May 2011 Archways

On Campus

New Grants to Enhance Academics

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the College $1 million to help fund the College’s efforts to create “an innovative and sustainable liberal arts curriculum for the 21st century.” The grant will make possible the exploration of new initiatives such as the Tri-Co Digital Humanities Consortium, 360º course clusters, half-semester courses and writing-intensive courses.

With a $400,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the College will partner with the Community College of Philadelphia and Montgomery County Community College to create a pipeline for students to transfer to Bryn Mawr.

A $250,000 grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges will fund a pilot program that blends traditional liberal-arts classroom interaction with online learning in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). After the program is developed, Bryn Mawr will share it with 35 other liberal-arts colleges across the country.

Digital Humanities Make News

The New York Times featured Professors of English Katherine Rowe and Jane Hedley, along with students Jennifer Cook ’11 and Jen Rajchel ’11, on the front page of the arts section on March 22, 2011. Headlined Giving Literature Virtual Life, the article leads with details of Rowe’s introductory Shakespeare class, in which students block Shakespearean scenes in an online virtual theater.

“There’s a very exciting generation gap in the classroom,” Rowe is quoted in the article. “Students are fluent in new media, and the faculty bring sophisticated knowledge of a subject.”

Rowe has become a leading voice in using the Internet in education. The Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a special edition of Shakespeare Quarterly that Rowe guest-edited, which, according to Rowe, used the Internet to “tap the public wisdom of a crowd.”

Patricia Cohen, the Times reporter who wrote the story, posted an assessment of students like Rajchel and Cook on Twitter: “Those students I met at Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore are going to rule the world someday.”

Finance Whiz in Four Days

At first, students in this novel workshop hesitated to offer answers to basic finance questions such as estimating the future cost of a college education or figuring out what car could be afforded on a $300 monthly transportation budget.

But about an hour into the first session of the Bryn Mawr College Certificate in Finance program—“The Fundamentals of Public Finance”—it was as if a switch were flipped, and the classroom came to life with questions and comments. By midweek, students were poring over financial statements as they tried to decide if a company should buy back its stock to fend off a hostile takeover.

Says Bryn Mawr Chief Financial Officer John Griffith, who organized the program, “It was great to see that kind of change happen and to see the students not just passively take in the information as it was presented. Businesses need really bright liberal-arts majors. They need Bryn Mawr graduates.”

Nearly 30 students attended the fourday intensive series of workshops. The program, held over spring break, included lunches and a networking event with Bryn Mawr alumnae. Among those taking part were Fay Donahue ’72, CEO of Delta Dental, and Carol Pepper ’84, chief executive officer of Pepper International LLC, who regularly writes for Forbes.

The Certificate in Finance program will be offered again next year. In addition to finance, programs will focus on entrepreneurial and business leadership/management.

New Space for Rare Books, Manuscripts

Bryn Mawr’s art and historical collections have a new home in the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe ’52 Special Collections Suite on the second floor of Canaday. The space includes a foyer with display cases for collections and an open gallery for exhibits. In February, the Coombe Suite hosted a traveling exhibit from the Givens Collection, a collection of African-American history and culture from the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

The Coombe Suite was made possible by a gift from the estate of Eva Jane Romaine Coombe ’52. For access to the collections, contact Eric Pumroy, director of library collections, or visit the Special Collections pages on the Bryn Mawr Library website.

Gender Theorist Visits Campus

Judith Butler, the Maxine Elliott Professor in the rhetoric and comparative literature departments at the University of California–Berkeley, will hold the 2011 Mary Flexner Lectureship at the College. Butler has contributed greatly to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics during her scholarly career.

While in residence at Bryn Mawr, Butler will deliver three public lectures. She is the author of Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990, Routledge); Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993, Routledge); and Undoing Gender (2003, Routledge). She is also the co-author with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak of Who Sings the Nation-State? (2007, Seagull).

Established in honor of Mary Flexner, a Bryn Mawr graduate of the class of 1895, the Lectureship brings leading humanists to campus for brief residencies.

Pen y Groes: Informal Conversations

In a new seminar series, President McAuliffe is bringing small groups of students together with leaders in a range of professions for informal conversations at Pen y Groes, the president’s home. The professionals talk about their work and relate their career paths to their undergraduate experiences.

The first Pen y Groes Seminar took place in October with Elisabeth Bumiller, a senior national correspondent for the New York Times. Bumiller has covered the armed forces, U.S. presidential campaigns, and the White House. She is also the author of several books, including a biography of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The roster of guests for the series includes Faye Donohue ’72, the CEO of DentaQuest, a leading provider of dental-health programs; Susan Band Horwitz ’58, a medical researcher who played an essential role in the development of Tamoxifen, a leading treatment for breast cancer; and Lynne Meadow ’67, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, one of the nation’s most acclaimed theater organizations.

The president announces each seminar in an email to students seven to 10 days in advance. Those who are interested in a place at the lunch table sign up and are invited on a first-come, first-served basis.

Athletics: Basketball Moment

Members of the Bryn Mawr College and Swarthmore College women’s basketball teams made headlines for their display of sportsmanship during a game on February 16. Swarthmore senior Ceylan Bodur had suffered a career-ending knee injury during a game two-and-half weeks earlier. But both teams stopped during the February game to allow Bodur to come on to the court and score the 1,000th point of her career on an uncontested layup.

Said Bryn Mawr coach Deb Charamella in a television interview: “Being able to achieve that milestone is very important.…For us to be able to reach out and help somebody achieve that—something that she would have done and achieved, had she not been injured— we definitely wanted to be a part of it.”