President Burstein opens 2017-18 academic year, convocation series with annual matriculation address

President Mark Burstein officially opens Lawrence University’s 169th academic year and the university’s 2017-18 convocation series Thursday, Sept. 14 with his annual matriculation address.

President Mark Burstein
President Mark Burstein

At a time of national conflict and divisiveness, Burstein shares his thoughts on enduring values that could provide a community framework in the address “What Do We Stand For,” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. It also will be available via a live webcast.

Now in his fifth year as Lawrence’s 16th president, Burstein has focused on creating learning communities in which all members can reach their full potential during a career in higher education spanning nearly 25 years.

Prior to Lawrence, he spent nine years as executive vice president at Princeton University and 10 years at Columbia University as a vice president working in human resources, student services and facilities management.

Joining Burstein as convocation series speakers will be:

Colman McCarthy
Colman McCarthy

• Oct. 31 Award-winning journalist, educator and long-time peace activist, Colman McCarthy presents “Is Peace Possible?” The director of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C., which he founded in 1985, McCarthy spent nearly 30 years as a columnist for the Washington Post. Since 1999, he has written a weekly column for The National Catholic Reporter.

As an educator who believes if we don’t teach children peace, someone else will teach them violence, McCarthy has taught courses on nonviolence and peace literature for more than 30 years.

He is the author of 14 books, including 2002’s “I’d Rather Teach Peace” in which he chronicles his experiences introducing the theory and practice of creative peacemaking to classrooms ranging from a suburban Washington, D.C. high school to a prison for juveniles to Georgetown University Law Center.

Jad Abumrad
Jad Abumrad

• Feb. 1, 2018 Jad Abumrad, the creator and host of public radio’s popular “Radiolab” program, explores what it means to “innovate” and how it feels to create something new in the address “Gut Churn.”

Abumrad was named a MacArthur Fellow, an honor commonly known as a “genius grant,” in 2011 and “Radiolab” show has been recognized twice—2010 and 2015—with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.

In 2016, he premiered a spinoff of “Radiolab” entitled “More Perfect,” which explores untold stories about the Supreme Court.

Ainissa Ramirez
Ainissa Ramirez

• April 3, 2018.  Author and science “evangelist Ainissa Ramirez, who spreads her “gospel” through books, TED Talks, online videos and the podcast “Science Underground,” presents “Technology’s Unexpected Consequences.”

Named one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators by Technology Review for her contributions to transforming technology, Ramirez spent eight years teaching mechanical engineering & materials science at Yale University and also has been a visiting professor at MIT.

She has written or co-written three books, including 2013’s “Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game,” an entertaining and enlightening look at the big ideas underlying the science of football.

Kenneth Bozeman
Kenneth Bozeman

• May 22, 2018 Voice teacher Kenneth Bozeman, the Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music at Lawrence, presents “Voice, the Muscle of the Soul: Finding Yourself Through Finding Your Voice” at Lawrence’s annual Honors Convocation.

A member of the conservatory of music faculty since 1977, Bozeman is the author of the 2017 book “Practical Vocal Acoustics: Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and Singers.” He is frequently invited to speak at seminars and master classes on acoustic pedagogy at universities and interdisciplinary conferences.

Bozeman is one of only 11 faculty members in the history of the university to be recognized with both Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award (1980) and Excellence in Teaching Award (1996). He also was honored by the Voice Foundation with its Van Lawrence Fellowship in 1994 for his interest in voice science and pedagogy.

Welcome Class of 2021

Student and parents unloading their car for new student move-in dayThe welcome mats will be out in abundance Tuesday, Sept. 5 when 385 new Lawrence University students, including 17 from the Fox Cities, arrive for that traditional rite of passage known as Freshmen Move in Day and the start of new student orientation activities. Classes for Lawrence’s 169th academic year begin Monday, Sept. 11.

Freshmen members of the Class of 2021 were drawn from a school-record number of more than 3,600 applicants, building on a five-year upward trend. Since 2012, first-year applications to Lawrence have increased 39 percent.

While Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota remain first, second and third, respectively, in sending the most students to Lawrence, more than half of this year’s total of new students hail from outside those traditional big three. California and New York round out the top five Lawrence student-producing states. Some of the incoming students from Texas are still coping with the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which has brought out the best in their fellow Lawrentians.

“We’ve had parents of current students from unaffected parts of Texas reach out to those families of first-year students in the hurricane areas,” said Ken Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid. “They’re offering help to any fellow Lawrentians who may need it. That’s so Lawrence-like.”

Mother helping son move into the dormThirty percent of the new students identify as domestic students of color: African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American or multi-ethnic.

“This is one of the most ethnically diverse classes we have seen in decades,” said Anselment. “This continues a trend we’ve seen over the past five years during which roughly a quarter of our new students have identified as domestic students of color.”

China, with 12 incoming freshmen, leads Lawrence’s traditionally strong international student make-up, with six students matriculating from Vietnam. Thirty-four students representing 19 countries, including Bangladesh, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates are among this year’s first-year students.

“As the population of college-bound students in the United States has been declining, especially so in the Midwest, we have been increasing our national and international recruitment focus,” said Anselment.

student moving into the dormAcademically, first-year students averaged 29 on the ACT, with nearly 40 percent of them graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

“This class is noteworthy for its strong academics, its geographic and cultural diversity and its athletic and musical talent,” said Anselment. “We have some exceptional student-athletes and exceptional musicians. It’s one of the stronger years we’ve seen.”

