Feature Stories Campus Events

Suzanne Keen Named Co-Editor of Prestigious Journal

You might think Suzanne Keen, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English, would feel her schedule these days is quite full enough, what with her July 1 appointment as the interim dean of the College. But when an esteemed scholarly journal asked her to serve as a co-editor, she couldn’t say no.

Contemporary Women’s Writing “critically assesses writing by women authors who have published approximately from 1970 to the present” and reflects “retrospectively on developments throughout the period, to survey the variety of contemporary work, and to anticipate the new and provocative in women’s writing.”

It is published by Oxford Journals, which is part of Oxford University Press. Suzanne’s new endeavor, which enjoys a worldwide readership, won the Best New Journal award in 2009 from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. And it is healthy enough to have recently increased its publication from two to three times a year and boosted the number of pages.

In announcing Suzanne’s appointment, Susan Stanford Friedman, the director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, “We are very fortunate to have Suzanne Keen and Emma Parker as the new co-editors; together, they have extensive experience and a great commitment to women’s writing.” Her co-editor is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom.

Recent W&L Graduate Receives Teaching Assistantship to Austria

Nico Gioioso of Baltimore, Md., a 2012 graduate of Washington and Lee University, recently received a U.S. English language teaching assistantship to Austria for the 2012-2013 academic year.

While at W&L, Gioioso was a Johnson Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was president of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He was also a member of English for Speakers of Other Languages, was a member of Kathekon, was a DJ for WLUR and acted for Generalprobe (German Department theater productions). Gioioso was a double major in economics and Spanish.

“During my academic career at W&L, I tried to expand my focus beyond the U.S. borders,” said Gioioso. “I got a taste of the German and Austrian cultures when I went abroad my freshman spring term, and had a very different experience when I spent two summers down in Argentina.

“It’s the type of experience for which only W&L could have prepared me, and hopefully I can inspire other young people to take advantage of the type of opportunities that put you out of your comfort zone.”

According to the website about the U.S. English language teaching assistantships to Austria, “U.S. teaching assistants not only enhance the instruction of English from a linguistic perspective; they are also valuable resources for first-hand information about the ‘American way of life’ and representatives of the United States.”

W&L's Kester Leads Workshop in China on Case Method of Teaching

George Kester, the Martel Professor of Finance in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics at Washington and Lee University, recently returned from leading a workshop on the case method of teaching at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) in China. Participating faculty were from various business disciplines.

After discussing an assigned case study that faculty participants read and analyzed beforehand, the workshop topics included course design, different approaches to teaching cases, case sequencing, grading, and the use of group projects.

Kester uses the case method of teaching in his finance classes at W&L. Instead of relying on lectures and text books, the case method uses cases that describe problems faced by businesses, giving students the information that management had at the time they had to make a decision. “Most business decisions involve the future, so there’s a lot uncertainty,” said Kester. “You never have all the information you need. These are unstructured problems and very different from what might be presented in a text book.”

Kester said that for most of his teaching career he has been a proponent of  the case method of teaching, which was popularized by the Harvard Business School. “It’s a bit more unusual to teach cases to undergraduates,” he said. “My argument in favor of using cases is that undergraduates have very little business experience or exposure to companies. Students can learn models, theories and concepts, but it’s very difficult for them to understand how they relate in the real world of business. I think cases place specific topics in their broader business context.”

According to Kester, SIFT had expressed an interest in learning how the case method can help students develop analytical and decision-making skills in ways that may not result from the lecture method of instruction that is prevalent in China. “They were especially interested in ways to improve the participation of students in classroom discussions, which is essential for the success of the case method,” said Kester.

While at SIFT, Kester also presented a research paper to the faculty and led a one-day seminar for undergraduates on “Financial Analysis, Forecasting and Decision-Making.”

Kester has led teaching workshops at other universities in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States and has authored cases and articles on the case method of teaching. In 2011 he received a competitive paper award from the Financial Education Association Conference for his paper “Reflections on Thirty Years of Using the Case Method to Teach Finance.”

Kester received his B.B.A from Wake Forest University, his M.B.A from the University of North Carolina and his D.B.A from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He joined the faculty at Washington and Lee in 2000.

W&L Senior Honored by Sodexo Foundation

Kathryn Marsh-Soloway, a Washington and Lee senior from Woodbridge, Conn., has been named the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Regional Honoree by the Sodexo Foundation for her work on hunger issues, including with the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee.

Kathryn is majoring in art history and business administration with minors in museum studies and poverty studies. She is a Bonner Scholar and was a team captain of the Nabors Spring Service Day 2010. She has been a member of the Campus Kitchen Student Leadership Team and active in the Campus Kitchen Backpack Snack Program. She was named a General of the Month in January 2011.

The Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarship is named for Sodexo Foundation’s founder and former president, who was devoted to ending hunger. To date, Sodexo Foundation has recognized 90 such honorees with grants totaling $90,000 for their hunger-relief charities. In addition, it has awarded 30 students with $260,000 in scholarships and matching grants for the hunger-relief charities of their choice.


Social Media Amplified Errors in Supreme Court Coverage, Say W&L Journalism Professors

Pamela Luecke knows all about journalists’ need to be first with the news.

