Campus Update

Wed Nov 26, 2014
New book combines basic science, politics of energy

Faculty members Lisa Glidden of political science and Tim Braun of chemistry filled a gap in the resources for a course they co-teach on the politics of energy by literally writing the book on it.

Tim Braun and Lisa Glidden with book“Understanding Energy and Energy Policy” will start shipping Dec. 9. The 209-page book aims to be “a one-stop resource for understanding the complexities of energy policy and the science behind the utilization of energy resources,” according to the publisher, Zed Books.

A reviewer, Karen Litfin of the University of Washington and an author in the sustainability field, said of the book, “If education is the safeguard of democracy, this book offers not only a first-rate intellectual synthesis but also a vital political contribution.”

Glidden likes the quote, because it’s at the heart of the main reason she and Braun—the two not only partner in a course and now a byline, they partner in marriage—wrote the book.

“We already know there’s no sustained policy that comes out of a crisis,” she said. “What we are hoping is that an informed, engaged citizenry will start asking these kinds of questions of their representatives and start demanding certain kinds of energy policies.”

The idea for a book on energy policymaking combined with the basic science behind energy sources—nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, hydropower and fossil fuels—came about as Glidden and SUNY Oswego physics faculty member Alok Kumar developed and co-taught the course “Comparative Energy Policy.” They found multidisciplinary resources lacking.

Additionally, Glidden realized that most books dealing with energy policy were America-centric, and she wanted to do country case studies to take a more global approach.

With Kumar busy on two other book contracts, Braun—who had been answering many questions at home for his wife about science—took over as co-teacher and eventually as co-author. At an International Studies Conference, Glidden said, she described their idea to a representative of Zed Books, and the publisher enthusiastically endorsed it.

Rich mix

There is a chapter on each major class of resource, featuring a rich mix of simply stated scientific explanations, alternative technologies within each resource, U.S. issues and policy, case studies of several other nations and a conclusion that sets the terms for potential solutions that include the resource.

The book does not try to incite controversy, but the authors acknowledge there are many hot-button issues in global energy policymaking, including global warming and hydrofracking. Braun said there was “a little bit” of contention even on the home front.

“We have the same end point, but subtly different factors that we weigh to get there,” he smiled.

The cross-discipline course they teach is no different. Science students see a problem, work hard to reach a solution then, as Braun said, wonder why the government “can’t just go out and spend $2 trillion on all these solar projects.” Political science students see the barriers, nuances and practicalities of policy development, Glidden said.

Energy policy is full of questions, they said: What should the energy mix be to reduce dependency on fossil fuels? What about lesser-known alternatives such as deep-heat geothermal that relies on drilling for miles to access the heat stored within the Earth’s crust? Or solar-thermal storage, where 2 square kilometers of mirrors focus on a 5-square-meter point to boil water for steam-generated electricity that can be stored? And with political gridlock in Washington, is it hopeless to sort through all the alternatives and the issues in a deliberative way to arrive at policies?

“I don’t think it’s hopeless,” Glidden said. “What would give them traction would be people actually advocating for something based on solid understanding. People have a lot more power than they imagine, and we really have abdicated it for a long time.”

Glidden and Braun hope their book interests students, but also potentially a mass market.

“We tried to write it as down-to-earth as possible and not bury people in technical jargon,” Braun said.

PHOTO CAPTION: Energy primer—The husband-and-wife team of Tim Braun of the chemistry faculty, right, and Lisa Glidden of political science wrote “Understanding Energy and Energy Policy,” a book combining the basic science of energy sources—from wind to fossil fuels, from hydropower to solar power—and a global look at policymaking approaches and practicalities.



Tue Nov 25, 2014
Toy drive underway to brighten holiday for county kids

The college community is running its 27th annual toy drive in an effort to make sure each child in Oswego County has a gift to open during the holiday season.

The drive typically garners 500 to 600 gifts and donations used to purchase dozens more.

An employee volunteer in each campus building helps coordinate the effort, which operates in conjunction with Oswego County’s Department of Social Services for the benefit of needy families.

Students look at ornaments with names on Toy Drive treeTrees have sprouted up in buildings around campus with paper ornaments bearing children’s first names and relevant information. Faculty, staff and students are invited to pick an ornament, purchase a gift and return the ornament attached to the unwrapped gift in time for one of the two campus collections, Dec. 12 and 19.

