Erica Dunbar to Speak at Washington College February 27

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Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the Charles & Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University, will visit Washington College on Tuesday, February 27, to discuss her book Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. A finalist for the National Book Award, Never Caught tells the story of how one young woman risked everything to achieve her freedom from the nation’s founding father, George Washington.

The event at 4:30 p.m. at Litrenta Lecture Hall in the Toll Science Center is part of the Department of History’s Guy Goodfellow lecture series and is co-sponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the William James Forum. It is free and open to the public, and a book signing will follow in the McClain Atrium.

The reading is part of WC’s celebration of Black History Month, and it is especially resonant at the College where George Washington gave the use of his name, helped finance its creation, and served on its Board of Visitors and Governors. Students studying the College’s slave past in a course taught by Carol Wilson, the Arthur A. and Elizabeth R. Knapp Professor of American History, have read an earlier version of Dunbar’s work.

“Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom,” notes a description of the book from its publisher Simon & Schuster. “So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.”

USA Today calls Never Caught “A crisp and compulsively readable feat of research and storytelling.”

Dunbar, who is also the Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, studies the lives of women of African descent who called America their home during the 18th and 19th centuries. She is a social historian, a scholar of urban history, women’s history, and Philadelphia history. She received her BA in history and what was then called Afro American studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her master’s and PhD from Columbia University.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Washington College is Helping MSCFV Better Target Its Mission

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A collaboration among a Washington College sociology professor, the College’s GIS Lab, and the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence (MSCFV) is helping provide resources to women in crisis and creating strategies to reach more victims in the community.

Rachel Durso, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Black Studies at Washington College, teamed up with Jeanne Yeager, Executive Director of MSCFV, and Erica McMaster, Director of the GIS program, along with four GIS student interns and an analyst, to use the power of data collection and analysis to help the MSCFV in its mission. Their collaboration supported a $1 million Victims of Crime Act grant intended to enhance services such as crisis intervention, counseling, emergency transportation to court, temporary housing, criminal justice support, and advocacy.

Durso, a criminologist who had previously examined gender violence as a doctoral student at Ohio State University, was drawn into the project through the College’s GIS program and her meetings with Yeager.

“I was really impressed by MSCFV’s mission and the fact that [a single office] served the five rural counties of Kent, Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Queen Anne’s counties. It seemed like something I could do to use my expertise to make a real difference in our community,” Durso says. “You can imagine that if somebody needs help and she lives in an isolated area of Dorchester County, it’s really difficult to receive services.”

Last summer, Durso interviewed MSCFV clients to collect data sources that could inform the non-profit’s strategies to increase access to services. Accompanied by her research assistant, WC senior Kaitlynn Ecker, Durso spoke with survivors of domestic violence, both English- and Spanish-speaking, to better understand their needs.

“I would read through the interviews and identify the themes that kept coming up,” Durso says. Framing those recurring themes—poverty, transportation, communication—were the concepts of social cohesion and isolation. Durso found that, for victims of domestic violence, living in a rural community “where everyone knows your business” can put them at a disadvantage.

“In a lot of criminological literature, we see the idea that living in a small town can deter crime,” Durso notes. “If a neighborhood is tightly bonded, you can expect that people watch out for each other. But what has not been thoroughly explored is the idea that social cohesion is not great for [victims of] domestic violence. Because domestic violence is often seen as a private, even shameful matter, it can prevent people from seeking help.”

Durso’s interviews revealed how important social media can be for women physically secluded from the outside world by helping them communicate with others who have had similar experiences. GIS responded by mapping broadband Internet access, 4G mobile data networks, Internet pricing, and what types of Internet services are available in areas that MSCFV serves. Durso also began looking at MSCFV’s web and social media presence, running analytics to determine how to expand the agency’s visibility and engagement within the community.

Also, by mapping where MSCFV clients were coming from, Durso and the GIS team were able to generate a macro view of what’s going on in the region and make the case to open an additional office in Cambridge.

With more data on social cohesion and isolation, social media, access to resources, and particular barriers to resources, MSCFV can better understand where they need to target resources, and where other grant money might be directed. One of Durso’s recommendations to MSCFV was to hire a social media director. As a result, MSCFV hired a consultant who has created a social media policy and posting schedule, and is working on revitalizing MSCFV’s platforms.

