CAS CADE WINTER 2017
Q+A LIFE LESSONS FEATURE IRRESISTIBLE CHALLENGE SOCIAL SCIENCES KIDS AND CARE
The greaT Pretender Spoofing an exotic flower of the Andes to solve an evolutionary puzzle
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON COLLEGE OF ARTS + SCIENCES
ONE PERSON AT A TIME WISE WORDS FROM A VETERAN TO A ‘GREEN’ DEAN uly 1, 2013: my first day as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Also the day that I reached out to Professor Emeritus Joe Stone, who held the post from 1996 to 2006. I asked what every novice dean should ask someone who has a decade of experience in the position: “What advice do you have for being dean of the college?” Joe said, “Just remember, you manage the college one person at a time.” I nodded my head and said something sage like, “Of course.” In truth—of course!—I had no clue how difficult this would be in a college with approximately 800 faculty, 1,000 graduate student employees, 200 staff, 11,000 majors and 109,000 alumni. Even so, I try to honor Joe’s advice every day as I work to fulfill the university’s mission of research excellence and student success. At every step, I try to remember the individuality of my colleagues and students, and how—as much as I often wish it were the case— one size almost never fits all. Serving the remarkable diversity of people within this college is not just my greatest challenge, it is the greatest challenge of public higher education in America. For me, this challenge resonates in a very personal way. As the father of five Ducks—four of them graduates and a fifth who is a senior, all of them in my college—I have watched with delight and dismay as my children navigated their journey in strikingly different ways. Each encountered different personal and academic obstacles and opportunities and each needed different
resources. When I think of how varied my own children’s paths have been, I am daunted and humbled by the job before me now: reaching tens of thousands of students from all walks of life and giving each of them the individualized attention they need and deserve. It is this desire to serve each student that leads to the vision for the Tykeson College and Careers Building. You will read more about the plans for this remarkable facility later in this issue of Cascade (see p. 8). It is a trailhead for all students, a place where each will be able to chart a personal path through the liberal arts that enriches their intellectual lives and leads to careers. Simply put, it is a building designed for student success. Other public universities are similarly committed to their students; we will collaborate and learn from one another. But Oregon is the first to underscore its dedication to linking personal, academic and career success through the development of a multimillion-dollar structure designed entirely for those outcomes. Tykeson Hall, the new home of the college, will realize our public mission of serving students from every walk of life. As a parent, I have learned that this individualized attention to students—to your children and mine—is both difficult and essential. This focus will be the vibrant heart of Tykeson Hall. It is a place that will, I dearly hope, bring to life Joe Stone’s admonition to serve the college, one person at a time.
W. ANDREW MARCUS, TYKESON DEAN
W. Andrew Marcus is Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences. He is a professor of geography and proud parent of four UO graduates and one current UO student, all in the arts and sciences.
6 THE GREAT PRETENDER
SPOOFING AN EXOTIC FLOWER OF THE ANDES
TYKESON HALL: ‘AN IRRESISTIBLE CHALLENGE’
INNOVATIVE CAMPUS CENTER ALIGNS ACADEMIC ADVISING AND CAREER GUIDANCE
Q+A: LESSONS IN LIFE
TEACHING FOURTH-GRADERS IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA
ONE SMALL STEP, WONDER-FUL WORLD, WAR AND MUSIC, PROBING POMPEII
EARTH FIRST, KIDS’ CARE, ROMA, MAJOR MINOR
ON ICE, BIG SCREEN, CELL POWER, NUMB TO THE NUMBERS
MAKING HISTORY, ATOM SMASHER, KNIGHT PROJECT, GETTING SCHOOLED
INSIDE OUT, MATH MASTER, BOOK SMART, QUEEN OF FANTASY
COVER: ILLUSTRATION DEPICTS DRACULA SPECTRUM, A RELATIVE OF DRACULA LAFLEURII, A SPECIES FOUND IN CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA THAT HAS DRAWN THE INTEREST OF UO BIOLOGISTS (P. 6).
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Lessons in Life Mike Copperman set out to teach poor kids in the Mississippi Delta. But who was teaching whom? INTERVIEW BY JIM MUREZ
EFORE HE JOINED THE University of Oregon as an English instructor, Mike Copperman taught in one of the most demanding educational environments in America: a poverty-stricken area of the rural Mississippi Delta. Fresh from college in 2002, Copperman (right) worked for the nonprofit organization Teach for America, serving as a first-time teacher in the public schools. His lofty goal was to offer underprivileged children an education that might help them find a path out of hardship. But in a cash-strapped district beset by challenges, Copperman quickly found that he was lucky simply to make it to 3 p.m. each day without difficulties in his classroom that stopped his lessons cold. In his new memoir, Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta, Copperman recounts his experience as a young educator in over his head. He describes, in frank, vivid language, the promise and problems of his fourth-grade students and the colossal hurdles they faced at home and in the classroom. Over a bittersweet two years, Copperman and his kids taught each other hard lessons about life, often inadvertently. But that knowledge serves Copperman today, as he teaches introductory writing to a diverse group of UO students who face challenges not unlike those of the kids he encountered 15 years ago.
A girl you call “Felicia” was perhaps your favorite student—and also the source of your most painful experience. What was her story?
MIKE COPPERMAN: Felicia was brilliant; she had a near-poet’s tongue. She learned the basics of algebra without any real instruction in it. She was always the first to school and she helped me prepare the classroom for the day.
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But she was having struggles at home. Felicia’s mother was with a boyfriend in Georgia, so Felicia and her brother had been living with their grandmother. Her mother came back, gathered her things and told Felicia that she was leaving for good. Felicia begged to go with her, but her mother said she didn’t ever want Felicia again, that she’d never wanted her at all. That started Felicia on a downward spiral. It was her against the world—she began harming others and disrupting everyone’s opportunity to learn, harassing the most vulnerable students. I used every technique I could to get her back in line. But ultimately, she was expelled. Some kids told me recently that she’s incarcerated.
Sounds like this was one of your many unexpected lessons.
MC: I was 23. Letting her go seemed like I was abandoning her, but I sacrificed too much trying to keep her in my classroom. When I recognized how much of my attention and energy had gone to her, I realized it was unfair to the other kids. I should have let her go earlier. Pseudonyms are used for students from Mississippi and the University of Oregon to protect their privacy.
You had another student, Serenity— perhaps the most challenged of all your kids—who ultimately succeeded. That must have been a very different kind of lesson.
THE WORLD AROUND FELICIA WASN’T ADEQUATE TO CREATE SOMEONE WHO WOULD GROW UP AND BE OK.
UNIVERSITY PRESS OF MISSISSIPPI
MC: Serenity demonstrated to
“An artist painted the picture that I used for the book cover, and when I saw it, I thought, that could be Felicia. That is her at her best: doing work, and immersed in it, with so much before her. When I look back at her I can’t help but see the promise that she embodied.”
Felicia lashed out when she was expelled, disparaging you as being part of the “white establishment.” What do you feel when you think about her today?
MC: Sorrow. The world around Felicia wasn’t adequate to create someone who would grow up and be OK. It doesn’t make it right, but there was a kind of inevitability to what became of her. I remember asking the students once to write a paragraph about what Santa ought to bring them; Felicia wrote, “Someone to love who gone love me back.”
me that children are resilient beyond what I could have imagined. She was from a family of extreme poverty. Holes in her khakis. She sometimes didn’t smell good because the water at her house was turned off. She was taking care of her younger brother almost full time. When asked where her mother was, she’d shrug—her mom was “always messed up,” the kids said. More than once I caught a child mocking her. All Serenity wanted to do was read all day and escape the life she had. She would wall herself off with a beanbag chair in a corner where kids couldn’t get at her, and read. Harry Potter was her favorite—she liked the empowerment of the children, with the spells and the magic and their inevitable happy endings. I was determined to reach Serenity, to give her a chance. I told her she was smart and bright and should just read and she was going to be successful. She went from a fourth-grade reading level to that of an 11th-grader during that year. She made the honor roll in high school and went to college. She is poised to go to graduate school to become a social worker and help people who are, she says, like she was.
I was talking with Serenity recently and she thanked me for that year, said it was different from her other years in elementary school, which all blurred together. I guess for her that year was formative.
You characterized as “traumatizing” your experiences with corporal punishment. What happened?
MC: It was my philosophy that good teaching is good classroom management. But the schools there relied on corporal punishment. The assistant principal paddled kids, and he was a very large man. He used a three-foot-long paddle. It’s not spanking. It’s designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain. At the height of my frustration at a particular point in my first year, and having a classroom full of children making animal noises day after day after day, I wrote referrals to the assistant principal for about 10 kids. They got 100 licks, altogether—the chalkboard was smeared with mucous from crying children. There was one boy, Antiquarian, who always looked up to me. I remember him turning back and looking at me—he was being held responsible for something that I’m not sure he had even caused.
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He was a bright, animated, extremely troubled young man who was being abused at home, and I taught him that the world wasn’t just, the world goes to the strongest bully with the biggest stick. It will probably always stay with me.
You wrestled with deep guilt over your role in paddlings. Have you forgiven yourself?
