iPad Program Extended Through Next Year

By: Catherine Collins

All members of next year’s incoming freshman class will receive an iPad, due to the recent decision to extend the pilot program in order to more accurately assess the technology’s effectiveness, according to Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner, provost and vice-president of academic affairs.

The provost announced the decision to lengthen the iPad program at a meeting of faculty department chairs on Oct. 5. The stated reason for continuing the program into the 2012 – 2013 school year is the need for a two-year assessment period.

According to the provost, there will not be enough information by the end of this semester or this year to know whether the iPad is effective in Hood’s classrooms.

“We just need the time,” Conway-Turner said. “We had been working so hard on implementation [last year] that we didn’t focus so much on assessment.”

Unlike the iPad program this year, which was funded by a grant from a late alumna, next year’s iPad program is currently unfunded.

“I don’t really know where the funding will be. That will be defined as we move ahead,” Conway-Turner said. “We don’t have it in our budget. But it will not come from instructional funds.”

Conway-Turner is currently working on ways to survey students and consult faculty members about the iPad.

At the end of this semester, all students who are in a class in which the iPad is being used will take a survey about what role the iPad played in their class. At the end of this academic year, all freshman students will be surveyed as to how the iPad has played into their college experience.

“There’s a whole range of ideas out there,” Conway-Turner said. “We’re interested in not only what happens in the classroom, but how students are using iPads in general.”

Information Technology is currently working on a Blackboard application that will allow faculty members to interact and discuss which applications they are using in various classes, according to the provost. Additionally, focus groups of professors will be convened at the end of the semester to discuss the iPad’s effectiveness.

Dr. Shannon Kundey, assistant professor of psychology, said that the iPad has been “interesting and fun” for her Psychology 101 class.

“It’s been an interesting experiment, but the data is not in yet,” she said.

Out of 32 students in Psychology 101, there are 20 freshmen. For the online activities that Kundey does in class, she lets students use whatever technology they happen to own – an iPad, a laptop, a netbook, etc.

“It’s not specific to the iPad,” Kundey said of the electronic approach she takes to certain assignment.

For Spanish professor Laura Cordova, though, some iPad applications are proving to be useful and good for creativity.

Cordova, who is teaching two sections of Spanish 101 this semester, has been using the iPad for speaking and writing exercises.

“It’s been wonderful, and students have been excited about the iPads in the classroom,” she said. “It makes the assignments more personal and creative, and hopefully more motivating.”

Only several of the students in each 101 section are not freshmen, and Cordova allows them different options on the computer to do the exercises.

“Some of the applications are unique to the iPad, but there are a few you can do on the computer,” she said.

All of the applications Cordova has used are free, with the exception of one that cost $0.99.

 

Renowned Journalist Lectures on Constitutional Rights

 

David Shipler presented his new book at a lecture on Sept. 20.

Photo by Stacey Axler

By Stacey Axler

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David K. Shipler came to Hood on Sept. 20 to give a lecture in honor of Constitution Day.

Established in 2004, Constituion day recognizes the date of the ratification of the Constitution in 1787.

The event, sponsored by the departments of political science and law and society, focused on how the rights of American citizens have been considered breached after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

“David Shipler is extremely knowledgeable in his field and [the political science department] was pleased to invite him to campus,” said Dr. Hoda Zaki, political science professor.

Shipler presented his lecture based on his new book, “The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades our Liberties.”

The lecture examined the historical basis of constitutional rights, the expansion of human liberties and the violation of Americans’ fundamental rights. Shipler discussed topics such as the formation of Miranda rights, “sneak and peak” FBI searches, and the challenged fourth amendment.

“We have rights, and we give them up to the government.  Our liberties are rooted in their nuances,” Shipler said during his lecture.

Over 40 students and faculty members came to the Whitaker Commons to attend the lecture.  Many were interested in the subject of constitutional rights presented during the event.

“I attended the lecture because it would help for my law and society class, and I was also genuinely interested in the topic of the con stitution,” said junior William Lewis.

Shipler is the author of four other books, including “The Working Poor,” “Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams” and “Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land,” which won a Pulitzer Prize.   He also has won numerous awards working at The New York Times.

