Milwaukee.

Inspired by Japanese and Persian art and culture, many of Grotenrath’s still life paintings reflect her interest in intricate patterns, bold colors and playful shifts in perspective. Lichtner’s work reveals his interest in pastoral scenes, dance and the figure. He was especially fond of incorporating ballerinas and Holstein cows in his paintings and prints. They are often shown joyfully frolicking together in a Wisconsin meadow.

During the exhibition’s run, Lawrence will host a pair of Art@Noon tours, 20-minute guided tours of the exhibition, on Thursday, July 21 and Thursday, August 11.

The works featured in the exhibition “The Artwork of Ruth Grotenrath and Schomer Lichtner” were donated to Lawrence by the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

The Wriston Art Center galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon – 4 p.m.; closed Mondays. For more information, call 920-832-6890.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence music education team “a difference maker” for Appleton’s annual Mile of Music festival

MoM_poster_newsblogIf you’re not already familiar with gumbooting or boomwhackers, Leila Ramagopal Pertl ’87 can’t wait to introduce you to them.

Pertl serves as the music education curator of Appleton’s four-day Mile of Music festival, a celebration of original music featuring more than 850 live performances by 240 artists from 28 states and four countries at 70 venues along College Avenue and the Fox River. The fourth iteration of the handcrafted artisan festival — Mile Four — runs Aug. 4-7.

Since its launch in 2013, music education has been a central and defining component of the festival. And Ramagopal Pertl, along with her husband, Brian Pertl ’86, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, have been at the forefront of those efforts, leading a team of 16 dedicated music educators, most of whom are Lawrence graduates or current students.

“Brian and Leila were two of the first people we met with about the Mile of Music concept,” said festival co-founder Dave Willems. “The Music Education Team has evolved through them into one of the highlights of the festival for attendees, artists and organizers alike. They immediately saw this as a neat community-campus collaboration and the enthusiasm of the entire education and interactive team has never wavered.”

Calling music “a birthright,” Ramagopal Pertl will oversee 59 hands-on education workshops and hands-on performance opportunities over the course of the festival for music lovers of all ages. Everything from ukulele and Didjeridu to Irish dance and Balinese Gamelan will be represented.

For the uninitiated, gumbooting, a powerful, percussive dance developed in South African mines during apartheid, and boomwhackers, pitched tube instruments used to create rhythms and grooves, also will be among the eclectic mix of education sessions.

Mile-of-Music-'16_newsblog“It’s an incredible privilege to have a world-class music festival right here in Appleton that puts music education at its very core and that is willing to embrace the power of community music-making,” said Ramagopal Pertl, who is a music education instructor at the Lawrence conservatory as well as an instructor of harp at the Lawrence Academy of Music.

One of the new workshops this year will feature Jose Corey Torres, a 2012 Lawrence graduate also known as “Knowledge.” Torres will lead three different hip-hop poetry and beats workshops for ages 8-12, 13-16 and 17 through adult.

Torres, who grew up in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, was inspired by Ramagopal Pertl’s passion for the festival’s music education events to get involved this year.

“I’m someone who loves working closely with people,” said Torres, a firm believer in the power of spiritual awareness. “It’s always a good feeling when someone sees the gift you have and encourages you to share that gift with others who could benefit from it.

“We all have a story to tell, some are aware of the power it holds and some are not,” Torres added. “Through my artistry I strive to be a positive resource for those who need the extra push.”

There are a lot of reasons Mile of Music has taken on such a unique flavor, but the fact that we have such an amazing institution like Lawrence University as a core partner has been one of the keys from the start.”
    — Dave Willems, Mile of Music co-founder

Torres said his workshops will focus on the art of writing lyrics.

“Writing song lyrics is much easier than people think. I’d love to share why songs are written and help bring the artistry out of those who choose to participate. When I first wrote a song as a teenager, it derived from my personal experiences I felt needed to be expressed outwardly. What started out as a journal entry, later turned into a song. Since then I’ve been super connected to the art of writing and projecting my lyrics on different styles of beats.”

