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In Focus: 9/8/2011

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

SOUTHWESTERN RESPONDS TO FIRES IN CENTRAL TEXAS

The devastating wildfires that have impacted many parts of Texas have not come near Southwestern yet, but the campus community is reaching out to help those who have been affected.

On Monday, the SU Police Department set up a table in the Campus Center where students could receive up-to-date information about the area wildfires, receive support if needed, and make donations to the Red Cross. The Police Department will continue to collect donations to the Red Cross at their office.

Haley Hughes, a junior softball player, has set up an area in the main entrance of the Robertson Center where students can drop off items to be donated to families in Bastrop and Montgomery Counties that lost their homes in the fires. Items such as water, clothes, baby supplies and non-perishable foods will be collected through Sept. 9. Hughes plans to deliver the items to command centers and evacuee stations in Bastrop and Magnolia on Friday morning.

Hughes said she started the drive because she has a family member who lives in Montgomery County and friends in Bastrop. She also has family members who are firefighters in the Montgomery area and are currently fighting the fires.

Read more here.

FACULTY DUO BRINGS ENVIRONMENTAL THEMES TO THE CONCERT HALL

Like many other faculty members at Southwestern, Music Professors David Asbury and Bruce Cain share a passion for lifelong education, creative exploration and environmental activism.

The two have combined these interests in a new project they are sharing with audiences across the country.

Asbury, who teaches and plays the guitar, and Cain, who teaches voice and is a baritone soloist,  received grants from the Mellon Foundation and Southwestern University to create and record eight new works for guitar and voice. The works form a song cycle that focuses on the environment, particularly the importance of water to creating and sustaining life.  

“Current environmental topics are being explored in the fields of art, theatre and poetry, but not as much in music,” Cain said. “This was an excellent opportunity to connect the world of art music to current issues of the environment. We wanted to bring environmental themes and issues to the concert hall.”

The lyrics for the song cycle came from the archives of River of Words, an organization dedicated to educating young people about environmentalism through art and poetry. The organization holds an annual contest for entrants ages 5-19, and poems were selected from among hundreds in the contest archives.

“We wanted to find sources of poetry that composers at our partner institutions in the Associated Colleges of The South (ACS) could take and set to music,” Asbury said. “As we read the poetry, we were struck by its power. We recognized that these young poets have a special perspective on the environment and a stake in it that is greater than our own. We wanted to make more people aware of it.”

Read more here.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM GETS ITS FIRST FULL-TIME FACULTY MEMBER

Southwestern’s growing Environmental Studies Program now has its first full-time faculty member.

Joshua Long was hired to fill the position after a nationwide search. He brings with him a specialty in environmental politics as well as a thorough knowledge of the central Texas area. Long is from the Austin area, but just moved back from Switzerland, where he was an assistant professor of social sciences at Franklin College Switzerland for two years. He will teach U.S. Environmental Policy, Food & Sustainable Agriculture, and Introduction to Environmental Studies at Southwestern this fall.

“One particularly exciting thing about having our first fully dedicated Environmental Studies faculty person is that this will allow us to stabilize and develop the program in a number of ways,” said Michael Bray, a philosophy professor who serves as co-chair of the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program.

Read more here.

Events

PIANISTS TO GIVE GUEST RECITALS SEPT. 9th and 15th

Pianists Geneva Fung and Kiu Tung Poon and will give a guest recital on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The program includes works by Franz Schubert, Edvard Grieg, Francis Poulenc and Georges Bizet.

Fung is on the piano faculty at Stephen F. Austin State University. Poon is on the faculty at the University of Saint Joseph in Macau and at the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing. She was named a Young Steinway Artist this past June.

Pianist Andrew Parr will give a guest recital on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Both performances are free and open to the public. For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.

SEPT. 10 SYMPOSIUM WILL FOCUS ON HOW THE 9/11 ATTACKS HAVE IMPACTED MUSLIMS

Southwestern is hosting a one-day symposium on Saturday, Sept. 10, titled “September 11th Ten Years Later: The Impact on Muslims at Home and Abroad.”

The symposium will run from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballrooms. Panels of guest speakers from across the country will discuss topics such as Islamophobia and the post-9/11 detentions and deportations of Muslims. Farhana (Ali) Qazi, a 1996 Southwestern graduate, will give a presentation titled “Muslims in the USA: The Untold Story.” Qazi is a counterterrorism consultant specializing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Women in War, and the Muslim world.

The symposium is free and open to the public. The complete schedule is available here.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about English Professor David Gaines and his interest in Bob Dylan.

The Williamson County Sun ran an op-ed piece by President Jake B. Schrum on how Georgetown is becoming more like a college town.

Notables

Nikos Bentenitis, assistant professor of chemistry, and 2011 chemistry graduate Nick Cox co-authored a paper that was published in the May 10 issue of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation. The paper is titled “A Kirkwood-Buff Derived Force Field for Aqueous Alkali Halides.” Cox is now attending The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School.

Alisa Gaunder, associate professor of political science, had an article titled “Political Parties in Democratic Japan” published in Education About Asia, a peer-reviewed journal for educators published by the Association of Asian Studies.

Shannon Mariotti, assistant professor of political science, presented a paper on Sept. 1 at the American Political Science Association meeting in Seattle. The panel was titled “American Tragedy: The Political Thought of Herman Melville” and her paper explored Melville’s reception of American Transcendentalism, with a focus on “Bartleby the Scrivener.”

Tim O’Neill, professor of political science, had a book review published in the current issue of the Law and Politics Book Review. The book he reviewed was Effective Judicial Review: A Cornerstone of Good Governance by Christopher Forsyth (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton, associate professor of English, contributed a chapter titled “Doing Gender and Going Native in ‘Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong’” to a new book titled Approaches to Teaching the Works of Tim O’Brien published by MLA Press.