The College of Arts & Sciences
table of contents
A Letter From The Dean 1
Town Hall Debate Provides For A Rich Academic Experience 2
From Belmont To The White House 4
40 States In 40 Days: The New College Road Trip 6
The New Teacher Project 7
Belmont Students Create iPhone Application 8
Belmont Speech And Debate Team Wins Big 9
The Art Of Dialogue 10
Alternative Paper Offers A Different View 11
Blending Academics With A Christian Mission 12
Julseth’s Pilgrimage To The Simmons Lecture 13
From India To England 14 Sociology Students Offer Up Some Southern Hospitality 16
Alum Is City’s Only Board Certified Early Childhood Teacher 17
CSI Is Not Just A TV Show At Belmont 18
Study Abroad Program Enhances Cultural Awareness 19 Belmont Literary Journal Gives Students A Voice To Their Soul 20
Belmont Hosts Math Conference 21
Paradise Not Lost As Belmont Celebrated Milton’s Legacy 22
Belmont Students Learn From Inmates 23
Alumni Authors Visit Belmont Mansion For Book Signing 24
Recent Grads Land Great Jobs 25
a letter from the dean Welcome to the College of Arts and Sciences Explore magazine! After publishing a newsletter for five years, this year marks the first edition of the College’s new magazine format. The magazine is possible only through the efforts of Dorren Robinson and her students. Dorren is an instructor in our Media Studies Department, and most of the articles were written by students in her Newsletter Production class. This class is taken by students with a variety of majors—and I think their writing will impress you! The articles about the exciting activities of faculty and students in the College of Arts and Sciences certainly impress me. The College of Arts and Sciences has four schools (Education, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences) and fourteen departments. The rich variety of scholarly and professional activities of our faculty and students ranges from participation both behind the scenes and in the foreground of the 2008 Presidential Town Hall Debate to one student’s journey from Belmont to working in the White House! In the magazine, you’ll also read about a trip students and faculty are taking this summer across the country and back again. On the trip, Rediscovering America: 40 States in 40 Days, 10 students along with two sociology professors will explore the highways and byways, towns and cities, sights and sounds of America while taking a sociology and English class. It’s like a study abroad class without leaving the country! At Belmont University, the saying “From Here to Anywhere” has real meaning. The great thing about Belmont’s College of Arts and Sciences is so much is going on! It would take a monthly magazine to include all that’s worth reporting, but, alas, we only have one annual edition of this magazine. At Belmont University we have a strong liberal arts and Christian tradition. While our professors are committed to teaching grounded in the liberal arts, there is a keen focus on each of our student’s success as a whole person.. Belmont’s College of Arts and Sciences is a place where God’s purpose and students’ passions intersect with the world’s needs. The key question is not whether our students will become lawyers, journalists, psychologists, writers, chemists, teachers, or whatever; the key question for each of us is: “How can I find a vocation and avocation for my life that will best serve ‘my brother’ and the kingdom of God?” As scholars, as students, and as people, we all have this same question to explore. Soli Deo Gloria,
Belmont Hosts And Wins Southeast Journalism Conference 26
Education Initiative Lures Future Teachers In To The Classroom 27 Science Research Magical, Fun And Challenging 28
Bryce F. Sullivan, Ph.D. Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
Humanities And Asian Studies Unite For Environment 29
College of Arts & Sciences
Town Hall Debate Provides for a Rich Academic Experience By AILEEN WARK, senior public relations major
Belmont’s campus was transformed last October as the world watched the only town hall debate between presidential candidates Barack Obama
and John McCain.
The race for the White House truly ran through Belmont as bright red, white and blue banners were hung everywhere from light posts to the historic tower in the heart of campus. The soccer field played home to a 25,000 square-foot media tent which was constructed to accommodate the thousands of national and international journalists who covered the debate. An 8-foot-high perimeter security fence circled campus, keeping students in and visitors out. Secret Service agents roamed everywhere. For students, staff and faculty, it was a unique opportunity to participate in the democratic process and to experience what happens behind the scenes in a presidential debate. A few days before the event, several students were selected as interns for major news networks and rubbed elbows with the likes of Shepard Smith from Fox News and Hardball’s Chris Matthews. Ameshia Cross, a senior political science and journalism double major, volunteered with Obama’s press corps, WKRN-News 2 and the Commission on Presidential Debates in the media tent. “All in all, my debate experience was amazingly overwhelming but tremendously fun,” said Cross. As president of College Democrats, Cross was interviewed by Fox NewsAtlanta, CNN and MSNBC. She also answered questions live from callers on C-SPAN with College Republican President George Scoville. College of Arts & Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences Political Science Department took full advantage of the opportunity to engage students in the democratic process. “My students normally watch politics from the sidelines. It was exciting to watch them transform into active players in the game,” said Dr. Vaughn May, chair of the Political Science Department. In May’s Politics and Mass Media class, students read and discussed
strategies and tactics used during the campaign season and in previous presidential elections. The class also discussed the role of debates in elections, how the town hall debate in particular is different, and how the relationships among the mainstream media, the candidates and the voters differ. In a class taught by Dr. Nathan Griffith, associate professor of political science, students watched the debate and produced a thesis paper on a policy proposal. The town hall debate fever spread well beyond the four walls of the Wheeler Humanities building and the political science department. It engaged the entire campus community.
The 2008-2009 university-wide theme was “The Art of Being Free,” and throughout the year, speakers and events highlighted religion, civil rights, democracy and advocacy. Campus visitors included documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, religion authors Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus and current president of the Skinner Leadership Institute Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner and civil rights activist and journalist John Seigenthaler. Belmont won the debate after a review by the Commission on Presidential Debates which looks to college campuses to host debates in order to engage and educate students and society on debates and the democratic process. “The opportunity to host the town hall debate provided an invaluable educational experience to our students, allowing them to observe firsthand our nation’s political process and to be participants in American history,” said Provost Dan McAlexander.
