4/5/2013 12:41 PM
Millikin University's Human Service Connection (HSC) brings the issues of social justice and awareness to life with activities such as Box City and annual spring break experiential learning trips. During Millikin's most recent spring break, the Human Service Connection traveled to Pawnee, Okla. to engage with the Pawnee Native American Tribe and experience the tribe's culture.
"As the advisor for the Human Service Connection, I pick a place to go where the students can be engaged," remarked Mary Garrison, associate professor of social work in the behavioral sciences department. "We specifically went there to work with Native Americans, and the students who attended the trip spent the previous fall and spring semester learning about the culture of the Pawnee Tribe. We basically went out and immersed ourselves and allowed the tribe to share their culture."
"Pawnee Nation not only provided education about an oppressed population, but it also gave us a better insight into our own cultures and how we are impacted by the environment we live in," stated Carissa McCallister, a senior from Granite City, Ill. "I gained a new perception of myself and where I come from as well as a better understanding of the Native American culture."
Throughout the week, the organization learned about the Pawnee Tribal Government and met with members of the council, including its President and Executive Director. The students also engaged in work that was connected with the culture of the Pawnee Tribe such as participating in after-school tutoring, working with an elderly center, attending a Pawnee language high school class, and cleaning the tribal cemeteries.
"Our time with the Pawnee was possibly the most enlightening and educational experience any of us have ever had," remarked Jade Anderson, a senior from Mt. Zion, Ill. "We cleaned litter and tree limbs from the tribe's two cemeteries, and also picked up trash along the road. We participated in the tribal community playing games, listened to men sing and play a big drum. Their humble and caring attitude was contagious."
"Cleaning their cemeteries is quite sacred to them," remarked Garrison. "You learn so much about who they are and their ancestry through this work, it's really quite powerful. The tribe was in awe that the students would clean the cemeteries and this really connected the students with the culture of the Pawnee Tribe."
Historically, HSC has been to Pawnee three times and has visited other locations such as Baltimore, Md.; Denver, Colo.; Wilmington, Del.; and Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Eight Millikin seniors attended the 2013 HSC trip along with Associate Professor Garrison and Director of the Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Jan Traughber. The students will be presenting their experiences from the trip during Millikin's annual Celebrations of Scholarship on Friday, April 26 at 10 a.m. in Room 422 of Shilling Hall. The majority of the students that participated will be graduating in May 2013.
"As for my experiences, I really appreciated their sense of history as living," remarked Jon Williamsen, a senior from Beecher, Ill. "All events and individuals that came before them were spoken in the present - showing that time does not matter in regards to historical impact, it all depends on how an individual respects their ancestors. Working with the Pawnee is completely uplifting, as they had such a joyous sense of life and appreciation for their history and developments."
"Putting yourself into an unknown place can make anyone apprehensive at any age," remarked Garrison. "The students learned to be open to new opportunities and they understood how important it was for them to connect with a different group of people. This was a learning experience for them and I think they are still processing many things they learned from the trip."
"It was a whole different world for the students and it was really neat to see how that world operates," remarked Garrison. "I was so proud of the questions they asked and how they were willing to take appropriate advantage of these people that were willing to educate them. They certainly got the most out of the trip."
2/15/2013 2:35 PM
As part of Millikin University's strategic plan, Millikin's Information Technology (IT) Department will be making upgrades over the next several months to provide students, faculty and staff with technological benefits in the classroom and across campus. The plan includes creating a "next-generation" campus network that will satisfy present needs and provide for the coming trends in technology use. The goal is to have the project finished by the beginning of the fall 2013 semester.
"Millikin University's Board of Trustees has allocated 1.5 million dollars to perform a technology infrastructure upgrade," stated Director of Information Technology, Pat Pettit. "The upgrade includes the things you don’t see but expect to just work – the cabling, the core, and the equipment that distributes network traffic across campus. We've been utilizing the existing infrastructure for a long time, and we have made it work, but now it's time to upgrade it to accommodate the growing number of devices and ways that faculty and students want and need to use technology."
