Recent News from Campuses

Walz completes meaningful internship with Winona Health pastoral care team

Ashley Walz ’15 said her dad warned her that many students end up changing their majors during their college careers. Now Walz said her dad laughs when he tells people, “My daughter is an exception to that rule. She added a major.” The Monticello, Minn., native has always felt a special calling to work in [&hellip

Student Affairs leader to deliver prestigious Moore Lecture

St. Kate's Campus News - 2 hours 42 min ago
Donna Hauer, an award-winning campus leader, will speak Tuesday. More »

Lecture by noted professor asks, “Is Earth Our True Home?”

Carleton College Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 4:09pm

On Wednesday, Jan. 28 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Carleton College Gould Library Athenaeum, noted professor Peter Lawler will present a lecture entitled, “Is Earth Our True Home? On Walker Percy, Carl Sagan, & ‘Interstellar.’” This event is free and open to the public.

Convocation profiles the Dialogue Arts Project, using creative writing and art to generate dialogue about social identity and difference

Carleton College Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 4:01pm

Adam Falkner, founder and executive director of the Dialogue Arts Project (DAP), will present Carleton College’s weekly convocation on Friday, Jan. 30 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Entitled “How Can Writing Change the World,” Falkner’s presentation profiles the mission of DAP, an organization dedicated to using creative writing and the arts as tools for generating difficult dialogue across lines of social identity, conflict and difference. 

This event is free and open to the public. Carleton convocations are also recorded and archived online at go.carleton.edu/convo.

Three short-term study abroad programs planned for spring

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 3:47pm
This coming May a total of 35 students will be participating in Saint Mary’s short-term study abroad programs. These programs include an in-class experience during the spring semester and two- to three-week faculty led travel abroad in May. Preston Lawing, accompanied by Rob McColl, will leading an art program to Italy, “Introduction to Italy: History, [&hellip

Gustavus Wind Orchestra Preparing for its Winter Concert Tour

Gustavus Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 2:17pm

The 2014-15 Gustavus Wind Orchestra

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, the nation’s oldest collegiate music ensemble west of the Mississippi, will begin its 137th season with its 2015 Winter Concert Tour in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to celebrating its 137th season of making music, the ensemble will introduce new artistic director and conductor James Patrick Miller to the greater Gustavus audience. The tour begins on Feb. 1 in Long Lake, Minn., and ends with its Home Concert in Jussi Björling Recital Hall on Saturday, February 14 at 1:30 p.m. All of the concerts on the tour are free and open to the public, including the Home Concert on February 14.

The band’s 137th season begins with this concert tour through the Midwest under the leadership of it new conductor, Dr. James Patrick Miller. Miller succeeds long-time Gustavus Wind Orchestra Conductor Douglas Nimmo and returns to Gustavus after serving as Director of Wind Studies at the University of Massachusetts for the past five years. He first joined the Gustavus music faculty in 2008 as the interim conductor of the Gustavus and Vasa Wind Orchestras. Dr. Miller holds advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota and Ithaca College. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Miller has named his first concert tour program with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra “Out of Darkness,” as a nod to the middle of winter season along with one of the concert selections, Dana Wilson’s “Kah! Out of Darkness.” Featuring guest conductors, senior soloists, and three small chamber ensembles, the concert program includes works by Karen Husa (Music for Prague, 1968), J. S. Bach, Frank Ticheli, David Gillingham, Claude Debussy, Eric Whitacre, Joachin Rodrigo and Victor Ewald.

