Honors

 

Holloway Hall
The Saunterer

 

 

Newsletter of the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program

Salisbury University

Editor: Dr. Richard England      Student editor: Melyssa Malinowski    

Writers: Harry Pippin, Jennie Wollenweber, Dr. Whall

December 8, 2000  Vol. 5 No. 1

Welcome to the Saunterer Like Thoreau in Walden, we will record our sauntering here, remembering that "if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

Articles

The Thoreauvian Legacy Saunters On...

By Jennie Wollenweber

 

 

 

Jennie Wollenweber (1997, MA 2000) records here her journey from being a student learning about Thoreau in Honors courses to teaching the same honors class, and leading a trip to Concord..

Six years ago I began the first of my journeys at Salisbury University. As a transfer student, I was lucky enough to be placed at Dr. Whall's advising table where he was eager to tell me about Salisbury's Thomas E. Bellavance Honor's Program. Ready to try anything, I decided on two honors courses: Dr. Francis Kane's core course on "the hero," and Valorie Gilbert's core course about "modern genetics." Dr. Kane's approach to the course led me to major in philosophy, as the readings and discussions called me to wonder about matters of critical concern: What is a hero? What do we make of the Greek hero Odysseus' treatment of his slave girls, his wife's fidelity and his infidelity when tricked? Val's course called my attention to different questions: is genetic engineering ethical? Should it be used for medical purposes or to enhance food productivity? What will happen to the ways of nature that have taken so many years to develop if we begin altering her order? Val also explored with us new ideas about our relationship with the natural world: Gaia theory, for example. These questions and explorations were the beginnings of my environmental interest that I continue to pursue today through my study of Nature Literature as part of my doctoral study at George Washington University.

Having enjoyed the learning opportunities of my first two honors courses, I was eager to undertake a third: Dr. Tony Whall's core course. It always amazed me exactly how many insights Dr. Whall could help us discover as we made connections between our lives, the world of ideas, and such great works of literature as Henry Thoreau's Walden. And Dr. Whall would let you know when you made a connection or achieved some kind of revelation by his excitement level in class. I'll never forget his "Yes, that's it!" as he fell to his knees and looked up at a student struggling with an idea from Dostoyevsky's The Underground Man. "What a weirdo," I thought, but now as I teach I find myself full of the same excitement, ready to make a fool of myself if only I can help students "get it" too. My particular revelation from that course, still quite alive in my current study, is the myriad of Thoreau’s ideas presented in Walden - about work, the truly lived life, and our connections with the rest of the natural world.

I was to graduate in 1996, finishing my bachelor of arts in English Literature in three years. However, I still had to complete one more honors course and a thesis to graduate with Bellavance Honors. Besides, Henry Thoreau said "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation," and men have become "tools of their tools." What was my rush into that world? My decision was made; I stayed at Salisbury University for another year and took classes I was interested in because of my newfound love of learning. I wanted to "suck the marrow out of life" and get all I could out of my education.

One course I took was the Honors elective, "American Wilderness Experience," taught by Joe Gilbert. The course involved a weekend camping trip which I was both eager for and apprehensive about. The last time I had been camping was when I was about five -and then in a camper! On the camping trip, it was cold and it poured! The rain didn't stop until it was time for us to return to Salisbury. But it was wonderful! Never would I have gone camping on my own, much less on a cold and rainy weekend, but I learned that there is nothing like waking up to the sound of rain just inches from your head as you increasingly appreciate the warmth of a sleeping bag. It was a beautiful experience.

That's what I was missing - experience! My honors classes thus far had been wonderful, but this course offered me what I needed to round out my education. Again, I return to Thoreau when he considered his college days - offering all of the branches, but none of the roots. Salisbury was giving me the roots, the experience I needed to truly begin to understand the significance of the natural world! Here was the final push I needed to accelerate my environmental interests so much that I decided to make my life's work revolve around environmental endeavors.

Not needing the credits that spring, I opted to take only three courses and spend my free time volunteering at Pocomoke River State Forest and Park where I later became part-time naturalist and education coordinator. Joe Gilbert taught me that I can learn from books, but also through experience, and that is what my time at the park offered. In fact, through these trips and my time at the park, my desire for more natural experiences only increased, leading me to study with Joe and fifteen Salisbury University students at The Thoreau Institute, just outside of Concord, Massachusetts. At the Institute, experiential learning was an integral part of our educational pursuits. Classes were held by the fire at night and days were left for study, reading, and exploring the town of Concord, Walden Woods and Pond, the North Bridge, the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Boston, and many other historical sights.

Following in the footsteps of Henry Thoreau, we sauntered everywhere, except for a train to Boston. In addition, we participated in many group trips and lectures, such as an Indian musician concert, lectures by authors like John Hansen Mitchell, Parker Huber, and Roger Fouts, climbs up Hawk Mountain, Mount Washington, Mount Monadnock, Mount Wachusett, Mount Ktaadin, a visit to a peace abbey, and a walk on the shore of Cape Cod. While part of this special studies program in Massachusetts, I finished my undergraduate honors thesis, "Henry Thoreau's Environmental Relevance to the Twenty-first Century." In addition, I now had the direction for my future environmental pursuits. I had enjoyed my educational pursuits so much that I decided that I wanted to help others explore and learn about Nature through environmental education.

A few months later and a few more student loans paid off, I returned to Salisbury University where I undertook graduate study in English in the hopes that I could one day teach environmental literature, writing, and humanities. Little did I know that the honors program, the history department, and Joe would make this dream come true sooner that I thought possible. Having finished the course work for my master's degree in English Literature after my third semester, I was offered the opportunity to teach three environmental studies courses. Two courses I taught were through the history department: "Environmental History" and "American Wilderness Experience" - the second of which was the same course Joe taught me through the honors program before retiring. I was so excited!