"Most of our faculty want to use technology to enhance their teaching, including video," stated Pettit. "The upgrade is designed to allow for that and for a relatively new phenomenon referred to as 'Bring Your Own Device,' BYOD." The Information Technology Department has been conducting polls during the summer with incoming students for several years to see what sort of devices students are bringing to campus. "We've seen tremendous movement toward laptops in the last few years – almost 100 percent," remarked Pettit. "But, then we started polling them to see what additional types of devices they were bringing, and overwhelmingly, the results were mobile devices such as iPads, tablets, and smartphones. We're finding that students are bringing an average of three devices each. This tells us that the students want to be mobile and they want to use their technology everywhere and be connected all the time to enhance their learning experience."
The IT Department will be adding a blanket of wireless across campus including administrative offices, faculty offices, open spaces, and inside classrooms so students can use their devices for interactive purposes. Besides upgrading the physical structure, the department is also making sure that there will be enough bandwidth to the Internet for the campus. The department plans to work with the Illinois Century Network (ICN), a telecommunications backbone that provides high speed access to schools and nonprofit organizations across the state to increase the capacity of their access to the Internet.
Millikin is further taking advantage of technology opportunities with a classroom in ADM-Scovill Hall on Millikin University's campus. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) designated classroom has been equipped with a Polycom distance learning system that delivers audio and video to distance students in a synchronous environment. Business graduate students began using the technology in January with students physically in the classroom and students tuning in to the class from across the United States and Canada. The system delivers a more active and inclusive environment for the distant learner by allowing them to participate in the classroom discussions and content with the students, and instructor who are in the physical classroom. Students both in the classroom and at a distance interact through video and audio simultaneously, which is different from other "distance learning" environments where students read, work, and then turn in assignments and are graded by instructors that they never see.
As stated by Pettit, "it is important to build a 'next generation network' to grow and expand our access to the Internet. All of our instructors utilize technology in some way – to illustrate or add resources to their content. Technology is vital to the way we communicate, teach, learn, and the way we do business. This is a huge step forward for Millikin in being able to prepare our students for the future."
1/11/2013 3:30 PM
Millikin University students experienced global citizenship by attending the 23rd annual American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference held Nov. 17-20 in Chicago, Ill. Students from around the country and globally participated in the AMUN Conference to experience and create resolutions to solve world problems such as food security, biological weapons, literacy, and natural disaster relief.
Millikin students participated as delegates for the countries of Norway and Costa Rica at the 2012 AMUN Conference.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for students to blend through the research they had done in the Model United Nations class in order to better prepare and communicate from the perspective of the country they were representing,” remarked Dr. Bobbi Gentry, Assistant Professor of Political Science. “The students were able to address the issues and solve global problems.”
American Model United Nations is a non-profit, educational organization that provides students with the highest quality, most professionally run simulation of the United Nations available. AMUN strives to combine educational quality with highly realistic simulations of the United Nations to give students an unparalleled Model UN learning experience.
“Participating at the 2012 AMUN Conference was a challenging and rewarding experience,” remarked Millikin junior Emma Prendergast. “My perspective on global issues has been greatly expanded, as well as my knowledge of how the United Nations works. I look forward to being involved in future conferences.”
Students at the 2012 AMUN Conference wrote position papers from their country’s perspective explaining how the country would work to solve an issue. Students then worked on writing resolutions similar to how the United Nations itself would create. Students also worked on caucusing with other students from around the world to develop ideas for resolutions. After working on these resolutions the students presented their results to the body of the conference, and engaged in points of inquiry.
“It’s all about following parliamentary procedure and diplomatic courtesy, and being able to engage in discussion about solving global issues,” remarked Gentry. “Specific issues that were topics of discussion were landmines that are currently around the globe, food security and economic development.”
The American Model United Nations is currently run by a specific staff of professionals who have AMUN experience, and 19 Millikin students attended the conference in November. Millikin students prepared for the conference in class by researching on the structure of the United Nations and parliamentary procedure. Students also had the opportunity to be involved with a club component that helped them learn more about the experience.
“All of the students engaged in discussions that were important toward their country’s point of view,” remarked Gentry. “Since we were representing Costa Rica and Norway, the South American voting block was a topic of discussion as well as Norway’s work with the European Union. I saw students do points of order, points of inquiry, and give speeches about the country’s point of view and how to solve a specific global issue.”
