The Latest from Burlington
Center at hub of UVMs future
Ground-breaking anticipated next summer
It was the morning of September 17, 2004 when the Board of Trustees Facilities
and Technologies Committee voted approval to move ahead on a new $70 million
student center, dubbed with the working name of University Commons. Vice
President Thomas Gustafson, a veteran UVM administrator whose experience
dates back to the Lattie Coor era, was reluctant to let the moment pass.
After the ayes were tallied and before the committee moved down the agenda,
Gustafson urged trustees and others gathered in Memorial Lounge to pause
and acknowledge the importance of the boards action to the Universitys
future and the many in the past who had helped bring it about. Some two
months later, the University would mark another critical step in the commonss
evolution with the announcement of major private support from the Davis
family and a new name for the facility the Dudley H. Davis Center.
Some would say that the long-perceived need for a new student center at
UVM traces back to the day the old student center, the retrofit/addition
to Billings Library, opened in 1986. Billings dark and stately interiors,
the work of noted architect H.H. Richardson, made perfect sense for a
19th century library but were ill-suited to the needs of a 20th century
student union. With the lounges and meeting spaces in the original building
linked to Cook Commons, the Campus Center Theater, and student activities
offices by a long and winding corridor, the center has always seemed to
lack a center.
Recent Student Government Association leaders have been among the strongest
proponents of a new student center. When Andrea Minkow 00, who now
lives and works in Washington, D.C., is told of plans to move ahead on
the student center, she says, Thats awesome. Though
the ribbon cutting will post-date her graduation by a number of years,
shes pleased that student voices have been heard. Minkow, who was
1999-2000 Student Government Association president, says, The SGA
felt that there was no place to gather on campus. Billings was quiet and
a good place to study, but there was not a place to get together and hang
out and be loud, no real open and common space.
The new student union idea gained traction during the interim presidency
of Edwin Colodny, then began to move in February 2003 when President Daniel
Mark Fogel made it the bricks-and-mortar centerpiece of his ten-year vision
for the University. But none of the additions to the physical campus
have had the transformative power of the University of Vermont Commons,
a vital student union that seethes with activity from early morning to
late night, Fogel wrote in describing his vision of the campus in
2012. It is more than a physical change. The Commons has rewoven
the fabric of community at UVM in ways that all agree are highly positive.
At the earliest stages of the student center planning process, the University
conducted an extensive survey of campus life, one of the most far-reaching
ever undertaken by a college or university to determine the need for and
feasibility of a new facility. The results not only confirmed the need
at UVM, but showed trustees how dramatically the University lagged behind
key competitors. The survey would create a strong grounding for building
designers to work from as they strove to meld form and function.
WTW Architects brings extensive experience with college and university
student centers to the Dudley H. Davis Center, a project on which they
are working with local firm Truex Cullins and Partners Architects. Designers
knew the location of the new student center would be critical envisioned
as a figurative crossroads of campus, it had to be a literal one, as well.
Their solution promises to dramatically improve two aesthetic negatives
of the UVM campus the culvert-like pedestrian tunnel under Main
Street and the Universitys lack of a front door on Main,
the primary route into Burlington. The Davis Center will stretch along
Main, roughly in the area between Morrill and Terrill halls. (Carrigan
Hall will be removed.) The pedestrian tunnel will be reworked and integrated
into the center, a strong link between the residential and main campus
that will draw thousands of students into the building on their daily
The campus life survey has driven the buildings design, addressing
the areas that students said were lacking: dining venues, a campus pub/bistro,
performance spaces, study lounges, conference/meeting room, student organization
and support areas, an expanded bookstore, and other retail outlets. The
space is divided into two main building components: a student union composed
of four building levels and a performing arts theater on two levels with
seating for approximately 600. In keeping with UVMs strong environmental
ethic, the Davis Center team is striving for LEED certification of the
building, incorporating a variety of practices that meet the strictest
standards of environmental design.
Pending permitting, the University will break ground on the project next
summer with a projected opening date of fall 2007. For Colin Robinson,
a student member of the Board of Trustees, who brings both the perspective
of one involved in the long-term strategic planning of the University
and the day-to-day of a UVM undergraduate, that will be a critical step
forward. On September 17, as he urged his fellow trustees to give the
project the final green light, Robinson made clear the connection between
facilities such as the student center and UVMs plan to grow both
the size and academic quality of the enrollment. University Commons
is integral to the next phase of this University, Robinson said.