The third course I was to teach was "The Life and Times of Henry Thoreau," a course I had taken during my time at The Thoreau Institute. This course was to be taught through Salisbury's honors program and, with the program's support, I would be permitted to undertake numerous experiential learning trips with my students. Through the honors program, we received funding to take a local canoe trip and undertake a volunteer project at Pocomoke River State Forest and Park. We traveled to Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, where we practiced simple living as practiced by naturalist Cindy Ross with whom we stayed on this trip. And finally, we were funded for a spring break trip to Concord, Thoreau's beloved home, where we followed in Henry's footsteps! Students also developed their own "Thoreauvian cause" projects, including raising money for and purchasing an acre of rainforest land, participating in Earth Day, organizing and implementing a canoe trek that raised over one thousand dollars for the Assateague Coastal Trust, developing a slide show to share their experiences, and volunteeringto help children on a ropes course, among other projects.

None of this would have been possible without the honors program's generous support, and that includes opportunities to take and teach honors courses as well as the monetary support for trips. Who I am and where I am right now depends greatly on Salisbury University's Bellavance Honors Program. Without the classes and experiences I have had through the honors program, I may have become, as Henry Thoreau writes, one of the masses that "lead lives of quiet desperation." Instead, I am "going confidently in the direction of my dreams," now pursuing my doctoral degree in American Literature with a concentration on Transcendentalism and Environmental Literature. And continuing to dream a little, I see myself one day back at Salisbury University, teaching honors courses that enlighten and change the lives of my students as much as my honors professors used their talents to help me question my ideas, to enjoy reading, to undertake new experiences, and to embark on a romance with learning that will never end.

My spring break adventure at Walden Pond was the most profound and influential learning experience encountered at Salisbury University. It helped me make a solid connection between book reading, and real life. Thus, Henry David Thoreau was truly brought to life for me! – Lindsey Clime

The class entitled "The Life and Times of Henry David Thoreau" has definitely changed the Life and Times of Andrew Stuhl.... Through this class, I have learned to live more simply, question myself and my society, and become an individual. I have absorbed the energies of the Transcendentalists and now I believe that I am ready to share with others my new found knowledge. - Andrew Stuhl

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How I spent my summer

by Melyssa Malinowski

 

 

 

Honors student Melyssa Malinowski finds excitement at the summer Center for talented youth.

During the summer of 1999, I worked at the a Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Summer camp. These camps provide academic enrichment courses for kids who get top scores on standardized tests. As a ‘Programs Assistant’, I was in charge of 12 girls and boys, all 9 and 10 years old, for three weeks.

I HATED IT.

It was not the job, or the people I worked with. It was children. They were awful. Never before had I had a job where I dreaded getting up in the morning. This was an entirely new experience for me and not one that I was eager to repeat.

So, when the application for summer 2000 came, I had misgivings. The only program that tempted me was the marine program, which involved camping and boating with students in their early teens . To me that sounded like so much fun. I’d get to be outside, on the bay and camp! All that and I’d get paid! I went ahead and filled out the application.

In February, I received an e-mail version of a contract. I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement! I got the site I wanted and I was eager for summer to come.

In June I moved to the Inner Harbor to live at our land-based headquarters, the USCG Cutter Taney, the only remaining survivor of the attack at Pearl Harbor. Commissioned in 1936 and virtually intact, the Taney is a permanent docked vessel that is now a museum. Wow, I thought, a 64-year-old war vessel.

Let’s just say that the first three days on board were very hard and the Taney smelled it’s age. Some days I thought myself insane. What had I gotten myself into? Why was I living aboard this relic? Was it August yet?

Then the kids arrived. I met my class. They were there to study oysters. Seeing them, some of my original enthusiasm returned. That was until I had to give them the "if you don’t listen" speech and the site director had to reprimand them on the first night. They hadn’t even been there for six hours and already there were troublemakers! This class was scheduled to stay ashore for the first half of the three week period. I began to fear a repeat of the previous summer and this time I was stuck for six weeks instead of just three.

Finally it was time for us to meet our boat. First, though, we met the crew. I liked them right away. They accepted no nonsense from the children and they treated me like part of their team. Once again, I let my hopes rise, maybe, just maybe, this summer’s experience would be a positive one.

My next moment of pure joy was on seeing our shipboard home for the next nine days. She was docked at St. Mary’s College dock and she was beautiful. Her name was Sigsbee, originally built 101 years ago (though only the wheel is left from the original), and she was a skipjack.

The next nine days flew by. I developed a very close relationship with my kids. They even told me that they hadn’t realized that I was so cool. We set up tents, raised sails, and docked the boat. Basically, we enjoyed ourselves, despite all the wearying work we did.

When that trip concluded I bid my kids a fond farewell and prepared for the next group to come in. This time I was going to camp and boat first and I was with the class studying crabs.

This trip was even better. I did not enjoy the boat trip as much (aboard a motor boat) but the children were great from day one. They were fun, helpful and just great people all the way around. I felt that I could be their friend and they would still respect me as an authority figure. I was not disappointed.

