Month: January 2021

Asian Allure honors alumni in performance

first_imgThis year’s Asian Allure, called “Timeless,” transported audiences back in time to explore the history of the Asian student community at Notre Dame. The Asian Allure performances, sponsored by the Asian American Association, took place Friday and Saturday in Washington Hall. Junior Michael Mercurio, director of Asian Allure, said the show adhered to its “Timeless” theme by telling the stories of Notre Dame alumni through traditional dances and skits. “We would not be the Asian community we are today if not for the timeless stories of all the students that came before us,” he said. Mercurio said Asian Allure is an important event for the Asian student community because it unifies all students of Asian descent. “It’s the one time of the year when all the Asian clubs get together to showcase our culture,” he said. “It’s the one time to really build community.” To collect the “timeless” stories used in this year’s show, Mercurio said this summer nine students interviewed alumni from all over the world about their experiences as Asian students at Notre Dame. “We told the alums [this year’s show] was a tribute to them, and they really found that touching,” Mercurio said. For the weekend’s performances, alumni’s narratives were weaved into a plot similar to that of “The Hangover.” Students with fuzzy memories of what happened the night before find a time machine to travel back to the previous night, but they accidentally journey back to 1905 when the first Asian student enrolled at Notre Dame. From there, the students keep traveling forward through time, watching the Asian student community grow on campus. Within the show, each Asian student club sponsored a particular act. These individual acts either showcased traditional dance or music, or presented a more modern twist, Mercurio said. “The Philippine American Student Organization has a traditional dance called tinikling where they have bamboo sticks and they clap them together, except they do it to hip hop dancing,” he said. Sophomore Denver Lobo participated in the Indian Association of Notre Dame’s performance of the traditional bhangra dance. “It’s a lot of jumping around, a lot of energy,” Lobo said. “It’s a very quick dance. There’s a lot of leg movement and hand movement in it.” Mercurio said this year’s Asian Allure also included an exhibit on the history of Asian Americans that was on display in Washington Hall. “It’s an educational thing,” he said. “We have quotes there, life advice and inspirational quotes from the alums.” Lobo said being a part of Asian Allure allowed him to connect with other students of similar cultural backgrounds. “I’ve gained a lot of friends from doing Asian Allure,” he said. Mercurio said he received positive reactions about this year’s show, especially from alumni. “I got more than a few people who said, ‘This was the best Asian Allure I’ve ever seen,’” he said. “Even alumni who have seen six or seven Asian Allures.” The success of the show is due to all the hard work and time the students spent on the show for the past few months, Mercurio said. “Everyone who was involved has a reason to be proud,” he said. “At times people think we’re not very visible on campus, but … we want to share with you. We love being a part of Notre Dame.”last_img read more

