Mini-University Sessions: 2013
Updates for 2013 Mini-University Sessions coming soon!
Check out the great Mini-University sessions (below) offered at Family Weekend 2012!
9 a.m. | Mini-University Session I
"The Gendering of Psychological Diagnosis"
Meredy Goldberg Edelson, Professor of Psychology, Co-chair Women’s and Gender Studies
Mental illnesses are diagnosed in both males and females, but certain diagnoses seem to be more “gendered” than others. For example, females are much more likely to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Eating Disorders than are males whereas males are much more likely to be diagnosed with Substance Abuse Disorders and Antisocial Personality Disorder than are females. This session will include an examination of the symptoms of some of the most “gendered” diagnoses, an examination of theories about why certain diagnoses might be “gendered;” and, finally, a discussion of the implications of “gendering” psychological diagnosis on both males and females.
“The Big Bang and Beyond: A Beginner's guide to the Universe”
Rick Watkins, Professor of Physics; Department Chair
Ever wonder about what's out there? This session will start with a tour of the Universe and a discussion of how Cosmologists get their heads around it. We'll then turn out attention to understanding how the Universe evolves in time and what it means that the Universe began in a Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Finally, we'll discuss some recent discoveries that give us confidence that the Big Bang theory is correct while also presenting us with new mysteries to grapple with.
“Antigone: On Tragedy, Politics and Identity”
David Gutterman, Assistant Professor of Politics
In this session, we will discuss Sophocles’ play Antigone, one of the classic works of tragedy from ancient Athens. Our examination will focus on the questions Sophocles poses about the very idea of what it means to be human and the tensions posed by competing obligations. Our task will be not simply to explore the meaning of these questions for ancient Athens, but also the implications of the tragic quality of the human condition in our own world.
"Take-a-Break: From Local Sustainability Projects to Grassroots Immigration Reform"
Take-a-Break Student Leaders
In this session, participants will learn more about Take-a-Break (TaB), Willamette's alternative break program that sends students, staff and faculty to communities across the country to engage in service and experiential learning. Hear stories and experiences from TaB leaders and learn how TaB instills a life-long commitment to service and justice in its participants. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of how TaB implements a new type of learning outside of the classroom and enforces a commitment to working in solidarity with community partners.
10 a.m. | Mini University Session II
“Do trees really pollute more than cars?”
Alison Fisher, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
In 1981, President Reagan caused quite a stir when he claimed, "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." Was he right? While it is true that plants and trees emit up to nine times the amount of chemicals called hydrocarbons as cars do, these hydrocarbons alone are not necessarily pollutants. In the atmosphere, hydrocarbons contribute to the formation of smog, but only in the presence of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), byproducts of the combustion of fossil fuels. In this session, we will explore the role of hydrocarbons in the production of ozone pollution (smog), and we will discuss some of the biochemistry and physiology of the myriad hydrocarbon molecules produced by plants and trees. Warning: mowing your lawn will never again feel quite the same…
“Archaeological Geology of the Athenian Acropolis: The Use of Stable Isotopes to Decipher the Building History of the Parthenon”
Scott Pike, Associate Professor of Environmental & Earth Sciences, & Archaeology
This session integrates the fields of geology, geochemistry, archaeology and classics. White marble is one of the most recognizable and important stones used in monuments, temples and sculptures throughout the Mediterranean region from the Bronze Age up through the Roman period. The ability to determine a marble’s provenance assists scholars in their investigations of dating a work, tracing ancient avenues of commerce, giving insights into evolving aesthetic values and determining modern forgeries, ancient copies and dissociated fragments. Over the past couple of decades scientists have created methodologies to evaluate the likely sources of ancient marbles. This session will focus on how the stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen can identify the source quarries of the marble used to construct the Parthenon, and how that information can inform us on the robust project management system in place to oversee the operations of the ancient marble quarries; the transportation of large marble blocks to the acropolis; the coordination between architects, sculptors, workmen and marble suppliers; and the infrastructure to support it all.
“Sustainability on Campus”
ECOS will be discussing sustainability on campus - the committees, faculty, grants and student run initiatives that are currently running on campus. ECOS is currently working to unite them all into one cohesive sustainability movement.
