The Latest from Burlington
Elmore, left, and Josh Grenier, right, of UVMs Student Association
Concert Bureau make last-minute
preparations as Phish bassist Mike Gordon 87 and guitar legend Leo
Kottke run through sound check for their Ira Allen Chapel show in November.
See page 13 for the story on UVMs resurgent SA Concert Bureau.
Play with a Purpose
Campus center models day
Day care, like childhood itself, is a mystery; its a territory
that most adults choose not to explore. We pack our children off in the
morning, then pick them up, rarely fully engaging the obvious questions:
What do they actually do all day? And why do they do it?
A few minutes spent stooping over Dee Smiths light table starts
to reveal answers. Smith, a head teacher in the UVM Campus Childcare Center
and a talented photographer, has thousands of images on film. Theres
a small girl, extending a chubby finger to point a direction to a clueless
passerby. Heres a tiny boy, surrounded by intent cohorts, laboriously
extracting a ball from a Plexiglas tube. Theres a shot of a tot
trio staring at a metal grate as intently as if it were a kabalistic manuscript.
So one answer to the what they do all day question: grates.
Grates are big, says Smith. They love to gather around
them and check things out.
Answering the second part of the question, the why, isnt hard either,
at least not here: The children do what they do because they themselves
choose to do it.
Thats a simple notion, but a subversive one in American day care.
The economics of the profession are tough here teachers are poorly
paid, and programs are often both expensive and crowded and those
demands sometimes mean regimented, impersonal programs geared toward the
needs of parents and profits.
American day care is generally dreadful, says Dale Goldhaber,
associate professor of integrated professional studies and the centers
director. Its too often mediocre at best, downright harmful
The UVM center, then, is both a service to the community a full-time,
full-year program that provides nurturing care for children from six weeks
to five years as their parents work and a demonstration project
arguing for a better way of educating our young.
Goldhaber and his colleagues host 150 to 200 professional visitors a year,
and a list of major papers and presentations on early childhood
education has 48 entries. In large part because of the centers impetus,
the number of early childhood education majors at UVM has more than doubled
in just eight years. As those students intern and work-study with professional
teachers at the center, then graduate and start their own professional
careers, Goldhaber hopes their skills and values will help spread more
much-needed high quality care.
Goldhaber and his colleagues draw inspiration from the state-run child
care centers of Reggio-Emilia, Italy, a place where early childhood education
is taken as seriously as primary and secondary education and children
are placed in stimulating, safe environments to learn things for themselves.
Over the years, the UVM teachers have had many exchanges with their Italian
colleagues, starting an internationalist tradition that has subsequently
blossomed into another exchange program with the University of Stockholm.
Italian day care, and the UVM program, start from the basic proposition
that children are competent, Goldhaber says. What they do isnt
unique, he says. What is unique is that they do it fully.
In this model, children have agency, and ingenious ideas about how the
world works. Their behavior, no matter how superficially frivolous, has
meaning that a skilled teacher can divine, extend, and channel. We
see the glass as half full, he explains. That turns our teachers
into observers. Every moment, they watch the children and think of how
they can further what they are doing.
The movement, the music, the art projects at the UVM center are about
fun, but they are also intended to help children develop. The inspiration
is an expanding body of neurological research that describes the crucial
role of experience in early childhood.
The research says that a variety of experiences helps the brain
develop, Goldhaber says. You are not born with a fixed and
pre-wired brain. The brain needs to figure out whats going on in
the world to put itself together properly.
So center kids are constantly offered new experiences and opportunities
to interact with objects and each other. In addition to those beguiling
heating grates, there are regular tours of campus, and chances for even
tiny babies to play with clay and paint. Center organizers have also made
a concerted effort to make every cinder-blocked inch of the facility,
housed at Living/Learning, as beguiling as possible. A mirror-bedecked
diaper-changing table, to name just one example, may not seem like much
but to Goldhaber it is symbolic of an entire approach.
What this is, he says, is a place for children to grow.
Edwin Colodnys interim presidency at UVM was the centerpiece
of a Chronicle of Higher Education article about institutions that
made significant progress under interim leadership. Mr. Colodnys
13-month stint at the Univer-sity of Vermont could be a model for institutions
at a management crossroads, wrote the Chronicle. The publication
cited Colodnys success with mending the universitys post-hockey
hazing image, boosting enrollments and campus morale, tackling program
cuts and academic restructuring, increasing state funding, and helping
build donor support. In October, Colodny set to work on his next challenge
when he was named interim chief executive officer for Fletcher Allen Health
A five-foot sturgeon, 1,000 emerald shiner fish, and legions of
their freshwater friends are taking up residence at the Marcelle and Patrick
Leahy ECHO Center for Lake Champlain on Burlingtons waterfront.
