Monthly Archives: April 2010
Bill Apel, professor of religious studies, met with more than 300 renowned scholars at an international conference held in Rutland, England, to discuss engaged spirituality and interfaith friends April 9-11.
At the conference, Apel led a talk on engaged spirituality, which he describes as our deeper selves and making sense of what is below the surface, he said.
Apel has developed the topic for the majority of his academic career, which he said was inspired by the works of Thomas Merton, a 20th-century Trappist monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani, Ky., who was both a poet and a social activist.
In his novel, “Signs of Peace,” Apel presents a comparative analysis of religion through Merton’s letters, highlighting the unifying thread of creating positive change in the world.
“Change has to occur within our own
experiences and then can extend to meet the larger needs of the world,” Apel said.
He said his objective in attending the conference, sponsored by the Thomas Merton Society, was to build on the research that resulted from his book “Signs of Peace” with scholars from seven countries.
Senior Scott Herron said he learned about Apel’s interest in the Trappist monks in his Monks and Mystics class with Apel at Linfield.
“It’s not always about trying to hurry with them — it’s about slowing down and getting to know people,” Herron said.
The members of the Thomas Merton Society aim to explore Merton’s works to see what lessons one can learn that are applicable today, Apel said.
“We don’t meet to just read the words from someone of the past, but to see what lessons are still to be learned,” he said.
Herron said there are two main categories of monks: those who are more contemplative and those who go out into the community and help.
The Trappist monks are among the more contemplative and isolated,
Herron said there is always a group of Trappist monks praying at the same time throughout the world at any given hour.
“An engaged spirituality says that now that we’ve turned inward, we should have an overflow into the world in which we live,” he said.
As part of his interfaith teachings, Apel highlights the connection between spirituality in his book as well as at the conference.
“Not every conference I go to is a peace conference, but every conference I go to I bring the message of peace,” he said. “We have to take our better selves and create acts of love, like caring for the earth, creating social justice and abolishing wars,” he said.
Throughout his career at Linfield, Apel has traveled to conferences in London, Berlin, Rome, Capetown and various places in Canada and the United States to discuss his interfaith teachings and spirituality.
“Whatever a person is going to do in his or her life, I think it’s important that he or she finds and discovers an engaged spirituality that will encourage them to create change,” he said.
Senior reporter Chelsea Langevin can be reached at email@example.com
A faculty member defended the recent decision to strip student committee members of their voting rights during faculty meetings at the ASLC Senate meeting April 26.
Scott Smith, chair of the Faculty Executive Council and associate professor of history, went on the record, after two weeks of Senate requesting the presence of a faculty member, to explain in detail the decision made by the faculty at its April 12 meeting to reorganize faculty committees and, in the process, to remove the voting power of the students on those committees.
Students have been included in faculty committees for at least a decade, always wielding the right to vote. However, Smith said, during the years he has been on faculty committees, he cannot recall a time when a matter was actually put to a vote. He said that influence is garnered through engagement and persuasiveness to reach consensus.
Not everyone agreed.
Senior Katrina Peavey, outgoing Associated Students of Linfield College vice president of programming, said that the committees are meant to foster a symbiotic and collaborative relationship between students and faculty, but she worries that students on the committees will feel that they have no voice as they cannot vote.
Smith said, because of the low number of students in comparison to faculty on the committees, that the right to vote was more symbolic than anything. In response, Peavey said that if the vote was nothing more than symbolism, then students should retain the right.
As reported in the last issue of the Review (“Faculty removes student vote,” TLR, April 23), Smith said that the faculty committees were tasked to carry out faculty duties, so voting members should be faculty, not students, staff or administration.
Per the ASLC Student Handbook, these committees have been called student/faculty committees; however, Smith said that this is not true and that no faculty record has them titled as such. They are, first and foremost, faculty entities, Smith said.
He said student input is still desired.
Other than a few questions from Cabinet members, Senate was silent about the matter.
On the same topic, Senate also finished a draft of its resolution to send to the faculty regarding its decision. Some changes, mostly nominal, will be made before it is presented again to the Senate.
Another major agenda item centered on proposed changes to the ASLC Bylaws. Junior Colin
Jones, ASLC president-elect, explained the two-page proposal.
Proposed changes dealt with the Communications Board (of which the Review is a member), creating a separate election during Fall Semester for matters regarding ASLC and club guidelines, among others.
The list of proposed changes went to the Senate Standing Rules/Bylaws Committee for review. No questions were asked by the senators. Senate will vote on the matter at its May 3 meeting. After that, the proposed changes will be sent to the student body for a vote.
