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Archive for the ‘Academic News’ Category

Meet New Faculty: Dr. Daniel Robeson

Dr. Daniel Robeson, a new Penn Yan resident, was recently named chair of the Division of Business and Management and the first director of business analytics for Keuka College. Robeson comes to the College from a prior post as founding dean of the School of Management at The Sage Colleges in Troy and Albany.

With graduate work focused in the area of “radical innovation” (also known as “discontinuous innovation”), Dr. Robeson is qualified to teach a number of subjects, ranging from quality management to macroeconomics to business strategy to finance. His professional background includes three years as a stockbroker, two years in banking, and almost 10 years in international business focused on management and quality assurance in large-scale start-up plants in South America for the former American National Can Co. (now Rexam National Beverage, London).

In 2000, Dr. Robeson transitioned into higher education, completing an MBA and then a Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He began teaching courses at The Sage Colleges in 2006. He was appointed chair of the department of management, starting in June 2008 and a year later, was appointed founding dean of the School of Management at The Sage Colleges. His family ties to Italy Valley and Vine Valley, not far from Keuka Lake, can be traced back to the early 1800’s, and he can even claim a direct tie to Keuka College: his great-grandfather Charles Robeson attended the “academy” here, 1893-96, before it became an all-women’s institution.

Last book read:  I found I can read about six to eight books at any one time, so that’s a complex question: “Big Data and Business Analytics” by Jay Liebowitz is a basic exploration of analytics, kind of a primer on what’s going on in both business and computer sciences, related to new ways to analyze large flows of data we now collect. That’s been an eye-opener.
Another popular press book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” by Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman is very much about the differences in the human mind, the decision-making processes which are fast and done heuristically, versus those that proceed at a slower pace and require more analysis, and how those two systems in the human brain can sometimes conflict with each other.
For pleasure, I really like to read Swedish murder-mystery writer Henning Mankell, who wrote the Wallendar series on PBS, or I like Daniel Silva who writes murder mysteries based in the Middle East but will take you all over the world.
While packing and moving, I came across Plato’s “Republic,” and picked that up. The other book I am reading now is “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy and I’m enjoying that one. I was recently in Russia and had the opportunity to go to Yasnaya Polyana and see his ancestral home and view the grounds.

Favorite quote:  J.R.R. Tolkein: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I think it fits: I move around, I try different things, I learn by experience and that’s worked for me pretty well. So far, so good.

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be and why?
Superheroes come to mind for me. In the Daniel Silva novels, his big character, Gabriel Allon, is an all-around spy, assassin, talented painting restorer, literary type. Not always a benign character, very passionate, maybe too passionate.

How would you incorporate fun components within teaching or within the structuring of an academic division? What makes that fun?:  The day-to-day part, the mechanics, is not that fun for me, but what’s super gratifying is to see a student do a full cycle in their education, to teach them when they’re a freshman and have them again at the end of their program when they’re a senior and be able to note the change. Generally, they are much more poised, more focused and you can see that they’re ready to enter new careers and new worlds. That’s true at the graduate level as well, to see students in their mid-30s/early 40s mature and season up even on a two-week trip to a place like China. Witnessing the result of a person’s education gives me a lot of satisfaction I was part of that.

What are some goals you have for development of the coming Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics?: It’s early yet but to the extent we can get students into a Field Period ™ or ultimately, [jobs] that are more technical or quantitative with successful companies that are more established, that’s what I’m after. Within business and higher education, when students can describe meaningful work experiences in high-performing companies where the work is technical in nature, that’s the currency of the business and management realm. That’s what gets you the jobs, to be able to sit down with a hiring manager and say, ‘Let me tell you about my experience.’ That’s what gets you in the door.