MC: I was in survival mode. The behavior
Copperman, circa 2003, in the Mississippi Delta
SERENITY WENT FROM A FOURTH-GRADE READING LEVEL TO THAT OF AN 11TH-GRADER IN ONE YEAR. SHE WANTS TO BECOME A SOCIAL WORKER AND HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE ‘LIKE SHE WAS.’
of some kids was extraordinarily difficult—I write about a girl who could size up an adult in five minutes and say something which cut right to the heart of their greatest insecurity. I threw a child out of class who had spit in my face. The inability to process much of what went on during the worst periods of my first year is part of what drove me to write this book. When I was in the middle of it, it was much harder to make those value judgments. It took me a lot of years to get at that convoluted mix of things that was true at the time, which is that I genuinely loved those kids, wanted to help them, wanted to teach them well.
What do you bring from teaching fourth grade in the Mississippi Delta to teaching introductory writing at the University of Oregon?
MC: I have a deep need, given what I saw in the Delta, to offer students what I can. The kids I teach now are very much similar to those kids in Mississippi. They’re low-income, first-generation students of color. There are no guarantees for a freshman from a disadvantaged
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background who has defeated the odds and has just gotten into college—they drop out of this institution at two to three times the regular rate. As I write in the book, each day in the classroom with these 18-year-olds, I imagine that I’m speaking directly to those kids for whom I wanted so much.
Take us into the classroom with your 18-year-olds and their assignments.
MC: Each term, I teach two introductory writing classes, each with 18 freshmen. These are students who have been identified as at-risk by the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, and the center encourages them to take the class. It’s a strategy to help these students gain a skill set and confidence, and connect with other students who are not a majority—they often will make friendships. I’m having students discuss, question, relate, share and assess ideas in small groups and then individually. Then they write papers that take into account a variety of viewpoints, a close reading of different texts, the modeling of critical and analytical thinking and how that plays out as you’re doing a formal writing assignment. We also explore identity. We consider texts in which writers write about their own identity: Zora Neale Hurston’s “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” and Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B.” We’re reading for technique and literary qualities, and then the students write about their own experiences in identity. It gives students an opportunity to write from the heart about those things that are most important to them.
What experiences do these freshman students write about?
MC: Growing up in migrant families, working from the age of 4 or 5 in the fields, and the tremendous responsibility of having your parents put their hopes and dreams onto you. I see students coming from low-income backgrounds, trying to reconcile the sense that they are leaving their families behind or that they are better than their families in some sort of way by seeking an education. Sometimes they write about the violence they’ve been through. Or what their siblings have gone through. Or what their parents have gone through. These students carry a lot.
What’s something you learned in Mississippi that you apply at the UO?
MC: There are almost always reasons why students act the way they do. Not excuses, but reasons. I had a UO student whom I called Caron in the book. When I first saw him, he was sitting, arms crossed, slouched, backwards baseball cap. I had told the students I’ll call you whatever you want me to call you; he introduced himself as “Bad.” That was not really the identity I was looking to put onto someone. His behavior was outrageous for the university level—speaking in the background every time I spoke, satirizing or commenting on it or knocking it, and refusing to exchange with me in any way. That threw me right back into the most traumatic experiences of that first year in Mississippi, but I knew how much worse classroom behavior could actually get, so I knew this was not that bad. And I knew that there had to be a reason that was underpinning his behavior.
WITH THESE 18-YEAROLDS, I IMAGINE THAT I’M SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO THOSE KIDS FOR WHOM I WANTED SO MUCH.
In his final essay, Caron apologized to me and explained that that was how he responded whenever he felt out of his depth. He hadn’t been trying to be disruptive. He went on to talk about an experience that was foundational to him in the African country where he had come from: Soldiers had put a gun right up to his temple and told him to give away the location of his mother, father and brother. He had held onto that trauma, the shame of being willing to give everyone up.
Any success stories among your introductory writing students?
MC: There are so many students who have gone on to tremendous success. One person in particular is a young man from north Portland; he grew up in an immigrant community with mostly black people, at one of the lower-income schools. I remember watching him as he began to think critically about the world around him and where he’d grown up. We discussed the American dream, the promises America makes to immigrants and minorities, and the reality of what is actually available to them. He recognized the significance of the lack of facilities and classrooms and teachers in the high school he had attended.
That class was the beginning of his awareness and critical thinking. He joined Teach for America himself and was placed in East Los Angeles and won an outstanding teacher award. He’s a teaching superstar—he’s extraordinarily inspiring.
Throughout Teacher, you wrestle with whether you were a success or a failure in Mississippi. How do you see it today?
MC: Having gone back recently and talked to my 22-year-old former fourthgraders, I realize that those years in the classroom made a tremendous difference. Not for the reasons that Teach for America would have assumed, not from a teacher’s perspective like “we did this curriculum” or “everyone achieved this level of proficiency on this test.” It was a whole host of small things—a particular project, or the aggregation of all these days in which my classroom was a safe, comfortable, encouraging space where the students were told that they could achieve, and that achievement meant just trying. Those years in the classroom saved no one from poverty or struggle. They didn’t lift those kids to success through one year of instruction. That’s not how education works. But my persistent belief in them, or the chance to play kickball with kids on a field on some sunny day, or the patience I somehow found to deal with a kid who was losing his temper—those small actions resonate in larger ways. Those things made a bigger difference than I knew.
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The FAKING OUT FLIES with a 3-D printer
an you find the real orchid? Only one of these is an actual Dracula lafleurii—the others are silicone shams, created with the help of a 3-D printer to study the importance of the flower’s maroon markings in attracting mushroom flies. The real orchid is on the bottom
left—the one with speckles in the middle and solid color at the edges. The colors for the three imposters were digitally matched to the original but even so, the flies weren’t interested in the solid and striped varieties; only the spotted version (top right) rivaled the real deal in terms of fly-attracting appeal. That suggested that the pattern of the markings is more important than color, in terms of drawing pollinators that ensure the flower’s survival. PHOTOS: BITTY ROY (ALL BUT LOWER LEFT); TOBIAS POLICHA (LOWER LEFT)
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HE DRACULA ORCHID is so-named because its blood-red coloration and long, petal-like sepals suggested to some the famous vampire. But the flower is more con artist than menace. Native to Central and South America, the orchid survives because it uses trickery to entice mushroom flies into landing on it, triggering pollination. But what draws the hungry flies? Is it the flower’s labellum, a central petal that visitors take for an appetizing mushroom but which is, alas, an imposter? Or the orchid’s elaborate markings? Perhaps it’s the cocktail of intoxicating fungal scents emanating from different parts of the flower? Scientists were at a loss. But they knew that answering this question would help unlock how flowers ensure their survival through mimicry. To solve this evolutionary riddle, UO biologists Tobias Policha and Bitty Roy called upon the latest technology—a 3-D printer.
Spoofing an exotic flower of the Andes to solve an evolutionary puzzle
Working with visual artist Melinda Barnadas of California, the scientists created lifelike flowers of silicone, testing each of the orchid’s features individually in an Ecuadorean forest. The answer: Sight and smell count equally—the flies find irresistible the orchid’s mushroom-like fragrance, and the spotted sepals advertise that it’s a good place to stop for a bite. The fabrication method used by the UO team is expected to open new doors across evolutionary ecology. “It’s a really important contribution,” said Florian Schiestl, a botanist with the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “It’s going to be an important technique for pollination ecology in general.” —MC
Pretender HYBRID BEAUTIES
he biologists created “chimeras”—part real, part fabricated—to test the importance of look and scent in drawing pollinators. Pictured above, left to right, are a real Dracula orchid; an artificial one (with more white, above the first); a third (center) with an artificial labellum—the mushroom-shaped petal in the center—and real sepals; and a fourth (right) with a real labellum and fake sepals. The scientists found that the spotted sepals and the fungi-like labellum—and their scent—all drive attraction.
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Architects Isaac Campbell and Michelle LaFoe in their Portland studio, with a model of Tykeson Hall. Their most recent project was a 109,000-square-foot nanobio-energy complex at Carnegie Mellon University. “We want to work with people who are leading,” said LaFoe.
PHOTO: DINA AVILA
A ‘ n Irresistible Challenge’ How to build a go-to ‘college and careers’ center that surrounds students with resources, services and mentors—and invites them to engage BY LISA RALEIGH
The UO College of Arts and Sciences is forging a new trail in higher education with the Tykeson College and Careers Building.
UO—particularly in an age when students have the mistaken impression that all answers can be found on their smartphones.
National business publications like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal affirm that today’s employers are demanding graduates with a tested portfolio of liberal arts skills— specifically, communications, analysis, problem-solving and collaboration skills. But many students don’t take full advantage of the liberal arts education offered at the
Universities across the nation are grappling with the best way to help undergraduates navigate their academic experience and more intentionally set themselves on a path to a meaningful future. The UO is leading the way with Tykeson Hall.
