Keuka College will welcome a visiting scholar from Nigeria to campus April 27 and 28, thanks to the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF). A senior lecturer in engineering at Nnamdi Azikiwe Unversity in Awka, Nigeria, Dr. Matthew Menkiti is currently conducting research at Texas Tech University as a Fulbright visiting scholar.
Dr. Menkiti will speak twice during his campus visit. His first lecture, entitled Petroleum Produced Water Treatment Processes and Management,” will focus on the utilization of novel plant and animal extracts as active treatment agents and will be held from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in Hegeman Hall, Room 109. In his second talk, entitled “Republican Democracy in the Traditional ‘Igbo Nation’ of Nigeria,” he will focus on his home culture. That lecture will focusing on the evolution and influence of Europeanization from the colonial to post-colonial era, and will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Brezinsky Room of Dahlstrom Student Center. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Since 1946, the federally-funded international educational exchange program has been operating and is considered an important diplomatic tool, building relationships between American academics, policy experts, and students and their foreign counterparts. Each year, some 800 faculty and professionals from around the world receive highly competitive Fulbright Scholar grants to travel to higher education institutions to conduct advanced research and lecture at other universities on their research specialties and the history and culture of their home countries. American faculty can also apply for competitive grants to travel abroad for research or teaching opportunities, while students can apply for international exchange study.
Through the Fulbright Scholar Program, U.S. students, faculty and community members have the opportunity to exchange ideas with visiting Fulbright scholars and the foreign scholars themselves can become better acquainted with U.S. higher education, and create links between their home institutions, host institutions stateside and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).
According to Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science, this is the first time Keuka College has welcomed a Fulbright scholar as a visiting lecturer, and it’s the beginning of what she hopes will be many new academic advantages for the College, its faculty and students.
For example, the College could apply to host a Fulbright visiting scholar on campus for a year, and Narasimhan is particularly excited about the possibility of hosting foreign language tutors who could teach new languages to Keuka College students. Meanwhile, Keuka College faculty could apply for Fulbright scholarships to teach abroad or conduct research.
“I’ve always dreamed of doing a Fulbright [scholarship] to go back to Romania where I did my undergraduate degree and teach there, maybe for a semester or a year,” Narasimhan said.
Among the campus community, Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of the Keuka China Program (KCP), in which Chinese students at four partner schools overseas receive Keuka College degrees, received a Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) award in 2002-03 to conduct research for her dissertation in Indonesia. She gave the program high praise, saying that “the Fulbright community was a wonderful group of doctoral students doing dissertation research in various fields, professors teaching or doing research and [foreign] scholars going to the U.S. for study or research or teaching.”
No matter what opportunities may be sought from the Fulbright program in the future, Narasimhan said that the first step is to host someone internationally recognized and distinguished for a campus visit. Dr. Menkiti’s visit will serve as the beginning of an “active relationship” with the Fulbright Scholar program.
“We’re going to start to take advantage of the opportunities that are available,” Narasimhan said.
To that end, Narasimhan and fellow assistant professor of political science, Dr. David Pak Leon, will host an informational session on the Fulbright program from 4-5 p.m., Tuesday, April 28 in Hegeman Hall, Room 109. Narasimhan and Leon are campus representatives for the Fulbright Scholar program.
“This is part of trying to encourage global citizenship and active engagement, whether at home or abroad,” Narasimhan said.
For more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program, visit online at: http://www.iie.org/fulbright.
With the recent defeat of incumbent Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, the Republican Party will hold 54 Senate seats–a net gain of nine–in the next Congress.The midterm elections also saw the Republicans increase their advantage in the House of Representatives and add to their lead in governorships.
What were the reasons behind the GOP’s dominating performance?
To answer that question and others, Doug Lippincott, executive director of grants, governmental relations, and compliance invited Associate Professor of History Chris Leahy to be his guest on the December edition of Keuka College Today, which airs on WFLR (Dundee).
Leahy,who regularly appears on the show, talks about the obvious and not so obvious reasons behind the GOP’s big win and what it could mean for President Obama’s final two years in the White House. He also opines on what impact the midterm elections will have on the Tea Party, and while he weighs in on a possible Clinton-Bush rematch in 2016 (Hillary and Jeb, that is), he also offers up a somewhat surprising prediction for the GOP standard-bearer in 2016.
It’s spring 2014.
What better time to talk about the 2016 presidential election.
It’s about 19 months before the first primary and more than two years before the electorate will cast its vote to determine President Obama’s successor. However, things are heating up already.
Will Hillary Clinton seek the Democratic nomination? What about Joe Biden? Are there other contenders?
And what about the Republicans? Can Chris Christie overcome his troubles? Will the GOP cast their lot with Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, or someone else.
Meanwhile, in the Empire State, Gov. Cuomo is up for re-election this November. The Republicans have not fielded a strong contender since George Pataki. Will they this time around?
And then there’s the mid-term elections. Can the GOP take the Senate?
Associate Professor of History Chris Leahy sorts it all out in this interview with Doug Lippincott, which aired recently on WFLR’s Keuka College Today.
When senior Lauren Piampiano registered for the special topics SOC 295 Popular Culture class, she thought she would find the material interesting.
Piampiano discovered that while her initial expectations of the class, offered for the first time last fall and taught by Assistant Porfessor of Sociology Athena Elafros, proved to be true, she learned more than she anticipated.
“I took this class because I wanted to be informed on the functions and critical theories regarding popular culture,” said Piampiano, a sociology major from Webster. “It can be important in a variety of career settings, namely the social service field. This class analyzed and helped me better understanding popular culture, a prominent aspect of our society. It also examined some deep topics that are often thought-provoking and introspective.”
