Daily Archives: September 25, 2010

Faculty and staff give interviews to Comcast

Last week, reporters from Comcast came to Linfield’s Nicholson Library to interview faculty and staff members for a CNN news feature titled “Comcast Newsmakers.”
The program is set to run across the state of Oregon and Southern Washington and features segments about different regions and local leaders within them.
Three Linfield leaders were interviewed to represent the school as part of the network’s Willamette Valley segment. They are Linfield College President Thomas Hellie, as the head of the school; Associate Professor of Psychology Jennifer Linder, for research work with children; and Scott Brosius, head coach of the baseball team, for his work with in athletics.
Nadene LeCheminant, director of media relations for Linfield, said that the idea behind the program is to provide viewers with a better understanding of leaders, organizations and prominent places in different regions of the state.
Linfield was chosen because of its prestige as a college where students are provided with the highest academic excellence for a fair price, LeCheminant said.
“Linfield is being perceived more and more as a college offering high education that is worth the tuition,” she said.
The three faculty members were interviewed for different reasons and asked a range of questions. President Hellie, as de facto leader of the college, was interviewed about Linfield and its successes as a whole.
The reporter who conducted the interview focused the majority on the president’s background before Linfield, which includes serving as a professor of theater and English at Hiram College in Ohio, as well as president and executive director of the James S. Kemper Foundation in Chicago.
Hellie has also studied and taught in four different continents throughout his career and received various awards and merits from colleges in those locations.
The president spoke briefly about Linfield’s student-to-faculty ratio, its focus on international education and the International Pinot Noir Celebration that is hosted at the college each year.
Questions for Linder focused on her current research projects moreso than on her teaching at Linfield.
Linder said she has been conducting research on the effects of violent TV on the development of children and their relationship to one another.
Brosius, one of the more decorated members of Linfield’s athletics, was asked about his glory days and why he came to Linfield, LeCheminant said.
Brosius attended Linfield in the mid 1980s, but left in 1987 after being selected by the Oakland Athletics in the amateur baseball draft.
He went on to play for the Yankees and the Giants and won three World Series titles for the Yankees during the late ’90s and early 2000s.
He returned to Linfield after retiring from baseball and received his degree in business in 2002.
Brosius became the head baseball coach in 2008.
He was asked about his experiences during his interview as well as about the life of a student athlete at the college and the balance between athletics and academics.
Interviews were also conducted at the Capitol Building of Oregon, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Willamette University, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and other locations.
Public figures such as Gov. Ted Kulongoski, U.S. Reps. Brian Baird and Darlene Hooley, Speaker of the House Rep. Jeff Merkley and Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken were also interviewed.
“Comcast Newsmakers” will air 5 minutes before the hour, except during prime time, starting Oct. 4 on CNN, Channel 45.

Matthew Sunderland/Senior reporter
Matthew Sunderland can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Jazzman’s library branch shuts down

From coffee to wine: An exhibit about wine history replaces the Jazzman’s coffee cart inside Nicholson Library. Sodexo determined that the cart was not turning a profit and removed it from the library. Hansen/Photo editor

The Jazzman’s coffee cart will not operate in Nicholson Library this year because of a lack of
“I hate it,” sophmore Anna Statz said about the shop’s closure. “It was what got me through all my tests and finals.”
General Manager of Student Dining Services Bill Masullo said the reason the coffee stand was removed is that it cost Sodexo too much money to justify its existence.
One reason the coffee stand may not have done well is that it used a “point system,” students could earn points to use toward the items they wanted, he said.
Masullo said that the hours of the coffee stand were dictated by the school, preventing Sodexo from changing its operating hours. The cart originally closed at 10 p.m.
A traffic counter concluded that the library had the most foot traffic during the coffee stand’s hours of operation, which is what caused them to choose the cart’s original hours.
Masullo also mentioned that Linfield is a small campus, so students can easily to walk to the Catty Shack, which is open until midnight, if they are looking to get a late-night beverage or snack.
Even though there are reasons the coffee stand won’t make its way back into the library, it will still be missed by students.
“I think the Jazzman’s stand in the library facilitated a more friendly environment, and it gave people the ability to stay in the library for long hours without having to leave to get food,” junior Daniel Woolley said.
Masullo also mentioned possibly combining Dillin and the Catty Shack. He said it would be a venue in which students could gather late at night.

Chelsea Bowen/Opinion editor
Chelsea Bowen can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com.