The itinerary for the 2015 Gustavus Wind Orchestra Concert Tour is as follows:

  • Feb. 1 / 2 p.m. / Trinity Lutheran Church / 2060 County Road 6, Long Lake, Minn.
  • Feb. 2 / 7 p.m. / Tomah High School Auditorium / 901 Lincoln Avenue, Tomah, Wis.
  • Feb. 3 / 7:30 p.m./ Logan Middle School Auditorium / 1450 Avon Street, La Crosse, Wis.
  • Feb. 4 /  7:30 p.m. / Winona Senior High School Auditorium / 901 Gilmore Gilmore Avenue, Winona, Minn.
  • Feb. 5 / 2:25 p.m. / Winona Cotter High School Auditorium / 1115 W. Broadway, Winona, Minn.
  • Feb. 6 / 7  p.m. / Bethel Lutheran Church / 810 3rd Avenue SE, Rochester, Minn.
  • Feb. 7 / 7  p.m. / Irondale High School / 2425 Long Lake Road, New Brighton, Minn.
  • Feb. 14 / 1:30 p.m. / Home Concert, Jussi Björling Recital Hall / St. Peter, Minn.

While on tour, the conductor and members of the ensemble will present residencies with junior and senior high school ensembles in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The residencies will include clinics, side-by-side rehearsals, sectionals and one-on-one support for the younger musicians. Some of the evening concerts will include short performances by the hosting bands, followed by the Gustavus Wind Orchestra. On the final night of the tour, Saturday, February 7, the GWO will present a joint concert with the Encore Wind Ensemble, a semi-professional wind ensemble from the Metro area, and its interim conductors Heidi Johanna Miller and James Patrick Miller.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas
mthomas@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

Zach Moore to the Super Bowl & Tom Obarski to the Senior Bowl Representing Concordia

Concordia University Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 9:54am

Former Concordia University, St. Paul football All-Americans Zach Moore and Tom Obarski will be playing football on the largest scales at their respective levels. Moore will play in Super Bowl XLIX for the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 1 while Obarski will play in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, January 24.

Both players were highly recruited as prep stars before signing with the Golden Bears.

Moore was Concordia's first-ever NFL Draft pick in 2014 when the Patriots selected him in the sixth round. He was also Concordia's first AFCA All-American (First Team) and earned a spot on the East-West Shrine All-Star Game, also a first for the program. Obarski has followed Moore's award-winning path, earning AFCA All-America honors as a punter (First Team), Daktronics All-America as a kicker (First Team), and the Fred Mitchell Award for the nation's (non-FBS) top placekicker. Obarski earned Concordia's first invite to the Senior Bowl as a result.

Read the entire feature at cugoldenbears.com.


Tommie Dancers Earn Ninth National Title

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 7:17am

The University of St. Thomas Dance Team placed first in the Open Division Hip Hop category at the Universal Dance Association College Nationals in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 17 and 18, earning its ninth national championship since 2006 and its second consecutive win in hip hop. The team also placed second in the Open Division Jazz category.

Although the team had previous consecutive jazz category wins in 2012, 2013 and 2014, this year marked the first time the Tommies earned back-to-back titles in hip hop. “This year being our first back-to-back title in hip hop was meaningful for us because we’ve been wanting for so long to prove to ourselves that we are an extremely versatile team,” said head coach Alysia Ulfers. “It’s affirmation that we really can master two completely different skill sets (jazz and hip hop) and remain consistent.”

Watch the Tommies’ 1st place hip hop routine, choreographed by Shandon Perez.

Watch the Tommies’ 1st runner up jazz routine, choreographed by Dani Eustice.

The road to nationals was not without its challenges. According to senior captain Julia Randall, injuries became an issue in the days leading up to the competition. “Our biggest challenge this year, hands down, was injuries,” Randall said.

The winning hip hop routine was the most difficult in the program’s history, according to Ulfers. “We committed ourselves to the more difficult tricks and skills to not only outdo ourselves but to show the competition that we’re willing to go to the next level,” she said. “When you up the ante, the risk of injuries increases and unfortunately for us, we did have a few in the last week of practice before nationals that took two of our athletes out.”

Despite the challenges, Ulfers feels the team was the most prepared it has been during her time as coach. “This year was the best showing we’ve ever had at nationals,” she said. “Our routines were the most difficult we’ve ever put out at nationals … I couldn’t be more proud.” This is Ulfers’ 11th year with the team.