The most memorable experience of that trip was the infamous "Lake Taylor " incident. We had just been drenched on the boat. Everyone was cold and wet. We went ashore for the night and the kids set up tents without grumbling. They even performed a minor miracle by erecting a canopy over the dinner table by sheer power of determination. That night I woke up every hour because of the torrential downpour that assailed us. Now, experts say that there is a way to set up a tent so that no water can get under it. Well, obviously these experts have never experienced rain like this. When I woke around 3:30 am, I realized, in my frozen sleepy haze that there was water under ¾ of the tent. I tried to sleep, but two hours later I got up, stepped into 3" of cold water, then jumped my way across several "islands" to make my way to the bathroom. There I found half of my students up and cheerfully drying their belonging. They’d been up for two hours because their tents had flooded, yet they were in a great mood! We packed up camp and ate breakfast on the boat that morning. Nobody complained; they just did what they had to do and smiled through it. I was so very proud of them and I made sure that they knew it!The Sigsbee under sail! What a classroom! What a summer job! (Image courtesy of the Living Classrooms Foundation)

I have so may other stories I could tell and an album of pictures to show. Yet, I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention the other part of the camp, whose boats and staff provided the crews and instructions for this summer educational experience. Many thanks to the Living Classroom Foundation, based at the Drum Point Light house on Pier 5 and the Weinberg center on East Caroline Street, for the best summer I’ve had so far!!!

Anybody interested in working with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (they have sites all over the country), or in more stories, come talk to me. I’d be more than happy to share the info! (Disclaimer: If you don’t like children do NOT even consider this job!!!)

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This Year's Honors Course Offerings

 

 

 

Here are the courses and faculty that current Honors students were able to choose from among this year

FALL 2000

IDIS 111, "Critical Thinking and Writing" (1 section) - Scott Jensen

IDIS 111, "Critical Thinking and Writing" (2 sections) - Richard England

IDIS 211, "Western Intellectual Tradition II" (3 sections) - Tony Whall

IDIS 260, "Environmental Perspectives: Tropical and Temperate Forests" - James Hatley, Jill Caviglia, Richard Hunter

IDIS 311, "American Musical Theater" - Michael Weber

IDIS 490, "Honors Thesis Preparation" - Tony Whall

IDIS 495, "Honors Thesis" - Tony Whall

SPRING 2001

IDIS 112, "Western Intellectual Tradition I" (2 sections) - William Zak

IDIS 112, Western Intellectual Tradition I" (1 section) - Scott Jensen

IDIS 212, "Scientific Knowledge" (2 sections) - Richard England

IDIS 311, "Spirituality and Literature: A Latin American Perspective" - Brian Stiegler

IDIS 311, "Music in American Culture" - Cherie Stellaccio

IDIS 490, "Honors Thesis Preparation" - Tony Whall

IDIS 495, "Honors Thesis" - Tony Whall

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College Mock Presidential Debates

by Harry Pippin

On November 2nd, three of the political organizations on campus, the College Republicans, Democrats and Greens, participated in a debate to help increase awareness of the presidential candidates’ stands on the issues. It was hoped that by having this debate, students would become more interested in the 2000 presidential race. An audience of about 150 students gathered in Caruthers Hall Auditorium to watch. by Harry Pippin

The debate started with introductions of the two representatives of each of the three groups. A series of questions directed by the moderator to each group began the proceedings. Each team made an impressive showing; it was clear that the organizations had well prepared, articulate representatives.

The second set of questions came from people in the audience, and topics ranged from affirmative action, abortion, and taxes to Internet commerce. The representatives from each group often chose to use their time to rebut opposing arguments. The debate grew in intensity, but at all times the members of the organizations maintained a mature, civil tone. The closing arguments that the groups made were impressive, and in my opinion served to conclude a noteworthy debate.

I represented the College Republicans at the debate and I think that each group did equally well. It was a worthwhile way to experience American Democracy in action. It is rare that political groups have meaningful debates about the issues, and I think that it was an important event for the students of Salisbury University.

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New Assistant Director: Richard England

by himself!

 

 

At a recent Honors program committee meeting I was introduced as last year’s project – their hunt for a new assistant director had been a lot of work apparently! Now settling in to help with this year’s projects, I offer this brief introduction of myself to the wider Bellavance Honor’s program community.

The assistant director until 1999, Anna Marie Roos, was a historian of science, and so am I. My undergraduate degree was in zoology, with three blissful summer trips to the Canadian High Arctic for geomorphological and wildlife field work. In my fourth year a particularly zealous evolutionary theorist insisted that every organism at all times is seeking to maximize its LRS (life reproductive success). No seagull wheeling by the window was merely idling! I began to wonder how Darwin’s theories arose and how they could prompt such extreme views as my professor’s. Enter graduate study in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Toronto. After wrestling with courses in the history of science, technology and medicine, the philosophy of science and of biology, I escaped with my Ph.D. in 1997. My thesis explored the assimilation of natural selection by a group of Anglican neo-Hegelians in Victorian Oxford, and I hope to publish an expanded version of it as a book called Darwin and the Dreaming Spires.

This curiously interdisciplinary education fitted me for a variety of teaching jobs. I received a Dibner post-doc at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, where I taught introductory courses in philosophy as well as the history of science, and science and religion. At Franklin and Marshall College I taught environmental studies and the history of medicine. At the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto I branched out into science education for K-12 students (it is wonderful to be paid for blowing things up and playing with Lego!) Finally my sojourning brought me here to SU where I will be teaching introductory core courses (particularly Scientific Knowledge) and learning the art and science of running an Honors program from Dr. Whall.

I’ve been here about three months now, and am beginning to get the hang of things. Presidential debate screenings (very instructive for showing my Critical Thinking students how not to do it), open mic nights, and campus colloquies are keeping me busy and giving me a chance to learn from my students about the unprinted secrets of college life.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great help I have received from my wife, Charlotte, with organizing and advertising extracurricular activities. The more ambiguously helpful member of our family is a basset hound, Rip van Wrinkles, who narrowly lost the contest for VP of the H.S.A. Wrinkles has become a great favorite among certain students who are apparently susceptible to his stoical, droopy, odiferous charm.

What else can I tell you? Despite being a white male I have a certain multicultural makeup as a Canadian born in England, raised in Scotland, and baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church. I occasionally write poems and am an inveterate doodler. I sing, but not as often as I’d like. The Honors program seems a great place to exercise my various interests and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone. I am up here on the second floor of the house – please drop by!

