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In Focus: 5/06/2011

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

MATH PROFESSOR AND SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR RECEIVE 2011 TEACHING AWARDS

Kendall Richards, professor of mathematics, and Sandi Nenga, assistant professor of sociology, have received the 2011 Southwestern University Teaching Awards.

The award was created by the Southwestern faculty in 1999 to recognize faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching. Nominations for the award are submitted by students in the spring semester, and recipients are selected by the Honorary Degrees Committee. Richards received the award for a tenured faculty member and Nenga received the award for a non-tenured faculty member, although she was recently granted tenure. The award comes with a $2,000 prize.

The 2011 Excellence in Academic Advising Award went to Kimele Carter, assistant director for advising and access resources. This award comes with a $500 prize.

Read more here.

NEW GRANT PROGRAM HELPS STUDENTS PURSUE STUDY ABROAD OPPORTUNITIES WITH AN ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS

As an international studies major, Rachel Freeman never had a chance to take environmental studies courses at Southwestern. But when the opportunity came up to combine public policy and sustainability, she jumped at the chance.

Freeman was one of the first two students to participate in Southwestern’s new Environmental Fellows Study Abroad Program, which offers $5,000 scholarships to students who want to participate in an environmentally focused study abroad program during their junior year. Five scholarships are awarded each year, and the scholarships can be applied towards any expenses related to travel, room and board, tuition and fees for more than 40 approved programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

“The scholarships are particularly valuable for students whose financial aid might not transfer,” said Laura Hobgood Oster, a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program who helps select the scholarship recipients along with faculty member Melissa Johnson and Sue Mennicke, director of intercultural learning.

Read more here.

TEN FACULTY-STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECTS RECEIVE FUNDING FOR 2011-2012

Southwestern has funded 10 faculty-student research projects for the 2011-2012 academic year. The projects will enable more than 20 Southwestern students to conduct research with faculty members, particularly during the summer. Projects funded include a study of Islamophobia in Texas and a study of how mutations occur in the bacterium E. coli.

Read more here.

Media Coverage

The Austin American-Statesman and the Williamson County Sun covered the announcement of Southwestern’s commencement speaker. Read the Statesman story here.

Women’s basketball coach Kerri Brinkoeter was featured on the cover of the May 2011 issue of Austin Faith and Family magazine. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story on the death of former Southwestern Music Professor Drusilla Huffmaster Anderson.

The Williamson County Sun ran a page of photos from Clusterfest.

Notables

Jason Chapman, assistant director of student activities, had an article titled “Organizations Retreats: Should You Hold Them?” published in the April 2011 edition of Campus Activities Programming

Abby Dings, assistant professor of Spanish, and Ted Jobe, assistant director of the Language Learning Center, presented two papers at the joint conference of the South Central Association for Language Learning Technology and the Texas Foreign Language Education Conference in Austin April 15-16. The first paper, “We’ve got video. Now what?” examined best practices for the incorporation of authentic materials in the second language classroom. The second paper, “Students watching authentic video materials together: Learner identity and the co-construction of meaning,” examined how students collaborate to co-construct meaning and their shifting orientation to their identities as experts and novices in the target language.

Alexis Kropf, a junior biology and Spanish major, is one of 135 students from 30 states who have been honored as the first Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility. College and university presidents across the country were asked to nominate promising college student leaders for the award. “These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can − and does − play in building a better world,” said Maureen Curley, president of Campus Compact. The awards are named for Frank Newman, who was one of the founders of Campus Compact. Read more here.

First-year student Phuong-Hieu Nguyen has been named to the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. The scholarship-mentorship program prepares students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of administration and business. It has been sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation in Chicago since 1948. Kemper Scholars receive annual scholarships of $3,000 to $10,000 during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. Kemper Scholars also receive stipends to cover the cost of an internship with a major nonprofit organization in Chicago during the summer following their sophomore year. Scholars are placed in full-time administrative positions where they can learn about topics such as financial management, organizational strategy, fund-raising and non-profit administration. Nguyen is an accounting major with double minors in Spanish and math. Her career goal is to be a CPA for a few years and then move on to a career that has more to do with finance. Read more here.

President Jake B. Schrum moderated a panel on “The Humanities and Public Policy” at the Symposium on the Future of the Humanities that was sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in March. Panelists included Jean Elshtain, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School; Douglas Bennett, president of Earlham College; and Dan Gioia, a professor of poetry and public culture at USC.