Millikin University will be representing France at next year’s AMUN Conference, which puts Millikin on the Historical Permanent Security Council. This opportunity will allow Millikin students to learn more about the historical aspect of the United Nations and it puts the students in a leadership role at the conference.
“It is an amazing performance-learning opportunity,” remarked Gentry. “One of the big things we work on in the class is being able to speak in front of others, to be able to articulate an argument, and to do it convincingly. Students are able to communicate all that information with others and develop ideas about solving problems. It puts students in a simulation format that helps them bridge that knowledge-base into practical answers for global issues.”
“Model United Nations is open to students of any major and that brings different perspectives and it really compliments the class,” remarked Gentry. “This is a fantastic opportunity to role-play and to really practice those skills we already teach at Millikin. There’s a variety of ways students can engage in this class from their disciplinary perspective and it gives a unique perspective for the conference as a whole.”
11/15/2012 9:50 AM
Dr. Eduardo Cabrera, Millikin University professor of Spanish and chair of the modern languages department, has been selected as the Chief Reader Designate for the Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish Literature and Culture program and exam.
Cabrera was chosen for this highly regarded position by the leaders of the College Board and the Educational Testing Service after working with the AP Spanish Literature program for several years.
“I have been working for the College Board for many years as a Reader and I was in charge of scoring exams and supervising faculty in that function,” remarked Cabrera. “The most important thing for those that work for the College Board is to be consistent with rubrics, rules, and ways of grading. However, it’s important for everyone to grade with the same system created by the College Board and the Education Testing Service. It will be a wonderful experience – most faculty representatives believe that this is the most important faculty development activity that they can do.”
Cabrera will play a critical role in the preparation of the course description and exam for AP Spanish Literature and Culture. He will be part of a team that represents a diversity of knowledge and points of view in their fields and, as a group, are the authority when it comes to making subject-matter decisions in the exam-construction process. The AP programs represent a unique collaboration between high school and college educators.
“I work with many people on the national level to develop good rubrics, to be consistent, and grade logically,” said Cabrera. “This is what we work for in our profession, and many faculty members research and work in different capacities to achieve this position.”
After spending time as an AP Reader, Cabrera was promoted to AP Table Leader where he was in charge of how Readers score their papers, and then was promoted to Question Leader. Cabrera is currently in his first year of training as the Chief Reader Designate for the AP Spanish Literature and Culture program and exam.
“One of the key aspects of working with the College Board is faculty development,” remarked Cabrera. “It not only implies scoring exams but it also involves learning from many other faculty members. These are faculty members who are not only in the U.S. but also abroad. AP courses are taught in many countries, so I have the opportunity to work with faculty members from Spain, El Salvador, Argentina, Mexico and other countries.”
The College Board is dedicated to educational opportunity and achievement. It ensures every student in the United States has access to a high-quality education and is prepared to succeed in college. The College Board provides resources to help students connect with and successfully complete a high-quality college education.
“I couldn’t believe that I was selected because this is such a unique position,” remarked Cabrera. “The Education Testing Service nominated me following a one-year process before being interviewed. It’s a very high honor to be named into this position because it has a lot of responsibility.”
As part of his responsibilities Cabrera will be in charge of providing an overview of the exam, including detailed information on how students can prepare for the exam. He will also provide information on how exam questions can be improved as well as approving the new Reader’s Application and approving facilities. The AP Spanish Literature and Culture exam is currently held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I will be learning so many things and the neat aspect is that we will be working with college professors and high school teachers,” remarked Cabrera. “We will know how students are prepared at the high school level. It’s a wonderful learning experience for college professors because we will know how to help the students with their transition from high school to college. That’s one of the more important learning experiences.”
9/19/2012 3:30 PM
Millikin University Associate Professor of English, Dr. Michael O’Conner, is taking a different direction with his American Literature Survey course, “American Literature Through Twain.” This fall semester, the first iteration of his American literature anthology will be available to undergraduates at no charge digitally and online. The online anthology contains primary source materials with teaching and learning materials available through web links.
“I had been thinking about this project for a long time and over the last two years I was lucky enough to get the Hardy Professorship in the English Department,” remarked O’Conner. “The Hardy Professorship allowed me to work on a project like this and it has allowed me to bring the project to a near culmination.”
O’Conner put the anthology together through bits and pieces during its early stages, but he has made major strides over the last two years. The idea behind the Digital American literature anthology project is to adapt to the growing trend of students reading textbooks digitally.