Pircutre of Dr. England and faithful hound...

Wrinkles checking out the rented threads of Dr. England -"Someone once stored hors d’oeuvres in those sleeves..."

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 The News from Lake Wobegon: Past Assistant Director Anna Marie Roos writes from Duluth Minnesota

 

 

 

Well, for those of the older guard who were wondering, here is an update on our much-missed Dr. Anna Marie Roos. She writes:

Lets see . . . What have I been up to . . . here goes.

In August of 1999, I started my position as an assistant professor of history at the University of Minnesota of Duluth. For those of you not familiar with Minnesota geography, Duluth is in Minnesota's Northland on the shores of Lake Superior. When I drive to work everyday, I see the largest freshwater lake in the world on the horizon, along with ships coming in to dock in our international port; the lake is so blue that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the horizon, so the ships sometimes look like they are floating in the sky. The seasons are also quite different here than they are in Salisbury. We have long extended falls with spectacular colors and some unbelievable winters where we get several feet of snow; hockey is king up here, as are other more arcane winter sports like curling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. There is also a large Scandinavian population here in Northern Minnesota, and so we are treated to lingonberry pastries and cardamom bread (good), and mushy casseroles (called hotdish up here) and lutefisk (very, very bad!) Any of you who listen to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion on NPR are hearing about the culture of the Midwest where I now live.

UMD is more than double the size of Salisbury University (though the campus is not half as pretty as SU's), and we have students who attend from all over the Midwest. UMD is primarily known as more of a science-engineering university, with doctoral programs in engineering and biology and a medical school. So, the liberal arts programs tend to be a bit smaller, and there is no honors program (though I might change that in the future!) I'm the only professor who teaches European history before 1815, so I teach a wide variety of classes including some about the Renaissance/Reformation, History of Science (of course!), Tudor and Stuart English History, and graduate courses for the Masters of Liberal Arts program we have here at UMD. Other than teaching, I'm busy being advisor for the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, and doing my research. My first book about how people in England perceived the sun and the moon from 1420-1700 is coming out in a few months, and I also have just had a history of medicine article published by Johns Hopkins University Press; I'm also going to be giving a symposium for graduate students and colleagues about my research down at the Twin Cities campus in January. I hope to be in England most of this summer doing research for my next book about how different cultural factors affected how science was presented in early English Newspapers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

I do miss all of you and the Honors Program at SU very much, and I think of you often. However, I've heard that Dr. Whall and Dr. England are doing a good job keeping all you guys in line and steering the Honors ship. If any of you want to know what I'm up to, take a look at www.d.umn.edu/~aroos. There is an email link on there where you can get in touch with me. My very best to all of you.

Anna Marie Roos, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History Department, University of Minnesota.

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Semester Fun!

 

 

 

 

Big Apple Culture Vulturing -- On November 18th New York city was the destination for 23 honors students with Dr. & Mrs. England. With strict instructions to absorb metropolitan culture and be back at our rendezvous for the bus, we scattered into the area around Times square. Rush-tickets were acquired by various students for Rent, Les Miserables, and Riverdance - some diehards even suffered the hardship of standing-room only spots! Others spent time in the Museum of Television and Radio, bought videos from street-vendors (who could probably tell they weren’t police officers), and browsed the boutiques. One student complained that the $1200 tank-tops at Saks looked tacky. Really, where can one shop for stylish clothes these days!? A few were dropped off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where only the awareness that it was really an awfully long walk back to Salisbury tore them from their adoration of the Dutch masters. On the way back we took along two additional SU students who had come on their own by Greyhound. So far from losing any students, as had been Dr. England’s fear, we actually gained two! A pity these gains aren’t bankable against any future losses. And despite tales of past interesting bus experiences we got back shortly after midnight without encountering anything worse than a cacophonous barrage of back-of-the-bus song.

How not to do it: — Dr. England invited his classes to watch the presidential debates this semester, and threw open the honors classroom to the campus for screenings of these events. While the debates did improve in quality as they progressed, they were generally poor models for the style of thoughtful opposition of ideas that Dr. England encouraged in his Critical Thinking and Writing classes. Still, we enjoyed the political theater and the logical fallacy count, and students can still be heard telling their peers to go "put it in a lockbox".

How to do it: -- In the same context Dr. England noted the following facts and asked his students to draw some conclusions. Time elapsed between polls closing and final decision on who won in...

Nov 7th U.S. presidential election: 4 weeks so far...

Nov 26th Canadian general election: 1 hour.

Open Mic Night Continues -- The Beat Generation lives on in the Open Mic nights hosted by Honors sophomore Michelle Burke and senior Jim ("Smokey") Frazier. Every two weeks there is another featured artist, and lots of open mic time. Last time there was actually a microphone for the song, poetry, and impromptu jam sessions which developed over the course of the evening! Keep the creativity happening, cats! 

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My Definition

 

 

 

 

The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some recent winners:

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the reader who

doesn't get it.

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of obtaining sex.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously.

Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like a

serious bummer.

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

The same paper published a contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternative meanings for various words. The following were some of the winning entries:

Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Carcinoma (n.), a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.

Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.

Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.

Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.

Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.

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Mind Shrapnel and Cookies

 

 

 

 

That’s how we’re advertising our Honors Student Association Campus Colloquies, a forum for sharing ideas about a wide variety of matters. The first colloquy was on the recent "Ballot Box Blues" with Dr. Dean Kotlowski from history introducing us to the history of disputed U.S. election results. About 20 students and faculty gathered to discuss the current odd situation, attacking the Electoral College and mulling over the role of the media in this latest politico-legal sensation.

