THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018

 
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
THE

THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE          FA LL ❖ 20 18

 DIGITAL SCIENCE • SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD • HOMECOMING 2018
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
THE

                        M AGA Z I N E

               EDITOR
           Mike Silverthorn

              DESIGNER
            Rachel Salazar

           PHOTOGRAPHERS
          McKenna Clark ’18
        Katie Keaton Compo ’14
            Jordie Hayes ’18
            Joy Johnson ’20
         Molly McCranner ’19
          Hannah Plotzke ’20
            Benjamin Tigner
           Trent Wiederhold

           CONTRIBUTORS
            Jeff Abernathy
          Anthony Collamati
            Derek Devine
        Cheyenne Kalfsbeek ’19
         Matt vandenBerg ’02

      WE WELCOME YOUR FEEDBACK.
       PLEASE SEND COMMENTS TO

           Mike Silverthorn
             Alma College
          614 W. Superior St.
         Alma, MI 48801-1599
               or e-mail
        silverthorn@alma.edu

     Alma College’s mission is to
    prepare graduates who think
  critically, serve generously, lead
  purposefully and live responsibly
    as stewards of the world they
   bequeath to future generations.
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
ON THE COVER:
                                                        Junior Molly McCranner studied biodiversity and environmental sus-
                                                        tainability in New Zealand during spring term 2018. For more
                                                        spring term images of Scots around the world, see pages 19-23.

COMMENCEMENT 2018
A day of happy faces and recognizing accomplishments.

                                                                                                                             3
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
Letter from the
    PRESIDENT

     A growing demand for STEM
                 T
                      he growth in career opportu-
                      nities in science, technology,
                      engineering and mathemat-
                ics (STEM) fields has been well
                documented. In a 2017 report,
                the Economics and Statistics
                Administration of the Department
                of Commerce reported that "em-
                ployment in STEM occupations
                grew much faster than employ-
                ment in non-STEM occupations
                over the last decade (24.4 percent
                versus 4.0 percent, respective-
                ly), and STEM occupations are
                projected to grow by 8.9 percent
                from 2014 to 2024, compared to
                6.4 percent growth for non-STEM
                occupations.”
                Alma College is proud of a long
                tradition of providing students an
                excellent liberal arts education,
                especially in the humanities and
                                                       Alma College faculty are working      indicates that students’ abilities to
                the social sciences. However, con-
                                                       hard to keep up with new innova-      communicate in a digital space
                sistent with the national trend, we
                                                       tions. This edition of The Tartan     were enhanced — skills that will
                also are seeing increased student
                                                       highlights campus initiatives that    be essential to future careers.
                demand for STEM programs.
                                                       respond to those opportunities as     Additional collaborative courses
                In comparing the majors com-           well as fascinating alumni stories    are scheduled for this fall.
                pleted by our graduates over the       about the impact of technology in
                past five years, the percentage of     their work.
                students completing STEM majors
                                                       Dr. Anthony Collamati’s article,      IMPROVING CAMPUS
                has grown from 47.3 percent in
                2014 to 51.8 percent in 2018. The
                                                       “Can Online Learning Find a           FACILITIES
                                                       Place in the Liberal Arts?” (p. 27)
                college’s reputation as a great                                              I am excited to share the photos
                                                       describes ways that collaborative
                school for studying science and                                              from the completion of the
                                                       learning spaces are enabling
                technology is strengthened by                                                Rollin M. Gerstacker Science
                                                       small private colleges like Alma
                our success in assisting STEM                                                and Technology Suite, the first
                                                       to work with peers to provide
                graduates to either gain entry into                                          of three phases of renovation
                                                       course offerings that bridge tra-
                their preferred graduate school or                                           planned for our science facilities.
                                                       ditional campus boundaries, as
                to put their foot on the first rung                                          The images on pages 16-18 high-
                                                       we did in a 2018 winter term pilot
                of the career ladder.                                                        light a bright, welcoming space
                                                       of joint offerings with Albion and
                                                       Calvin colleges.                      —in the former Dow courtyard
                                                                                             and lobby—with technologically
                TECHNOLOGY                             Students from each campus             enhanced labs and classrooms
                INNOVATION AT ALMA                     completed the course from             and comfortable spaces for col-
                                                       their home campus but were            laboration between students and
                Technology is impacting every          able to engage fully with peers       faculty or for student group work.
                discipline at the college, and         many miles away. Dr. Collamati

4
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
Inside: Fall 2018
The reaction from students        OTHER CAMPUS
and faculty to this beautiful
new space has been excel-         NEWS

                                                                 6
lent; the paint was barely dry
before we began seeing stu-
                                  Within these pages                  COUNTDOWN TO LIFTOFF:
dents claim their new favorite
                                  we also introduce the               ENSURING LAUNCH
study spots.
                                  college’s new Provost and           SUCCESS
                                  Senior Vice President for
                                                                 		   William Heyd ’05 plays a critical role
The renovated Dow Digital         Academic Affairs Kathleen           in the successful launch of rockets
Science Center, located within    Dougherty and our new               whose payloads improve life on
the suite, enables collection     Chaplain and Director               Earth, explore deep space and fur-
and analysis of field data to     of Spiritual Life Andrew            ther our knowledge of the universe.
sustain partnerships between      Pomerville. Get to know
Alma College and the broader      them; they will be key
community in support of
current research needs and
problem resolution in the
                                  leaders on our campus.
                                  The magazine also pro-
                                                                 10   CDC WARRIOR: FIGHTING
                                                                      GLOBAL DISEASE
                                  vides information about        		   Whether responding to the West
local geographic area.                                                African Ebola outbreak or tracking
                                  Homecoming and the an-
                                  nual alumni awards. I hope          the domestic patterns of STDs, Emily
The college also has                                                  Weston Parker ’01 focuses on the
launched an ambitious three-      to see you all back on
                                                                      data for improving global health.
year, $21 million campus          campus for Homecoming
modernization plan that will      Weekend on Sept. 28-30.
result in the remodeling of
five residence halls. By fall
2020, more than 80 percent of
                                  I am so proud of the work
                                  we are doing together here
                                                                 16

                                                                      NEW SPACE FOR THE DDSC
                                                                      The Dow Digital Science Center
                                                                      collects real-time data from around
                                  at Alma College, and I              the world, enabling students, faculty
Alma’s student housing will
                                  hope you find something in          and K-12 teachers to engage in cut-
be upgraded with enhance-
                                  this issue to inspire you to        ting-edge STEM research.
ments that are important
                                  join the momentum. Check
to today’s college students.
                                  out the college website,
Renovations to Mitchell and
Newberry halls began imme-
diately after commencement
                                  www.alma.edu, to learn
                                  more about our academic,
                                  fine arts or athletic pro-
                                                                 24   A Q&A WITH THE
                                                                      CHAPLAIN
in April. As a result of the                                     		   “The chapel program should be an
                                  grams. Become an Alma               inspiring, motivating and safe place
summer construction, 450
                                  Ambassador. Keep up with            for all members of the community
students will be living in
                                  what’s happening at Alma            to contribute their talents, ideas and
newly-renovated rooms this
                                  through the college’s or            questions about faith in an environ-
fall. The plan also calls for                                         ment that truly values peaceful, in-
                                  my social media channels.
interior improvements to                                              terfaith dialogue.” — Rev. Dr. Andrew
Bruske Hall in summer 2019        It’s a great time to be a           Pomerville ’01
and the Nisbet/Brazell and        Scot! ❖
Carey/Bonbright complexes
in 2020.                          — JEFF ABERNATHY,
                                  PRESIDENT                      26   GOOGLE POWERS CLASS-
                                                                      ROOM COLLABORATION
                                                                 		   Alma College and partner schools
                                                                      are the first to pilot new course-
       abernathyj@alma.edu                                            sharing technology for delivering
                                                                      learning at multiple sites.
facebook.com/almapresident
   twitter.com/jeffabernathy
 alma.edu/offices/president                                      36

