Monthly Archives: April 2011

Faculty Assembly to vote on policy proposal

Junior Associated Students of Linfield College President-elect Rachel Coffey announced at the April 18 Senate meeting that a proposal for the revision of Linfield College’s academic probation policies was presented to students, faculty members and administrators during the April Faculty Assembly meeting.

The new probation/suspension policy proposes that students who receive a semester Grade Point Average (GPA) below a 2.0 will receive a warning. If the GPA remains below the 2.0 mark for two consecutive semesters, students will be placed on academic probation; if it happens a third consecutive semester, students will be suspended for an “x” amount of time. This means that they must transfer to another school, take online classes or work out a class schedule through the school to try to raise his or her grades, Brad Thompson, associate professor of mass communication and department chair, said.

Thompson is the head of the Student Policy Committee, which created and proposed the policy change.

The potential policy change will be voted on during the Faculty Assembly meeting May 9 in Riley Student Center 201. If approved, it will go into effect for the 2011-12 academic year.

However, Coffey and Thompson noted that this change would only affect a small number of students.

In comparison, the current probation/suspension policy states that students receiving a cumulative GPA below a 2.0 will be put on probation and given one semester to try to raise their GPA above a 2.0. If these low GPAs continue into the next semester, they will be suspended for an “x” amount of time, Coffey said.

“Sometimes freshmen have a good year, but the following semester their GPAs drop below a 2.0,” Coffey said. “This [policy] is just a way to make sure that students are on track.”

He said that students who are not meeting the minimum GPA requirement because of drug and alcohol use or because of personal or family problems would ultimately benefit from a suspension because those students need time to focus on themselves.

Although the proposed policy change is fairly similar to the current one, it has a potential flaw since cumulative GPAs might remain above a 2.0 even if semester GPAs are not, Coffey said.

However, Thompson said that it is unlikely that a student’s cumulative GPA would remain above a 2.0 if the GPA minimum requirement was not met during multiple, consecutive semesters.

Regardless, Coffey acknowledged the benefit of the proposed policy.

“Students need to be redirected,” she said. “It’s kind of an extra support and a check in process for students.”

Jessica Prokop/News editor
Jessica Prokop can be reached at

Get to know the 2011-12 ASLC Cabinet

Name: Mitch Edwards


Position: Student Center Director
Age: 21
Year: Junior
Major/Minor: Biology/Chemistry
Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.

Qualifications: Edwards’ most-related qualification to this position is the experience he gained from working in the Gameroom and as a substitute in the Campus Information Center (CIC). He also has experience helping others, since he has been a biology and human physiology teaching assistant. Edwards said he has also gained communication skills from being a receptionist at a nursing home, as well as event planning skills from being a residence hall president.

Reasons for applying: Edwards said that he has been busy with schoolwork during the last two years, but he was involved in student government in high school. Now he said he wants to give back to the Linfield community. He also said the three facilities that he will oversee, the Gameroom, CIC and Bike Co-Op, are underused, and he wants to make them more accessible to students. Edwards said he hopes to gain confidence outside of academics and gain managing skills.

Goals: One of Edwards’ goals is to make the Gameroom a more social space so it feels like a place where students can hang out. He said he wants people to go there without already having a task in mind. Edwards also wants to make the CIC employees better informed of the events taking place on campus and have more training sessions or weekly emails, he said. He would also like to develop better communication with the Bike Co-Op manager and get the word out about the Co-Op, he said.

Words of Wisdom: “Get involved early in either student government or Residence Life because being involved in the Linfield community will positively impact your life in so many ways,” Edwards said.

Interests: Edwards is a baseball fan and enjoys watching movies and relaxing. He said he also likes to stay up to date with news about medicine around the world because he wants to be a doctor.

Favorites: Edwards’ favorite color is red. His favorite movies are comedies, such as “Patch Adams,” “Bull Durham” and “Dumb and Dumber.” He also likes to watch the TV shows “Scrubs,” “Baseball Tonight” and “Jersey Shore.” Edwards said his favorite kind of music is hip-hop.