Dr. Ken Spring said having the debate on Belmont’s campus truly brought a new level of significance to his classes. Students in his first-year seminar class, The Politics of Knowledge, researched different political parties and studied heavily debated issues in the election. The class broke down the issues and followed the debates, discussing whether or not the candidates’ claims and ideas lined up with traditional policies. “Our forefathers established a participatory need to be engaged in democracy. My students’ votes count as much as mine, and I want them to understand the process and decide on their own. This year has been like no other year on Belmont’s campus with so many more opportunities for students to learn and participate,” said Spring. About 400 students were fortunate enough to get in the debate either by winning a seat through student lottery or by volunteering. Sarah Norton, a sophomore public relations major, worked as an usher in the debate hall and stayed to watch the debate in person. “It was really cool and a great honor to help out with seating the celebrity
guests in Dr. Fisher’s section as well as to be able to mingle with the people from Nashville who were in attendance,” said Norton. “It was great to be able to see the finished product of all the work that Belmont students, faculty and staff put into Debate ’08.” And hard work it was. More than 11 months of planning and 600 students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers helped bring Debate ’08 to Belmont. The debate brought a new sense of pride to the Belmont community and raised its national awareness, as proven by more than 5,200 broadcast media hits during the week surrounding the debate. As the smallest school to host a debate in the election, Belmont proved anything is possible. “I am thrilled that debate viewers were able to see – and visitors to our campus were able to experience – the capability, dedication and spirit that Belmont students, faculty, staff and alumni possess,” said Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher. “The public perception and reputation of Belmont has risen to a new level, and now the world knows the kind of things to expect from Belmont University.” CAS
from belmont to the white house By MACKENZIE FISCHER, senior public relations major & SARAH NORTON, sophomore public relations major
Ashley Richardson and Ameshia Cross decided to follow Belmont’s vision of sending students “from here to anywhere.” But these girls did not go just anywhere–they went straight to the White House. Seeing the effects of Sept. 11, Richardson wanted to intern in Washington, D.C. She felt compelled to leave her mark on our nation’s government. “I reached out to the Belmont political science department to help facilitate the process of applying to a Washington internship program, and by January 2002, I was interning in the East Wing of the White House for the First Lady,” said Richardson. From this internship, Richardson knew this was the path she wanted to take. She returned to Belmont and completed her degree in political science. “Ashley is a world changer. As a student she was highly energized, always prepared,” said Dr. Richard Tiner, associate professor. This carried over to her work in the nation’s capital. After graduation in 2004, she was hired as the campaign field director for Pasco and Pinellas counties in Florida. George W. Bush won both counties in the presidential election by 10 percent, a 13 percent increase over the election four years prior. With a Republican win under her belt, Richardson returned to Washington, D.C. Richardson, 25, worked in various offices and departments including the Secretary of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and assistant to the Secretary of International Security Affairs. The Atlanta native was then
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promoted to country director in the Western Hemisphere group for the U.S. Department of Defense. In this position she was the point person between the U.S. Defense Department and
Ameshia Cross the defense ministries for the western hemisphere countries. “In this capacity she was a policy advisor to the secretary and dealt directly with the U.S. embassies and foreign officials on various treaties and international security issues,” said Richardson’s father, Roger Richardson. At the end of Bush’s administration, Richardson received the Medal for
Exceptional Civilian Service which is given to civilians who show great courage and outstanding leadership to the administration. Richardson said Belmont gave her the building blocks she needed to thrive in a political career. With her studies in political science, she was prepared to take on work at the Pentagon and the White House. “I felt that I had the necessary tools and academic background, coupled with hands-on experience that I needed to be successful after graduation,” said Richardson. Although most of President Bush’s workers left the White House with the closing of his administration, Richardson stayed on the job until the summer of 2009. That’s also when Cross started her job as the assistant to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “I never expected my path to politics to take me to the White House. I had volunteered for the Obama campaign for nearly two years, but being offered a job in the new administration was beyond my wildest dreams,” said Cross. After graduation, Cross moved to Washington, D.C. and continued her work with Obama’s administration. Like Richardson, Cross said Belmont gave her not only a solid educational foundation to begin her career, but also opened doors through networking. She said she will use her knowledge and experiences from all of her experiences on campus to leave her mark on the White House. “My experience with the Belmont Vision, my journalism and political science classes and internships helped prepare me for the position,” Cross said. CAS
40 States in 40 Days: the new college road trip
Belmont and Nashville public schools team up for the New Teacher Project
By KARI WOODARD, senior public relations major
Consider 10 students and two professors on one bus visiting 40 states in 40 days. That’s exactly what a class of students will experience on a whirlwind tour of America this summer. The 9,359 mile journey includes visits to cultural epicenters, national parks and historic sites including Mt. Rushmore, Graceland, a Native American reservation, the prison on Alcatraz Island and the Liberty Bell. Dr. Ken Spring of the sociology department began formulating the idea for the trip last summer.
“I am thrilled at the chance to see all these places and the spirit of the trip - it’s really the beginning of a movement in higher education.” Chris Speed, sophomore “It’s really based on the idea of what it means to be an American,” Spring said. Spring enlisted help from Dr. Bonnie Smith of the English department and advertised for applicants. More than 50 students applied. Ten students were selected based on their written answers to five essay prompts and a round of interviews. The students had the choice of receiving course credit in sociology, English or their junior cornerstone credit. The purpose of the class was to explore themes of cultural identity, national history and the impact of the environment on personal belief. Each student will maintain a blog of their domestic “study abroad” experience and complete daily assignments. College of Arts & Sciences
“It is so important to integrate writing into this experience. I want them to think about what defines a place and what it means to be a traveler,” Spring said. Each student selected a city to be an ambassador to. As such, they are responsible for researching and choosing some of the activities the group does there. Students will also conduct interviews with locals. As for the students, they’re excited to experience a new kind of college road trip. “I am thrilled at the chance to see all these places and the spirit of the trip-it’s really the beginning of a movement in higher education,” said Chris Speed, a sophomore in the honors program. While the trip is exciting for the students, the living quarters will be close. The bus has 12 bunks for sleeping, personal TVs, two common areas and one bathroom. The bus also has wireless internet. “I know there will be a tremendous amount of emotional stress on us from being together all the time. We will all need our own space sometimes,” said Heather Gillespie, a cultural studies major. Spring plans to write a book about the journey which is a first for Belmont. “Belmont enables you to go out on a limb, to try your crazy idea and see if it works,” he said. “In this case, there is enormous potential for education and something that hasn’t happened anywhere else.” CAS
Belmont University’s School of Education is working with Nashville schools on the New Teacher Project, a unique program for people interested in teaching but who didn’t major in education. In the program, people with strong academic backgrounds can become teachers with what is commonly called an “alternative route to certification.” “The New Teacher’s Project collaboration will bring together the best of Belmont’s premier teacher education program with Metro School’s goal of improving the educational outcome of Nashville’s high school graduates. The faculty are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with career-changing students in an innovative program,” said Dr. Bryce Sullivan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The collaboration between Metro Nashville Public Schools and Belmont was designed to provide a high-quality education program for teachers in hard to staff subject areas. In Metro there are teacher shortages in special education, math, biology, chemistry and Spanish, among others. The new program will add 75 to 100 teachers per year in these high-need areas, said Sullivan. Another goal of the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit organization, is to close the achievement gap between students from more affluent backgrounds and those who are economically challenged by ensuring that high-need students get the outstanding teachers they deserve. The program will be similar to a masters program that already exists at Belmont.
The current Master of Arts and Teaching allows students with a degree in an area other than teacher education to complete the coursework and student teaching experiences needed to be a certified teacher in Tennessee. While similar in some ways, The New Teacher Project differs in that students will take six-weeks of intensive training over the summer and then begin teaching the following fall. The combination of summer school, regular semester classes at Belmont and mentoring by experienced teacher educators, will create a “state-of-the-art teaching program,” said Trevor Hutchins associate dean of the School of Education. Research on alternative routes to certification has shown that if students are well prepared and supported in their classrooms, they make excellent teachers and can increase student learning. “We are excited about partnering with NTP and Metro Schools to make a difference in the lives of children,” said Dr. Sally Barton-Arwood, chair of Belmont’s education department. “This opportunity affirms Belmont’s strong tradition in preparing high-quality educators who are committed to excellence in education.” CAS
Belmont students create iPhone application By HANNAH BETH CUNNINGHAM, junior public relations major
A palm-sized screen, a keyboard made for thumbs, your last name, first initial, password and 60 seconds.