                                                                      SCOTS YOU SHOULD KNOW
                                                                      Alma’s 2018 alumni award recipients
                                                                      refer prospective students, support
                 (989) 463-7146                                       their communities, participate in
                                                                      career services events — and write a
                                                                      best-selling book.

                                                                                                               5
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
Digital Science
       FEATURES
      FEATURE

        Countdown to
        liftoff: Ensuring
        launch success
              WILLIAM HEYD ’05 PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE
              IN THE SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH OF ROCKETS
              WHOSE PAYLOADS IMPROVE LIFE ON EARTH,
              EXPLORE DEEP SPACE AND FURTHER OUR
              KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE.

              W
                     illiam Heyd ’05 has a vested interest in the success
                     of NASA’s current mission to Mars. He and his team
                     at United Launch Alliance (ULA) helped prepare the
              rocket that launched the car-sized probe into space.
              On May 5, the Atlas V rocket carrying the InSight Mars
              lander lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in
              California. If everything goes according to plan, InSight will
              reach its planetary destination Nov. 26, touching down near
              the Martian equator.
              ULA and its heritage rockets have launched every U.S.
              spacecraft to the Red Planet since the 1960s, including
              Mars Science Lab as well as the Spirit and Opportunity
              rovers. This was the 10th Mars launch on an Atlas rocket,
              and the fourth by the Atlas V.
              Heyd has held a variety of positions at ULA over the past
              11 years. Stationed at the company’s headquarters in
              Denver, Colo., he manages a group of 70 quality engineers
              and assurance professionals whose primary function is
              problem-solving and ensuring launch success. ➞

6
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
WILLIAM HEYD, WITH A BOOSTER FOR
THE COMPANY’S DELTA IV ROCKET. THE
BOOSTER IS A BIG FUEL TANK USED
TO POWER THE ENGINE THAT LIFTS THE
ROCKET OUT OF GRAVITY; IT SEPARATES
AND AN UPPER STAGE TAKES OVER.
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
Digital Science
      FEATURE
             SUCCESSFUL MISSIONS                          of the choir. It was only natural that   where, following the example set by his
                                                          William, along with his brother and      parents, he met his future wife, Carrie
             “One of our most important missions is       sister, also attend Alma.                Grace ’07.
             to support NASA and our other clients
             in providing rides to space,” says Heyd,     William majored in physics and math-     After graduating, he found a few odd
             senior manager of engineering and supply     ematics and identifies John Gibson       jobs in Michigan — but not the career
             chain quality assurance. “Our goal is        and Cameron Reed as impactful            he envisioned.
             to deliver 100 percent mission success.      professors. He also sang in the choir,
                                                                                                   “Some friends found jobs in Colorado,
             My group has a direct impact on that
                                                                                                   so I decided to pack my bags,” he says.
             success.”
             In a perfect world, Heyd’s organization
             spends the majority of its time reviewing
             the creation of hardware and software
             engineering and managing the processes
             supporting procured goods from 600-plus
             suppliers — ensuring that all t’s are
             crossed and i’s are dotted.
             “However, in reality there are constantly
             issues, big and small, arising throughout
             our process that are identified, document-
             ed and properly dispositioned prior to
             any launch,” he says. “There is virtually
             no margin of error in this industry.”
             His team resolves issues relative to
             engineering and supply chain issues and
             ensures “that no stone is left unturned”
             prior to critical operational milestones.
             InSight was ULA’s 128th successful rocket
             launch since the company was formed in
             2006 with the merging of the Lockheed
             Martin Atlas and Boeing Delta teams. The
             Mars lander had added significance as it
             was the first mission launched to another
             planet from the West Coast.
             ULA rockets launch satellites that aid
             meteorologists in tracking severe weather,
             unlock the mysteries of the solar system,
             provide critical capabilities for troops
             in the field and enable personal device-
             based GPS navigation.
             “My team supports every launch,”
             says Heyd. “Our customers are
             primarily NASA, the Air Force, the
             National Reconnaissance Office and a
             hodgepodge of commercial clients. We’re
             passionate about our work and excited
             for their success.”

             AT ALMA: SCIENCE AND CHOIR
             Heyd’s educational and professional jour-
             ney began in his hometown of Marquette,
             Mich. His parents, Robert ‘71 and Mary
             Lynn Beglinger Heyd ’71, both attended
             Alma College and first met as members
8
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
“After three months of job searching,   provided an opportunity to employ        — those experiences provided a
I landed an offer from United Launch    my skills outside of Michigan, my        well-rounded education.”
Alliance, interviewing at the rocket    Alma education gave me a leg up. My
                                                                                 Following the successful launch of the
manufacturing facility.                 Alma education and experience were
                                                                                 InSight Mars lander, Heyd and his team
                                        huge assets for me.
“As a student at Alma, I could envi-                                             turned their attention to ULA’s next
sion a job working with rockets but     “More than the actual technical          planned launch: NASA’s Parker Solar
didn’t think it was plausible, espe-    knowledge, it was the smaller classes,   Probe mission from Cape Canaveral Air
cially with Michigan’s economy at       the opportunity to work in teams         Force Station in Florida. ❖
the time,” he says. “But when I was     and engage in critical conversations
                                                                                 —MIKE SILVERTHORN

                                                       THE MOBILE SERVICE TOWER ROLLS BACK FROM THE ULA
                                                       ATLAS V ROCKET CARRYING NASA’S INSIGHT MISSION TO
                                                       MARS IN PREPARATION FOR LAUNCH FROM SPACE LAUNCH
                                                       COMPLEX-3 AT VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA.
                                                       (PHOTO CREDIT: UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE).