11:00 a.m. | Mini-University Session III
Allison Hobgood, Assistant Professor of English
This session aims to undermine standard assumptions about Shakespearean literature. In other words, our conversation will encourage unconventional study of William Shakespeare’s poetry and help participants rethink what they think they know about one of the world’s most famous authors. We will discuss what it means to read literature purposefully and then, through close analysis of a few Shakespearean sonnets, will consider the ways Shakespeare aestheticizes human experience. How, for example, does Shakespeare engage established early modern representations of love, beauty, and death; and is it those “queer” representations that have enabled his work to stand the test of time?
“Africa Today: When African States Fail to Deliver, Afripolitans are Stepping In”
Joyce Millen, Associate Professor of Anthropology
What do we really know about current-day Africa and how have we come to know what we know? This session aims to challenge our understanding of the continent and, by extension, our perceptions of its peoples. It will begin with an overview of basic facts about Africa and an introduction to new concepts and approaches in the study of the continent. The remainder of the presentation will showcase results from a large multi-sited research study conducted by Willamette University faculty members and student scholars. The findings are rich and inspiring, including several stories of extraordinary Africans who are striving for greater self determination by working tirelessly to improve the wellbeing of their African home communities.
“Cap and Trade: Good servant? Bad master?”
Nathan Sivers-Boyce, Associate Professor of Economics
Tradable emissions permit (cap and trade) systems are sometimes described as constrained market environmentalism. Proponents argue that this regulatory instrument allows us to harness powerful incentives, transforming markets from a “bad master” into a “good servant.” But does it? Participants will learn more about how cap and trade systems work and explore the arguments for and against their use in controlling environmental damage.
Footloose, Willamette's social dance club (formerly called Swing Club), will offer a lesson on basic Swing and Slow Waltz. You don't need to have a partner or previous dance experience to participate. Instructors for the lesson will be club co-presidents Kelly Rose Oster (c/o 2015) and Natalie Lyman (c/o 2015). Check out our Facebook page under "Willamette Club Footloose" to learn more about us!
12 p.m. | Mini-University Session IV
“Animal Migration: Learning How to Read the Tags, Bands, and Markings Used in Scientific Research and the Special Role of Naturalists and Amateur Photographers”
David Craig, Associate Professor of Biology
Understanding animal migration and movement patterns have long fascinated people for a wide variety of reasons. Dr. Craig will give a brief overview of the history of animal migration studies starting with the “Arrow Stork of Mecklenburg” up to current cutting-edge technologies using satellite telemetry. He will also highlight the important contributions made by amateur naturalists, photographers, and students who are sharing observations and photographs through peer-to-peer tools on the internet. Projects associated with Dr. Craig’s ongoing research of the behavior of Caspian terns, crows, and squirrels will be discussed as will opportunities to contribute to research on whales, sharks, geese, swans, sea lions, osprey, and many other animals with scientific tags or naturally occurring distinct markers.
“That Dirty Word: Censorship!”
Anna Cox, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Film Studies
“Censorship has always been a dirty word.” So begins the introduction to a collection of essays on the subject, Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression. In the context of a liberal arts education such as that offered at Willamette University, freedom of expression is both an important topic of discussion and a means of scholarly and creative discourse. Thus any limits placed on a constitutional right in this country should be interrogated in this of all spaces. Participants in this session will not only practice free speech in evaluating a series of case studies in which it has been limited, but they will also decide when to use that dirty word.
“The Immortality of the First Emperor”
Kevin Greenwood, Visiting Instructor of Art History
Uniting the disparate kingdoms of China into one empire in 221 BCE, Ying Zheng, the First Emperor, left a lasting legacy in Chinese history as a negative example of harsh, dictatorial rule. Why, then, in the popular culture of the last few decades has the emperor been ‘rehabilitated,’ appearing in films like Hero (2002) as a misunderstood visionary? This session will introduce the spectacular archaeological discoveries associated with the emperor’s tomb site, including the famed Terra-Cotta army and recent findings, and discuss changing perceptions of this complex and controversial figure.
Bearcat Robotics club is to inspire students to be science and technology leaders, by engaging in exciting competition-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills that inspire innovation. The club is dedicated to promoting Math, Science and Technology on campus and off campus and to help other students understand the importance of Science and Technology in this country. The club is not just about building a robot and competing but it is also a way to foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, working in teams, public speaking and leadership.