Dr. William Hooper, associate professor in the mathematics and computer science department, thought it was a great learning experience for his students. “They are very competent networking people,” said Hooper. “And students with programming skills can get an actual job doing this.” The next application the Mysterious Monkeys hope to complete will have a broader audience. They want to “fulfill the need of large scale organizations, such as Belmont and other companies,” said Buffington. The program will be based on research Buffington is completing for a one credit independent study for his major. The application, “Coverage Maps,” will test the Wi-Fi information structure of the surrounding area. Its main purpose is to view the interfering networks in the organization’s surrounding area on an iPhone screen. Eventually the Mysterious Monkeys hope to release an updated version of “Belmont Wi-Fi” which will integrate other services from Belmont’s network including news and easy access to BIC. Ultimately, Buffington and Proffitt want to provide technology-related appliances for students everywhere. CAS
The iPhone doesn’t make it easy for Belmont students to have password privacy. To solve this, two computer science majors designed an iPhone application to help students safely log into Belmont’s wireless internet. “Belmont Wi-Fi” is Ross Buffington and Will Proffitt’s first iPhone application and was created for the ease, speed and security of accessing Belmont’s wireless internet system. Buffington and Proffitt, or the Mysterious Monkeys as they call themselves, had a lot of trouble logging into Belmont’s internet on their own iPhones and knew other students shared their difficulties. An iPhone’s keypad is small for typing. The danger of a small keypad is password protection. “With an iPhone, it takes so long to type. Between typing and logging in, it takes a minute. Enough time to steal a password,” said Buffington. Also, the iPhone fixes the capitalization which adds time. Plus you’d have to start again if any key was entered wrong. With their application, users can type in Ross Buffington and Will Proffitt his or her name and password once, and it’s automatically saved. The goal of the application is to avoid the dangers of password theft. To ensure their clients the validity of their application, both computer science majors became qualified Apple developers and have taken the necessary training. The Apple Store is “trusted, and people trust Apple, so they’ll trust us,” said Buffington. Buffington and Proffitt hope to market their application by word of mouth. “With any application once someone has it, everyone else wants it,” said Proffitt. “Belmont Wi-Fi” was put on the Apple store Web site at no charge. Because of the easy downloading process, more than 500 students, faculty and staff already use the application. “Not all Belmont iPhone users have it, but the ones that do, love it,” said Buffington. Belmont users also have the advantage of the creators close by. The Mysterious Monkeys “can support users more rapidly and without hassle because we’re on campus,” said Proffitt. College of Arts & Sciences
Belmont Speech and Debate Team wins big By LEAH SMITH, senior public relations major
In a year when Belmont University focused on a presidential debate, it is only fitting the university’s Speech and Debate team had an impressive year.
After ranking in the top three debate teams during tournaments at Tennessee State University, Volunteer State, Berea College and Murray State University, Belmont ranked 56th in the country out of about 250 debate programs. “Our students are some of the best in the nation, and the speech and debate team is a great way to match-up our skills in an academic setting,” said Jason Stahl, speech and debate coach. After winning their second consecutive state debate championship this year, Belmont solidified its status as the team to beat in Tennessee. With the first place novice team and the second place varsity team, Belmont was well represented in both final rounds. Not only does the team compete in debate, but it also tests its skills with numerous individual events. Belmont students placed first in informative speaking, extemporaneous speaking, prose interpretation, duo interpretation, dramatic interpretation and reader’s theatre, ranking them second at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational
tournament held in Los Angeles this past March. “Students on our team use skills they learn in all of their classes during their academic pursuits and pit their own wits and logic against debaters from other universities across the country,” said Stahl. The debate team is comprised of students from different majors with differing personalities and interests. Along with what people typically think of as debate, such as the historical Lincoln— Douglas debate, individual events are also part of the debate competitions. Theater enthusiasts can compete in events on prose and poetry. Those interested in public speaking can compete in impromptu, informative and persuasive competitions, while those interested in politics often compete in the parliamentary debates and communication analysis. “Individual events provide students a platform to speak about the issues that are important to them and our society as a whole,” said Ryan Greenawalt, assistant team director and a Belmont alumnus. Whether this platform is in the form of an informative speech or a performance of poetry, students are challenged to not just perform but to make an impact, he said. The debate team offers students a chance to be involved in an extracurricular activity that gives them the ability to practice public speaking while engaging their minds. In addition to class credit, members of the speech and debate team experience
polish their public speaking skills and the chance to improve their knowledge of politics and great literature, Stahl said. “Whether students enjoy acting, public speaking or are simply opinionated or argumentative, the Belmont Speech and Debate Team is a place to sharpen skills and compete,” Stahl said. CAS
the thrill of competition, the ability to
The Art of Dialogue By HANNAH BETH CUNNINGHAM, junior public relations major
Belmont’s name continues to circulate in the media not only from the Town Hall Presidential Debate but also for how it incorporated the debate into academics.
Belmont’s annual Humanities Symposium received favorable press in the New York Times because of its debatecentered curriculum during the fall semester of 2008. “Debate, Dissent & Dialogue,” the seventh annual Humanities Symposium, focused on the art of argumentation. Throughout the eight days, Belmont professors spoke on a wide array of topics including talk radio, Richard Nixon, war and the movie “Pulp Fiction.” The symposium kicked off the campus mindset towards the upcoming political discourse.
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Every year classes revolve around the theme of the Humanities Symposium and last year was no exception. The Times noted that Belmont professors created “campaign-themed assignments into their usual material” to enhance student learning around the Town Hall Presidential Debate. Dr. Bonnie Smith, assistant professor of English and co-chair for the symposium, led an argumentation class in which she addressed the question, “Is America founded on argument?” Andrew Cole, a senior English major, took Smith’s class and felt it was perfect timing and a “natural fit.” “Dr. Smith embraced the opportunities for discussion as they arose,” said Cole. “We had a whole two days about race relations after President Obama was elected. We asked questions such as, ‘What does this mean for America?’ and ‘Does this mean things have changed?’” Another debate-themed class was taught by Dr. David Curtis, an English professor and cochair of the symposium. His class focused on the characteristics of a good political leader, a hero and “what makes mobs of people so easily led or misled.” These issues were derived from Shakespeare’s play “Coriolanus.” Both classes followed the presidential and vice presidential
debates closely. An analysis of the debates allowed students to have a deeper understanding of how dispute formed America. The discussions during class eventually migrated to profound conclusions and dialogues during the symposium. Cole also attended a presentation by Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn on “Just War and the U.S. Policy of Preemption” and said the different viewpoints from service men, who were in favor of the policy of preemption, and people from other countries, who were against, were fascinating. “There was a real organic dialogue going on,” said Cole. “You could see the action of ideas back and forth.” Student participation was one of the reasons the symposium received so much attention. Many of the speeches had standing room only. Not only were those involved in the debate-themed classes eager to attend the symposium’s speeches, but they took the ideas learned back to the classroom and to heart. “The fact that the country was in the midst of debating all of the issues that help choose the next president added a particular urgency and relevance to the symposium this year,” said Curtis. “Debate, Dissent & Dialogue” was a huge success for students, professors, the School of Humanities and Belmont University. Not only did the school get national attention for hosting the presidential debate, but the students had an opportunity to take an in-depth look at how debate and discussion formed this country. Next year’s Humanities symposium is titled “Nature and the Human Spirit” and will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver. CAS
Alternative paper offers a different view By CASEY SAVELL, senior public relations major
The popular adage “no news is good news” didn’t ring true for some Belmont students so they started their own newspaper. In April 2008, the Right Aisle Review emerged as a student newspaper tackling issues from conservative and libertarian viewpoints. The Review does not consider itself to be in competition with Belmont’s more mainstream student newspaper, The Vision, because its agenda is different. “We wanted our own forum that was strictly political in nature,” said George Scoville, a senior political science major and deputy editor for the Review. “Colleges across America have political newspapers; some of them have more than one, and with the debate on its way, the time was right to begin one at Belmont.” In addition to being a political publication, the Review is entirely student owned and operated. It took students two semesters to raise enough money and get publication approval from Belmont. Editor-in-Chief Travis Harvey is pleased with the number of people who want to be involved with the Review and is happy with the continued interest in the paper. The Review’s first publication was 12 pages deep and grew to 20 pages by the third publication. Articles in the Review have covered a variety of topics including the need for more ideological diversity in Belmont’s convocation series. The newspaper also addressed a variety of national economic and foreign policy issues. And while the Review considers itself a reliable channel for conservative and libertarian thought, all political discussion is welcomed. Still, the paper is not embraced by everyone, its editor says. “I’ve heard rumors that certain faculty don’t like the newspaper, but I hope in an academic community people would be open to different viewpoints,” said Harvey. Both Harvey and Scoville felt so strongly Belmont needed an alternative voice that they ensured the paper continued after they graduated in 2009. They formed an alumni advisory board to help the Review’s future staff members. “It is designed to answer any questions current staff members may have and to make sure funding continues,” said Scoville.