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Designed from the ground up to align academic advising, career guidance and portfolio-building opportunities, Tykeson Hall will be a concrete realization of the promise of a liberal arts education, creating a welcoming environment that engages students. Our architects have been selected and they are hard at work with the CAS leadership team to help realize a forward-thinking vision: to maximize student success.
ocation, location, location. It’s a time-tested maxim in the world of real estate: Location can be a pivotal factor in the success of a building. In the case of Tykeson Hall, the building’s success will be measured by the success of the thousands upon thousands of students who will walk through its doors and begin a journey toward their future lives and careers. And the location of Tykeson Hall, according to the architects, is “one of the best sites we’ve ever seen.” “A project of this importance warrants a site of this value,” said Isaac Campbell, who along with his design partner, Michelle LaFoe, has been commissioned to design the Tykeson College and Careers Building. “The UO made a very wise and prescient decision regarding its location.” Tykeson Hall will be situated at the very heart of campus, on East 13th Avenue between historic Johnson and Chapman Halls—a central location befitting a building that will have farreaching impact on the university as a whole and the success of future generations of students. “The vision of this building is central to the university, and so the site should be central,” said LaFoe. Campbell and LaFoe’s Portlandbased architectural firm, Office 52 Architecture, specializes in design for higher-education clients, earning national acclaim for their design of such projects as the recently completed Scott Hall, the new 109,000-squarefoot Nano-Bio-Energy Technologies Building at Carnegie Mellon University. “We were extremely fortunate to have attracted architects of this national stature,” said W. Andrew Marcus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Office 52 was inspired to compete for this project for several reasons. Most important was the purpose of the building itself. “In our experience in higher education, we have never seen anyone doing a building like this,” said LaFoe.
Figure 1. The College of Arts and Sciences is a sprawling academic enterprise, spanning 49 buildings on campus (the major ones are highlighted in brown on this map). Tykeson Hall, with its central location, will be designed as a gateway to all of CAS—“a place where you begin, where you end, where you come back to,” according to the architects. The map indicates the site—the L-shaped parcel for the building.
“It’s a very powerful idea. We want to work with people who are leading.” Tykeson Hall will be the first of its kind—designed, from the ground up, to integrate academic advising with the campus Career Center, surrounding students with resources, services and mentors that further their success, in a setting that invites them to engage. Along with a compelling vision and prime location—two undeniable assets, from an architect’s point of view—the Tykeson project also poses a number of compelling design challenges. According to both Campbell and LaFoe, that’s where the fun begins.
“A PROJECT OF THIS IMPORTANCE WARRANTS A SITE OF THIS VALUE.”
The design conundrum
ykeson Hall will be a headquarters for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the core academic unit of the UO. CAS is home to 800 faculty, 42 fields of study and 11,000 students majoring in those fields—a huge academic enterprise comprising 60–65 percent of the university (depending on how you measure it: majors, faculty, degrees granted), dispersed across 49 buildings (see Fig. 1). Yet CAS has no main building that serves as a focal point or hub. Campbell and LaFoe, who are teaming up with Eugene-based Rowell Brokaw Architects for this project, were surprised by the absence of a “home base” for the college. “This is the central college within a flagship institution, and it doesn’t have a place where you begin, where you end, where you come back to?” asked Campbell. “That made for an
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education. How can it both build on the legacy of the past and signify an emphasis on forward momentum?
OLD CAMPUS QUAD
LILLIS BUSINESS COMPLEX
Open space makes the place
COLLIER HOUSE WOMENS MEMORIAL QUAD
Figure 2. The transitional space behind Chapman Hall will be transformed into an outdoor room—“The Courtyard”—just off the Memorial Quad. This will be a focal point unto itself, but more important, it will create a strong indoor-outdoor connection with Tykeson Hall and help draw students in to discover the amenities of this unique building.
irresistible challenge. How could you not want to do this? There’s an opportunity here to make an impact on the entire institution.” The goal is for Tykeson Hall to serve as the centerpiece for CAS. But how can a single building, with a relatively small footprint, become the gateway to all the rest? As Campbell points out, at 65,000 square feet, Tykeson Hall is not very large. The departments and programs in the other 49 buildings will remain where they are. What are the design parameters that will establish Tykeson Hall as the center for two-thirds of the university? “We love hard problems,” said Campbell. “And this is an interesting one.”
New kid on the block Because it will be standing shoulder to shoulder with classic buildings constructed a century ago, Tykeson Hall must honor the historic character of the
ANYONE WHO HAS ATTENDED THE UO CAN ATTEST TO THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF TREES. campus core. “You can walk around and look at the brick on those buildings, feel the work of the masons, the craftsmanship and the care that went into it; it gives the buildings humanity and a sense of scale,” said Campbell. “This building needs to somehow channel that.” And yet, through its architectural design, Tykeson Hall must also signal a world of future possibilities and the spirit of a 21st-century liberal arts
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SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART
Major universities all over the country are running out of real estate and relying on creative solutions to take advantage of interstitial spaces (those between existing structures)—but there’s also an imperative to preserve open space. “This makes the landscape of campus even more precious,” said LaFoe. At the UO, this is of primary importance. As LaFoe describes it: “One of the most intriguing and marvelous things about the UO is the sense of community. People talk about this here in a way they don’t talk about it at other campuses. And it is manifested by the phenomenal framework of open spaces—the way people move through campus and gather and connect. The space makes the place.” Inserting a new building into the landscape thus has the potential to enhance—or disrupt—the flow of human connection across campus.
‘L’ is for landscape
he parcel for Tykeson Hall is L-shaped, comprising the space between Johnson and Chapman Halls (currently a parking lot), and wrapping around into a mini-quad situated on the south side of Chapman. Given the target square footage of Tykeson Hall, the architects could have designed a threestory L-shaped structure that follows the shape of the parcel, or a four-story rectangular structure situated only in the current parking lot location—leaving the leg of the L for other purposes. The architects opted for the latter solution (see Fig. 2), realizing that this choice helps address two of the problems outlined above. By preserving—and upgrading—this
The Tykeson College and Careers Building will be the first of its kind in the nation: a campus resource designed from the ground up to integrate academic advising and the campus Career Center. Teamed together, these services will help students more intentionally navigate their academic experience and prepare for careers. Tykeson Hall will be situated at the nexus of campus activity, between Chapman Hall (bottom left) and Johnson Hall (top center).
mini-quad area, they can (1) create an inviting entrance into Tykeson Hall in a highly trafficked area, situating it as a gateway to all of CAS, and (2) establish an elegant and meaningful continuity with the adjoining open space—namely, the main university quad, also known as Memorial Quad. Memorial Quad is a spacious lawn, crisscrossed with pedestrian pathways, shaded by mature oak trees and bracketed on the south by Knight Library and on the north by East 13th Avenue. It has been the location of countless graduation ceremonies, musical performances, rallies, art installations, even ESPN College GameDay events. In warm weather, students flock to this lawn to study, sunbathe, play Frisbee and chat. Thousands of students traverse the quad every day; it is part of the defining landscape of the student experience. “It’s a space for the whole university,” said Campbell. The mini-quad behind Chapman,
adjacent to Memorial Quad, is mostly used as a transitional space. The architects observed how people utilize this portion of campus and saw that
students, faculty and staff stream across it on a daily basis—on their way to somewhere else, but it is not a destination.
Tykeson Hall: At a glance • 65,000 square feet • Modern, spacious design, combined with classic campus architecture • New home for both CAS “headquarters” and the UO campus Career Center • Center for integrated advising (academic and career) to help students envision their personal and professional future—and design a plan for getting there • Large and small classrooms for introductory composition and math classes that will “activate” the building, with approximately 340 general classroom seats • Welcoming atrium, the CAS Commons, creating a centralized hub of campus activity and a seamless connection with the courtyard shared with Chapman Hall • Groundbreaking scheduled for late 2017
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Owning it By taking ownership of this space and turning it into a beautifully landscaped open area for Tykeson Hall, shared with Chapman Hall, the architects intend to create an inviting and vital outdoor room—“The Courtyard”—just off the Memorial Quad (see Fig. 2). This new campus space will be a focal point unto itself, but more importantly, it will create a strong indoor-outdoor connection with the indoor atrium of Tykeson Hall (the “CAS Commons”) and will help draw students in to discover the amenities of this unique building. “For the building to be a center for CAS—for it to represent a sense of connectivity—it has to integrate seamlessly into the framework of open spaces on campus,” said Campbell. “Connecting to open spaces is a way to connect with people. If we had built an L-shaped building, it would have blocked paths. This is a much more powerful and responsive way to build a building on this campus.” A key component in this design priority: the trees. Anyone who has attended the UO can attest to the essential role that trees play in shaping the physical character of campus; in fact, the 295-acre campus is an arboretum, with more than 3,000 trees. Much to the architects’ delight, the UO publishes a tree survey that documents every tree on campus, and this became an essential tool as they built scale models to demonstrate their ideas. “The outdoor spaces are as important at the UO as buildings themselves, and trees are a big part of that; they help define the sense of place,” said LaFoe. “In our presentation models, we could not express our ideas without the trees; without them, our ideas would be incomplete.” Central to developing their “courtyard” concept for the open space behind Chapman was the realization that trees already formed two “walls” of the “room”—the tulip trees along Johnson Lane to the south and the oak trees along the Memorial Quad to the west.