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.

Refugee camp to college campus: incredible journey leads student from Sudan to Lawrence Class of 2021

Marwa Adam was four years old the night the Janjaweed came to El Fasher, her hometown in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Members of the horse-riding militia were on a mission to purge the Arab country of dark-skinned Sudanese whom they didn’t consider true Arabs.

“I was awakened in the middle of the night by gunshots and people screaming,” recalled Adam, who saw her father for the last time the previous day. “There were lots of people shouting, people crying. I had no idea what was going on. I thought it might be the TV. It took me a while to understand that a war was happening and these loud noises were my new reality.”

Marwa Adam
Marwa Adam ’21

Measured in life experiences, not miles, Adam, 18, likely has traveled farther than any of her fellow Lawrence University freshmen, who arrive on campus Sept. 5 for the start of new student orientation activities. Classes for Lawrence’s 169th academic year begin Sept. 11.

The evening before the Janjaweed arrived, Adam’s father led the family’s livestock out to pasture. He never returned.

“My mom doesn’t talk about what happened to my father, or what she thinks happened to my father. So, he just disappeared,” said Adam, who wasn’t allowed to leave the house for a week after that initial frightful night. “We had animals, cows, donkeys and he would walk them out to get the really natural food and grass. Sometimes my sister Bahja and I would go with him, but we didn’t that night.”

The attack in El Fasher set in motion a largely nomadic life for Adam that would span much of the next decade.

“We realized we had to move to stay alive. My mom, sister, grandmother, aunt and cousins began walking countless miles for what seemed like countless days. That was the first time I saw the horror of it all.”

Despite her mother’s directive to close her eyes and just keep walking, Adam could not help but look.

“The things that were happening were so surreal,” said Adam of her exodus from town. “There were people lying in the street with no arms, or feet or heads. Mothers were screaming for their lost husbands and children. The streets were covered in blood. I was too scared to close my eyes and see the same scene again as a vision. I kept my eyes open all night for a couple of nights.”

Adam and her family began traveling from village to village, often to those the Janjaweed had already attacked and destroyed, knowing the militants likely would not return to those.

“They were moving forward, so, we started moving backwards,” said Adam.

Along the way, Adam and her sister became separated from their mother, who mysteriously disappeared following a bomb explosion at a farmer’s market where she was selling tea. Adam was seven at the time and had no idea what had happened to her mother. She wouldn’t see her again for six years, later learning she had somehow been granted asylum and was living in the United States.

Over the course of some eight years and numerous stays in refugee camps, Adam, her sister and several cousins, the oldest of whom was 20, were on their own.

“We didn’t have a father, we didn’t have a mother or an aunt or uncle, we were just children,” said Adam.

They eventually made their way to the capital city, Khartoum, where Adam was able to attend an actual school for the first time in her life, completing eighth and ninth grades.

“Before Khartoum, I did all of my education in refugee camps with people who weren’t really licensed teachers. They were just people who thought we deserved to learn how to read and write,” said Adam. “In Khartoum, I took a high school test and people were really surprised I got a score that was the highest in the family. But in the eye of the government, I never went to school until eighth grade.”

While her mother attempted to reconnect with Adam and her sister from afar, she didn’t know where they were. An uncle returned to Sudan from Saudi Arabia to help locate them. When he did, he led them to Cairo, Egypt, where Adam lived for five months. She arrived just as the Arab Spring was unfolding.

Marwa Adam outside Steitz Hall of Science“We lived a couple blocks away from the American embassy and there was military everywhere protecting the place,” said Adam. “There were helicopters going off all night. We worried that we might get bombed if the American embassy got bombed. There were lots of gunshots again and it brought back some painful memories.”

Finally learning where her children were, Adam’s mother traveled to Cairo to reunite with her two daughters. After navigating countless bureaucratic hoops — including a DNA test in lieu of a birth certificate — Adam, her sister and mother were plane bound to the United States, destination Chicago.

December 4, 2013, 7 p.m.

The day and time is indelibly burned in Adam’s mind and rolls quickly off her tongue. It marks the exact moment she arrived in Chicago following a harrowing 10-year journey punctuated with fear, uncertainty, separation, resiliency, determination and self-preservation.

While she was going to be safe for the first time in years, her mind was filled with doubts during the long flight.

“I was thinking, ‘I’m going to the United States and starting a new life,’” said Adam, who arrived without knowing a word of English. Sudanese/Arabic is her first language. She also speaks Spanish, can “speak and read” sign language and is teaching herself Korean “When we got to the airport, it hit me: I don’t speak the language. I don’t know anyone but my mom. People don’t look like me. I was thinking about my dream of becoming a doctor. I didn’t see it happening because I have so much to learn and get adjusted to.”

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“To me it wasn’t as dramatic as other people would think because I didn’t know any better…I had done this my whole life basically. If someone told me to go through half of that now, I would be like ‘no, that’s impossible for me to do,’ because I finally got to know how people actually live, how people function and what’s actually fair.”
— Marwa Adam
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Adam settled in the north-side Chicago suburb of Evanston and soon after began attending 3,000-student Evanston Township High School.