The Review has published four editions and interest is strong enough for a fifth to be in the works. “We’re happy with where it is. We’ve raised enough money to sustain things at least one year and hope for continual support,” said Dr. Vaughn May, associate professor of political science and faculty advisor for the Review. Melanie Bull, a political science major and supporter of the Review said the paper fills a need. “I think the Right Aisle Review is a great paper on campus because it is a great way to advocate politically and since Belmont is not a strong political campus, it is nice the students have a voice especially for the conservative and libertarian.” CAS
Sullivan has faith Belmont can blend academics with Christian mission By BRANDIN MYRICK, freshman public relations major
Music from the Newsboy’s latest album blared in the Neely Dining Hall as students chit-chatted and found a seat. As the music died down, Dean Bryce Sullivan made his way toward the front of the room to the podium.
“How can I invest my life strategically for the kingdom of God?” Sullivan asked rhetorically. The title of his talk was Faith-Informed Liberal Arts and Sciences, and as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences his talk was one of several that CAS faculty gave as part of the Spiritual Development Convocation series last spring. Under Sullivan’s leadership, the College of Arts and Science is striving to weave God into its teachings and to further encourage Belmont’s mission. According to Belmont’s mission statement: The goal of the university is to provide “an environment for students to develop intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically through experiences of learning and research, leading and serving, success and failure, and consideration and choice. Faculty, administration and staff commit themselves to guide and challenge students to develop their full potential in order to lead lives of meaning and purpose.” Sullivan sees this mission carried out daily at Belmont. “The integration of Christian faith with scholarship is important at Belmont,” Sullivan said. “The Christian vocation is a life of service to God and to man.” In
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his talk, he described how Genesis 1:28 gives Christians the duty to harness and care for God’s creation—including the creation evident in literature, the sciences, and all the other disciplines that make up the typical university. Administrators, faculty and staff work to serve the students, said Sullivan.
But carrying out Belmont’s mission statement and Christ’s teachings doesn’t always mean “carrying faith on your sleeve,” said Sullivan. “I see faith and God working in the faculty,” said Sullivan. “They are all about serving God through serving students— they go far beyond.” Sullivan doesn’t see
Christian scholarship as limiting. He says we should take seriously those who do not share our faith views. He said, “We should be winsome in our conversations with others about a life of faith.” Faculty in the physics department also held a convocation on faith-informed physics this spring. Dr. Scott Hawley and other faculty shared how their faith impacts their work at Belmont as physics professors. Hawley had previously given a public lecture titled “Newton’s Apple, Eve’s Apple: The Universe Through the Eyes of Science and Faith” in East Nashville to explore the science and God-connection. “God designed the universe in a beautiful, orderly way which it is the scientist’s wideeyed privilege to unravel,” said Hawley. In recent years, Belmont dropped the formal Baptist affiliation and added faith development convocations which were an extension of the chapel requirement of earlier years. The convocations have allowed students of all faiths and beliefs to come together. “It has taken us away from being seen as a Baptist college to being a Christian college,” said Sullivan. In Sullivan’s talk, he noted that some better known colleges, Duke and Harvard, used to have a strong Christian mission but now are known for sometimes worshipping the god of intellect or the god of basketball. Sullivan said he has faith Belmont will hold to its faith-based standards. Belmont, he said, “won’t worship other gods, but only the true God.” CAS
Julseth’s Pilgrimage to the Simmons Lecture By JAMES MCLENDON, senior philosophy major
Wearing hiking boots and carrying a heavy backpack, Dr. David Julseth made his way through a crowded auditorium to deliver the 2009 Robert E. Simmons Lecture. It was another stop on a pilgrimage he began five years ago in northern Spain. In the summer of 2004, Julseth, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, began the journey by loading his pack and walking 157 miles from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He spent 10 days as a pilgrim on The Way of St. James, a Christian pilgrimage more than a thousand years old. Julseth resumed the journey a year later returning to Spain with 18 Belmont study-abroad students for an intensive language course. After the official class ended, he loaded his pack again and covered 100 more miles in eight days with two students. These experiences led the Executive Council of the College of Arts and Sciences to choose Julseth as the Simmons lecturer, an honor given to only one of the college’s more than 100 professors each year. “Being chosen as the lecturer shows you are in a community of people who are supportive of you,” said Julseth, who lectured on the community formed by the pilgrims on his travels. To a standing room only crowd, he explained how people from different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds connected. “Even though the community, like the pilgrims, is in constant movement and constantly changing, there are certain
experiences that all the pilgrims have in common: the physical sacrifice, the sense of deprivation, and the ever present goal to get to Santiago de Compostela,” said Julseth. He said the opportunity to deliver this lecture was a special honor because of his relationship with the lecture’s namesake who passed away in 1994. “I knew Dean Simmons and thought the world of him. I know this is a topic he would have enjoyed hearing about. And he would have been supportive of people wanting to have this kind of experience. He did a lot of work getting scholarship money for students to be able to study abroad. He did a lot of work to bring international experiences to the campus,” said Julseth. Leslie Haney, one of Julseth’s past students, walked a few hours of the trail and saw the pilgrims as they reached the cathedral, the final destination of the pilgrimage. “It was neat to see what it would be like to be on the pilgrimage and be a part of it for a few hours,” said Haney, who also attended the lecture. She said she would like to return for the pilgrimage after she graduates and attributes much of that desire to Julseth’s passionate teaching. “I’ve had him as a teacher several times,” Haney said. “He’s a great teacher because he’s so enthusiastic.” Dr. Bryce Sullivan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Julseth represents the heart of what Simmons
wanted when he began the series of talks. “Dean Simmons was very forward thinking. He was interested in faculty development and scholarship,” said Sullivan. Sullivan also said Julseth was an ideal pick for the lecture because of his ability to connect his research to his students and the real world. “He’s a scholar, a leader and a teacher. He does it all. That’s what makes Belmont great. Our faculty doesn’t just teach in the classroom, they bring the classroom to the real world.” CAS
From India to England, Belmont sociology students experience life By BRANDIN MYRICK, freshman public relations major
The sociology department took Belmont’s slogan “From Here To Anywhere” literally when it planned the department’s first two study abroad trips.
music. “He plays music for no longer than three weeks; then it filters through the Radio 1 network,” said Spring. “The diversity on Radio 1 shows is unlike anything in mainstream radio.”
Some 4,000 miles away from the Belmont London group, Stepnick and her class were studying visual sociology in India. The course challenged the students to consider the world and cultures around them, Stepnick said. Stepnick’s students learned by taking photos of the cities they explored and by using a blog to document their experiences. Not only were students able to experience cultural wonders like the Taj Mahal, they also saw a Bollywood film and traveled to sacred sites including the Ganges River in Varanassi.
A large part of the trip, however, was experiencing the everyday life of Indian people, just as the English group experienced music. At a Service Over Self community outreach village, the students handed their cameras to the young children of the camp and let them take pictures of what they felt was important to them as Indians. Stepnick said the two trips were successful learning experiences not only for the students who were exposed to different cultures and music but also for the sociology department for creating the programs.