Those who attended the lecture wanted to learn from Shipler’s expertise in the field of political science and law and society.

“Since I am majoring in history, I thought it would be beneficial for me to attend [the lecture],” said sophomore Megan Gregory. “I want to expand my knowledge for all types of history, so this opportunity was too good to pass up.  I thought that the speaker was very knowledgeable.”

Overall, the lecture presented a different perspective to the concept of constitutional rights and privileges from an experienced source.

“The lecture went over well with the students who attended and provided insight into constitutional rights and liberties,” said Zaki.

Campus Reflects on iPad Value

By Catherine Collins

Freshmen Sarah Tapscott, Olivia Kibbe, and Karley Reigel look at an iPad.

Photo by Elaheh Eghbal

Five weeks into the pilot year for the iPad program, there are varying opinions on the technology’s place in a classroom. While some freshman students and professors have tried to incorporate the iPad into their academic pursuits, there remain many who see it as a distracting entertainment device.

“It’s a good thing and a bad thing,” Yeni Balmes, an education major, said of the iPad. “I try not to use it when I’m doing homework, because I get caught on games.”

“I don’t use my iPad in any of my classes,” Nathalie Elsamra, who is considering a major in psychology, said. “People use it more for games and Facebook.”

“I don’t really use the iPad to do much schoolwork,” Thomas Marino said. “I like gaming on it, though.”

Fellow freshmen students Kerri Sheehan, an English major, and Ilana Adler, a social work major, agreed.

Sheehan said that she “mostly uses it for games and Facebook,” and Adler said that games were how she spent the most time on her iPad.

Sheehan said that most freshmen in her classes do bring their iPads to class and that many use Blackboard and take notes on them, but she herself finds it difficult to type on it.

Russell Gingrich pointed out the lack of word-processing software on the iPad as it was given to him.

“I wish it had Word, so I could write essays on it,” he said.

For Ravleen Khlasa, the possibility of having to pay for extra applications is a frustration.

“I don’t mind using my iPad for schoolwork, but I wish that professors would not make students pay money to buy more apps,” Khlasa said. “Granted, some apps are free, but some are specific for each course and they cost extra money.”

Elsamra, along with a number of other freshmen, said that she uses her iPad for Blackboard and her Hood email, but that it’s nothing she can’t do on her laptop as well. Virtually all freshmen students own a laptop in addition to the iPad.

“I use my iPad for two things: Pandora and to check my schoolwork on Blackboard,” said Maggie McGill.

When asked if the free iPad had factored into their decision to attend Hood, most freshmen said that it had played a small or even nonexistent role. For Sheehan, the iPad was “a bonus,” and for Balmes, it was a surprise – she hadn’t known about the iPad handouts before enrolling.

Elsamra said that the free iPad “kind of” factored into her decision, but like other freshmen, it was not the major attraction.

“It’s a cool thing to get people interested, because you’re like, ‘Oh, they have money and new technology,’” she said.

But for Ilana Adler, a social work major, the technology she owns has no place in her academics this semester, since many of her professors don’t allow electronics in the classroom.

“Most teachers don’t let you bring your iPads to class, so there’s no point in doing work on it,” she said.

While some professors forbid all electronics in the classroom, others simply proceed without them.

For English professor Vincent Kohl, the iPad is irrelevant to the coursework he assigns.

“I can’t imagine how it would be useful to me and my students,” said Kohl, who is teaching two 100-level English courses this fall. “Maybe it’s useful in courses that involve quantifying, but what advantage does it have in understanding literature?”

But for Dr. Trevor Dodman, professor of English, the iPad might have some potential. Dodman is teaching a course on T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” this spring, and he is looking into an iPad application that offers the entire original version of Eliot’s complex poem in hypertext.

“The iPad will maybe offer tools for a different way through the poem,” Dodman said. “I think it holds out some neat possibilities.”

The course on “The Wasteland,” however, is a 200-level course that will mostly consist of upper-classmen, so Dodman is trying to envision a way that he himself can present the iPad application to the class as a whole.

“It would be easier if everyone had one,” Dodman said.