                                                                                                                          9
THE MAGAZINE OF ALMA COLLEGE - DIGITAL SCIENCE SCOTS AROUND THE WORLD HOMECOMING 2018
Digital Science
     FEATURE

       CDC WARRIOR: FIGHTING GLOBAL DISEASE
                                                                                                       to better understand the emerging
       WHETHER RESPONDING TO THE WEST AFRICAN EBOLA OUTBREAK                                           threat of antimicrobial-resistant
                                                                                                       gonorrhea.”
       OR TRACKING THE DOMESTIC PATTERNS OF STDS, EMILY WESTON
       PARKER ’01 FOCUSES ON THE DATA FOR IMPROVING GLOBAL HEALTH.
                                                                                                       UNEXPECTED OUTBREAKS
                                                                                                       Parker has been involved in respons-
                                                          Emily Weston Parker ’01, third from left,    es to a number of major health issues
                                                          with her CDC colleagues in Liberia.          over her 14 years with the CDC.
                                                                                                       She coordinated a large surveillance
                                                                                                       system in the U.S. that collected
                                                                                                       information on the pathogens that
                                                                                                       cause meningitis and pneumococcal
                                                                                                       disease. She also researched infants
                                                                                                       born with serious blood infections
                                                                                                       and worked with colleagues to
                                                                                                       implement screening guidelines
                                                                                                       for women to receive a special

              E
                      mily Weston Parker ’01 has              ANALYZING THE DATA                       prenatal screening test for group B
                      served on the front lines of                                                     Streptococcus.
                      some of the world’s most seri-          Parker specializes in epidemio-
                  ous health outbreaks.                       logic surveillance, which involves       In addition, she served as part of
                                                              the systematic collection, analysis,     larger CDC-wide emergency out-
                  As an epidemiologist with the               interpretation and dissemination of      break response efforts, including the
                  Centers for Disease Control and             data reflecting the health status of a   pandemic influenza (H1N1) in 2009,
                  Prevention (CDC), she has respond-          community or population.                 working in the emergency operations
                  ed to outbreaks such as H1N1 influ-                                                  center in Atlanta, and the West Africa
                  enza, Ebola, pneumococcal men-              “In the U.S., states report all STD
                                                                                                       Ebola Response during 2014-15, trav-
                  ingitis and pertussis. Work-related         data, including gonorrhea, into a
                                                                                                       eling to the affected countries.
                  international travel has taken her          national system on a weekly basis,”
                  to Belgium, Brazil, Japan, Liberia,         she says. “We assess the cases that      “For many day-to-day activities,
                  Malawi, the Netherlands, Nigeria,           are being reported and analyze the       I work with both domestic and
                  the Philippines, South Africa and           data in intricate ways, for instance     international partners over email
                  Thailand.                                   looking at gender, age groups and        and conference calls,” she says.
                                                              geography. We look at trends over        “Both require flexibility with
                  She started her career at the CDC           time and use the data to recommend       scheduling conference calls early
                  in 2004 performing surveillance             policies and responses to a very         in the morning or later in the
                  for vaccine-preventable diseases.           serious health issue.”                   evening as well as responding to
                  In 2015, she transitioned into the                                                   emails to ensure colleagues can
                  Division of STD Prevention, tracking        While her primary work focuses
                                                                                                       work on important aspects of our
                  the patterns of gonorrhea, a sexually       on U.S. trends for gonorrhea, she
                                                                                                       work while I sleep.
                  transmitted disease (STD) that is the       also collaborates with colleagues
                  second most commonly reported               from the World Health Organization       “However, there is only so much
                  condition in the United States.             to implement surveillance systems        that can be done and performed
                                                              globally, most recently in Thailand      while in Atlanta,” she says. “Site vis-
                  “I feel fortunate to say that my            and the Philippines.                     its to conduct assessments, provide
                  profession is also my vocation, and                                                  technical assistance, or participate
                  I absolutely love what I do,” says          “Because of resistance to antibiot-
                                                                                                       in an outbreak/emergency response
                  Parker. “CDC’s actions have a direct        ics, we are down to our last line of
                                                                                                       occur a few times a year — or even
                  impact on the health and health             therapy for gonorrhea,” she says.
                                                                                                       unexpectedly in the case of an out-
                  outcomes of our communities,                “Unfortunately, there are limited
                                                                                                       break. When I travel on these trips,
                  nation and world. I take my role as a       supplies of antimicrobials left that
                                                                                                       they tend to be anywhere from two-
                  federal employee very seriously but         we will be able to use to treat
                                                                                                       to-three weeks in length as we try to
                  remain incredibly passionate about          gonorrhea. As a result, I have been
                                                                                                       maximize our time with our partners
                  public health.”                             working with international partners
                                                                                                       in the field.”
10
THE EBOLA RESPONSE                         “In their short lifetimes, these
                                           young adults had been around war
With the Ebola outbreak, Parker and
                                           and disease more than anyone in
CDC colleagues deployed multiple
                                           the U.S.,” she says. “To work with
times to Nigeria and Liberia. Ebola
                                           them and see their desire and
hemorrhagic fever is a rare and
                                           commitment to get rid of radical
deadly virus that causes severe
                                           regimes and diseases like Ebola
bleeding and organ failure.
                                           really touched and impressed me.
“Each time I deployed, my role was         They had experienced first-hand
a little different as is the case with     war and major epidemics, yet they
many outbreaks — that is, when you         were a proud people, proud of their
deploy, you think you are going to         country, and proud of the work
be doing one job, but when you             they were doing to get rid of Ebola.”
get ‘on the ground,’ your role may
change depending on the current            A SOLID FOUNDATION
needs in-country,” she says.
                                           Parker’s journey to the CDC began
“I helped with border response             with her Alma College education.
including airports and land border         After Alma, she pursued a graduate           Emily Weston Parker ’01, far left, at a
crossings,” she says. “We trained          degree at Boston University and was          hospital dedication in Thailand.
colleagues on the importance of            able to secure a one-year fellowship
basic infection control practices, like    out of grad school with the CDC              incredibly fortunate and grateful for
hand-washing and putting on and            before landing a permanent job.              that. Across the miles and years,
taking off gloves as well as identify-                                                  it’s heart-warming to know Alma is
ing signs of illness among co-work-        “Alma helped me realize that there
                                           would be a great big world full of           just one of my communities. And
ers and travelers.”                                                                     it’s a community that I needed as a
                                           many exciting opportunities beyond
Additionally, she worked with the          the ‘bubble,’” she says. “I received         young adult before making my way
Liberian Ministry of Health and            a solid foundation at Alma, both             into the world.”
WHO to help Liberia implement its          scientifically and personally. Alma’s        In her international travels, Parker
own Integrated Disease Surveillance        liberal arts background helped fos-          carries a piece of Alma with her.
and Response Program (IDSR).               ter a solid knowledge of many areas,
                                           not just one track, and I think that         “I wear my CDC ID badge on an
“Every time I travel, I’m humbled                                                       Alma College lanyard to this day,”
                                           propelled me to excel in graduate
to be doing what I’m doing, to be                                                       she says. “This lanyard has been
                                           work and as a professional at CDC.
able to go into a country that is                                                       the topic of many conversations in
culturally different and to work with      “I think the best experiences I              international settings. I have been
international colleagues who have          have from Alma are the relation-             stopped by other MIAA alums or
the ability and desire to improve          ships I was able to build,” she              Midwest residents who know exactly
their own health,” she says.               says. “Whether it’s from the friends         what and where Alma is. It’s a name
                                           I made from my classes, various              that speaks for itself, and I am proud
“With Ebola, it was very scary for a lot
                                           campus activities, choir or my               to have been a student there.” ❖
of people. When I was getting ready
                                           sorority, I have many relationships
to deploy, people asked me if I was                                                      —MIKE SILVERTHORN
                                           that continue to this day, and I am
scared. I wasn’t scared — I had been
prepared to work with Ministry of
Health colleagues on implementing re-
sponse efforts, including data analysis,
and would not be treating persons in                                              ABOUT EMILY WESTON PARKER ’01
the Ebola treatment clinics.”
                                                                                  An epidemiologist in the Division
Liberia has a history of civil war.
                                                                                  of STD Prevention (DSTDP) in the
Prior to the Ebola outbreak, there
were times of great oppression, in-                                               National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral
cluding public executions by brutal                                               Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
regimes. In her visits to Liberia,                                                (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease
Parker realized she was working                                                   Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta,
alongside the surviving children of                                               Georgia.
those wars.