“I’m incredibly proud of our department and what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past several years—especially with just three faculty members,” she said. “I hope this trip is the first of many that my students take during their lifetimes.” CAS
Four Belmont students studied the sociology of music by visiting the English music scenes in Liverpool, Manchester and London under the guidance of Dr. Ken Spring, while nine others traveled to India to learn more about the power of self and surroundings in Dr. Andi Stepnick’s Visual Sociology class. Libby Reinhardt was one of the four who went to England. She said she loved experiencing the musical flavor of England and said the trip was unforgettable. “I got to see St. Paul’s Cathedral and attend a service there. It was amazing,” she said. “For class we got to go and participate in different music scenes throughout London. I even went to see the musical ‘Wicked.’” While in London students heard from Alan McGee of Creation Records and Phil Saxe of Factory Records. They also visited Rough Trade Records, the label behind music legends The Smiths and The Strokes. No musical trip to the UK would be complete without a little Beatlemania, and the Belmont students got plenty of it by touring a Beatles museum and visiting Abbey Road studios. “These trips helped our students understand the relationship of social structure and social class in the creation of music scenes,” said Spring. While students learned a lot touring historical music venues, Spring said the most integral part of the trip was actually sampling the music venues and bands first-hand. On their last night in the British capitol, the students attended a performance of Huw Stephens’ newest
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Hey y’all! Sociology students offer up some southern hospitality By ANNA CHATHAM, senior public relations major
Belmont students were invited to grab a glass of sweet tea as they entered the Southern Culture Research Fair. The inaugural fair, hosted by the Sociology of Southern Culture course, attracted more than 150 students who meandered through the projects of 16 class members. Dr. Shelby Longard, assistant professor of sociology, who taught the course, challenged her students “to pick a site of contested memory from the South and examine it historically and culturally.” “I wanted students to see that our understanding of what it means to be Southerners is fluid,” she said. “I have always been interested in the way we see ourselves as Southerners.” Students chose to examine Stone Mountain, the James Meredith Statue, the Clark Memorial United Methodist Church and Kelly Ingram Park. At the fair, each group had a station displaying their findings through presentation boards and models. Heather Snodgrass, a senior sociology major, researched the Clark Memorial United Methodist Church. “The church and its members played a formative role in the Civil Rights Movement here in Nashville. The experience of researching the local landmark was enlightening, but the most illuminating and encouraging part of the project was interacting with people who were such an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement in this city,” Snodgrass said. Another group broke down Southern song lyrics to explain the themes of racism, poverty, gender, and regional affection and disdain.
The conference room where the fair was held was set up with exhibits like a museum. But just like a tall glass of sweet tea, there was a twist. Visitors were also asked to judge the different exhibits by writing down how they would divide $100, if they had it, among the four groups, giving their favorite the most money. Overall, the fair was well received by students who participated and by those who attended the event. “There is so much more to Southern Culture than meets the
eye,” said Cheyenne Metzger, a junior sociology major. “While we did enjoy our occasional class discussion regarding pageantry or deep fried chicken, Dr. Longard challenged us to look deeper into the mentality, the images, and the long-standing institutions which contribute to the modern day South.” Snodgrass called the course and their fair “an exceptional educational experience.” “It is unique to be a part of a learning environment that created a community within the classroom while studying the community around us,” she said. Longard said she was pleased to see her students share their research with others and looks forward to hosting it again. “The students engaged everything they had learned in the class,” she said. “The culmination examined what the South is today with an eye towards the past.” CAS
Belmont alum is city’s only board certified early childhood teacher By KARI WOODARD, senior public relations major
Cathy “Clee” Lee is Belmont’s first graduate to achieve certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “Clee was an outstanding student at Belmont and is a wonderful teacher. She is a wonderful ambassador for Belmont and the teaching profession,” said Trevor Hutchins, associate dean for the School of Education. Metro Nashville public schools have 21 teachers who are National Board Certified, but Lee is the only teacher with a specialty in early childhood education. Lee had been teaching formally for 28 years when she became a candidate for National Board Certification. To achieve certification, Lee had to undergo a rigorous series of exams, written entries and submissions. “It is the most rigorous professional development experience I can imagine. It’s like passing the bar but for teachers,” said Lee. The process of certification from the National Board takes one to three years to complete and only a small percentage of candidates are successful. Based on her success and credentials, many find it surprising to learn that Lee came to teaching and to Belmont a little later in life. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from Vanderbilt University, she married, had children and pursued another career. “Teaching was one of those things I had always done in my life, not professionally but through the back door,” said Lee. She began her teaching career while working at her children’s day care program. “I thought, ‘My instincts with children are good, but I have no credibility,’” said
Lee. She began to teach professionally and never looked back. She enrolled in Belmont’s child care administration program and earned her master’s degree in education in 1996. When she learned about Belmont’s federally funded program in special education, directed by Dr. Cynthia Watkins, Lee decided to return to Belmont and earned her master of arts in teaching in 2006. “I thought, ‘If I am going to do this, I am going to really go for it,’” said Lee. Today, Lee teaches a class of 4 and 5 year
olds at Thomas A. Edison Elementary School. About half the children in her classroom have special needs. “It’s great having a blended classroom. The typical children are able to serve as peer models, and in turn they learn a lot of compassion for those with special needs,” said Lee. Lee is also a mentor for other teachers seeking National Board Certification and maintains her ties to Belmont by serving on the Teacher Education Council. “I would like to rave about my great association with the Belmont education department and staff. These educators are deeply committed to offering the best education and opportunities to those who wish to be teachers of our next generation,” said Lee. CAS
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CSI is not just a TV show at Belmont By CHELSEA REED, freshman journalism major
Last year, Belmont student Jessi Lander was poisoned to death by a rare plant called Ninjacus assassinavarum, which according to Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society was like dopamine only with a ninja in the middle of it.
The plant juice, if extracted correctly, works as a fatal food poisoning. Students Robert Gibson and Laura Gerber were suspects, as were cafeteria worker Leon Kennedy and Dr. Robert Grammer, associate dean of the School of Sciences. All were initially accused of intentionally putting the extraction in Lander’s salad. The crime and the investigation were part of Belmont’s annual CSI Week hosted by SAACS. No one was really poisoned, and no plants were harmed either. Students looked at DNA, hair samples and footprints found at the crime scene and fingerprints from a vial of the extraction to figure out whodunit. In the end it was determined Gibson was the killer. He also happens to be the student president of SAACS. “We use science all the time. It can be fun. It doesn’t just have to be a late night in your dorm,” said Gibson. The week also consisted of a guest speaker from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who gave a play-by-play of how he solved a
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gruesome homicide. Students also had lighter events and watched an episode of CSI, the television show. SAACS worked for six months on the event with the biggest decisions being who to kill and how it would happen. “I am pleased and excited that the events this year were so well received by all of the students involved,” said Dr. Alison Moore, professor in the department of chemistry and physics. “While no week-long event is without bumps along the way, our students came through with planning.” CAS
Study Abroad Program Enhances Cultural Awareness By BENJAMIN KANN, senior music business major