(ECHO stands for ecology, culture, history, opportunity.) The new facility
is directly connected to UVMs Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory,
creating an unusual link of science museum and working scientists. Its
not common and has not been done elsewhere, so we hope we can be a model
for how museums and research can work together, says Mary Watzin,
associate professor of natural resources and Rubenstein director. Its
going to be a wow when its finished. Visitors will be able
to observe UVM labs where research continues on Lake Champlain issues
such as lamprey eels, zebra mussels, and algae blooms. Museum Director
Phelan Fretz and staff plan a grand opening for late May. Look for more
on the center in future issues of Vermont Quarterly.
Trinity Purchase Buys Breathing Room
Campus expansion with the purchase of the former Trinity College, UVM
will gain room for potential growth years from now and continues the heritage
of a piece of Burlington property that has been dedicated to educational
use since 1925.
Trinitys 21 acres and 17 buildings, located just across Colchester
Avenue from the university, have been on the market since shrinking enrollments
forced the college to shut its doors in 2000. UVM will pay $14.3 million
for the colleges entire campus property.
At a September press conference announcing the sale, Sr. Jacqueline Marie
Kieslich, president of Trinity College said, It has been our hope
since the closing of the college, to leave the property in a manner that
would assure the legacy of Trinity College and speak to the mission of
the Sisters of Mercy in Vermont. As educators and persons involved in
social justice and community service, we are pleased that this agreement
will give recognition and longevity to these elements of our legacy in
a sustainable manner. Although the decision to close the college was not
easy for any part of the college community, this transition to the University
of Vermont will give consolation that what was begun and nurtured on these
acres and within these
walls will continue to serve the citizens of Vermont.
UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel called the sale a win-win situation. The
property was designed for a variety of educational and related uses, and
we intend to continue in this vein. I can think of no better use for this
The university will finance the purchase through a general obligation
bond and with income from leased space at Trinity. UVM itself currently
leases residence hall space at Trinity, which will continue. Beyond easing
the student housing crunch, the Trinity space may be used for a wide variety
of purposes including relocation of units during renovation such as upcoming
work at Perkins Hall, and the return of university offices currently located
in rental space off-campus.
Pointy Heads Are so 5,000 Years Ago
Parents, if you shudder at the sight of your teenagers tattoos and
multiple piercings, take comfort in learning that in another era, your
progeny might have resembled one of Saturday Night Lives
Cranial alteration achieved by tying boards to the front and back
of the head to form a tall, angular shape or a short, wide one
was once a mainstream practice in societies throughout the world, explains
Deborah Blom, assistant professor of anthropology.
One such society flourished in Tiwanaku, Bolivia, around 3000 B.C. Roughly
80 percent of the population opted for the trendy look, even making special
hats to fit their new-fashioned skulls.
Their feeling was, why would you want your head to be round?
Blom says. The process usually was begun on children at about age three.
Because the reshaping was gradual, it should not have caused excruciating
pain, she says. And although the Spanish ultimately outlawed the practice
in South America, cranial alternation was common in Greece until the 1930s.
The curious ways that the human body has been, and is, perceived and manipulated
across cultures was the topic of Bloms Fall 2002 Teacher-Advisor
Program course titled, Life, Death and the Body. The College
of Arts and Sciences program, known as TAP around campus,
places first-year students in small-group seminars taught by professors
who also act as the new students academic advisors.
Students examined body adornment from neck elongation and foot binding
to ritual scarring and face painting techniques to ward off the evil eye.
They learned how these practices reflect cultural attitudes about health,
sickness, ownership, athletics, and beauty.
We tend to think of body adornment as an individual statement, but
it was and often still is an expression of a group identity,
says Blom. Crudely etched tattoos, for instance, help to forge gang and
prison camaraderie and have little in common with the delicate butterflies
and tiny heart tattoos favored by middle-class young women.
If Bloms scholarship sounds familiar, it might be that you read
it in the June issue of National Geographic, which included her
studies of cranial alteration. Upcoming publications for the physical
anthropologist/archaeologist include a Smithsonian book, which will feature
Bloms research into human sacrifice.
