Three members of the Lawrence University faculty — two key music talents in the Conservatory of Music and one highly acclaimed geologist — were honored Sunday, June 9 for their academic and scholarly achievements.
The awards, announced during the 2019 Commencement ceremony and considered to be among Lawrence’s highest faculty honors, went to gifted instrumentalist and music instructor Erin Lesser, jazz musician and instructor Jose Encarnacion and highly lauded geology scholar and author Marcia Bjornerud.
For more coverage of Lawrence’s 2019 Commencement, click here.
Lesser took home the 2019 University Award for Excellence in Teaching. A member of the acclaimed ensembles Wet Ink, Decoda, and Alarm Will Sound, she is both a highly regarded performer and an accomplished instructor. She has been teaching at Lawrence since 2011.
In her award citation, Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine
Kodat praised Lesser for her ability to balance the demands of being a touring artist
with those of the classroom.
“Your brilliance in the concert hall finds its bright reflection in the Lawrence Conservatory studio, where your grateful students grow as musicians and thinkers in their own right, thanks to your thoughtful, attentive efforts to meet them where they are and then give them the tools and support that helps them realize their artistic goals.”
Encarnacion was given the 2019 Award for Excellent Teaching by an Early Career Faculty Member.
While Encarnacion has been an assistant professor at
Lawrence for just five years, his ties to the Conservatory date back to 2002,
when he came here shortly after receiving his master’s of jazz and contemporary
media from the Eastman School of Music. He would leave for a six-year stint as
director of jazz and band ensembles at Eastman before returning to Lawrence in
2011 as a lecturer. He became a tenure-track faculty member in 2014 and now
leads a jazz program that is regularly lauded in national music education circles.
“Your return has had a measurable effect — since 2015, the excellence of Lawrence’s jazz program has been recognized by no less an authority than DownBeat magazine, which has presented the university with four awards in four years,” Kodat said.
Bjornerud, who came to Lawrence in 1995, is the recipient of the 2019 Award for Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity. She has been among the college’s most honored faculty members. The Walter Schober Professor in Environmental Studies and founder of the Environmental Studies major has earned two Fulbright Senior Scholar awards, was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists and was named a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.
The faculty scholarship honor comes after her 2018 book, Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World, was widely praised for making complex geological concepts — and their importance in the ongoing debate over how we care for the Earth — both accessible and substantial. It was long-listed for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing, was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and received the PROSE Award in Popular Science and Popular Mathematics from the American Association of Publishers.
“In Timefulness, you draw on your research into the physics of earthquakes and mountain formation to show how an understanding of the multiple, overlapping temporalities of the Earth’s deep past can help us gain the perspective we need if we are to confront and address the environmental challenges that face us,” Kodat said.
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com
Two tenure-track faculty and one long-time adjunct faculty will bid farewell to Lawrence University at the close of spring term.
Bruce Hetzler, a fixture in the psychology department for more than four decades, and Kenneth and Joanne Bozeman, key players in the growth and success of the Conservatory of Music, are retiring. The three have a combined 110 years of teaching at Lawrence.
Lawrentians with long memories may recall that the Bozemans,
then a young married couple, also served as head residents of Trever Hall for two
years in the early 1980s.
Hetzler and Ken Bozeman came to Lawrence at the same time, joining the robust incoming faculty class of 1977. Joanne Bozeman joined as an adjunct faculty member in 1993.
They talked to us about Lawrence pride, new journeys and the emotions of saying goodbye.
Bruce Hetzler: “We were one of the few undergraduate institutions to have a neuroscience program.”
Bruce Hetzler has been a leading voice in the psychology
department at Lawrence since 1977. You might even say his 42-year run has been
Hetzler has often mixed his love of magic with his passion
for teaching about the brain.