“It was huge,” said Adam of her high school, which required her to start as a freshman since she didn’t have any paperwork from her schooling in Khartoum. “Compared to the schools that I went to, it was just so different. My very first month, I just went to school, came home and cried. But also there was something pushing me to go the next day. I would still wake up and go to school although it was almost hopeless. I thought ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’”

Enrolled initially in English as a Second Language classes, Adam proved it was far from hopeless. She progressed through the four-year program so quickly, by the end of her junior year she was not only excused from ESL 4, but was serving as a teacher’s assistant. She eventually ended up in the highly selective “Evanston Scholars” program which assists students getting into college.

Lawrence was one of 15 colleges Adam applied to and researched each one that accepted her in-depth, looking not only at academic programs, but the number of international students at each as well. A solid financial aid package from Lawrence encouraged Adam to make a second campus visit.

“I didn’t want to make my decision solely on the money part, so I visited again,” explained Adam. “I stayed overnight and attended the annual international student cabaret. I was like ‘yup, this is the place. I want to be in that cabaret next year.’”

A five-foot-tall bundle of unbridled enthusiasm with a 500-watt smile, Adam can’t wait for school to start.

“I’m really excited,” said Adam, Lawrence’s first freshman of Sudanese heritage since 2008. “I’m trying to find the balance. I know I can be super social and just do every single club and there’s lots of them. But I also know I can be an absolute nerd and stay in my dorm or the library 100 percent of the time.”

One thing is certain, her childhood dream of becoming a doctor is back in play.

“When I was four, I wanted to be a superwoman with all of the superpowers to save the world,” said Adam, who is planning on pursuing a double major in chemistry and mathematics with a minor in either English or Spanish. “I knew that was only a fantasy, so I had to think of something more realistic. I decided I wanted to be a doctor, and after learning heart disease is the number one killer in the world, I decided I want to be a cardiac surgeon. I want to make a career of helping those who are suffering in any part of the world. I’m willing to go anywhere, even if it’s a battlefield.”

Adam already has faced a lifetime of battlefields, literally and metaphorically. When she takes time to reflect on her journey from there to here, she can’t always believe it actually happened.

“To me it wasn’t as dramatic as other people would think because I didn’t know any better. When I came to the United States, I didn’t know anyone and it was hard. But then I had done this my whole life basically. When I think about it, I don’t know how I did it. If someone told me to go through half of that now, I would be like ‘no, that’s impossible for me to do,’ because I finally got to know how people actually live, how people function and what’s actually fair.”

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.

 

 

Three Lawrentians awarded Gilman International Scholarships for study abroad

Three Lawrence University seniors are spending this fall studying abroad as recipients of a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Sam Bader, Milou de Meij and Christian Rodriguez were among 1,037 undergraduates nationally selected for the fall 2017 scholarship from among 2,859 applicants.

“I’m very proud that three Lawrence students have received these highly competitive awards,” said Laura Zuege, director of Lawrence’s off-campus programs. “The Gilman program aims are to diversity student access to study abroad and promote study in countries less commonly represented in study abroad. Lawrence students are contributing to the changing demographics of study abroad participants and it’s a thrill to work with them during this process. Meaningful study abroad experiences have been shown to contribute to academic success, increased graduation rates and greater employability after graduation. I’m eager to extend the reach of these outcomes.”

Sam Bader
Sam Bader ’18

Bader, an anthropology major from Hilo, Hawaii, leaves Sept. 4 for Madagascar. He will spend 12 weeks at Centre ValBio, a research station in Ranomafana National Park run by Stony Brook University. During the program, Bader will participant in field site visits to conduct research relevant to primate study, specifically lemurs, as well as biodiversity and ecosystem comparisons throughout Madagascar.

“Most of the time I will be in Ranomafana, but the program also includes two camping trips and a cross country trek towards the island’s west coast,” said Bader, who is traveling abroad for the first time. Being from Hawaii, he admits being on a tropical island will make it seem a bit more like home for him.

Opportunities to explore areas of his interest — biological anthropology, which involves primatology or aspects of environmental conservation — are especially exciting for Bader.

“I’m hoping to get some experience in these areas while conducting fieldwork in a different country and culture than I’ve experienced before. I’m looking forward to connecting the areas of anthropological research I have experience in, particularly in linguistic anthropology, cultural preservation, and music, in the independent study portion of this program. I’m also looking forward to interacting with the Malagasy people throughout my time there.”

Bader hopes others follow his lead and pursue the Gilman and other funding opportunities for study abroad.

“So many people see finances as a barrier and never get the chance to go abroad,” said Bader. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and hope more underrepresented students from Lawrence get the chance to do so as well in the future.”

Milou de Meij
Milou de Meij ’18

de Meij, a double degree candidate with majors in Russian studies and piano performance from Bozeman, Mont., will be in St. Petersburg, Russia until Dec. 23.

She is participating in the Bard-Smolny Program, a liberal arts college associated with St. Petersburg State University. Founded by New York’s Bard College, Smolny College was the first liberal arts college in Russia. de Meij is taking Russian as a Second Language courses as well as courses in Soviet music history, political science and Russian theater, all taught in Russian.

“My biggest goal is to improve my speaking skills in Russian,” said de Meij via email, who began her stay in St. Petersburg in mid-August. “I chose this program because I’m able to take actual college classes in Russian with Russian students at Russia’s first liberal arts college, an entire experience that is unusual for most study abroad programs. I’ve already seen my conversation skills growing. I’ve even successfully haggled for a sweater in the market.”