Automotive Science, Not the Rocket Kind
A Saturday morning, shiny new cars on display complete with tires to kick
and doors to slam, a true American scene. Well, not quite. The crowd clustered
around the new rides at the Alternative Transportation Expo at Patrick
Gym were less interested in things like zero-to-sixty performance and
if those sweet alloys come standard, than fuel economy of hybrids versus
the fuel cell-driven vehicle.
The Expo was the hands-on part of this years George D. Aiken Lecture.
On the other side of the gymnasium it was ideas that were on display.
There, some of the top environmental thinkers in the state and nation
asked the hard questions and offered up disturbing statistics about life
After Oil: The Future of Personal Transportation, the 2002
Aiken Lectures topic. The two events, conceived as a complementary set,
were sponsored by the College of Engineering and Mathematics and Continuing
Education and drew more than 1,800 people to UVM on September 28.
The exhibits are inspiring and optimistic, said keynote speaker
Bill McKibben, the award-winning author of The End of Nature and
six other books and frequent contributor to magazines such as The New
Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harpers. But Im
going to rain on your parade. Ive been to events like this before
with cars like this
and its not enough.
Since 1989 when he published his first book, McKibben has tracked scientific
and public thinking about the fact that the carbon dioxide emitted from
burning fuels affects the Earths atmosphere. The temperature
has changed one degree and that has created huge changes winter
is three weeks shorter, storms like the one we had last night that drop
two inches of rain in twenty-four hours are more common, the ice in the
Arctic and Antarctic is thinner, he said.
McKibben predicts were headed for a five-degree warmer change in
the Earths atmosphere. Thats warmer than human history,
warmer than any history. Thats uncharted territory, he said.
Lake Champlain has not frozen for the past six years, a trend he said
would continue and would change the lake ecosystem. Forests will transition
from birch, beech, and maple to oak-hickory. Its harder than
heck to tap them for sap, he quipped. Most of what we think
of as Vermont is up for grabs.
Americas current love affair with the sport utility vehicle is a
significant contributor to global warming, he said. In one year,
the amount of energy and carbon dioxide emitted by SUVs is the equivalent
to opening your refrigerator door until 2009, McKibben said. You
couldnt do that. The voice of your mother would come to you saying,
Shut the door!
McKibben called for car manufacturers to put the kinds of engines on display
at the Alternative Vehicle Expo in most of the vehicles they make. This
isnt rocket science, its automotive science which were
. We need the same kind of creative thinking applied to
Technology makes change possible, but attitudes
make things happen.
New Home for Old Science Gear
If Cook Physical Science Building was a Disney movie set, the antique
scientific instruments in the new Physics Museum would come alive when
the building emptied and the lights went out at the end of the day. Why
when I was state-of-the-art, those young scientists could not keep their
hands off of me
, the electrostatic generator (voice work by
Zsa Zsa Gabor) would tell the unimpressed mercury vapor lamp.
As far as we know, Disney has no project in the works involving Cook,
but Dave Hammond, electrical instrumentation coordinator for the Physics
Department, has paid his own homage to the antique research and teaching
equipment from decades past.
Over the past three years, Hammond has collected and catalogued nearly
400 pieces of teaching and research equipment used in UVM classrooms and
research laboratories as far back as 150 years ago. Part of the collection,
which ranges from electrostatic generators, early vacuum tubes and mercury
vapor lamps to 19th-century textbooks, was unveiled this semester.
I feel that we have an obligation to look after this equipment because
of its historical significance, says Hammond, who built oak display
cases in his home and installed them in Room 106 Cook to house part of
Robert Arns, professor emeritus of physics, notes that some of UVMs
antique tools, such as a Wimshurst electrostatic generator that delivers
a 20,000-volt charge, are still used in the classroom to teach fundamental
principles of science.
Quick, before your PC is carted away to a museum, fire it up to take an
on-line look: <http://www.uvm.edu/ ~dahammon/museum/>.
Neiweem Is Ringing our Chimes
Like most performing artists, Music Professor David Neiweem admits to
some anxious moments on stage. Understandable for one who has conducted
numerous choral groups and sung as a baritone in the United States and
Europe. Understandable on Beethovens Ninth, Berliozs
L Enfance du Christ, or the many pieces of new music Neiweem
has performed. Tougher to get when hes plunking out that old standard
Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits on a keyboard.