~Compiled by Jessica Prokop/News editor

Professor recalls his journey as theologian

William Apel, professor of religious studies, meets with audience members after delivering his final lecture April 28 in Jonasson Hall, saying a farewell to students, colleagues and community members after 36 years of teaching at Linfield College. Katie Pitchford/Photo editor

Professor of Religious Studies William Apel drew on 36 years of experience as a Linfield faculty member during his final lecture April 28.

He used imagery to reflect on the past and convey his personal theology about love and compassion.

“I wanted it to be a time for reflection, a time for me to say thank you and for me to say what it is I think I have been doing here all these years,” he said.

Apel spoke about his experiences at Linfield, memorable students from his tenure as chaplain and lessons he has learned from his years of research.

“The idea was developed from the image of an open window,” he said. “As a professor, I try to open the window for students, but the students have to look out and see.”

Apel divided the window metaphor into four aspects. The first, he called his Assisi window, referring to the city in Italy.

“All of a sudden, I could see even the unseen,” he said as he spoke about Assisi. “There was no voice; there was no thing. But there was God. My experience was that which is unmistakable.”

Junior Abby Lundberg appreciated Apel’s transparency and eagerness to share his spiritual encounters.

“I think it shows a lot about him that he has a willingness to engage with spiritual things,” she said. “It’s so interesting how he explained that you can open those windows and experience grace and compassion.”

Apel mentioned people he encountered during various parts of his life, including students he mentored as college chaplain, which he served as for 20 years. He also read a letter from a former student who was inspired to walk 120 miles on a pilgrimage after taking his classes.

“I like that he talked about students in his lecture,” senior Ashley Farr said. “He has the same respect for us as he does for those who have earned it.”

Because Apel devoted much of his life to educating college students about world religion, he mentioned that understanding different beliefs has shaped him as a religion professor and as a theologian.

He mentioned several prominent theologians including Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Thomas Merton in what he referred to as his “research window.”

“I look for what’s good and what’s true in all world religions,” he said. “But love is the final answer. What I’m trying to teach about and point to is a life of love and compassion.”

The lecture was Apel’s last as a Linfield professor.
“In the last few years, people would ask me when I was going to retire,” he said. “I would always tell them that I would know when it was time. I know it’s time.”

Brittany Baker/Staff reporter
Brittany Baker can be reached at

Faculty approves international relations major

Two weeks ago, Linfield faculty approved the curriculum for a new international relations major to be offered next year.

According to the proposed international relations curriculum, the major “emphasizes the development of tools and knowledge necessary to excel in an increasingly interconnected world and globalized job market.”

Assistant Professor of Political Science Patrick Cottrell said the idea for the major has been in the works since he came to Linfield in 2008. He has been the driving force behind having the course of study available to students.

The idea behind the major was to “provide students with an interdisciplinary course of study,” Cottrell said.

He said that one of the things that makes this major unique is that students can choose their own course of study. For example, students could focus on language and culture together or a combination of culture and society.

“First and foremost, I hope students find it [international relations] to provide a valuable and rewarding academic opportunity. The major itself not only capitalizes on the liberal arts mission by promoting Linfield’s core themes of integrated learning, global and multicultural awareness and experiential learning, but also harnesses existing strengths in international programs to provide a more cohesive course of study in this regard.”

Students can apply for up to 12 credits toward two majors, Cottrell said.

The goal is for students to graduate with an international relations degree instead of one from another discipline.

Cottrell said that students’ success in globalizing the job market will benefit them with an international relations degree.

For more information about the new major, contact Cottrell at

Chelsea Bowen/Opinion editor
Chelsea Bowen can be reached at

Alumna discusses oppression in Libya

Citizens in Benghazi protest against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year reign over Libya, where Nadia Abraibesh, class of ’10, stayed for approximately six months while visiting family. Photo courtesy of Nadia Abraibesh

A Linfield graduate shares stories about her travels to her father’s homeland during revolution

Nadia Abraibesh (right), poses with painted fingers.

Nadia Abraibesh (right), poses with painted fingers.

Nadia Abraibesh, class of ’10, gave a presentation about her experiences and her role in the ongoing Libyan uprising while she was visiting family in Benghazi, Libya, at a Pizza and Politics event co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the International Programs Office on April 28.