The interviews informed what other resources could be mapped: hospitals, rehab centers, public transportation, daycare providers, police jurisdictions, public libraries with computers, and access to affordable housing, as well as MSCFV’s clients themselves.

“The partnership with Washington College, through Professor Durso and the GIS team, has helped the agency grow and expand in ways that directly respond to the specific needs of rural victims of domestic violence,” says Yeager. “It has been a tremendous experience for MSCFV.”

Beyond collecting and analyzing the data to inform policy, Durso says the project offered something just as important: validation to battered women who have silently borne horrific cruelty. “When we asked our clients what MSCFV service they are most grateful for, a great majority said they appreciated the chance to tell their stories. For many, it was the first time they had shared their story. Someone believed them.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Spy Minute: For the Love of Pippin with WC’s Ernie Green

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For anyone who fondly remembers the Broadway musical Pippin as they were growing up in the 1970s, it is tough to imagine a bad version of that classic. Filled with memorable songs, a relatively simple plot, and lyrics that seemed universal, Pippin was, and is, the kind of theater production that any would succeed anywhere if given the opportunity.

And one such opportunity comes to Chestertown fast and furious this week. As a project of the music department at Washington College, a very limited production of the such will be performed next Thursday and Friday in the Gibson Center for the Arts on campus.

This bit of news made the Spy curious about a few things about this “pop up” production and we tracked down the director and Washington College faculty member Ernie Green about this short-lived student effort.

While Ernie, a Peabody-trained conductor, lecturer in music, and director of Live Arts Maryland, is comfortable in the academic canon of classical music and other diverse, and sometimes very challenging, forms of music, he admits in the Spy interview of his lifelong love for Pippin. The project also connects him back to a former career when he often was a frequent collaborator with the late Marvin Hamlisch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and Broadway talent.

As his cast of students prepares for their free performance on Thursday and Friday night at the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts we talked to Ernie about the role of student productions, the magic of musical theater, and the endearing and enduring impression it can make on all ages.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Pippin please go here

 

Support Our Schools Starts Random Acts of Kindness Campaign

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The members of the Support Our Schools (SOS) initiative are pleased to announce the return of the Random Acts of Kindness campaign for Kent County Public Schools. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to help ensure every child gets to fully participate in school.

All of Kent County’s public schools are considered high poverty schools. Because of this, there are many times during the school year when school principals are faced with children that cannot afford lunch, field trip fees, school activities, or other regular expenses. Rather than exclude students from an activity, they cover the expense. The Random Acts of Kindness campaign aims to raise funds to cover these unexpected day-to-day expenses. Distribution of the funds is made by the school principals based on need.

Last year, SOS, completed its first “Random Acts of Kindness” campaign for Kent County Public Schools. The group set an ambitious goal of $5,000 and thanks to the generosity of the community, surpassed that goal by almost $1,000 for a total of $5,921.58. This amount was divided between the seven local public schools to offset unexpected year-end expenses.

February 11 – 16, 2018 is Random Acts of Kindness week. KCPS principals and teachers will be on the lookout for students performing acts of kindness this week. Each morning students will be reminded about spreading kindness and encouraged to reach out to their friends and classmates. Students will be recognized by their school for their kind acts.

SOS will be accepting donations for the Random Acts of Kindness campaign through the month of February. Donations can be made online using the following link – www.sosrandomactsofkindness.com. SOS have special sponsorship packages for Businesses and Organizations. More info can be found on their website.

The Support Our Schools (SOS) Initiative is a grassroots advocacy effort devoted to increasing awareness of and support for the needs, challenges, and untapped potential of our public school system—both for the sake of the current student population and for its opportunity to serve as a catalyst for economic development. For more information on the Support Our Schools initiative please visit our website www.kcpssos.com.