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Corey Torres ’12 will lead three hip-hop poetry and beats workships during this year’s Mile of Music festival.

Ramagopal Pertl said Torres’ artistry and ability to make people feel comfortable made adding him to the team “a slam dunk.”

“Corey is a fantastic artist and an incredibly genuine human being. I knew from my first conversation with him that he needed to be part of the team,” said Ramagopal Pertl. “Hip-hop is a great opportunity to dive deep into the ideas and emotions and express them back in poetry and music. It is an important and relevant art form that our community will love to experience.”

Also new to this year’s education sessions is a collaboration with the Fox Valley Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), featuring singer/songwriter Paul Demer and other musicians who have addressed mental health through the power of music.

The session, at 10 a.m. Saturday (8/6) in Harper Hall of Lawrence’s Music-Drama Center, will be a rich experience of personal stories, music performances, education and performer-audience conversation surrounding mental illness. This event also will feature Val Neff ’13 and I Dewa Ketut Alit Adnyana, director of Lawrence’s Gamelan Cahaya Asri.

“One of the things Paul and I are both passionate about is destigmatizing mental illness and bringing mental health to the fore,” said Ramagopal Pertl. “Music is not just about performance, it is not just about entertainment, it is a way of life. Music holds incredible power to help process important issues like mental illness.”

Among the new members of the music education team this year is Matthew Arau, assistant professor of music education and associate director of bands at Lawrence. His close relationship with the large brass instrument manufacturing company Conn-Selmer will enable the festival to host its first pBone fun zone. Conn-Selmer will provide 40 colorful pBones —plastic trombones — so anyone, even those with no previous experience can learn how to play the trombone.

Leila-Pertle_MoM-newsblog
Leila Ramagopal Pertl ’87 has been the music education curator for the Mile of Music since the festival was launched in 2013.

“There are a lot of reasons Mile of Music has taken on such a unique flavor, but the fact that we have such an amazing institution like Lawrence University as a core partner has been one of the keys from the start,” said Willems. “To be able to weave that creativity, talent and passion from the educators into our overall program and to do it so seamlessly, has been a difference-maker for us.”

Other members of this year’s music education team include Nick Allen ’14, Ilan Blanck ’17, Sarah Clewitt ’17,  Joseph Connor ’15, Patricia Darling ’85, Nestor Dominguez ’14, Melissa Fields, Sean Goldman ’18, Eli Grover ’11, Adam Korber ’17, Jaclyn Kottman ’12, Chris Misch-Bloxdorf ’13, Sarah Phelps ’07,  Mike Pope ’12, Dan Reifsteck ’15, Luke Rivard ’15 Becca Shuman ’15, Kennison Ther ’16 and Marshall Yoes ’14.

Beyond the music educators, Lawrence alumni will be well represented on the performance stages by 2016 graduate Mariantonia Longhi, Ross Catterton ’08, The Crowe Brothers and Porky’s Groove Machine.

Proceeds from Mile of Music support, in part, the Mile of Music Education Fund within the Appleton Education Foundation to further emphasize music education in the community. In addition to Lawrence, music education events are supported by the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Inc. and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence featured in 2017 edition of “Fiske Guide to Colleges”

Lawrence University once again has earned inclusion in the latest edition of former New York Times education editor Edward Fiske’s annual guide of the top Fiske-Guide-2017_newsblogcolleges and universities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

In his 2017 “Fiske Guide to Colleges,” the author offers a personal profile of Lawrence based on a broad range of subjects, including student body, academics, social life, financial aid, campus setting, housing, food and extracurricular activities.

Since its first edition in 1985, the annual “Fiske Guide to Colleges” has offered a selective, subjective and systematic look at approximately 300 of the “best and most interesting” schools as a resource for college-bound students, their parents and high school guidance counselors.

Fiske, who spent 17 years as education editor of the New York Times, praised Lawrence for its diversified approach to learning “that attracts interested and interesting students from around the world” in his 2017 guide.