Chris Speed learned almost as much about himself as he did the people of India while studying abroad in one of Belmont University’s many international programs. “I don’t think I’ve ever noticed my Americanness before until I went over there. They are so different from everyone that is around you,” said Speed, 20, a junior sociology major who studied abroad in India for two weeks. “It shaped a lot of my appreciation for what I have but also my drive to make things different in my lifetime.” “It helped me to know more of what I wanted to see change,” said Speed. In 2008, 206 Belmont University students, like Speed, studied all over the world. “The relationships involved and the people I met were phenomenal,” said Speed. “Do something that completely scares you. You grow, and you change so much through that.” Belmont’s Study Abroad program is gaining in popularity. The number of Belmont students involved has nearly doubled in five years. “The whole purpose of our study abroad program is for students,” said Associate Dean Dr. Maggie Monteverde. “It is one of the reasons why we have so many different offerings.” Monteverde said the international study program gives students the chance to study and experience another culture in places such as France, China and India. Belmont’s program offers diversity not only in location but also in length. Study Abroad sessions vary from two-week long programs to year-long programs. While overseas, students receive college credit by taking courses related to their program of study. They also get cultural awareness that only comes with living in a foreign country. In 2008, the international education office offered nine programs including new trips to Africa and Greece. Monteverde said one of the reasons the program is so successful is because costs are kept low. “We have some very generous donors who contribute to our study abroad scholarships,” she said. “I work with a number of other schools, and I can honestly say no school has a better relationship between their student
financial services office and their international education office,” she said. Kathy Skinner, the director of international education, also helps students pick affordable and academically challenging programs. Skinner said she advises students to let the international education office help them find programs that fit their academic and financial needs. “Even if you have never borrowed money to attend Belmont, some students do it to study abroad,” said Skinner. Skinner encourages students to apply for the international exchange program because the experience could be life changing. “The best way to find out who you are is to go into another culture,” she said. “Their parents won’t let them borrow money, but they do let them do it for that one thing.” Monteverde said experiencing another culture and being “immersed in settings that are by their nature experiential” is as important as learning inside the classroom. “If I could, I would require every student to do a study abroad program,” said Monteverde. CAS
“I work with a number of other schools, and I can honestly say no school has a better relationship between their student financial services office and their international education office.” Dr. Maggie Monteverde
Belmont Literary Journal gives students a voice to their soul By BENJAMIN KANN, senior music business major
Abby Barnhart, a senior English-writing major, took a risk by submitting a piece of herself to The Belmont Literary Journal. “Writing is kind of like being a different person or getting outside of yourself,” said Barnhart, prose editor for the journal. “I don’t always like what I write so it’s kind of a challenge for me to craft something that’s worth someone else reading.” “I think the journal is a neat outlet for student writing of all different kinds,”
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Barnhart said. “It’s a really cool thing for students to have something published. It goes through a selection process so it’s an honor to be published in it.” In a given year, the English department receives more than 300 student poetry submissions and close to 90 submissions for prose. In 2008, Barnhart was one of more than 80 students who submitted a writing sample or visual art piece to be
considered for the journal, a literary book of student work. “It’s a threshold decision for any writer or visual artist to submit work to be judged,” said Dr. Sandy Hutchins, English professor and journal sponsor. The completely student led journal is produced and created by those who desire to contribute to the publishing process. “I think it’s a historical tradition here on the campus. I came to Belmont in 1989, and it was already well-established. It is the opportunity for students to get involved in production, evaluation, layout, proofreading, design and launching,” said Hutchins. “We have so many talented students that we have no problem producing a high-quality journal. I think it produces an inclusiveness that we don’t always get. We don’t just want English majors, we want the whole campus,” she said. Barnhart agreed. “I would hope that the journal would encourage students to write in different genres and styles,” she said. “It’s encouraging to see other people your age writing.” Hutchins said the challenge comes in allowing others to judge the work. “I think there is a real pride in submitting, and there should be. Each journal has its own kind of individuality,” said Hutchins. At the end of spring semester, the English department hosts a celebration for students whose works were accepted. “We recognize all the staff and contributors, and some people may display their art or read parts of their selections,” said Hutchins. For Hutchins, the Belmont Literary Journal “is a place for freedom and risk-taking.” For Barnhart, it was a risk worth taking. CAS
Belmont hosts math conference By JAMES MCLENDON, senior philosophy major
Strong performances by Belmont students and excellent organization by Belmont faculty added up to a successful spring break for math enthusiasts. The Southeast Section of the Mathematical Association of America Annual Meeting brought students and faculty from the math departments of more than 100 colleges and universities to Belmont’s campus. It was the first time Belmont hosted the event. For two days, 400 students and professors attended lectures, participated in a math treasure hunt, competed in poster competitions, met with graduate school recruiters and played Math Jeopardy. Dr. Sarah Ann Stewart and Dr. Andy Miller, Belmont math professors, organized the conference and were pleased with the final outcome. “It was great! It was hectic and a lot of hard work, but it went really well,” said Stewart. “People said all week they enjoyed the conference and facilities. It was very smooth; we gave a lot of people around the Southeast a good impression of Belmont,” added Miller.
“I always enjoyed meeting other students and seeing where they went to school. This year I got to show off Belmont,” she said. Being on her home court may have been an advantage. She and her teammates on Belmont’s Math Jeopardy team made it to the final round and finished second to Austin Peay State University. While Valentine and her team prepared for the final round of Jeopardy, it was announced that she and her research partner, Catherine Simpson, won the Walt and Susan Patterson Award, a top prize in their section of the poster competition. “I had a lot of fun and did pretty well,” she said. Miller said hosting the conference and having students perform well in the competitions demonstrates how wellrounded Belmont is. “Sometimes our success in music gets so much attention that people don’t realize the other things we do well. Bringing other schools to our campus lets them
In past years, Belmont senior Amy Valentine enjoyed traveling to the conference, but having it on her home campus was especially exciting for her.
see that we are part of the total academic community,” said Miller. In addition to showing other schools what Belmont offers, the conference
provided participants the opportunity to challenge their existing knowledge of math. “People think of math as rigid and rule driven, but mathematics is a social activity. This conference is one way Belmont takes part in that community,” said Miller. CAS
Paradise not lost as Belmont celebrated Milton’s legacy
Belmont students learn from inmates
By JOSHUA DOBBS, senior public relations major
By KARI WOODARD, senior public relations major
More than 50 people celebrated the 400th birthday of legendary author John Milton by watching artistic reenactments of Milton’s vision of Adam and Eve and, of course, eating birthday cake.
Widely considered to be one of the most controversial and influential authors of English literature, Milton was more than just a writer. He not only authored political pamphlets advocating the execution of King Charles but also constructed one of the most well-known epic poems ever written “Paradise Lost.” “This anniversary was a good way to celebrate a poet whose works and life were often misunderstood,” said Dr. Maggie Monteverde, associate dean of the School of Humanities. “The complexity and beauty of his words are something that still fascinates me.” The Milton event was an all-day affair culminating in a mini-symposium in which Belmont professors led discussions about Milton, his life, music, and religious views. But “Paradise Lost” was its focus. “We had three different groups present multimedia projects which illustrated the various parts of ‘Paradise Lost,’ which is by far Milton’s most famous work,” said Monteverde. “‘Paradise Lost’ is one of those poems that people had in their homes. It was something, that at one point in time, wasn’t just a scholarly endeavor, but something which many educated English households owned because of how much they enjoyed it.” Written by a blind Milton over six years and appearing for the first time in 1667, “Paradise Lost” is the “modern” retelling of the Bible’s famous story in Genesis about Adam and Eve and their fall from grace. Monteverde said people at that time related more to Milton’s narrative than the Bible’s. “What Milton writes is something that is close to people’s hearts because of his description of The Fall. It’s something that resonates with them much closer than what the Bible describes,” she said. “It’s all very beautiful, The final lines of ‘Paradise Lost’ are so wonderfully constructed when Milton is describing Adam and Eve leaving Eden and going into the world. He is able to capture
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the sense of solitude between two people and the world in front of them,” she said. To commemorate his 400th birthday, Monteverde had students in her Envisioning Genesis course create multimedia projects which were presented at the event. Nate Woods, a sophomore business major, helped create a short film depicting various scenes from the poem.