I dont think it is possible for the University to progress
Domenico Grasso, the new dean of UVMs College of Engineering and
Mathematics, has pioneered an approach to undergraduate engineering education
that combines the quantitative rigor typically associated with his fields
curriculum and expands on it with the study of the social sciences and
humanities. Grasso comes to UVM from Smith College, where he was founding
director of the Picker Engineering Program, the first engineering program
at a womens college in the U.S. Prior to that, Grasso was head of
the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of
Connecticut. Grassos experience outside of the academic world includes
four years as an environmental engineer in the U.S. Army, where he worked
prior to pursuing his doctorate at the University of Michigan. His research
focuses on the ways contaminants are transported through the environment,
expertise put to work through Grassos current role as vice chair
of the United States Environmental Protection Agencys Science Advisory
Q. In your essay Engineering and the
Human Spirit, you write, A common misperception is that engineering
is another one of the sciences. Could you elaborate on that?
A. Engineering certainly builds on the sciences.
The sciences, of course, must be a cornerstone. But engineerings
goal is not only understanding what exists, but creating what has never
existed and it does that for the sake of humanity. And because of that,
it is not gratuitous. It is not just to create something because you can,
but creation to enrich humanity. Because of that, engineers have to understand
the human condition and the human spirit. Engineers have to be well-educated
and well-grounded in the sciences and in the humanities and the social
Q. When did that perspective begin to emerge
A. Its continuing to emerge. As my
professional career evolves, I see that I am becoming more of a minority
at major decision-making tables. There are fewer and fewer engineers there
and more and more economists and social scientists and attorneys and philosophers,
and were dealing with larger and larger questions. Id like
to see more engineers at these tables. But, as things stand now, I dont
know if engineers are prepared to be there, and I want that to change
here at UVM.
Q. How did your experience as an environmental
engineer in the military influence you?
A. It was an important influence, a character-building
experience. Working on real problems that the military was facing was
very important to me in terms of contextualizing the global significance
of environmental problems, which I think is difficult to fully convey
in a classroom. That started me on the path of thinking larger and really
realizing what you could do with an engineering education. People often
think that engineering education is vocational and you can really only
do so much, but an engineering education opens up so many tremendous possibilities.
It trains your mind to think in such wonderful ways. If you can relax
the constraints a bit and apply that thought process to other problems
and other issues the political scene, or policy issues you
realize that it is incredibly powerful. An engineering education can make
your mind a wonderful place to live for the rest of your life.
by Sabin Gratz
Its a Monday afternoon early in the fall semester, and a steady
stream of students stop through the UVM Outing Club House. Theyre
returning sleeping bags and backpacks from weekend excursions; signing
up for trips sea-kayaking in Maine, canoeing in the Adirondacks, or hiking
the Long Trail; grabbing a few posters for the OC Fest, a day-long festival/concert
set for later in the week. Between the visitors, a persistently ringing
phone, and the String Cheese Incident playing on the stereo, the well-worn
OC House is fairly hopping.
Ria and Andrew DAversa, a sibling duo who are among this years
Outing Club House managers, handle it all with affable calm. They make
you feel kind of like youre hanging out around the campfire rather
than the warm glow of a PC. Sure, all options considered, Andrew would
probably rather be on the Long Trail; Ria in the Adirondacks, but sharing
the joy and personal growth found in the outdoors is also a big part of
the fun for the family DAversa.
Its been that way for a long time. Growing up near the Delaware
Water Gap in New Jersey, the DAversas parents made a family
hike part of every holiday and seeded a love of the north woods with annual
summer camping trips to the Adirondacks. It was little surprise that both
looked to the mountains for college. Andrew is a senior in the Environmental
Program with thoughts of working with inner city kids post-graduation.
(He also sees a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail in the near future.)
Ria is a junior studying botany, and splits her work-study hours between
the OC House and the student-run Common Ground Farm.
The DAversas Outdoor Programs experience started with Rias
freshman year participation in TREK wilderness orientation. It wasnt
long until Andrew got involved as well, and theyve both taken part
as trip leaders and with the Outing Clubs Wilderness Instructors
Leadership Development Program (WILD). As managers of the Outing Club
House they help oversee the day-to-day at a building that has served as
campus base camp for generations of outdoor-bound UVM students.