Dr. England will lead the next colloquy on the fate of Napster and its interplay with intellectual property rights, freedom of speech, and the mutagenic effects of technology on culture. All colloquies feature a speaker who introduces a topic for 20 minutes and then open discussion of various issues which arise from it. We are attempting to reproduce the play of ideas that characterize honors classes in a way that reaches out to the entire campus community. All students and faculty are invited to propose topics for a colloquy. We hope to host a range of subjects which will serve as "mind shrapnel" for people with many different interests. The "cookies" are a lure which we enjoy baking. Check the website (q.v.) for information about upcoming sweet discussions.

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National Honors Conference in Washington D.C.

 

 

 

National Honors Conference in Washington, DC

Over 1500 faculty, administrators and students from Honors programs nationwide attended this year’s National Collegiate Honors Council conference held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, DC, October 18-22.

Representing the Bellavance Honors Program were students Tim Reese and Amanda Elzey, and program directors Richard England and Tony Whall. Tim and Amanda, both "alumni" of the NCHC’s "Honors Semesters" program (Amanda spent her semester in Greece, Tim in the Grand Canyon), attended reunions of their semester groups. Dr. England attended several workshop sessions to learn as much about Honors administration and pedagogy as could be learned in four busy days. Dr. Whall co-presented two symposia, one with Paul Strong, Honors director at Alfred University on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, and another on traditional and post-modern readings of Robert Frost with Hugh Egan, Honors director at Ithaca College.

The Spring regional conference is being held this year in Brooklyn, and the national conference, in the Fall, will be in Chicago. Drs. Whall and England will be sure to be there, and they’re always looking for interested students to accompany them on these adventures. How about you?

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The Saunterer Online

 

 

 

The Saunterer Online

Just in time for the tech stock meltdown and the Napster sellout, the Honors program brings you a glimpse of hope for the future of the wired world. You can now view issues of the Saunterer online, with color pictures which should help you decipher the black and white images you get in your paper copy. The Saunterer is accessible on the revamped honors program website, http://www.salisbury.edu/honors/ , At the moment last December’s and the current issue are the only copies online, but we’ll keep adding issues. Any suggestions for improving our web presence can be directed to Dr. England at rkengland@salisbury.edu.

 

 

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Hi Dr, Whall! Alumni News.

 

 

 

Michelle Keeney - - 1993 "I wanted to let you know that I have moved to Durham, NC to start my internship. I graduated from Villanova University School of Law in May 1999 and took the bar exam in July. My internship in clinical psychology is for the completion of my Ph.D. It is jointly sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Federal Correctional Institute in Butner, NC. I spend half my week at the hospital and the other half at the prison doing various psychological tasks (testing, therapy, etc.).

"It seems as though I really am going to enjoy the work I will be doing. We just finished orientation on Thursday so this coming week will be my first "real" week of rotations. I love the area where I am living. I am squeezed between Durham and Chapel Hill and Raleigh is only 20 minutes away. It is nice after ten years of post-secondary education to actually have weekends and evenings free. I still have my dissertation to complete, but that is nothing compared to my normal workload.

"Things are going very well. I am beginning to feel a little more content and to realize that I have many interesting and challenging opportunities awaiting me. I hope all is well in Salisbury. Perhaps there will be a position opening in the Psychology Department sometime in the future--you never know. Take care, Michelle."

Stephanie Havenner (Kastle) - - 1994 "I just received my copy of The Saunterer. Excellent work! It was nice to read about some of my fellow HSA friends.

"When we last spoke I was a marketing representative for a commercial construction company. After a year, I removed the hard hat and now work for United Way of Central Maryland in Baltimore. I absolutely love it! My heart has always been in the non-profit world. Remember adopting a family for the first time?

"I am in my final year at Johns Hopkins University. I will have my MS in Marketing in May 2001. Although I believe in continual learning, I cannot wait to graduate.

"Shawn Kastle (SU, 1995) and I have been married for 4 ½ years and are living in Columbia with our cat Cody. We wish you all the best in 2000. Drop a line anytime."

Heather Carr - - 1995 Heather stopped in for a visit during the Thanksgiving holidays. She received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin this year and is now working on a post-doctoral research project at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

" My new job is in a lab that studies how cells get metal ions to the enzymes that need them. I'm studying a gene that appears to be responsible for delivering copper to a specific site in the complex that generates energy for aerobic life in yeast. This gene, cox11, has homologs in humans, but yeasts are much easier to study in a lab.

"Utah is a beautiful place, but in the last week it's snowed every day, and I've seen more snow than in all 4 years at SU. More even than Madison Wisconsin usually got in a month during winter. It'll probably be great for me to learn how to cross-country ski, but I'm focusing right now on getting started in the lab."

 

Jennifer Gabb Frey - - 1995 "Upon receiving the Honors newsletter, I thought I needed to write in with an update. First things first...the name has changed. Back in the good ol' SU days I was Jennifer Gaab. As of August 21, I have become "Frey" upon marrying Jay in Lexington, Virginia. He is an alumnus of Virginia Military Institute, a Captain in the Marines, and flies the FA-18 (Fighter "Hornet" Jet) out of Miramar MCAS (outside of San Diego, CA.) This is the base where "Top Gun" was filmed. I went to the Officers' Club there on a lark during a business trip to San Diego. And there he was, my own "Tom Cruise"- only much taller!

"I have been out here since January 1999. I moved from South Carolina, where I completed my masters at USC in May 1997. I then went to work for Roche Laboratories, as a pharmaceutical representative. I now work for Merck, in a similar position in Southern California. Jay and I spent a glorious week in Bora Bora for our honeymoon, and I have settled into life as an officer's wife and new house owner. I am working on an Interior Decorating program on the side, and also stay busy with the Officers' Wives Club, and as a National Staff Member for my SU sorority. My husband is currently deployed to Kuwait until June (yuck!)- but so goes the price of freedom. My pug, Hoffmann, and I eagerly await his return. I am thinking of returning to school for an MBA, but I am not sure how much longer I will work because we are close to starting a family."