Graduate students paved way for women on campus

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the first in a five-day series discussing the role of women at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, in honor of the 40th anniversary of coeducation at the University this year. The current academic year marks the 40th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, but a number of Catholic sisters and laywomen pursued graduate degrees at the University long before undergraduate women were first admitted in 1972. Often unheralded as alumna of Our Lady’s University, these women received doctorates in English and economics, earned master’s degrees in education and paved the way for future generations of young women to be educated at Notre Dame. Two of these women – Anne Lenhard Benington and Sister Victoria Forde – shared their stories with The Observer to commemorate this landmark anniversary. Continuing the family tradition Anne Lenhard Benington, a 1965 alumna of the University’s since-terminated graduate education program, began her master’s degree in teaching after completing one year of graduate study in French literature at Indiana University. She had also recently become engaged to her future husband, then a soon-to-be naval officer. A native of Mishawaka, Benington said she was familiar with Notre Dame and its academic programs, especially the education program. Dr. Michael Lee headed the program at the time. “I had heard about [Lee’s] approach and I really had always wanted to teach either college or secondary [school],” Benington said. “When I decided that I was going to get a degree in education I thought his program was really what I was looking for.” Because her father graduated from Notre Dame and her relatives helped build the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center and Fisher Hall, Benington said her acceptance into the education program was even more meaningful. “My life had been tied to Notre Dame for such a long time,” she said. “My father … had hoped women would be included … so I think he was pleased when I was accepted into at least a graduate program.” Although the program was academically challenging, Benington said she felt no particular stress as a woman in a traditionally male academic environment. “Dr. Lee ran an amazing program,” she said. “I was with his class mostly in groups of six or seven people,” she said. “There was lots of collegiality that way. There was no pressure at that point.” ‘A fact of life’ But outside the classroom, Benington said being a non-religious woman on campus brought unwanted attention. “The women on campus who were not nuns definitely felt that they stood out,” Benington said. “You were sort of an anomaly. I would say it was … uncomfortable, especially coming from Indiana University where I was a resident assistant … and then going to Notre Dame, which was such a male bastion at the time.” Fortunately, Benington said her engagement to her husband afforded her some protection from some of the issues faced by her female classmates. Still, she said the culture on campus was uncomfortable. “I was engaged to be married that summer, but [gender inequity] was just a fact of life,” she said. “I think this was true of other students too, but it helped being in a program where we had definite goals and knew what we were doing.” Even with a Notre Dame degree, strong family ties to the University and a 30-year teaching career, Benington said she did not feel like a full member of the alumni community until recently. “I would say up until about the last three or four years I don’t think women from my age or older were really accepted [as alumnae],” she said. “Since they completely eliminated the education department, there’s no recognition at all for people who went through that program.” Benington said this feeling of exclusion has diminished slightly over the years. “You sort of felt like the orphaned child,” she said. “It was what it was and there was nothing you could ever do about it, but it was a little bit strange.[The University] is starting to address that a little bit more now.” Sister and scholar One of the last Catholic sisters to complete a graduate degree at Notre Dame prior to 1972, Forde traveled to South Bend in 1963 on behalf of her religious community, the Sisters of Charity. Her order asked her to pursue a master’s degree in English literature. Once she completed her master’s in 1969 after taking summer courses, Forde said her professors encouraged her to complete a doctoral degree as well. Forde attained her Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 1973. Forde also served as as assistant director during the first year of Notre Dame’s London undergraduate program in 1984. “[My Notre Dame education] impacted me immensely,” Forde said. “After getting my Ph.D. I went out to teach at the College of Mount St. Joseph, and I was using everything I’d learned.I was also able to bring in my dissertation adviser as a guest speaker and poet, so that was a lot of fun, too.” Changing habits As a young American sister, Forde began her Notre Dame education while the Second Vatican Council met, from 1962-65, an especially significant period in Church history. The subsequent reforms implemented by Vatican II allowed the sisters to reevaluate how they chose to express their faith in everyday life. “Some women came to talk to us … who were out of habit, or at least in the modified habit, which was really something for us who were all in full habits,” she said. “They asked if we were angry, and I thought, ‘Angry? What am I supposed to be angry about?’ It made us more aware of our position in the Church.” The changes brought on by Vatican II encouraged the sisters’ further assimilation into the greater Notre Dame community, Forde said. “When I started [at Notre Dame] … you could find any habit from orders from the United States and Canada on campus,” she said. “By the time I finished my master’s, we were out of our habits. When I was teaching as a graduate student teaching assistant, … the freshmen were seeing a different nun in lay clothes.” However, Forde said she was treated differently while studying abroad in London for a summer. “I was dressed in a blue suit. … People [in London and Ireland] made cracks about me being a sister not dressed in the habit, but my Notre Dame experience gave me strength. I just rolled it off and didn’t let it bother me.” Among the University’s intellectual community, though, Forde said she always felt welcome. “Maybe it’s different because I was a sister, but I always thought I had a lot of respect … among the underclassmen and people on campus,” she said. “As graduate students, we would all go to professors’ homes and had a good time socializing. I never felt uncomfortable.” After completing her two Notre Dame degrees, Forde channeled her personal and educational experiences into creating women’s studies program at the College of Mount St. Joseph, the liberal arts college affiliated with her religious order. “It all began at Notre Dame during Vatican II,” she said. “That [experience] has affected me greatly.” Part of the family Though their backgrounds differed prior to coming to Notre Dame, both Forde and Benington said their educational experiences at the University have shaped their lives ever since. “I love Notre Dame, so I had a good experience all the way through it,” Forde said. “I still correspond with other sisters who were in Lewis Hall with me, some of whom have left their orders and are laywomen now.” A member of the Notre Dame family by birth, Benington said she appreciates the role the University has played in her life and that of the young women who came after her. “Having the Notre Dame degree and the whole family of Notre Dame as part of my life has been … very enriching,” she said. “I just feel so lucky now that women are … part of the school. I’m just glad to be sort of one of the forerunners of that.” Contact Kristen Durbin [email protected]last_img read more