UVMs rank in a Wall Street Journal survey of top public universities
singled out for their success getting students into the nations
most prestigious medicine, law, and business graduate programs. Harvard,
Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, and MIT were among
the 15 grad programs whose admissions records were surveyed to develop
the Journals top feeder schools list.
by Sally McCay
mourns loss of Joan Smith
Family, friends, and colleagues of Joan Smith, dean of the College of
Arts and Sciences, filled Ira Allen Chapel on September 17 to celebrate
the life of a remarkable woman who loved to cook, loved to
laugh and invented multi-tasking as she pursued advanced education
and a successful career in academia while raising five children. Smith
died at home in Hartland, Vermont on September 10, nine years after she
was diagnosed with a form of cancer that is almost invariably fatal within
Addressing the campus memorial service, one of Smiths daughters,
Beth Danon, capsulated her mothers story. Joan Smith was born in
1935, and grew up in a working-class Irish neighborhood in Chicagos
Southside, where she married early, began having children, and moved to
a Levittown-like suburb of the city. As the 1950s gave way to the
1960s, Smith was stirred by the Civil Rights movement, working with
the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Mississippi. As she awakened
to political activism, she took action in her own life, returning to school
and eventually earning her doctorate from New York University. After teaching
at Dartmouth College and the State University of New York at Binghamton,
she came to UVM in 1990 to become the Universitys first director
of Womens Studies. She became dean in 1996, a position that she
held until her death.
Smith, a professor of sociology with special interest in economic processes
and labor force issues, was the first woman dean of the College of Arts
and Sciences, the Universitys largest academic division. Her accomplishments
in that role were many, including implementing the ALANA Studies program
and developing integrated first-year programs and an honors program. Under
Smiths leadership, enrollment in the College of Arts and Sciences
increased more than 15 percent and applications for admission to the college
increased by 28 percent. Smith was also a leader in implementing UVMs
commitment to diversity, significantly increasing the numbers of women
and ALANA faculty and multicultural enrollments in the college.
At the request of Dean Smiths family, a faculty professional development
fund has been established in her memory. For more information, please
contact the Deans Office of the College of Arts and Sciences at
802-656-3166 or email a-sdean.admin@
Genes in Common
The rooftop of New York Citys High School for Environmental Studies
dense with trees, plants, a greenhouse, and numerous student projects
creates an oasis of sorts several stories above West 56th Street.
Still, theres no mistaking that youre in concrete-jungle Manhattan
rather than a more bucolic setting like, say, Vermont. While UVM and this
urban high school may not share much in milieu, they are institutions
with kindred spirits in respect to environmental study and a growing
partnership program between the two schools is drawing them closer.
UVM has made great strides in bridging this cultural and geographical
gap since Brooklyn-native Don DeHayes, dean of The Rubenstein School of
Environment and Natural Resources, first looked to New Yorks HSES
some seven years ago to see if he could build connections with a high
school considered a national model for urban environmental education.
It seemed like a natural fit not only from an academic perspective, but
also in synch with UVMs efforts to build diversity. At the time,
HSES was relatively new and had about 500 students. It has more than tripled
in size since and now has a racial composition of 37 percent Latin American;
23 percent African American; 21 percent white; and 18 percent Asian American.
DeHayes and other UVM faculty and staff were soon traveling to the school
to give guest lectures and talk with students and teachers. The relationship
has become part of the Universitys growing high school partnerships
initiatives which are designed to help students particularly those
who would be the first generation in their families to attend college
to better prepare for and sort through the higher education application
Guidance counselors at the HSES say Vermont has become one of the most
applied-to schools for graduates and continues to grow in popularity.
Deborah Gale, UVM admissions officer and diversity team leader, sees the
possibility of landing as many as ten grads of the New York environmental
high school with each new class of students.
NYC students considering the trip north would do well to talk with Joanna
Pina, one of the first HSES graduates to further her education at Vermont.
The member of UVMs Class of 2002 says, The Latin community
is very family-oriented and you dont get a lot of support when you
want to venture out of it, especially to a place that seemed as far away
as Vermont. But UVM made it like a family. I love my college.
Huck Gutman, professor of English; David Massell, assistant professor
of history; and Matthew Moore, lecturer of political science were selected
for the 2004-2005 Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Awards. The
annual awards are based on excellence in instruction, an ability to animate
and engage students, innovation in methods, commitment to cultural diversity,
and excellence in advising.
Jill Mattuck Tarule, dean of the College of Education and Social Services
since 1992, announced her retirement from the deans post this fall.