What specifics might we see in terms of curriculum or other unique projects, partnerships or collaborations? I’m working directly for the president on that initiative, in collaboration with the provost, Dr. Paul Forestell. I envision there will be a curricular component to [the Center], that will be interdisciplinary and probably include some basics in computer science, statistics, information systems and business and perhaps health sciences. There’s not a whole lot of similar programs out there, but I’m looking at NYU, which has a business analytics center. Meanwhile, Villanova and the University of Cincinnati have interesting programs with lots of faculty from different parts of the college. The curriculum may be the hardest piece but in terms of the business side, we are looking at using the Center as a tool to leverage our new START-UP NY designation, the tax-free zone, to bring companies and their challenges right to Keuka College so that we can work on producing solutions. This could provide students research opportunities where they could gain experience and wisdom to ultimately, get better and more technical internships at the companies we bring in. Positions such as data architect, data visualization expert, business analytics specialist … those are the end point in my mind right now.  Our goal is to do a lot of good for the business community, locally and in the larger cities in western New York. Right now, we’re building that capability.

Abbott’s Address: Finding Beauty in Any Subject

Contrary to popular opinion, the field of mathematics is creative, even beautiful particularly to mathematicians. In a similar way, beauty can be found in the general education courses new undergraduate students might be tempted to rush through, as if merely items to check off on a list.

So says Dr. Catherine Abbott, professor of mathematics at Keuka College and the 2013-14 Professor of the Year. Delivering the keynote address Tuesday at academic convocation, Abbott, a 13-year veteran among the faculty, welcomed new freshmen and transfer students to campus and challenged them to seek new learning experiences within the diverse array of possibilities available to them.

Often Abbott says she is asked why she enjoys mathematics, but the question is frequently delivered in much the same tone as when Abbott asked her young daughter why she would want to dye her hair with Kool-Aid. As laughter peppered the rows of those seated in Norton Chapel, Abbott then explained what it is about math that she finds so satisfying.

“Many times students tell me they like mathematics because, ‘there is only one answer,’” she said, adding such a response often tempts her to reply that while there may only be one answer, there are frequently “multiple ways to get there.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

Citing the Pythagorean Theorem as one such example, Abbott pointed to some of her favorite distinctive mathematical proofs including one attributed to Euclid, one by former U.S. President James Garfield, and a 1939 proof, devised by American Maurice Laisnez, then a high school student. What all three shared in common, Abbott said, was the desire to create.

So too, Abbott discovered her own creativity – and an appreciation for the creativity of other mathematicians – as she worked to solve complex equations. It sometimes took days, and then weeks to solve questions as an undergraduate and later, grad student, she described. While completing her doctorate, it could take months. While it felt “tremendous” when finally solving a challenging theorem, she said, there were also many other questions she was never able to answer. Still, mathematicians the world over use words like “elegant” to describe the beauty, even poetry within their equations and proofs.

“What makes a proof or theorem ‘elegant?’ I don’t think I could hope to quantify it any more than I could hope to explain my tastes in art, music, or literature—or our current math majors’ obsession with Dr. Who, for that matter,” she said.

According to Abbott, she chose the discipline of mathematics “for much the same reasons my colleagues on the faculty have made their choices. My field is creative, beautiful, challenging, and exciting.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

“What about you?” she asked, turning the question to students. “What is going to excite you? Will it be the English course where you learn to appreciate a piece of poetry for the first time? Will it be the history course where you really understand the relationship between World War I and World War II?”

Citing her own experience entering college with an undecided major, Abbott advised students not to hurry through general education courses, lest they miss the hidden beauty of diverse subjects.

“You wouldn’t drive from New York to California without taking time to appreciate the scenery,” she said.

“How do I know this? From my office directly across from Jephson 101, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy some fantastic classes during the last thirteen years,” Abbott said, referring to a central lecture hall in the Jephson Science Center. “So take your time to enjoy these courses.  You may not find your passion, but then again, you may. I wish you success in your journey here at Keuka College.”

Also welcoming news students with brief remarks at academic convocation were College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera and Robert Schick, chair of the Board of Trustees. The ceremony marks the official opening of the 2014-15 academic year and includes a colorful processional with upperclassman bearing flags from around the world and faculty in regalia lining the sidewalk to Norton Chapel and applauding new students as they enter. The symbolic rite of passage is an annual tradition for the College.

More photos from Academic Convocation.

Movin’ In

Among the newcomers to Keuka College is Kelsie Gill, who plans to major in occupational science.

Keuka College welcomes its new students to campus Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Returning students, faculty, and staff were on hand to welcome the newest members of the Keuka College family, answer questions, and assist moving the students into their rooms.