Alternatively, monetary donations may be sent to Casey Walpole in Room 301 of Culkin Hall (checks made out to SUNY Oswego Toy Drive).

For more information, subscribe to Oswego Daily (http://ls.oswego.edu/mailman/listinfo/oswegodaily-list) or email casey.walpole@oswego.edu.


PHOTO CAPTION: Spirit of the season—In the Marano Campus Center, students Alain Pierre-Lys, left, a junior majoring in communication and social interaction, and Adam Wilmot, a junior economics major, consider what gifts to buy for local children during the college’s 27th annual toy drive.



Tue Nov 25, 2014
Public broadcasting leader to speak at December graduation

The December commencement ceremony on Dec. 13 will feature as speaker an alumnus of the college who brought an entrepreneurial spirit to public broadcasting that is transforming the field.

As president and chief executive officer of WCNY Public Media since 2005, Robert J. Daino has launched a number of groundbreaking projects, including Centralcast, which makes the Syracuse-based station a hub for public broadcasting content in the Northeast.

The first collaboration of its kind within the PBS system, Centralcast delivers content for all public broadcasting stations in New York and New Jersey as well as Philadelphia, Charlotte and many other stations across the country, reaching more than 20 percent of the nation’s PBS viewers.

Under Daino’s leadership, WCNY has grown to five digital broadcast television channels and three digital radio channels. Its television and radio producers create more local programming—much of it award winning—than two-thirds of other public media nationwide. And it is the only station in the national PBS system of nearly 175 stations to have eliminated televised pledge breaks, giving WCNY’s 1.8 million viewers an additional 330 hours of programming annually.

In April, WCNY was chosen as CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity’s Not-for-Profit Business of the Year.


Community focus

WCNY built its new Broadcast and Education Center in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood and is now an anchor for the revitalization of this once-vibrant industrial district. The new facility is a model of green technology. WCNY is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification at the platinum level, the nation’s highest green standard.

The public station’s new headquarters includes another industry groundbreaking initiative: a state-of-the-art Education Center. It offers a variety of hands-on programs for area secondary school students, including Enterprise America, which gives students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge while running businesses in a simulated city.

A native of Syracuse, Daino earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Oswego in 1986. He began his professional career at Syracuse’s General Electric Co., part time during college and then full time upon graduation.

After serving in many technical and senior management positions during his 13 years at GE, he left to found his own Syracuse-based software company and became a nationally recognized expert on change and workflow management. He has developed software and systems in highly complex integrated electronic environments for the U.S. Navy, the Federal Aviation Administration and a multitude of commercial businesses.

He remains president and chief executive officer of his software company, PROMERGENT, and a second company, ServeCentral.

Daino has been recognized for his transformational business and community leadership with a 2014 Temple Adath Yeshurun Citizen of the Year Award, 2013 YWCA Academy of Diversity Achievers Award and a 2013 Near Westside Initiative Groundbreakers Award. He was honored with a 2003 Greater Syracuse and Onondaga County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award, 2002 Human Resources Excellence Award from the Central New York Society of Human Resource Management, and the 2002 Fleet Bank Small Business Leadership Award.


Commencement details

SUNY Oswego’s winter commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 13. Open to ticket holders, the Saturday morning ceremony in the college’s Marano Campus Center arena will be publicly viewable online from a link on the college’s homepage.

For more information about December graduation, visit http://www.oswego.edu/academics/commencement.



Mon Nov 17, 2014

Since Nov. 3, University Police have investigated several cases of theft and vandalism and made 15 arrests.


Felonies

Nearly $1,600 worth of personal property—a laptop computer, iPhone, sneakers and over $100 in cash—was reported stolen from a room in Oneida Hall. University Police arrested two 19-year-old men, one from Watertown and one from Fort Drum and charged each with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree grand larceny. Police said security cameras in the residence hall lobby helped them find the suspects.


Misdemeanors

University Police charged a 28-year-old employee of Dining Services with three counts of petit larceny. She is accused of stealing money out of her co-workers’ purses while they worked in Cooper Dining Hall.

Police charged a 21-year-old Seneca Hall resident with third-degree assault in connection with an alleged attack on another student.

A 19-year-old Cayuga Hall resident was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, and possession of marijuana, a violation. Officers were investigating an odor of marijuana coming from a room. While searching the room, they said they recovered a set of black metal knuckles.

