Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
In the news

  • Delvyn Case earns service award

    Assistant Professor of Music Delvyn Case has been awarded a South Shore Stars 40 under 40 award for his leadership and community involvement.

    Assistant Professor of Music Delvyn Case, who is also a conductor and composer, has a long list of community outreach projects and educational initiatives in which he is involved, including founding and directing the Quincy Summer Singers and the Quincy Bay Chamber Orchestra.

    He often makes presentations on classical music styles and trends to children at local public libraries, and he is the mastermind of The Prioress’s Tale, a 75-minute chamber opera inspired by Chaucer. The production, which deals with issues of inter-religious dialogue and anti-Semitism, tours throughout New England each winter, supported by institutions wishing to explore issues of interfaith dialogue and peacemaking in a unique way.

    Those efforts and many others have earned him a South Shore Stars 40 under 40 award for leadership and community involvement. Winners, as determined by five judges, are leaders younger than 40 who demonstrate excellence in their business and community involvement. The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) wrote an article about the award and listed the winners.

    On Case's website, he lists the four elements that inform his outreach activities:

    • Everyone can perform, create, and enjoy music—no matter their background or degree of experience.
    • Music has the extraordinary ability to create community by fostering cooperation and mutual respect among all kinds of people.
    • Our musical lives are fundamentally multicultural. Thus, when we perform or listen, we experience first-hand the incredible richness and variety of American—and human—culture.
    • Music and the arts in general play a central role in the development of a healthy community, especially when they are approached in a manner that recognizes this power and responsibility.

    Read more about him here.

  • Watch out for Ted Nesi '07

    Politico.com includes Ted Nesi ’07 as one of “50 politicos to watch: Bloggers.”

    Whether he is writing a freelance story for the Wheaton Quarterly, returning to campus to offer advice to aspiring journalists at workshop, or turning up the heat on local politicians in his news blog Nesi's Notes, Class of 2007 alum Ted Nesi’s enthusiasm for his work is inspiring. That enthusiasm, as well as talent and expertise, has put him on the fast-track in his journalism career. In just a few years he has quickly moved from working at a local newspaper to designing his own multi-media job at a CBS affiliate in Providence, R.I. The award-winning journalist is a digital reporter for WPRI-TV and FOX Providence at LIN Media. In addition to writing a news blog, he also reports on-air.

    He is gaining national attention. Politico.com this week included him as one of “50 politicos to watch: Bloggers.” Politico.com covers political news with a focus on national politics, Congress, Capitol Hill, lobbying, media and the Presidency.

    Politico calls his blog “highly readable” and notes, “He’s not a traditional television reporter—he was hired primarily to cover Rhode Island politics, policy and the economy online in his first-person voice. But his mix of breaking news blurbs and investigative pieces makes it an increasingly relevant click, even if the Ocean State isn’t considered a pivotal battleground.”

    Read what Politico.com has to say about Nesi, a political science major, here. Follow him on Twitter @tednesi.


  • Coaching recognition

    New men’s lax coach plans to win attention for Wheaton

    Jamie Lockhard knew just enough about Wheaton to be intersted when he saw that the college was looking to hire a new men’s lacrosse coach.

    When he started to learn more about Wheaton, from the college’s web site and from field hockey coach and women’s sports administrator Rebecca Begley, he became very interested.

    The feeling proved to be mutual. Lockhard, the former head coach of Widener University, took over the top spot in Wheaton’s men’s lacrosse program and talked about his excitement to join the college with Lacrosse Magazine, a publication of the sport’s national governing association.

    During the interview, he talked about the confusion that sometimes ensues between our Wheaton and the college that shares our name in Illinois.

    "I had heard of it and I had heard it always got confused with the Wheaton out in Illinois," said Lockard on Tuesday. "People always ask me if it is a Christian school or not, and I'm sure I'll still get those questions."

    The Wheaton program Lockard is taking over is located in Norton, Mass. – roughly between Boston and Providence, R.I. – and plays in the Pilgrim League with the likes of Springfield and Babson. It is not the Christian institution located in the 'burbs east of Chicago (which, not for nothing, is rumored to be close to adding varsity lacrosse).