In other news, M.E.Ch.A. was granted a permanent charter. The A Cappella Club was granted a temporary, six-week charter. (Both votes were unanimous.) Cabinet evaluations are underway.
The Campus Improvement Committee is still working through the Observatory questionnaire results and plans to have a report for Senate soon. The board of trustees will also be on campus April 30-May 2.
To read the Review’s live blog of the Senate meeting, click here.
Editor-in-chief Dominic Baez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Linfield students presented their work at the Northwest Psychological Association’s regional conference in Cancun, Mexico.
Seniors Nadia Abraibesh, Ashley Hockett and Lauren Leopp joined Associate professors of Psychology Tanya Tompkins and Jennifer Linder at the four-day conference, starting April 21, to present the results of their research.
Abraibesh, Hockett and Tompkins were the authors of a research project, “A Cross-Cultural Look at Co-rumination in American and Ecuadorian College Students.”
Tompkins said that she and Abraibesh worked on the project for two years with funding from a faculty-student collaborative grant they acquired in 2008.
Abraibesh’s research was helped by a semester abroad in Ecuador, where she compared the students to those in the Unite States.
Part of her research involved cultural values, she said, but the work is unfinished.
“I’m also interested in how cultural values, like individuals and collectivism in Ecuador and the United States, affect co-rumination,” Abraibesh said.
Tompkins said that she was impressed by Abraibesh’s performance.
“They blew [the previous speaker] away, and he was a graduate student a month away from getting his masters,” she said.
Abraibesh was also positive about her presentation.
“Surprisingly, no one asked us any questions,” Abraibesh said. “It went really well.”
Abraibesh also worked on a second project with Loepp and Linder and presented it at the conference.
The students brought home no awards but said that was not the point of attending the conference.
“It was a valuable learning experience,” Abraibesh said. “It was nice to attend this at the end of my senior year and present work that I’d been working on for the past two years.”
Leopp agreed with Abraibesh about the trip.
“Attending the Western Psychological Association’s conference is not only important for us to share our research,” Leopp said in an e-mail. “It also gives us the opportunity to learn about other research being conducted by other professors.”
Tompkins concurred, adding that bringing a project to a conference was usually the first step when turning a research project into a paper on the subject.
Leopp’s project began last summer under Linder and involved collaboration from students and faculty in Bringham Young and Iowa State universities.
Hockett presented her project, “Co-Rumination and Negative Inferential Style are a Vicious Combination.”
Tompkins said that co-rumination, the subject of both Hockett’s and Abraibesh’s projects, is an under-studied subject.
“Co-rumination is a problem-focused talk with negative effects,” she said. “It’s basically rehashing and regurgitating and going over a problem with a friend.”
She added that people who engage in the behavior are more likely to become depressed under stress.
Tompkins said that Hockett’s project was about the moderating effects of co-rumintation and what slowed or accelerated people into depression.
“[Hockett] discovered that co-rumination tended to worsen the effects of depression,” Tompkins said.
Abraibesh said the lack of information about co-rumination is what attracted her to the subject.
“I wanted to add to the literature,” she said. “No one has really looked at co-rumination outside of the United States.”
News editor Joshua Ensler can be reached at email@example.com
After a three-month application process, senior Nadia Abraibesh became a corps member of Teach for America.
“I was a little shocked when I found out, because I had been mentally preparing myself to hear that I was not accepted,” Abraibesh said.
She said she hasn’t ever heard of anyone else at Linfield who was accepted.
“Nadia has all the qualities they’re looking for,” Deborah Olsen, competitive scholarships adviser and instructor in history, said via e-mail. “I was delighted she was selected for this wonderful program.”
According to the Teach for America website, the program aims to end educational inequity — the reality that where a child is born determines his or her educational outcomes and life prospects in the United States. The program recruits outstanding recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to teach in urban and rural public schools for two years.
In 2009, more than 35,000 individuals applied to Teach For America, the largest amount of applications in the 19-year history of the program. Only 15 percent of applicants were accepted.
“Most applicants are not education majors, so it will be interesting,” Abraibesh said.
She also said that she spent an entire week focused on preparing complex applications and sending them out before the deadline in February. About 50 percent of applicants are selected to participate in the final interview.
Abraibesh said her final interview lasted from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Twelve applicants, as a group, took a five-minute geographic exam, participated in problem solving and reflection activities, answered multiple-choice questions, wrote an essay and, finally, had an hour-long solo interview.
