November 3, 2008


Fall has arrived at Wellesley, turning the campus ablaze with color and bringing a chill to the air. Although the days grow shorter, the campus is alive with activity, from cultural shows, student presentations, guest lecturers, election-related activities, and debates.

WellesleyWire is an occasional e-mail digest of noteworthy news and announcements from Wellesley College plus information about Wellesley faculty, students and alumnae in the news. For more frequent news and notices of campus events, visit the News & Public Affairs page.

Included in this issue are the following items:


Every Wellesley student and probably every alumna has been asked, at some point, why she chose to attend a women's college. Eliza Borne, a senior from Little Rock, Arkansas, explained the benefits she has observed in her Wellesley experience in an essay in The Boston Globe Magazine's annual college issue.

"What I will say is that a women's college has instilled poise and a hunger for achievement in me, and in my friends here, and that these qualities are direct results of our single-sex education," wrote Eliza. "[W]hen you've got big dreams and there are people like Larry Summers who suggest a woman isn't as innately capable as a man to do well in science, or a female political candidate is judged for her policy and her pearls, it's a good feeling to know you've got an entire campus of professors, administrators, and peers who take you completely seriously. It's encouraging, in a country still run overwhelmingly by men, to look around and see women doing fascinating things -- like my friend who helped organize a conference at an interfaith organization in Harlem, or the one who taught Somali refugees at English High School in Jamaica Plain."

You can read Eliza's entire essay online at the Boston Globe website.


Since late August when the semester's first voter registration drive greeted first-year students, Wellesley has held an array of election-related events and activities.

The non-partisan Committee for Political and Legislative Action (CPLA) and the social science faculty of Pendleton East hosted four debate-watching events during October, each of which drew more than 100 people. On election night, as many as 500 students, faculty, and staff are expected to gather in the Pendleton Atrium to watch and discuss the returns.

On October 26, the political science department hosted a debate among the three candidates for the Fourth Congressional District. Professor Tom Burke moderated the debate, which was attended by about 250 people, among incumbent Barney Frank and challengers Susan Allen and Earl Sholley.

Polling and predictions were the topics of the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Program's annual "Celebrating QR Connections" lecture series in October. Two of the presentations can be downloaded from Wellesley's offerings on iTunes U (see item 4 below).

One week after the U.S. elections, Marion Just and Hahrie Han of the political science department and David Johnson of the economics department will discuss the results of the election.


A Wellesley education is not confined to the classroom, laboratory, or campus studio. Each year, hundreds of students take part in learning experiences off campus -- from weekly reading sessions with at-risk kindergartners to research presentations at scientific conferences, internships in U.S. cities, and study-abroad programs around the globe.

Last month, the annual Tanner Conference brought together students, faculty, and alumnae to share their off-campus studies and experiences . With projects ranging from "A Mosaic of Morocco: Life as a Nomad" to "The No-Minute Nap: Improving Your Memory by Falling Asleep," this year's conference represented the work of nearly 300 individuals. Learn more here.


Every semester, Wellesley hosts dozens of lectures, performances, and cultural events, nearly all of which are free and open to the public. If you are unable to experience these offerings firsthand because of distance or time, you can listen via your computer or iPod thanks to Wellesley's partnership with iTunes U. Among Wellesley's recent offerings are "The Causes and Consequences of the 2008 Financial Crisis" by four members of the economics faculty, "Pollster 101: The Ins and Outs of the Polling Profession" by Anna Greenberg, and "The Effects of Climate Change on Birds of the Northeast" by Wellesley biologist Nick Rodenhouse.

Wellesley's audio and video presentations can be downloaded to an iPod or MP3 player or to your computer. To get started, visit the iTunes store and search for "Wellesley College" or go to Wellesley College's iTunes Page.


Dan Chiasson, assistant professor of English, has been named poetry editor of the prestigious literary magazine, The Paris Review. Chiasson, who has authored three books of poetry, including the forthcoming "Where's the Moon, There's the Moon," has received support from Wellesley for his new role. Sophomore Hannah Braaten, an English major and psychology minor, has been hired as Chiasson's assistant, a role she relishes. "This job has already given me a great opportunity to see the inner workings of the process of publishing a journal," said Braaten, who aims for a career in editing or publishing.

Learn more here.

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