Other professors pointed out this issue as well. Virtually no classes are 100% freshmen, and the iPad can’t play a consistent role in learning when only one-third or one-fourth of the class has the technology.

Dodman spoke about his experience leading one of the discussion groups on “A Thousand Splendid Suns” in August, in which some of his group was using hard copies of the novel and others were using the iPad.

“Even the issue of pagination was a problem,” he said. “We took quite a bit of time trying to get everyone on the same page, which was unfortunate.”

Moreover, it’s difficult for professors to become engaged with an electronic device that many of them don’t have experience with. Dodman said that he was planning to spend some time on the iPad circulating around the English department so that he could familiarize himself with the technology that a number of his students own.

“If people don’t own them and aren’t intimately familiar with them, they’re less likely to incorporate them into classes,” said Dr. Eric Annis, professor of biology.

Annis, who is teaching a 100-level biology class this semester that is roughly half freshmen, said that he himself hasn’t looked into using the iPad. Since most of his assignments involve word processing and spreadsheets, he finds that his students are “better off using a computer.”

As a biology professor, he said that he’d like to look into possible multimedia benefits on the iPad.

“If we had textbooks designed for it, with video incorporated into them, that would be great,” he said.

Of the freshmen in his class, Annis said that about half or one-third bring their iPads to class, but that he can’t see what they’re doing on them.

“I get the impression that it’s mostly Facebook,” he said.

 

Stacey Axler contributed reporting.

Student Government Reaching Out to Campus Community This Year

By Stacey Axler

This year, the Hood Student Government Association (SGA) is striving to become more accessible to the student body in order to present an open forum for ideas and activities posed in the Hood community.

The revamped mission statement of SGA reads, “We, the Hood College SGA, will listen to and advocate for students in order to bring a positive wave of change toHoodCollege.”

SGA President Doug Raftery is planning to help the SGA executives and the student body as a whole work together to facilitate a “wave” of new ideas that will improve campus life.

“A positive wave of change is doing activities that bring about ideas that past student government associations have not done.  We want to do things outside the box,” said Raftery.

SGA members this year have been actively involved in campus initiatives, such as the recent student concerns about Coblentz dining hall policies.

SGA sponsored a “Hot Topic” meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20 that focused on the changes and alterations to the dining hall regulations.

“[SGA] felt like more people would attend the ‘Hot Topic’ meeting.  Campus faculty is very willing to listen to student concerns,” Raftery said.

The “Hot Topic” meeting focused on the recent petition created to persuade the dining hall to re-instate the use of to-go boxes during dinner hours in the dining hall.

Lindsay Cogdill, the senior who headed the petition, said that her contact with SGA regarding the take-out boxes was helpful and productive.

“I think it’s important for students to know that there are ways to change things if you want, you just need to know who to talk to,” Cogdill said. “If you want to see a change, you should go talk to someone in the administration or SGA and make a case for that change.”

SGA wants to find new and innovative ways to easily inform the student body about events and activities that SGA will sponsor throughout the year.

One such way SGA hopes to enhance communication within the student body better is to install a LED sign in theWhitakerCampusCenter.

This sign will be placed in a prominent spot in Whitaker and will showcase different SGA sponsored events occurring on campus.

“The SGA goal is to unite the campus community.  [SGA] wants to sponsor at least four spirit events per year …to have an exciting day for students,” said Raftery.

To further reach out to the entire student body, this year the SGA offers one open Senate meeting per month at 1 p.m. so that commuter students can attend.

Along with the goal of uniting the campus as a whole, SGA members also want to reach out to students by talking to two people per day about SGA initiatives and to brand SGA through promotional publications.

SGA also is working on legitimizing nine new clubs for students to participate.

“With SGA this year, we want to have fun.  We want the student body to know that [SGA] has their back,” Raftery said.

Andrea Kidder contributed reporting.

Documentary on Afghanistan Culture

By Catherine Collins

A documentary entitled “The Beauty Academy of Kabul,” which tells the stories of women inAfghanistan’s capital after the fall of the Taliban, will be shown on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. in Hodson Auditorium.

