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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 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sodexo, Linfield’s food service provider, has chosen the college to be a test campus for waste reduction.
The trial program examines pre-consumer food waste in an attempt to make Sodexo more sustainable.
Bill Masullo, general manager of Student Dining Services, said that the trial began at the start of Fall Semester and will last for three months.
The study measures food waste before it makes it to students. Cantaloupe rinds, for example, are paid for but left uneaten, making them food waste, Masullo said.
“It’s just kind of going to waste at this point,” he said.
Masullo said that Sodexo hopes trends and patterns will emerge from the study that will help them become more sustainable.
“If I didn’t have to pay for food that would be thrown away in a landfill, we could reduce the number of trucks we have on the road,” he said.
Monica Zimmerman, director of public relations for Sodexo and creator of the sustainability campaign, echoed his sentiments.
“We spend all this time on how much it costs to grow and transport food, and then it gets thrown in the trash,” she said. “We need to think about food after it’s thrown out.”
Zimmerman described the waste reduction program as part of Sodexo’s Build a Better Tomorrow plan. The initiative aims to make the company more sustainable, Zimmerman said.
The blog, which can be found at blogs.sodexousa.com/bettertomorrow, describes it as a Green Marketing
Zimmerman said that Sodexo aims at influencing future public policy by implementing sustainability programs at colleges.
“We look at students as tomorrow’s leaders,” she said. “We want them to be leaders in the food revolution.”
Christy Cook, sustainability support for Campus Services, said that the test colleges were chosen based on geographic location and sustainable policies.
“Linfield was chosen because the leadership on campus and the dining team are known for their enthusiasm for sustainability,” Cook said.
Sodexo chose LeanPath, a Portland-based company that provides food waste tracking systems, to facilitate the program.
Andrew Shakman, co-founder and president of the company, said LeanPath provided automated food tracking devices, such as scales, touch screen terminals and reporting software.
“LeanPath is based in Portland, so we are particularly excited to see Linfield selected as one of eight sites across the United States to participate in this program,” Shakman said in an e-mail.
According to an e-mail from MS&L Worldwide, a public relations company contracted by Sodexo, the other colleges in the program are Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; California State University of Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif.; Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.; Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.; University of California at Davis, Calif.; and University of Wisconsin in River Falls, Wis.
The e-mail also said that Sodexo is, among other projects to make their company for sustainable, now sourcing food locally to reduce transport costs and the company’s carbon footprint.
Joshua Ensler/News editor
Joshua Ensler can be reached at email@example.com.
A consultant from the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities arrived at Linfield Sept. 16 to assist in the search for a new dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs.
Dr. Jamie Ferrare, senior vice president of the Association of Governing Boards, is a search consultant who will help the administration select the new dean. Ferrare said he suspects the new dean will join Linfield sometime in June 2011.
Ferrare is no stranger to Linfield, as he helped the administration pick Victoria McGillin to be Linfield’s dean of faculty and vice president of student affairs in 2008. He said this previous experience will help him in his advisory role at Linfield.
“I know Linfield well enough,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons they chose me to come.”
McGillin stepped down to the surprise of many at the end of the 2010 spring semester (“Dean of faculty turns in unexpected resignation,” TLR, April 2).
Ferrare had his first meeting with the selection committee Sept. 16. He said they discussed the criteria for how the new candidates would be selected.
“The committee members are the ones who provide that information,” Ferrare said. “I’m here for these two days to go over that criteria and see what they’re hoping for.”
He said that the committee is looking for a candidate that has a good teaching and scholarship record, has administrative experience, is an advocate of the faculty, understands the role of Linfield’s faculty programs.
The candidate would also need to understand the accrediting process, be approachable and have a passion for global arts and Linfield students.
Ferrare said that the criteria were not yet prioritized.
“Whoever sees the list will probably have different priorities,” he said. “We’ll probably build a list that makes sense for the majority of the people here and use that as our template.”
Ferrare and the committee will assemble a pool of candidates — he thinks roughly 40 to 50 to start — and then whittle away the less promising ones until there are only 10 or so. The committee has the final say in any decision.
“I don’t get to vote,” Ferrare said. “They do. Of the 40 or 50 candidates, here are 10 we really like. Let’s see if we can get to know them better.”
The candidates will then be reduced to three or four in number and invited to campus. President Thomas Hellie will make the final decision.
Ferrare said he will be present for the interviews, but his responsibilities are primarily preparation on behalf of the committee.
“I help the committee get ready for these interviews,” he said. “What questions do we ask? I provide them with background information on the candidates. I will have done reference calls and due diligence. I’d have a good understanding of who these people are, what their strengths are, if they have any weaknesses and what they might be, and what their reputation is. That’s my responsibility.”
The Association of Governing Bodies will also conduct an extensive background check, including criminal and records and credit checks.
“We make sure they are citizens of good standing,” Ferrare said.
Ferrare, in addition to being the senior vice president of the Association of Governing Bodies, is a senior consultant at Academic Search, Inc. He joined in 2000, according to the association’s website.
He is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he earned a doctorate in educational administration before becoming the dean of education at Drake University.
Joshua Ensler/News editor
Joshua Ensler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org