“We filmed in a garden at Centennial Park. We used the Parthenon as heaven and we started the first scene by showing Satan’s betrayal of God and then God kicking him out. Every scene we filmed was accurate to Milton,” Woods said. Woods said understanding the poem helped him understand the Bible. “While creating the project and learning about ‘Paradise Lost,’ I was obsessed with Milton’s way of ‘justifying the ways of God to man.’ Everything tied together perfectly as all my previous knowledge about the Bible and Satan became more understandable.” CAS
Belmont University and American Baptist College professors and students collaborate in two new and creative courses - Restorative Justice and Justice in Prison - inside Charles Bass Correctional Complex Annex, a men’s minimum security prison in Nashville. Students from the two universities attend classes alongside “insiders” at the prison. Belmont’s participation in this “Prison Initiative” is in its second year. The classes are based upon theology classes originally taught at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution by Richard Goode, Harmon Wray and Janet Wolf. The prison intiative seeks to create a learning community where insiders and university students can learn from one another based on principles of mutuality and partnership. “I have really learned a lot-and not just on the academic side. The class content is great, but I think maybe the relationships and time we spend there is teaching me the most,” said Nathan Dryden, a junior sociology major. The classes meet for two and a half hours inside the complex every Wednesday and Thursday. The classes are held in community rooms at the facility. The university student and insiders are divided into teams that focus on group work and mutual learning. “I was amazed at the level of mutuality in terms of shared beliefs and experiences, between insiders and our students,” said Dr. Andy Watts, Belmont religion professor who teaches the Justice in Prison class. Chair of Sociology Dr. Andi Stepnick, taught Belmont’s first Restorative Justice class three semesters ago and
was instrumental in implementing the program at Belmont. She taught the course for three consecutive semesters until her sabbatical in spring 2009. In 2007, Stepnick met with Rev. Janet Wolf of American Baptist College, who co-teaches the Restorative Justice course at the complex, to plan the application of the prison initiative at Belmont. Dr. Todd Lake, vice president for spiritual development, encouraged the two women to meet. Wolf and her sister, Glenda Lingo, are active organizers in Nashville’s prison reform movement and have been instrumental in creating partners with Nashville’s universities and prisons. “The more we met--along with co-teacher Glenda Lingo--the more I became convinced about the classes’ ability to transform people,” Stepnick said. “We are all transformed by our mutual partnership.” The program refers to inmates as “insiders” and university students as “outsiders.” Stepnick cites the importance of using democratizing language rather than hierarchical language when describing the partnership. In the courses, all participants are both learners and teachers with different experiences. “The experience has opened my eyes to a lot of the faults of our criminal justice and the philosophical principles it is seated upon,” said Amaryah Armstrong,
a junior English Literature major. “It is definitely a blessing to be able to formulate some kind of relationship with these men and learn about their experiences and perspectives on life.” The Restorative Justice class holds a special graduation ceremony at the complex to commemorate the passing of another semester. Last year Mayor Karl Dean offered words of encouragement at the ceremony for the Restorative Justice class. The classes seek to create lasting relationships while changing the way all students approach the issues of crime and justice. Leaders of Belmont’s prison initiative hope to expand the program by adding more writing and art offerings in future semesters. CAS
Alumni authors visit Belmont Mansion for book signing By CASEY SAVELL, senior public relations major
Belmont University students, faculty and alumni celebrated getting published during a book signing at homecoming week.
Dr. Margaret Monteverde, associate dean of the School of Humanities, edited her first book, Quote, which included poems by Matt King, a senior English major, and Ashley Strosnider who graduated in 2008. Past graduates Lisa Williams, class of 1989, Tammy Andrews, class of 1984 and Brenda Rickman Vantrease, class of 1968, also showcased their books and regaled students with stories of the publishing world and their former lives at Belmont. Monteverde tackled the task of book editing upon the request of former student, Justin Tam, whose band released the album Quote. The book consists of various creative pieces based on each song of the album. Most of Monteverde’s experience has been helping students discover their own vision for essays and thesis, but with this project she had to become more direct. “At first I was concerned if I could do the project justice and although it was a lot of work it was a wonderful experience,” said Monteverde. “I really feel that I branched out in my abilities and it made me develop skills that I use infrequently.” Out of the group working to create
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Quote, King is the only Belmont undergraduate to make a contribution. He used the project as a learning experience about working with a group on a single project and the compromise it took to get it published on deadline. “Even though I wasn’t completely happy with my work,” he said. “I’m glad that this project allowed me to let go and begin thinking about how and why and when I want to publish my other works.” King said the project was able to come together because of its ties to Belmont. “While our work took place outside of the confines of Belmont, there’s no doubt in my mind that the project wouldn’t exist without our experiences at Belmont.” Williams, author of Woman Reading by the Sea, has a different, yet relatable story to getting published. She came to Belmont as a music business major, but after taking a class which piqued her interest switched to English. From there her journey to be an author and professor began. “For a creative writing assignment I did a book of poems and that was really the first time I concentrated on writing poetry,” said Williams. “My professor, Janet Wilson, loved my poems and showed them to other people; feeling encouraged and having that creative assignment was really good and helped me to get started. I keep that in mind when I teach a class. I have one creative assignment to allow students to discover a new talent.” For Andrews, who wrote Of Human Misery, the first in a planned series of 10
books, the desire to write was a part of her life since she was a young child filling journals with fantasy. Her time at Belmont only enhanced her desire to write. “Belmont helped me broaden my knowledge of so many topics and enriched my vocabulary,” said Andrews. “I remember my first day in Dr. Virginia Chaney’s class I let ‘ain’t’ slip and she slapped my hand and told me that we don’t say that word here at Belmont. To this day I don’t use it and cringe when I hear it.” Vantrease has the most unusual story of the authors. She didn’t see success from writing until after she stopped working as a teacher and librarian for Nashville Metro Schools in 1991. “After I retired, I decided I would really work on writing and get serious,” said Vantrease. “I didn’t have an excuse not to.” After receiving 136 rejections for the first book she attempted to publish, she didn’t give up. “After that many rejections I built up some pretty thick skin, so when I started sending out the next one I was expecting the same thing, but it pretty quickly got picked up,” said Vantrease. The Illuminator, which has more than 100,000 copies in print and has been translated into 14 languages in 17 countries, gave Vantrease the encouragement to continue the process. She is currently promoting her second published book, The Mercy Seller, sequel to The Illuminator. When Vantrease attended Belmont, it was still small enough that the Mansion served as the common area for her dormitory. “I have really great memories of this place, and it is really a hoot to come back for a book signing here,” said Vantrease. “I think my English teachers would be proud of me, don’t you?” CAS
Recent grads land great jobs By HILLARY BOND, senior public relations major
Recent graduate Courtney Clydesdale is living in Los Angeles working at her dream job. She said she couldn’t have done it without the strong education and support she got at Belmont. Clydesdale is the production coordinator for “Crash Course,” a reality program to be piloted this summer by ABC. She graduated from Belmont with a degree in communication studies and has been working as a freelance production assistant since May 2008. “My first experience as a production assistant was for the 2007 CMT Awards at Belmont, and I really got a feel for what goes into the production of a show,” said Clydesdale. “The day after graduation, I packed my things and drove to California to pursue this line of work.” The communication studies department played a key role in Clydesdale’s professional development. “During my time as a communication studies student, I learned how to work with people, probably one of the most important skills to have while working on a production project,” she said. Clydesdale’s professors helped her discover her unique video talents. “My last semester, I started making short videos to accompany my speeches, and my professors gave me great feedback,” said Clydesdale. “They challenged and encouraged me to grow in my own style.” Clydesdale has worked as a production assistant for many different television shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” “America’s Best Dance Crew,” “The Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” and “American Music Awards.” “The specific tasks of my job change
according to the show I am working on,” said Clydesdale. “I have done everything from coordinating food arrival for the cast and crew to wrangling talent and assisting producers.”
Courtney Clydesdale Anne Roberts, another 2008 graduate, said she too landed her dream job, even though it has less glitz and glamour. She is the assistant director of communications at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, Ga. She graduated from Belmont with a degree in public relations and says her internship with the university’s Office of Communications prepared her very well for her job. “My internship in the Office of Communications was the opportunity of a lifetime for me because the staff was very encouraging and they made me feel like part of the team”, said Roberts. “I was given opportunities to work on Belmont FYI, Circle, write press releases, pitch
stories, brainstorm and even participate in the planning and execution of press conferences.” Belmont public relations instructor Susan Barnes helped Roberts land her job at the school. “At the time, Susan was working with Lighthouse Counsel, a consulting firm retained by Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, and she told me that Mount Vernon was searching for an assistant director of communications,” said Roberts. “I assured her that I was interested in the position, she put me in contact with Mount Vernon, and the rest is history.” Roberts was involved with Belmont’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and served as the student director of Tower Creative Consultants, the university’s student-run public relations firm. As the assistant director of communications, Roberts’ day-to-day tasks vary, an aspect of the job she enjoys. Some of her duties include writing and editing the school’s newsletter and magazine, covering school athletic events, communicating and interacting with media and researching and writing press releases. “While at Belmont, I discovered my passion for public relations in education and I’m so fortunate to have landed a job, that I love in a field that I admire.” Clydesdale agreed and said Belmont not only helped her land a great job but helped her understand more about herself as an individual. “It took me until my last semester to realize I did my best when I was myself,” said Clydesdale. “Belmont showed me that the world doesn’t need another person to fit a cookie cutter mold, but that being unique is what makes you interesting.” CAS
Belmont hosts and wins Southeast Journalism Conference By CHELSEA REED, freshman journalism major
In February 2008, Belmont hosted the Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC) and won the overall competition.