Students avoid harm in Paris attacks

first_imgSaint Mary’s sophomore Theresa McSorley said she was so excited to arrive in Paris around noon Friday for a weekend trip with a group of students studying abroad in Rome.“We spent the day walking the streets of Paris, eating macaroons and sight-seeing,” McSorley said in an email. “We were able to see the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triumph, the Love Lock Bridge, the Louvre Museum and so much more.“After a beautiful day in Paris, while sitting in the Notre Dame Cathedral, I began to cry. I had just lit a candle for my family, friends and a friends’ father whose health has not been well. I took a look around the beauty of the Cathedral and felt very blessed.”Later that night, three groups of terrorists staged attacks across the city, killing more than 120 people and injuring hundreds more. The terrorist group ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attacks.Notre Dame junior Grace Guibert said in an email, she, McSorley and two other Saint Mary’s sophomores — Keighley Ehmsen and Caroline Green — had just left dinner at 10:45 p.m. in the fourth “arrondissement,” or district, when parents and friends started reaching out to make sure they were safe.Guibert said the fourth “arrondissement” is adjacent to the 11th “arrondissement,” where some of the attacks occurred, and the group continued walking, trying to find a cab.“Everything was really chaotic,” Guibert said. “At first, we were in a busy area, and everyone was hustling to find a cab. When we had tried and failed for a while to get a safe ride home in that area, we were told to walk a few streets over to find cabs.“Because the taxis were in such high demand, we were left walking for a couple of hours. There was a ton of traffic congestion; we saw upwards of 70 ambulances, tons of police vehicles, etc. zooming past us. We were lucky enough to receive help from several Parisians on the streets.”Green said the city began to shut down shortly after they were contacted by their families.“Restaurants and bars began to close and the city quieted down fairly quickly, leaving the streets nearly empty,” she said. “Luckily, we ran into a man named Danyel, who advised us to seek shelter seeing that we were Americans and could be targets. We informed him that we have been trying to get a taxi for the last two hours and had no luck. This man … gave us a ride back to our hostel.”Ehmsen said the group’s travel plans changed significantly because of the attacks Friday.“We wanted to go to Angelina’s, a famous café, but we were exhausted and a little frightened to be in big crowds the next day,” Ehmsen said. “We changed our flights to the first flight out, which was Sunday morning. We were flying with Ryan Air, and they allowed us to change the flight for free because of the circumstances.”Guibert said the group cancelled plans to go to Versailles and tour the Catacombs.” … We were told not to wander far from our hostel’s neighborhood, so we were restricted to that area and couldn’t see a few other landmarks we would’ve otherwise visited.”Vice president of Student Affairs Karen Johnson said 12 students total from the Saint Mary’s Rome Program traveled to Paris last weekend on their own.Guibert said her father contacted Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame to let them know of the students’ presence in Paris.Johnson said when the administration found out they had students in Paris, chair of the department of global studies Jill Vihtelic reached out via email to all students studying abroad in Europe.Johnson said she went to campus to start calling the parents of students abroad to confirm the students were safe.Green said they received an email from the College on Saturday morning.“We got in contact with [Saint Mary’s] Saturday morning after receiving an email from Vihtelic checking in on us and asking us to respond to the email to let her know that we were okay,” Green said. “We later received an email from her in the afternoon giving us safety instructions. The information was helpful but we had already figured this out on our own.”“As a Notre Dame student,” Guibert said, “I received one email from Notre Dame International’s Risk Management office, also recommending numbers to call. At that point, however, our parents and families had all been hard at work calling the State Department, American Embassy, etc. We, on our own, had called several numbers, including the embassy and the consulate.”Notre Dame spokesperson Dennis Brown said in a statement Friday night the University had several students in Paris at the time of the attacks, but that the administration had been in contact with them and they were safe.Ehmsen said the attacks were frightening but also a learning experience.“It is concerning to me [that] ISIS tweeted about Rome, London and Washington D.C. being the next targets,” she said. “Since we are living in Rome and I am going to London in two weeks, its frightening that these threats are in these cities.”McSorley said her experience in Paris will forever have an affect on her.“Just a few hours prior, I was feeling blessed at Notre Dame Cathedral for good health and the chance to experience Europe, but most importantly, now I am feeling blessed to be alive,” she said.Tags: Paris attacks, Rome Program, saint mary’slast_img read more