Before returning to the faculty, she will work with Provost John Bramley
to create a leadership development program for UVM. Under her leadership,
the college developed innovative programs for professionals statewide,
grew significantly in graduate education, and played a major role in education
and social services policy. Tarule is a professor in human development
and in leadership whose research led to the co-authored book Womens
Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind.
Susan Dinitz, senior lecturer in English and director of the University
of Vermont Writing Center, has been named Vermont Professor of the Year
by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council
of Advancement and Support of Education. Sue is a one-woman-teacher-of-writing
miracle on this campus, said Jane Knodell, interim dean of the College
of Arts and Sciences. Not only is she an outstanding teacher of
writing in her own right, she trains undergraduates to be peer tutors,
helping other students strengthen their writing skills.
The Princeton Reviews 2004 edition of Americas
Most Connected Campuses ranked the University of Vermont twentieth
among 357 top colleges and universities surveyed for technological sophistication.
The survey examines computing capabilities, technology policies, and coursework.
The times they were a changin
The 1913 edition of The Ariel, UVMs student yearbook, documents
the Old Yell as opposed to the New Yell.
Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Long before Big Papi, the Fenway faithful counted on the big
hit from Larry Gardner, UVM alumnus and Catamount baseball coach from
1932 to 1951. The Louisville Slugger that Gardner used to drive in the
1912 World Series winning run is part of UVM's Athletic Hall of
Fame. Not that die-hard Sox fans are superstitious, but Bruce Bosley 79
of UVMs Athletics Communications office swears that checking up
on the historic bat before game seven of the ALCS provided just
the right amount of karma for the Sox to finish the job. Yeah, Bruce,
that and how many amulets, incantations, and lucky ballcaps across New
England? Go Sox.
long, happy life of Heinz Ansbacher
They lived Adlerian psychology, says Professor Robert Lawson
as he recalls coming to know Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher during his first
years on campus some 40 years ago. Social support, the priority
of home life and individual responsibility were all very important to
Heinz Ansbacher helped the young professor Lawson settle into faculty
life in the mid-1960s and would continue to be a regular presence in the
Psychology Department long past his retirement in 1970.
Professor Ansbacher doesnt make it over to campus much these days,
but is still going strong. He celebrated his 100th birthday on October
21. In recognition of that milestone, Heinz and the late Rowena Ansbachers
family has assured that the influence of their parents will continue in
the UVM Psychology Department for years to come. The Ansbachers
four sons Max 57, Ben, Ted G68, and Charles
have established a fund to support The Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher Endowed
Green and Gold Professorship in Psychology.
He has all the ties he needs, quips Max Ansbacher, we
thought wed do something a little more meaningful to celebrate his
About half of Heinz Ansbachers long life has been spent in Burlington,
where he joined the UVM faculty in 1946. Heinz and Rowena both worked
directly with Alfred Adler as scholars and editors and are considered
among the leading early followers of the Adlerian school of thought.
On the eve of his 100th birthday, Ansbacher considers what initially attracted
him personally and professionally to Adlers way of thinking. It
was against Freud, he says. On another inevitable question, Ansbacher
declines any credit for his impressive longevity, I didnt
do anything about it, he says. I just have a good heart.
Fall 2004 was a lively semester for guest speakers at UVM and a quotable
one. Heres a sample of what a few had to say.
The Constitution is not a living organism for Petes sake.
Its a legal document.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
We want to do good in the world, but to do good in the world, you
have to deal with the damn world.
Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek international editor
Writing prose is a six-year ordeal, kind of like gradually searching
for something you have lost.
Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient and other works
New Tool for Business
So much for a three-ring binder and a box of No. 2 pencils. This fall
UVMs School of Business Administration joined the forefront of a
national higher education trend by requiring entering first-year students
to own convertible tablet PCs.
The convertible tablet functions both as an ordinary laptop and, if the
screen is swiveled and closed on the keyboard, as a kind of souped-up
digital notepad, with the lid becoming an illuminated writing screen.
Students file their tablet-mode notes in folders, either in handwritten
form or converted to text, where they have all the advantages of searchable
digital files. The tablet will even record a lecture, synchronizing the
audio to the notes. If a section of notes is incomplete or unintelligible,
a student taps the text in question and the professors words boom
About 180 first-year business schools students are using the new technology.