“Over the last five to ten years I have noticed students at the undergraduate level have had difficulties paying for textbooks,” remarked O’Conner. “Part of my pedagogy is having students read critically and highlight texts. With the rise of the ability of anyone to self-publish, and with more students able to read texts online, that led me to the decision to publish my own textbook. Offering a free textbook would make students more inclined to mark up books and worry less about having to sell them back at the end of the semester.”
O’Conner is involved with an academic discipline that works well with self-publishing primary textbooks. He teaches the early portion of American Literature, much of which is in the public domain and out of copyright.
“Because there’s only so much time in a semester - you may only cover a third to a half of the material in a printed book,” remarked O’Conner. “That led me to think that if I had my own textbook it would only have the texts that I teach from year to year. There’s a sense of having control as an editor to be able to select portions of particular books that are going to work with my class. There’s a control factor involved with the process of this project.”
One of the key aspects of the project for Dr. O’Conner was the editing process and the decisions about which texts were going to be a part of his book.
“The nice thing about being in a 21st century society is that we are slowly converting to reading text on a screen, whether it’s a laptop or a tablet,” remarked O’Conner. “In my particular discipline, it’s become important to get as many of my students as possible to make this conversion. By getting more students to make the shift to electronic text reading it will give them access to so many more free books and resources for this particular discipline.”
Dr. O’Conner foresees the possibility of other professors of American Literature to be able to use these works. All material that he will compile and refine is going to be under a creative commons license which would allow anyone on the World Wide Web to use the materials and adapt them for their own purposes, as long as they are non-commercial.
“One of the future elements I want for this project is the addition of media,” remarked O’Conner. “Eventually I foresee students helping to create multimedia in the sense of audio or video recordings of the writings that they will allow me to add to the textbook. This would allow students at Millikin to become practitioners and be able to get into the act of creating the next version of the textbook.”
O’Conner’s fall semester course, “American Literature Through Twain,” has 29 Millikin undergraduates who have the opportunity to use the electronic textbook. The textbook will be available through several versions including web page format for laptops, versions for tablets and iPads, e-readers, and printable PDF format.
“I will try to survey the students at the beginning and at the end of the semester to see what sort of feedback they have about the project,” remarked O’Conner. “Hopefully I can make some changes in the next version or in the way I approach the next version. I certainly hope the majority of the students will be open to this project because it will open up so many resources for them to use. If the students can become comfortable reading text online, then there are literally hundreds of novels, short story, and poetry collections available to them for free. They can then carry around an entire literature library with them all the time, in a single lightweight device.”
8/8/2012 2:00 PM
Students at Millikin Academic Summer Holiday, also known as SMASH Camp, were provided the opportunity to experience hands-on learning through various sectors including, energy, health, arts, food science, and media. Decatur School District 61 and Millikin University teamed up this summer to host SMASH Camp for rising middle school students for six weeks, June 4 to July 14.
SMASH Camp was created to engage an underserved and high-potential group of Decatur Public School students, to leverage the enthusiasm of experts who can inspire and challenge students and educators, and to promote inquiry-based learning approaches for both students and adults. Entrepreneurship was the overarching theme of SMASH Camp. Campers were challenged to come up with their own ideas, create something of value, and apply it to real world circumstances.
“The purpose and the underlining theme of the camp is that it’s all about the student, and that students don’t have to wait for someone else to step up and offer them an opportunity to do things,” remarked Sharon Alpi, Director of the Millikin University Center for Entrepreneurship. “There’s a difference between what students have to learn from a textbook and hands-on learning - having them explore, create, and be able to follow where their own thinking and creativity can take them. The majority of the students learned many new ways of thinking and creativity, and at the end of the day what we were trying to do is help them know that they can do all things.”
Over the duration of SMASH Camp, campers worked side-by-side with local companies and organizations to make new products, create value-added services, generate awareness around a critical topic, and create and perform an artistic piece for new audiences. Campers picked one career sector to concentrate on during camp. Each set of related sectors had lead partners who drove the projects and experiences for the students. SMASH Camp partners included, Caterpillar, Inc. and Richland Community College for the energy sector, Decatur Memorial Hospital for the health sector, and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), 4-H, and the University of Illinois Extension for the food science sector. Millikin University hosted projects for the arts and media sectors.