Biweekly meeting supports survivors of assault

first_imgA confidential support group for survivors of sexual assault has been meeting regularly at the University Counseling Center (UCC), and it has been renewed for next semester.“It’s really nice to have friends on campus who share similar experiences with me,” senior Grace Watkins, who organized the group, said. “It’s provided a really comforting support network for each other.”Watkins said the group has also received a grant from the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being for a self-care night.Watkins, student government’s policy adviser and an advocate for sexual assault victims, worked with the UCC and the Gender Relations Center (GRC) to start the group, which meets every other Friday at 3:30 p.m., in early October. The group is meant to help survivors get to know each other, gain access to other resources and share information. It is open women and men at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross.“A high percentage of female students at Notre Dame experience sexual misconduct in some form, but very few know each other, so I thought a support group would give these students an opportunity to share their experiences with each other and know that they are not alone in many ways,” Watkins said in October. “A lot of the things that feel unusual about your own recovery and healing is actually not unusual, and you can find that out by talking to others.”Watkins said she began to look into starting a support group after Notre Dame released its 2015 Campus Climate survey and after she learned about similar groups at other universities, such as Columbia’s No Red Tape.Watkins worked with the GRC, Notre Dame’s Title IX office and the UCC to decide on a time, place and model. Student government then advertised the group, which meets in the third-floor conference room in Saint Liam Hall.Similar programs existed at Notre Dame in the past: Over the past several years, the St. Joseph County Family Justice Center periodically organized Out of the Shadows, a support group on campus, but that group required at least five participants and was not available every year, Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the GRC and co-chair of the Committee to Prevent Sexual Assault, said in October.Gebhardt said she and deputy Title IX coordinator Heather Ryan had been looking for a new model, especially after the 2015 Campus Climate survey results were released. When Watkins brought her idea for a support group to them, they decided on sessions that were staff-facilitated but student-driven.The group is facilitated by a counselor at the UCC who specializes in helping students through trauma, though Gebhardt said students largely decide the topics of discussion.“The idea for students is that you come and go as you need,” she said. “You don’t have to commit to a 12-week program or a 5-week program. If it’s a difficult week for you and you need to go to the support group, great. If one person shows up or 15 people show up, that’s what it is.“If you don’t need to go or you’re not in a place where that’s where you are, that’s fine. We want it to be about the choice for the survivor.”Watkins said while, unlike Columbia’s No Red Tape, Notre Dame’s group is not focused on advocacy, the group could be a source of information on rights and resources for sexual assault survivors.“When seeking a response through Title IX or with the county, what you think is just a bad experience is actually a Title IX violation, and it’s hard to know that without a lot of background knowledge of how these cases are supposed to be run,” she said. “The best way to do that is to compare experiences and see if lots of people are having the same problems and if it is, then it’s really important to know.”Watkins said the group has been beneficial.“Increasingly, we’re becoming each other’s first phone call,” she said.Tags: 2016 Student Government Insider, sexual assault, support grouplast_img read more