A 19-year-old Onondaga Hall resident was charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, and unauthorized use of a driver’s license, an infraction, after officers responded to a complaint of a man running down the hallway in Seneca Hall knocking on doors and yelling.


Motor vehicle misdemeanors

A 20-year-old Baldwinsville man was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or above, both misdemeanors, and unauthorized use of another person’s license and driving the wrong way down a one-way street, both violations. A 60-year-old Syracuse woman was charged third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. A 26-year-old Fayetteville woman was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration.


Violations

Police charged four teenage students with possession of marijuana: two residents of Oneida Hall and one each from Moreland and Seneca halls.



Mon Nov 17, 2014
Oswego's University Police place in National Challenge

SUNY Oswego’s University Police Department took second place in the college and university category of the National Law Enforcement Challenge. 

Kevin Velzy accepting awardThe department received the recognition on Oct. 28 at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Orlando, Florida.

The award represents excellence in traffic safety and a commitment to saving lives.

Winning first place was the Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department. Cornell University Police received third-place honors.

PHOTO CAPTION: National honor—Oswego’s assistant chief of University Police, Kevin Velzy, accepts the second-place award at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.



Mon Nov 17, 2014
SEFA seeks more participation as campaign moves into full swing

With baskets, bake-offs—and now breakfast—SEFA’s 2014-15 “It’s Our Community and It’s Personal” campaign has ramped up to provide all campus employees a wide variety of ways to help meet ever-growing needs, near and far, such as hunger, illiteracy and disaster relief.

Little girl chases hockey player in previous edition of Skate with the Lakers fundraiserHoward Gordon said the SEFA Committee that he convenes on behalf of President Deborah F. Stanley continues to strive to increase the number of employees who contribute.

“Even $1 or $2 per paycheck would go a long way to helping children, families and others in need,” Gordon said.

Packets began arriving last week for the annual State Employees Federated Appeal for pledges via payroll deduction or one-time cash or check donation. New this year: Breakfast for Your Building—the building with the highest percentage of donors in the month of November will win a free breakfast.

The goal this year is $40,000 campuswide; employees may designate their contribution to any of hundreds of charitable organizations at home or around the globe. Statewide, SEFA—now in its 50th year—raises about $7 million annually.

SUNY Oswego’s SEFA Committee uses Baskets of Caring, SEFA Bake-Offs, the SEFA/United Way Walk-A-Thon, Skate with the Lakers, canned food and toy drives at ice hockey games, a poinsettia sale and other fundraisers to raise enthusiasm and, often, to engage campus employees in friendly and spirited competition.

SEFA raised $2,821 during Baskets of Caring recently through 18 baskets designed and donated by groups of employees and their sponsors. A drawing awarded each one to a participant who had “voted” for the basket.

Near-term SEFA events include the SEFA Food and Toy Drive at women’s ice hockey games at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 and 22, and at 7 p.m. Friday at the men’s game, all in the Marano Campus Center arena; the poinsettia sale from Monday, Nov. 24, through Thursday, Dec. 4; and Giving Tuesday—a feel-good antidote to consumer-driven Black Friday—on the Marano Campus Center concourse on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

The fun promotional events all serve to build toward the key drive, the opportunity to give via the packets distributed in mailboxes around campus. In addition to the new Breakfast for Your Building challenge, the SEFA campaign has begun its weekly drawings for gift cards among employees who donate by payroll deduction or check. The United Way of Central New York Step-Up Challenge—boosting one’s payroll deduction by at least $1 a week—makes an employee eligible for United Way drawings for larger prizes.

For more information, visit oswego.edu/sefa.

PHOTO CAPTION: Good cause—Holiday Skate with the Lakers annually raises hundreds of dollars for the State Employees Federated Appeal, which has moved into full swing for 2014. This year’s Skate with the Lakers will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Marano Campus Center arena.



Mon Nov 17, 2014
Maina trains Kenyan scholars, publishes their work

When Fulbright Scholar Faith Maina realized her Kenyan post-graduate students and even some new faculty members in her class at Moi University would encounter difficulties publishing the research papers they had prepared for her class, she took matters into her own hands.

Faith MainaThe result is a new book, “Nurturing Reflexive Practice in Higher Education: Educators Engaged in Action Research Projects in an Institution of Higher Learning in Kenya,” edited and with acknowledgements and two chapters by Maina, who returned two years ago from her Fulbright experience in Eldoret, Kenya.