Controlled burn to flare up on campus

The McMinnville Fire Department will set fire to a replica of a residence hall bedroom at 4 p.m. Sept. 30 to demonstrate how quickly a fire can spread.
Students, faculty and the community can gather on the IM Field to watch the event, which coincides with Campus Fire Safety Month.
The controlled burn will include examples of residence hall rooms set up in two side-by-side trailers. One room will contain a fire sprinkler; the other will not.
The fire department intends to demonstrate the effectiveness of a sprinkler in an actual fire.
The rooms will not include any out-of-the-ordinary combustibles, such as gasoline or matches.
McMinnville Fire Marshal Eric McMullen will set fire to a piece of paper in each room’s trash bin, and the flames will grow from there.
McMullen said the purpose of the controlled burn is to give a real-life demonstration of fire and how quickly it can spread.
“We can go into a classroom and meet with groups all day and try to explain to people what it’s all about,” he said. “It gives the option to feel the power of the fire.”
McMullen has been working with McMinnville Fire Inspector Debbie McDermott and Gordon Kroemer, director of Linfield environmental health and safety, to organize the event.
Although this will be the first controlled burn event on campus, Linfield is not the first school in the Northwest to host such an event.
George Fox University has been conducting surprise controlled burns on a yearly basis, leaving the students shocked when they witness a replica of a dorm room in flames.
Kroemer said a tragic event that occurred in 2000 in New Jersey inspired the controlled burns.
“Three students were killed and more than 50 were injured in a fire at Seton Hall University,” he said. “The fire had a dramatic impact on fire safety across the nation. Two students were severely burned in the fire and had to undergo extensive treatment in a burn center.”
After the tragedy, a program, titled igot2know, was developed. The program was created by the People’s Burn Foundation under a Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant to create awareness of fire safety among the public.
People can educate themselves about campus fire safety by visiting www.igot2know.org.
Visit www.igot2know.org and complete all three modules and view the main fire safety video to automatically be entered to win prizes, including a new iPad, at the Sept. 30 event.
For more information about Campus Fire Safety Month, visit www.campusfiresafety.com.

Lauren Ostrom/Freelancer
Lauren Ostrom can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Events highlight disability education at Linfield

Twenty years ago, the federal government signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Next week, Learning Support Services will celebrate the passage of the act with a series of events that will educate students about life with disabilities.
Cheri White, assistant director of learning support services, organized three days of awareness events set to begin Sept. 29.
“I hope people will go away with more understanding of invisible disabilities,” White said. “What does it mean when you look twice at someone because they are different?”
Invisible disabilities, like multiple sclerosis, are not immediately obvious to an observer.
The jewel in the crown of White’s events is speaker Kevin Michael Connolly, a 23-year-old skiing champion ,who was born without legs. Connolly will speak about his experiences at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
A seminar about seeing-eye dogs will be at the 11:30 a.m. Sept. 29 in the Fred Meyer Lounge.
Eileen Dowty, coordinator of learning support services, assembled some of Linfield’s faculty and staff who have disabilities for a question and answer session.
“The difficulty is not that they are uncomfortable talking about their disabilities but that they have class during the question and answer session,” Dowty said.
She said she had more success with Linfield’s staff, who have no schedule conflicts with the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 30 in the FML.
“I’ve had more success with staff and administrators because they traditionally take their lunch breaks from noon to 1 p.m.,” Dowty said. “They’re volunteering their free time for this.”
She said she expects six faculty and staff members to attend the session and answer questions.
White said she consulted with Dan Fergueson, director of college activities, on how to encourage students to become involved with
the event.
She said his advice — give students a hands-on experience — inspired the information session 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1 in the Walker Hall foyer.
Dowty spoke at length about the ADA, which requires Linfield to make some accommodations to people with disabilities.
“The campus is already geared for accommodation and access,” she said.
Examples include the sloping ramps into the campus buildings and the cutaways on the sidewalk curbs. and interpreters for deaf students and faculty.
She also mentioned that the fire alarms have flashing lights wired into them to warn the hearing impaired.
“If hearing-impaired students take out their hearing aids, they can’t hear the alarms,” Dowty said. “The lights wake them up.”
Dowty has experience with individuals with disabilites. Her older brother was the first legally blind student in the New Mexico public school
“They told my parents to put him in a corner, send him to the blind institute when he’s 6 and have more children,” Dowty said. “My parent’s didn’t stand for that.”
The celebration of the ADA comprises two other events. “Temple Grandin,” a biographical film about a still-living autistic woman earning her doctorate in animal science, will be screened at 8 p.m. Sept. 30 in Ice Auditorium.
The final event is a play titled “Not Until You Know My Story.” It’s based on 14 interviews that address ethnic, physical and mental differences among people. The play will open at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 in Ice Auditorium.