University to change primary Wi-Fi networks

first_imgThe Office of Information Technologies (OIT) announced April 4 that the Wi-Fi on Notre Dame’s main campus would be switched to a new network this summer. The change, which was announced in a campus-wide email, is planned for June 4, 2017, and will see the University switching from “ND-secure,” the current Wi-Fi network, to “Eduroam.”In the email, OIT said the goal of the change was “[t]o provide a more reliable wireless service,” and specified it “will not affect any of the Global Gateway locations.” The email also encourages students to install the new utility required for “Eduroam” access before “ND-secure” is removed in June.On its website, “Eduroam” describes itself as “the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.“‘Eduroam’ allows students, researchers and staff from participating institutions to obtain Internet connectivity across campus and when visiting other participating institutions by simply opening their laptop.” “Eduroam” is already widely used among American colleges and institutions, including Duke University, the University of California colleges and the National Institutes of Health, among others. Chris Corrente, Manager of Applications Development within OIT, said in an email the switch was motivated by a desire to simplify internet access on campus and by the added ability to access the network from off-campus.“Given that ‘Eduroam’ and ‘ND-secure’ provide the same level of functionality and access, our goal is to simplify the network infrastructure and provide improved support by standardizing on a single secure wireless network for campus.” he said. “‘ … Eduroam’ provides the same level of performance, access and security as that of ‘ND-secure.’ The added benefit is that not only can you connect to the ‘Eduroam’ wireless network here on campus, you can also connect to it when visiting other schools that are part of the ‘Eduroam’ community.”Despite the network change, Corrente also said, “Students will not notice any change in the Internet services they can access when switching from ND-secure to ‘Eduroam.’”The move to “Eduroam,” Corrente also said in an email interview, is expected to be in place for a long time.“At this time, the change is part of the long-term future for the campus wireless network,” he said. “As with all technology, the OIT will assess any future changes as needed to meet the wireless needs of campus.”Corrente also urged students to get on the network as soon as possible, although “ND-secure” will remain until June.“Because Back-to-School week is a busy time for students, we recommend students switch their devices to ‘Eduroam’ before leaving for the summer,” he said.“Once you return to campus in August, you will be already set up to connect to the wireless network.”The “Eduroam” utility needed for accessing the network can be installed at and OIT help line can be reached at Eduroam, Office of Information Technologieslast_img read more

University trustee emeritus dies

first_imgNotre Dame trustee emeritus Robert Wilmouth died Sept. 14 at the age of 88, the University announced in a press release Tuesday.University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the press release that Wilmouth left a lasting impact on the Notre Dame community throughout his time as a student, alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees.“Bob served on our Board of Trustees for more than 40 years, providing invaluable advice on many matters, but especially with respect to our financial foundation,” Jenkins said in the release. “His friendship, generosity and love for Notre Dame will never be forgotten. Our prayers are with his family and friends.”According to the release, Wilmouth received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross before obtaining a master’s degree from the University. After his graduation, he spent 27 years in the banking industry, founded the Natural Futures Association and funded the Wilmouth Library Endowment at Notre Dame.Wilmouth joined the Board of Trustees in 1975, and he acted as the chairman of the University’s Badin Guild from 1992 to 1999, the press release said. The University awarded Wilmouth an honorary degree in 1984, and each of his five children also graduated from Notre Dame.A visitation will take place Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home in Palatine, Illinois.Tags: Board of Trustees, Death, trustee emerituslast_img read more

Daymond John delivers Idea Week keynote

first_imgDaymond John, known as “the people’s shark” on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank,” lived up to his nickname during his equally entertaining and inspiring talk in Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Thursday night. John employed a DJ, slide show with personal pictures and a 30-second phone-friendly window where audience members could take photos of his “best poses” to supplement the autobiographical story of his global fashion brand FUBU.John weaved in and out between his life story and his five points for success, which were conveniently organized by the acronym “SHARK.” He recounted the amusing memory of starting his first business at 6-years-old, selling customized painted pencils to girls at his elementary school.“My principal tried to make me close that business after a month,” John said. “She had no vision.”After falling in love with hip-hop music and the culture of his hometown of Brooklyn, John decided his destiny would be somehow involved with music. “I wanted to become part of hip-hop but didn’t know how,” John said.When local rappers around him began touring, he asked to go along and ended up on the same tour as budding artists about to hit it big, such as Flavor Fav. On tour, John noticed the fans and artists were all dressed similarly — an observation that would lead to his hugely successful fashion brand FUBU. After selling $800 worth of hats he designed on the corner of Colosseum Mall in New York, John solidified his dream and began a fearless pursuit to achieve it.“I’m going to dress this community,” John said he told his mother upon returning from the mall.A sense of purpose, confidence and bold aspiration led John to become a premier hip-hop brand across the world, clothing artists such as LL Cool J, Will Smith and the Backstreet Boys. John described the five points of success that resulted him in becoming a presidential ambassador, three-time bestselling author, star of “Shark Tank” and a globally-renowned entrepreneur.John’s said his first point was “S,” which stands for to set goals. He said he reads his goals right before he goes to bed and the minute he wakes up so that he keeps them at the forefront of his mind, consciously and unconsciously.John said “H” stands for do your homework. He said that learning from those around you and not turning a blind eye to those who are younger than you can keep you aware of what is to come next. Doing the research on your audience and understand their needs is also key to accomplishing your goals.“A” for John stands for amor, which is Spanish for “to love.” John said everyone should truly love what they are doing.“I would dress people for free the rest of my life if I could,” he said.John also said to remember you are the brand, which is what “R” stands for. He refreshed the audience on social media reminders such as keeping a clean image in person and on the internet.John said “K” stands for keep on swimming. Sharks die when they stop swimming, John said.John left the audience with a personal story about his discovery of stage two cancer and a call to action to get their early detection tests. He also revealed a few behind-the-scenes secrets of “Shark Tank.” He said the pitches actually average an hour in length even though viewers only see about eight minutes, the deals take three to nine months to close and the sharks don’t invest in companies — they invest in people.Tags: Daymond John, Idea Weeklast_img read more