GOAL: $39 MILLION
JUST AS THE DESIGN CHALLENGE WAS IRRESISTIBLE TO THE ARCHITECTS, CAS AIMS FOR TYKESON HALL TO BE IRRESISTIBLE FOR STUDENTS. “The trees helped us bring the landscape into the building, and let the building come out into the landscape,” said LaFoe.
tykeson gift: $10 million State Match: $17 million additional gifts: $4 million Remaining: $8 million
Far Along the Fundraising Curve Fundraising for the $39 million Tykeson College and Careers Building commenced with a $10 million lead gift from Don and Willie Tykeson (see p. 14). Their gift set the stage for a $17 million match from the State of Oregon and an additional $4 million in contributions from other donors—including $3 million from the CAS board of advisors, who have been instrumental in shaping the direction and purpose of Tykeson Hall. In addition, generous alumni have committed more than $1 million in endowment to support advising programs within the hall. Thanks to the Tykesons and CAS board leadership, the UO has rapidly progressed to 80 percent of the total fundraising goal. To make a gift, visit cas.uoregon.edu/tykeson.
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Acknowledging the legacy Beyond reenvisioning the exterior landscape, the design of the building itself will prioritize a modern, indoor-outdoor integration—with a spacious, open CAS Commons area on the ground floor of the building that creates a natural transition out onto the landscaped courtyard. But only half of the building will integrate into the open space in this way. Tykeson Hall will be constructed from two interlocking forms (see Fig. 3): one signifying the forward-looking aspirations of the innovative advising programs; the other very deliberately acknowledging the historic surroundings and the legacy of campus. “The building must exist in both worlds,” said Campbell, “respectful of those who have come before and also charting a path for the 21st century.” Immediately to the east of the Tykeson Hall site is Johnson Hall, home to the UO’s administrative leadership (the president, provost, several vice presidents and other executive staff have offices there). The architecture of Johnson Hall conveys a sense of gravitas, with a grand brick and terra cotta facade, granite staircase and classical Ionic columns.
HISTORIC EAST SIDE
Ingeniously student-centric The west half of the building, which connects with the outdoor court, will comprise four stories of open, free-flowing collaborative spaces, with an emphasis on visual and spatial connections both vertically and horizontally. The lower-level commons will flow out onto a patio area, which then flows into the landscaped courtyard. The design is welcoming, inviting and ingeniously student-centric. Tykeson Hall aims to inspire students to seek out the combined academic and Career Center advising that forms the core of the building’s mission. Just as the design challenge was irresistible to the architects, CAS aims for Tykeson Hall to be irresistible for students. When left to their own devices, many students do not take full advantage of advising—whether it be academic or career advising. Tykeson Hall endeavors to entice them into advising centers by not only making them highly visible, but also offering a new kind of advising that speaks directly to student interests. The building will feature: • a large hub, the CAS Commons, on the ground floor, that helps orient students and serves as their “trailhead” for the rest of the building • classrooms that are deliberately located in areas that draw students farther into the building, where they will encounter welcoming advising spaces
MODERN WEST SIDE
In response to its venerable next-door neighbor, the eastern portion of Tykeson Hall will be designed as a three-story brick building that will be sympathetic in scale and architecture to Johnson Hall and other historic neighbors. This portion of the building will house the more traditional elements of Tykeson Hall’s program, including six state-of-the-art classrooms (340 seats in all) that will serve as many as 9,000 students each year who will come to the building to take required courses in writing composition and math.
Figure 3. The architectural design for Tykeson Hall will involve interlocking forms that together honor the past and also anticipate a world of future possibilities. The brown section above represents the three-story structure that will reflect the architecture of Johnson Hall and other historic neighbors, and will house the more traditional functions of the building, including classrooms. The dark-blue section will comprise four stories of open, free-flowing collaborative spaces that invite exploration and discovery. The lighter-blue section represents the atrium, or commons area; it will be designed as a central hub of activity and create a seamless connection with the outdoor courtyard (green).
• “theme pods” that house advising teams offering combined academic and career guidance, with each team focusing on a specific area that reflects the aspirations of current students (e.g., global health, social justice) • rotating exhibits positioned along sight lines to attract students to advising locations All of the advising spaces will bring academic and career advisors together in an unprecedented partnership—helping each student devise an individualized plan for successfully navigating their UO experience and preparing for a meaningful career. This synergy and partnership defines the building. The architecture must therefore represent the inventive programming and purpose of the building, with a design that invites exploration and discovery. The architects are excited to make this a reality. “We want it to speak to the innovation that CAS is trying to create,” said LaFoe. “We think it’s a really beautiful idea.”
ACADEMIC AND CAREER ADVISORS WILL TEAM TOGETHER TO OFFER A NEW KIND OF ADVISING THAT SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO STUDENT INTERESTS Ultimately, the measure of success will be the extent to which students utilize the building. “We want this to be a place where they want to find guidance, where they want to work, where they want to be,” said Campbell. “The building should create an environment where they feel encouraged to explore and ask challenging questions: ‘What am I going to do? Where I am going to go? How am I going to get there?’”
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The Journey to Tykeson Hall explore a wide range of arts and science courses beyond his major—to expand his horizons, satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity and establish himself as a wellrounded person for whatever the future might hold. “I think it’s a foundation for life,” he said. “You’re on this planet to enjoy, contribute, make a difference, lead a fulfilling life and have fun along the way, and I think a liberal arts education helps equip you very well for that.”
It all began in a one-room schoolhouse: Don and Willie Tykeson made a lead gift of $10 million, which paved the way for a $17 million state match. According to their daughter Amy, her parents were impressed with the idea of a building that centered on preparing the next generation for a rapidly changing world. “This concept for student success captivated them.”
BY LISA RALEIGH
his story traces an arc from a one-room schoolhouse to a 65,000-square-foot university hub. It’s the story of Don Tykeson and his wife Willie, and the deep value they place on liberal arts education—most recently realized through their lead gift of $10 million to launch the Tykeson College and Careers Building. Don grew up in Newberg, Oregon, where he attended school in the 1930s in a one-room country schoolhouse. His father was a farmer and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, but Don decided to attend the University of
Oregon, putting himself through college by working on a fishing boat. Several life-changing events took place at the UO that set the course for Don’s personal life, his professional career and his many decades of supporting the future of education through philanthropy. He met his wife, Willie, at the UO and earned a degree in business in 1951. Demonstrating the initiative that would eventually make him a successful entrepreneur, Don completed his business degree requirements early. In fact, he got through them as soon as possible to make sure he had time to
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Before seeking his first job, Don received some advice from Robert D. Clark, then assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and later the UO’s 11th president: He should get a job in journalism. And Don did land a job in newspapers—hired by The Oregon Journal in Portland in the classified ad sales department. He credits this first job with introducing him to many practical aspects of the business world. From there, Don went on to become a broadcast media pioneer, starting with KPTV in Portland, the world’s first commercial UHF television station, and then buying a minority interest in KEZI, channel 9 in Eugene. As president, Don transformed KEZI into Liberty Communications by building a national broadcast and cable TV enterprise. Liberty was the 17th-largest multisystem operator in the US when it was sold to TCI in 1983. Don continued to invest in television, cable and pager providers in Oregon. He purchased Bend Cable in 1984 and expanded the company (later known as Bendbroadband) into a regional telecom provider over the ensuing years. He ran it until 1997, when he turned it over to his daughter, Amy (also a Duck, with a BS in business and an MBA).
DON GOT THROUGH HIS BUSINESS COURSES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO MAKE SURE HE HAD TIME TO EXPLORE A WIDE RANGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE COURSES BEYOND HIS MAJOR. The Tykesons met on a blind date as UO students, in the late 1940s.
This family’s financial success has been channeled into tens of millions of dollars in philanthropic giving that has benefited Oregon communities in countless ways. The Tykesons—both as a private couple and through their family foundation— have dedicated their giving to education, health care and the arts.
A warm spot in their hearts The UO has been a special beneficiary of their generosity, for both its mission and the personal history it represents. “My parents met on a blind date at the UO,” said their daughter, Amy. “The university has a warm spot in their hearts.” In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Tykesons have already created a named position for the dean, as well as an endowment for innovative undergraduate teaching. Elsewhere on campus, they have funded a named professorship in the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business and also supported construction projects, scholarships, athletics and the arts. Don is a trustee emeritus of the UO Foundation board. For their service, he and Willie received
the UO Presidential Medal in 1997 and the Pioneer Award in 2001. In 2014, W. Andrew Marcus, who holds the Tykeson deanship in CAS, invited Don and Willie to become the lead donors for a one-of-a-kind building in the heart of campus. The proposed building would bring academics and career advising together under one roof—a campus center designed to help students more intentionally pursue an academic program that will set them on a meaningful career path. “This concept for student success captivated them,” said Amy. Her parents were impressed with the idea of a building that centered on programs that prepare the next generation for a rapidly changing world, helping them adapt to the evolving needs of the workplace through a liberal arts education. “Liberal arts education provides the framework for supporting youth in a world that is changing so fast,” she explained. “By exposing students to wideranging subjects and helping them hone their collaboration and communication skills, students are better positioned to think about the world in broader ways.”