Published by Nsemia Inc., the 155-page book gives editorial voice to nine of the Kenyan scholars with whom Maina shared academic research methods and the process of scholarly writing —the core of her Fulbright project in 2011-12.

“It was very satisfying—the best part of my career,” said Maina, a professor of curriculum and instruction who teaches courses on research in Oswego’s School of Education. “People were eager—even some of the faculty advisers were eager—to get something from me. Everybody wanted a piece of me. I was so busy I never got any time to breathe. It was so exciting to be in a place where your skills are so in demand.”

Maina’s Fulbright proposal had grown out of her experience editing an academic journal at Moi. Women, in particular, weren’t getting promoted because their journal submissions were turned away for poor writing.

Seizing the opportunity to help Kenyan scholars grow, Maina taught the discipline of academic research to a class of 15, including 10 women, as a way to begin creating a culture of scholarship from a strong foundation.

“I encouraged them to look for topics that would examine what they were already doing,” she said.

Growing scholars

That advice grew from Maina’s own belief in the power of reflexive practice, which encourages educators to look around and inside themselves and their experiences for solutions to seemingly intractable problems in the classroom and in the educational system.

“I was trying to nudge people to use their own reflections as part of their research,” she said.

The published results include, for example, articles on unplanned pregnancies and barriers to use of contraception, barriers to quality education for student mothers in Kenya’s public universities, an examination of cheating in Kenyan institutions of higher learning, gender disparities at decision-making levels in Kenya’s universities, and breaking the silence on girls’ issues of sexuality, including incest.

One of the authors, a lecturer named Chedotum Kibet Ambrose, died a week before Maina left the country, the result of a “stupid, stupid crime.” With the equivalent of about $10 in his pocket, he was shot by robbers near his home. Maina dedicated the book to him and included his paper.

In a country that has relatively few students who achieve doctorates, especially women, Maina said she is proud to say two of her women students who had been “stuck” in their graduate programs have now finished their degrees.

Those newly promoted scholars now are assistant professors who will have their own students to advise, producing ripples from Maina’s Fulbright project.

“That was really the whole idea, that they’d get the skills and then they’d share them,” she said.

PHOTO CAPTION: Developing scholars—Faith Maina, professor of curriculum and instruction, took the training of scholars at Kenya’s Moi University during her Fulbright project a step further, publishing the work of nine of them in a new book on teaching and research.



Mon Nov 17, 2014

Three faculty members are participating in the college’s Assessment Fellows Program: Leigh Bacher of the psychology department, Jennie Han of the political science department and Xiaoyu Pu of the marketing and management department. They recently returned from the Indianapolis Assessment Institute, one of the largest assessment conferences in the country. It provided them with an opportunity to learn more about assessment from some of the national leaders in the assessment of student learning.

Chemistry students presenting researchFehmi Damkaci of the chemistry department and his research undergraduate students, pictured from left, Cory Ludwig, Erik Vik and Joshua Malone presented their summer research “Picolinamide Derivatives as Ligand for Ullmann type Aryl Ether Reactions” at the American Chemical Society conference Oct. 31 in Pittsburgh.

SUNY Oswego's Fed Challenge teamOswego’s Fed Challenge team competed Oct. 31 in New York City, earning a score of 16 out of 20 (including 5 out of 5 for teamwork and for data and analysis). Pictured from left in front of the New York Fed building are Hector Escamilla, a sophomore in economics and finance; Aneesha Guruge and Samuel Pascal, both seniors in economics; Gong Jie Zhang, a senior in risk management and insurance; James Goebel, a senior in global studies and languages and international trade; Kevin Stein, a junior in finance; and economics professor Ranjit Dighe, Fed Challenge coach. The judges praised the students’ “great understanding of data” and “great teamwork” and the way all five presenters participated equally. “It was a great learning experience for all of us,” Dighe said. “In addition to its educational value, the trip was an amazing multicultural experience,” he added. “I will remember Gong Jie talking to our waitress in Chinese, Sam talking to the New York Fed’s director of economic education in Spanish, and getting Indian food at 10:30 in the morning.”