Erin Schumacher, a first-year student from Harvard, Illinois, says working
with the tablet has far exceeded her expectations. It can do everything
you need, she says.
That panoply of functions all in support of enhanced learning
is just what the School of Business Administration leaders envisioned.
Faculty report good anecdotal feedback and see more students taking more
notes in class. And, of course, the tablet PC is affecting not just students
but faculty who use the tool.
Its had a bigger impact on how I teach than anything else,
says Jim Kraushaar, an associate professor and a specialist in the use
of computers in business. He makes notes on his Powerpoint presentation
during class discussion, then posts the annotated file almost immediately
on the class Web site. For the first time, Kraushaar can also complete
the digital loop with student assignments, e-mailing back papers adorned
with digital comments, edits, and grades.
Business School Dean Rocki-Lee DeWitt says students will benefit from
their experience with the tablet PCs as they begin their careers. When
you walk around different organizations, you see tablets, she says.
We dont want our students to be surprised the first time they
walk into an organization and see this.
Alumna/professor explores historic Grand Forks flood
Alice Fothergills book Heads Above Water: Gender, Class, and
Family in the Grand Forks Flood (State University of New York Press)
tells the story of the 1997 flood in Grand Forks, North Dakota, through
the perspectives of dozens of women who lived through it. The volume,
which melds academic analysis with the voices of the women Fothergill
interviewed, is a compelling unpacking of an enormous event, a once-a-century
flood that pushed 60,000 people out of their homes, and an intellectual
corrective to past decades of male-dominated disaster study.
I wanted to capture stories that hadnt been told before,
says Fothergill, an assistant professor of sociology who earned her bachelors
degree from UVM in 1989. Disasters are understudied, generally.
What struck me in graduate school was that this is one area of social
life where we hadn't done the studies. We see disasters as these random
acts of God, as indiscriminate. But they reveal social structures, social
relationships. Its a great context to study all the classical sociological
Many of the women Fothergill spoke with had epiphanies in the aftermath
of the flood, changing and realizing new strengths. Some changed careers
and left abusive relationships. But Fothergill found themes of continuity
as well; much of the disaster work, in which members of the community
found themselves filling sandbags or volunteering at relief centers, broke
on gender lines, with women spending more time cooking and taking care
of children than responding in the public sphere.
This is a particularly crucial point for Fothergill, who has also studied
volunteerism in the context of the Sept. 11 terrorism strikes in New York.
Pitching in, she says, is a major part of coping, so women who cant
volunteer because of family responsibilities may be losing an opportunity
to feel like they have given something back to the community. A sense
of giving something back was particularly important in Grand Forks, Fothergill
says, because her research again and again found that many flood victims
felt violated by the event itself, which was so damaging to their private
space, and deeply stigmatized by the charity they had received in the
wake of the disaster.
The stigma of welfare, the ideology that it is someones own
fault if they are poor, is so strong that you can be hit by disaster and
feel ashamed about needing help, Fothergill says. People told
me again and again, I had to swallow my pride and go to Red Cross.
Essential Aiken: A Life in Public Service
Compiled and Edited by Samuel Hand and Stephen Terry 64,
The Center for Research on Vermont
George Aikens tenure in the United States Senate spanned World War
II to Watergate, and years of public service in Vermont preceded his Washington
work. Professor Emeritus Sam Hand and alumnus Stephen Terry share editorial
duties on this collection of writings and speeches by the foremost Progressive
Republican of his generation. In their introduction, the editors suggest
that Aikens bipartisan perspective is especially relevant given
todays polarized political landscape, a state of affairs that Aiken
and those of his ilk would consider troublesome if not downright dangerous.
Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks
Edited by Jane Barlow 49
Syracuse University Press
Jane Atwood Barlow and her husband have spent nearly fifty summers at
Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks, making them well-versed in the corner
of the world they document in their new book. Jane Barlow edited the volume,
which tells the story of the lake through many sources and voices. Big
Moose might have a familiar ring for English majors; its the community
made famous by the incident that inspired Theodore Dreisers An American
Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds
By Johanna Rothman 77
Dorset House Publishing
Hiring well is one of the toughest tasks any manager faces. The stakes
and the challenges are especially high when it comes to hiring technical
workers who, among other things, hold your life in their hands when the
server goes down. Alumna Johanna Rothman is here to help, bringing 20
years experience to the tricky business of attracting, interviewing,
and hiring technical workers. (For more on Rothman, see Ask An Alum, page