Dance team practices begin in the weeks prior to the start of fall semester. The months of preparation allowed the Tommies to overcome adversity and made for a memorable experience as the awards were given out, according to Randall. “We all came together as a team and and were beaming with pride. The outcome to awards didn’t matter at that point,” she said. “What mattered was the feeling and joy we had dancing all together one last time and having the time of out lives.”

The team’s success has brought notoriety to the university on a national scale, according to Ulfers. “We take pride in representing the University of St. Thomas at the national level and, win or not, we always leave nationals feeling more proud to be Tommies.”

Team members (pictured at the top of the page) include: Row 1: Morgan McGowan (junior, captain), Julia Randall (senior, captain), Annie Lindberg (senior, captain), Samantha Grover (senior), Whitney Nelson (senior), Jackie Schneider (junior). Row 2: Alex Brown (junior), Kelly Olson (junior, captain), Chloe Setter (junior), Megan Kaveney (sophomore). Row 3: Ari Vasquez (junior), Hanna Brown (junior), Sydney Borchert (junior), Mikayla Larson (sophomore), Chloe Gilbreth (freshman). Row 4: Eve Byron (junior), Madison Adams (freshman), Anne Vitale (freshman), Drew Geck (freshman), Hailey Nerison (freshman).

Longtime Sociology Professor Dr. Kay Madson Passes Away

Concordia University Campus News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 7:00am

Longtime Professor of Sociology Dr. Kay Madson, age 74, passed away Jan. 21 at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minn. A memorial service will be held at Christ Church Lutheran (3244 34th Avenue South, Minneapolis) on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. A luncheon reception will follow in the gymnasium, with opportunity for visitation with family and friends and a program of remembrance with an open microphone for sharing.

Kay’s career at Concordia University, St. Paul began in 1983 as an adjunct professor of Sociology, which led to a tenure track position in 1989. She served as chair of the Social Science Division from 1990-1993 and held the position of Executive Vice President of the University from 1993-2001. She retired from CSP in 2007.

As Executive Vice President, she led the Strategic Planning process, which included leading the development of Concordia’s vision statement and strategic priorities. She co-led the development of the Sociology major and led the development of the Criminal Justice major. She mentored several thousand students over the years, instilling in them an understanding of the social contexts in which they live.

In 2005, Kay was chosen by her colleagues to present the Poehler Lecture, an honor that is based on excellence in academic discipline and maturity in Christian faith.

Dr. Madson’s contributions and accomplishments extend beyond the realm of higher education. She served four years on the Midway Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and two years on Friends School Advisory Board. A 40-year member of Christ Church Lutheran, she served as, among other positions, Congregational Vice President, Adult Education instructor, and choir member. For the Minneapolis Public Schools, she served as Coordinator/Discussion Leader of the Junior Great Books Program and on the East Area Parents’ Advisory Council.

 

Short Documentary Gets International Recognition

Concordia College Campus News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 11:00pm
A short documentary with Concordia ties is a finalist in an international film competition.

Hamline Names Women's Lacrosse Coach

Hamline University Campus News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:00am
Hamline University names Karen Heggernes as its first-ever women’s lacrosse coach. Pipers Lacrosse will take the field in spring 2016.

Legendary Men’s Tennis Coach Steve Wilkinson Dies

Gustavus Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:05pm

Steve Wilkinson

Steve Wilkinson, longtime men’s tennis coach at Gustavus Adolphus College and founder of Tennis and Life Camps, passed away on Wednesday, January 21 at the age of 73 after courageously living with cancer for nearly seven years.

Wilkinson spent 39 years (1971-2009) at the helm of the Gustavus men’s tennis program. His teams compiled 929 wins overall, the most victories in the history of collegiate men’s tennis.

Wilkinson’s squads won two NCAA Division III titles (1980 and 1982) as well as 35 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) titles. His teams compiled an overall record of 929-278 (.769) and an MIAC mark of 334-1 (.997). In addition, his players claimed six national doubles titles, and four national singles titles. He coached 46 players to 87 ITA All-America honors, 103 players to 226 All-Conference honors, and five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. He was named NAIA National Coach of the Year twice (1974 and 1984) and Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Coach of the Year three times (1982, 2001, and 2003).