He describes Lawrence as “an unpretentious school that appeals to both the left and right side of students’ brains” while citing the college’s “uncommon” physics program and “renowned” conservatory of music. Fiske’s profile highlights Lawrence’s commitment to student volunteerism, its “intense” academic climate and a social scene that is “as varied and eclectic as the students.”

Fiske-guide-2017_newsblog2According to Fiske, Lawrence is “easily” one of the country’s best colleges, in part for “its outstanding liberal arts curriculum, knowledgeable and caring faculty, an administration that treats students like adults and a charming country setting.”

Fiske launched his guide as a tool to broaden students’ horizons about American higher education and help them select a college that best coincides with their particular needs, goals, interests, talents and personalities.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence names dean of spiritual and religious life

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Reverend Dr. Linda Morgan-Clement

Having already created one interfaith ministry at The College of Wooster, Reverend Dr. Linda Morgan-Clement is excited by the prospects of doing so again, this time at Lawrence University.

Morgan-Clement, currently chaplain and director of interfaith campus ministry at The College of Wooster in Ohio, has been named the first Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life at Lawrence. The appointment is effective Sept. 1.

The endowed position was established earlier this year by a gift from 1960 Lawrence graduate Tom Hurvis in memory of his wife, Julie Esch Hurvis, a 1961 Lawrence graduate who died in July, 2015. Both were devoted members of the Bahá’í faith and strongly believed in the power of spirituality.

Designed to further enhance the transformative experience a Lawrence education provides, the new leadership position will be dedicated to reinforcing a welcoming and supportive community environment for spiritual and religious exploration and expression of all faiths, beliefs and religious traditions.

Morgan-Clement will report to Nancy Truesdell, vice president for student affairs and serve on the president’s committee on wellness and recreation and the president’s committee on diversity affairs.

“When I visited Lawrence, I was very excited and energized by the opportunity to collaborate with the folks I met with during the interview process,” said Morgan-Clement, who started interfaith services and programming at Wooster in 1996. “There seemed to be a culture of ‘Let’s figure out what we need to do and then how to do it.’ A can-do culture. I’m very excited about creating with them, in partnership.

“To create something new is pretty unusual in a lifetime. It’s what got me to Wooster originally,” she added. “The opportunity for flexible creativity and the chance to develop depth in programs and services has kept me at Wooster for 20 years. To be able to do that twice in a lifetime is an amazing opportunity.”

Linda-Morgan-Clement_casual1_newsblogWisconsin ties also played a role in her decision to accept Lawrence’s offer.

Born in Hong Kong, Morgan-Clement, was adopted by an American family whose father was a Presbyterian minister. She spent most of her formative years living in Wisconsin, first in Oshkosh and then in Sheboygan until she graduated from Carroll University in Waukesha. Her husband, Mike, also grew up in Sheboygan, which is also Julie Esch Hurvis’ hometown.

“I am beyond delighted that Linda will be joining us as our very first Julie Esch Hurvis Dean for Spiritual and Religious Life,” said Truesdell. “She brings relevant experience and obvious passion for this type of work and embodies the caring and contemplative personality that reminds us of Julie. All of the finalist candidates were very impressed by the fact the position is funded through a very special endowment which identifies both donor and college commitment to this area of student development that has largely been unexplored at Lawrence. I have every confidence the entire campus and local community will embrace and assist Linda as she brings focus to an important element of campus life.”

Martyn Smith, associate professor of religious studies and a member of the search committee, said there was much to like about Morgan-Clement.

“Collectively, we thought Linda will be someone who can address the spiritual questions of everyone on campus —students, faculty and staff — but also encourage those who are traditionally religious and who don’t feel they have a home,” said Smith. “She talked about ‘brave spaces’ where people with different outlooks and from different traditions could learn to hear each other and interact with each other. She was clear this position would not be about letting everyone have their own private corner, but that she would look to have people interact. We can’t wait to see this position take shape.”

