From the Wall Street Journal to Watershed Moments: Gordon Faculty Gain Far-Reaching Influence

Lately, it’s been difficult to keep up with the many exciting opportunities Gordon’s scholars have been given. So here’s a quick overview of what some professors have been doing even as the fall semester classes have begun:

Timothy Sherratt, professor of political science, was quoted Friday, Sept. 21, in the Wall Street Journal in an article (by Gordon alum, Eric Convey) about the Massachusetts Senate race, as well as in a front page story in the Salem News on attack ads in a local congressional race, also on Sept. 21. 

Provost Janel Curry‘s scholarship and work on sustaining the Plaster Creek Watershed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was covered on the Fox television affiliate there Saturday, September 22, and included an interview with her. 

David Lee, professor of physics and 3-2 engineering program coordinator, was featured in a recent issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal for his work as the Chief Technical Officer at Glassimetal, a firm “dedicated to the use of bulk metallic glass as an engineering material for use in manufacturing of aerospace, medical and consumer products.”

Bert Hodges, professor of psychology, was one of eight invited speakers at the International Conference on Interactivity, Language, and Cognition in Odense, Denmark, (Sept. 12-15) where he was also elected president of the International Society for the Study of Interactivity, Language, and Cognition for 2012-2014.

Gregor Thuswaldner, associate professor of German and Linguistics and co-director of the Salzburg Institute of Gordon College, was recently elected to serve a three-year term as the Northeast representative of the Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL), the academic association that publishes the journal Christianity and Literature.

•A new article about mentoring in music education by Sandra Doneski, associate professor of music, will be published in the fall issue of the Oregon Music Education Journal.

Jonathan Senning, professor of mathematics and computer science, received a grant to support high-performance computing (HPC) education at Gordon, participate in the HPC Educator’s international conference for high performance computing, and assemble a small, portable parallel cluster called LittleFe he will use in a new computing class Spring 2013.

Janet Arndt, director of the graduate program in education, has been accepted to present on  “Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners,” at the Association of Teacher Education’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, in February 2013. 

Peter Iltis, professor of kinesiology and horn, has been invited to lecture at the New England Conservatory of Music October 24 on his expertise, embouchure dystonias.

•Associate professor of political science Paul Brink’s recent column on gun rights was reprinted in Capital Commentary and the Salem News; Brink will deliver the Zylstra Politics and Culture lectures on the “Word of God in the City of Man” at Redeemer University College, in Hamilton, Canada, in November.

Dorothy Boorse, professor of biology, will participate in the Lausanne Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel in St. Ann, Jamaica, in November.

On Journalism and Being a Neighbor

With so many people coming and going in our culture and lives, what exactly does it mean any more to be a neighbor? Jo Kadlecek, senior writer and journalist in residence, writes in the local Salem News about her New England neighbor, whose personal milestone of turning 95 years old, is newsworthy in itself.

“New England neighborliness and the Lady at Number Nine”

By Jo Kadlecek, Senior Writer and Journalist in Residence

About seven years ago, as my husband and I were preparing to move to the North Shore so I could take a job at Gordon College, we were duly warned: New Englanders are chilly people. Don’t expect to fit right in, folks told us, raising their eyebrows. And do not expect to get to know your neighbors. It won’t happen. There’s a reason, the charges went, that the stereotype of cold Northerners exists.

But stereotypes are almost always based on ignorance or a solitary experience gone bad. They are not to be trusted, I have learned.

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Film Review: When Women First Got Out the Vote

As today’s presidential candidates work hard to earn the much coveted women’s vote, one recent HBO movie told the story of how women got it in the first place. Here, Rini Cobbey, associate professor of communication arts and one of Gordon’s resident film critics, reviews Iron Jawed Angels, a contemporary dramatization of the final years in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement (starring Hilary Swank), and the first film in the fall Faculty Film Series around the theme, Elections and Presidents. It screened Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Barrington Cinema to a packed house; up next in the series, Secret Ballot, Oct. 8.

“No Delusions”: Iron Jawed Angels

By Rini Cobbey, associate professor of communication arts

“I have no delusions,” Alice Paul claims in Iron Jawed Angels. Women voting will neither perfect politics nor cause chaos – because we are neither detrimentally different intellectually, nor a morally superior sex. We are adult citizens who for the simple sake of self-representation should be allowed to vote.

This seems obvious enough, but the inarguable bears re-presenting in historical context sometimes, against the relief of familiarity and relative ease.

In the Barrington Cinema Monday night Sept. 10, 2012, our Fall 2012 Faculty Film Series panel and a full audience agreed: what the 2004 HBO film Iron Jawed Angels gets right is retelling a forgotten reality, through highlighting the complexity of motivations and costs involved in uniting for a single goal. Representing varied socioeconomic situations, competing perspectives on the roles of women, and diverse political priorities, ultimately thousands of suffragists working for over half a century succeeded in gaining female U.S. citizens the constitutional right to vote.

This singular goal in the midst of a messy mix of people and a painful process is mirrored by the movie itself. The film is a little confused in its style and treatment of historic individuals and situations, but its driving purpose and achievement are undeniable. A contemporary film about an important historical development isn’t necessarily going to be the most cohesive, transformative piece of art and more than a woman voting necessarily redeems government. But it merits attention and is effective in achieving its potential to inform and evoke empathy.

Iron Jawed Angels follows the story of young leaders in the final years of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. It begins in 1912, exposing infighting amongst women and democrats, a constituency and political party otherwise perhaps assumed to be consistently aligned with progressive social values. Suffragette Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) leads a surrounding cast of activists in escalating social agitation. Manipulating media and political systems – all while wrestling with relationship drama on every level – our heroes change laws as well as, apparently, hearts and minds, from prison guards to husbands, sons, friends, and the president.