“The campers enjoyed being on Millikin’s campus, and we wanted the camp to be a fun, learning environment,” remarked Andy Heise, Program Coordinator of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “It was a new and aspirational environment for the students and having all the community partners involved with the camp made it a great connection. Many of the facilitators were Millikin alums or current professors who recognize the success of Millikin’s approach to education.”
“This camp was an exact application of Millikin’s performance-based learning approach, specifically designed for middle school students,” remarked Heise. “SMASH campers came up with an idea, developed that idea, executed the idea, and created a final product. For many, SMASH Camp was the first time they ever experienced the process of entrepreneurship.”
Each sector of SMASH Camp featured projects. The media sector featured students spending one week working on radio programs that aired on WJMU (89.5 FM). The campers came up with the ideas, wrote the scripts and performed the radio programs. Campers of the food science sector worked on a project that involved cooking several versions of the same recipe in order to make it healthier and appealing to consumer tastes. Campers also wrote, performed and marketed a theatre production titled “Express” performed at Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre, Millikin University’s student-run theater. The students decided to name the show “Express” because they learned about expressing themselves.
“We made big strides this summer with performance learning. Having students see different applications of how they could build their own products was a big revelation for them,” remarked Heise. “The performance learning approach was a big shift in the way they were looking at things, and for a school district in a community this size to take the lead in doing a camp like this was very unique.”
Alpi agreed citing “the absolute collaborative engagement with the school district,” as the determining factor in what made SMASH Camp unique. “We applied the mindset of having the students explore, discover, experiment, and make it their own and that was the core of this camp,” remarked Alpi. “It was exciting to see the students be an active part of this campus. What we wanted them to do was find inspiration in higher education. I hope our role can become broader in terms of teachers, learners and leaders, and as teachers of entrepreneurship, we can do something specifically in terms of developing tools for the students.”
“SMASH Camp was a great summer experience for our gifted middle school students,” remarked Decatur School District 61 Superintendent, Gloria Davis. “We greatly appreciated the partnership with Millikin University and the wonderful college exposure it provided our students. We know that having our middle school students involved in project-based, high level learning is truly beneficial to their success toward high school and college graduation.”
Results of this year’s SMASH Camp will be presented at the 30th Annual Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education Forum on Nov. 10-12, 2012 in Atlanta, Ga.
7/24/2012 9:03 AM
Millikin University students and faculty are hard at work in Millikin University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. The program teams a student with a faculty member to perform an in-depth research project over the summer months. The one-on-one research is a clear example of the type of “graduate level” opportunities undergraduates enjoy at Millikin.
The 2012 SURF program features several Millikin students and faculty across multiple disciplines conducting research and collaboratively forging new academic ground. This summer, five SURF fellowships were granted.
“Millikin's summer undergraduate research program provides our students with an incredibly rich experience doing primary research that they can continue to build on during the regular academic year,” remarked Barry Pearson, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The research also provides them with opportunities to partner with full-time faculty in important research that reaches beyond the University and extends to a full range of performance learning outcomes, from product research to environmental and health sciences.”
Dr. Jeffrey Hughes, professor of biology, and Matt Alward, a junior biology major from Decatur, are analyzing and testing a recently developed genetic tool for their studies of the metabolism of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) in bacterial cells. Alward developed plasmids containing genes for variable expression of the enzyme that Hughes has been using over the past two decades to study the metabolism of SAM. These plasmids allow the team to not only add exogenous SAM to cells, but also to deplete it internally by activating or inactivating the SAM enzyme inside cells with a sudden change in incubation temperature. The goals of their research is to verify the identity of a DNA insert in the plasmids that have the SAM gene, to determine the DNA sequence of the mutant gene to verify that it is different from the original in a way that explains temperature sensitivity, to determine the conditions under which temperature best regulates in vivo SAM activity, and to conduct the cell rescue experiment.
Dr. Bobbi Gentry, assistant professor of political science, and Maddison Harner, a sophomore political science and psychology double major from Lovington, are researching how we communicate politics to children. This research builds on Gentry’s previous research with political socialization. Political socialization is the process by which we become accustomed to our political environment. This research will answer questions about who makes the decisions on what to tell children in times of crisis, what times during a child’s life we discuss politics, and who makes decisions on curriculum. Research will be conducted through interviews with teachers, and former teachers will provide data on curriculum design, coverage of topics, and use of classroom materials.