Christina Halter (Minkewicz) - - 1995 "I wasn't sure if my original message got through or not. Glad to see it did. I have to admit, my major was education. I enjoyed every minute of it in college, but in the real world, it just has not worked out. I have had approximately 10 different jobs since graduating in 1995, so I have learned a lot about lots of different things. I am a database expert, a Microsoft office expert, and I can answer the phone in the most pleasant manner you will ever know. I work part time with Prudential as a Marketing Associate and it has grown on me. I am licensed to write Property and Casualty Insurance in the state of VA. I deal mostly with people who are buying a house and need the homeowners insurance to go with all of the rest of the closing paperwork. I also write auto insurance and umbrella liability policies. I cannot say that I've found my dream job as I always hoped I would, but I have lots of time for that. As you may remember, my dad found his "dream" job at 48 years and my mom is working on her Masters right now at SU; she's getting her MBA and loving it. Frank and I just bought a house here in Virginia Beach.... The area has really grown on us.

"I really like the way you stated the difference between the value of a good education and job training. I may not use my BS the way it was intended, but I know that it was a wonderful opportunity for me and I'm glad that I took advantage of SU and the Honors Program. Who knows, someday in the future, I may decide to further my education with a Masters degree.

"I don't know if you remember Frank (SU,1995), but he has his Masters degree from Old Dominion University in 1997 and is using his talents as an agent with Prudential. He never thought of himself as an insurance agent and financial planner in college, but he is very happy and challenged by his job.

"Thanks for the response. We are up in Salisbury still quite often to visit my family and we'll have to stop by and see the campus soon. I know that it has changed quite a lot from when we were there."

Mike Long --1995 "I was talking to Becca Brooks last night and realized that it had been a while since I touched base with you. Believe it or not, I am going to graduate with an MS in math (from West Virginia University) in May and then I am going straight into my doctoral program in mathematics education. I think I have finally found out and am now willing to admit that the area that I love is mathematics education. I am working with some wonderful people here and want to continue to do so.

"...my new assistantship is awesome. I think you knew that I was accepted into the middle school enrichment program. I am actually writing a book for this. Imagine that...me...writing a book. I love what I am doing and I love working with the teachers. All of the feedback I have received has been very positive."

Jennifer Mariner - - 1995 "How are you?? It's been awhile since we spoke and I thought I'd drop you a line. I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Genetics at George Washington University and the National Cancer Institute. I hope to be finished within the next 18 months, so cross your fingers. I will be very happy when I am finally done!

"I am not sure what I am going to do after school. Most scientists go on to do post doctoral research. I would like to move to Baltimore, so I will most likely look for a position at University of Maryland or Johns Hopkins. I am also considering other options. Many school systems up here are hiring Ph.D. scientists to teach in their high schools. This would be a risky jump, but I might enjoy it. I have been teaching a lab class at GW and I really like it. I am also interested in finding a tenure track position in a smaller teaching university. I know these are difficult to find, but if I put my mind to it, I know someone out there would eventually hire me."

Agnes Patkowski - - 1996 "In your last message (written a while ago) you told me a little about your Ph.D. comprehensive exams and how exactly you studied for them. You also said that you passed every section on the first try. After I read that, I couldn't write to you until my comps (for the Ph.D. in Philosophy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh) were over and I knew how I did. And, after six months of reading 6 hours a day for six days a week (I didn't want to go completely insane, hence the one day off) I am very happy (and shocked) to say that I passed. I felt okay about the Ancient, Medieval and Contemporary parts of the exams but really believed that the Modern did me in. The chair called me today, though, to tell me. This exam really began to mean a lot to me. I felt if I failed I couldn't really get my Ph.D., even though I would be able to take the exams over for another try. I can't really explain it, but I felt that I had to pass to prove to myself that I belonged in a philosophy graduate department.

"Anyhow, now I'm trying to get my reading list together so that I can start reading for my dissertation. I don't have my topic concretely worked out at all, but it will have something to do with ethics and literature. Not very specific, I know. Now that I think of it, you probably have some reading suggestions you can give me (we don't have much concern for literature or literary theory in our department). So far, my very rough reading list on the literature side consists of Nussbaum, Auerbach, Said, Forster, and Lukacs.....

"I'm teaching two sections of intro this semester. I am also thinking of approaching the chair about the possibility of teaching a philosophy of literature class, but I am not sure how responsive he would be to that. Oh yeah, and I'm reading Middlemarch. I really think your advice helped me pass these exams. I kept thinking that studying methodologically helped you pass, and so that it might help me. Obviously it did."

Christina Bach (Dryden) - - 1996 "Hello, this is Christina Bach now known as Christina Dryden (I got married Dec. 31, 1997 to another SU grad). How are you? I have been meaning to write to you. I really enjoy receiving the SU Honors newsletter. I always think of you and the Honors program whenever I receive one in the mail.

"So, what have I been doing? Well, besides getting married I have been working on my Ph.D. in chemical oceanography at Old Dominion University. My research is exciting and I have the greatest dissertation advisor, Dr. John Donat. I have been at ODU since I graduated in May 1996. I recently passed my Ph.D. candidacy exam so now I am a Ph.D. candidate. Finally!! Now the only thing between me and graduation is my dissertation research! My project is an investigation of methylcadmium in the Elizabeth River, VA and the Lower Chesapeake Bay. Hopefully, I will finish around December 2001.