Sophomore Kayla Kuntz agrees.
“I enjoy talking about current events, and popular culture greatly affects my age group,” said Kuntz, an exploratory major from Manlius. “But I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the meanings of these events. What I have learned has been much more in depth and analytic than I expected. This is a good thing.”
And that is exactly what Elafros intended.
“While most of the students in the class are sociology majors and have a solid background in sociological analyses,” she said. “I wanted to teach a class on popular culture to provide students with the analysis and problem-solving skills needed to be critical media consumers. Popular culture acts as a lens that reflects the changing norms and values in society and it also can be used as a tool to shape and promote social change in society.”
According to senior Samantha Yavorek, a psychology and sociology major from Canandaigua, the class focused on “learning about different forms of popular culture and how it is represented in the media, as well as how it shapes our society and the individuals in it. But we also learned about the endless genres of popular culture and how they are relative to society.”
Elafros covered a wide variety of popular culture topics in the class, including Miley Cyrus’ music video for Wrecking Ball; twerking; Riot Grrrl; memes; Bruce Lee films; and World Wrestling Entertainment.
“We also discussed Star Trek; The Walking Dead; bronnies; Fedoras; Pogs; sexism and advertising; women’s magazines; Public Enemy; the Eurythmics; trucker hats; skinny jeans; Ugg boots; Mardi Gras beads; Star Wars; Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video; and football, among many other examples.”
Senior Karina Cochran, a sociology major from Cortland, said “popular culture is one of those influences that affects everyone’s life, while going largely unnoticed. I think it is important to learn about factors that contribute to our culture and our sense of self. And, I have absolutely benefited from learning how to conceptualize and better understand popular culture.”
Because of this class, sophomore Thomas Fowler now thinks more about what he sees and reads and questions it.
“I no longer see something in the media and turn a blind eye and say ‘oh whatever’ or ‘no big deal,’” said the sociology and political science and history major from Batavia. “I believe it makes me a better person to question popular culture and try to better understand what I am being shown in the media.”
And Fowler isn’t the only one in the class who now questions what he sees.
“Many of the students have mentioned that this class opened their eyes to the ways in which the mass media manipulate our desires and emotions,” said Elafros. “For example, many of the women in the class have told me they can’t look at women’s magazines without seeing them from a critical perspective. Once you understand the sociological perspective, it fundamentally changes how you view the world around you.”
And for Yavorek and Kuntz, the perceptions of popular culture they had before taking this class have changed.
Yavoerk is now “analytical of every ad I come across,” while Kuntz believes she has “a better understanding of current events and why they have the impact they do.” But Cochran’s perceptions “have not changed drastically, as I have always held somewhat of a feminist and critical outlook toward it.”
After taking this class, Elafros hopes “that students can become critical consumers of popular culture and the media. Given that we are immersed in popular culture on a daily basis, I want students to be actively engaging and critiquing it instead of passively consuming it. This was a special topics course and it is not currently being offered. If there is enough student interest, I would love to be able to teach the course again.”
According to Yavorek, this class was fun to complete work for because it consistently maintained her interest.
“It is one of the classes that I found most directly applied to occurrences in my everyday life for my generation at this time,” she said. “Sociology has done a great job of teaching me how to look at things through a critical lens, and understand as well as analyze how concepts such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and even personality are shaped through social interaction and socialization.”
Should Elafros have the opportunity to teach the class again, she is not sure what material she would cover, because “whatever is current and happening within society will be the subject matter of the course. For example, if I was currently teaching the course, I would definitely focus on the Olympics. So it all depends on when I next get to teach the course and what new trends are happening.”
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series of Q&As with new, full-time faculty members. Today, meet three of Keuka’s new additions.
Dr. David Pak Leon, assistant professor of political science, teaches International Relations, Political Development in Asia, and Globalization.
Last book read: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.
Favorite quote: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,” by George Orwell.
If you could be a fictional character, who would be and why? I can’t really think of a fictional character that I would like to be.
What makes teaching fun? It is always fun and interesting when I see students grow in knowledge throughout a semester. I enjoy lively discussions in and outside the classroom when different perspectives are presented. It is also nice when students tell me what they are learning and reading on their own, or when they bring in relevant outside materials or their own experiences that enrich our collective understanding of different issues. Seeing eager and engaged students makes teaching rewarding.
What do you do for fun? I enjoy listening to music and reading (politics, history, architecture, economics, and finance). I like browsing bookstores and antique shops, and biking.
Sunny Winstead of Burdett, N.Y., assistant professor of occupational therapy, is teaching classes in occupational therapy assessment and intervention for older adults.
Last book read: Other than a textbook? Maybe a Ruth Rendell mystery, but unfortunately it’s been awhile!
Favorite quote: You’ll never be sorry for taking the high road.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why? Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books. She’s smart, inventive, and brave. Plus, I’d love to have a Time-Turner so I could be in two places at once!
What makes teaching fun? Collaborating with students and seeing their confidence grow as they move toward clinical practice.
What do you do for fun? I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, gardening, and hiking.
Dr. Jason McKinney of Penfield, assistant professor of social work, is teaching a number of classes this year, including Youth Services Delivery, Research Methods, Ethics and Diversity, and Field Practicum.
Last book read: Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, by Scott Jurek.
Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why?:Cookie Monster. I wish I could eat junk food all day and never gain a pound!
What makes teaching fun? Students make teaching fun! I love the interactive part of teaching, such as class discussion or learning activities designed to connect theory and practice.
What do you do for fun? I play guitar, ukulele, and percussion. I run, garden, lift weights, and study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Coming Monday: Three more Q&A profiles of new, full-time faculty members.