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“The Gilman program aims are to diversity student access to study abroad and promote study in countries less commonly represented in study abroad. Lawrence students are contributing to the changing demographics of study abroad participants.”
Laura Zuege, director of Lawrence’s off-campus programs
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On the program, de Meij is living with “an amazing host mother” on Vasilievsky Island near the center of St. Petersburg.

“Her name is Rita and I call her Mama Rita,” said de Meij, who is the 75th student Rita has hosted. “She cooks delicious food and is always eager to talk and help me with language. She bought a stack of notecards to put around the apartment with new words I’m learning. I really, really like her.”

Christian Rodriguez
Christian Rodriguez ’18

Rodriquez, an economics and mathematics major from Chicago, will spend 16 weeks on the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program at College International, a Hungarian-based educational institution focused on international students.

“This was the best program that fit with my interest and degree requirements,” said Rodriguez, who will live in an apartment in central Budapest while on the program. “Almost everybody I’ve talked to has said this is not a run-of-the-mill, go-abroad-and-have-fun program. It’s known for its large emphasis on academics and to challenge math majors. It is a bit intimidating, but I’m really excited for the diverse selection of mathematics courses offered.”

The program will be Rodriguez’ first experience outside the United States and it has generated a mix of nervousness and excitement.

“I’ll have almost nothing flying into Budapest. I’ll be a foreigner with no relation to anybody and have no familiarity with the place, culture, or language,” said Rodriguez.

“But there is a bright side. I intend to create a new ‘me’ while in Budapest. When I’m at home or at Lawrence, I’m stuck being a certain person, but I think Budapest will be a great opportunity to start from scratch. Through previous experiences, such as coming to Lawrence or through my summer internship at Michigan, I’ve been able to discover new parts about myself. Who knows what I’ll get from Budapest? Despite the challenge Budapest may impose, I intend to travel a lot and see more of the world.”

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs. The program’s mission is to diversify the students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go.

Administered by the Institute of International Education, the program is named in honor of Benjamin Gilman, who represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973-2003. According to Gilman, a strong advocate of studying abroad programs, the scholarship “provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

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 receives $500,000 grant to improve inclusive, individualized teaching and active learning

As the composition of college classrooms have become more culturally and cognitively diverse, the way professors teach needs to change to remain as effective as possible for all learners.

Supported by a $500,000 grant from the New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Lawrence University begins a program this fall focused on inclusive, integrative and project-based pedagogy across the humanities and humanistic social science disciplines.

Professor David Burrows
David Burrows

David Burrows, who spent 12 years as Lawrence’s provost and dean of the faculty before returning to his teaching roots this summer as a member of the psychology department, will direct a Task Force on Pedagogy that will be charged with implementing the activities funded by the grant over the next four years.

“There is greater diversity in the student body because of the life experiences that are critical to their preparation” said Burrows. “It’s that some students come with a one set of background experiences and other students come with a different set of experiences. We need to create a college experience that is sensitive to these differences.”

As a result of those individual learning differences, more individualized teaching and learning programs are necessary says Burrows.

“If we talk about inclusive pedagogy as part of an inclusive institution, we have to have a pedagogy that works for every student at Lawrence so she or he can learn what they need in order to graduate,” said Burrows. “Inclusive pedagogy really means increasing the individuality of the teaching experience so that every student can be successful. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

At the heart of Lawrence’s inclusive pedagogy initiative will be three main components: technology to devise learning programs specific for each student, “active learning” practices and using ideas about best practices from outside experts.

“Using digital resources will enable students to start at the place where they come in and work their way up at their own pace,” said Burrows. “That’s an individual mastery system as opposed to assuming everyone is starting at the same place.Students with Professor Jake Fredrick

“We’ll put a priority on ‘active learning’ in which students engage with each other, discussing implications, applications and the meaning of course materials as opposed to being passively talked at. This enables them to incorporate new learning into previously established ideas and concepts.”

According to Burrows, active learning features more group discussion and more student-initiated activity. A substantial amount of the basic learning may take place outside of the classroom with class time spent discussing the implications of things. In conjunction, classrooms will be redesigned to better facilitate group discussions.

The grant also will allow Lawrence to bring in outside experts who can share their ideas and practices.

“We want to have people who know about the science of learning and some new things that have been tried speak to us and conduct workshops so that we can become experts in these things,” said Burrows.

The inclusive teaching initiative lends itself easier to some disciplines than others and will initially focus on Lawrence’s signature program, Freshman Studies, and what Burrows calls “gateway” courses, those that are lower level or introductory courses. He pointed to psychology, anthropology, history, English and some economics courses as those “well suited” to this approach, but said it also can be effective in a piano or other music performance classes.

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“Inclusive pedagogy really means increasing the individuality of the teaching experience so that every student can be successful.”

                   — David Burrows, director, Task Force on Pedagogy
_______________________________

Freshman Studies and the gateway courses were chosen for their institutional-wide impact, with a large portion of the faculty exploring ad adapting inclusive teaching approaches.

Burrows sees the teaching transition presenting challenges for both students and faculty.

“These kinds of active learning strategies are more effective with students, but it also means they’re working harder,” said Burrows. “They’re doing a lot of the basic acquisition work outside of class time, using digital technology to understand the basic principles of the material and then spending class time talking about it.

“I think it will present some interesting challenges for the faculty,” Burrows added. “These things are heavily dependent upon uses of technology and today’s students come already used to group discussions, sitting around looking at a monitor, they’re used to gaming and digital technology. Faculty are less used to that, although the faculty who are early in their career will likely be more comfortable with these sorts of things.”