Along with his wife, Barbara, Wilkinson founded Tennis and Life Camps in 1977. For more than 35 years, the couple impacted generations of tennis enthusiasts by dedicating their lives to improving tennis performance of youth and adults and teaching life skills that can be used on and off the court. The Wilkinsons gifted Tennis and Life Camps to the College in 2010, ensuring that the camp’s legacy will be felt at Gustavus for decades to come. Steve and Barb also created an endowed position at Gustavus in sports ethics and men’s tennis, which is currently held by head men’s tennis coach Tommy Valentini.

Wilkinson also played a key role in the fundraising and construction of the Gustavus tennis facilities, which are considered to be among the finest in the nation.

Wilkinson was an outstanding player in his own right. He played No. 1 singles at the University of Iowa and was one of the best players in the Big Ten. After college, Wilkinson played competitive tennis for many years and was ranked No. 1 in the United States in the 45, 50, 55 and 60-and-over divisions. He represented the United States in the Dubler Cup, Perry Cup and Austria Cup competitions, winning the world championship in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1989 and finishing second in Berlin, Germany, in 1992.

Wilkinson was involved in numerous national tennis organizations, serving on the executive committees of the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), and the United States Tennis Association (USTA). He was inducted into the U.S. Professional Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame, the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame, the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame, the Northern Tennis Association Hall of Fame, and the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. He received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Tennis Educational Merit Award and The Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Iowa.

Wilkinson is survived by his wife of 48 years, Barbara, two daughters, Stephanie and Deborah, sons-in-law Scott and Jon, four grandchildren, Caroline, Eloise, Stephen, and Audrey, and many relatives and friends. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 31 in at Christ Chapel on the Gustavus campus with Pastor Alan Bray of First Lutheran Church of St. Peter officiating. A luncheon will follow the service in the College’s Evelyn Young Dining Room. Visitation will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30 at First Lutheran Church in St. Peter.

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KARE-11: Longtime Gustavus Tennis Coach Steve Wilkinson Dies

Mankato Free Press: Life Remembered: Legendary Gustavus Tennis Coach Dies

WCCO: Legendary Gustavus Tennis Coach Dies at 73

Rochester Post-Bulletin: Former Gustavus Tennis Coach Wilkinson Succumbs to Cancer

Sioux City Journal: GSAA Hall of Famer Wilkinson Dies

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas
mthomas@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

New book captures passion of Harry Potter generation

St. Kate's Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 2:21pm
A Wizard of Their Age, edited by Professor Cecilia Konchar Farr and five students will be featured at the Sr. Mona Riley lecture on February 26. More »

Saint Mary’s Page Series hosts puppet pirates Feb. 5

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 1:03pm
WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Page Series will present the world’s only puppet, rock, yoga opera for families in search of calm during the Z Puppets Rosenschnoz production of “Monkey Mind Pirates” Thursday, Feb. 5. The epic tale, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, details how a sea captain discovers the [&hellip

Open house at Apple Valley Center Feb. 3

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 10:14am
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will host an Open House from 5–7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at its Apple Valley Center. All are invited to attend the event but especially individuals who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degree completion or advanced degrees offered in Apple Valley. Click here to register. Saint Mary’s began offering graduate [&hellip

Endless opportunities at Saint Mary’s

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 9:03am
Many schools offer a great education. At Saint Mary’s University, you’ll also find countless opportunities outside of class for leadership, scholarship, and fun and rewarding activities. Get involved with 90 clubs and organizations Play a varsity sport or intramurals Jump into the music or theatre scene Grow in faith, volunteer service, and community spirit Study [&hellip

The Beauty in Trying

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 9:00am

Though I cannot imagine a better career than being a college professor, it only seems like the clear choice in retrospect – as a math and English double major at Williams College, I truly did not know what direction I would take. I was interested in learning as much as I could about anything and everything. I took classes in developmental psychology and read poetry from the Sufi mystic tradition.