                                                                                                                                  11
Digital Science
     FEATURE

     New research tool: Hexoskins produce data on physical activity
     THESE WIRELESS SENSOR SUITS GATHER PHYSIO-METRIC DATA WHILE TRACKING THE USER’S
     BREATHING, RESPIRATORY FUNCTION AND HEART RATE.

      Hannah Wallace ’18 analyzes data with fac-
      ulty researcher Alex Montoye ’10.

       H
            exoskins are not a new fad when        Hannah Wallace ’18 is the most         Wallace desired to conduct a similar
            it comes to research at Alma           recent Scot to conduct a study using   study focusing solely on the color guard.
            College. These wearable activity       Hexoskins. Intrigued by Professor
       smart shirts have been in the human         Maurie Luetkemeier’s research on the   Her objective? Use Hexoskins to
       performance labs since they were            Alma College marching band’s energy    determine the level of physical activity
       validated for use in 2016.                  expenditure and physical activity,     achieved by the color guard during

12
practices and performances. This      comfortable enough to replace a           HEXOSKINS AT ALMA
idea was sparked by the national      shirt or wear under a uniform, such       COLLEGE AND BEYOND
discussion on whether or not          as a color guard uniform.
participating in the marching                                                   Hexoskins have played a
band should meet the physical         “Within a few minutes, the Hexoskin
                                      feels like another shirt that is nor-     major role with ongoing
education requirements at the high
school level — especially with the    mally worn during a workout,” says        research on the effects of
time commitment required for          Wallace. “You can hardly tell there is    high altitude exposure on
band members.                         a monitor that boasts a full data pack    humans and balancing the
                                      collecting information as you wear it.”   physical workload of student-
“As a liberal arts college, Alma                                                athletes on campus to help
has allowed me to continue par-       Users can easily upload and dissect
                                      the data. A Hexoskin website              structure practices to mimic
ticipating in band while fulfilling
                                      assists with some of the analysis         games. They also have been
my requirements for a degree in
health science,” says Wallace. “A     by providing graphs and calculated        used in partnership with local
research project that combined        values. If you are looking to track       high school students, teaching
these passions made it clear that     how the human body is performing          the importance of learning
this was the right study for me.”     in real-time, all you need is an appli-   how the body responds to
                                      cation on your phone.                     exercise and stress.
The purpose of a Hexoskin
is simple: produce real-time          “My favorite part on the phone ap-
                                                                                Alex Montoye ’10, assistant
results. These wireless sensor        plication was tracking the breathing
                                      rate,” says Wallace. “The screen          professor of integrative
suits simultaneously gather                                                     physiology and health science,
physio-metric data while tracking     displays lungs inhaling and exhaling
                                      as if they were your own lungs.           sees many opportunities for the
the user’s breathing, respiratory
                                      Sometimes I would sit there and           use of Hexoskins in the future,
function, heart rate and other
vital data in real-time during        watch my digitized lungs breathe,         both on and off Alma College’s
a period of physical activity.        fascinated by the technology.”            campus. With future updates
The user-friendly device is                                                     coming to the Dow Digital
                                      Wallace’s study proved that the
worn around the torso and is          color guard is well on its way to         Science Center, Montoye
                                               meeting the requirements         is excited for new ways to
                                               for moderate to vigorous         collaborate and analyze data.
                                               physical activity — mean-
                                               ing its acceptance as a          “One of the most effective ways
                                               physical education re-           to learn is hands-on, which
                                               quirement might be right         is why Alma College has labs
                                               around the corner.               associated with its sciences,”
                                                                                says Montoye. “The more you
                                                “With my fine arts              can experience in the lab and
                                                background, finding this
                                                                                out in the field, the easier it
                                                information was very
                                                rewarding,” says Wallace.       is to think critically and solve
                                                “I now have scientific          problems.”
                                                proof that participating in
                                                                                He also is excited to continue
                                                the marching band, specif-
                                                ically the color guard, can     to use Hexoskins and other
                                                meet the requirements for       wearable devices for research,
                                                physical activity.              knowing it gives students the
                                                                                upper hand when it comes to
                                                “I’m so thankful for my         applying for graduate school
                                                research advisers and           and pursuing jobs.
                                                the technology available
                                                at Alma College,” says          “Work on cutting edge
                                                Wallace. “They gave             research as an undergraduate
                                                me the opportunity to           is unusual,” says Montoye.
                                                conduct student-led re-
                                                                                “Our Scots present nationally
                                                search, providing an edge
                                                on my future graduate           and internationally and get
                                                school applications and         published in peer research
                                                resumes.” ❖                     journals, which is a true
                                                                                testament to the fact that we do
                                                —DEREK DEVINE                   high quality work here.” ❖

                                                                                                                   13
Digital Science
     FEATURE

                  Bees and medicinal honey:
                  What’s all the buzz about?
                  STUDENTS ANALYZE HONEY SAMPLES FROM DIFFERENT REGIONS AND FORAGES OF
                  MICHIGAN TO DETERMINE THEIR POTENTIAL AS A COMPLEMENTARY HEALING AGENT.

                  IN
                            ancient times, humans       “Honey is a valuable therapeutic       traditional medicine to benefit
                            harvested honey for         agent of complementary med-            modern medicine. This is espe-
                            its medicinal proper-       icine,” says Ozturk. “Beyond           cially important as antibiotics lose
                  ties. Civilizations such as the       killing pathogenic bacteria,           their bioactivity potential due to
                  Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks        honey is useful as an antidiabetic,    increasingly resistant bacteria.”
                  and Romans used honey as a heal-
                                                        anti-inflammatory and antiviral
                  ing agent for wounds and to treat                                            During the spring term class,
                  eye and gastrointestinal diseases.    substance. Other scientists have
                                                                                               Ozturk and his students analyzed
                                                        begun researching its use as an
                  Today, honey is not prominent in                                             the bioactivity potentials of hon-
                                                        anti-cancer drug as well.”
                  modern medicine. Yet, because                                                ey collected in different seasons
                  honey has a high level of bioactiv-   Honey is broadly composed of           from different regions and forag-
                  ity, scientists continue to examine   sugars, water, amino acids, vita-      es of Michigan.
                  its potential as a complementary      mins, minerals, enzymes, phenolic
                                                                                               The term bioactivity refers to
                  therapeutic agent.                    acids and flavonoids — about 200
                                                                                               how active honey is within a cell
                                                        chemical compounds in all.
                  In spring 2018, Alma College                                                 to treat wounds, boost immuni-
                  students analyzed the medicinal       “While the exact role of each of       ty, aid the gastrointestinal tract
                  properties of honey in a course       the molecules present in honey         or support the microbiome of an
                  taught by visiting professor Ferhat   is unknown, a sort of synergy          organism. Major measurements
                  Ozturk, former director of the        between molecules is believed to       of bioactivity include antioxi-
                  Honey Research Center at Canik        exist,” says Ferhat. “I’m interested   dant, antimicrobial and peroxi-
                  Basari University in Turkey.          in identifying something from          dase activity.