M. Neelika Jayawardane of the English department published “Zambia’s Interim President Is White, but So What?” Oct. 31 in the opinion section of Al Jazeera America. Zambia’s fifth president, Michael Sata had died Oct. 28 in London, and the vice president, Guy Scott, a 70-year-old white Zambian of Scottish descent, became interim president. Jayawardane is also the author of a chapter titled “‘Scandalous Memoir’: Uncovering Silences and Reclaiming the ‘Disappeared’ in Mahvish Rukhsana Kahn’s ‘My Guantánamo Diary’” in the book “Transatlantic Literature and Culture After 9/11: The Wrong Side of Paradise,” edited by Kristine A. Miller and published this year by Palgrave Macmillan. She spoke at two conferences this month. She presented a paper, “Re-Telling the Nation: Dangerous Disclosures in South African Women’s Memoirs,” on the panel “Violent Geographies: Transnational Representations of Gender, War, and Resistance” at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the 57th annual African Studies Association conference in Indianapolis, she chaired the panel “Winnie Madikizela Mandela: Reflections on the Mother of the Nation” and presented “Winnie and the Camera: Fashioning an Impenetrable Armature.” Finally, Jayawardane collaborate with the artist Daisy Rockwell, granddaughter of Norman Rockwell, on Rockwell’s series revisiting the figure of the Odalisque in Orientalist painting. Rockwell painted Jayawardane based on a photo, and Jayawardane wrote accompanying text. Both can be seen on Flickr.

Laura Kelly, director of alumni and parent relations, received a $1,500 professional development scholarship from the National Educational Alumni Trust. Kelly was one of 16 winners selected by the organization’s scholarship committee. Scholarships were awarded in October to enable recipients to attend a professional development conference during 2014-15. NEAT is a not-for-profit organization that provides insurance and financial services to constituents of its 140 member associations.

Sarfraz Mian speakingSarfraz Mian, pictured of the School of Business was one of five keynote speakers at the International Research Conference on Technology Business Incubation Mechanisms and Sustainable Regional Development held Oct. 23 in the Toulouse Business School in Toulouse, France. The other four came from Stanford University, Lyon Business School in France, Linköping University in Sweden and Imperial College Business School in England. Mian spoke on “Modern TBI Mechanisms: Typology, Evolution and Their Regional Contexts; Lessons from the North American and European Cases.”

Education students presenting research posterStudents from the School of Education’s graduate program in special education recently presented their work at two statewide conferences: the annual meeting of the New York State Council for Exceptional Children and the Adirondack Assistive Technology Expo. On Oct. 28, Kristin Rice, Brittany Kadamus and Caelan Tracy presented posters at the expo in Tupper Lake. The students presented action research case studies of their successful teaching using assistive technology to help public school students access and progress in meeting the new English Language Arts Common Core curriculum standards. On Oct. 31, seven additional students, Heather Wilson, Rachael DeFazio, Maria Williams, Sadie Buerman, Kara Orr, Jessica Hosie and Keriann Eastman presented their work in poster sessions at the annual meeting of the New York State Council for Exceptional Children in Syracuse. Pictured from left are Buerman, Wilson and Eastman. Their posters also focused on action research using assistive technology to enhance learning in the Common Core for students with disabilities. Under the direction and mentoring of Amanda Fenlon and Roberta Schnorr of the curriculum and instruction faculty, the students focus strongly in their graduate program on literacy teaching and using technology to help students with disabilities access the general education curriculum and reach their potential. Several faculty supervised field experiences in area schools to allow master of science in education students to learn and practice their teaching craft. Fenlon noted that the presentations were well attended and received by conference participants. The students’ travel and conference expenses were supported by SUNY Oswego’s RISE program.

With Passion and Purpose logoTwo Oswego students attended the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit on Sept. 4 in New York City, with the help of Bloomberg Sports Managing Editor Jay Beberman, one of Oswego’s generous and supportive alumni from the class of 1989. He covered the costs for junior Gabriela Santos and senior Joshua Kay to attend the annual conference that brings together sports industry leaders to discuss the latest happenings and trends in the sports business. This year’s summit featured many notable sports figures, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “This ranks up there with one of the coolest experiences of my life,” Kay said. “The field of sports broadcasting is something that I want to break into, so being able to converse with some of these professionals really gave me hope for the future.” Santos and Kay attended several panels and heard about the experiences of a variety of people in the sports industry. The students also networked with attendees as well as employees of Bloomberg News. “I was able to network with multiple people and learn about different fields in broadcasting, business and communications,” said Santos, the assistant student event director of the Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit, production director for WNYO 88.9 and vice president of the college’s chapter of the National Broadcasting Society. “Jay Beberman was extremely generous and showed us around, introduced us to many different people and answered all of our questions.” Beberman decided to sponsor two Oswego students for the Bloomberg Summit after his experience as a featured panelist at the 2013 O’Donnell Media Summit. He said he was impressed with how the student organizers managed the event and thought they could benefit from participating in a large-scale similar kind of event. “I loved my time at Oswego. It prepared me for the real world,” Beberman said. “I hope I can do a small part to help current students reach their goals and dreams.”