Dr. Joe Stickles, professor of mathematics, and Hailee Peck, a sophomore mathematics major from Mahomet, are investigating zero-divisor graphs of commutative rings. A commutative ring is a mathematical structure in which you can add, subtract, and multiply, but not divide. The goal for this research project is to investigate what connections there are between the center of a zero-divisor graph and properties of the zero-divisor lattice.
“The main difficulty in studying zero-divisors is that this set typically lacks a certain amount of algebraic structure,” remarked Stickles. “The field of zero-divisor graphs is a relatively new field, so there are many results that can be obtained with just a few months of hard work.”
Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, assistant professor of biology, and Sarah Huber, a junior biology major from West Dundee, are investigating the effects of human-provided food on the health of wild birds. Huber is evaluating if the availability of such a constant, predictable food source reduces stress and improves feeder user’s ability to fight disease. Wilcoxen and Huber are also monitoring transmission of disease among birds. Their research is being conducted at six study sites, three of which have bird feeders. The properties used in their study are owned and operated by the Macon County Conservation District, the Piatt County Forest Preserve, and the University of Illinois. Wilcoxen and Huber will present their work from this research project and related projects at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology National Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. in January 2013.
Dr. Timothy Kovalcik, assistant professor of history, and Kalee Mitchelson, a sophomore history major from Chatham, will begin the initial stages of archival work at the Eureka Springs Historical Museum in Eureka Springs, Ark. The goal of the project is to analyze and archive nearly 10,000 artifacts and documents. The project is divided into two phases over two years. Phase one is initial research on archival “best practices” and assessing the archival needs. Phase two is digitally cataloguing and archiving. Mitchelson will assist in bibliographic work and she will provide the necessary cataloguing work at the museum. The specific goals for the project are to build a comprehensive bibliography on Eureka Springs public history and arrival methods, to assess the records and artifacts housed at the Eureka Springs Historical Museum, and to plan a course of action for future archival needs.
7/9/2012 2:30 PM
Millikin University students’ haiku poetry is slated for publication in upcoming Japanese-related poetry anthologies and literary magazines. Notification of publication in journals around the world came for several students within a month after completing Dr. Randy Brooks’ Global Haiku Traditions class at Millikin.
Millikin students, Elise Scannell of Jerseyville, Conner Kerrigan of Frankfort and Emma Prendergast of New Lenox had haiku accepted for publication in the July 2012 issue of Prune Juice Journal of Senryu & Kyoka
. Prune Juice
is co-edited by Liam Wilkinson of Yorkshire, England and Bruce Boynton of Fairfax, Virginia. Courtney Gerk of Tinley Park had a haiku accepted for publication in the September 2012 issue of A Hundred Gourds: A Quarterly Journal Featuring Haiku, Tanka, Haiga, Haibun & Renku
, edited by Lorin Ford of Brunswick, Victoria in Australia. Students, Adam Blakey of Decatur, Courtney Gerk, Jessica Claussen of Grant Park, Lindsay Quick of Mattoon, and Moli Copple of El Paso had haiku accepted for publication in the February 2013 issue of Bottle Rockets
“Dr. Brooks’ Global Haiku Traditions course is always entertaining and Dr. Brooks is an incredibly engaging professor,” remarked Elise Scannell. “My haiku is the first piece of work that I’ve ever had published, and I’m proud of the accomplishment.”
Dr. Randy Brooks, Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been an active poet, editor, scholar and leader in the English-language haiku community for decades. Over the last thirteen years, he has created opportunities for students at Millikin University to study and engage in the creative work of this global literary community. His students have interviewed and written original reader-response essays on many of the leading English-language haiku poets. Cor van den Heuvel, editor of The Haiku Anthology
and Baseball Haiku
, both published by W.W. Norton & Company, writes that Brooks “oversees what is undoubtedly the best English-language haiku program of any school in the country.”