“I thought it was fabulous,” junior JJ Forthun said. “Everyone’s curious about what’s really happening and to have that type of perspective was really interesting — the more personal experience instead of what’s just on the news and what is seen by other people.”

Libya is in turmoil following the protests, which were violently suppressed, began in mid-February against the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi has shown no signs of relinquishing power and NATO forces are currently enforcing a no-fly zone over the country and protecting civilians from Gaddafi’s forces.

Abraibesh shared photos, stories, a short video clip and a rough timeline outlining her connection to the uprising.

Audience members asked a variety of questions about her perspectives on the conflict, including causes, the use of the Internet and about Gaddafi.

Abraibesh, who is half-Libyan but was born and raised in the United States, wanted to visit her father’s home after graduating from Linfield last year.

“I had visited at various times while I was growing up, but not for very long. Trips were pretty short. I didn’t speak Arabic very well, so I couldn’t really communicate with my family,” she said. “I wanted to spend some time in Libya, learn the language and get to know my family, and I ended up working at a European school while I was there.”

During the presentation, Abraibesh talked about Libya under Gaddafi’s rule, how the uprising began and how she became involved.

She said her father left the country in 1977 because of the oppressive government.

“I grew up hearing about Gaddafi’s brutality from my father,” she said.

Citizens in Benghazi protest against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year reign over Libya, where Nadia Abraibesh, class of ’10, stayed for approximately six months while visiting family.  Photo courtesy of Nadia Abraibesh

Citizens in Benghazi protest against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year reign over Libya, where Nadia Abraibesh, class of ’10, stayed for approximately six months while visiting family. Photo courtesy of Nadia Abraibesh

Abraibesh said she left for Libya last year in September and planned to stay until mid-April, allowing her to experience life under Gaddafi for a while before the protests started. She explained that it was difficult learning to censor herself on a regular basis.

“You can’t say anything about the government,” she said.

She told one story of how her phone line was immediately cut off after she mentioned the uprising in Tunisia while speaking with her mother.

Abraibesh said she and her family did not expect anything like what had happened in Tunisia and Egypt to take place in Libya.

As the situation escalated after Feb. 17, she said she and her family would regularly wake up and fall asleep to the sound of gunfire.

Abraibesh explained her role in helping foreign journalists who she said were treated like celebrities by the Libyan people when they first arrived. She said that although her Arabic was basic, she helped with translations for various journalists, including reporters from The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

Abraibesh planned to stay in Libya through April, but her family pressured her to return home to safety. She left on March 17 when the opportunity to drive to Cairo arose after her uncle was shot in the foot and could not be treated because of a lack of medical supplies in Benghazi.

She said tanks were outside her house that day and that if the United Nations Security Council Resolution of 1973, which established the no-fly zone, had not been passed, then Benghazi would have been leveled.

Abraibesh said that as an American, Libyan culture was different to her.

“Even though I’m half-Libyan, I’m more American in the sense that I was raised in the United States and with a different culture,” she said. “It’s different than growing up in Libya. I kind of had to adjust to that while I was there.”

However, Abraibesh also explained her growing involvement and devotion as the uprising evolved.

“I felt like I was a Libyan citizen,” she said.

Dawn Nowacki, professor of political science and department chair, said it was helpful to understand Abraibesh’s individual experience in the conflict.

“I thought it was interesting that she could bring in her family and then talk about how they were affected by all these events. It makes it more real, and it makes it more immediate to us,” Nowacki said.

Junior Carol Tran said the presentation reminded her of how international relationships are growing stronger.

“We may be a world apart, but we are neighbors in this world community, and we’re supporting each other,” she said.

Nowacki also mentioned that it was nice to hear about the rest of the world from a student’s perspective.

“I think it’s very cool to have former students or students who go off and experience what’s happening in the world come back and kind of bring us into the globalized world,” she said.

Abraibesh said the visit was an experience she will never forget.

“I loved my time there. [I] loved spending time with my family [and] getting to know the culture, and I felt like I learned a lot while I was there.”

Braden Smith/Managing editor
Braden Smith can be reached at