Mike McKenzie couldn’t figure out why his mother never returned to her childhood home in western Kansas.
“My brother and I tried numerous times to get her to go back,” said McKenzie, associate professor of philosophy and religion. “We thought it would be fun for to see the place and some of her friends. I just didn’t get it.”
He got it after making the trek to Johnson, Kan., himself.
“It’s an utterly exposed place,” recalled McKenzie. “You’re exposed to winds and weather on all four sides.”
And that made life tough for Maxine Carter, her mother; father, who was a wheat farmer; and sister—especially in the 1930s when the Dust Bowl, a period of severe dust storms, caused major ecological and agricultural damage on the Southern plains.
The Dust Bowl lasted 10 years and made activities typically taken for granted—breathing and eating—a challenge. Children wore dust masks and women hung wet sheets over windows to keep the dust out of their homes. Crops were blown away.
So powerful were these rolling waves of dust they would “obliterate the sun,” recalled McKenzie’s mother.
And it wasn’t just dust storms that the young Maxine Carter was forced to survive. Tornadoes, ice storms, and blizzards would “force kids into storm cellars and they wouldn’t know if their farm or home was still standing until they came out,” said McKenzie.
Maxine Carter was born in 1922 and moved to Oregon in 1936. She will never return to Johnson or Manter, Kan., where her family lived before heading to the Pacific Northwest. And her son now understands why.
“My mother had a good home life growing up but a scary place,” he said. “I understand why she doesn’t have fond memories of her early life in Kansas.”
While acknowledging the highly personal nature of this story, McKenzie saw it has a perfect fit for his Environmental Ethics class that he his teaching this semester.
“The Dust Bowl is the greatest environmental disaster in this country’s history, and I decided to do a large segment on it in my class,” he said. “I couldn’t bring my students to Kansas so I am bringing Kansas to them.”
McKenzie teamed with Troy Cusson, instructional design manager in the Wertman Office of Distance Education (WODE), to create a video that features an interview McKenzie did with his mother in January as well as photos his grandfather took in western Kansas in the 1930s.
And, he partnered with John Locke, director of instructional design and multidisciplinary studies in WODE, to construct a Dust Bowl exhibit in a Lightner Library display case.
“Students and others will see artifacts from the Dust Bowl and the display case itself looks like a farmer’s cabin from the 1930s,” said McKenzie. “There is even some actual Kansas dust.”
One of Locke’s biggest challenges was to find a way for people to view the video (it runs on a loop and headphones are available for listening) without impinging on the “rustic” quality of the display. So, he built cabinet and gave it a “rough finish to create an aged look.”
He also created a “window into a dust storm” by backlighting an image of a 1930s dust storm.
“John did a terrific job of bringing 1930s Kansas to life,” said McKenzie.
To further enhance his students’ knowledge of the Dust Bowl, McKenzie is planning a field trip to nearby Hunt Country Vineyards “to see how a modern farmer (Art Hunt) employs sustainability in his day- to-day operations. The class will engage in some hands-on activities and get to see good farming practices put into use, as contrasted with those on the high plains of the 1930s that helped spawn the Dust Bowl.”
Finally, McKenzie recently screened Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl.
“Everyone loves stories,” said McKenzie. “Ken Burns tells a story and that is what we did. It’s a story about my mom. It’s personal, but at the same time it’s educational.”
Works by Aaron Copland, Clause-Michel Schonberg, and Frank Erikson will be among the musical selections performed by the Keuka College Symphonic Band at its annual spring concert Sunday, April 14.
The performance, free and open to the public, begins at 3:30 p.m. in Norton Chapel.
Under the direction of Jeff Stempien, instructor of band, the program includes The Star Spangled Banner, a blend by Mark Williams and the Navy; Fanfare For The Common Man, by Copland, and arranged by Robert Longfield; Spy Chase, by Brant Karrick; Valdres, by Johannes Hanssen and arranged by Robert W. Smith; Les Miserables, by Schonberg and arranged by Johnnie Vinson; The Water Is Wide, by Rick Kirby; Jump Street Boogie, by Steve Hodges; Light a Distant Fire, by Erickson; and Highlights from Grease, by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs, and arranged by Paul Murtha.