While the adaptation of various forms of active learning is gaining momentum nationally, Burrows said Lawrence is excited about carving its own niche in the field.

“We’re not alone, but we will be among the early adopters for schools like us. Liberal arts colleges tend to have smaller classes and rely on more standard kinds of instruction. I think we are distinctive in the sense that not that many schools have jumped on this particular wave.”

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.

Nine tenure-track appointments joining the faculty this fall

Nine tenure-track scholars are joining the Lawrence University faculty this fall for the 2017-18 academic year at the rank of assistant professor. Four of the new faculty members are in the conservatory of music.

The new tenure track appointments include: Ingrid Albrecht, philosophy; Horacio Contreras, conservatory of music (cello); Andrew Crooks, conservatory of music (vocal coach); Dylan Fitz, economics; Anne Haydock, film studies; John Holiday, conservatory of music (voice); Rebecca Perry, conservatory of music (music theory); Julie Rana, mathematics; and Jesus Smith, ethnic studies.

“It’s a great pleasure to welcome these gifted scholars and artists to Lawrence. As a new member of the community myself, I am repeatedly impressed by the records of professional achievement and teaching excellence of our faculty,” said Catherine Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty who joined the administration July 1. “Our newest colleagues continue our tradition of distinguished faculty accomplishment in the laboratory, in the studio, onstage and in the classroom.”

Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music, is excited to welcome “four exceptional faculty” each of whom brings “experiences that greatly enhance our conservatory offerings.”

“John Holiday, as a countertenor and rising star in the opera world, brings valuable insights from the professional stage into the classroom,” said Pertl. “Horacio Contreras, who is widely considered one of Venezuela’s greatest cellists, brings a passion for the vast and often unexplored repertoire of South American composers along with his passion for performing and teaching.

“Rebecca Perry joins our theory department as a passionate educator who seeks opportunities to holistically engage students in music theory,” Pertl added. “Andrew Crooks comes directly from Germany, where he worked for Die Kommische Oper Berlin, one of the most forward-thinking opera houses in the world. These experiences will expand the learning opportunities for all of our students. It will be exciting to see how these four professors expand our Lawrence community.”

Ingrid Albrecht
Ingrid Albrecht

• Ingrid Albrecht, philosophy
While new to the tenure track, Albrecht is no stranger to Lawrence. A specialist in ethics and moral psychology, Albrecht first joined the Lawrence faculty in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow of philosophy and Uihlein Fellow of Ethics. The past two years she held a visiting assistant professor appointment in the philosophy department, where she taught the courses Existentialism, Advanced Studies in Biomedical Ethics, Women and Friendship, and Philosophy of Sex and Love, among others.

Prior to Lawrence, Albrecht spent a year on the faculty at Ball State University.

Originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University and a master’s and doctorate degree in philosophy at the University of Illinois, where she received the philosophy department’s Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Horacio Contreras
Horacio Contreras

 • Horacio Contreras, conservatory of music (cello)
A native of Venezuela, Contreras comes to Lawrence from the University of Michigan String Preparatory Academy, where he has taught for the past three years. He also has seven years of teaching experience in his homeland at the University of Los Andes and El Sistema, a music education program.

Contreras also has taught masterclasses at the National University of Colombia in Bogota and the National University of Cordoba in Argentina as well as at The Julliard School and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Earlier this year, Contreras was appointed to the cello faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he teaches on the weekends.

He has performed as a soloist with numerous symphony orchestras, including Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony, Colombia’s EAFIT Symphony Orchestra  and the Camerata de Frace in France. As a chamber musician and recitalist, he has participated in chamber music festivals and concert series throughout the Americas.

He did his undergraduate studies in Europe at conservatories in Perpignan, France, and Barcelona, Spain. He earned both a master of music degree and a doctorate of musical arts degree in cello performance at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Crooks
Andrew Crooks

• Andrew Crooks, conservatory of music (vocal coach)
Crooks joins the conservatory of music from Berlin, Germany, where he has served as deputy chorus master of the Komische Oper Berlin since 2014. During his tenure there the chorus of the Komische Oper was awarded the title of Chorus of the Year in 2015 by the opera magazine Opernwelt. He also spent four years (2010-14) as an assistant to the chorus master at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

In 2012, Crooks founded the Metamorphos Ensemble Berlin, an artistic collective of more than 200 singers and instrumentalists, for which he serves as artistic director.

Originally from New Zealand, Crooks has worked on productions with Canterbury Opera and Opera Otago in his native country as well as nearly a dozen productions with Cincinnati Opera.

He earned a bachelor of music in piano and oboe as well as a bachelor of arts in German language and literature from the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand). He also holds a master’s degree in conducting from Indiana University and an Artist Diploma in opera coaching from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Dylan Fitz
Dylan Fitz

• Dylan Fitz, economics
A specialist in development economics, Fitz joins the economics department from Davidson College, where he spent the past four years as an assistant professor. His current research evaluates the effectiveness of social programs, the causes of poverty, and the importance of risk and learning in technology adoption.  Fitz will teach courses on effective altruism, Latin American economic development and political economy and economic development, among others.