Much of his work at Lawrence focused on neuropharmacology,
effects of alcohol on the brain, computer analysis of brain waves and
He and his students through the years published dozens of papers
on a wide range of brain-focused topics, the latest being a study on why some
people co-abuse methylphenidate (most common trade name is Ritalin) and
alcohol. That paper, with co-authors Lauren W.Y. McLester-Davis ’18 and Sadie
E. Tenpas ’17, was published in the June edition of the journal Alcohol.
“I have mixed emotions,” Hetlzer said of his retirement. “I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve loved it. I’ve enjoyed teaching, I’ve enjoyed doing research, and I’ve enjoyed working with students in the laboratory. But it has been 42 years, so I think it’s time for this chapter in my life to close.”
Hetzler spent much of his career doing research on the effects of drugs on the brain, most specifically alcohol. He is a charter member of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism.
He was part of a faculty group that launched the initial
neuroscience program at Lawrence in the early 1980s.
“At the time we were not able to put together a neuroscience
major, but we did start the neuroscience program,” Hetzler said. “In 1980, we
were one of the few undergraduate institutions to have a neuroscience program.”
It eventually became a major at Lawrence, and the number of
faculty positions tied to the program has grown considerably.
“That wasn’t just me, it was a lot of people who put that
together,” Hetzler said. “But it’s been very pleasing to see it grow like
Outside of his teaching duties at Lawrence, Hetzler for years could be found doing table-side magic at local restaurants such as B.J. Clancy’s and Ground Round.
He persevered with both his teaching and his magic after
suffering a major stroke in the summer of 2011. Relearning magic tricks, he
said, helped with his long and slow recovery.
Now he hopes to dedicate more time in retirement to the physical
therapy that’s needed to regain many of his magician skills.
“I’d love to be able to do table-side magic at a restaurant again in the future, but that depends on my determination to do exercises to increase my dexterity and my ability to walk without a cane,” Hetzler said. “The year before I had a stroke I was doing 100 magic shows a year. Now I do maybe five. I’m not sure my wife would like me to do 100 again, but somewhere in between would be nice.”
Kenneth Bozeman: “When you are working on someone’s voice, in a sense you are messing with their soul.”
Music professor Kenneth Bozeman, retiring after 42 years on the Conservatory of Music faculty, has left an impressive imprint that’s difficult to measure.
He led the voice department for much of his tenure, in the process providing important leadership not just in the Conservatory but across campus. In addition to his work as a respected voice teacher, he has led or been a part of talent searches for Conservatory faculty and new deans and has played a big role in campus projects such as the expansion of the Music-Drama Center and the building of the Warch Campus Center.
In recent years, his focus has been in the growing field of
acoustic voice pedagogy. He’s become an in-demand scholar on that topic across
But it’s in the voice studio, working one-on-one with students, where Bozeman says his heart remains.
“Voice teaching is totally one-on-one, so it’s pretty personal,” he said. “When you are working on someone’s voice, in a sense you are messing with their soul. Their sense of personal identity is wrapped up in their voice.”
He’s done it well. In 2018, Bozeman was chosen by his peers for
the Lawrence Faculty Convocation Award, which honors a faculty member for
distinguished professional work. He was the ninth faculty member so honored.
Bozeman is the author of two books, Practical Vocal Acoustics: Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and Singers and Kinesthetic Voice Pedagogy: Motivating Acoustic Efficiency. He was awarded the Van Lawrence Fellowship by the Voice Foundation in 1994 for his work in voice science and pedagogy.
He has been recognized with two Lawrence teaching honors,
the Young Teacher Award in 1980 and the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996.
Under his guidance, the voice department within the Conservatory has grown from about 40 students and four instructors to nearly 100 students being taught by five full-time studio faculty, one adjunct faculty, two choral directors, opera and theater directors, a vocal coach and other contributors.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth,” Bozeman said. “There’s been
good quality all along. There was always some good talent in the student pool.
… But now it certainly feels like there is a lot more talent here. It’s
definitely harder to get in here. The talent floor has risen because of the
competitiveness of it.
“And what we’re able to provide in terms of training is much
deeper and richer as well.”
As the years have gone by, an increasing number of voice students have gone on to sing professionally or pursue voice in graduate school programs.