Dr. Andrew Delbanco, recipient of the 2011 National Humanities Medal, will deliver the 25th Annual Carl and Fanny Fribolin Lecture Friday, May 3, at Keuka College.
One of the highlights of May Day Weekend, Delbanco will discuss “What is College For?” at 6:30 p.m. in Norton Chapel. It is free and open to the public.
The lecture series carries the names ofGenevaresident Carl Fribolin, an emeritus member of the College’s Board of Trustees and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2004, and his late wife.
Delbanco is Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He was awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama “for his writing that spans the literature of Melville and Emerson to contemporary issues in higher education.”
In 2001, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named by Time Magazine as “America’s Best Social Critic.” In 2003, he was named New York State Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. In 2006, he received the “Great Teacher Award” from the Society of Columbia Graduates.
Delbanco is the author of many books, including, most recently, College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be, and The Abolitionist Imagination. Melville: His World and Work was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography, and appeared on “best books” lists in the Washington Post, Independent (London), Dallas Morning News, and TLS. It was awarded the Lionel Trilling Award byColumbiaUniversity.
Delbanco’s essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, New Republic, New York Times Magazine, and other journals. His topics range from American literary and religious history to contemporary issues in higher education.
Delbanco has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was a member of the inaugural class of fellows at the New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students pursuing culturally-oriented Field Periods.
To Britani Pruner, college is more than just an education— it’s about creating experiences that will influence her for the rest of her life.
So when the Pennellville resident enrolled at Keuka, she told herself two things: every Field Period would be a challenging and new experience, and she would take every opportunity presented to her.
I have the chance to do both when I will travel to London,” said Pruner before she departed for the capital of England. “Becoming more culturally aware is a component I wish to add to my experience. As a junior English major, I have the opportunity to explore London through literature.”
She is participating in Literary London, a two-week course offered through Cayuga Community College. The course examines London through selected samples of English literature. Pruner will have the opportunity to tour such iconic locales as Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, Windsor Castle, Tower of London, and walking along Fleet Street.
“Among my goals for this Field Period are to bring to life the words I’ve read in books,” said Pruner. “Many authors, such as Virginia Woolfe and Charles Dickens, have based their work in and around London. To be able to visit such influential places would add a beneficial layer to my understanding of literature.”
Through the course, Pruner will participate in tours, lectures, discussions and walks to deepen her understanding of the history, geography, and culture of the city. She will also attend theatre performances and visit literary-specific museums, including the Sherlock Holmes Museum, Dickens House, and Keats House.
Sure, Assistant Professor of American Sign Language- English Interpreting (ASL-EI) Brian Cerney puts “ghost interpreters” to work in traditional courses.
But there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Cerney’s”ghost interpreters” are his ASL students, who attend a traditional class and take turns signing for one another. The practice is one of many employed by Cerney, who directs numerous elements in the discipline. Cerney works with fellow Keuka faculty to give ASL students real-life opportunities to “ghost interpret” traditional classes, such as those in psychology, English or other unrelated fields. With permission of the teaching instructor, a trio of ASL-EI students, for example, will rotate signing through the course lecture of a willing professor, switching every 15-18 minutes. The seated ASL students will check the interpreter’s message for accuracy.
Because no deaf student is dependent upon the interpretation, “ghost interpreting” becomes practice without risk, Cerney said. Added benefits for instructors and non-ASL students are that they can become comfortable with interpreters in the classroom.
“Dr. Cerney provides valuable first-hand opportunities that profoundly enrich students’ understanding of their chosen field– the epitome of experiential learning,” said Dr. Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs.
Cerney initially hoped for five non-ASL faculty members to make a course and classroom available for ASL students to ghost interpret but received 20 volunteers, representing courses in organic chemistry, anatomy, English literature, and occupational therapy, among others. Students have also signed at special events and church services.