As a member of the university’s senior staff, Morgan-Clement’s duties will include serving as the face and voice of religious and spiritual life at Lawrence. She will be responsible for providing spiritual leadership and connecting the Lawrence community through campus ceremonies, religious traditions, interfaith services and celebrations. She also will oversee the Volunteer and Community Service Center staff and operations.

Morgan-Clement sees her role as an opportunity to break the traditional understanding of what spiritual and religious life might mean in popular U.S. culture.Linda-Morgan-Clement_casual_newblog

“I hope to reach everyone in some way, regardless of any belief system, religious or spiritual background,” she said. “I’m excited the position is connected with service. My vision is to help people shift from being human doers, with a focus on resume creation and what we do that defines us, to human beings, with a focus on the large questions of purpose and meaning, and growth and relationship with others. It doesn’t matter whether we know them or not. The relationship question includes the environment. I think we learn how to engage these big questions and relationships best through experience and service.”

Nauman Khan, a sophomore from Lahore, Pakistan, sees the new dean’s position as vital to promoting religious sensitivity on campus.

“Raised in a South Asian Muslim culture where religion was given a lot of importance, I was very surprised to see how religious teachings were not included in discussions around college campuses in the United States,” said Khan. “With a rising number of people coming to Lawrence from different cultures, it is very important for the institution to increase awareness about religion and spirituality.”

Sophomore John Newhall, one of three students on the search committee, is confident Morgan-Clement “will enhance the spiritual environment at Lawrence greatly.”

“Having served as campus minister at the College of Wooster for two decades, she has a deep understanding of the liberal arts,” said Newhall, a religious studies and film studies major who is working to reconstruct Lawrence’s Unitarian Universalist group on campus. “It’s clear from her engagement at Wooster she will be active and present throughout the campus, from community service, volunteer work and social justice work through to spiritual, academic and general campus life.”

Senior Elana Lambert, who also served on the search committee, sees the new dean as a valuable asset to campus life.

“As one of the co-presidents of Hillel, I think it is going to be really important to be able to go to Rev. Morgan-Clement for support when solving problems or advice when planning events and helping us to expand our organization,” said Lambert.

“My vision is to help people shift from being human doers, with a focus on resume creation and what we do that defines us, to human beings, with a focus on the large questions of purpose and meaning, and growth and relationship with others.”
     — Reverend Dr. Linda Morgan-Clement

Morgan-Clement sees the role of spiritual advisor becoming increasingly important on college campuses these days because of expanding diversity in terms of beliefs, socioeconomic status, race, world views and cultural backgrounds.

“It’s critical that higher education, which talks about holistic education, represents this conversation because it’s so misunderstood,” said Morgan-Clement. “National research shows students, faculty, everybody, domestically and internationally, is trying to come to grips with the larger spiritual question. For an institution to give someone the responsibility, a person and a place that says, ‘It’s alright, in fact we encourage you to wrestle with questions of meaning and purpose,’ I think that’s essential. This position is one more component to that kaleidoscope of really creating a learning community.”

Morgan-Clement earned a bachelor’s degree from Carroll University in 1980, a master of divinity degree from Chicago’s McCormick Theological Seminary in 1984 and a doctor of ministry degree from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2005.

She began her career working for the Presbytery of Milwaukee, where she organized the congregation for the Stony Hills Presbyterian Church in Germantown. She also served as an associate pastor of the Brookfield Presbyterian Church. Prior to her appointment at Wooster, Morgan-Clement spent eight years as one of several associate executives of the Presbyterian Church’s Synod of the Northeast in Syracuse, N.Y.

She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a nearly $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to establish a program for theological exploration of vocation at Wooster. Among several published works she’s written, she contributed the chapter “Betwixt and Between: Interstitial Dialogue, Identity and Mending on a College Campus” to the 2013 book “College and University Chaplaincy in the 21st Century.”