On Nov. 12 SUNY honored police officers from five institutions, including Oswego, for heroism and professional service. Honored with the Professional Service Award were Oswego’s University Police Officers Thomas Woodruff, Evan Proulx and Daniel McCarthy for their life-saving efforts July 26 during the Harborfest run on campus. “The University Police and commanding officers we honor today have gone above and beyond in their service to SUNY students and to our campus communities, and we are proud to recognize their efforts,” said State University of New York Police Commissioner Bruce McBride.

K. Brad Wray, professor of philosophy, has published an article in the journal Scientometrics, one of the leading journals in information science. The article, “Philosophy of Science Viewed Through the Lens of ‘Referenced Publication Years Spectroscopy’ (RPYS),” was co-authored with Lutz Bornmann of the division for science and innovation studies at the administrative headquarters of the Max Planck Society in Munich.



Sat Nov 15, 2014
Recipe for Patricia Clark's career begins with African-American literature

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Patricia Clark, chair of English and creative writing, who is a scholar of food writing and foodways—the eating habits and cuisine practices of a people or historical period—and loves to cook. But it’s giving voice to historically underrepresented students that marks her teaching style and shapes her campus interests.

Patricia ClarkQ. When did you start working at SUNY Oswego?
A.
In 2002. I was working as an editor in Columbus, Ohio, finishing up my doctorate, and I saw a posting for the job.

Q. What was the position?
A.
This was a position for an African-American literature and culture scholar. I had done my coursework in African-American literature and had a specific interest in the Harlem Renaissance and had done some research and writing in that area. Additionally, I had done some research in African-American foodways and begun a project looking at cookbooks written by African-American women. I decided to pursue this offshoot of the culture, especially how Southern cuisine migrated north through places like Harlem and became soul food.

Q. Where was your early schooling?
A.
I was born and raised in Syracuse. I attended Syracuse University in English and art. I began as a visual artist in painting and drawing, and my studio professors used to joke about my reading all the time. One professor called me “Miss Arts and Sciences.” I figured out a way to major in both.

Q. Why did you decide on English for your graduate studies?
A.
I was such a voracious reader and I loved writing and talking about literature. As a young person, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to get a job where someone paid me to read books?” That was the sort of naive impulse that got me started . . . I did my master’s at Syracuse and my Ph.D. at Miami (Ohio).

Q. What was your dissertation topic?
A.
It was on food and literature, largely during the Modernist period. I was interested in understanding the language of recipes and how recipes as narratives told stories and recorded histories that were not part of the general historical record. Early cookbooks actually tell some of the best stories. . . . It’s a journey into a past before microwave ovens or gas stoves. So they’d have instructions for frying, for example, where you’d test the temperature by placing a piece of bread in the oil; when it browned a certain way, you knew the oil was hot enough to fry whatever you had to fry. The old recipes also left out steps. If you didn’t know you had to braise the meat to make a stew, you were out of luck. These books are really fascinating, because they record what people knew and did as everyday practices.

Q. What do you like about teaching at SUNY Oswego?
A.
I like hanging out with the young people and reading books and just “dropping knowledge,” as I say. I enjoy learning from them. I learn a lot from them about contemporary culture, and a lot of contemporary culture has its roots in the past. So it’s a happy marriage. I’m also a strong advocate for all historically underrepresented groups of students here. I think it’s important that their voices be heard in the classroom . . .  even if it means going off-lesson for 5 or 10 minutes by saying, “What’s eating you?” I seize opportunities to let those discussions happen. Last spring, I coordinated a program with the Syracuse University College of Law’s Cold Case Justice Initiative on civil rights. We had an opportunity to bring some of our students there to spend the weekend with some folks, such as the Rev. C.T. Vivian and Diane Nash, who were part of the civil rights movement.