‘A second home for our international students’: Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership welcomes international students

first_imgSaint Mary’s opens its campus to women from all over the world, most of whom come from within the United States. Each year, however, a group comes which not only cross state borders but also international borders.Advisor for international students Adriana Petty said this year’s students come from across oceans and borders including Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, China, Vietnam and El Salvador in addition to exchange students visiting for a semester from South Korea, Australia, Japan and China. Saint Mary’s will also host two Fulbright foreign language teaching assistants from China and Morocco.Petty said College’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) operates as a transitional and intermediary force for international students.“[The center] becomes a second home for our international students and scholars. We connect students to resources on campus,” she said.These resources include the Writing Center, the Student Success Office, the Career Crossings Office and with individuals including Belle Sisters, Petty said.Belle Sisters are “sophomores, juniors and seniors [meant] to help [new students] feel welcomed and to guide them through the social aspect of student life,” Petty said.Petty said international students will have the opportunity to engage in the Saint Mary’s community as much as any other student while bringing with them the unique perspectives of their home countries.“International students and scholars enrich our campus community by expanding our perspective as they engage in the classrooms, residence life and all aspects of campus life,” she said. “Having multiple global perspectives helps to think of issues from a more inclusive manner. It allows us to reshape our questions to find innovative solutions to the issues affecting us all.”CWIL’s associate director for international education Alice Siqin Yang said in an email that international students’ contributions extend beyond the perspectives they bring to American students — they also bring their own tangible skills and resources.“International students contribute to student success by helping American students gain the global skills needed to thrive in the global economy and greater appreciation of different cultures,” Yang said. “They also bring to campus their foreign language skills, resources, international networking opportunities and friendships.”International students bring perspectives and unique qualities to Saint Mary’s, while the College and its community bring a sense of certainty and comfort to the table, CWIL staff said.“Our international students all have different reasons for why they choose [Saint Mary’s], however, the majority of them have had some kind of relationship to [Saint Mary’s] before coming to Saint Mary’s,” Petty said. “Two of our first year students, for example, are Sister of the Holy Cross and familiar with Saint Mary’s College.“Our exchange students have heard from either students or university advisers about our school and the kind of individual attention our students receive at [Saint Mary’s] from professors, staff and students, which provides them with a bit of comfort in making the choice to go to an unfamiliar place.”Similar to Petty’s sentiment, Yang said comfort comes not only from Saint Mary’s individuals but also its all-female atmosphere.“Saint Mary’s offers a safer environment for women students,” Yang said. “The international students are aware that they have more opportunities for leadership development.”According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website, Saint Mary’s is a part of the Bureau’s mission to, “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations.”This mission creates a multifaceted purpose for Saint Mary’s CWIL, Petty said, allowing students to cross international borders while on campus.“Each international student and scholar brings with them talents and perspectives that make an impact on our campus, and we hopefully make an impact on their lives and in a way, planting seeds that will grow across the world in all the places the International Belles call home,” she said.The program and its conductors bring students together from all around the world and help to change the way students approach dialogue with people from other countries, benefiting students and the college.“International students help improve the quality of our higher education. They help us learn to avoid stereotyping and give us a better understanding of international issues,” Yang said. “They offer opportunities for our students to confront different interpersonal and communication styles. They diversify the campus, enrich our classrooms and thus turn Saint Mary’s into a globally engaged college.”Tags: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, center for women’s intercultural leadership, CWIL, International students, Welcome Weekendlast_img read more