A native of State College, Pa., he earned a bachelor’s degree in politics at Princeton University, with certificates in Latin American studies and political economy. He earned both a master’s and doctorate degree in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Holiday
John Holiday

• John Holiday, conservatory of music (voice)
Holiday joins the voice department on the crest of a prestigious national award. Earlier this year, Holiday was named winner of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award. The award recognizes “a young American singer who has achieved initial professional success in the vocal arts and who exhibits promise for a significant career.” As the Marian Anderson winner, he will sing a recital at the Kennedy Center next February 25.

Opera Wire has described Holiday as “one of the most promising countertenors of his generation” and said his “star is rising.” Broadway World included Holiday in its 2015 list of “New York Opera Gifts that Keep on Giving.”

This summer, Holiday sang the title role in the Glimmerglass Festival’s production of “Xerxes” in Cooperstown, N.Y. He is also slated to play John Blue in Opera Philadelphia’s world premiere of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” under the direction and choreography of award-winning Bill T. Jones. The show also will be performed at the Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire Theater. Holiday has additional upcoming title roles as Orfeo in Florida Grand Opera’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” and as the refugee in “Flight” with the Des Moines Metro Opera.

His discography includes 2012’s “Messiah” with the Cincinnati Boychoir, and Philip Glass’ “Galileo Galilei” with the Portland Opera which came out in 2013. His recording of Ars Lyrica’s production of “La Sposa Dei Cantici” is scheduled for release this fall.

Beyond classical repertoire, Holiday performs gospel and jazz music. His debut jazz album, “The Holiday Guide,” was released in 2006.

Holiday, who grew up near Houston, earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University, a master of music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in opera studies from The Juilliard School.

Rebecca Perry
Rebecca Perry

• Rebecca Perry, conservatory of music (music theory)
Perry joins the music theory department after four years as an instructor at Yale University, where she taught courses on tonal harmony, elementary musicianship, topics in world music and the history of Western music, among others.

Her scholarship interests focus on composer Sergei Prokofiev and the Russian sonata traditions.

A native of Rolla, Mo., Perry, who speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian, earned bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and political science from Brigham Young University and master’s and doctorate degrees in music history from Yale University.

Julie Rana
Julie Rana

• Julie Rana, mathematics
A specialist in algebraic geometry, especially moduli spaces, singular spaces and deformation theory, Rana spent the past two years as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. She began her teaching career as a Math Fellow at Vermont’s Marlboro College.

She has taught nearly 30 different math courses, including differential calculus, computational algebraic geometry and linear algebra and delivered more than a dozen invited talks at seminars and symposiums around the country. Rana also has helped organize numerous math-focused outreach enrichment programs for elementary students and high school teachers.

Rana earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Marlboro College, and both a master’s and doctorate degree in mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jesus Smith
Jesus Smith

• Jesus Smith, ethnic studies
A sociologist, Smith comes to Lawrence from Texas A & M University, where he was a Diversity Fellow the past two years. Smith’s research interests include race and ethnic relations, sex and gender, computer and information technologies.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Smith has written published articles on the politics of Latinx identity and the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in cyber space, among other topics, has given scholarly presentations at a dozen academic conferences throughout the country and has served as a reviewer for several professional journals.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Texas-El Paso. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology at the Texas A & M 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.

 

Lawrence sponsoring grant-writing workshops for area nonprofit organizations 

Lawrence University, in conjunction with United Way Fox Cities and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, is sponsoring a series of free community grant-writing workshops for area nonprofit organizations.

Since May, 2015, Lawrence has served as a partner of the Funding Information Network with the Foundation Center of New York to provide resources for area grantseekers.A logo of the Funding Information Network

The upcoming workshop schedule includes:

August 10, 10:30 a.m.–noon: “Introduction to Proposal Writing Workshop,” James P. Coughlin Center, 625 E. Country Road Y, Oshkosh.

August 17, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: “Introduction to the Funding Information Network Workshop, Clow Hall, UW-Oshkosh.

August 23, 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.: “Introduction to Proposal Writing Workshop,” Thomas Steitz Hall of Science, Room 202, Lawrence University.

Space is limited for all workshops and registration is required. To register, email Svetlana Belova at svetlana.v.belova@lawrence.edu with your name and phone number.

More information about the Funding Information Network at Lawrence  can be found here.

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 music educators bring unique aspect to annual Mile of Music festival

Every music festival, of course, features lots of music. How many, though, have music education as a central part of its mission?

Thanks to the talents of a 25-member team of music educators, led by Leila Ramagopal Pertl and Brian Pertl, Appleton’s Mile of Music is one such festival.

Mile of Music gumbotting workshop
Leila Ramagopal Pertl (center) leads a gumbooting workshop, one of more than 40 music education events at the annual Mile of Music festival in downtown Appleton.

More than 40 hands-on music education workshops, ranging from Ghanaian drumming to ballet, will be conducted Aug. 3-6 during “Mile 5” of Appleton’s Mile of Music festival, a celebration of original, handcrafted artisan music. This year’s festival features nearly 900 live performances by more than 225 artists from 28 states and three countries representing virtually every music genre at 70 venues along College Avenue and the Fox River.

Beyond the concerts and artists featured at Mile of Music, as always, Mile 5 will feature plenty of hands-on, participatory music education events.

Ramagopal Pertl, a 1987 Lawrence graduate, is fond of calling music “a birthright.”