Married with two daughters, her husband is a chemist at Ashland University while her daughters, Antonia and Morgan, are graduates of Wooster and Allegheny College, respectively.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Academic boot camp: Lawrence hosts pre-college workshop for Native Americans

Nearly 90 Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students will spend a week on the Lawrence University campus July 9-15 for a five-day, pre-college workshop coordinated by College Horizons, a New Mexico-based non-profit organization that works to increase the number of these students who succeed in college.

Representing 21 states and 42 tribes, students from as far away as Kamuela, Hawaii, Metlakatla, Alaska and Belmont, Mass., will participate in an “academic boot camp” designed to assist them in the college search process.College-Horizons_newsblog

This will be Lawrence’s third time serving as host of the program since 2008. Lawrence is one of 46 partner colleges working with College Horizons.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our friends from College Horizons back to Lawrence,” said Ken Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid. “It’s an extraordinary blend of people who will be together on campus and in Appleton for several days.”

Founded in 1998, the week’s programming will feature college and high school counselors, admission officers, essay specialists and tribal leaders who will work individually with the 86 participating students and lead small group sessions on topics ranging from “Overview of the ACT/SAT,” “Financial Aid & Scholarships: How Can I Afford College?” and “Native Students and College.”

The workshop is designed to assist Native American students in developing a list of appropriate colleges to consider, prepare a winning application, write a memorable essay, maximize their ACT or SAT scores and navigate the financial aid/scholarship maze.  At the end of the week, students leave with a completed college application and a list of colleges with which they are likely to be good matches.

Najma Osman from Lawrence’s admissions office will be joined by representatives from 33 of the nation’s best colleges and universities — Brown, Caltech, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford and Yale among them — who will be on hand to assist the students.

Since its inception, more than 2,800 students have participated in College Horizons workshops with impressive results. Ninety-nine percent of those students have been admitted to college, 95% matriculate onto a four-year institution and 85% have graduated college within five years.

Four past participants of a College Horizon summer workshop are current students at Lawrence.

Anselment called Lawrence’s participation in the College Horizons program “a natural fit” given the college’s very first class in 1849 included 13 members of the Oneida Nation.

“That these students and counselors will all be here, living on campus during a beautiful Wisconsin summer, is a real bonus for all of us,” said Anselment.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence University names Kimberly Barrett VP for diversity, inclusion

As an educator, Dr. Kimberly Barrett sees diversity as a critical piece of a liberal education.

Kimberly-Barrett-newsblog
Kimberly Barrett

Barrett brings the perspective of 25 years of working with students, faculty and community members to promote learning, student development, social justice and diversity to Lawrence University as its newly appointed vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty.

Currently the vice president for multicultural affairs and community engagement at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, Barrett will assume the duties of the newly created position beginning Aug. 22.

Reporting to both the president and the provost, Barrett will work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external constituents to advance Lawrence’s commitment to all aspects of diversity and inclusion. She will be responsible for developing, facilitating and assessing programs and campus/community-wide initiatives to cultivate a more inclusive campus culture.

Additionally, Barrett’s responsibilities include enhancing the diversity of the faculty, faculty development, especially in areas of inclusive pedagogy, and affirming the educational importance of diversity in educational programs.

“Dr. Barrett is an energetic and thoughtful leader who will help Lawrence realize its mission through enhancing diversity and inclusion,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “Her experience and dedication are extremely impressive. I look forward to working with her on faculty development, inclusive pedagogy and recruitment of new faculty members. Her appointment is an important, positive step for Lawrence.”

Barrett, 52, said Lawrence’s mission was among the primary reasons she was interested in the position.

Diversity-Ccenter_newsblog-3
Lawrence’s Diversity Center provides a welcoming place for students to engage with cultural competency and build a more inclusive community.

“Having attended a small, private liberal arts school myself as an undergraduate, I’ve always had a sense of loyalty and commitment to providing a liberal education to students,” said Barrett, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Pfeiffer College in North Carolina. She also holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Murray State University and earned a doctorate in higher education administration at Southern Illinois University.