“Now it’s pretty routine that that happens,” Bozeman said.
He said he’ll continue to do voice work in retirement. He’s already committed to a weeklong workshop on acoustic voice pedagogy this summer at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He’ll also be presenting at multiple conferences and will be doing private voice teaching, focused on young professional singers.
Joanne Bozeman: “The change between an 18-year-old singer and a 21- or 22-year-old singer is a huge transition.”
Joanne Bozeman has been an adjunct member of the voice department at Lawrence since 1993, teaching studio voice and related course work.
She also was a sought-after soloist in recital, concert and oratorio for nearly four decades. She’s appeared with, among others, the Fox Valley Symphony, the Green Lake Music Festival, the Bach Chamber Choir in Rockford, Illinois, and the Lawrence University Concert Choir and Orchestra.
While she’ll stay active in private teaching and related projects in retirement, it’s the voice studio instruction — working one-on-one with students as their voices and their music knowledge transform over four years — that will be difficult to leave behind.
“I’ll miss working with students in the long term, four or
five years, developing their skill set and seeing them master certain things,”
she said. “The change between an 18-year-old singer and a 21- or 22-year-old
singer is a huge transition. It’s really exciting to be involved with that.”
Many instrumentalists arrive at the Conservatory having been in training for a dozen or more years. Not so much for voice students.
“Singers don’t know they have an instrument until they’re
maybe 14, 15 or 16 years old,” Bozeman said. “They maybe haven’t had theory or
lessons and they come in a little more raw. To see their incredible strides and
development over that period of time is really cool.”
Bozeman called working with the voice faculty in the Conservatory a joy.
“We don’t always agree with each other, but we really do get along,” she said. “I admire my colleagues’ skills in the studio, and we are friends. I’ll miss that kind of intimate relationship. I’ll miss the people in the office, and I’ll miss my wonderful colleagues all over the Conservatory.”
In addition to giving private voice lessons, Bozeman is working on a book about women’s singing voices as they go through perimenopause and menopause. The book, which she is co-writing with two other women, has included interviews to date with nearly 60 women, ranging from elite professional singers to those who participate in community choirs.
It’s an emotional and very personal issue for women who want
to continue singing as they age, Bozeman said.
“Some breeze through it,” she said. “Some struggle. I really
struggled. That’s kind of what fueled my interest in the issue.”
Three members of the Lawrence University faculty — all teaching in the sciences — have been granted 2019 tenure appointments.
The college’s Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the faculty Committee on Tenure, Promotion, Reappointment and Equal Employment Opportunity, and President Mark Burstein, granted tenure to Allison Fleshman (chemistry), Alyssa Hakes (biology) and Brian Piasecki (biology). All three have been promoted to associate professor, effective Sept. 1.
“Lawrence has some of the best faculty in the world; I can say that with certainty because I get the immense pleasure of seeing direct evidence testifying to that fact every year in reviewing the accomplishments of faculty who stand for tenure,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “This year’s tenure class had the unique aspect of really showing off faculty talent in the sciences. Alyssa, Brian, and Allison are not only doing stellar work in their labs, they are true teacher-scholars, who meaningfully involve their students deeply in their own research.
“I am delighted that
they have chosen Lawrence as their intellectual home, and look forward to
applauding their accomplishments in the future.”
To help you get to know the three new tenure appointments a little better, we gave them each four questions to answer:
Promoted to associate professor of chemistry. Joined Lawrence in 2013. Fleshman has a bachelor of science degree in physics and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma.
What or who inspired you to pursue chemistry?
“I’ve always been
in awe of nature, and trying to unlock her secrets is the job of a scientist.
My particular science, physical chemistry, is about
understanding how nature’s building blocks — atoms and molecules — interact and
an undergraduate, I couldn’t decide between physics and chemistry, so what a
delight when I worked as an undergraduate summer researcher with physical
chemist Roger Frech (who later became my doctoral advisor) and learned I could
do both. It’s incredible to look at a chemical problem as a physicist
and see the mathematical interworkings unfold.
also love to teach and share my passion for this subject, so working at
Lawrence allows me to share physical chemistry with students in class sizes
that are small enough that we can really dive deep into the material. I often
joke that I get paid to read a textbook and share my findings with a captive
audience — I absolutely love it.”