When I decided to pursue engineering, I took night classes to catch up on the engineering undergraduate curriculum. Three years later, I was accepted to Johns Hopkins University, where I went on to earn a Ph.D. in civil engineering.

During my first year in grad school, while taking a course on finite element analysis, I came to realize the essential differences between engineering and math.

Finite element analysis is a tool used in modern engineering that has gained ground as computers have become more powerful
over the last several decades. It is essentially an approximation method. The more exactly you can describe a real physical system (from a car under impact, to a bridge under load, to fluid flow in a pipe) and the more time and computer processing power you expend (together these are sometimes called “computational cost”), the closer you can get to the true solution. It is a convergence method, meaning that with more computational effort, you converge on an exact solution.

But there is almost always some reasonably acceptable amount of error involved. Pure math requires a certain kind of exactness. Engineering is often about finding the best answer under the circumstances.

My core research addresses the “multiscale problem” in engineering mechanics. Consider a fiber-reinforced composite that has many fibers aligned on one axis of the material. The diameter of the fiber may be on a much smaller scale than the scale of the structure made out of this material (for example an aircraft).

There is often randomness in the material structure at the small scale. We wish to extract information about the safety and reliability of the large scale aircraft made up of composites. Where a huge amount of small scale information is available, there is also a huge computational cost in the time and computer processing power needed to solve the problem to the utmost level of detail. This may be infeasible or simply unnecessary.

Some of the big research questions I address are: How do we know what level of detail is necessary? How do we account for microstructural randomness? What are the ways in which local detail can be safely “left out” (or packaged in a different way) in order to solve the large scale problem?

Since I earned my Ph.D. in 2009, I have continued along this line of research, most recently giving an invited talk at a symposium of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). One of the first slides I showed to this audience from largely Ph.D. granting institutions acknowledged my team of undergraduate researchers at the University of St. Thomas.

I also have sought out interesting opportunities for my undergraduate research group to collaborate with researchers in applications. For example, we have collaborated with structural geologists to study buckling behavior in geological materials at a very large scale.

In a separate project, also initiated by a team of geologists, I have looked at the material behavior of a partially molten basaltic magma. In each case, I have brought engineering tools such as the finite element method to bear on problems outside the discipline. These projects have proven to be a wonderful way to involve undergraduate students in research that is inherently collaborative and multidisciplinary.

In a totally different research direction, I have looked at the behavior of polymer tape in wound rolls. Though tape may seem to have gone the way of the VCR, it is still used in modern data storage to contain extremely large volumes of data in a very cost effective way. A problem arises because polymer materials “relax” or lengthen over time when they are put under tension, which occurs inside a wound roll of tape. I have collaborated with INSIC (Information Storage Industry Consortium) to develop computer models of the distortion due to relaxation in the material that may occur in wound rolls over long periods of time.

At this early point in my career at St. Thomas, I look forward to fostering more diverse types of projects that build unique connections with industry and other academic disciplines. Through working on these collaborations, students are able to get a sense of the seemingly endless variety of applications of computer modeling of material behavior.

In the introduction to his classic 1968 text on plasticity in materials, Alexander Mendelson speaks of the need to reconcile “the physical and the mathematical,” to “both explain the material behavior and provide the engineer and scientist with the necessary tools for practical application.” To reconcile the physical and mathematical is to in some way make sense of our world.

Like many computational researchers, I often set my computer to run at nighttime so that the results may be ready in the morning. There are other computers like mine, all over the world, chugging through all kinds of approximation models, getting closer and closer to reconciling the physical and the mathematical. We always are getting closer and closer, but we can hardly ever, perhaps by virtue of being human, capture the true level of complexity in the physical systems we seek to understand.

I am fine with that – I hope to teach my students something of the beauty in trying.

Assistant professor Dr. Katherine Acton teaches in UST’s School of Engineering. 

From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.