According to Dr. Kiran Chadda, director of multicultural affairs and international student programs, part of the reason for showing the film on campus is to complement the themes addressed in this year’s First-Year Reads, in which freshmen read “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” a novel by Khaled Hosseini about two women’s lives in Afghanistan spanning the civil war of the 1970s, the rise of the Taliban, and then its fall in 2001.

Since “The Beauty Academy of Kabul” will be screened exactly one week before a lecture by Hosseini on campus, Chadda hopes that students will take advantage of the opportunity to increase their knowledge aboutAfghanistanby watching the documentary.

“Both the film and the novel address the empowerment of women,” said Chadda.

The documentary is about a group of American and Afghan-American hairdressers that travels toKabulafter the fall of the Taliban to open a beauty school and teach Afghan women, who had been brutally oppressed for decades under sharia law, how to express themselves through physical beauty.

“You can see in the movie that these women are so scared and haven’t even left their homes in so long, and you can see in their expressions how happy they are that they can do something,” Chadda said.

The documentary puts a human face onto the struggle of women inAfghanistan, just as Hosseini’s novel does, and it allows viewers a glimpse into the personal lives of real women discovering self-esteem and empowerment.

The panel discussion following the documentary will consist of Fahima Vorgetts, director of the Afghan’s Women Fund, who has spoken at Hood twice in the past, and Dr. Alicia Lucksted, a research psychologist from the University of Maryland.

The Afghan’s Women Fund is an organization that funds projects inAfghanistan, specifically building schools and supporting literacy projects.

The documentary and panel discussion are being funded by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and International Student Programs, the Dean of Students, the Honors Program, the Office of the Provost, the Career Center and Office of Service Learning, the First-Year Read Program and Student Activities and Orientation.

 

Freshmen Plan for Policies

By Stacey Axler

Freshmen Memorial residents Miguel Caruso and Nick Reinberg count down the days to policies for dollars.

Photo by Elaheh Eghbal

October is right around the corner, and with the fall semester reaching the midterm mark, freshman students have experienced a number of Hood traditions so far – except the competition for The Pink Spoon.

Policies for Dollars, the long-standing Hood competition in which freshman students compete in skits and trivia contests to win a giant pink spoon (and some money) for their residence hall, will take place this year on Oct. 6.

“I’m really excited to participate in Policies for Dollars, because I’m excited to be a part of this Hood tradition,” freshman Baily Chezch said.

With the competition only days away, the five residence halls are preparing for the festivities to try and get a head start. And in a welcomed change to the event, freshman commuter students now have a team of their own to compete against the on-campus dorms.

In past Policies for Dollars competitions, commuter students who wanted to participate were encouraged to join residence hall teams. But this year, commuter students will participate in a separate team, which is managed by sophomores Kevin Parker and Travis Kerr, along with the Commuter Student Council.

“I hope that the commuter team becomes the underdog team that wins Policies, like Shriner won last year,” said Anna Mercedes Barbosa, a member of the Commuter Student Council.

The events featured in Policies for Dollars this year include the outdoor obstacle course, group cheers on the quad, the skit and the Jeopardy-style trivia section, which features questions about Hood policies and traditions.

The freshman representatives of each residence hall have been diligently working with their freshman hall-mates to gather a team for each event.

Ravleen Kreshna, a freshman representative for Coblentz, said, “I think that Coblentz will compete really well in Policies, but it is a lot of work to prepare for, and sometimes I wish we started earlier.”

Many freshman students want their residence hall to win Policies for Dollars and thus receive the award of the Pink Spoon, which is a giant pink spoon made out of wood that has been in the college’s possession for over 20 years.

Already, a healthy competition regarding creativity has developed among the residents of various dorms. For example, the freshmen of Memorial Hall and Coblentz Hall were initially both developing very similar skit ideas, leading Memorial Hall to write a new skit.

“I really want Memorial to bring the Pink Spoon back home,” said Memorial freshman representative T’Mera Mitchell.

Shriner Hall won the Pink Spoon during Policies for Dollars last year, and this year, every residence hall and the commuter team are working hard to beat the competition.

“My hope for Policies for Dollars is that Shriner lives up to the expectations set last year,” said Shriner Hall President Carley Altenburger.

