Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Liberal Arts News

Willamette receives $2.85 million grant to promote student debate skills in China

Creating open dialogue and civic engagement among college students in China are goals of the new and evolving Chinese Debate Association, run by Willamette University through a three-year, $2.85 million Open Society Youth Initiative grant.

“Although a few other universities go to China to help with a debate here and there, this is the first major activity spread across many provinces of the Peoples Republic of China,” said Robert Trapp, a Willamette rhetoric professor heading the project. “I think these skills of argumentation, debate and advocacy — the basic skills of citizenship — are very good for Chinese students to have as their society begins to open up.”

Willamette University’s Debate Union and Office of Campus Life, under the direction of Trapp and Dean David Douglass, are working to establish the CDA. The new association will extend debate throughout China through the creation of seven regional centers and the hiring of Chinese-certified debate trainers to coach at least 1,200 Chinese college students.

Willamette students will be recruited to lead civic engagement projects with Chinese students, both in China and the United States, and Willamette students will receive opportunities to engage in debate tournaments, trainings and internships.

Debate coaches from Linfield College and George Fox University in Oregon; Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound in Washington; and Regis University in Colorado are assisting with program administration support in China.

Debate activities begin in June.

Alumni lecture to accompany dedication of Core Imaging Facility

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, Willamette's science departments are ready to unveil a new laser scanning confocal microscope. The proposal that won the university such a piece of equipment was put together by a team from several departments whose members each demonstrated need for the tool.

"We worked with students to help select the microscope,” said biology Professor Emma Coddington. “Not only will this imaging equipment improve the research opportunities for students and faculty at Willamette, but we’d like to use the microscope to build collaborative relationships with other area colleges that would benefit from its use.”

The laser scanning confocal microscope joins a scanning electron microscope to create Willamette's Core Imaging Facility. The facility will be celebrated with a public dedication on March 6 at 3:30 in the Olin Hall Lobby. The dedication will be followed by a lecture courtesy of Frank Bash '59.

How We Know How the Universe Started
Smullin Film Studies Theatre | Ford Hall 122 | March 6, 2012 | 5 p.m.

Bash served as director of McDonald Observatory from 1989-2003. A native of Medford, he earned his master's degree in astronomy from Harvard University and his doctorate from the University of Virginia. A well-known and widely published specialist in radio astronomy, Dr. Bash's research interests include large-scale formation processes in spiral galaxies.

"One of the most amazing recent discoveries in astronomy," Bash says, "is that the Universe is 13.7 billion years old. Equally amazing is that the accuracy of that age is one percent." In his lecture he will discuss a series of discoveries that have led to the age determination. At the end there will be time for questions.