For Luecke, head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University, the misreporting on Thursday by both Fox News and CNN of the landmark Supreme Court decision on the health-care law was neither new nor unusual.

What has changed, in her view, is the megaphone effect that caused those two reports to go farther, faster, on the wings of social media.

“I can remember instances in my own career where we occasionally advanced something that we ought not to have advanced,” said Luecke, former editor of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald. “Trying to get things first is a time-honored tradition in news. Occasionally screwing up is also a time-honored tradition.

“But being wrong, whether you’re first or last, still erodes the credibility of any news organization. Just because it happens, it shouldn’t be acceptable.”

In this instance, Fox News and CNN both reported in the first minutes after the decision was made public that the court had struck down the individual mandate at the heart of the health-care law.  Headlines on the TV screens and websites of both organizations were unequivocal.

• Read W&L journalism professor Toni Locy’s perspective

As their reporters and producers read through the court’s finding more carefully, both Fox and CNN had to backtrack and correct. CNN eventually issued an apology for the error.

“It used to be that the prime directive for professionals in an intensively competitive industry was, ‘Get it first, but first get it right,'” added Brian Richardson, the Redenbaugh Term Professor in Journalism at W&L. “Now, with cable news networks leading the charge, it’s “Get it first, and then, maybe, get it right. If we screw it up, we can fix it later. Most people will probably still be watching.'”

The role of social media was especially noticeable when the two erroneous reports were tweeted and re-tweeted in the minutes between the first reports and the eventual correction.

“I think social media does make it far more tempting to get things out without any reflection or even a pause to consider what is being reported,” Luecke said. “That megaphone effect causes an untruth to be heard all around the world in seconds. That simply wouldn’t have been the case in the past.”

In addition, she thinks that consumers of news may have lowered their standards for accuracy in the social media age, too.

“I think many come to believe that, ‘Oh, well, this may be wrong this second, but over time we’ll get the truth.’ Among the young generation, in particular, there seems to be more tolerance for being ‘close to the truth.'”

Luecke added that the opinions rendered by the Supreme Court are especially dangerous when it comes to quick interpretation and reporting.

“I understand the intense interest in having it first, but it’s almost impossible for a mortal to absorb that much information, synthesize it and present a cogent headline that quickly,” Luecke said.

Richardson, who teaches basic reporting classes, was clear about the way he’d grade the efforts of CNN and Fox.

“When one of my reporting students makes a fact error in a story, she gets an ‘F.'” said Richardson. “I get some flak for that policy, even from a few of my colleagues. But you know what? Too bad. Democracy is poorly served — or not at all — when we don’t put audiences first by making sure we’re right.”

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Jack the Jackalope and Emily Ecton '92

A jackalope named Jack that sports weapons-grade antlers is the central figure in a new novel published this spring by Washington and Lee alumna Emily Ecton, of the Class of 1992.

“Project Jackalope” is Emily’s fourth book for middle schoolers, though she’s aimed this one at a slightly older audience than her first three novels — a series featuring Arlie and Ty. With her latest effort, Emily mixes mad scientists and espionage to spin a thriller that she described as “just-scary-enough, but not wake-you-up-at-3am-scary” in an interview in TimeOut Chicago Kids.

A theater major at W&L, she earned a master’s degree from Northwestern in playwriting. One of her plays, “Reign of Tara,” was presented in a reading as part of the Flournoy Playwright Festival at Washington and Lee in November 2003. “Reign of Tara” also was a semifinalist in the Chesterfield Film Company’s Writer’s Film Project and a finalist in the McLaren Memorial Playwriting Competition.

Emily’s day job is assistant producer for the popular National Public Radio program, “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” In fact, her research for that quiz show comes in handy, having led her to some of the bizarre-but-true technology she cites in the novel — things like The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) or the One Way Invisible Self-Healing Shoot-Through Shields, among others. You can learn about these and other such weird devices on Emily’s website.

Asked to provide her previous occupations on her Simon & Schuster “Author Revealed” page, Emily writes: “I’ve scooped ice cream, written plays, been a costume character, wrangled chinchillas, worked as a production assistant and answered questions from cranky people about public television.”

Jay Turner '95 Publishes First Book

James Morton Turner, a 1995 graduate of Washington and Lee who is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Wellesley College, has published his first book, “The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964” (University of Washington Press).

Jay explores how the idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands in the decades since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. According to Jay’s Wellesley website, he wanted to examine two questions: “How have debates over the public lands affected modern environmental politics and how have debates over environmental reform affected American politics more broadly?”

Jay received a B.S. in independent studies (neuroscience) from W&L and then went to Brown University, where he earned a master’s in American civilization. Next he went to Princeton, where he earned both a Ph.D. in history (concentrating on the history of science) and a Certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. He joined the faculty in environmental sciences at Wellesley in 2006 and teaches courses in U.S. environmental history and U.S. environmental politics, among others.

