The Provost’s Film Series

marksargent_2010_11_19_02_23_20The Provost’s Film Series returns for the spring semester with a set of five films that explore the theme of “The Outsiders.” Since 1999, Provost Mark Sargent has partnered with faculty members to produce 4-5 film-and-discussion nights each semester. Mixing a variety of genres around a semester- or year-long theme, the series has now shown more than 100 films representing 29 different countries.

This semester’s iteration will focus on those who, for different reasons, live on the fringes of the world around them. Below is the lineup for the spring semester as well as an introduction to the first film, Spider-Man 2, after the jump.

February 1: Spider-Man 2
discussion led by Toddy Burton, assistant professor of communication arts
February 15: My Best Friend
discussion led by Emmanuelle Vanborre, assistant professor of French
March 8: The Ghost Writer
discussion led by Mark Sargent, provost
April 19: The Counterfeiters
discussion led by Daniel Johnson, associate professor of sociology
May 11: Blade Runner
discussion led by Ian DeWeese-Boyd, associate professor of philosophy
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Producing “Pirates”: The Story Behind the Show

MillerJThis coming weekend, Gordon’s departments of music and theatre arts will produce one of their biggest shows in recent history, “Pirates of Penzance.” The cast alone includes over 45 students—all of whom came back early from Christmas break to rehearse—but the story of its production, from creating costumes to building the set in the chapel, has particularly inspired the show’s (acting) director, JEFFREY S. MILLER, professor and chair of theatre arts. Here are his thoughts:

“Since about January 10, a substantial number of backstage crewmembers have been laboring many many hours a day (often 10 to 12) to produce the significant scenic elements and massive numbers of costumes that the show require.  I wish people could have seen this shop in action.  It was akin to a summer stock factory!  Senior Amy Laing has been the student coordinating the costume crew and her help must number somewhere around 8 to 12.  These are students who voluntarily came back to school to build costumes for the show – large numbers of them.  The women in the show each have two costumes, a dress and night dress.  Many of the pirates double as police.  So the total is well over 100 costumes.

And that doesn’t even take into account the people, under the supervision of student Nathaniel Punches (and our department technical leader, Dawn Sarrouf), who have been building and painting the set, the scenic drop and creating/gathering props.  All of this must be built, moved over to the chapel, installed (no one has seen a design in that space that comes close to what staff member and Gordon alumna Amber Primm has created – it will surprise!), coordinated, run and then dismantled by next Sunday at 7 PM.  Nor does it account for the dinners that needed to be planned (with a goodly amount of food special needs), prepared and served before the food service opened on Jan 18.

 It has been a massive undertaking.

I know that I have never seen so many students work so hard for the love of learning and serving each other and their prospective audience in a creative artistic project, using their gifts joyfully and collaboratively, on our campus.  It’s absolutely remarkable.  And their example has moved me deeply. It builds my hope in for the future of the arts at Gordon.”

Moral Reasoning in Sport

Gin_Valerie_2008_11_21_02_48_46Aren’t athletics supposed to build character? The answer might be a bit more complex than most would assume. This past summer Valerie Gin, professor of recreation and leisure studies, presented her work on moral reasoning in sport at a conference hosted by Neumann University’s Institute for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development. In line with other studies on the topic, Gin found that the moral reasoning of college athletes actually decreases over time, even at faith-based institutions. This decline may be due in part to the tension between sport world values and faith world values. At the conference, Gin presented her research on the positive effects of personal narratives and group discussions on the moral reasoning of college athletes. With a small pilot group, Gin had seen the value of storytelling as a means of reducing this moral tension, helping athletes to reflect upon the role and place of morality in their respective sports.   Athletics can indeed build character, but without intentional measures to help athletes process and re-frame their experiences, the opposite is often true.

To join the dialogue on integrity in sports, visit Professor Gin’s website wired4sport.

It’s the Year of Chemistry!

photoThe United Nations has adopted a resolution proclaiming 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC). At the end of January, Irv Levy, professor of chemistry and computer science, will attend the International Launch of the IYC at UNESCO World Headquarters in Paris.  This two day event will feature speakers from more than a dozen nations addressing the UN’s resolution, which calls for national  and international efforts to emphasize the  importance of chemistry for sustainable development in all aspects of  human life. Among the program’s speakers are a Nobel laureate, directors of research corporations, governmental administrators, scientists, educators, historians, and the granddaughter of Marie Curie. Beginning with the International Launch, the IYC will focus upon four goals throughout 2011:

* Increasing public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs

* Encouraging an interest in chemistry among young people

* Generating enthusiasm for the creative future of Chemistry

* Celebrating the achievements of Marie Curie and the contributions of women to chemistry