Policies for Dollars, which begins on the quad, will ultimately take place in the Hodson Auditorium in Rosenstock, and it is open for all students to attend. Regardless of which team wins, the competition is a longstanding Hood tradition that honors and showcases the new freshman students.

“It’d be really awesome to win, but mostly I’m just excited because [Policies for Dollars] sounds like a great way to hang out with the people you live with,” said freshman Amanda Shaffrey.

The residence halls cheer during Policies for Dollars, 2010.

Photo Courtesy of Erin Ordway

New area coordinator enthusiastic and involved

By Stacey Axler

Travis Eichelberger, left, stands with fellow Area Coordinators.

Photo courtsey of Alfreda Nuwdsa

In addition to the campus-wide renovations and new courses introduced over the summer, the college has received several new staff members, including a new Area Coordinator (AC).

Travis Eichelberger joined the Hood Residence Life staff in May as the new AC for Memorial Hall and Coblentz Hall.

“I’m really happy to be here; [Hood] is a good fit for me,” Eichelberger said. “It will be challenging to become an amazing AC, but I am up for the challenge.”

 As the AC for two residence halls, Eichelberger maintains a staff of eight Hood students that includes seven resident assistants (RAs) and one head RA, with four staff members per residence hall. He holds weekly staff meetings with the Memorial and Coblentz RAs, conducts individual RA meetings, and implements programs for each residence hall. Since he lives on campus in Memorial Hall, he is on campus virtually 24 hours a day.

“Travis is a great leader. Being a new RA, he has always made me feel welcome,” Coblentz RA Megan Gregory said.

In accordance with Eichelberger’s role as AC, he specializes in multicultural student affairs, and he plans to create more diversity initiatives on campus.

“I’m in a position where I will learn and experience residence life, but also bring my knowledge of diversity to campus,” Eichelberger said.

The new AC also became actively involved in student organizations upon the start of the semester. Eichelberger became the faculty advisor for the Black Student Union (BSU); Hood African Student Association (HASA); and Tolerance, Education, Acceptance (TEA).

“It is my goal to try to restart a Latino organization on campus,” he said. “Also, I’m looking forward to getting in touch with the gay and lesbian population in Frederick and to looking into the gay, bisexual, and progressive fraternity based out of Washington, D.C.”

Due to his involvement on campus, many students have begun to look up to Eichelberger as a mentor.

“Travis is always around campus and is very supportive and helpful to students,” freshman Catherine Czech said. Eichelberger attended Shippensburg University for his undergraduate and graduate education, receiving a B.A. in English and an M.S. in counseling with a concentration in college student personnel.

In his free time, Eichelberger enjoys reading, baking, taking care of the fish in his fish tank and playing video games. He is also a member of the American College Personnel Association.

Colloquium series begins with screening of documentary

By Laura Morton

A documentary about Muslim children competing in an event that challenges their knowledge of the Koran will be the first event to kick off this year’s colloquium series on Sep. 27 at 6 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons.

The film, “Koran by Heart,” is produced by Chris Buchanan, who will be present after the showing to participate in a panel discussion with Hood faculty members and students.

The documentary features three 10-year-olds who participate in the International Holy Koran Competition, a two-week event held annually inEgyptin which students compete in the art of memorizing and reciting passages from the Koran.

The panel members will include Dr. Donald Wright, Dr. Ahmed Salem, Tarek Elgawhary fromPrincetonUniversity, and the film’s associate producer, Razan Ghalayini.

“I am excited to attend the colloquium events and learn more about different cultures,” said freshman Rhianon Sneeringer.

The film and panel discussion are the first event in this year’s colloquium, which is entitled “The Book: From Print to the Digital Age.”

“I’m really excited to attend the colloquium events on the book because I am fascinated by how, even during my lifetime, the concept of a book has changed into something a person someone can download on an iPad,” sophomore Lloyd Thompson-Taylor said.

The Humanities Colloquium has been ongoing for nearly 20 years at Hood and is run by the Humanities Council, which has eight members, one from each Humanities department. The council, including the current Libman professor Dr. Rebecca Prime, focuses on finding speakers that are relevant to school’s current curriculum.