“Mile of Music is the only music festival in the country with a dedicated team of musicians to engage community in reigniting their musical birthright and to help them find ways throughout the year to develop this musicianship,” says Ramagopal Pertl, the music education curator for the four-day festival. “The music education component of Mile of Music is a fantastic opportunity for Lawrence University, teachers from the Appleton Area School District and our MET Kids to engage a multi-generational community in joyful and inspiring music-making. A musical community is a healthy community.”

Ramagopal Pertl’s enthusiasm is obvious when she talks about the results of past Mile of Music education workshops: the person who started playing an instrument again; the person who wrote their first song or formed a band, the person who discovered Irish dance and now is in their third full year of learning Irish dance, the person who produced their own CD of songs.

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“The music education component of Mile of Music is a fantastic opportunity to engage a multi-generational community in joyful and inspiring music-making. A musical community is a healthy community.”
— Leila Ramagopal Pertl
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“Those kinds of outcomes are our heart’s desire” said Ramagopal Pertl. “They are a powerful statement as to the importance of dynamic community music making.”

Brian Pertl, dean of Lawrence’s conservatory of music, joins his wife Leila in leading the music education team. He is excited about the expanded opportunities this year’s festival offers.

“Last year we debuted the P-bone jam, hip-hop workshops, the Building for Kids Immersive Music Day, vocal workshops, ukulele workshops, the NAMI Panel on the Power of Music and Mental Health and we expanded our deep listening activities,” said Pertl.

Mile of Music didjeridu workshop
A didjeridu workshop led by Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory of music, has been a staple of the music education program of the annual Mile of Music festival.

“We are thrilled to expand our offerings this year by adding mariachi, Afro-Cuban drumming and singing, and Recycled Rhythms: Creating Music with Found Objects,” Pertl added. “All of this is in addition to our traditional favorites like the Great Mile Sing Along, samba drumming, Balinese gamelan, instrumental workshops, song writing workshops, the all-inclusive community hand drum circle and singing story books. We can wait to make music with community members.”

Among the dedicated team of music educators assisting the Pertls are 16 workshop leaders with ties to Lawrence.

In addition to the education aspects of Mile of Music, Lawrence will be represented on the performance side. Among the groups performing, one group with a number of representatives is Porky’s Groove Machine.

An all Lawrence alumni band, Porky’s Groove Machine performs four times during the festival, including twice on the festival’s opening day — Thursday Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. on the Mile of Music bus and again at 11:50 p.p. at the Gibson Music Hall.

They return to the stage Friday Aug. 4 at 8:50 p.m. at the Radisson Paper Valley Grand Ballroom and Saturday Aug. 5 at 7:10 p.m. at The Alley Project.

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.

Historic Lawrence property to undergo a “moving” experience

An old house is about to get a new address.

In the name of historic preservation, a Queen Anne-style home built in 1901 will take a short ride up Union Street July 25 as it moves a block north of the Lawrence University campus. Currently at 122 N. Union St., the home will be relocated to 229 N. Union St.historic house

The 2,700 square-foot home was acquired by Lawrence in 1928 and has been used for a variety of purposes through the decades. Once the residence of Ted Cloak, the founder of Lawrence’s theatre arts department, the home’s top floor was the birthplace of local production company Attic Theatre, the creation of Cloak’s wife, Zoe. It has been used for student housing for more than the past 10 years.

“Historic preservation is at the heart of this undertaking,” said Jake Woodford, assistant to the president at Lawrence, who is coordinating the project. “Institutionally, we think in 50-, 100- and 150-year time horizons in terms of projects and land use. Moving this house from an institutional area into the City Park Historic District presents an opportunity to save an architecturally and historically significant structure and to enhance the historic district.”

The move will be executed by DeVooght House and Building Movers, LLC of Brick, N.J., which was originally founded in Valders in 1964, and still maintains an office there. The move is expected to take approximately five hours. Site work will begin several days before the actual move.

Prior to the move, a basement for a foundation will be dug at 229 N. Union and a house at 221 N. Union that has been vacant for the past year will be taken down to make room for the relocation.

“The house at 221 N. Union is in poor condition and isn’t listed as contributing to the historic nature of the City Park Historic District,” said Woodford. “As it turns out, demolishing that house and cutting down an ash tree and a large silver maple tree at 229 N. Union will provide a path for the new house to move over the terrace, leaving two mature Norway maple street trees in front of 229 N. Union Street intact.”historic staircase

Moving any house, especially one this size, is a combination of art and science. The process will include the installation of 13 steel beams. Using a unified hydraulic jacking system, the house will then be lifted four feet above the foundation. Remote-control power dollies and coaster dollies will be installed on a track built in the basement.

“On the day of the move, we will drive the building straight off on to the road, down to the new site, all by remote control,” explained David DeVooght, president of the company that moved the 418-ton, all-brick Schriber House in Oshkosh back in May 2016. “When we are on the new site we will reverse the order, pulling our wheels out and roll the building sideways on to the partially built foundation to put in place for the final block work to be completed. Once they are ready for us to return, we will come back to remove our steel and set the home down.

“Moving a structure of any size is challenging in itself but with our months of planning we do not expect to run into any major hiccups,” added DeVooght, who lives in an 1890s log house that was elevated for a new foundation and remodeled. “Historic preservation is a large part of our company and we take great satisfaction in knowing we are helping a project be restored and reused for generations to come. We take great pride in helping many structures be preserved as opposed to demolished.”