Dr. Brooks’ courses on Japanese poetry traditions are very popular with college students because they integrate literary reading with writing of original poetry. In these courses, his goals for students are: experiential engagement in reading and writing haiku, awareness of the challenge of writing high-quality haiku, and understanding the rich diversity of contemporary approaches to writing haiku available within current global traditions.
“The main value of haiku is learning that all art, including a literary art such as haiku, is a transactional, co-creator process,” remarked Brooks. “The writer starts something that the reader finishes. The question is not what is haiku, but what does a haiku do for the reader and how we can play with the haiku tradition as writers.”
Brooks and his students follow the Japanese tradition of small gatherings of haiku writers who engage in public competitions called kukai. To conduct a kukai, original haiku are submitted to the organizer who selects the best attempts for inclusion in the competition. These haiku are placed on a page with no names, then read and enjoyed by everyone at the gathering.
Anonymous competition is an essential part of Brooks’ classes. “Favorite haiku are noted and read out loud, and then everyone talks about what they love about that haiku,” remarked Brooks. “Kukai is not an editing session, so edit suggestions or comments about why someone does not like a haiku are not allowed. The point of kukai is to find haiku that are loved. The Japanese say that when a haiku finds the reader who loves it, that is the moment it is born. Authors of favorite haiku with the most votes receive awards of haiku books or magazines.”
“Through kukai, students experience the social nature of haiku and learn which of their original haiku are valued by readers,” noted Brooks. “The significance exists not within the haiku, but within those who take it to heart and imagine it and connect it to their own memories, associations and feelings of being alive.”
6/19/2012 2:48 PM
All Millikin University’s biology students take part in a research project during their junior and senior year. By stepping outside the classroom and undertaking their own research, students get the opportunity to apply their scientific knowledge to practical situations. At the conclusion of their respective research projects, students present their findings to professors and peers during a Senior Seminar. This year’s presentations, which could be literature or laboratory-based, earned many students a trip to conferences to present their findings, with several students even returning with awards.
On March 30- 31, seven biology students attended the Illinois State Academy of Science hosted at Knox College. The results of the students’ research were presented in either a poster session or an oral presentation. While these presentations were not judged, the experience gained by the students attending was invaluable in preparing them for future presentations at Millikin and in their career. Students who attended included Amanda Guinn, Cody Hubble, Brianna Hogan, Grace Walworth, Sarah Huber, Matt DeCosse, and Michael Vickers.
The biology honorary society, Beta Beta Beta, hosted its annual North Central District 1 Conference at Augustana College on April 14. Grace Walworth and Kelly Commons gave oral presentations covering their research projects. Grace’s presentation, focusing on the possible relationship between a certain enzyme activity and bacterial communication in E. coli, received the top award at the conference. Her project began in the summer of 2010 under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Hughes. After changing majors to biology, Grace was “interested in getting involved in research and eager to dive into the microbiology lab outside of a structured class.” The opportunity to apply classroom lessons in a practical setting brings the academic experience full circle and provides experience that will benefit students in their pursuit of a career.
A week after the Beta Beta Beta conference, another group of students traveled to Butler University for its annual Undergraduate Research Conference. Five students: Brittany Sherron, Ian Callahan, Stephanie Gates, Kirsten Daykin, and Grace Walworth presented. These presentations were not judged, but still provided valuable experience for the students. Kirsten Daykin presented her findings from testing the absorption of S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) molecules in E. coli at the conference. After taking a microbiology course her junior year, Kirsten became interested in a similar project that a fellow student was working on. When that student graduated, Kirsten took the opportunity to continue the research and test a different method. This conference was a great experience for the students, as it allowed them to present their findings to the scientific community as well as a chance to present before their Senior Seminar presentations at Millikin.
The same weekend as the Beta Beta Beta conference, the Indiana Branch of the American Society for Microbiologists hosted a conference at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Ian Callahan, Stephanie Gates, and Grace Walworth traveled from one conference to another in order to participate in a judged poster competition. Of the fourteen undergraduate posters presented, two received awards. Millikin swept them both: Grace Walworth placed first and Stephanie Gates placed second. Stephanie’s research examined the same molecule as Kirsten Daykin, but looked into the effects of an enzyme disruption on the molecule’s metabolism. For their efforts, Grace and Stephanie’s respective research projects will be published in the organization’s magazine. Publication is a rare and exciting honor for an undergraduate science student to receive. Not only does it provide recognition for their outstanding work, but it shares their findings with a wider audience from the scientific community.