Students competed in media Century Journalism program which is competitions testing their skills against rooted in adapting traditional journalism those of students from other universities to work with new forms of media. and attended panels given by professionals Student journalists used new media from across the region and country. extensively in covering the Town Hall The on-site competition pitted Presidential Debate. student journalists against each other Melanie Bengtson, the student in categories including video reporting, president for the SEJC, was a model public relations, breaking news and example of Belmont’s program. She has editorial cartoons. been the managing editor Belmont earned the “I love Belmont, and photography editor highest number of and I’m really of The Vision, Belmont’s points among all 29 student news publication to get and also worked on participating schools. happy Two Belmont students the chance to Debate08 coverage. even won individual first “I love Belmont, and share it with I’m really happy to get place awards. The panel discussions people from out the chance to share it gave students insight with people from out of into the real world of town.” town,” said Bengtson. of journalism with Belmont students who MELANIE BENGTSON, competed said they did several sessions focusing student president well because Belmont’s on new technology for the SEJC program is geared to the and how to apply it to journalism. real world. The hosts of Liberadio(!), Mary “It just seemed like second nature to Mancini and Freddie O’Connell, us because Belmont’s journalism program explained how new forms of technology is built on a multimedia base,” said Lance furthered talk radio, and Belmont alumni Conzett, Belmont journalism major. Nathan Baker hosted a brainstorming Thom Storey, associate dean for the session combating the lameness of School of Social Sciences and chair of the Internet. the media studies department, said it is Gene Policinski from The First the department’s job to properly prepare Amendment Center moderated a group students for the changing media and was of Ole Miss and Belmont students pleased the students were able to showcase “Debating the Debate” since each their talents. school hosted a debate during the past “We feel that as educators we presidential campaign. have an obligation to provide things The conference and its theme were like this outside the classroom for perfectly matched with Belmont’s New our students.” CAS College of Arts & Sciences
education initiative lures future teachers into the classroom By MACKENZIE FISCHER, senior public relations major
Belmont’s special education initiative is luring working adults to become teachers for high-need children.
“The opportunity given to work under two separate mentors has exposed me to an array of teaching styles and techniques. Thanks to the quality of the 4+1 program, I feel confident that I am fully prepared to pursue my vocation as a teacher.” CAS
The program, in its fourth year, trains adults who are midlife career changers “to work with some of the schools’ most needy children,” said Dr. Cynthia Watkins, director of the program. About 40 adult students are currently in the program teaching full-time during the day and going to class at night. The program focuses on being field-based with student teachers spending two years in the classroom with supervision instead of doing traditional student teaching. During the two-and-a-half year program, which results in both a master’s degree and certification, students receive tuition support from a grant from the state. Along with the special education incentive, Belmont’s education department has also developed a 4+1 program allowing students who minor in education as an undergraduate to return for a fifth year to complete a master of arts in teaching. After being accepted to graduate school, students complete an internship and in the ‘plus one’ year work full time in schools alongside a mentor teacher. “It is a wonderful opportunity for students to get a full year of teaching experience, earn a master’s degree, and obtain teaching licensure,” said Dr. Sally Barton-Arwood, department chair. Graduate student Mandy Stanley said the program, funded by a grant from the state, has well prepared her for a career in teaching. “The chance to teach in two separate grade levels within my licensure area has provided me with a full year of handson classroom experience” making her well qualified as a teacher, she said.
Science research magical, fun and challenging By HANNAH BETH CUNNINGHAM, junior public relations major
Ever think research could be fun? It is for the students participating in the Science Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Belmont’s next generation of budding scientists enjoyed the fifth annual Science Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) last December. SURS gives students in different majors the chance to present their research in exhibit posters and through oral presentations. With 44 posters and 11 oral presentations, all science departments were represented including biology, chemistry and physics, mathematics and computer science, and psychology. This year’s SURS was the largest and most successful Belmont has seen yet. “This year had the biggest participation rate, and it’s growing every year,” said Dr. Robert Grammer, the associate dean of the School of Sciences. This year’s symposium focused on a wide array of discoveries including studies on zebrafish, research on Parkinson’s disease and investigations about infections found in close communities like Belmont’s campus. One research project by Roshni N. Patel, a biology major, focused on how caffeine can enhance short term memory. Her project used zebrafish to test a theory she thought to be true in humans. Although Patel was continuing research done in a previous symposium using smaller doses of caffeine, her findings were considerably larger. “People are interested in things they can relate to, like caffeine,” said Patel. “What college student hasn’t pulled an allnighter? I’m sure there was caffeine involved in that.” Not all of the symposium’s projects were solely scientific
College of Arts & Sciences
or voluntary. In Dr. Sarah Ann Stewart’s Discrete Math course, participating in the symposium is a requirement. Fortunately, most of her students said they enjoyed their symposium experience. Callie Goyer and her partner, Ashley Elrod, formed a project called “Math Magic” and used a series of math problems that appear to have magical outcomes. “We just wanted to have fun. We picked a topic that was fun. We wanted to show the fun side of math,” said Goyer. Other projects were more research based and technical. Sarah Claiborne, a physics and chemistry major, and her partner Amy L. Valentine, a mathematics major, presented research on a differential equation called “Discovering the Curve-Creating Black Box.” Their research, which has spanned three semesters, involved finding the line between one dimension and two dimensions and examining random motion in particles. Claiborne found the symposium rewarding and challenging. “It was interesting to explain our project to people who don’t have the same math background as we do,” said Claiborne. Grammer said the symposium is a chance to showcase student research to the Belmont community. “The students had a great time, and they had fun,” said Grammer. “Hopefully next year’s will be even more successful.” CAS
Humanities and Asian studies unite for environment By ANNA CHATHAM, senior public relations major
The eighth annual fall humanities symposium: Nature and the Human Spirit will team-up with the Asian studies program in fall 2009 to offer diverse perspectives of the environment. “It is a global issue that has implications for all areas: business to poetry, religion to politics. I want people to have a growing appreciation for the environmental challenges ahead and our resources for coping with them,” said Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, chairman of the department of philosophy and director of Asian studies. Inspired by the university-wide theme for 2009-2010: Ecology, Sustainability and the Environment, the symposium committee will host lectures, a movie, student readings and a hike at The Nature Conservancy to demonstrate the different ways people view nature. It will also share speakers with the faculty workshop on Asia and the environment. “It is a wonderful opportunity to share themes while we have experts from other countries here,” said Dr. Andrea Stover, director of the writing program and member of the symposium’s planning committee. “We will provide a broader option for Belmont students and faculty. Taking advantage of other speakers will hopefully bring a synergy, energetic presence,” said Littlejohn. Speakers for the symposium include: Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning poet; Janisse Ray, writer, naturalist and activist; and Belmont University alumna Adrienne Young, musician and activist for sustainable agriculture. Peter Hershock, coordinator of the Asian studies development program at the
East-West Center, will speak at a faculty workshop. There will also be a showing of Manufactured Landscapes, a documentary about the impact of industrial work on the environment. The Asian studies faculty workshop will be Sept. 17 to Sept. 19. All are invited to attend the Humanities Symposium on Sept. 13 to Sept. 21. For Stover, the experience “is a real gift. This will broaden the base of knowledge and culture we get to hear about on campus.” CAS
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Cover photo by Chris Speed