    The magazine concluded: "If he can replicate what he was able to do at his alma mater, he should quickly establish that when it comes to NCAA men's lacrosse, there's only one Wheaton."

  • Appreciating Potter

    One the eve of the final film

    It's nearly here!

    The final installment of the massive Harry Potter movie franchise opens at midnight on Friday, July 15. The excitement has been building for weeks and the queues will be forming soon.

    The newspaper chain Metro, which publishes in major cities around the U.S. as well as abroad, took a moment to reassess the frenzy with Wheaton English Professor Michael Drout, a scholar of Anglo-Saxon and Medieval literature as well as an expert on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy writers.

    "What makes people go ga-ga over Harry Potter?" the newspaper asked, perhaps expecting Professor Drout to talk about author J.K. Rowling's marketing juggernaut. Instead, he praised the books' author.

    "Rowling doesn’t get enough credit for being a decent writer," the professor and chair of the English Department told the newspaper.

    Drout's appreciation for Rowling's fictional wizarding world is not so surprising, given that he has regularly taught classes on fantasy literature.

    For many of my students, Harry Potter has been their reading childhood. Things like that happened with the "Star Wars" movies, but it has never happened with books. And despite the crassly commercial marketing, Harry Potter has been a force for good. He has gotten young people reading and thinking about good and evil.

    And he knows his audience. This year's college seniors would have been eight or nine years old when the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published in the U.S.

    Read the whole story in New York Metro. »

  • Learning to lead

    What can a Wheaton professor learn from a public university?

    Professor of English Paula M. Krebs has learned a lot about higher education leadership in the past year, by “following the triumphs and setbacks” of an institution that differs markedly from Wheaton—the University of Massachusetts.

    Professor Paula KrebsIn an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Krebs reflects on the knowledge and experience she gained as an American Council on Education (ACE) fellow at UMass, and how she hopes to bring her new understanding back to Wheaton this fall.

    ACE fellowships are intended to help prepare faculty members and administrators for positions of significant responsibility in higher ed. Fellows spend an academic year observing how decision making and leadership work at other institutions. Krebs chose the five-campus UMass system as the site for her ACE fellowship in 2010-2011.

    In her essay, “Back to the Private Realm,” Krebs writes: “I wanted to learn about the public system, about the ways that states do and don’t see their obligations to higher education…. State universities are expected to be engines of economic development, work-force training, and research that can go into patents and revenue. That's very different from the small liberal-arts college's obligations, which run to the individual rather than the civic.”

    Now Krebs is asking herself, “What useful stuff can I take back to my college from a year out in the larger world of higher education?” She learned, among other things, that strong leaders learn from their mistakes, and that less effective leaders tend to shy away from taking responsibility when things don’t go well. She also had opportunities to observe how politics—institutional, statewide and national—play out at a large public university.

    “I'm coming back a different citizen of my small campus,” she writes. “I'll never be able to see it again as self-contained. I'll always be looking outside for new ideas, investigating what other folks have tried....

    “And, because I've been in a public system, I'll never again be able to see my own college separately from its location, whether that be town, state, or region. I’m coming back with a new interest in the ways we interact with and give to our community and a new desire to build on that.”


  • Project ace

    Professor Krebs offers a new approach to an old problem

    College ranking systems, guidebooks and the federal government pay close attention to the college and university graduation rates when assessing the quality of an institution. The theory is that the higher the graduation rate, the better the institution is performing.

    The problem with that theory is that graduation rates ignore the differences among institutions. For example, says Wheaton Professor Paula Krebs, "a student who transfers from a community college to a four-year institution and completes a bachelor's degree counts as a failure, in graduation-rate terms, for both the community college and the four-year institution."

    Krebs has spent the past year as an ACE Fellow working on a project to offer an alternative approach, which she wrote about with colleague Donna Ekal (associate provost for undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso) for the most recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    The explanation of reverse-transfer programs is receiving a lot of attention in the higher education world. The article has been the Chronicle's most emailed article since it was published on Monday. In addition, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) shared the article with the chief academic officers of its member institutions.