All new students will participate in the Transition Week program, which includes sessions addressing new student issues, academics, team-building, social activities, and preparation for the first day of classes. The week’s activities mark the transition to college life and give newcomers the opportunity to prepare for their new role as Keuka College students.

Classes begin Monday, Aug. 25.

Click here for more photos.

Women’s Volleyball Earns Academic Award

The Keuka College women’s volleyball team earned a share of the North Eastern Athletic Conference’s (NEAC) regular-season championship during the 2013-14 season, finishing 23-7 overall and 9-1 in NEAC play.

The successes of the team were not limited to the court.

Under head coach Ben Guiliano, the 20 student-athletes on the women’s volleyball team excelled in the classroom, maintaining a 3.30 team grade point average.

That mark earned the team an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for academic success.

The AVCA Team Academic Award, which originated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team GPA on a 4.0 scale, or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

“I’m very proud of our team winning this award,” said Guiliano, who enters his fourth season leading the volleyball program.

“We have a bunch of academically and goal-oriented young women in our program who are well-rounded and balanced. When it comes to their academics, they’re serious about what they’re doing. While we expect that kind of academic success, it’s a tribute to each of the individuals that worked hard to accomplish their academic goals. These are accountable and responsible student-athletes that get the job done on the court and in the classroom.”

Keuka College is one of 129 NCAA Division III women’s team recipients for the 2013-14 season, and one of three NEAC programs to earn the honor, along with the College of St. Elizabeth (N.J.) and Gallaudet University (D.C.).

“This is a big accomplishment and it’s an expectation that is set for the future student-athletes,” Guiliano added. “We know we can be successful athletes and successful students at the same time, and here’s the proof.”

The AVCA set a new record with 684 teams being honored this school year, exceeding last year’s mark of 623.

Since the award’s inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to 684. Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program’s 22-year history, with 6,126 awards been given out in total.

For the latest stories, schedules and results from Keuka athletics, visit www.KeukaStorm.com or go to the Keuka Athletics Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/KeukaAthletics. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @KeukaAthletics.

Keuka College to Present a Brief History of Wine Aug. 15

Few places love wine as much as the Finger Lakes region does. But have you ever wondered just how much you actually know about what you drink? The first in Keuka College’s Lectures by the Lake series will be a wine workshop held Friday, Aug. 15 from 3 – 5 p.m. in the Geiser Refectory.

 The workshop will feature a presentation by Associate Professor of Management David Romm.

Prof. Romm will tell the story of wine and what it means to us, how it’s been made, fought over, and appreciated from 4000 BCE to the present day. Prof. Romm’s presentation will be followed by a wine and cheese reception featuring musicians from the Eastman School of Music.

Click Here to RSVP Now

Prof. Romm is uniquely qualified to speak on the subject. His corporate experience spans prestigious brands and venues such as the World Trade Center in New York and the Vista International Hotel in Washington D.C.

While at the World Trade Center, Prof. Romm had sole management responsibility for 23 different food service and catering operations located in every part of the complex. His operations served a wide variety of markets, ranging from vending machines to fine-dining restaurants and employed more than 400 people, earned annual revenues in excess of $12 million and served more than 20,000 people every day.

During Prof. Romm’s tenure at the World Trade Center, he worked with Kevin Zraly, the world-famous sommelier and wine educator. Zraly was wine director at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World, which was widely hailed as one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the U.S.

In Washington D.C., Prof. Romm organized a wine school that attracted leading California winemakers. Throughout his career, he has also served as a consultant for such organizations as Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Corporation, Gallop Inc., Nestle Inc. and Hilton International. Prof. Romm has presented management seminars in England, Italy, Spain and Indonesia. He has also consulted for Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M. and The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.

Prof. Romm began teaching at Keuka College in 1991 and currently teaches several courses including Food and Society, which focuses on the complex and significant role food plays in all aspects of our lives.

Tickets for the workshop are $15. Seating is limited, so advanced reservations are advised. Click Here to RSVP Now.

Keuka College’s new Lectures by the Lake series is designed for community members to learn about topics of regional interest from some of the College’s most revered subject-matter experts.

For more information call (315) 279-5238 or e-mail spevents@keuka.edu.