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“Historic preservation is at the heart of this undertaking. Moving this house from an institutional area into the City Park Historic District presents an opportunity to save an architecturally and historically significant structure and to enhance the historic district.”
– Jake Woodford, assistant to the president
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The majority of DeVooght’s work is elevating homes that are in flood zones. The company typically lifts between 300 and 400 homes a year, with about 20 of them moved with dollies.inland floor detail

Early in the process, the first person contacted for the project was Appleton City Forester Mike Michlig to consult on the move and any concerns over the impact to trees along the route. According to Michlig, many of the trees on the west side of the 200 block of North Union Street are in decline and should be removed in any case. While other route options were considered, each would have impacted similar numbers of trees, which in every case, are in better condition and more desirable species.

The Appleton Common Council unanimously approved a move permit at its June 21 meeting, clearing the way for Michlig to remove the trees on the west side of north Union Street prior to the move.

“As a community member and as a neighbor, Lawrence University is invested in maintaining and enhancing the quality of our neighborhoods,” said Woodford, who organized meetings for City Park Historic District neighbors back in May to discuss the project. “We’ve gotten substantial feedback from people who are passionate about their neighborhood, as we are, and it was great to engage with them. We want this project to go well and to turn out nicely for the neighborhood.”stairway banister detail

Once the move is complete, Lawrence will begin a top-to-bottom renovation of the historic house that is expected to take a year to complete.

“The city of Appleton is treating this as a new construction so we’ll be required to meet all current applicable building codes,” said Woodford. “Our plan is to begin with the building envelope and mechanical systems, and then to renovate the interior over the next year.”

Upon completion of the renovation, the house will serve as the residence for Catherine Kodat, Lawrence’s new provost and dean of the faculty.

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 supporting Homeless Connections by showcasing gardens at president’s house

Magnificent hostas, aromatic cat mint and splashes of daisies surrounding the Lawrence University president’s house will be publicly showcased Saturday, July 15 in support of efforts to combat local homelessness.

David Calle standing in president's house garden.
Master Gardener David Calle has created the gardens around the president’s home over the course of the past three years.

The beautiful planting beds accenting the president’s house, 229 N. Park St., Appleton will be one of six stops on the 27th annual Garden Walk: Sowing Seeds of Opportunity sponsored by Homeless Connections, a local non-profit organization working to end homelessness by connecting individuals and families to resources that promote self-sufficiency. The organization served nearly 2,000 people in 2016.

“Homelessness is a real issue in our community,” said Beth Servais, Homeless Connections’ community relations director. “The annual Garden Walk is not only a fundraising event for Homeless Connections, but it provides an opportunity to engage with community members by generating awareness of homelessness and communicating our mission of ending homelessness by connecting people to resources.

“We’re honored to be able to feature the garden of Lawrence President Mark Burstein’s home on our Garden Walk this year,” Servais added. “Lawrence’s active involvement with our organization, and others like ours, is vital to our community and we are grateful for their partnership.”

david Calle with potted succulents
Tropicals in over-sized pots line the patio.

Nominated by a member of the Homeless Connections Garden Walk Committee, this is the first time that a Lawrence garden is featured on the tour.

“I wanted to express our appreciation for the support provided by Lawrence University,” said Steven Schultz, chair of this year’s Homeless Connections Garden Walk. “We thank the Lawrence community for joining together to end homelessness in the Fox Valley.”

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“We’re honored to be able to feature the garden of Lawrence President Mark Burstein’s home on our Garden Walk this year. Lawrence’s active involvement with our organization, and others like ours, is vital to our community and we are grateful for their partnership.”
— Beth Servais, community relations director, Homeless Connections
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“For me it is exciting to see this as an invitation for the community to visit Lawrence as well as to work together to support the important local work that Homeless Connections does in helping people prevent and manage their way out of homelessness,” said David Calle, a Master Gardener and President Mark Burstein’s spouse, who created the gardens with assistance from Jim Sternat and John Adams of the Lawrence grounds team.

Calle’s design was inspired by the property’s 1904 house and his extensive travels abroad.

“When we moved to the Fox Cities four years ago, Mark and I wanted to create a garden where the Lawrence community could gather,” said Calle, who designed an arts and crafts garden with interconnected garden spaces and curved beds. “Most of the plants are original to the property or welcome gifts from friends and family. This new garden for an old house shows what is possible in just a few years.”

A series of three bird houses modeled after Lawrence University buildings.
Hand-built bird houses modeled on Lawrence University buildings are part of the “moon garden.”

The gardens include a front hosta border that leads to a side rock garden with succulents in hypertufa pots. That flows into the restful moon garden, with light-colored plants best enjoyed at dusk. A sculpture by Lawrence art professor Rob Neilson, set on an axis visible from the street, provides a focal point to draw visitors in.

Colorful shrubs, flowering bulbs and perennials surround the “Tent Lawn,” so named for the large tent used in the back yard for university commencement and reunion events.  Garden paths provide access to planting beds, a tall grass border to the south and a rain garden.

Close to the house, tropicals in over-sized pots frame an outdoor dining area. A series of bird houses, modeled after Lawrence’s Main Hall, Memorial Chapel, Mudd Library, and Wriston Art Center, and hand built by Calle, adorn the side of the garage.

“What makes this garden special is that it shows what is possible in creating a garden in just a few years,” said Calle, the garden’s designer, planter and care taker. “As a historically inspired garden, it also provides an example of a style that was popular in the early 1900’s when the house was built.”

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.