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Kudos (Fall 2020)


Dickinson’s decision to go remote for the fall semester—one of the first colleges in the national to do so—garnered significant national, regional and local news coverage, and President Margee Ensign’s perspective was sought by higher education reporters and editors.   

  • Ensign and Vice President for Finance & Administration Brontè Burleigh-Jones were featured guests on the FutureU podcast, hosted by Jeff Selingo, NYT bestselling author, contributor to The Atlantic and The Washington Post and former editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. They discussed the decision to hold a remote fall semester and underscored Dickinson’s leadership in making choices based on values and priorities. 
  • At the invitation of senior editors at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ensign participated in a panel discussion about strategic decision-making during the pandemic.  
  • Ensign was quoted in USA Today’s story on the college’s decision to hold the fall semester remotely.  
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Ensign in a piece about some of the first colleges and universities to choose remote instruction for the fall semester. 
  • Education Dive and The Chronicle of Higher Education quoted Ensign in a story about colleges reversing course and choosing remote fall semesters. 
  • The Associated Press, Philadelphia magazine, Inside Higher Ed, The Boston Globe and several regional outlets referenced Dickinson in their reporting on college and university plans for the fall semester.  
  • The public media reporting project PA Post quoted Ensign extensively in its in-depth report on colleges preparing for the fall semester.  
  • Additionally, WITF, The Sentinel, PennLive and several local television outlets highlighted the college’s decision to pursue a remote fall semester and included an explanation from Ensign in their reporting.

Featured Faculty

Assistant Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies Santiago Anria was quoted in The New York Times story “As Politicians Clashed, Bolivia’s Pandemic Death Rate Soared.”

Associate Professor of Psychology Suman Ambwani was quoted in The New York Times story on weight gain during COVID-19 lockdown. Instead of obsessing about weight and exercise, Ambwani suggested channeling energy into education and advocacy. 

WITF’s Julia Agos interviewed Professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Amy Farrell for a story on Pennsylvania’s suffrage movement. It was part of PBS’ “The Vote” project.

Instructor in American Studies Darren Lone Fight was a guest on WGHB Boston in the segment Revisiting Native American Representation in American Culture. He is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes—which includes Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

Lecturer in Psychology Michele Ford shared her insight with WPMT FOX43 for a story about how extreme uncertainty during COVID-19 can affect the mental health of young people.

Bruno Grazioli, contributing faculty in Italian studies and director of the Dickinson in Italy program, was quoted by Money magazine for a story about adapting study abroad for remote education.

The Associated Press reported on Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences Jorden Hayes’ class’ efforts to use ground-penetrating radar to map historic gravesites.

Marie Helweg-Larsen, professor of psychology, Glen E. & Mary Line Todd Chair in the Social Sciences and director of the Norwich Sciences Program in England, explained the concept of “optimistic bias” in a New York Times article about why we are not so good with risk assessment during the pandemic. And, in a separate New York Times story on dating during COVID-19, Helweg-Larsen shared how our biases may overwhelm our better judgment. She was also quoted in a CNN article, “Happiness Museum Looks at Brighter Feelings in Uncertain Times.”

Associate Professor of Art History Elizabeth Lee published a piece in The Conversation about one 19th-century artist’s efforts to grapple with tuberculosis and how it resonates with the current COVID-19 pandemic. This piece was republished by Fast Company and dozens of other news websites through a Creative Commons license.

The Sentinel spoke with Associate Professor of Sociology Erik Love about social movements in the wake of the George Floyd racial justice protests this summer.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Chauncey Maher published a piece in The Conversation that looked at how books, music and movies can hinder protest movements.

Visiting Professor of International Security Studies Jeff McCausland published five op-eds in NBC News THINK: On the possible chilling effect President Donald Trump’s treatment of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman could have on military leadership; on Trump’s questionable ability to formulate national security policy regarding Russia; on former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ criticism of the president; on the possible problems with withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty; and on what a possible transition of power in North Korea could look like. McCausland also was a guest on New Orleans radio station WWL.

Associate Professor of Political Science David O’Connell was quoted in the Newsweek article “Eight Congressional Races Could Decide if Biden Beats Trump.”

Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History Matthew Pinsker was among a group of prominent Civil War scholars who contributed historical analyses of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in contrast to President Trump’s reported plan to speak in Gettysburg in the opinion section at Additionally, Pinsker explained to The Sentinel that politics and civic art often overshadow history when it comes to monuments, as protests against problematic monuments surged nationwide. WITF’s Smart Talk hosted a conversation with Pinsker on the legacy of Andrew Johnson, Reconstruction and racial inequality.

Professor of Political Science and A. Lee Fritschler Professor of Public Policy Harry Pohlman was interviewed by WPMT FOX43 for a story on free speech.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Crispin Sartwell published an op-ed, “American Idolatry Meets Woke Iconoclasm,” in Reason.

Associate Professor of English Claire Seiler published Midcentury Suspension: Literature and Feeling in the Wake of World War II with Columbia University Press. She also had an essay, “The Matter of Elizabeth Bishop’s Professionalism,” published in Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive (Edited by Bethany Hicok. Lever Press, 2020. pp. 303-18).

Archaeology magazine wrote about Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences Alyson Thibodeau and Allison Curley ’19, whose student-faculty research into South American qero drinking vessels provides insight into long-standing historical questions. 

West Virginia University School of Music named Contributing Faculty in Flute Brittany Trotter as a winner of the Mary Tiffany Ferer Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research in Music for 2019-20. Trotter’s research, “Examining Musical Hybridity and Cultural Influences in Valerie Coleman’s Wish Sonatine and Fanmi Imèn,” analyzed seminal flute works by one of the leading contemporary American composers of chamber music. This research was also named the winner of the 2020 National Flute Association Graduate Research Competition.

Visiting Instructor of Environmental Studies Kim Van Fleet was quoted in a Prevention article, “No, You Don’t Need to Spend Extra Money on Those Blue-light Blocking Glasses.”

Administrator Accolades 

The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed Center for Global Study & Engagement Executive Director and Associate Provost Samantha Brandauer ’95 and Daisheau Player ’22 for a report on the cancelation of study abroad and what that means for students. 

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions Catherine McDonald Davenport ’87 shared her advice for students considering gap years with Fast Company. Additionally, for a story about test-optional practices during the pandemic in the educational technology outlet EdSurge, Davenport highlighted that Dickinson has been test-optional since 1996.

Executive Director of the Center for Civic Learning & Action Gary Kirk was featured in The Sentinel for his work collaborating with the Carlisle Action Network to launch a Civic Innovation Competition aimed at helping students in grades K-12.

Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admissions Recruitment Greg Moyer ’06 was the featured guest on the YouTube series Chats With Colleges, hosted by Hobsons. He discussed how Dickinson is supporting students and families during their college search while staying at home.

Dickinson College Farm Co-Director Matt Steiman and Paige Baisley ’20 featured prominently in a WPMT FOX43 TV story on the farm’s use of electric and solar vehicles.

Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity Director Vincent Stephens shared his thoughts on the racial justice movement with The Sentinel as the protests came to campus in June. In a story about pop culture’s “moment of reckoning” on race, Stephens warned “we must be careful to not mistake sales for social reform.”

Associate Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development Damon Yarnell shared job-search advice for recent graduates in the Society for Human Resource Management’s SHRM News.

(Kudos as of Sept. 6.)

Read more from the fall 2020 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published November 6, 2020