Joshua Ensler/News editor Joshua Ensler can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

College evaluation systems lack credibility

Every August, thousands of readers — including college applicants, parents, college admissions staff and even college presidents and boards of directors — anticipate the release of the U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges,” the premiere ranking guide that surveys 1,400 colleges and universities nationwide in an effort to classify and order schools according to statistical data and name recognition.
Prospective freshmen and their families eagerly wait to discover which institutions are the “best” while the institutions hope their rankings will catch the attention of these restive eyes.
Linfield College, however, doesn’t even seem to hold its breath.
“We don’t wait until August to see how we did in the rankings,” President of College Relations Bruce Wyatt said. “When we are asked just how good Linfield
is … we think we got a better feel of that.”
Since the rankings’ inception in 1983, U.S. News and World Report has drawn both praise and fire for its use of peer assessments, name recognition, financial data and applicant profiles to create a pecking order among American institutions of higher education.
Many colleges use the rankings as an outlet to provide abbreviated information about their own unique attributes and to recruit students.
It is to make themselves known to potential buyers in an otherwise crowded marketplace. However, such as in the case of a Clemson University professor admitting to the university’s distortion of numbers and data to improve their rankings, the values can have a superficial quality.
“It’s a beauty pageant,” Linfield College President Thomas Hellie said. “I have heard of an East Coast college calling a West Coast college and saying, ‘Hey, we are not even competitors, but if you rank me higher than my peers in my region, I will do the same for you.’ There are even college boards of directors who ask their presidents to work on increasing the college’s rankings.”
In more recent times, there has been a growing movement among colleges and universities to not cooperate with U.S. News & World Report’s ranking survey.
In May 2007, the Annapolis Group, a national organization of liberal arts colleges, published an article on its website that included statements from college presidents speaking out against college rankings.
Shortly after the article’s publication, the majority of the group voted against participating in the reputational part of the survey, which accounts for 25 percent of the rank.
As the current vice president of enrollment, Dan Preston is one of thousands of college administrators who receive the peer assessment survey in the mail and are asked to rank other schools.
“I rank one school [Linfield] and leave the rest as ‘I don’t know enough information,’” he said.
Preston has served at Linfield College since 1983, in both the admissions office and in his current position, and has observed the effects of the rankings on Linfield College.
“Rankings just don’t have a direct correlation,” he said. “When we were the No. 1 comprehensive college, we had a couple of years with lower numbers [of students enrolling] and had a couple of years of highest numbers ever. Last year, we were ranked No. 122, yet we have the highest enrollment ever.”
Preston said Linfield relies on what is real and authentic.
“Students are coming here, investing in their education and graduating at high rates — that is what is more important. Our graduation rate is higher than our predicted rate,” Preston said.
For some students, rankings did not have a significant role in their college decision.
“No [I didn’t use college rankings], I think most people already have an idea of what they want,” freshman John Portin said.
Freshman Walker Allen said he went by word-of-mouth when he chose Linfield.
“I did know [Linfield] was a nationally ranked school, but I didn’t look it up online,” sophomore Kate McMullan said.
Wyatt credited students with the ability to measure the true value of a college and ignore the brand name that may be attected to an institution.
“Linfield’s constituency is less ‘status-conscious,’” he said. “They judge us based on quality and by what they get — they are less concerned by how some magazine quantifies us. Alumni are more appreciative of their professors and of the friends they made — they are not into brand recognition.”
The incongruency of rankings with the complexity of a college community makes the simple answers that these rankings seek to provide questionable.
“Overall, I think [college rankings have] harmed the admissions process — the task of selecting a college requires a more nuanced and deeper look than what rankings provide,” Hellie said.
He said he is committed to not compromising Linfield’s integrity by manipulating its ranking and, rather, tries to convey the rankings as worthless.
“The very fact that different magazines and organizations use different ways to rank colleges show how foolish it is to rank colleges,” he said. “Colleges cannot be ranked.”
Rather, he said, it is about finding the right fit.
“One time, I went to a store to buy a suit, and I wanted to buy this name-brand suit,” Hellie said. “But the people in the store said, ‘No, you shouldn’t buy that suit because the shoulders are too narrow. You should buy this suit.’ I did buy that suit — selecting a college is kind of like that.”
While rankings can be useful for sifting through the mountain of information regarding colleges, at the end of the day, it’s about looking at the data beyond the numbers, Preston said.
“The data [rankings] collect on schools is accurate, the calculation formula they choose is generally objective and the formulas have sound calculable mathematical principle to them,” he said. “But is that a really good way to figure out where you want to go to school?” Joshua Crisp

Freelancer Joshua Crisp can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.