What about the work you’re
doing at Lawrence has you the most excited?
research looks into what makes liquids flow, which seems like something we
should understand. But as we learn more about materials on the molecular level
we discover that our understanding is incomplete. What excites me most about
this work is that it is rewriting what is in the textbooks.
“My students often take the textbook as absolute truth, but this work helps them see that even our most agreed upon understanding still has room for improvement. In addition, the liquids I study are called ionic liquids — salts in the liquid form — and they are showing great promise as materials for carbon sequestration, and could help revolutionize industrial processes that emit greenhouse gases. It is essential that we all act to combat global climate change, and this research lets me fight it both in the lab and in the classroom.”
How do you think your
students would describe your teaching style?
“My students probably wouldn’t argue that I love my subject more than humanly possible and think physical chemistry is one of the most beautiful disciplines to study. That enthusiasm also seeps into my teaching. ‘Go Team’ is a phrase I say quite often, and I think my students would liken me to their cheerleader/coach, encouraging them to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and embrace the challenging path.”
What’s something you do outside of work that gives you joy?
practice yoga on a daily basis and find peace and serenity in that daily
ritual. I am also a co-owner of a local brewery located in downtown Appleton
with my husband and his family called McFleshman’s Brewing Co. When I’m not in
the classroom, I’m in the taproom supporting the family’s efforts to
make traditional English and German beers. My chemistry skills help us
bridge the art of brewing with fermentation science and those efforts yield
some delicious pints. Cheers!”
Promoted to associate professor of biology. Joined Lawrence in 2012. Hakes holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.
What or who inspired you to pursue biology?
“I wanted to be an ecologist since I was a kid. I fell in love with nature reading Ranger Rick magazines and through hiking and camping with my family and Girl Scouts. I first became interested in insects during the 17-year periodical cicada emergence of 1990 in the Chicago area. I collected a bunch and brought them to ‘show and tell.’
“My interest in
plants started when I made a wildflower trail for my Girl Scout Gold Award
project, and then continued in college when I went on a research trip to Panama
to study rainforest plants. Because of that experience, I know how important
faculty-mentored undergraduate research opportunities are to the development of
a young scientist. By specializing in ecological interactions between plants
and insects, I was able to combine all of my interests in botany, entomology,
and ecology into one research program.”
about the work you’re doing at Lawrence has you the most excited?
“My lab has been doing an exciting project in Door County involving a rare plant and invasive insect. The federally-threatened Pitcher’s thistle is a native plant that is found only in sand dune habitats of the Great Lakes. Recently, an ‘evil weevil’ has invaded the sand dunes and is eating the seeds of the plant, which is bad news.
“My students and I take
summer research trips to the Lake Michigan field site and have discovered areas
of the dune where weevil damage is more intense and less intense. Our data show
that dune elevation and neighboring plant community influence weevil dispersal
and damage. We are now using this knowledge to develop methods for controlling
the insect and conserving the plant. The proximity of our field site to
Bjorklunden has been key to our success. And it’s fun to have a beach as a
you think your students would describe your teaching style?
“I hope that my
passion for the content comes through in my lectures. I like finding creative
ways to demonstrate biological concepts in class, whether it’s making insect
mouthpart puppets, throwing cut-out paper ‘seeds’ off the atrium balcony to
study dispersal, anaesthetizing a touch-sensitive plant in class, or baking
horrible-tasting cookies for students to demonstrate ‘Batesian Mimicry.’
“I like to be a
little goofy and rarely pass on an opportunity to make a lame pun, adapt a meme
to a class topic for a laugh, or tell stories that connect students with the
material and make class more enjoyable. Through course evaluations, students
have called me helpful, caring, and approachable. I don’t think I’ve been
described as ‘hilarious’ on a course evaluation yet, but that’s secretly the
What’s something you do outside of work that gives you joy?
