August 2016 Archways

Campus Buzz

8-9_Archways_Buzz_TriangleBEAUTIFUL GEOMETRY

In what may well be the nerdiest event in what The Philadelphia Inquirer calls “the nerdiest time of the year” in the city, Bryn Mawr math professor Victor Donnay spearheaded the construction of the world’s largest Sierpinski triangle. It came to life on campus as enthusiastic Mawrters gathered to build just one component of the huge triangle out of many smaller triangles. After being relocated to the grounds of the Wagner Free Institute of Science in North Philadelphia, the creation grew to 90 by 45 feet, all with the help of a host of local youngsters. Says Donnay, whose hope for the project was to get kids excited about geometry, “Unfortunately, with so much testing in our educational system today, there’s a focus not on the beauty and excitement of mathematics, but more on the technical skills.”


President Kim Cassidy has announced that Janet Shapiro will assume the role of dean of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR), effective July 2017. “Janet stood out to the search committee as the person best able to lead the School,” says Cassidy. “She has been a wise and constructive advisor to students and colleagues, a collaborative and strategic thinker, and a careful listener who builds partnerships while leading change.” Over the past 20 years, Shapiro has served as director of the doctoral program at GSSWSR, faculty director of academic affairs, coordinator of the clinical social work concentration, and director of the Center for Child and Family Wellbeing. During the transition period, Dean Darlyne Bailey will continue as dean.


Joining many of the nation’s top colleges and universities, Bryn Mawr is working to reshape the college admissions process. Based on the recommendations of the report Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions, the effort seeks to promote greater ethical engagement among aspiring students, reduce excessive achievement pressure, and level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students. Bryn Mawr has long embraced those goals, and as Chief Enrollment Officer Pelema Morrice observes, “In addition to academic excellence, we have always placed great value on depth of commitment and an applicant’s desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world when making our enrollment decisions.”


Bill Malachowski (Chemistry) has stepped into the position of associate provost for the College with responsibility for faculty support programs, assessment of student learning at the departmental level, and external reviews of our departments and programs…. Michelle Francl (Chemistry) will be visiting the Eternal City as an adjunct professor at the Vatican Observatory to study the chemistry of meteorites, contemplate issues of faith and science, and work in the observatory’s library, which includes material on the early history of science in Europe…. Research conducted by Peter Magee (Near Eastern Archaeology) has helped solve the mystery of the dromedary. Genetic testing comparing today’s camels with the remains of both wild and domesticated camels from across the Middle East point to southeastern Arabia—the site of Magee’s excavations over the past 20 years—as the spot where these beasts of burden were first domesticated…. The Girl in the Square, a poem by J.C. Todd (Creative Writing) has received the 2016 Rita Dove Poetry Prize of the International Literary Awards, sponsored by the Center for Women Writers at Salem College…. Elly Truitt (History) has received a New Directions Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to study Arabic and medieval Arabic scientific manuscripts…. Alicia Walker ‘94 (History of Art) received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching…. And finally, three distinguished faculty members retired this year: Helen Grundman (Math), Jane Hedley (English), and Michael Krausz (Philosophy) all now hold the title of professor emeritus.