Heres the problem. Theres something about playing seven notes
that will be broadcast from a tower 168 feet in the air that could make
anyone choke up a bit. Neiweem wasnt creating music with a piano
or the human voice when he toyed with Shave and a Haircut
last semester, he was running a test on his newest instrument the
Ira Allen Memorial Carillon.
Every time you put your finger on a key there could be an irate
telephone call to the university, Neiweem says, not totally in jest.
It would be a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.
Have no fear, UVMs carillon is in the right hands, Neiweems
in his new role as the University Carillonneur.
He succeeds emeriti professors of music James Chapman, and Francis Weinrich
Neiweem brings a sense of commitment, art, and some fun to his duties
playing what he calls the loudest single musical instrument in the
city of Burlington. He is also respectul of the symbolism of this
memorial dedicated to UVM students who died during their years on campus.
He says, I cant think of a better way to remember the many
souls who have been a part of this university than to send this incredible
sound from the highest spot in town.
Neiweem developed his carillon chops at the University of Wisconsin, where
he completed his graduate work in the late 1970s. Playing the 56 bells
in the Memorial Carillon Tower in Madison, Neiweem learned the incredible
choreography involved in manipulating the wooden batons and pedals
of an acoustic carillon.
On the Ira Allen Memorial Carillon, the musician creates a tone by striking
a key on a two-tiered keyboard located in the chapels choir loft.
Striking the key rings a tuning rod, which creates an acoustic tone that
is amplified through the loudspeakers in the chapels belfry. There
are 40 pitched tuning rods, covering nearly four full octaves, on UVMs
Neiweem says he strives to create the sound of a carillon of cast bells
through his playing technique. I keep in mind the reality of pulling
levers, ringing bells, the huge machine that an acoustic carillon is,
Neiweem says. You cant play it completely evenly.
Neiweem plans a regular series of concerts at noon on the first Tuesday
of each month, and put out a call last semester for requests from the
Though he apologizes that his pop and rock repertory is not terribly deep,
proof that hell be open-minded is found in Neiweems suggestion
that he likes the musical pun potential in playing Paul McCartneys
Michelle (Ma Belle) and his admission that he has been trying
to work out the intricacies of The Simpsons theme.
Student Concert Bureau Is Rocking
Were betting there are quite a few vintage Student Association Concert
Bureau ticket stubs still kicking around out there, keepsakes of memorable
evenings in Patrick Gym that have endured long after the ringing in your
ears quieted. Maybe The Clash, admission $12.50; Springsteen, $8.75; or
John Denver for a mere $2 (with student ID). Admit it, there may even
be a Hot Tuna stub at the bottom of a shoebox in your attic.
The current crop of UVM undergrads are getting plenty of opportunities
to gather memories and ticket collections of their own, thanks to a circle
of student leaders who have revitalized the SA Concert Bureau. Fall semester
events included major hip-hop artists Jurassic Five, who sold out Patrick
Gym, and UVM favorite son Mike Gordon 87 with guitarist Leo Kottke
in an (also sold out) acoustic show at Ira Allen Chapel.
SA Concerts Chair Katie Elmore and team have produced nine shows during
the fall semester, and plan at least ten more for the spring. Thats
particularly impressive given that student leadership had dwindled and
bureau-sponsored shows were thin for the past several years.
Things got rolling again with last Aprils outdoor concert, SpringFest.
Elmore and former SGA President Bill Tickner were among those who helped
organize the event and they wanted to continue the momentum by bringing
more national musical acts to campus. This undergrad talent and energy
coupled with increased funding from the university has made for an entertainment-rich
year. In addition to the national acts, SA Concerts has created a Billings
Coffeehouse to showcase local musicians.
Elmore, a junior history major from Westford, Vermont, is optimistic this
is just the beginning of a solid future for music on campus. She notes
that many first-year students and sophomores are in the concert bureau
ranks, ready to continue the tradition. Its a lot of fun and
a chance to make a real positive impact on the university, Elmore
And with the Gordon/Kottke show the students accomplished the rare feat
of pleasing peers and parents alike. Elmores mom and dad declared
the prospect of seeing Kottke so cool and bought a pair of
tickets, joining the many Phish faithful in the Ira Allen pews to see
Study Examines Link of Stroke, Race,
Scientists at the UVM College of Medicine will play a key role in a five-year
study examining why African-Americans have a 50 percent higher rate of
stroke death compared to whites and why stroke incidence is higher in
the southeast compared to the rest of the country. The $28-million REGARDS
(Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study is led
by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Cardiovascular risk factor specialists at UVMs medical college will
contribute to the work through analyses of blood samples from an estimated
30,000 people. Through their analysis, UVM researchers will be helping
to identify which known risk factors for stroke and maybe some
not-yet-known factors are consistent among stroke victims or are
unique to African-Americans compared to whites.