Alison Carusi - - 1996 "Well, it's official. I am a teacher...or at least that is what they call me...and in two languages. Two days before school started, I was hired to be the ESL teacher for Chatfield Elementary School, here in Grand Junction (Colorado)! I teach K-5th graders during their literacy blocks. I had two days to prepare and an empty room to fill with fun things for kids to do! All of my students speak Spanish as a first language, all 29 of them. I have one aide and another on the way, so that's good, but I am BUSY to the max!!!"

Jennie Wollenweber - - 1996 "I'm busy at George Washington University, studying in three classes for the Ph.D., writing a lot, re-learning Spanish for my qualifying exam, studying for SU comps for my Masters in English (I take them in the end of September), and finding time to take a white-water rafting trip in October. I'm also working in the Writing Center at GW. I decided not to teach my first semester as a Ph.D. student, but I miss teaching already. I may be teaching environmental courses at UMBC this summer and next fall. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing." (See Jennie’s article on page. 1)

Brian Grover - - 1997 stopped in for a much-enjoyed visit on Homecoming weekend. He's in his second year (in a four-year program) of Pharmacy school at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. He said this is the toughest year, but so far, he's done well enough to look forward to graduation in 2 ½ years. Crass materialist that I am, I asked him if pharmacy pays well (I'm always on the lookout for rich alums!) and he said, "verrrry well! Tell any of your students even considering pharmacy that it is a richly rewarding profession in many ways!" Most excitingly, Brian is singing with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. He sang with the SU Concert Choir during his four years here, and came to this Homecoming, in part, to sing with the choir at Homecoming’s "Celebration of the Arts."

Lori Frei - - 1998 "Yes, I have moved out of my parents’ house and into my own townhouse. I am definitely enjoying living on my own and "playing" homeowner (I'm renting, but it still has that feel of being "mine!") Work is going very well. Wait. When was the last time I "talked" to you? I graduated in May from University of Maryland - Baltimore with my Masters in Social Work Administration with a concentration in Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). (An EAP is basically a counseling service for employees and their families. The company either runs the program or contracts with a private organization to run the program.) Throughout last year, I had an internship at Employee Health Programs in Bethesda, MD. Well, they hired me on, so I am still there! I work in the clinical services division (we have an EAP program and a substance abuse program). I really love my job and the people I work with. It's a perfect mix of responsibilities for me - some client contact over the phone, program administration type duties, database maintenance, account management, etc!"

Ben Hinceman - -1998 "Hope all is well in the 'Bury. I bought The Magic Mountain but have not had a chance to read it yet...but I have a long air flight coming up, so maybe then.

"I have just been accepted to study at the University of Hong Kong Law School in the spring 2001! I'll leave for Hong Kong at the end of January and attend the spring semester at the HKU Law School. Then in June, I will travel to Singapore where I will study A.S.E.A.N. (Association of South Eastern Asian Nations) trade and investment law at the National University of Singapore Law School. In July and August, I will intern at a law firm in either Kuala Lampur or Singapore. I think this will be the coolest thing ever!

"I will also be applying to University of Hong Kong's LLM (Advanced Law Degree) program in Chinese Investment and Trade law. If I get in, I will remain in Hong Kong for the fall 2001 and spring 2002 semesters. I think this will be quite an adventure! I have a lot to do to prepare, but I promise I'll visit the 'Bury before I leave and pay homage to the place where it all began.

Carrie Miller - - 1998 "I just started a new job last week as the Director of Marketing and Events for Bibelot, Baltimore's largest independently owned bookstore... So far, I'm terribly busy, but loving every second! It should prove to be a great career move. After September, I should have the system down pat and be able to have more fun with everything, rather than now, as I try to learn the ropes!

Kelly Hardy - - 1999 "Hi Dr. Whall! I was so happy to see your note on my copy of the honor's newsletter! You haven't forgotten me! . Right now, I hold the prestigious title of Logistics Management Specialist for the United States Navy at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. I'm still hoping to eventually go back to school. I just don't know what I want to study (or how to fund it!). I know what subjects I like to study, but those interests very rarely coincide with careers I'm interested in pursuing. I think I've finally decided that on January 30, I am going to win the Publisher's Clearing House prize, pay off all my bills, and just attend schools for the rest of my life. Not only do I plan to pick up a few post-graduate degrees (history, international studies perhaps), but I am also going to attend a few trade schools to become a master chef, carpenter, and auto mechanic. What do you think?

"Anyway, things aren't so bad, but I do miss SU. How are things going for you? I saw quite a few students had decided to go on for their theses this year. My hat goes off to them! Well, one of these federal holidays, I'll talk my old roommate into driving down to Salisbury with me. When I do, I'll be sure to drop by and bother you. It's been a long time since I've heard someone get REALLY excited about Thoreau, and I think I'm going through withdrawal!

Todd Cooper - - 2000 who is studying for his MS in Environmental Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, writes: "Everything's going pretty well here! I'm currently taking courses in Earth Systems Science, Analytical Methods, Microeconomic Principles, and Environmental Law. The quarter's almost done. We have a week and a half of classes after Thanksgiving, followed by a week of final exams. All of my exams are take-home, so there's less pressure during finals week. I start a Teaching Assistantship next quarter for the Environmental Studies department. I'll be running 2 discussion sections for the class "Aqueous Transport of Pollutants." Anyway, I'll be on campus for December graduation."

Courtney Smith - - 2000 wrote to tell me how she turned her thesis into a graduate program, to give all of those of you who are skeptical about the value of doing a thesis something to think about.

""I began searching for a graduate school, not with the hopes of continuing my undergraduate thesis, but hoping to look into a new area. However, in the process of looking for a school, I mentioned to a professor how I had done an undergraduate thesis on greenways. Through a chain of people, I eventually got into contact with a professor at Texas A&M University who conducts research on greenways within the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences department. Although this department was not where I expected to end up after receiving a degree in biology, the program will give me the flexibility to create my own series of coursework so that I can look into ecological issues in design for greenways, and also for the National Park Service."