Ruthanne Hackman, assistant professor of social work, has welcomed student ghost interpreters to her Social Work Ethics and Diversity course. She said her own social work students get to experience what it might be like to attend a conference workshop with an ASL interpreter.
“In addition, in learning about diverse populations, we discuss reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and ethical issues regarding working with interpreters for people with language isolation or English as a second language. Students can directly pull from their experiences with the ASL student interpreters, then expand the conversation to compare and contrast to populations with other disabilities, culture, or language needs,” Hackman said. “I look forward to having [ghost interpreters] in my class this coming semester.”
According to Cerney, an ASL student is not allowed to practice interpreting in one of the courses he or she is registered for credit. Senior ASL students complete 36 hours of ghost interpreting, as well as 15 hours of “shadow” interpreting, when students follow the two primary campus interpreters who voice lectures for deaf instructors Sharon Staehle and Dorothy Wilkins or sign voiced meetings as interpretation for either instructor.
“It’s a restricted set of opportunities which is why it’s a smaller number of hours,” Cerney explained. As students observe the work of the professional interpreters, if and when it makes sense, they may be pulled into translation with the professional, he said.
According to Dr. Doug Richards, chair of Keuka’s humanities and fine arts division, the ghost interpreting provides ASL-EI students “invaluable practical experience in ‘live/real world’ signing, and as a side benefit exposes a wide range of Keuka students to ASL signing – a win-win.”
Cerney concluded: “The Keuka philosophy of learning by doing is alive and well in the interpreting program.”
Dr. Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English at Keuka College, is putting a new twist on some classic short stories, sonnets, plays and prose.
Joiner introduced a new course this fall, Literature in the Wider World, which serves as the new introduction to the major. It seeks to expand student horizons on books, reading, writing and all-things English and to grasp the role literature plays in everyday life.
Professor of English Doug Richards, chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, visited Joiner’s class and shared a real-life example of how English can play a role in careers beyond writing and teaching. According to Richards, a graduate of Keuka’s organizational communication program was on a sales call “that was going nowhere” but took a positive turn when the prospective client referenced the medieval poem, Beowulf. The Keuka graduate was able to build on the allusion in conversation, earn the client’s respect, and make the sale.
“You will know the stories of your culture and can engage in intelligent conversation and you’ll get further along,” advised Richards. “Keep working on building links and connections.”
And that is what the students did in Joiner’s class. They studied some classics, among them Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, and short stories, such as Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper. However, more than simple context and content were discussed. In addition to reading the traditional works, students also investigated digital and other media formats, and even theatrical and cinematic formats, in the case of Susan Glaspell’s play Trifles, and Fitzgerald’s classic, The Great Gatsby.
While digital technology has had a significant impact on the written word, students debate more than just print-versus-e-book preferences. One challenge Joiner gave students is to consider literature as hypertext, the embedded digital links to prior electronic postings. In the final assignment, for example, the autobiographical “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” a popular treatise against slavery, students reviewed the Biblical story of Daniel in the lions’ den. They then analyzed a portion of the work where Douglass describes his newfound freedom as escaping the hungry mouth of the lions.
While on its own, the reference makes literal sense, Joiner said, “it’s a hypertext without links and we have to be aware there’s a link, so how do we fill that in? We can read [literally] without understanding the allusion but what if we do? All of a sudden it takes on this whole new meaning and how does it help [Douglass] make [his] argument? His audience would have understood that [allusion] and we, today, may not.”
Douglass’s “Narrative” contains several other Biblical and secular allusions, which students further analyzed in their final class project, where they could choose their own creative medium to demonstrate the knowledge gleaned in their studies. While some students presented digital essays using literal hyperlinks and hypertext, others chose creative mediums – digital and traditional – to share what they learned.
For example, freshman Brianna Jackson of Syracuse used a multi-dimensionsal software known as Prezi, which some have compared to PowerPoint on steroids, to present a 3-D, visual display of quotes, images, colors and more. Two students, sophomore Jake Banas and junior Justin Hess wrote fictional stories, with Banas “writing a story about writing my paper,” while Hess reverted to the classic detective-reporter serial, turning the research into clues to decipher the mystery.