“It’s a lot,” she said. “But [the full-day] interview let me know the interviewers better. I feel I expressed myself better.”
Before her acceptance for Teach for America, Abraibesh had decided to go to Libya to learn Arabic and hopefully serve as a teacher’s assistant at a British school after graduation.
Because of a conflict between interview dates for 2011 corps members and her trip to Libya, she said she e-mailed Teach for America officials, and they advised her to apply for the 2010 Corps and then defer if she was accepted.
As for tips on how to be accepted by Teach for America, Abraibesh suggested having excellent leadership experiences, portraying yourself with passion during the interview and believing in the program’s purpose — to end educational inequality.
Culture editor Yin Xiao can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A recent campus-wide e-mail announced the dates that three candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant dean of students position will arrive on campus.
Xavier Romano, Susan Hopp and Glenn Smith will visit Linfield in May to meet with students, faculty and staff, along with hosting open forums for the community, in an effort to become the new vice president of student affairs and athletics/dean of students. Dave Hansen, the current dean and professor of economics, will retire from his administrative role at the end of the school year. He will stay on as a part-time professor.
Romano, dean of students for Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first to visit campus May 10-11.
Romano has been dean of students at Knox for the past 11 years. However, this past year has proved tumultuous for the dean, as he has been the subject of criticism at a recent student forum that raised questions about how college authorities handled sexual assaults on campus.
Approximately 100 students attended a forum to discuss sexual assault at Knox on March 1. According to The Knox Student, the independent student-run paper of Knox College, “Main concerns about how the administration deals with sexual assault include whether victims are given the option to take their case to the Galesburg Police Department, whether there are sufficient consequences for those who commit sexual assault, whether having the same person be a Greek advisor and the Dean of Students presents a conflict of interest and whether there are enough services provided by the college to aid sexual assault victims.”
Romano is both the dean of students and adviser to the Inter-Fraternity Council for Knox, which students have asserted creates a conflict of interest. Students have complained that the university does little in the way of curbing sexual assault on campus, instead just sweeping it under the rug when such incidents happen.
To make matters more convoluted, Romano has been on a leave of absence since March, “dealing with issues relating to his father’s health and exploring his life post-Knox,” TKS stated.
“The past few months have not been representative of Romano as a dean,” Laura Miller, the editor-in-chief of TKS, said. “However, it only takes one incident.”
However, students at Knox have been kept in the dark as to why Romano left, prompting an ambiguous sit-in by students, curious editorials from the newspaper and vague answers from administration.
According to a TKS editorial, “These are the things we know for sure: An e-mail was sent to all students on March 4 explaining that then-Dean of Students Xavier Romano would be on leave and Associate Dean Debbie Southern would take his place. On March 8, the Faculty Committee voted on resolutions that would separate the Dean of Students from automatically chairing the Student Life Committee, and the resolution was sent to SLC for comments. On March 28, Student Senate President Heather Kopec sent an e-mail to Greek presidents stating that Romano was ‘terminated’ from his position. On March 30, Kopec and other students held a ‘sit-in’ in support of Romano and administration transparency.”
The editorial went on to argue that it is unduly difficult for students to feel one way or the other without knowing the facts.
“We weren’t surprised when we found out he’d be leaving, as he had not been on campus for a month at that point,” Miller said. “When we got the first e-mail, though, we were kind of shocked. We’re not sure what prompted the initial leave, and that’s part of the problem.”
Miller said students have not received any official announcement regarding Romano’s extended absence or the reasons behind it.
Knox President Roger Taylor was reported in TKS saying, “There is frustration when I don’t share all the information that maybe you’d like to know about, but there are times when it’s not appropriate. There are times when sharing information might be hurtful to other parties. I know it probably doesn’t lower your level of frustration. There are just some things that would be inappropriate for me to talk about.”
Miller said, as a whole, students have not had problems with Romano as a dean but that these issues represent a faulty process in the Knox administration system.
“He’s always been extremely accommodating for the newspaper,” she said. “For lots of students, he has been a great dean.”
The other candidates, Hopp and Smith, will be on campus May 13-14 and 18-19, respectively. Hopp has been the dean of students at Bucknell University for the past three years.
Smith, the vice provost for student services and enrollment management, has been at Concordia University for 17 years. The Review was unable to contact either candidate before publication.
The Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics/Dean of Students Search Committee has been responsible for reviewing applicants for the post. The candidates’ applications letters and résumés will be placed on reserve in Nicholson Library.
Editor-in-chief Dominic Baez can be reached at email@example.com