Gunston School Musicians Qualify for District and State Choruses

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Clockwise: Jimmy Zhou, Davy Song, Cynthia Yang, Karen Chen (Not pictured: Nina De Angelo)

Congratulations to Gunston students Karen Chen, Nina De Angelo, Davy Song, Cynthia Yang, and Jimmy Zhao, who prepared, auditioned, and recently qualified for the 2018 All Shore Chorus. In addition, Davy Song was selected to the 2018 Maryland State Chorus based on his audition for that group in November. Auditions consist of learning one’s voice part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) of a challenging choral work and singing that piece alone with recorded accompaniment; singing expressively from memory a short, lyrical folk song; and performing, at sight, unrehearsed rhythmic and melodic examples. The All Shore Chorus consists of the highest scoring singers from approximately 20 public and private high schools on the Eastern Shore, while the Maryland State Chorus is drawn from nearly 1500 high school students registered to audition across the state.

Members of the Maryland State Chorus will prepare their repertoire in the coming month, and spend three days together to rehearse with Dr. Arian Khaefi of Fullerton College, before their culminating public concert at Morgan State University, at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 11.

Members of the All Shore Chorus will similarly prepare to rehearse with their conductor, Dr. John Wesley Wright of Salisbury University, on Thursday and Friday, April 5 and 6. Their public performance will be at Queen Anne’s County High School, at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 6.

Chesapeake College Announces Four Finalists for President

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The Chesapeake College Board of Trustees announced the selection of four finalists in its search for the school’s sixth president. Each candidate will be on campus to meet with faculty, staff, students and Mid-Shore community leaders in a series of forums over the next two weeks.

Following a four-month process that included public input on the qualifications, characteristics and values sought for the school’s new leader, the 14-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee chaired by the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Nash McMahan, submitted four finalists to the Board of Trustees:

Clifford Coppersmith

Dr. Clifford Coppersmith, Dean at City College, an embedded community college within Montana State

Keith Cotroneo

University, Billings Montana. He held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Pennsylvania College of Technology, a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, Williamsport, PA; and College of Eastern Utah, Price, Utah.

Dr. Keith Cotroneo, President at Mountwest Community and Technical College, Huntington, West Virginia. He held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Quincy College, Quincy, Massachusetts; Broome Community College, Binghamton, New York; Treasure Valley Community College, Ontario, Oregon; and Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown, Maryland.

 

Dr. Ted Lewis, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tennessee. He held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Lone Star College-CyFair, Cypress, Texas; and Collin County Community College, McKinney, Texas.

Dr. Lisa Rhine, Provost and Chief Operating Officer at Tidewater Community College Chesapeake

Lisa Rhine

Campus, Chesapeake, Virginia. She held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky; Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; and Sinclair Community College, also in Dayton.

“Under Nash McMahan’s leadership, the Search Committee evaluated 72 candidates and delivered its final choices a month ahead of schedule in response to the community’s desire for an expedited process,” said Blenda Armistead, Board of Trustees Chair. “From our faculty, staff and student representatives to volunteers from business and academia, it was a dedicated team that committed countless hours studying the community focus group and online survey results and reviewing applications from across the country.”

Armistead said the Search Committee interviewed seven candidates last week before making its final selections.
“It’s an exceptional group of finalists with considerable experience serving in administrative and academic affairs leadership positions at community colleges, technical schools and four-year institutions,” Armistead said.

The Board expects to make its final choice by mid-March and hopes to have a new president on campus by July 1.

WC to Confer Honorary Degree on Frederick Douglass on Feb. 23

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On the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth, Washington College is posthumously awarding the famed abolitionist orator, author, and statesman the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Douglass’s great-great-great grandson, Kenneth Morris, co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and David Blight, a professor of history at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, will offer remarks and receive the College’s Award for Excellence.

The free, public event, part of the annual George Washington’s Birthday Convocation, is slated for Friday, Feb. 23, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. The ceremony will also be livestreamed: https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/

“Two hundred years after his birth, it is truly an honor for Washington College to recognize the tenacity and the moral courage Frederick Douglass exhibited by speaking out in support of equal rights for all men and women,” says College President Kurt Landgraf.