Meanwhile, sophomore Tyler Hixson of Shortsville created a Facebook persona for Douglass, posting photos available in the public domain, as well as links to facts and figures relative to Douglass, then “friending” the real Facebook accounts of fellow students in the class. He also created a Twitter account using the handle FreddyDouglass17.
Joiner asked students to compare and contrast pros and cons of each format or medium.
While sophomore Judy Ludwig of Rochester merged the traditional term paper with hypertext, she “came to the conclusion that you needed both – neither the hypertext nor the traditional paper did everything you needed it to do,” explained Joiner.
Similarly, Jackson’s Prezi slideshow was visually appealing, “but in terms of something that can stand on its own, this won’t work – we need you to fill in the blanks,” Joiner described.
The Importance of Being Earnest, a comedy by Oscar Wilde, will be the fall theatrical production at Keuka College.
The play will be staged Thursday- Saturday, Oct. 25-27, at 8 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Red Barn Theatre.
Directed by Professor of Theatre Mark Wenderlich, who also serves as lighting director, The Importance of Being Earnest offers a hilarious look at fun, games, and dubious ethics among the British upper crust.
Algernon Moncrieff is a slightly shady, but charming gentleman from a wealthy family who has a bad habit of throwing his money away. His close friend is Jack Worthing, a self-made man who acts as a ward to his cousin, Cecily.
Algernon has created an alter ego to help him get out of tight spots brought on by his financial improprieties, and when he learns that Jack has created a false identity of his own—Earnest, a brother living in London whose exploits have earned him no small amount of notoriety— Algernon arrives for a weekend visit in the country posing as the mysterious Earnest. Having heard of Earnest’s misadventures many times over the years, Cecily had developed something of an infatuation with the lovable rogue, and Algernon’s impersonation of him works no small degree of magic on Cecily.
Meanwhile, Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn arrives for the weekend, and is startled to discover Jack is also there—except that she knows him as bad-boy Earnest. So just who is in love with whom? How will Lady Bracknell handle the matter of daughter Gwendolyn’s suitors? And what’s the truth about Jack’s mysterious heritage?
Members of the cast include Jacob Banas (Jack Worthing); Logan Ackerley (Algernon Moncrieff); Caleigh Alterio (Gwendolen Fairfax); Katy Standinger (Cecily Cardew); Jenny Tammera (Lady Bracknell) Matthew Snyder (Lane/Rev. Chasuble); Sierra Lynch (Miss Prism); and Elijah Snipes II (Merriman).
Members of the crew include Danica Zielinski (stage manager, light board manager, and scenic designer); Damita Peace (costume designer); Dan Roach (sound designer); Stephen Funk (sound board operator); and Jessamine Qualman, Robert Hernandez, Alicia Brown, and Cheryl Walsh (crew).
The Oct. 27 performance will benefit the cast members’ 2013 trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. All tickets are $7 and will be on sale at the door. Tickets for the other three performances are $4 for Keuka students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and $7 for the general public. Seating is limited.
By John Locke, director of instructional design and multidisciplinary studies
Is Keuka Park the new Roswell?
Judging from photographs taken by students in CMP 265: Computer Visual Design, one might come to that conclusion.
Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were photographed hovering over Point Neamo, outside residence halls, and various other locales on campus. However, panic has not set in. In fact, students, faculty and staff have been going about their daily routines and paying no attention to the strange objects flying overhead.
That’s because these are photographic “hoaxes” that students created using Photoshop. Call it a high-tech spinoff of the 1938 radio drama based on H.G. Well’s “War of the Worlds,” sans the hysteria but with much more educational value.
“I try to get my students out of the textbook and into a project as soon as possible, so that they can apply what they’ve learned so far,” said Instructor John Locke. “We are all aware that Photoshop can be used for nefarious purposes, so I figure we might as well get it out of our systems early on in the class.”