In late May, biology majors Seth Gabriel and Adam Jesionowsk attended the Ozark Prairie Chapter Regional meeting of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) in Des Moines, Iowa. Although Seth and Adam were the only undergraduates presenting at a poster session comprised of mostly graduate students and industry professionals, they made quite an impact. Adam won first prize for his research, which included a $500 travel stipend to attend the national SETAC meeting in November hosted in Long Beach, California.
Attending conferences gives Millikin’s biology students the unique opportunity to present their research outside of a classroom. While each conference is different and has its own vibe, they all provide a setting for students to network and learn what their peers at other institutions are doing. According to Grace Walworth, “the goal of attending conferences is to share your research as best as possible and to learn from others’ presentations.” While the goal is not necessarily to win, Millikin’s senior biology students haven’t complained at all about returning to campus with a handful of awards.
Kevin Stocks '13
Millikin Student Writer
3/30/2012 3:06 PM
While a graduate student at The Ohio State University, Dr. Paris Barnes developed an interest in solids while studying under the direction of one of the world’s foremost experts. Eight years later, he continues to investigate the structures of solids with the help of students at Millikin University, including a recent publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
At The Ohio State University, Dr. Barnes collaborated with leading expert Dr. Patrick Woodward and fellow student Hank Eng to explore the crystal structures of potential photocatalysts. Simply put, photocatalysts are chemicals that react when exposed to light. These fascinating chemicals can be utilized for various purposes, including a coating for skyscraper windows that self-cleans the window when it is exposed to sunlight. Because they are useful chemicals, scientists have sought to develop photocatalysts better than titanium (IV) oxide. However, they have been unable to develop a better chemical in the last forty years. Dr. Barnes’s graduate school research led him to research these ideas, which he brought with him to Millikin University in 2006.
Dr. Barnes shared these ideas with students and found that they were genuinely excited and interested in them. As such, he put together a team of students to conduct research that sought to determine the structures of compounds. This team consisted of Millikin students (now alums) Bradley Day, Nicholas Bley, Heather (Althouse) Jones, and Ryan McCullough. The students synthesized and determined the structures of various materials that were investigated as part of a 2003 work examining how chemical substitutions affect the optical properties of materials. To do this, they mixed up solid starting materials and heated the reaction mixture to greater than 1100 °C to form a compound. The various materials they created were analyzed using X-ray diffraction. X-ray diffraction is similar to an X-ray at the doctor’s office, except that instead of taking pictures of bones, it reveals the arrangement of atoms in a compound. To obtain X-ray diffraction data, the Millikin team collaborated with Dr. Barnes’s colleagues from The Ohio State University, including his former professor Dr. Patrick Woodward.
Once the testing was complete, Dr. Barnes analyzed the data mathematically and was able to determine the structures of the compounds. This research was published in January 2012 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Solid State Chemistry
. The article, entitled “Structures of Ordered Tungsten- or Molybdenum-Containing Quaternary Perovskite Oxides” lists Bradley Day as the first author and also includes the rest of Dr. Barnes’s team as co-authors. Dr. Barnes’s research colleague from an earlier project, Dr. Hank Eng, also assisted the team in determining which compounds to analyze and how they are structured. According to Dr. Barnes, the publication is significant because “synthetic perovskites can have interesting electrical and magnetic properties. These physical properties are useful for building smaller, more powerful computer memory and improving telecommunications."
Current Millikin students are actively involved in further pursuing this type of research. Senior Denise Freeman is examining two compounds that are nearly identical but are structurally different. In theory, their structures should be the same. This research has the potential to make a new discovery that will contribute to the field of solid state lighting. In addition, the Millikin Chemistry Department has had great success in publishing student research in academic journals. Dr. George Bennett has published two papers with Millikin students in the last two years in addition to depositing two new crystal structures into the global database. According to Dr. Barnes, students who conduct undergraduate research gain valuable experience that improves their resume for a career or graduate school.
Dr. Barnes and his team are proud to see the culmination of nearly five years of research result in a publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Along with the rest of the Chemistry Department, Dr. Barnes looks forward to publishing more student research in the years to come.
Kevin Stocks '12
Millikin Student Writer
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