A vision, a catalyst The building’s location—between historic Johnson Hall and Chapman Hall—was an additional inspiration. “It fits with the whole vision. The building will be a catalyst for linkages across campus and a home base,” Amy said. The Tykesons agreed to the lead gift, the building was named Tykeson Hall in their honor and their $10 million gift allowed the UO to successfully secure a state match of $17 million. An additional $4 million has been raised from other donors, leaving approximately $8 million remaining to fully fund the expected cost of $39 million. The architectural firms Office 52 and Rowell Brokaw have been engaged to design the 65,000-square-foot building (see preceding story) and the project is on track for groundbreaking this year. “The family is very excited about the plans and how well things are moving along,” said Amy. “My parents certainly believe that higher education is the gateway to a great future, and this building will bring so many stakeholders together to help students be successful.”
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WHAT A DIFFERENCE AN ‘A’ MAKES deconstructing one of history’s most famous one-liners
HEN NEIL ARMSTRONG stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969, and made his poetic proclamation, the world heard, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Did the world hear Armstrong wrong? Armstrong, who died in 2012, insisted for years that his actual words were, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” He said the “a” was inaudible. He later backtracked, and a debate has persisted for decades. In 2006, a computer programmer in Australia analyzed the recording and decided that Armstrong did indeed include an “a”; three years later, two British experts concluded that the critical article had been omitted. UO linguist Melissa Baese-Berk entered the fray recently. A specialist in speech production, she teamed up with scholars from Michigan State University and Ohio State University to run the astronaut’s utterance through a rigorous linguistics analysis. The team examined what Armstrong said and what people heard. The two aren’t always the same, of course—words can be hard to hear clearly due to noise or muddled pronunciation.
In these situations, Baese-Berk says, we use context to connect the dots. If someone hears, “I’m hungry for a –eal,” and the last word is unclear, the listener will use the context to fill in the blank with “meal,” rather than, say, “seal” or “wheel.” But with the Armstrong example—it’s either “for” or “for a”—there isn’t much to go on in terms of surrounding context. Without context, listeners decipher speech through other clues, like speed. When listeners hear someone speaking fast, they predict that they will receive more “acoustic information”—more words. With slower speakers, listeners expect fewer words.
Visit Online Extras at cascade.uoregon.edu and listen to an audio file of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing—do you hear an “a”?
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Armstrong was speaking slowly. So in theory, he could have said “for a” but listeners heard only “for,” because they were expecting fewer words. Baese-Berk and her colleagues put this theory to the test. The team recruited dozens of listeners and speakers, drawing the latter from near Armstrong’s hometown Wapakoneta, Ohio, to ensure a close match to the astronaut’s dialect. First, they analyzed how speakers said “for” and “for a” by engaging them in phone conversations that were recorded. Results showed a lot of overlap—that is, regardless of whether the speaker said one or the other, what came out of their mouth was ambiguous. So technically, Armstrong could have uttered either— “for” and “for a” could sound the same, acoustically. Next, listeners were asked to transcribe sentences that included “for a” at slow and fast speeds. When the phrase was presented slowly, the group missed the “a” nearly twice as often. So was there an “a” or not? We’ll probably never know for sure. But Baese-Berk thinks it’s a real possibility that we didn’t hear Armstrong correctly, given what she described as a perfect storm of complications: the absence of context in the sentence, the use of two words that easily blend into one and, of course, the technical difficulties of recording on the moon in 1969. —EH
It’s a Wonder-ful World
ARIEL OGDEN, THEATRE ARTS
ylan Carlini studies the Earth, from the surface to the deep interior. This calls on his command not just of his major—earth sciences—but also biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. But last year, Carlini’s passion for geology led him to a new field altogether: theater arts. Week after week, Carlini and other students in the sciences met with John Schmor, head of the theater department. Together, they dreamed up a dramatic way to teach science—by putting it on stage. The resulting play, “Wonder If Wonder Why”—performed on campus last spring and then for schools along the Oregon coast—brought together students and faculty from theater arts and the sciences in dramatizing such heady topics as sublimation, density, wavelengths and the speed of light. Carlini served as the production’s resident geologist, signing off on the accuracy of concepts drawn from his area of study. “Every day we had theater class, I would come straight from a geology class,” Carlini said. “So my ‘science mind’ was already running.” The idea for the play came to Schmor after he read about a growing antipathy in the US toward studying science. He found a willing collaborator in physics instructor Stanley Micklavzina, who is known for his creative approach to science education. He has demonstrated the concept of light refraction, for example, by dimming the lights in a lecture hall, cranking up a fog machine and performing a laser light show to songs by Pink Floyd. The cast and crew framed the play around a paradoxical question: Why are so many people afraid of scientific think-
Props included Slinky toys used to demonstrate wavelengths and inflated balloons that illustrated the density of carbon dioxide.
THE IDEA FOR THE PLAY CAME TO SCHMOR AFTER HE READ ABOUT A GROWING ANTIPATHY IN THE US TOWARD STUDYING SCIENCE.
ing at the same time that we depend every day on its constant advances? A script rich in physics and biology was written from interviews that the cast conducted with science faculty. In one scene, the theater was darkened to simulate the ocean, then lit up with glowing sea creatures. In another, actors portrayed French physicists Hippolyte Fizeau and Léon Foucault, dashing
STILL FROM ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
across the stage in a race to discover the speed of light as a narrator put their ideas into perspective for the audience. “How fast is 299,792 kilometers a second?” she asked. “If you were going that fast, you could circumnavigate the earth seven and a half times—in a second.” Props included Slinky toys used to demonstrate wavelengths and inflated balloons that served in demonstrating the density of carbon dioxide. After a two-week run on campus in the spring, Schmor and the cast took the show on the road in the fall, bringing the wonders of science to elementary and middle schools in small coastal Oregon towns from Newport to Brookings. “The students would spend the whole show laughing, oohing and ahhing, and staring wide-eyed during scenes,” said performer Ellie Jones, a marine biology major. “It was an audience of people who wondered.” —EH
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MY MUSIC, MY WAR
Folklorist examines impact of combat through the songs troops Play
he 2001 song “Bodies,” the signature hit of the heavy metal outfit Drowning Pool, refers to the slam-dancing crowds inspired by the band’s hard-driving music: “Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the . . . floor!” Punctuated with screams and shouts, the tune became an anthem of war for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, blaring through headphones and speakers as they prepared for combat. But not in the context that you might expect. Troops didn’t choose the song because they were all Rambo-like fighters ex-
ploding with aggression and ravenous for battle. Quite the opposite. “Many often felt scared, vulnerable, insecure, tired or lacking in motivation as they geared up to leave the wire,” Lisa Gilman, a folklore and English professor, writes in her new book, My Music, My War: The Listening Habits of US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Part of the experience of war was that a person had to be confident, controlled and dominant— to be otherwise could cost one one’s life and put others in danger.” Song as survival: That was one of the powerful discoveries for Gilman, who studied the music habits of US troops in wartime.
Frustrated by what she saw as a generalization of troops by the media, Gilman wanted to humanize the experience of war and explore its impacts on those who serve. That’s not as easy as just asking troops to talk about it; such emotional memories are often deeply personal. Troops are trained to avoid interviews and to sidestep commenting on conflict, which is inherently politicized and often divisive. Music gave Gilman an inroad for profound conversations, while being respectful of the people she talked with by allowing them to control what they shared. “Because music is so tied to memory neurologically and experientially, asking
ompeii, a Roman city near modern-day Naples, developed impressive facilities after its founding around the sixth century BC—among them, a water system, an amphitheater and public baths. Then the volcano erupted. In AD 79, Mount Vesuvius exploded with overwhelming force. Pompeii was completely destroyed and roughly 2,000 people were killed, buried under 20 feet of volcanic ash that rained from the skies for more than 24 hours. In a bizarre twist of nature, the debris that claimed the Italian
city and some inhabitants also encased them in an air- and water-tight tomb, perfectly preserved for future generations to discover and study. Kevin Dicus (right) was a third-grader when he first learned the story of Pompeii. Simply put, he was blown away. As he moved up the ranks in academia, Dicus remained fascinated by this ancient treasure. Now, as an assistant professor of classical archaeology at the UO, he’s bringing a fresh approach to exploration of a site that has been meticulously inspected for more than 250 years. Explorers and archaeologists have been
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Kevin Dicus is unearthing and exploring an entire neighborhood in Pompeii. Visit Online Extras at cascade.uoregon.edu for a mini-documentary.
veterans about musical listening was a highly effective way to evoke memories of their war experiences,” Gilman said. “Think about it this way: If I asked you what music you listened to as a child, your answer would likely include many stories beyond what songs your parents played during your youth.” She quickly found that talking to troops about their music inspired them to reveal much more than what was on their iPods. Whether it was metal by Metallica or the rap of Lil Jon, Gilman found that troops almost uniformly turned to music to transform their mental state into what was needed for the job at hand. “I was a completely different animal,” one fighter told Gilman. “You have to be.” But troops also shared stories as varied as their playlists. One man effectively portrayed to Gilman how hard it was to be away from his family, describing his choice to replace Coldplay and Radiohead with the Beatles for his second deployment. “I thought it would be a little more happy,”
he said—the soundtrack of his first tour was “not the type of music that was going to keep me alive.” “In war, no one escapes fear, domination, violence, isolation, pain and loss,” Gilman writes, in My Music, My War. “Through music, combat veterans remember and sometimes forget, process and hopefully heal.” One of her most powerful vignettes concerns the plight of a veteran named Keith, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Keith was sitting in front of his computer with a gun in his lap and his finger on the trigger when he heard “Support Us,” a song by Soldier Hard, a veteran who uses music to share his own mental health struggles. The musician has recorded songs such as “Road to Recovery” and “Dear PTSD” to raise awareness and help troops cope. After playing “Support Us” on repeat for hours, Keith put the gun down. “I’m not alone going through this,” Keith says, in My Music, My War. “If he can find a way to do this, I can, too.” —EH
poring over the buildings, artifacts and skeletons of Pompeii (below right) since the 1700s. But Dicus is taking a different tack—instead of studying single structures, he’s examining an entire neighborhood. Since 2005, Dicus and a team of researchers with the University of Cincinnati and the American Academy in Rome have explored a large, working-class section of the city near Porta Stabia, one of the city gates. By avoiding presumptions about how specific structures should function, they’ve gained intriguing insights into individual buildings and the people who lived there. For example, it might seem logical, upon coming across a structure in which inhabitants had lived, to call it a house. But that creates expectations that individual rooms must correspond to our modern definition of a house.