“I enjoy spending
time with my spouse and two kids. It’s fun seeing our kids develop their
personalities and watching them try new things for the first time. We try to
spend time with both sets of their grandparents as often as we can, which is a
“I am active in my
Appleton church, and I love being invited to talk about the science of
evolution with my congregation. Evolution was something I once misunderstood as
a teenager, but has become an exciting and integral part of my scientific
career. It brings me joy to share my passion for evolutionary biology with
others in my faith community. I also teach Sunday School.
“To relax, I like watching baseball and Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes.”
Promoted to associate professor of biology. Joined Lawrence in 2011. Piasecki holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
What or who inspired you to pursue biology?
“Growing up my two
biggest hobbies were building and taking things apart and experiencing nature
through a variety of activities like camping, hiking, and climbing. I didn’t
realize it at the time, but the type of cell biology I do merges both of these
interests. I now study how the individual molecular constituents of cells
affect the function of organisms as a whole, and because I focus on
evolutionarily conserved processes, this allows for me to simultaneously
understand how organisms function and to more broadly experience the
awesomeness of life.”
What about the work you’re doing
at Lawrence has you the most excited?
“The old cliché that
says a picture represents a thousand words works at both the macro and
microscopic level, so biological imaging is what excites me most. I am enamored
by visualizing cellular processes and sharing this passion with students by
showing them how to use a variety of different microscopes. To me there is
nothing more rewarding than watching a student grasp a biological concept by
visualizing it with their own eyes.”
How do you think your students
would describe your teaching style?
“I think students
would describe me as highly engaged. I equally love biology and trying to make
biology relevant to others.”
What’s something you do outside of work that gives you joy?
“As much as I enjoy working with others and having a family, I am actually a little more introverted by nature. Therefore, I really enjoy hobbies that allow for me to disconnect for a while, like woodworking. A few years ago, I discovered the ‘pocket hole,’ which is a really easy method for making rock-solid wood joints. Some might consider it cheating, but to me it provides an easy way to build my own durable and functional things around the house. In the past few years I have built a bathroom vanity, a couple of cabinets, and a combined shoe rack/bench.”
Long-time Lawrence University art department instructor Alice King Case died peacefully Monday, Dec. 16 at Appleton’s St. Elizabeth Hospital following a brief illness. She was 76.
An accomplished artist who specialized in drawing, collage and abstract painting, Case joined the Lawrence art department in 1980 after teaching art classes in suburban Chicago for 21 years. Through her initiative and insistence, Lawrence introduced computer-assisted art courses to the department curriculum in 1987.
In addition to teaching, she directed Lawrence’s art education program, supervising the certification of nearly 50 future art teachers before retiring in 2000. She remained in Appleton in retirement and continued to teach an occasional figure drawing class or tutorial for another four years. Upon her retirement, Case said Lawrence had “changed her life. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Born in Pittsburgh in 1937, Case lived a bit of a nomadic childhood, living in seven different states by the age of 16 before settling in the Chicago area, which she called home until she moved to Appleton in 1980.
She was a two-time recipient of Artist-in-Residency awards to the Vermont Studio Center, one of the country’s leading creative communities for working artists. Her art was showcased in national juried and invitational exhibitions in more than 30 galleries across the country and several of her works were used as compact disc covers for Lawrence Conservatory ensemble recordings.
Alice earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art at Coe College and pursued graduate studies at Northern Illinois University and Bennington College through the Massachusetts College of Art.
She is survived by two daughters, Cathleen Robertson, Appleton, and Marianne Case, Milwaukee.
A time of visitation will be held at Wichmann Funeral Home, 537 N. Superior St., Appleton, on Thursday, Dec. 19 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. with a prayer service to follow. The funeral liturgy will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 1617 W. Pine St., Appleton. An additional time of visitation will be held at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of service.
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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.