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The Historic Role of Christians in Higher Education

Ever since the Enlightenment, Christians have tried to navigate an increasingly diverse culture as well as the various disciplines within higher education. During a one day conference sponsored by Baylor University entitled, The Cross and The Book: Sacred and Secular in the Age of BrowningStephen Alter, associate professor of history and department chair, will address some of those issues through the lens of one of the country’s leading scholars in the 19th century, a Baptist who helped found the University of Chicago. Here’s some of what Alter will discuss:

The University, the Old Testament, and the Baptist Consensus: William Rainey Harper’s Crisis of Conscience

By Stephen G. Alter

“My paper traces William Rainey Harper’s struggle to articulate a scholarly yet reverent view of the Old Testament in the period when Harper was preparing to become the founding president of the University of Chicago, a premier research institution funded by America’s richest Baptist, John D. Rockefeller. As editor of the journal The Old Testament Student, Harper was, hands down, the most influential figure at the end of the nineteenth century as far as educating American evangelicals about critical Bible scholarship. How could Harper go about promoting a greater openness to biblical criticism while retaining the trust of evangelicals, all for the greater progress of the faith?”

Traveling with Students, Forming their Faith

How does a student grow? A new book released this summer from Abilene Christian University Press entitled, “Building a Culture of Faith: University-wide Partnership for Spiritual Formation” explores that question and Greg Carmer, dean of the chapel, has contributed a chapter entitled, “Tour Guides, Translators and Traveling Companions: How Faculty Contribute to the Spiritual Formation of Students.”

The collection consists of 14 original essays organized in three sections: Institutional Influences on Spiritual Formation; Exploring Spiritual Formation; and Implementation, Praxis, and Models. Carmer’s chapter falls in the last category and in it he argues, “that the spiritual formation of students is a responsibility of all faculty and that the classroom affords a fitting and appropriate context in which that contribution can be made. I also try to explore the challenges that many faculty face in making this contribution and offer three metaphors—those of Tour Guides, Translators and Traveling Companions—for understanding how faculty can play critical roles in influencing the spiritual formation of our college students.” Continue reading

Film Review: “The Campaign” as Election Fodder?

In case the national Republican and Democratic conventions haven’t provided enough entertainment or inspiration lately, the new Will Ferrell movie, The Campaign, opened in theaters last week. But Rini Cobbey, associate professor of communication arts and one of Gordon’s resident film critics, has her doubts about this one. Read her latest movie review below. Next week Cobbey will review Iron Jawed Angels, a contemporary dramatization of the final years in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement, and the first film in the fall Faculty Film Series around the theme, Elections and Presidents. It’ll screen Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Barrington Cinema.

The Campaign: “How’s My Hair?”

By Rini Cobbey, associate professor of communication arts

Love it or hate it.

There. Now that I’m done with my review of the new movie, The Campaign, I shall move on to some more interesting business at hand.

Oh, sorry. You were expecting more? Really, don’t.

The Campaign, in theatres now, is a Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis comedy directed by Jay Roach. If you’ve seen almost any Roach directed (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents), or Ferrell (Anchor Man, Talladega Nights) or Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date) acted movies, you have a good idea of what to expect from this over-the-top, crass, stereotype- and cliché-driven story of a couple of sometimes sort of well-meaning doofuses running against each other and the system for congress.

Roach, Ferrell, and Galifianakis are each talented and successful moviemakers and performers, capable of nuanced, thoughtful, and, I would argue, culturally valuable work (see, just for one example apiece, Recount, Stranger Than Fiction, It’s a Funny Kind of Story). The Campaign is not one such product.

The story follows incumbent North Carolinian congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) as he faces a series of scandals jeopardizing his run for reelection. Enter Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), conservative, naïve, and awkwardly lovable pawn in billionaire businessmen the Motch brothers’ (John Lithgow and Dan Ackroyd) plot to manipulate government regulations. The two campaigns one-up each other with increasing horribleness (and success) in their bids to win. Continue reading

On the Air: Gordon Team Wins Radio Grant

Psychology professor and contemporary music scholar Jonathan Gerber, center, with Scot Radio student leaders.

First, there is the Tune Tracker, a new radio software that allows disc jockeys to schedule, stream and loop tracks so people can tune in to listen any time. Then there’s the Presonus Studiolive Mixer, a device that improves broadcast quality while limiting feedback and boosting processing capabilities. Then there’s, well, so many other new gadgets that one thing is clear: this is not your grandfather’s radio station.

Which is, of course, the point. This is Scot Radio, Gordon College’s student-run radio station—named after the college mascot—which first went live on the Internet during the fall of 2010. Now, thanks to a team effort led by club advisor Jonathan Gerber, assistant professor of psychology, the radio station has won an $8,000 grant from the Kendrick Foundation to upgrade and develop their station with such equipment as the Tune Tracker, the mixer and other necessary technology.

Two years ago, Gerber came on board as advisor of the radio club. Last year, he worked with student leaders Mac Gostow (of Santa Barbara, CA) and Naama Mendes (of Medford, MA) as well as Gordon development officer Fred DiStefano to write the grant proposal. They described their current and dated studio (near storage closets in Jenks Library) and researched specific software, turntables, microphones, mixers, computers, even an ON AIR Sign that allows hosts to know when to enter and exit the studio. Their combined work impressed the staff at the Kendrick Foundation, which provides gifts to organizations “that are focused on spreading the Gospel through radio and television media, and gives preference to those financially sound organizations that demonstrate the ability to reach a large radio or television audience, or audiences previously without access to programming.” Continue reading