In fact, “the properties functioned in so many more ways than just houses,” Dicus said. “People unquestionably lived in these structures permanently, but some were also inns with stables for horses and mules, others had front entrances converted into commercial shops and another looks to be a public restaurant.” The team has advanced understanding of the “nonelite” of Pompeii, a group that
CPL. JAMES CLARK
AFTER PLAYING “SUPPORT US” ON REPEAT FOR HOURS, KEITH PUT THE GUN DOWN.
Troops described music as “being everywhere” throughout their time at war. Said one: “Music was sort of a soundtrack of my life.”
archaeologists have largely overlooked. They found, for example, that for this population there was little separation between living and livelihood. “Where they slept at night,” Dicus said, “was also where they worked and attempted to make a living.” Dicus is writing a four-volume excavation report to provide a narrative for the 40 trenches and the nearly 150,000 archaeological artifacts—most of them fragments of pottery—discovered by his team. He is also drawing attention from the media. Dicus provided commentary for a 2016 documentary by the Smithsonian Channel, “Pompeii: The Dead Speak.” He also recently completed filming for a documentary to be released this spring by a US network—stay tuned, he’s barred from saying which until an announcement is made. —EH
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NATURAL RIGHT Political science professor tracks new approach to environmental Protection
N 2011, A SHRIMP FARMER IN Ecuador sued the government, pitting his right to a livelihood against an unusual adversary: Mother Nature. The farmer filed suit after the government designated an endangered mangrove forest as a reserve and removed shrimping from the area. In a case watched closely by the country’s powerful shrimping industry, the farmer argued that his economic interest was more important than the forest and a judge agreed, citing constitutional rights to property and to work. But the ruling was overturned. A superior court ruled in 2015 that “rights of nature” also enshrined in the constitution take precedence. The court acknowledged that it was effectively prioritizing nature over the interests of humans. For Craig Kauffman, a UO assistant professor of political science, the ruling proved the power of an approach to environmental protection based on rights of nature. It prioritizes the rights of all living things to a healthy environment and it gives legal standing to forests, rivers and other ecosystems. As the idea takes root in countries committed to environmental stewardship, Kauffman is collecting the information they need to act. He was recently named to a body of the United Nations that assesses Earth-friendly laws and policies that governments potentially can enact to ensure that development is in harmony with nature. As one of 45 researchers worldwide named to the UN working group, Kauffman analyzes how laws that recognize rights of nature are working in practice and shares his findings with the
Mangroves Ecological Reserve Cayapas-Mataje, a wildlife refuge in northern Ecuador, was the backdrop for a milestone legal decision that privileged the rights of the forest over economic interests.
global community. “It’s an opportunity for my research in environmental law to impact policy on an issue I care very much about,” Kauffman said. The rights-of-nature concept was introduced years ago, but it’s gathering steam amid growing concerns about climate change. Ecuador was the first nation to include rights of nature in its constitution. Now, other countries are taking similar steps with constitutional changes and national laws, including Bolivia and New Zealand; the approach is also under review in Brazil, Argentina, India, Nepal, Cameroon and elsewhere. About three dozen US cities have adopted rights-of-nature laws prohibiting natural gas fracking and other environmentally destructive activities, Kauffman said. It can be difficult to prove that a company’s actions have directly damaged an individual, he added—it’s much easier
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to show how destructive operations hurt a river or watershed. Advocates are also urging the UN to one day make a universal declaration of the rights of nature. Such a declaration would signal the importance of these rights as norms of society, spurring countries to incorporate them into legally binding treaties and domestic laws. International figures including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis advocate this path as a way to address climate change. There is also an important precedent for this approach, Kauffman notes. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 prohibited slavery and torture and paved the way for their inclusion in international law. “With that declaration, those norms of human rights were strengthened and later enshrined in international law,” Kauffman said. “The idea is to do that with rights of nature.” —MC
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES
Exploring what works in pediatric care by going to the source—kids and teens
he five-year-old has gone to the hospital every month of her life. Diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, she gets an intravenous treatment that keeps her alive. She calls the facility the “Pokey Palace”—the doctors and nurses all refer to the repeated IV sticks and shots as “pokes.” Even so, she can’t wait to get there each month. For her, the children’s hospital is like summer camp or a trip to Disneyland. There are games and activities, a service dog that works full-time doling out sloppy kisses—even a specialist whose only job is comforting kids during their stay. In short, Liberty Barnes says, it’s a place where everyone from the front-desk receptionist to the lead doctor is deeply committed to making these young patients feel special. The question is whether this feel-good environment can be adapted for big people, too. Barnes, a postdoctoral research scholar in sociology, is examining what works in pediatric care and whether its successes can be applied to the adult system. Researchers have historically studied medical care for kids through the eyes of adults, said C.J. Pascoe, Barnes’ research mentor and an associate professor of sociology. Barnes is capturing the experiences of children and young adults, in their own words. “Children’s experiences are at the center of this project,” Pascoe said. “This work has the potential to reshape how we care for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
CAN THIS FEEL-GOOD MEDICAL ENVIRONMENT BE ADAPTED FOR BIG PEOPLE, TOO? Supported by a $120,000 fellowship from the National Science Foundation, Barnes is interviewing dozens of children and their parents, asking questions about the care that kids receive and the relationships they form with doctors and other hospital staff. She is doing most of her work through hospitals in Oregon (privacy restrictions prohibit her from identifying participating hospitals and names of patients). According to Barnes, one strength of the pediatric model is the emphasis that staff place on being an extension of the patient’s family. Pediatric doctors often take an interest in all aspects of a patient’s
life, not just health concerns. This builds trust and a family-like relationship because children generally view people in their world who look out for them as family, Barnes said. That perception that a doctor is family can grow quite strong. One teen described to Barnes having the same physician for as long as she could remember; she was 12 before she realized that the doctor wasn’t her uncle. Barnes is also spending hundreds of hours with pediatric care personnel—not just doctors and nurses, but social workers, lab technicians and even the people who deliver meals to patients. From these interviews, she is gaining an understanding of the care and concern afforded to young patients. A neurosurgeon described taking the time to carefully braid the hair of the girls on whom she operates. It wasn’t just to keep hair away from the incision point; the doctor also does it so that when her young patients wake up, they are distracted from the stitches—and the intense, invasive procedure that they represent—and can focus instead on a fun new look. “The social beliefs that we take for granted—that children are worthy of love, compassion and worry-free childhoods— give pediatric practitioners and hospitals license to do things differently,” Barnes said. “I hope we can find ways to apply those strengths to adult care.” —JM
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GLOBAL GYPSIES confronting persecution of Europe’s largest Ethnic minority
sma Redžepova was a singing superstar. Billed as “Queen of the Gypsies,” she sang of love and adversity in her native Roma tongue, filling elite concert halls over a career spanning five decades. She was honored by former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and proclaimed a national artist by the president of her homeland Macedonia. Her death in December prompted tributes across social media and around the world. It is ironic, then, that a woman revered for generations comes from a people largely persecuted for generations. The Roma—Redžepova’s people— have endured intense racism and discrimination from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Northwest, from the 1500s to the present day.
So says anthropology and folklore professor Carol Silverman, long an advocate for Roma, the accepted name for a group also referred to as Gypsies. In a new project and a new course on the UO campus, she examines the plight of Europe’s largest ethnic minority, simultaneously loved for their music while, according to Silverman, systematically harassed and treated as criminals. “People’s association with the term ‘Gypsy’ is fiercely divided into two stereotypes,” Silverman said. “One, a romantic vision that celebrates their music and culture. And another that criminalizes the group.” The Roma, numbering 13 million, were traditionally nomadic, living mostly in Europe and the Americas. Silverman was first introduced to them when she traveled to the Balkans after
teaching herself how to translate the lyrics of the songs she loved for folk dancing. She quickly developed an academic interest in Roma music and culture that evolved into study of their political reality. That reality is grim. Roma were enslaved and traded in Romania until the mid-19th century and killed by the hundreds of thousands during the Holocaust. Today discrimination includes racial profiling by the police, Silverman says—she has protested training materials for officers in the US that characterize Roma communities as an “invasion” that leaves no city safe. In recent articles and a book in progress, Global Gypsy: Representation, Appropriation, and Balkan Romani Music, Silverman notes that non-Roma musicians, DJs and producers profit
NEW MINOR, MAJOR REGION
t’s nearly impossible to read the news without reading about the Middle East. That news often centers on conflict. But there’s much more to the story than geopolitical strife, and UO students can now gain a much broader understanding of this vast, diverse region. Students are exploring the political, cultural and social forces that shape
the “cradle of civilization” within a new minor on the Middle East and North Africa. Through the minor’s course work, one of the goals “is to show the way that ordinary people go about living their lives in the context of all of the violence,” said coordinator Diane Baxter, an anthropology lecturer. “The reality is much richer and more complicated than what people see on the news.”