“I think that’s the type of education that prepares students best for the ambiguity and opportunities that exist in the ever-changing, very diverse global society in which we live. Being able to pursue my passion that is diversity and social justice work at a school like Lawrence that is dedicated to those principles just seemed like an ideal situation.”

Barrett, who has been at Wright State since 2012, says society in general and higher education specifically, is facing new challenges in dealing with civil rights and social justice.

“While cultural events and celebrations are an important way to promote diversity and inclusion, they are not sufficient to bring about the fundamental change we are trying to create. In order to achieve inclusive excellence in higher education we must change the way we do things every day.”
— Kimberly Barrett

“We’re in a new phase in terms of creating a society in which everyone can reach their full potential and in which there is really equity and equal opportunity for everyone,” said Barrett, a native of Fort Jackson, S.C. “The challenges facing Lawrence are the same issues facing higher education in general. It is a heightened awareness of the ways in which our society has fallen short in providing equal opportunity, justice and paths to success for all. It is a challenge because it causes discontent and disruption but also it provides a unique opportunity for significant and lasting change.

‘“I’ve been very impressed with President Burstein and his commitment to these issues in terms of policy and administration but also personally,” Barrett added. “Those of us who do this work have to ‘walk the talk’ in our lives every day. I get the impression that he does that.”

Kevin Buckhalton Jr., one of three students who served on the search committee, sees Barrett’s appointment as “a huge asset” for the university.

“She has an amazing background with not only racial diversity, but a plethora of other things that affect students on a college campus,” said Buckhalton, a senior from St. Louis Park, Minn. “She has experience working with counseling services and with LGBTQ students. I see her making an impact on all different constituencies in different ways. I see her bridging the gap between administration and students but also the larger community and Lawrence.”

Barrett said her first task upon arriving in August will be to listen and establish policies to ensure everyone has a voice in setting university priorities.

Kimberly-Barrett_newsblog2“While cultural events and celebrations are an important way to promote diversity and inclusion, they are not sufficient to bring about the fundamental change we are trying to create,” said Barrett. “In order to achieve inclusive excellence in higher education we must change the way we do things every day. We must examine our policies and guidelines to ensure that they help us take an equity-minded approach to our work. This will ensure that each of us helps Lawrence become a community that provides equal opportunity so that all students, faculty and staff can reach their unique potential.”

Matthew Stoneking, associate professor of physics and a member of the search committee, said Barrett’s approach and breadth of experience stood out among the candidates for both parts of her job title.

“She has a wealth of experience at a number of different types of institutions of higher education in administrative leadership and student affairs roles. I’m very confident that Dr. Barrett will help sharpen our vision and goals surrounding inclusivity and will work effectively and collaboratively with Lawrence faculty, students, staff, administrators and members of the Appleton community to make positive changes.”

Kathy Flores, diversity coordinator for the City of Appleton, who met Barrett during the interview process, sees her appointment benefiting the community beyond the campus borders.

““I’m excited to welcome Dr. Barrett to Appleton,” said Flores. “Her wide breadth of experience is not only an asset to Lawrence University, but to the whole Appleton community. Along with her vast set of skills, she brings a valued reputation of community engagement. I treasure the partnership we have already embarked upon with Lawrence around diversity and inclusion issues and I look forward to working with this new colleague as we strive to make Appleton a more welcoming place for all students.”

Lawrence’s location was also a draw for Barrett, who has both professional and personal ties to Wisconsin. She spent five years (2003-08) as associate vice chancellor of student development and diversity at UW-Eau Claire. Her son, Terrance, is a UW-Parkside graduate and lives in Madison with his wife Melissa.

Prior to Wright State, Barrett was the vice president for student affairs at the University of Montevallo in Alabama from 2008-12. Previous appointments included director of multicultural affairs at the State University of New York-Potsdam, director of the women’s center at Murray State in Kentucky, vice provost at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada and associate provost/dean of students at Southeast Missouri State University.

Her husband, Terry Barrett, is an emeritus professor of psychology at Murray State University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.