Saint Mary’s University announces December 2014 undergrad graduation list

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:55am
WINONA, Minn. — The following Saint Mary’s University students completed requirements for bachelor of arts degrees in December 2014. Brian Baker, Wykoff, Minn. Daniel Bayer, Middleton, Wis. Julissa Betting-Fuentes, Burnsville, Minn. Jessica Burns, Chanhassen, Minn. Ashley Cermak, Burnsville, Minn. Carli Chadderdon, Chanhassen, Minn. William, DeBruin, Neenah, Wis. Thomas Galvin, Elmhurst, Ill. Anthony Garoutte, Muscoda, Wis. [&hellip

A Series of Surprises

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:45am

Surprise – in the good sense of that word – has shaped my career as a law professor, researcher and author. Surprise played a role in how I became a law professor, and it continues to be a factor in my current research about our eloquent American presidents.

The first surprise was law school itself. I wasn’t sure what lawyers did when I applied to law school. I didn’t really know any lawyers except for a high school classmate’s father who was a judge in our small northwestern Minnesota town. But I was finishing college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth with majors in English and communications, and I didn’t have a plan. My brother was in law school, he seemed to like it, and we had many intellectual traits in common, so I decided to give it a try. I am amazed that many of my first-year law students decided in grade school that they wanted to become lawyers, which shows that successful legal careers start from many different beginnings.

Once I was in law school I knew that I was on the right path. I remember thinking, “These people approach problems the way that I do. Plus you write all the time. And you constantly learn new things. This is great!” Even while I was in law school I thought about a career in academia. I did what was expected for law professors by writing for the Law Review, graduating Order of the Coif, working for the Hennepin County Attorney’s office and a large law firm, and clerking for Judge John T. Noonan Jr. at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. I returned to Minneapolis and practiced in a law firm’s business litigation department for five years. My husband recently had started his career as a pediatrician, and two demanding professions did not work for us, so I stayed home raising our three children for 13 years. I stored one box of my legal books in our attic, thinking that I may never need them again.

The second surprise was finding the University of St. Thomas. I loved my years at home, but I knew I was ready for something new when I was volunteering for playground duty at my children’s school and a kindergartener asked me to tie his shoe. I wanted to reply, “Tie it yourself,” which I knew was not the correct response to a perfectly reasonable request.

That shoelace was the impetus for change in my life. I had followed the opening of the UST School of Law with great interest. I felt drawn to the mission of the law school and the opportunity it gave to law students to integrate all aspects of their lives into their profession. I planned to volunteer, but instead ended up with a tenure-track faculty position – all that preparation for an academic career 20 years earlier had paid off.

When I told my family that I had been hired my then-13-year-old son said, “Oh, no, Mom. Couldn’t the dean find anybody better than you?” Luckily he didn’t know the dean’s phone number to alert him to his grave mistake, so I was able to unpack that box of law books in the beautiful law school building. Incidentally, that son, Danny Oseid, just graduated from UST with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience.

The third surprise was how my current scholarship project about our eloquent American presidents developed. Six years ago I was stranded in the Milwaukee airport for several hours on my way home from a conference in Indiana. Abraham Lincoln was on my mind because Indiana (along with many other states) claims him, so I spent hours looking at Lincoln books in Renaissance Books (highly recommended if you ever find yourself with time at the Milwaukee airport).

Two weeks later I was waiting for a child at the dentist’s office while I paged through a National Geographic article about Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. I felt like Lincoln was tapping me on the shoulder, so I wrote an article about his use of brevity to persuade his audiences.

The Lincoln article launched a series of five articles about eloquent American presidents and each president’s persuasive writing quality: Thomas Jefferson (metaphor), James Madison (rigor), Abraham Lincoln (brevity), Ulysses Grant (clarity) and Teddy Roosevelt (zeal). I will spend the 2014-15 academic year on sabbatical writing “Communicators-in-Chief: Lessons in Persuasion from Eloquent American Presidents,” which will collect and expand on my published series and add chapters on the ethics and morality of persuasion, letter writing in developing presidential friendships, eloquent American presidents from the 20th century, the common writing habits of eloquent presidents and practical tips for persuasive writing. I have made several national and international presentations based on the articles to academics and judges.