14
“We analyzed 150 or so         Methods such
honey samples,” he says.       as spectropho-
“By focusing on those          tometric analysis,
with higher bioactivity lev-   microplate reading,
els, we hoped to expose        bacteria culture,
the bioactivity potential      well plate analysis and
of Michigan honey and          melissopalynology — the
perhaps uncover honeys         study of pollen contained
that might be considered       in honey — assays were
medical grade.”                carried out in exploring each
                               sample’s bioactivity level.
Students spent the first
week traveling through-        “I was excited to offer
out Michigan to learn          this course,” says
about honeybees, visiting      Ozturk. “This was not
apiaries in Kalamazoo,         only a class but a
research labs in Lansing       real-life applica-
and a commercial honey         tion of students’
packing company in             knowledge in
Saginaw. They studied          an environ-
bee biology, hive care         ment that
and the risks and benefits     some may
of beekeeping. They also       one day work
experienced hands-on           in as research-
training in hive splitting,    ers.” ❖
bee box installation and
                               —CHEYENNE
queen monitoring.
                               KALFSBEEK ’19
The second portion of the
course was spent in the lab.

                                                               15
Digital Science
     FEATURE

     New space for the DDSC
     THE DOW DIGITAL SCIENCE CENTER COLLECTS REAL-TIME DATA FROM AROUND THE WORLD,
     ENABLING STUDENTS, FACULTY AND K-12 TEACHERS TO ENGAGE IN CUTTING-EDGE STEM RESEARCH.

     W
            ithout stepping foot off the Alma     She also collected data on the amount        During winter term recess last February,
            College campus, biology major         of time and over which substrates the        Austin visited the Galapagos Islands to ob-
            Michaela Austin ’18 tracked and       turtles swam, providing clues about the      serve turtle behavior up close and personal.
     documented the behavior of sea turtles       turtles’ source of food. She found that
     in the Galapagos Islands.                                                                 “Staying on San Cristobal was awesome,
                                                  the turtles most often swam over rocks
                                                                                               and I was so pumped to go snorkeling
     Working under the direction of faculty bi-   and plant algae.
                                                                                               and actually see a sea turtle,” says
     ologists Dave Clark and John Rowe, Austin                                                 Austin. “It was a great experience. I
     analyzed video from GoPro cameras            SEA TURTLE DATA                              learned new skills and bettered my ob-
     mounted on the turtles’ shells. The video                                                 servation and data collection skills.”
                                                  In March 2018, Austin presented the
     was transmitted to the Dow Digital Science
                                                  results of her study at the annual con-
     Center and made available for study.
                                                  ference of the Michigan Academy of           A TECHNOLOGY HUB
     Austin made ethograms to catalog the         Science, Arts and Letters.
                                                                                               Projects such as this are possible within
     sea turtle behavior and found that the
                                                  “Working with Dr. Clark and Dr. Rowe         the Rollin M. Gerstacker Science and
     turtles spent approximately 60 percent of
                                                  gave me experience that most under-          Technology Suite in the Dow Digital
     their time swimming and 12 percent of
                                                  graduate students don’t get,” says Austin.   Science Center, which now inhabits new
     the time at rest. More surprising was that
                                                  “I feel like that experience will make me    space in the former courtyard of the
     only 2.5 percent of their time was spent
                                                  more competitive in the job market as I      Dow Science Center. The 1,872-square-
     at the water’s surface for air and even
                                                  move forward.”                               foot facility on the upper level looks
     less time was spent being social.
                                                                                               down over the building’s main lobby.➞

16
"Staying on San Cristobal was awesome; it was a great experience!"
— Michaela Austin ’18 (below, right)

ABOUT THE GRANT

In 2014, Alma College received a $5
million grant from The Herbert H. and
Grace A. Dow Foundation to expand
STEM education. A major component
of Alma’s e-STEM initiative was the
creation of the Dow Digital Science
Center, or DDSC, a physical space
within Alma’s existing Dow Science
Center that collects and stores environ-
mental data from remote sensors to
the DDSC and immerse students and
faculty in STEM field research.

                                                                                           SUMMER CAMPS

                                                                                           The DDSC sponsors
                                                                                           summer camps for
                                                                                           students in grades 2-6
                                                                                           as well as middle and
                                                                                           high school teachers
                                                                                           and students. During
                                                                                           the summer, DDSC
                                                                                           works closely with
                                                                                           the CORE program for
                                                                                           public school teachers
The Rollin M. Gerstacker Science and Technology Suite, which houses the DDSC, offers
                                                                                           and their visiting stu-
academic student study space, large screen monitors for showing remote projects in real-
                                                                                           dents to develop sum-
time, dedicated computer work stations, a large conference room designed for distance
                                                                                           mer research projects
learning and a seminar room.
                                                                                           and data collection.

                                                                                                                     17
Digital Science
     FEATURE

                                                                                           FOREST HILL NATURE AREA

                                                                                           Alma College partners with
                                                                                           area schools and the Forest Hill
                                                                                           Nature Area using the resourc-
                                                                                           es of the Dow Digital Science
                                                                                           Center. A “digital” nature trail
                                                                                           equipped with environmental
                                                                                           sensors allows visitors to access
                                                                                           data at various data collection
                                                                                           stations to learn about the wild-
                                                                                           life and the habitat.
                                                                                           “This nature trail for elementary
                                                                                           students and citizen scientists
                                                                                           is like no other in the country,”
                                                                                           says Dave Clark. “It is designed
                                                                                           to introduce young scientists to
                                                                                           research and data collection.”
                                                                                           The DDSC website provides
                                                                                           access to several projects at
     The new facility features instructional     “The DDSC is a wonderful resource for     Forest Hill:
     space along with hardware for STEM          the campus and community,” says Clark.
     imaging and data acquisition, storage,      “I envision even more community out-         • A focal tree with sen-
     sharing and analysis. It also projects      reach projects in the future of the Dow        sors that enable users to
     data in real time on multiple large-scale   Digital Science Center.”                       capture data relevant to
     display monitors.                                                                          temperature, light changes
                                                 Next steps, according to Clark,                and biological processes.
     “The Dow Digital Science Center is          include increasing the utilization and
     really a technology hub,” says Clark,       placement of environmental sensors           • A time-lapse camera
     the space’s coordinator. Also housed        at public schools throughout the state.        focused on a pond that
     within the DDSC is an IT specialist who     Additionally, there are intentions to          allows users to plot data
     helps students, faculty and secondary       begin offering various technology-             relevant to vegetation cov-
     school teachers work with, archive and      oriented workshops to teachers and             er, turtle basking behavior
     post data for others to use later. Data     other interested persons from the              and other wildlife activity.
     sets are made available to area teachers    community. ❖                                 • An environmental water
     and students so that students may gain                                                     buoy system that captures
                                                 —CHEYENNE KALFSBEEK ’19
     experience working with real data.                                                         pH, CO2, light levels and
                                                                                                other data relevant to water
                                                                                                quality and chemistry.