“I think the UFO project was really fun… we got to put a twist on college life at Keuka and spruce up the campus,” said Maddie Reynolds, a senior educational studies major.
Her photo depicts an odd-shaped spacecraft hovering outside her residence hall while a student points in astonishment at an extraterrestrial who is throwing a soccer ball out of a second-floor window.
As their homework assignment, students photographed the scenes where their UFO “sightings” would be staged, and then they took pictures of everyday, common items to use as their “UFOs.” Back in the classroom, they worked in Photoshop to create a composite of their assorted images.
“It was a great introductory project for us to apply basic skills we have been learning in Photoshop,” said John Miller, a senior organizational communication major.
Miller’s photo shows his friends speeding along in a boat with a flying saucer hot on its stern.
“I showed the photo I edited to my friends that were in it. In disbelief they kept saying, ‘What is that?’ until I explained that I had created the UFO myself,” said Miller.
Locke said “more strangeness can be expected” from his students.
“They have been morphing each other’s facial features onto their own portraits to create an army of CMP 265 Mutants,” he explained. “Every time another mutant is ‘born’ and presented, the class breaks out in laughter. Combining facial features is not a skill they will probably ever use in a practical sense, but in the process, they are becoming pretty competent photo retouch artists.”
Last year around Halloween, students created a collection of horror movie posters that hung in the hallway near the Geiser Refectory. Locke plans to resurrect that project this season, and hopes to display another crop of petrifying posters produced in Photoshop.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles on new, full-time faculty members who have joined the Keuka community.
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Enid Bryant is a firm believer in hands-on learning.
That’s one reason the newest full-time faculty member in the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts likes teaching at Keuka College.
“The College’s mission seems to mesh well with my teaching style, so the experiential learning aspect of the College ties in nicely with my goals as an educator,” said Bryant, who teaches sections of media writing, digital publishing, and English 110.
A journalism and communications graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Bryant received her Master of Arts degree in media, culture, and communication from the University of London (England). She taught part time at both Monroe Community College and St. John Fisher College before coming to Keuka.
“I love working with young communication professionals because they are inspiring to watch, and because I can see how dedicated and passionate they are about what they do,” says Bryant.
According to Bryant, today’s communication students have to be nimble.
“As the industry continues to change, the students have to be faster at adapting to those changes,” she said. “It is important to be well-rounded, and you have to walk away with the skills to write, take and edit video and photography, post stories to myriad websites, and learn as much as you can—even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.”
But communication students have a great advantage over other students, says Bryant, “because they have something tangible to show, be it a magazine, newspaper clip, website or advertisement. The students have to know how to produce content in multiple ways.”
Bryant knows firsthand how that content can be produced. She served as editor in chief of Next Step Publishing in Victor, where she managed online content as well as the production of five glossy magazines a year. In addition, she was a news reporter, custom content editor, young audience editor, and young professionals editor at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, where she also served as a mentor in the RocEd college internship program.
“News writing is my passion,” said Bryant. “Writing is my forte, but I have also served as a magazine editor and webmaster, and I am familiar with specialty printing. As the industry has evolved, I have been more interested in the web portion of news, and I will translate that into the classroom.”
One project Bryant assigned her media writing class was to have the students talk with someone in their 60s, 70s or 80s about their media usage, and how their usage has changed with technology.
“In order to learn the industry, you must learn its history,” said Bryant. “This assignment helped me turn what could have been a ‘boring’ lecture into something much more interesting.”
In her digital publishing class, Bryant uses the Adobe book Classroom in a Book, because “the focus is on good design and use of that design, and some of the students are already familiar with the InDesign program,” she said. “The book makes the class completely hands-on and easy to navigate.”
Another assignment Bryant gave her students was to bring a professionally designed flyer into class. They talked about its good points and how to make the not-so-good points better.
“It’s some savvy fun, and I think we’ll create some really cool things this semester,” she said.
Added Bryant: “I want my students to know my door is always open for them to talk with me. I’ve had a smooth transition, and the students have been warm and receptive. I am excited to be here.”