According to his website, for his next project, Jay will examine the environmental history of batteries. “Today, batteries are seen as crucial to a wide range of sustainable technologies, such as electric automobiles and renewable energy.  But batteries have a long history as an enabling technology, making possible the systems of transportation and communication that transformed society in the twentieth century. By focusing on the history of this ubiquitous consumer product, this project reframes the social and environmental costs of the modern consumer economy and raises questions about the role of technological innovation in environmental sustainability.”

In the short video interview below, Jay discusses his new book:

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LinkedIn's Most Connected Woman

To say that Stacy Donovan Zapar is plugged into the world of social media is to understate the matter considerably.

After working as a recruiter for a number of Fortune 500 tech companies, Stacy, a 1995 graduate of Washington and Lee, has her own firm that specializes in social media recruiting. So she clearly has a good reason to be connected. But there’s connected and then there’s Stacy, who bills herself as the most connected woman on LinkedIn, the popular professional social-networking platform.

Stacy reached 30,000+ first-level connections three years ago, and she blogs and speaks frequently on LinkedIn topics. For instance, just last week she was cited on Huffington Post in a feature about the nine things you should never do on LinkedIn. In this case, she was offering advice on what photographs not to use as your LinkedIn avatar. (Hint: Your avatar shouldn’t be too sexy, too juvenile or too showy, among other things.)

When LinkedIn had 6.5 million of its users’ passwords leaked on the Web earlier this month, Stacy was among the victims. She quickly posted advice about passwords, not only for LinkedIn but for all your social media sites.

LinkedIn is not the only social media tool that Stacy uses. She has a well-read blog where she writes about various social media issues, mostly as they relate to recruiting.

She is also active on Twitter @StacyZapar and has 11,248 followers. You can follow her at @StacyZapar.

Saluting Rich Murray '71

Friday (June 22) marks the end of a storied career at the University of Virginia, where Washington and Lee alumnus Rich Murray, of the Class of 1971, retires after 29 years promoting Cavalier athletic programs, and especially its basketball teams.

A journalism major at W&L, Rich was news director of WAYB radio in Waynesboro, Va., right out of college, but soon joined James Madison University as that school’s sports information director. He became JMU’s public information director in 1975 and then joined U.Va. as the SID in 1983.

Through a calm, gentlemanly demeanor in all his interactions with what could sometimes be hostile interactions with media, Rich became one of the most respected professionals in the field.

In recent days, two Virginia newspaper columnists — Whitey Reid of the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress and David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press — have praised him.

Wrote Reid: “The thing I grew to respect most about Rich was his professionalism. Never heard him curse once or really raise his voice in my entire time with him—no matter how boiling on the inside he may have been.”

Added Teel, who was a JMU student when Rich worked there: “Sports information is a thankless gig. Coaches want publicity, all of it glowing. Media want access, all of it exclusive. Rich balanced those conflicting worlds with grace, humor and energy.”

Teel’s column included words of praise from former U.Va. basketball coaches Terry Holland (“They don’t make them like Mr. Murray anymore, and the ‘class’ with which he did his job will be sorely missed.”) and Jeff Jones (“He’s the epitome of old-school values. Honesty, integrity, hard work, and he never compromised those principles.”)

His peers have also recognized Rich’s excellence and, in 2007,  the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association (VaSID) named a scholarship in his honor — the Rich Murray Scholarship for Sports Journalism is presented annually by VaSID to a Virginia high school student who excels in the area of sports journalism.

Cavalier athletics won’t be the same without him. Congratulations, Rich.

Endowment Established at W&L in Honor of I-Hsiung Ju

The family of I-Hsiung Ju, the award-winning professor of art and artist-in-residence emeritus at Washington and Lee University, has established an endowment for traditional Chinese art studies in his honor with an initial gift of $50,000.

Ju died in March. He had taught and served as artist-in-residence at W&L from 1969 until his retirement in 1989. An extremely popular professor, he was named Professor of the Year by the Ring-tum Phi, Washington and Lee’s student newspaper, in 1971, and won several other awards for his teaching.

There will be a memorial exhibition of Ju’s work at The Princeton Art Gallery in Princeton, N.J., from July 1 through July 15. Paintings at the exhibition will be on sale, with proceeds benefiting the endowment.

A memorial service will be held on July 7 at 2 p.m. at All Saints Church in Princeton, where Ju established his studio after relocating from Lexington in 2002.

The I-Hsiung Ju Endowment for Traditional Chinese Art Studies will provide funds to continue Ju’s legacy of nurturing and encouraging the study of traditional Chinese art, art history, and language and literature among Washington and Lee students.  The dean of the College will administer the endowment in cooperation with the Departments of Art and Art History and East Asian Language and Literature.

The ultimate goal of the endowment will be to offer multiple and varied opportunities for our students to explore and study the artistic expressions related to the literati culture of the Chinese past.

The preferred use of income from the endowment will support students who travel to China or Taiwan to study traditional Chinese art and culture, with special attention given to learning the practice or history of traditional Chinese brush painting and calligraphy in either a University-approved program or as an apprentice to an artist.    The endowment will be flexible enough to allow other uses on and off campus related to Chinese artistic expression.

For information about the endowment, contact Nancy McIntyre, director of development for the College, at (540) 458-8291 or nmcintyre@wlu.edu.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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