Spring 2016 Kudos

Spring 2016 class outside

Photo by Carl Socolow '77.


Neil Weissman, provost and dean of the college and professor of history, and Brian Whalen, president of The Forum on Education Abroad, recently co-authored “Lessons Learned From a Higher Education Partnership” in University Business. They write, “In the ongoing debate over the rising cost of higher education, collaboration frequently emerges as a proposed path forward. Despite the allure of savings and efficiencies, efforts to follow the strategy often fall victim to both conceptual and implementation flaws. Two institutions, a higher education association and a private liberal-arts college, have managed to navigate the tricky waters of collaboration to create a rewarding partnership. Our eight-year experience has taught us some key lessons that should be helpful to others.” Read more.

Body Politics, a peer-reviewed journal on the history of the body from the 18th to the 21st century, recently published “ ‘When I Was Growing Up My Mother Cooked Dinner Every Single Day’: Fat Stigma and the Significance of Motherblame in Contemporary United States,” by Amy Farrell, professor of American studies and women’s & gender studies, John J. Curley ’60 and Ann Conser Curley ’63 Faculty Chair in the Liberal Arts and executive director of The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. The article appears in No. 5, vol. 3 (2015). Read more.

Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence Susan Perabo’s latest collection of short stories, Why They Run the Way They Do, has been released by Simon & Schuster to critical acclaim. Kirkus Reviews writes, “Stealth wisdom is the hallmark of this collection, hiding in each piece like the prize in a Cracker Jack box. As a former bike racer tells his catastrophizing friend in the title story, ‘Everybody gets to be a little pathetic. But you can’t have more than your share, or there’s not enough to go around. You can’t be a hog about it.’ These ingenious and lovable stories crack open the world.” Learn more.

Lars English, associate professor of physics and astronomy, and Jiahao Han ’17 published “Multi-frequency and edge breathers in the discrete sine-Gordon system via subharmonic driving: Theory, computation and experiment” in Physics Letters A 380, 402 (2015).

Dickinson’s Director of Library Services Eleanor Mitchell and Swarthmore’s College Librarian Peggy Seiden co-edited Reviewing the Academic Library: A Guide to Self-Study and External Review. The Library Journal review notes that the editors “assembled a veritable all-star lineup of contributors for this volume that examines self-study and external reviews in academic libraries.”

Grants and Awards

Mark Aldrich, associate professor of Spanish, received a 2,000 euro grant from Acción Cultural Española’s Programme for the Internationalization of Spanish Culture for a writer’s workshop residency featuring Ana Merino, associate professor at the University of Iowa, and poet Manuel Vilas. Merino and Vilas were in residence March 28-April 15.

U.K. National Health Service NIHR-HTA awarded $66,785 to Suman Ambwani, associate professor of psychology. In collaboration with her colleagues at Kings College London, Ambwani will conduct “A multicentre, investigator blind, randomised 6/12 parallel group study to examine the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of supplementing inpatient care with guided self-management tools for patients with or without adjunct career guidance.” The current study employs a recovery-based, collaborative approach to the selfmanagement of eating disorders.

Ted Merwin, associate professor of religion and director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, won the Education & Jewish Identity category of the 2015  National Jewish Book Awards for his recent book, Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli. Bestowed by the Jewish Book Council, the annual awards recognize outstanding literature in the field and aim to encourage authors to continue to write on themes of Jewish interest. Learn more.

Chelsea Skalak, assistant professor of English, received the William T. Buice III Scholarship, awarded by the Rare Book School to support research on the history of written, printed and digital materials. Through it, she will launch a digital project next summer that focuses on accounts of the lives of 12th- through 15th-century married saints as part of a larger project investigating how medieval marriage law shaped and was shaped by innovations in medieval literature. Read more.

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds awarded $25,000 to Julie Vastine ’03, director of ALLARM, and Heather Bedi, assistant professor of environmental studies, for their project “Taking the pulse of Pennsylvania’s watershed movement.” Vastine and Bedi are partnering with the Pennsylvania State University to assess the current status of community-based watershed organizations in Pennsylvania.

The Greater Carlisle Project, of which Dickinson College is a founding member, received a one-year $50,000 civic-engagement grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and a $10,000 mini-grant from the South Mountain Partnership to implement the Greater Carlisle Heart & Soul Project, a resident-driven approach to community planning and development. The Cumberland County Historical Society will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the project. Learn more at greatercarlisleproject.dickinson.edu. 

In the News

The Institute of International Education (IIE) ranked Dickinson College No. 5 for yearlong study abroad and No. 11 for semester-long study abroad in the baccalaureate category of its most recent Open Doors report (for the 2013-14 academic year). Based on the number of students in the study-abroad programs, the rankings highlight the college’s commitment to immersive global education, with 325 students studying abroad last year (275 in semester-long programs and 50 in yearlong programs) and just over 68 percent of Dickinson students studying abroad before they graduate. 

Professor of History David Commins’ latest book, Islam in Saudi Arabia, was named a Best Book of 2015 by Foreign Affairs magazine. The book chronicles Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi movement as well as the diversity and dynamism of religion in the country’s society, politics, culture and
everyday life. In its review, Foreign Affairs wrote, “[Commins] has produced a succinct and insightful survey of puritanical Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia” and calls Commins’ writing “scrupulously nonjudgmental.” 

Kamaal Haque, assistant professor of German, recently appeared in an Austrian public-television documentary on Luis Trenker (1892-1990), an actor, director and TV personality who is the focus of Haque’s research.

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Published April 28, 2016