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To earn the minor, students choose from new and existing courses in religion, Arabic studies, anthropology and more. Requirements include Baxter’s Introduction to Middle East Studies and four credits from among a half-dozen courses in geography, international studies, political science and comparative literature; electives from the humanities and social sciences must also be completed, for 16 credits.
SILVERMAN HAS PROTESTED TRAINING MATERIALS FOR POLICE OFFICERS THAT CHARACTERIZE ROMA COMMUNITIES AS AN “INVASION” THAT LEAVES NO CITY SAFE.
Vocalist Esma Redžepova championed her people’s culture.
New offerings include the following subjects: • Character of the Middle Eastern city, providing a neighborhood-level tour of selected locales, including local architecture and the symbolism found in buildings and parks • Middle Eastern theater, which explores cultures, politics and people through the stage • Cultural geography of the Middle East, which highlights people, landscapes and cultures The minor will serve those who seek careers tied to the Middle East and North Africa, Baxter said, and those
from Roma music—which currently is hip in Europe and the US—but that the musicians themselves are living in poverty. Unemployment rates of Roma in Eastern Europe top 80 percent. Silverman traces how outsiders repackage Roma culture to serve commercial ends. Gypsies and the gypsy motif, she notes, are co-opted for fashion shows, belly-dance troupes, reality
television and music venues on several continents. To tell the story, Silverman relies on Roma voices, conducting interviews with musicians and activists who are central to the struggle for control of their own culture. These representatives are also an important aspect of the university’s first-ever course on Roma, which started earlier this winter. In the class, “Gypsies/Roma, Others/Selves,” funded by the Oregon Humanities Center, students examine how others view the Roma and how they represent themselves. Silverman draws similarities between the Roma experience today and that of Jews, Muslims and African Americans at particular points in history. Guest speakers, all Roma, include a human-rights policy researcher, an American filmmaker and a Spanish comic book activist. The firsthand interaction with artists and activists and the use of materials written from a Roma perspective are a potent combination, Silverman said. “Students are digesting challenging questions of cultural expression, change and power,” she added. —MC
who simply want to be wellinformed global citizens. It was proposed by history alumnus William Rutherford, owner of a Portland-based investment company and a former Oregon state treasurer. With his support, the college has added a minor for one of the last parts of the globe for which the university did not have a specialized area of study. Said Baxter, “He has a sense of how vitally important this region is.” —JM UNIVERSITY OF OREGON COLLEGE OF ARTS + SCIENCES 23
A RISING TIDE
What can greenland’s glaciers tell us about sea levels?
S GREENLAND GOES, so go the waters of the world. Most of the country is covered in a layer of ice two miles thick. This is the Greenland ice sheet, and as it melts it is contributing as much as one-quarter of global sea level rise. The loss of two of the ice sheet’s biggest glaciers, in fact, would raise the world’s seas by more than three feet. Over the last 40 years, the melting rate of the ice sheet has increased four-fold. That’s largely due to the planet’s warming atmosphere, but it appears that oceans play a bigger role than previously realized— a discovery owing in part to the work of two UO scientists. David Sutherland, an earth sciences professor, studies the impact of oceans on glaciers, and vice versa. He was recently part of a team that made a major breakthrough in the relationship between the two in Greenland. Much of the Greenland ice sheet ends in “tidewater glaciers”—glaciers that extend into fjords, narrow inlets of deep water that
connect to the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Scientists suspected that warmer ocean waters were melting the underside of the ice. But before the work by Sutherland’s team, they had little proof in terms of either measurements of glaciers or neighboring ocean temperatures. Sutherland and researchers from Oregon State University examined the inlets over an extended period, from fall 2013 to summer 2015. They found large and rapid swings in the temperature and salinity of the water. Driven by winds and ocean movements, fast-moving currents replaced old water with new every few days. Meanwhile, water temperatures close to the glaciers fluctuated greatly, by as much as 5 degrees Celsius in a day.
MASSIVE HUNKS OF ICE CAN SLOUGH OFF WITHOUT WARNING, KEEPING RESEARCHERS AT A DISTANCE.
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This told the team that natural forces systematically pumped new water into the fjord, which meant that any changes in ocean temperatures outside the inlet would be quickly transferred right to the glacier. That opens up important questions that scientists like Sutherland are just beginning to explore. Is there a direct relationship between the melt rate of glaciers and water temperatures there? Do melt rates change dramatically, given the rapid changes in the water itself? “The ultimate motivation of all this fjord and glacier work is to improve predictions of global sea level rise,” said Sutherland, whose projects are funded by grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $1.3 million. Because they’re partially submerged, tidewater glaciers present an uncommon challenge for scientists seeking to take measurements. Their vertical faces are largely inaccessible and massive hunks of ice can slough off without warning, keeping researchers at a distance. To get up-close-and-personal, Sutherland and his colleagues take measurements with remote-controlled boats. They use remote cameras to shoot time-lapse photos of
glacial changes and sonar to map out what’s happening to the ice underwater. And what’s happening underwater is troubling, according to Dustin Carroll, a doctoral student in earth sciences who is mentored by Sutherland. As glaciers melt, water collects atop them in frigid lakes of millions of gallons. That water eventually drains through the ice, sometimes in a sudden, violent rush. For tidewater glaciers, this draining is especially damaging because the ice is partially submerged in the inlet. When the water drains, it exits into the seawater under the ice.
Sutherland is also studying icebergs off the coast of Greenland because they affect circulation in the world’s oceans and that, in turn, affects climate.
THE BIG PICTURE
ig data needs a big screen. In this data visualization lab, part of the university’s new Allan Price Science Commons & Research Library, 24 flat-panel, high-definition screens create a viewing area that is 20 feet wide and 8 feet high—perfect for displaying gigantic images (like galaxies) or infinitesimal ones (like a nanoparticle). The lab can handle pictures with more than 48 million pixels, which means it provides roughly 25 times more definition than your laptop. Scientists can view huge amounts of data— say, the genome sequences for hundreds of bacteria—and the room holds 30 people, so they can collaborate on projects and view all elements at once without needing to huddle around one computer. Here, Stanley Hall, classroom technology support manager with UO Libraries, gets into the details of a high-resolution scan of A New Chart of History, a timeline published in 1769 by British educator Joseph Priestley.
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This begins a process, which as Carroll described for a story in The Washington Post, is similar to the way a plume of smoke rises from a chimney and expands; it expands because it’s drawing in warmer air. Likewise, once the glacial runoff rushes into the sea, it creates an underwater plume that rises and expands, pulling in warmer ocean water. That warmer plume erodes the glacier’s base, sending huge chunks of ice toppling off. It’s also the beginning of a vicious cycle, Carroll says. As more of the Greenland ice sheet melts, more water will drain out of the glaciers, generating bigger plumes that draw in more ocean water that do more damage. Sea level rise is just one concern. The interplay of oceans and ice in Greenland is actually changing the nature of the North Atlantic. Said Sutherland: “That will mean changes not just for local marine ecosystems, but the global climate.” —JM
EN PREHODA HAS been getting a lot of email and letters lately. This sort of thing happens when you make breakthroughs in our understanding of evolution. “This has been fun for me,” the UO biochemist said in an interview, as he recapped a recent talk on his latest research. “I’ve gotten lots of feedback from the public. People have a lot of really good questions.” It’s been a wild ride for Prehoda. He bookended 2016 with discoveries that illuminate the rise of multicellular life in humans and other animals. First, the biochemist published a finding that swept through the field of cell biology and landed on the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post: Prehoda had identified a genetic change important for launching multicellular life. The theory of evolution tells us that, despite all our multicellular complexity, we come from a single-celled ancestor. So how did we get from there to here? Working with colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley, Prehoda examined our closest living relatives among single-celled organisms. Choanoflagellates (right) are sponge-like creatures that live in the sea; they intrigued Prehoda because they also exist in colonies, a halfway point of sorts between single-cell and multicellular life. Next came a bit of time travel. With the sequence of genes in choanoflagellates and other organisms at his disposal, Prehoda’s lab collaborated with colleagues at the University of Chicago
CANCER IS A CONDITION IN WHICH DAMAGED CELLS IN OUR BODIES NO LONGER COOPERATE WITH OTHERS AND INSTEAD ACT ON THEIR OWN AS SINGLE CELLS— PRECISELY THE PROCESS THAT PREHODA HAS DEMYSTIFIED, IN REVERSE. to make extrapolations about the molecular changes that had led to these genes hundreds of millions of years ago. His discovery centered on proteins, the workhorses in cells that perform jobs such as speeding up chemical reactions. Prehoda found a particular protein that switched from accelerating chemical reactions to binding with other proteins—just the thing for sticking one cell to another, and then another, and so on. Even more surprising: This wasn’t an evolution that played out slowly over time. It happened in a single, random mutation. “That was the really shocking finding,” Prehoda said. “This is really a dramatic functional jump.” He followed it up late in the year, this time working with colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Researchers learned the process by which that special protein had evolved so that it could bind with others—basically, how it became a scaffold upon
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MARK DAYEL (MARK@DAYEL.COM)
Tracking down the molecular mishap that started it all
which other “molecular machinery” could be built. With the mutation, the protein moved from being pliable to much more rigid, and that was crucial for this new function. “Our protein, before the mutation, was an enzyme that had certain flexible movements,” Prehoda said. “This one mutation fixed the protein’s backbone, locking the molecule into a shape that is important for its new function.” The discoveries advance our understanding of evolution. They also provide a new way to look at diseases such as cancer, a condition in which damaged cells in our bodies no longer cooperate with others and instead act on their own as single cells—precisely the process that Prehoda has demystified, in reverse. “Thinking about disease as a reversal of the evolutionary process is a new approach,” Prehoda said. “That change of perspective can have a huge impact in research, not to mention possible treatments.” —MC
NUMB TO THE
hundreds of thousands, he says, we find them incomprehensible. Slovic explains this phenomenon in a new book: Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data, coedited with his son, Scott, a professor at the University of Idaho. They explore why we’re desensitized by numbers (visit the website, arithmeticofcompassion.org, to learn what to do about it). When we can’t comprehend something, Slovic says, it’s difficult to know what to feel about it—and feelings drive our actions. Consider how we assess the risks of medical X-rays compared with nuclear power plants. Slovic and colleagues found that the public ranked X-rays as lower in risk. But risk experts saw X-rays as riskier, based on their knowledge of radiation exposure.