The last surprise should perhaps not have been unexpected – this is all so much fun. Teaching is the most amazing, joy-filled endeavor in my professional life. But this is an essay about my scholarship, which is also full of joy. Not every minute, of course, because it is also just really hard, but it is fun a whole lot of the time. I get to read and think and write about fascinating people. I get to struggle with making new connections based on other scholars’ work. I get to teach the well-worn maxims about persuasion in a new way. I get to discover unexpected things like the fact that Grant wrote with such clarity that it is impossible to read his military orders without knowing exactly what he meant. I get to travel to talk about fascinating people with other fascinating people.

Many of those fascinating people are UST law students. I have worked with student research assistants for every article and each student has contributed insight and enthusiasm to my project. My research reaches every single one of my students in the classroom. I teach legal writing and analysis, and there is nothing like struggling myself with writing to build empathy for my students, which then challenges me to think about the writing habits that will help my students be successful. My experience presenting at judicial conferences helps me convince my students that their efforts at improving their writing and analysis is the key to their future success in practice. I also share the particular results of my research in the classroom. It is a confidence builder to learn that someone as articulate as Lincoln had to work very hard for his eloquence. It gives us all hope.

Just recently, my research also has reached an audience in the larger legal community – judges and lawyers. I learn much more than I teach during these conferences, and I am constantly finding new areas to research through my interactions with judges and lawyers.

I tell my students that it is impossible to look ahead and know which people and experiences will shape your career, so it is best to assume that each person and every experience might play a role. Looking back, I can see that all the people and all the experiences made a difference in my career. That makes me smile and makes me look forward to seeing what the next surprises will be.

Professor Julie Oseid, J.D., teaches in UST’s School of Law. 

From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.

A Reflection on the Benefits and Joys of Faculty Research

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:30am

I moved to the U.S. from India in the fall of 2000. I enrolled as an undergraduate student at Luther College, Iowa. The liberal arts curriculum at the institution provided me with the opportunity to explore a variety of major fields.

While there, I became interested in political science and took a few courses in international relations and comparative politics. These courses were taught by a brilliant, engaging and self-deprecating professor, Dr. Jim Rhodes, whom I admired very much. It would not be an overstatement to say that these courses changed my life.

By the time I graduated from Luther, I had made up my mind to pursue a career in the field of international politics. My goals led me to first complete a master’s degree in political science at Ball State University, Indiana, and later a doctoral degree in political science at Miami University, Ohio. I joined the Department of Political Science at the University of St. Thomas in fall 2008, almost immediately after I finished my doctoral studies at Miami University.

During both my undergraduate and graduate studies, I attempted to gain a better understanding of the politics, economics and society of my home country, India. My doctoral dissertation dealt with the politics of economic reforms in India. Since coming to the University of St. Thomas, I have continued to pursue research on India.

My research agenda focuses on examining changes in Indian politics since the end of the Cold War. Specifically, I analyze the changes observed in the country’s foreign policy since the Cold War years, and in describing India’s case, I attempt to demonstrate how globalization presents opportunities for countries to build stronger relations with each other and overcome old hostilities and suspicions.

The rise of India has implications for not just the Asian continent but the U.S. as well. India is the world’s largest democracy, the second-most populous country in the world, a nuclear-weapons state with one of the world’s largest military forces and the third-largest economy in the world behind the U.S. and China in terms of Gross Domestic Product (Purchasing Power Parity) or GDP (PPP).

India has seen sustained economic growth above 5-6 percent a year over the past two decades. The Indian market, with its burgeoning middle-class, is gradually opening up and foreign companies are eager to invest in many sectors of the economy. As an emerging power, India is expected to play an increasingly significant role in global politics in the 21st century.

My research also attempts to examine how India deals with various domestic and international challenges as it aspires to join the ranks of great powers. I have shared the results of my findings with the larger academic community through journal and book publications, conference presentations and invited research talks.