Former Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli discusses future as tenured professor and four upcoming spring semester courses

first_imgFormer Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli will teach four classes in the upcoming spring semester. This most recent development in Cervelli’s involvement at the College follows her abrupt resignation from her position as President on Oct. 5, 2018, and the filing of a civil lawsuit against Saint Mary’s claiming members of the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees had pressured her to resign and had not honored settlement agreements.Cervelli, who has filled professorial and administrative positions at previous institutions, said she is especially looking forward to re-entering the classroom and teaching at Saint Mary’s.“I really, really couldn’t be more excited,” Cervelli said. “I’ve loved teaching, that’s what’s really driven me my entire career. It was always my dream to — when I finished as president — to go back to the classroom here. And I love the Belles. I mean, I loved being president, but I also love being in the classroom with the Belles, too.”Observer File Photo Cervelli said she is not quite sure how students will receive her as a professor, as they’ve only ever known her as President of the College.“So far, students have been very, very warm and friendly when I’ve met with them and talked with them,” she said. “I suppose they’re very curious. Because when you hold one role or you’re a figure in one way, do they see that other side? I hope there’s an open mind and I know there certainly is for me, and in many ways I’m going to be able to be closer to the students than I was president, although I gave it my best.”If faced with difficult questions surrounding the events of the past year, Cervelli said she cannot address certain aspects of her lawsuit with the College, but hopes by remaining on campus to fill a teaching position, she will show students how invested she is in the Saint Mary’s community.“I believe in life that honesty and transparency is the best way,” she said. “I can’t talk about everything because I’m not at liberty to. It’s not my choice. But I think I want everyone to know, from my perspective, that I loved being president of Saint Mary’s. I love the Belles, that has never changed. My commitment is still here 900% as it was. I can’t really speak to the rest of it. But I hope by my remaining here, and working hard on these classes that my actions speak louder than any rumors, reports in the newspaper, any of that. I think that one’s heart is demonstrated by who someone is and what they do.”Past multidisciplinary experience and future, far-reaching lesson plansCervelli received her Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, and has previously taught courses in landscape architecture and design at other universities.“I started way back in 1981, as a junior professor at the University of Kentucky, and I taught there for 20 years in landscape architecture,” she said. “And then I went to Clemson University as Dean, but I continued to teach in the design studios. I’ve taught subjects like basic landscape architecture, site planning, urban design, urban planning, transportation planning, urban infill and revitalization, sustainable urban infrastructure, sustainable construction technology, graphic design, communication and leadership.”Cervelli is scheduled to teach ART 103, the Design Lab I course within the Art Department, as well as three classes within the College’s Environmental Studies program. These courses will explore environmental design, a field Cervelli said she is excited to introduce to Saint Mary’s students.“It’s a field that leads to many great careers,” Cervelli said. “And it’s very attractive to those that are interested in the environment generally, so it aligns with the Environmental Studies program that we started few years ago. The first class is ART 274, which is ‘Introduction to Environmental Design,’ so that’s kind of the basics of ‘How does one go about designing an exterior space?’ For those who are interested in landscape architecture, architecture, construction, real estate development or environmental art, we will be spending a lot of time looking at environmental factors but also how people use outdoor space.”This class will offer students the opportunity to work on projects pertaining to the outdoor spaces on Saint Mary’s campus, including the sustainable farm, she said.“I’m working with the facilities folks to identify some projects that they might like for the students to undertake,” Cervelli said. “Mark Kubacki, the head of the grounds, is excited for the opportunity to work with students. So I think it’s a great opportunity for students to be creative, but also see what it might be to actually implement something.”The second class within the Environmental Studies department, Environmental Design Studio II, is the advanced version of ART 274, Cervelli said.“These courses again are studio, so we’re spending a lot of time interacting one-on-one, doing critiques and working at a studio kind of an environment,” Cervelli said. “And so it deals with bigger, more complex projects. One might be, for example, the crossing of [Indiana State Road] 933 and the Avenue, and looking at not only the beauty of the area and preserving the Avenue experience, but also improving big-time safety issues there.”Cervelli said these safety concerns should be seriously considered, referencing a 2012 incident in which a Saint Mary’s sophomore riding a bike across State Route 933 around 9 p.m. died after being struck by SUV.