UVM is expertly equipped to handle what Dr. Mary Cushman, associate professor
of medicine and pathology, estimates could be as many as 130 blood samples
per day once the study is up and running at full capacity. Cushman, who
will lead the central laboratory for the REGARDS study, and her colleagues
at UVMs Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research in Colchester
currently function as the central analysis lab for two other large-scale,
Whats especially wonderful about the REGARDS study is that
it will create a biological specimen bank that will provide the foundation
for detailed study on risk factors for stroke, says Cushman. This
will help us get closer to identifying not only the root causes for stroke,
but for other related diseases as well.
"For the first six months of that poems existence, it was a
rotten piece of writing."
Galway Kinnell commenting on his work When the Towers Fell,
which appeared in the September 16, 2002 issue of The New Yorker.
Kinnell visited UVM for a forum and reading in September.
The Shauna Antoniuc Trio
Belizbeha vocalist mellows outLike many musicians,
Shauna Antoniuc 00 has mastered multi-tasking as survival skill.
If youve called UVMs Alumni Office in the last few years,
chances are that pleasant greeting at the other end of the line came from
one of the best voices in Burlington. Dinner at Juniors or the Saigon
Café? Lets hope you left Shauna a nice tip.
Along with the singing career and the day job, Antoniuc has also found
time to finish off her degree in English and religion. Its been
a long road to the diploma, mainly because of a hiatus begun her sophomore
year (1994) to give full-time music a shot as a vocalist with the UVM-rooted
band Belizbeha. If youre an alum of the era, you know the sonic
good news. If not, lets just say the eclectic group is the sort
that makes critics scramble for phrases like danceable stew.
Belizbeha, which still gets together for occasional gigs, toured heavily
in the mid- to late-1990s, playing 150 shows in one year and hitting forty
states, Canada, and Europe.
Travelling in a nasty, stinky van and trying to keep it together
with seven different personalities wasnt easy, Antoniuc says.
But Id do it again. I learned so much in those years.
The versatile singer, who has also lent her voice to Rick & The Ramblers
Western Swing Band over the past four years, takes yet another musical
direction with The Shauna Antoniuc Trios recent CD, The Dreams
on Me. Its mellow stuff guitar, sax, and vocals that
beg for a dark lounge and a dry martini.
The project began to take form when Antoniuc was waiting those tables
at the Saigon, while her future trio colleagues, Joe Capps and Chris Peterman,
were performing. It wasnt too hard for the guys to cajole her to
put down the plates and pick up the mike for a couple of songs, impromptu
collaborations at the root of the collection of jazz standards.
It would seem like quite a stretch from Belizbehas acid jazz/hip-hop
to Texas swing to George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, but Antoniuc covers
it gracefully. Ill sing anything, she says. I
love it all.
Give it a listen: www.shaunaantoni uc.com.
By Major Jackson, University of Georgia Press
Jackson, who joined the UVM English Department faculty last fall, won
the Cave Canem Poetry Prize (in support of a previously unpublished African-American
poet) for this collection. Fellow poet T.R. Hummer writes, Prophetic
scat singer, apocalyptic raconteur, Major Jackson makes poems that swerve
impossibly and yet authoritatively from the ordinary to the miraculous
and beyond but always keep their cool.
The Star That Set: The Vermont Republican Party, 1854-1974
By Samuel Hand, Lexington Books
From 1854, the year the Republican Party was organized, until 1964, Vermonters
never failed to vote Republican in the presidential election. Indeed,
the Vermont GOP was trumpeted as the star that never set in
the Republican Partys political firmament. Professor Emeritus Hands
historical study documents the rise and fall of Green Mountain Republicanism,
exploring the personalities and socioeconomic forces that shaped the partys
role in the state.
Blind Corners: Adventures on Everest and the Worlds Tallest Peaks
By Geoffrey Tabin, Lyons Press
For those who prefer to sample alpine adventuring without the risk of
frostbite or vertigo, Tabin serves up this collection of mountaineering
tales. The high-climbing UVM associate professor of surgery and opthamologys
adventure résumé includes being the fourth person to summit
the highest peaks on all seven continents.