          OTHER PROJECTS AT THE DDSC:

          Medicinal Plants of Michigan and Ecuador — The collection of data, im-
          ages, audio recordings and documents related to biotechnology projects
          concerning medicinal plants at the Alma College Ecological Station and
          in the Amazon region of Ecuador.
          Teacher Resources — The DDSC offers a library of digital resources
          for teachers, students and community members interested in science.
          Teachers have access to classroom exercises, step-by-step instructions
          for developing classroom research projects and access to a library of
          instruction videos.

18
Scots Around the World
         Germany, Greece, Ireland and New Zealand were among the international destinations for Alma College students
         during the 2018 Spring Term, while closer to home, students excavated the site of Old Main and wrote nature
         essays along the Au Sable River in northern Lower Michigan. Enjoy these visuals of Scots around the world.

REMEMBRANCE OF THE PAST: HOLOCAUST AND THE COLD WAR IN BERLIN                                                           19
Scots Around the World
     FEATURE

20                        THE ART AND LITERATURE OF IRELAND: SPRING TERM IN IRELAND
GEOLOGY AND MYTHOLOGY OF GREECE   21
Scots Around the World
     FEATURE

22                        BIODIVERSITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN NEW ZEALAND
ETHNIC POLITICS CASE STUDIES: SCOTLAND

ALWAYS A RIVER: FISHING IN LITERATURE, FISHING IN MICHIGAN

MICHIGAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELDWORK                            23
CAMPUS NEWS

                                          A Q&A with the chaplain
                                              REV. DR. ANDREW POMERVILLE ’01 HAS RETURNED
                                               TO HIS ALMA MATER, JOINING ALMA COLLEGE
                                                IN MARCH 2018 AS CHAPLAIN AND DIRECTOR
                                                  OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. WITH MORE THAN A DECADE
                                                   OF PASTORAL EXPERIENCE, HE OVERSEES CAMPUS
                                                    MINISTRIES AND EVENTS THAT CELEBRATE AND FACILITATE
                                                      DIVERSITY OF FAITH PERSPECTIVES AT ALMA COLLEGE.

                                                                   Alma in 2001. During the tragedy of 9/11, I witnessed
            Why did you accept this new challenge to come          firsthand the important calling and nature of chap-
            back to Alma?                                          lains to give hope in the midst of grief, to provide
                                                                   safe spaces to explore questions about life, tragedy
          “Returning to Alma is truly a dream come true.           and spirituality, and to be a confidential ear to all
          My faith formation was profoundly impacted by            people as a compassionate support.”
          my experiences at Alma College, and I welcome
          the opportunity to be a similar influence and
          support to the students, faculty, staff and alumni.
                                                                     What are your goals for the chapel program at
          The chance to serve during this amazing moment
                                                                     Alma?
          in Alma's history is beyond my greatest expecta-
          tions. It is an honor to be called to incorporate
          spirituality into our already outstanding liberal arts   “I dream of the chapel program at Alma College
          education and campus culture.”                           becoming an integral part of our community's
                                                                   identity. Dunning Memorial Chapel is at the heart
                                                                   of campus and should reflect that responsibility
                                                                   by fostering opportunities for students, faculty and
            How did your Alma student experience prepare           staff to ask questions of faith, belief and doubt in the
            you for this role?                                     midst of the education they are experiencing.
                                                                   “The chapel program should be an inspiring,
          “Looking back on my career in ministry, I believe all
                                                                   motivating and safe place for all members of the
          my experiences have prepared me for this particular
                                                                   community to contribute their talents, ideas and
          opportunity. I most recently served as the senior
                                                                   questions about faith in an environment that truly
          pastor for the multi-denominational Peoples Church
                                                                   values peaceful, interfaith dialogue. We can be
          of East Lansing, whose diverse population drew
                                                                   the voice of faith, hope and love that embraces
          heavily from Michigan State University students,
                                                                   the diversity of creation by seeking reconciliation
          faculty, staff and alumni. In addition, I have served
                                                                   and peace.”
          as a police chaplain, hospice chaplain, national park
          chaplain and hospital chaplain.
          “Chaplaincy is near and dear to my heart. It is more
                                                                     What kind of programming do you anticipate?
          than just being a pastor. As a chaplain, you are
          serving all people in your organization, regardless of
          faith tradition or background. You are called to be      “I imagine weekly chapel services, programming
          spiritual support, advisor and encourager, facilitat-    and fellowship activities for the whole campus
          ing the needs of all people.                             that are integrated into the life of the campus. Art,
                                                                   music, conversation, contemplation and enthusi-
          “I first learned about the valuable role of chaplains    astic expressions of faith should categorize the
          when I served as the student assistant chaplain at       chapel experiences. Varied opportunities to create

24
ABOUT ANDREW POMERVILLE:

           Rev. Dr. Pomerville comes to Alma
           following seven years as the senior
           pastor of the Peoples Church of
           East Lansing, where he provided
           strategic leadership, lead preaching,
           staff development and pastoral care
           for a 1,200-member congregation.
           Previously, he was pastor of Church
           in the Hills in Bellaire, Mich., and
           served as the national park chaplain
           in Denali, Alaska.

           After his graduation from Alma
           College in 2001, he earned his Master
           of Divinity degree from Princeton
           Theological Seminary and his Doctor
           of Ministry in reformed theology from
           Pittsburgh Theological Seminary/
           University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

community, encourage rich conversations            them to speak out for justice, hope and
and motivate faith-based service will be at        community.
the heart of our chapel activities.
                                                   “Our weekly study groups, worship ser-
“I believe Alma has the chance to lead             vices and interfaith dialogue have been full    WHAT PRESIDENT
nationally in how chaplaincy programs can          of inspiring moments where one can see
be an integral part of the whole community.        what could be in our world — people who         ABERNATHY SAID:
The chaplain can help represent the type           respect one another’s beliefs, work togeth-
of hope and compassion we all strive to            er for peace and use their wholistic, liberal   “Many college students
demonstrate by encouraging our student             arts educations within their conversations      explore their spirituality and
athletes, celebrating the talents of our           about faith and religion.                       look for opportunities to live
musicians and artists, and joyfully telling                                                        their faith. Rev. Pomerville
the stories of service found in our students,      “I am very excited about the start of our
                                                                                                   brings a passion for campus
faculty and alumni.”                               2018-19 school year and would like to
                                                   invite all our alumni and friends to stop       ministry and a set of pastoral
                                                   by the chapel to see the great work these       and leadership experiences
                                                   students are accomplishing and pursuing.        that will enable him to build on
  What are your observations after two             If you are here on homecoming, please           Alma’s foundations of active
  months on the job?                               consider joining the students and commu-        worship services, religious
                                                   nity for my installation service on Sunday      life programming and service
“The Alma College community is full of             afternoon, Sept. 30, in the chapel as we        through such programs as
talented, sincere, motivated men and wom-          look forward to the ministry we are called      alternative breaks.”
en who are engaged in their world. I am            to share in here at Alma College.” ❖
blessed to interact with these individuals
as they ask questions about how their faith
impacts their vocations and encourages