The first half of the colloquium, which will take place over the fall semester, consists of four events.

The second event, to be held on Oct. 3, will consist of a film screening and panel discussion regarding the importance of children’s literature. The members on the panel will include local children’s authors, an illustrator for picture books, a children’s librarian, and one of the judges for the Newberry Award.

“The debates on campus about the use of iPads in the classroom started us thinking about the future of the book both here at Hood and more generally.  We wanted to explore the book in a variety of dimensions – as a subject of scholarly inquiry, a holy object, a vital part of childhood development – to suggest that its future may not be as dire as e-reader aficionados think,” Prime said.

The third event will feature Dr. Martin Faye, a former Hood professor who will speak about the exchange of information in medieval society, on Oct. 13. 

The last event is a poetry reading on Nov. 7 by Terrance Hayes, who won the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry.

The colloquium will continue to expand on the theme of the future of the book in the spring with more events.

Prime said that she hopes attendees of colloquium events are “engaged, entertained, and hopefully enlightened!”

Lecture by author and journalist to celebrate Constitution Day

By Stacey Axler and Catherine Collins

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Shipler will give a lecture on his latest book, “The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades our Liberties,” on Sep. 20 at 7 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons.

The lecture, hosted by the political science department, is meant to celebrate Constitution Day, which was created in 2004 to commemorate the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sep. 17, 1787.

Shipler will address topics such as the tensions between personal liberties and national security that have mounted since the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks.

 “[David Shipler] is passionate about individual liberty and our right to privacy, and how these rights have changed, expanded and contracted over time,” Dr. Hoda Zaki, professor of political science, said in an e-mail. “He approaches his subject matter by telling stories: stories of men and women who have suffered as a result of the violations to civil rights.”

There will be a historical aspect to Shipler’s lecture: he will discuss various Supreme Court decisions and their impact on security and privacy as well as the relevance of these decisions to contemporary society.

“This is an important topic that will be discussed by an important intellectual in our society: everyone is welcome!” Zaki said.

Shipler is an established author, professor, and journalist, having worked at The New York Times for over two decades.

During his career at The Times, he served as a reporter inNew York, a correspondent in Saigon andMoscow, bureau chief inJerusalem, and chief diplomatic correspondent inWashington,D.C.

Shipler is the author of four books, including “Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams,” “The Working Poor,” and “Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land,” which won a Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

He has taught at a number of institutions, including Princeton University, Dartmouth College and American University in Washington, D.C.

Professor publishes empirical study on black megachurches

By Catherine Collins

Dr. Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs, associate professor of political science, has published a book entitled “The Black Megachurch: Theology, Gender, and the Politics of Public Engagement,” which draws from 10 years of research and data collection to serve as the first empirical study of the black megachurch phenomenon in the United States.

Tucker-Worgs will host a lecture followed by a book signing and a reception to celebrate the publication of the book on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons.

Black megachurches, which are communities of tens of thousands of patrons, became a phenomenon around 1980 after the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. Tucker-Worgs’s book studies 149 megachurches to draw conclusions about their effectiveness regarding the modern problems facing African-Americans in this country.

“The basic question that I sought to address with the book was: What role are black megachurches playing in contemporary public life?” Tucker-Worgs said in an e-mail. “Particularly, do they address or even attempt to address the challenges that face black communities in the post-civil rights era (examples of these challenges: health, income, education disparities that still exist despite all the progress that the CRM was instrumental in making)?”

To research the book, Tucker-Worgs conducted surveys among various pastors of megachurches and directors of companies affected by megachurches; visited and observed over 50 megachurches; analyzed sermons and documents from megachurches; and interviewed members of the churches.

“A lot has been said and written about the black megachurch, but little of it with empirical evidence,” she said. “It mostly looks at them as homogenous – like they don’t vary. I found that they are very diverse, especially in how they engage public life.”

As its title implies, the book considers three aspects of the megachurch phenomenon – a church’s theological viewpoint, the role of gender in its leadership, and its community involvement – to make conclusions about various churches’ effectiveness in addressing modern inequality.