Teresa Piekarski - - 2000 "I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that my job search is finally over (thank goodness). After careful consideration, I have accepted a great offer from a company in Bethesda, MD called Congressional Information Services (CIS). Basically, the job entails a lot of reading and writing. As an abstractor/indexer, my job is to take the transcripts from congressional hearings taking place on Capital Hill and summarize the witness's testimony so that it makes sense to the public. I am pretty excited about the whole thing and even more excited about the benefits, which include tuition reimbursement so grad school will definitely be in the near future."

Suzanne Sharff - - 2000 "I am working as a Risk Analyst for the Army chemical weapons demilitarization program, under contract with SAIC. They analyze the chemical weapons disposal facilities located around the United States to determine the risk to workers and the public. I am living in sin with my fiancé, Doug, and when we aren't throwing big keggers, this nerdy couple tries to plan a wedding for next fall." (Question: what the heck is a "kegger"? Is it like a discus?)

Veena Narang - - 2000 " I am in Phoenix, Arizona, teaching social studies to seventh and eighth graders. It is above all things, an adventure, very much like a roller coaster. I am teaching through Teach For America, a program that places recently graduated college students into under-resourced schools. Under-resourced can mean many things. For me, that means I have 37 students in one class and almost all my students are very behind. I have some seventh graders with 2nd, 3rd grade reading levels. I miss literature, just being able to read and discuss, read and discuss! What a great major, huh? But I have decided to go to grad school for English secondary education. I will always teach in an under-resourced classroom. I love these kids. When I tell people where I work, they say "oh, you work there," like this is an awful area or something, and to an extent it is, but I would not trade this for anything. I do not want to be anywhere else right now in my life. Anyway, If you know of any undergrads who are unsure of what to do with themselves and want to do community-oriented work, making a difference teaching, then have them email me. My address is veena10297@aol.com. Anyway, I hope that all is well with you."

Heather Reavis -- 2000 ". . .On a more specific note, my schools are going well. I'm at two elementary schools...around 400 kids....1st-5th grade general music and 5th grade beginning band. I have fun every day teaching and seem to be handling the prospect of putting together two (one at each school) Christmas programs (band and chorus). I try not to think about the end product too much, and just go day to day getting as many things planned as I can. I feel like I'm "playing" most days because I have such a good time with the kids....not that I don't have discipline problems...etc, but as the year goes on, and the kids get to know me more, the discipline problems are decreasing.

"I haven't gotten much further in The Brothers Karamazov. I just finished "The Great Debate" about renouncing your faith in the face of tortuous situations. I'm really enjoying reading someone else's approach to such deep religious dilemmas."

Laura Keller -- 2000 Laura is studying for the M.A. in Writing at Northeastern University in Boston. She wrote:

"Last quarter ended well. I only failed only one of my students. All of the rest were in the A/B range. My own graduate classes ended well also. I received an A in all three of my classes. I am in the process of applying for one of seven STC (Society for Technical Communication) scholarships. The tech writing dept. has only 3 full-time faculty, two of whom were my professors last quarter. Those two professors have written my letters of recommendation, something I was very worried about because I only knew them for one quarter. I thought to myself, "Where's Dr. Whall when you need him?" However, because the program is so small and there are so few full-time students, I have developed a very good relationship with them. They are both young, female professors, who really consider students their colleagues. In fact, I can call them both by their first names! The department is in the process of hiring a fourth full-time tech writing professor, and I am on the hiring committee.

"I have really started to love teaching. Last quarter, I would dread going to class, not because the students didn't respect me, but just because I did not feel I was making any difference in their education. However, after reading their evaluations, I now look forward to teaching so much more than I did last quarter. I am aware that anything I do may not have the exact, ideal outcome I want, but at least I am making some difference, even if it's just having them write more than they would without the class."

Sean Niner - - 2000 Sean is studying for his M.A. at Emerson College in Boston. He wrote: "Boston is fantastic. Yes, we have not only "discovered" our free MFA (Museum of Fine Art) pass, we spent an entire Saturday afternoon using it. They're changing exhibits fairly soon and we're going to head back. Laura (Keller - - see above) sends her students there quite a bit, for class stuff.

"The first semester here we spent a lot of time walking everywhere, discovering things on the weekends. It's such an amazing place to simply walk around and enjoy the buildings and the sights...not to mention the historical "feel" of the place. I worked part-time at an insurance company (blah! double blah!) to make some quick money first semester, and I was continually amazed that I walked by John Adams' and John Hancock's gravesites every morning on the way to work! I'm a big fan of history anyway, but anyone in Boston has to feel the blend of old and new everywhere you turn. Because you've been here, I'm sure you know what I mean.

"School is good. Emerson is very small - in contrast to Northeastern - and my professors are all working professionals putting aside time to teach a couple of classes. It's an interesting change from my undergraduate experience, and I think a good one. There are not many academic programs for publishing, and so I think the faculty really helps us focus on the practical side as much as any "theory" behind the discipline. I'm now working part-time at Houghton Mifflin, a big publishing company downtown, and thus far have enjoyed it very much (especially after the insurance ordeal first semester)."

CHRIS Whitt - - 2000 "I just wanted y'all to know I am doing alright down here at University of New Orleans (studying for a Masters in Political Science). I'm surviving the bombardment of quantitative methods and statistics. I am actually getting some good grades in some of these hard classes. I'm taking two methods classes and an African American Politics Class. I'm learning a lot that would have made me have a much better Honors thesis! I'm sure my dissertation will be up to par in four years."

The Thomas E. Bellavance Honors Program

Bellavance Honors Center

1101 Camden Avenue

Salisbury, MD 21801