Q. What other things have you been involved in at SUNY Oswego?
A.
I am currently in my second year as English and creative writing department chair. I served as faculty adviser over the years for student groups such as the Pride Alliance and the Black Student Union. I have served on SCAC (Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee) and also have been the director of the African-American studies program for the past seven years and was critical to its revival.

Q. What are your off-the-job interests?
A.
I love to cook. You can come over to my house anytime and name the dish and I’ll whip it up. I go to a lot of the arts events here and in Syracuse, especially at Syracuse Stage.

Q. What is something only your friends and family know about you?
A.
One of the most memorable events I’ve experienced was meeting Angela Davis and spending time at her house. As a young person, she was a hero of mine. I happened to have this opportunity through a professor at Miami who was a student of hers. For me, as a young person growing up in Syracuse—we lived in a majority white neighborhood—I was grasping for models of people who were doing work that I deemed important. Davis was one who represented ideals of social justice I embraced.



Sat Nov 15, 2014
Waterbury Hall to take fast track to completion

Waterbury Hall, a 211-bed lakeside residence hall that opened in 1960, will close to residents by Dec. 13, be emptied of all its contents by Dec. 22 and reopen in August after $8.8 million in renovations.

Architectural rendering of Waterbury HallIn between, general contractor PAC & Associates of Oswego will have added eight rooms, three kitchens, lounges on each floor and a solar chimney; made all floors, rooms and common spaces wheelchair accessible; rebuilt the restrooms in modern configurations; upgraded technology and mechanical systems; and installed new windows and a new entrance, roof and lakeside terrace and otherwise rehabilitated the exterior. Furnishings will be new.

“It has a very aggressive construction schedule,” said Mitch Fields, associate vice president for facilities. “Normally, this job would take one full year.”

The reason for the quick turnaround is capacity. With about 4,300 beds in all, campus residential facilities are full thanks to two consecutive autumns of strong new-student recruitment and a variety of initiatives that have kept demand high among students for living on campus, said Rick Kolenda, director of residence life and housing.

Two more capacity-limiting renovations are on the horizon. Scales Hall, opened in 1961, is scheduled to close next winter on a similarly demanding construction schedule. Behind Waterbury and Scales for renovation is Funnelle Hall, a mid-campus, 1965 high-rise, which is likely to need a two- or three-phase plan for the upgrades, according to Fields and Kolenda. It houses about 400 residents.

Kolenda said his office kept Waterbury under capacity this fall, allowing mainly single-semester residents—such as international students—to live there. December graduation, off-campus moves and other attrition should leave a workable number of former Waterbury residents to place in other campus living options, he said. College staff will move their possessions for them, and they will have the option of returning to campus early to settle in for the spring semester.


Accessible, appealing

The end result will be a Waterbury Hall—and then a Scales Hall—with appealing and practical features.

“We are going to modernize them in a way that’s consistent with the rest of the lakeside community,” Fields said. “They will not only be brought up to date, they will stand out. We’re trying to get to an even standard across all the dorms.”

Tops on the list is accessibility. The contractor will widen the doorways of Waterbury’s rooms to 36 inches from 32, replace ramps and install additional ones inside and out, and add an elevator. Each restroom will have four pods, providing privacy for toilets and showers, two of them accessible.

“We are moving away from one public space for restrooms. This is a more agile solution,” Fields said.

King & King Architects of Syracuse, working with Facilities Services’ major projects unit, designed the project to LEED Gold standards, he said. One visible feature designed to save costs and energy will be an atrium-like entranceway that will serve as a solar chimney to pull in cooler air during warm months to the building’s upper levels.

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is overseeing the project, but the college is paying cash from reserves for Waterbury’s renovations, Fields said, obviating the need for bonding and increasing debt-service limits. He and Kolenda said this should help limit rate increases for resident students.

“President (Deborah F.) Stanley is heavily committed to providing affordable, accessible education,” Fields said.

The building was named for Edwin M. Waterbury, a former editor and publisher of the Oswego Palladium-Times and chairman of the Board of Visitors (now the College Council). He helped Oswego evolve into a degree-granting teachers’ college in the 1940s.

PHOTO CAPTION: Revitalizing Waterbury—An $8.8 million project to renovate Waterbury Hall will get under way during winter break. (King & King Architects rendering)



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