                                                                                                                                  25
CAMPUS NEWS

      Google powers classroom collaboration
     ALMA AND PARTNER SCHOOLS ARE THE FIRST TO PILOT NEW COURSE-
     SHARING TECHNOLOGY FOR DELIVERING LEARNING AT MULTIPLE SITES

     N
          ew Google technology — including        Albion, “Visual Sociology” through Calvin,   mirror information across multiple sites.
          the digital Jamboard — debuted in       and “Media Theory and Culture” taught        It has a variety of presentation tools,
          classrooms last winter as students      by Alma’s Anthony Collamati, associate       such as drawing shapes in different
     and faculty from Alma, Albion and            professor of new media studies.              sizes and colors, pulling photos and
     Calvin colleges collaborated on a                                                         website screenshots, taking pictures
     distinctive course-sharing pilot program
     that received national attention.            FACE-TO-FACE VISUAL                          with a built-in webcam and video
                                                                                               chatting/conferencing. Students at all
     The pilot, coordinated through the
                                                  INTERACTION                                  three sites, along with the instructor,
     Michigan Colleges Alliance, used confer-     The pilot expands this fall, with seven      see each other and interact through the
     encing technology that allowed students      shared courses planned, including three      Jamboard.
     to interact at multiple sites concurrent-    hosted on Alma’s campus. Alma faculty
                                                  plan to offer shared courses in English,     In addition, students loaded the
     ly. Faculty from each school taught a
                                                  religion and physics. Albion plans shared    Jamboard app on their tablets, effec-
     course to around 15 students, five from
                                                  courses in philosophy and German, and        tively transforming the tablets into
     the local campus and 10 remotely from
                                                  Calvin plans shared courses in sociology     mini-Jamboards. Students were able
     their respective campuses.
                                                  and French.                                  to work as a whole class or in groups,
     According to Google, the courses                                                          even though the class was in multiple
     were the first to pilot this technology in   At Alma College, space in the Digital        locations.
     education.                                   Media Commons in Swanson Academic
                                                  Center was converted into a high-tech
     “This was a big deal,” says Andrew           classroom with two large monitors            A NEW LEARNING EXPERIENCE
     Bare, assistant director of instructional    connected to Hangouts Meet hardware to       “It’s incredible that we were the first
     technology. “We worked with a brand-         enable high-quality video conferencing.      to pilot Jamboards in education with
     new Google product that had never been       The Hangouts Meet application enabled        Google, along with Albion and Calvin,”
     used for delivering remote learning.         students from all three campus sites to      says Collamati. “It’s one of the things
     It’s an exciting new way to teach and        interact “face-to-face” with each other.     I love about teaching at Alma; the
     expand the range of course offerings.”                                                    college is open to new learning experi-
                                                  The 55-inch Jamboard — an internet-          ences and working collaboratively with
     The pilot courses were “Earth, Art           connected digital whiteboard with 4K         companies like Google. The support
     and the Environment” offered through         touchscreen — provides the capability to     was tremendous.”

26
GUEST COLUMN

                                                Can online learning find a
The technology allowed students and
                                                place in the liberal arts?
                                                E
instructors to collaborate and share                mpires rise and fall based      want to understand a system’s
ideas, even though two-thirds of the                on the media they favor — or    longevity, you should look to
class were miles away in classrooms                 at least so claimed Harold      its media.
on other campuses.                              Innis, an early scholar in the
                                                emerging field of media studies.    From Massive Online Open
“The Jamboard is particularly fun,” says        Some media have a bias toward       Courses (MOOCs) enrolling
Collamati. “It can transcribe handwriting       space, like the short-lived         more than 80 million students
into type, search for images across the         communications deployed             each year, to the advent of
internet, even label ideas with digital         by military powers to quickly
                                                                                    online tools like Google Drive
emoji stickers. The most promising              conquer new territories; other
                                                media, like the calendars and       and Moodle, new media are
feature is its ability to link up different
                                                cathedrals used by religious        entering classrooms. Though
boards and users in real-time.
                                                institutions, are more attuned to   optimists are right to tout tech-
“When I teach online classes, I miss the        time. In either case, the endur-    nology’s potential for distance
face-to-face interaction,” he says. “This is    ance of history’s most notable      and adult learners, its future in
different. There are people in classrooms,      civilizations, from ancient Egypt   the liberal arts is more uncer-
in real time, in visual sight on large          and Greece to the United States,    tain. Medieval monasteries,
                                                could be determined by the          for example, with their scribes
displays, interacting with each other and
                                                media they favor.
participating in the class discussion.”                                             and illuminated manuscripts,
                                                Liberal arts colleges are by        once enjoyed a “monopoly of
Alma College students received Alma                                                 knowledge,” playing a central
                                                no means a global empire,
credit for the NMS course and transfer                                              role in society that was rapidly
                                                but a good deal of attention
credit for the Albion and Calvin classes.                                           usurped with the arrival of
                                                has certainly been dedicat-
Alma students enrolled in the pilot cours-                                          paper. Can the liberal arts
                                                ed of late to describing their
es also received a free tablet that they                                            uphold its strengths — small
                                                downfall. Whether forecasting
could keep upon successful completion                                               class sizes, close collaboration
                                                their demise or outlining their
of the course. ❖                                                                    with faculty, collaborative and
                                                path back to power, accounts
NATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE                         of the liberal arts’ uncertain      open discussion — and prove
                                                future are preoccupied with         its distinction to students when
Inside Higher Ed, the national online           the classroom’s relationship to     higher ed classrooms move on-
publication that covers trends in higher        technology. They, therefore,        line? Or will clumsy attempts to
education, prominently featured the             inadvertently confirm Innis’s       “modernize” education render
Google Courseshare collaboration in its         central premise that if you         us irrelevant? ➞
Inside Digital Learning section.