My research work has been funded by the University of St. Thomas’ Center for Faculty Development Research Grant and the Partnership-in-Learning (PIL) Grant.

India is a country of unparalleled diversity in terms of ethnicity, language and religion. It is a place where an ancient civilization interacts with modern technology and economy. I have been interested in learning about the different faces of India since my undergraduate days.

The more I conducted research in this area, the more I became fascinated by the complexities of Indian politics. Indian foreign policy formulation and implementation involves multiple actors and organizations and is shaped by often-conflicting ideologies and perspectives. Tracing the motivations behind the decisions of India’s policymakers and the effects of policies is always an intellectually stimulating exercise. My teaching is designed to transmit this enthusiasm to my students. Outside the classroom, I also have delivered research talks across campus for students interested in my field of study.

My work on India has been useful for the course I teach on South Asian politics at the University of St. Thomas. My research allows me to keep abreast of the latest work done in my field. It has helped me introduce students to new ideas and perspectives necessary to understand current developments in the South Asian region in general and Indian politics in particular. I discuss how the literature on the subject has evolved, what the major questions are, how to identify and evaluate evidence, and how to interpret the results. My primary aim as an instructor is to get students to think like political scientists. This involves examining research questions in the field through a scientific process – engaging in critical analysis, utilizing relevant theoretical framework.

At the University of St. Thomas, I have utilized various opportunities provided by the Center for Faculty Development to support research and scholarship. This includes collaborating with students on research projects. I received a PIL grant to hire a student research assistant during spring semester 2012. I was working on a book manuscript on India’s foreign policy at the time and required assistance in identifying literature on South Asian history and geography, researching India’s foreign policy toward the South Asian region, and analyzing how the major international relations theoretical perspectives may explain India’s foreign policy.

My research assistant, a former student by the name of Michael Ed, provided invaluable services during the writing of my manuscript. As part of his work, he identified literature, collated and summarized information, and examined the merits of various arguments and perspectives. The manuscript has since been accepted for publication as a book by Routledge publications.

Apart from this, I also have served as faculty mentor to a student who secured an undergraduate Collaborative Inquiry Grant (CIG) from the Grants and Research Office during spring semester 2013. Erin Statz, a current political science major, conducted research on “Democracy promotion in India’s foreign policy” and presented the results of her research at the Minnesota Political Science Association’s annual conference as well as at a national undergraduate political science conference in Washington, D.C., over the past year. This coming fall semester, I will have the opportunity to mentor another student who has recently received a Collaborative Inquiry Grant. This student will be working on the subject of civil wars in South Asia.

I believe that the PIL and CIG grants are extremely useful for both faculty and students. It provides faculty with the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise in a given area and conduct joint research with students on a topic of mutual interest. It also familiarizes our students with the kinds of work political scientists engage in and allows them to pursue scholarly interests beyond the classroom.

Under the guidance of the faculty mentor, students develop valuable research skills that provide them with a strong foundation for graduate school and/or employment in academic think-tanks and businesses. It also enhances the student’s candidature when applying for future scholarships, fellowships and awards.

For most faculty members like me, research informs their teaching to a large extent. I’m fortunate that the University of St. Thomas provides opportunities for faculty to pursue research, including partnerships and collaborations with students. The PIL grant and the research grant I received from the Center for Faculty Development has made it possible for me to pursue my scholarly activities. I hope to continue to study the new trends in India’s foreign policy in the 21st century and contribute to the existing body of literature on the subject. I believe that research conducted by faculty helps them grow as scholars and enables them to participate in real-world problem-solving and the creation of new knowledge and sharing it with students.

Finally, collaborating with students through the CIG grant program provides faculty with an opportunity to mentor a future scholar. In line with the university’s goals, it helps faculty guide students in learning how to think critically and work skillfully for the advancement of knowledge and the common good.

Associate Professor Dr. Arijit Mazumdar teaches in the Department of Political Science at UST. 

From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.

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