Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Randell Kennedy

Randell J. Kennedy is a higher education consultant who frequently writes about the liberal arts, science and engineering.

Professor Liang helps launch academic organization

Wheaton Professor Gen LiangGeographically separated only by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar—and closely linked politically, religiously, culturally and economically for centuries—North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula have long been regarded as “worlds apart” by most scholars. Thanks to a promising new scholarly organization launched by Assistant Professor of History Yuen-Gen Liang and a group of colleagues, the many important links between the two regions are being re-established in the classroom, in scholarship and across academia.

Liang, founder and executive director of the new initiative known as the Spain-North Africa Project (SNAP), says the endeavor has bloomed from intellectual seeds planted during discussions among 11 American scholars attending the 2010 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute in Barcelona, Spain.

“It was intellectually rewarding to encounter other scholars who are interested in bridging the divide that has separated the region for so long,” Liang explains. “We came to realize that we shared an interest in exploring Iberia and North Africa as a single geographic region.” [Read more...]

Professor collaborating on NASA research

Professor Matthew Evans with his class.

Professor Matthew Evans with his class.

As a geochemist, Matthew Evans has traveled from the lowlands of North America to the very top of the world in the Himalayas to better understand how water and rocks interact. But it is his latest work, bringing small pieces of Antarctica to campus, that perhaps sheds the most compelling light on how our planet is currently changing.

Evans, assistant professor of chemistry and geology, is conducting research that is part of a three-year project that recently received $707,112 in funding from NASA. The grant is being divided among three institutions where scientists are collaborating on the project. Wheaton’s portion of the grant award is $96,904.

The project is an interdisciplinary study of the connections between recent ice sheet melt, sea ice decline and enhanced ocean biological productivity along the Amundsen Coast of West Antarctica. Evans is collaborating with scientists at NASA, Clark University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The grant provides funding for students from all three institutions to participate in the research, and the results from the project will also be incorporated into undergraduate and graduate coursework.

[Read more...]

Welcoming international students with new initiatives

According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, more than three million students are now attending colleges and universities outside their home countries, and more than 670,000 students from abroad are enrolled on U.S. campuses. That booming trend is reflected at Wheaton in the 40 percent increase in enrollment of new international students that the college experienced last year.

Global Center for Education Dean Alfredo Varela, center associate director Jill Ostrowski, and the staff are paying close attention to that growth and working to make sure that international students are easily integrated into the campus and local community, right from the moment they arrive.

The center has been developing new programs and creative initiatives to do that for the college’s 130 international students.

[Read more...]