                                                                                                                        27
GUEST COLUMN

 I confronted these questions head-         I agreed, curious and excited, but also      different student communities came
 on when Alma College President Jeff        skeptical and prepared for failure. I        together, class meetings began to feel
 Abernathy came to me with a proposal.      had taught online classes before and         more like class events.
 He had been talking with Google about      had not been eager to repeat the expe-
                                            rience. While some people prefer the         Ironically, in its success, the experi-
 their latest Jamboard, an appropri-
                                            post-and-response format, I missed the       ence has reminded me of the limita-
 ately flashy digital “whiteboard” and
                                            experience of an in-person encoun-           tions of technology. Today with so
 mobile app that enables remote users
                                            ter. Interacting with students’ unique       many doomsday scenarios circulating,
 to collaborate in real-time. Alma, along
                                            voices, witnessing their struggle with       we often hear calls to reboot higher
 with Albion and Calvin colleges — both
                                            material, sharing in their excitement of     education, re-imagine the classroom,
 more than 100 miles away — planned
                                            discovery — these were the moments           or revolutionize the liberal arts. And
 to use the Jamboard in seminar-style
                                            that first attracted me to teaching, but     more often than not, these re-invented
 classes, with about a dozen students
                                            they were notoriously elusive in the         pedagogies are packaged within a new
 from across the three campuses partici-
                                            online format.                               app, a new device, or a new subscrip-
 pating in simultaneous discussion. The
                                                                                         tion service.
 consortium pilot would start with just
                                            Concern about reaching online stu-
 one class on each campus, including                                                     But, taking a note from Innis, what
                                            dents is not unfounded. The growing
 my upper-level course, “Media Theory.”                                                  if we think about education technol-
                                            literature on the MOOC, one of the
 But the format might eventually expand                                                  ogy more in terms of redistribution
                                            most pervasive forms of online educa-
 to share resources among campuses                                                       than revolution? For centuries higher
                                            tion, shows persistent struggles with
 across a variety of disciplines, from                                                   education has invested in hard media—
                                            retention. Enrollment numbers also in-
 languages to computer science.                                                          long-lasting, fairly static structures like
                                            dicate that pre-professional, skill-based
                                                          classes tend to attract        campuses, academic calendars and
                                                          students, while liberal arts   course catalogs. Google’s course share
                                                          and humanities classes         format doesn’t disrupt these invest-
                                                          usually do not thrive in       ments as much as it translates them into
                                                          online settings.               lighter media. A campus community,
                                                                                         a seminar discussion, a collaborative
                                                         But as the pilot pro-           exercise now are no longer rooted in a
                                                         gressed, my doubts              single place. Pieces of these liberal arts
                                                         began to fade. The new          experiences can instantly travel.
                                                         format was not as much a
                                                         revolution, it turned out,      With online learning just beginning to
                                                         as it was a rebalancing of      make its way into the liberal arts class-
                                                         the liberal arts’ strengths.    room, the value of lighter media for a
                                                         Modelled for collabora-         college is still open to debate. At small-
                                                         tive, small-group discus-       er institutions where some departments
                                                         sions, Google’s system          struggle to find enough students, virtual
                                                         emphasizes face-to-face         classrooms might help upper-level
                                                         language that would be          classes meet enrollments. My students
                                                         familiar to any teacher:        gained critical skills communicating
                                                         the light in a student’s        in a digital space that, in their careers,
                                                         eyes when they grasp a          will likely be more ubiquitous than the
                                                         difficult concept, the fur-     conference table. And beyond higher
                                                         rowed brow that signals         education, media that extend our ability
                                                         some rephrasing is in           to connect meaningfully and remotely
                                                         order, the chatter that stirs   hold great possibilities for health care
                                                         around group-work at a          and legal aid, particularly in rural com-
                                                         white board (or Jamboard        munities. What is certain is that once
                                                         in this case). At the same      we unhitch new technologies from our
                                                         time, students at the table     desire for a cure-all in higher education,
                                                         and on-screen exhibited         we’ll be better able to examine the
                                                         a generosity that was           biases of our tools and use them more
                                                         unusual for a classroom         deliberately to empower our students
                                                         setting. They seemed            and question our own pedagogies. ❖
                                                         even more attentive to          —ANTHONY COLLAMATI
                                                         one another. As three
                                                                                         Associate Professor of New Media
                                                                                         Studies at Alma College.
CAMPUS NEWS

Selmon returns to                   Campus modernization                         Dougherty joins
the classroom                       $21 MILLION RESIDENCE                        Alma faculty as
                                    RENOVATION EFFORT
                                    UNDER WAY
                                                                                 provost
                                                                                 Kathleen Poorman Dougherty,
                                    Hard hats, construction fencing and          an academic leader with 16
                                    building trailers were common sites on       years of teaching and ad-
                                    the Alma College campus this summer.         ministrative experience, has
                                    The college launched an ambitious            assumed the role of provost
                                    three-year, $21 million campus mod-          and senior vice president
                                    ernization plan that will result in the      for academic affairs at Alma
                                    remodeling of five residence halls. By       College. She serves as the
                                    fall 2020, more than 80 percent of Alma’s    chief academic administrator
                                    student housing will be upgraded with        with oversight of more than 50
                                    enhancements that are important to           programs of study.
Michael Selmon oversaw              today’s college students.
significant academic program                                                     “Dr. Dougherty’s higher educa-
growth during his 15 years          The effort began with major renovations      tion experience as an advocate
as provost and vice president       to Mitchell and Newberry halls in sum-       for the liberal arts, a champion
for academic affairs at Alma        mer 2018. The plan also calls for interior   for academic excellence and a
College. A member of the            improvements to Bruske Hall in summer        leader who collaborates with
faculty since 1991 and provost      2019 and the Nisbet/Brazell and Carey/       faculty in advancing innovative
since 2003, he retired as pro-      Bonbright complexes in 2020.                 learning experiences provides
vost at the end of the 2017-18                                                   a strong match for leading
                                    The five halls encompass nearly 169,000      our academic program,” says
academic year and returns to
                                    square feet of residential living space,     President Jeff Abernathy.
full-time teaching as a member
                                    providing 890 beds for Alma College
of the English faculty.                                                          Prior to Alma, Dougherty
                                    students. Major interior renovations to
“Michael has been a great lead-     Gelston Hall, the 228-bed residence for      was dean of the School of
er for Alma College and will        Alma’s first-year students, were complet-    Humanities, Social Sciences
remain a trusted colleague for      ed in 2017.                                  and Education at Mount Mary
all of us for the years to come,”                                                University in Milwaukee.
                                    “We are excited about these renovation       Previously, she served as a
says Alma College President
                                    projects,” says President Jeff Abernathy.    faculty member and depart-
Jeff Abernathy. “He brought
                                    “This is the largest residence hall im-      ment chair at Notre Dame
a combination of intelligence,
                                    provement effort our campus has seen.”       of Maryland University in
wisdom and good humor to his
work as an administrator.”                                                       Baltimore. She also has held
                                    The hall renovations include all new
                                                                                 full-time faculty positions at
                                    infrastructure — plumbing, electric and
During Selmon’s tenure as pro-                                                   Bowie State University and
                                    HVAC systems — along with upgraded
vost, the Bachelor of Science                                                    George Washington University.
                                    student rooms, private bathrooms,
in Nursing (BSN) program
                                    refreshed finishes and additional student
was introduced and several
                                    lounges and study spaces along with
new majors were added in
                                    improved laundry facilities.
high-demand fields, including
biotechnology, environmental        The renovations are financed in part
studies, health care administra-    by funds from the U.S. Department of
tion, neuroscience, new media       Agriculture’s Community Facilities Direct
studies and special education.      Loan and Grant Program, which provides
                                    favorable-term loans to develop facilities
                                    in primarily rural areas and communities
                                    with under 20,000 residents.

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