Born into slavery in February 1818, not far from the College’s campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,Douglass came to understand at a very young age that education would be his path to freedom: “Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave,” he wrote. In 1838, he escaped slavery and spent the rest of his life speaking out on human rights issues, including abolitionism and women’s rights, in addition to serving as a federal official and diplomat. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), is taught in universities around the world. Yet Douglass himself never had a college education, and Washington College is believed to be the first institution to award him an honorary degree since Howard University did so in 1872.

When Douglass was born, Washington College—the first college in Maryland and one of the oldest in the United States—had already existed for almost 40 years. Among its founding donors, alongside George Washington, were members of the Lloyd family, on whose Eastern Shore plantation Douglass was enslaved during his childhood. The College remained a racially segregated institution until the late 1950s.

“Even without a formal education, Frederick Douglass steeped himself in newspapers, political writings, and treatises to become one of the most famous intellectuals of his time,” Landgraf says. “Washington College should have been thrilled to enroll such a promising scholar. We can’t change that history, but we can and should learn from it.”

The event coincides with Black History Month and a program organized by the College’s Office of Student Affairs, “The Black Experience: From Slavery to Modern Times.” Over the course of several weeks, students and faculty will learn about and discuss contributions African Americans have made to our society, as well as the legacy of slavery that remains. They will visit the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Douglass sites in Talbot County, as well as Cedar Hill, Douglass’s home in southeast Washington that is now a National Historic Site. For a complete listing of events commemorating Frederick Douglass’s bicentennial, visit https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/student-affairs/frederick-douglass-bicentennial/index.php

As part of the Douglass centennial activities on Feb. 23, members of the College’s Black Student Union will deliver copies of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave to eighth-graders at Chestertown Middle School. Morris will join them; to honor Douglass’s 200th birthday, Morris’s family foundation is distributing one million hardcover copies of the book to middle-schoolers across the country.

The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives is a modern abolitionist organization dedicated to teaching today’s generation about one of the most influential figures in American history and raising awareness about the ongoing crisis of human trafficking.

As director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, David Blight oversees the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize and other public outreach programs regarding the history of slavery and its abolition. Blight is considered the nation’s foremost Douglass scholar; he recently completed the first major biography of Frederick Douglass in more than 20 years, which will be published later in 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

During Convocation ceremonies, recipients of the President’s Medal, the President’s Distinguished Service Awards, and the Alumni Service Award will also be honored.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Not Just Crosses and Cathedrals: How Medieval Art Matters Today

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Medieval art can feel very distant from the beliefs and concerns of today’s world, but when we move beyond the most familiar works to explore the Middle Ages more broadly, we can find insights onto many of today’s most pressing concerns. How do humans relate to the natural world? What do we have to learn from other cultures? How can art sharpen our ability to look at the world in new and creative ways? These are some of the questions pondered by art historian and professor Ben Tilghman, who will speak on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6pm, at RiverArts,  200 High Street, Suite A,  Chestertown.  The free event is part of RiverArts Creative Lives series.

Bio

Ben Tilghman is Assistant Professor of Art History at Washington College.  He was awarded a Ph.D. from John Hopkins University in 2009 and for the past five years taught at Lawrence University. His particular interest and expertise is in the art of Medieval and Early Modern Europe, but he also maintains an active interest in the art of the Islamic World and Modern and Contemporary art, which was his first love. He and his wife Darran relocated to the longstanding family farm in Centreville in 2017 from Wisconsin.

For more information visit www.chestertownriverarts.org call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Winter Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 5:30 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5:30PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

Mid-Shore Education: Saints Peter and Paul School Rainforest Turns Nineteen Years Old

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It may not be that unusual anymore for school to create a model rainforest as part of an introductory science course but when the Spy learned that the Saints Peter and Paul School rainforest is now going on its 19th year. It got our attention pretty quickly.

Ever since Lisa Morrell started to teach elementary science at the Catholic day school in Easton, the annual building of the rainforest has been one of the great traditions at a  school that already has a significant number of them. In fact, it’s safe to say that while only a handful of students create the rainforest every year, it’s also true that literally, every student at Peter and Paul’s lower school will walk through as well.

The Spy caught up with Lisa and a few of her students this week just before the rainforest was to be dismantled and stored while it waits for its 20th anniversary next year.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Saints Peter and Paul School please go here