“As we know, unfortunately we lost a Belle there,” Cervelli said. “I think there’s a lot of different lessons to be learned around traffic control, visibility, … all the different ways you can configure roadways to help, and it might get a little bit more fanciful, maybe some underpasses, possibly. So I want the students to be able to explore their imaginations, but also look at what may be feasible because you never know in the long-run, these ideas might be able to feed the administrations on both sides of the road. I’ve had some conversations with the folks at Notre Dame … about those issues because they’re concerned about them as well.”The third course Cervelli will teach within the department is titled “Give Me Shelter,” an exploration of the history and theory of the house, its impact on the nature of the family unit and its evolution over time.“We’re going to go all the way back to ancient times, and look at shelter in the most basic form for humans,” she said. “But we’re also going to look at some of the social issues related to housing affordability. We’ll also address issues of environmental justice as it relates and health as it relates to housing.”Within the studio portion of “Give Me Shelter,” Cervelli said students will complete an exercise in which they are assigned a hypothetical mortgage and asked to research what kind of house they could afford to purchase in South Bend, as opposed to other areas, such as San Francisco.“It really brings home both as a good exercise for students, for themselves in terms of financial management and planning, but also, what are the challenges to many people who work multiple jobs and still find it difficult to have decent housing,” Cervelli said.In pursuit of course approval and tenured teaching positionCervelli said the process of getting her lesson plans for these courses approved was extremely intensive, and necessarily so. When writing course proposals for a specific department, the department’s learning objectives must always be met, she said. In applying for her four courses, Cervelli took her proposals through the Art Department and Environmental Studies Department, as well as the multidisciplinary Sophia Program.“Saint Mary’s has a very, very involved process of writing course proposals, going through a review process at various levels,” she said. “You’ve got to give credit to Saint Mary’s faculty, they take this very seriously. They want to make sure that not only are you up to speed in your field, that you’re recognized in it, but you’re also looking at it through the lens of the student. They’re rigorous, I can tell you, and I did several revisions, which is great because it really, really made me think.”This approval process was crucial to Cervelli’s pursuit of a teaching position at Saint Mary’s, which was allegedly contested following her resignation. In her formal complaint, Cervelli claimed that the College had not honored its settlement agreement, which stated that Cervelli would be granted tenured professorship and the appropriate pay and benefits following her resignation.When the College filed a counterclaim response March 22, 2019, former assistant director of integrated communications Haleigh Ehmsen addressed these issues in a statement.“This case is about tenure, and as is Saint Mary’s policy and practice, we are working with Ms. Cervelli to get her classes approved so that she can teach,” Ehmsen said in the statement.Cervelli said she plans to continue working towards her original plan for after she resigned.“I was granted tenure here as a full professor,” Cervelli said. “And tenure is a very sacred and important element in higher education, maybe the most important in any institution of higher education. I’m proceeding on the same path that I planned when I agreed to be president. My personal plan was to come back home, be part of Saint Mary’s and be part of my hometown, and I’m continuing with my plan.”Tenure is an important principle to uphold at all institutions of higher learning, Cervelli said, and a concept sometimes foreign to students.“What it means is that the institution makes a commitment to the individual until they decide to resign or retire,” Cervelli said. “And then likewise, the individual makes a commitment to bring excellence to the classroom and to the students. To me, it’s a sacred agreement. And what it does is it provides you faculty that are at the top of their game, and that are truly committed as partners, true partners. It’s like a partnership in a business. And when you’re not really in a committed situation, faculty may not … be as committed in a long-term sense of really giving their heart and their soul to the institution.”Tenure also protects academic freedom, Cervelli said, allowing the professor true expression within his or her field of expertise.“So tenure is really critical, and it is a mark of quality to an institution,” Cervelli said. “And when I started by saying it’s one of the most sacred concepts to higher education, it truly is. My continuing in this position is a reflection of my personal plan, but it’s also my absolute and core belief in tenure at Saint Mary’s College.”Tags: design, environmental design, environmental studies, give me shelter, Jan Cervelli, President Jan Cervelli, tenurelast_img read more

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: Stefanie Torres / U.S. Air ForceJAMESTOWN – It’s time to shine a light on the world of education, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week.Of course, 2020 is a different year, with teachers doing most of their classwork with students online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The crisis is causing teachers to take special steps like sending out art kits in the mail and doing drive-by visits to their students.For families who would like to honor their teachers, an artsy card or thank you video will work. Teacher appreciation week lasts from May 4 to May 8.last_img