Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Smoke screen

Professor explores views on tobacco use

SOCIAL SMOKINGIf you only smoke occasionally, does that make you a smoker? Surprisingly, new research by Associate Professor of Psychology Michael Berg reveals that many college students who may light up at parties or indulge in a cigarette or two on weekends do not consider themselves smokers.

Berg, coordinator of the Public Health Program at Wheaton, has been working with his wife, Linda Lin, a professor and chair of psychology at Emmanuel College, to look at issues of identity in tobacco using attitudes and behavior. Their research is shedding new light on an evolving student-health issue and may help build understanding on college campuses across the country.

They became interested in collaborating on the project to better understand what Berg calls “non-identified smokers” two years ago, when Emmanuel initiated a campuswide smoking ban, resulting in many conversations among students, faculty and staff about related health issues.

While tobacco use has steadily declined in the United States over the past decade, many American college students continue to smoke on a limited but regular basis. Young adults aged 18–25 have the highest rate of tobacco use of any age group in the U.S., with the majority smoking only intermittently. [Read more...]

Open for business

In October 2016, Wheaton’s new social entrepreneur-in-residence Marcia Coné invited Ryan Letada ’08, CEO and co-founder of NextDayBetter, an organization that connects diaspora communities to create positive social change, to present a talk to students.

In October 2016, Wheaton’s new social entrepreneur-in-residence Marcia Coné invited Ryan Letada ’08, CEO and co-founder of NextDayBetter, an organization that connects diaspora communities to create positive social change, to present a talk to students.

Wheaton hires first social entrepreneur-in-residence

Wheaton has hired its first social entrepreneur-in-residence, Marcia Coné, formerly the founding CEO of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. In her new role, she will help students bring their ideas for change to life by connecting them with mentors, other social entrepreneurs and opportunities on and off campus.

The new position is supported by a grant from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation to promote the steadily growing social innovation and social entrepreneurship initiatives on campus.

Coné, an accomplished writer, speaker, change strategist and advocate for women, has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Western Illinois University and a master’s degree in clinical social work as well as a Ph.D. in social work from Boston College. She still holds her position as the chief strategist for the California-based Women’s Funding Network, a philanthropic organization that seeks to address gender equity to solve social issues ranging from poverty to global security.

She has been an adjunct professor at several institutions of higher education, including Boston College, Rhode Island College, St. Ambrose University and American University in Washington, D.C. At Wheaton, she has been a visiting professor for women and gender studies and business and management courses. She also has been a guest speaker on panels at Wheaton and provided training to students on negotiation and grant writing. [Read more...]

Connecting experience, academics

Wheaton wins $500,000 grant to support faculty, students

Ian Opaluch ’17

Ian Opaluch ’17, who interned at Wheaton Innovates at MassChallenge in summer 2016, is one of many students who engage in experiential learning opportunities.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Wheaton College a $500,000 grant for faculty development and off-campus programs that will facilitate the integration of classroom learning with applied experiences.

The initiative, titled “Taking Integrative Learning on the Road: Promoting Curiosity, Knowledge Acquisition, and Integrated Problem-Solving Skills,” will help faculty connect students’ experiential learning experiences with their academic work and scholarship.

“This approach is a timely and thoughtful way to address the faculty’s desire to quantify, qualify and integrate knowledge from coursework with the skills and contexts gained from experiential learning environments,” said President Dennis M. Hanno.

Wheaton recently completed a strategic plan that articulates how it will build a cohesive academic and co-curricular 21st century student experience. The college also has launched a curriculum review and is well underway in providing a guarantee of experiential learning opportunities for students through the Wheaton Edge. Each year, Wheaton spends $1.2 million on internship stipends. [Read more...]

Focusing on Nepal 

Bruce Owens PhotoBruce Owens PhotoAssociate Professor of Anthropology Bruce Owens’s photographs of Nepal’s annual Rato Matsyendranath festival—of which he has thousands, taken over nearly 40 years—were featured in fall 2016 in three exhibits in that country.

Owens’s images were on display from October 21 through November 3 during Photo Kathmandu, an international photography festival, held in Kathmandu, Nepal. As part of the photo festival, the images were displayed at two temples in Kathmandu that honor Matsyendranāth, a god of rain who is worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists and who is celebrated with the annual festival.

A third exhibition was held at the Patan Museum in Patan, Nepal, from October 27 through November 26. Owens’s photographs are now part of the museum’s permanent collection and may be displayed at other museums around Nepal. [Read more...]