Most of us trust our gut in these situations. We’re familiar with X-rays and find them beneficial, so we don’t fear them. But we generally know little about nuclear reactors and associate them with nuclear weapons—which prompts an uneasiness that tells us to steer clear. This is “risk perception,” and Slovic is one of the most influential thinkers in the world on the topic, said Nicholas Pidgeon, a psychology professor at Cardiff University in Wales who also studies risk. Pidgeon credited Slovic for a dozen or so key findings in risk, emotion and our fondness for “rule of thumb” decisions, calling his discoveries “world-leading advances.” Said Slovic: “It is satisfying to apply my research findings to some of the most serious problems in the world today.” —JM
Blockbuster author Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short) is at it again—and this time he gets an assist from Paul Slovic. In The Undoing Project, Lewis follows Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, two of the world’s most influential researchers in decision-making. They’re credited for the infusion of analytics into everything from baseball to presidential campaigns. W. W. NORTON & COMPANY
he war in Syria has claimed more than 400,000 lives. But it was the image of a single dead child that made the world sit up and take notice. The picture was of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lying lifeless on a Turkish beach. He drowned in 2015 when the raft in which he and his family were riding sank as they fled the embattled country. After the image was published, Google searches on Syria spiked and donations to charities and aid groups surged. Given the passionate reaction to the loss of one child, why has the global response to hundreds of thousands of deaths been comparatively muted? The answer, psychologists say, is “psychic numbing.” We’re moved by the loss of a single life but numb to many deaths because, as the numbers rise, we can’t fully comprehend them. This idea was introduced in 2007 by Paul Slovic, a UO psychology professor, whose half-century of work in human behavior has earned him one of the highest honors bestowed upon US scientists. Slovic was recently named to the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the government on science and other matters. Slovic studies why we act in certain situations—or don’t. He found that the value we place on a human life drops as the number of lives at risk increases. This happens when even two lives are at stake; when the numbers reach
Slovic worked closely with both scientists. Lewis cites work by the trio in his book and, in the acknowledgments, writes that he is especially grateful to Slovic and others for a “guided tour of the history of psychology.”
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1) History, in the making. Track the movements of British and American troops in the American Revolution. Examine colonial rule in Africa on the eve of World War I. Study the spread of the Cold War in Europe. It’s all in the Mapping History Project, a joint effort of the UO and Universität Münster in Germany. Visit cascade. uoregon.edu to watch history unfold—interactive maps illuminate history by showing how events played out across the landscape.
2) Atom smasher. Physicist Stephanie Majewski probes the nature of dark matter by analyzing proton-proton collisions generated by the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. In an interview with Jefferson Public Radio, she discusses quarks, supersymmetry and other cosmic questions; visit cascade.uoregon.edu to tune in.
Visit Online Extras at
3) The future starts now. With an extraordinary $500 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight, the UO is launching a research campus designed to turn discoveries into innovations that improve quality of life. The complex will facilitate training of tomorrow’s scientists, tighter ties with industry and new opportunities for students. Visit cascade.uoregon.edu to learn more. 4) Getting schooled. English instructor Mike Copperman (see story, p. 2) was just 23 when he taught at a public school in the Mississippi Delta. The experience was transformative for both Copperman and his fourth-grade charges, as he describes in an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting— listen in at cascade.uoregon.edu.
Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences W. Andrew Marcus
Director of Communications Lisa Raleigh
Dean, Faculty and Operations Bruce Blonigen
Assistant Director of Communications, Cascade Editor Matt Cooper
Divisional Dean, Natural Sciences Hal Sadofsky Interim Divisional Dean, Social Sciences Carol Stabile Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education Ian McNeely Executive Director of Development David Welch
Contact us CORRECTION: In the spring 2016 issue, Julius Caesar was incorrectly described as a Roman emperor. He never held that position.
Cascade is the alumni magazine for the UO College of Arts and Sciences
Divisional Dean, Humanities Karen Ford
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CAS Advisory Board Tucker Bounds Mike Couch Taylor Fithian Stephen Gillett Jeff Hansen Bill Herzog Renée James Tom Janzen, Chair John Kennedy Ann Lyman David Lyon
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The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request. © 2017 University of Oregon. MC0217-013fb
Turned Inside Out
Good with Numbers “Mathematicians are like abstract artists,” Ben Elias said with a chuckle recently, as he sipped tea in a campus café. “No one understands us.” One group understands the new UO professor quite well, however. The Breakthrough Foundation, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley executives, just awarded Elias a 2017 New Horizons in Mathematics prize for his work in a field called “representation theory.” Six prizes, each $100,000, went to early-career researchers. Elias and colleague Geordie Williamson of Kyoto University were selected for solving a mathematical conundrum that had stood for 35 years. The New Horizons prize is a companion to the $3 million Breakthrough prize, the largest awarded in science and math
and the impetus for a ritzy, black-tie ceremony each year that draws stars such as Morgan Freeman and coverage by The New York Times.
Kid Stuff Autumn Bradley was just 4 when she started studying bugs and tuning in to Bill Nye the Science Guy. Now a UO chemistry lab preparator, Bradley is passing that science passion on to today’s young explorers. She’s writing books that inspire grade-schoolers to consider careers in science. Astrophysicist Akimie, the first in the series and available at www.thesciencestarters.org, employs rhymes to spark an exploration of the universe and the formation of galaxies. The book includes a typical day in the life of an astrophysicist. “I want kids to have more answers to the question, ‘What will you be when you grow up?’” Bradley said. Next up: Astrobiologist Aurora, due out this spring.
MARIAN WOOD KOLISCH
When Steve Shankman stepped into Pennsylvania’s Graterford Prison in 2006, he felt a sense of unease. The English and classics professor was there to train as an instructor in an innovative undertaking: the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which brings together college students and inmates to study as peers behind prison walls. The UO program, which Shankman launched with a course on Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in 2007, is among the nation’s largest. In his forthcoming book, Turned Inside Out: Reading the Russian Novel in Prison, Shankman reflects on working with his students and prisoners in Oregon corrections. Dostoevsky described being turned inside out by incarceration in his prison memoir, Notes from the House of the Dead, Shankman writes. In his own book, the UO professor shows how he and his students were turned “inside out” through reading Dostoevsky and others behind prison walls. Said Shankman: “I have witnessed the power that these great writers have, especially in this particular context, to change lives.”
Queen of Fantasy The New York Times calls her “America’s greatest living science fiction writer.” She prefers, simply, “an American novelist.” That’s Portland author Ursula Le Guin, 87, honored at a two-day campus symposium recently for, as organizers put it, “ceaselessly challenging our expectations about words, women and places.” Faculty panelists explored Le Guin’s contributions to feminist science fiction or SF, which reflects themes of sociology, anthropology and humanities. Her main characters are often people of color and her writing uses alien cultures to examine human culture. Edmond Chang, of women’s and gender studies, dissected The Word for World Is Forest, in which a peaceful culture is introduced to mass violence. Ben Saunders, of English, led a discussion with comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on the future of feminist SF. Panelists also showed that Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, published in 1969, introduced ideas about gender that scholars only began to devote attention to decades later.
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College of Arts and Sciences 1245 University of Oregon Eugene OR 97403-1245
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SCIENCE ON STAGE