    I've been very excited about the attention it has received," Krebs says. "I hope it will result in closer partnerships between many community colleges and four-year colleges, and I look forward to applying what I've learned this last year now that I'm back at Wheaton.




  • Cape star

    Professor Barker helps establish a public observatory on Cape Cod

    Astronomy professor Tim Barker traces his love of astronomy back to his childhood, growing up on Cape Cod, and to amateur astronomer Corwin Preshio, who lived near his family home.

    That's the back story behind the role that Barker has played in helping to establish an observatory that features the largest telescope on the Cape and perhaps the largest in all of southeastern Massachusetts.

    The Harwich Elementary School's new observatory received a big boost when Wheaton's astronomy professor decided to donate his giant, 32-inch telescope to the fledgling facility, which will serve public school children and families in Harwich and neighboring towns. The Associated Press wrote about the new facility and Barker's role in making it possible.

    "I've owned the telescope for about 12 years at my house on the Cape, and I've taken several Wheaton classes to use it there," Barker said. "The sky at my home on the Cape has become increasingly light polluted, however, and the telescope was very difficult to operate.  The location in Harwich is darker, and the storage area for it there makes it much easier to use."

    The professor said that his personal telescope would not have fit in the college's new observatory, which will open in the fall and will feature seven remotely operated digital telescopes as well as equipment for manual viewing.

    Like other star buffs on the Cape, Barker relishes the opportunity to use his former telescope now in the Harwich schools. "I took my First Year Seminar there last October, and they had a wonderful experience looking through it.  I'm going to take my FYS there again this year."



  • Good weekend

    Alumna’s spouse reflects on Commencement Reunion weekend

    Returning to an alma mater is educational in many ways, according to Ron Bancroft, who wrote about the experience of accompanying his wife Sally Bancroft '66 to her 45th reunion here at Wheaton.

    In his essay for the Portland Press Herald, Bancroft says that what distinguishes Wheaton's celebration is that it combines reunion with commencement. The pairing is ideal as it "brings the graduating class and the reunion classes together in a nice multi-generational way," he explains.

    The resonance of the combination is exemplified by the processional at the start of commencement. The graduating class leads the way, but stops short of its seats to welcome returning alumnae/i, who also march with their class banners (see above). It is always a stirring moment. Said Bancroft:

    It was a wonderful weekend and is an endearing ritual. These commencement-reunions remind us of the best of our youth and reconnect us with the best of today's youth.

    The experience left him with one question: "Why are we doing this only during reunions that come along every five years?"

  • Post graduation

    Tracking media buzz about Wheaton’s 176th commencement

  • Revolutionary voice

    Lucy Larcom’s sentiments on the start of the Civil War.

    On April 12, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the Boston Globe featured excerpts from the 19th century diary of Lucy Larcom, one of Wheaton’s most storied educators and an ardent abolitionist.

    Lucy Larcom of Wheaton CollegeAs quoted in the Globe, Larcom wrote, “It will be no pleasure to any American to remember that he lived in this revolution, when brother lifted his hand against brother; and the fear is, that we shall forget that we are brethren still, though some are so unreasonable and wander so far from the true principles of national prosperity.”

    The Globe noted that news of the Confederacy’s attack at Fort Sumter took a full day to reach Boston. Soon President Abraham Lincoln was rallying the troops, and on April 21 Larcom wrote: “I felt a soldier-spirit rising within me, when I saw the men of my native town armed and going to risk their lives for their country's sake…. The streets of Boston were almost canopied with the stars and stripes, and the merchants festooned their shops with the richest goods of the national colors.”

    According to the Wheaton College history online, Larcom “introduced the study of English Literature at Wheaton. Famed as a poet, author, and editor, Larcom is remembered for her autobiography, A New England Girlhood, still in print, in which she describes her youth working in the Lowell mills.”

    Larcom taught literature, composition and other subjects at Wheaton for many years, beginning in 1854. She also founded the student literary journal, Rushlight, which is still published today. Her style of teaching “by lecture, reading and discussion, rather than by memorization and recitation” was revolutionary at the time, the college website notes.