Currently browsing the archives for July 2007
Williams will not join the U.S. News revolt (at least not yet), but it will stop promoting its ranking in admissions materials and news releases.
I don’t think that slight policy change will have any effect whatsoever on Williams’ public perception. Anyone savvy enough about colleges to know about and care about the U.S. News liberal arts rankings wouldn’t rely on Williams itself to promote its perennial high ranking. And I think there are far more effective marketing tools that Williams does, and should continue, to utilize in any event. For instance, the current edition of the prospectus and the current admissions page are oustanding and provide information far more interesting than U.S. News rankings.
In the entry What’s the Matter with College?, NYT Magazine Deputy Editor Jim Schachter issues somewhat of a challenge to current undergrads:
I really hope you will take your arguments with Rick Perlstein to the next step and submit an essay in response. The deadline is Aug. 6. No, we’re not giving out a scholarship to the winner. But the best essay will be published in our Sept. 30th issue, and the runners-up online. Any of you who are aspiring writers can, I think, see the value even at this late date in history of being published in The New York Times Magazine. All the details are at http://nytimes.com/essay/.
Just wanted to promote this to the front page at this point; more later.
Who can help a young philosopher at College Confidential?
Hi! I’m very interested in both Philosophy and Williams, so my question is how do these two interact? Is the department good? How are the professors? Is the course load heavy? How is the graduate school admission rates like? The “Philosophical Gourmet” mentions Amherst numerous times, but not Williams. Is it just because the latter is modest?
Good questions. I was a philosophy major 20 years ago and loved every minute. AFAIK, the major has only gotten better since then. The department maintains a page with information of alums, but more could be done. We need an EphCOI for Eph philosophers.
I do not know why Amherst has a better reputation. Does it? Is it deserved?
By the way, if you are thinking about philosophy as a career, I have two words of advice: Backup plan! Philosophers are no better off than historians.
This seems like a good appointment.
Alison Swain ’01 has been named the new head coach of women’s tennis at Williams College, acting athletic director Lisa Melendy announced recently.
Swain takes the reigns of the women’s tennis program from Julie Greenwood ’96, who resigned in June after nine seasons at the helm of the Ephs program. Greenwood is leaving Williams to join SquashHaven in New Haven, CT.
Swain played under Greenwood for four years, and helped the Ephs win their first NCAA title in 2001. “I am extremely excited to return to Williams College to coach the women’s tennis team,” Swain said. “Julie Greenwood has brought a lot of heart, tradition, and competitive excellence to the program; and I hope to continue both her legacy and the team’s legacy.”
I like to see coaches at Williams who are as smart as their players and who are likely to stay for years. Hiring alumni is more likely to achieve both goals. Kudos to Melendy on this choice.
Before we begin, I’d just like to point out that Noons does a great job in the comments on the original thread on this topic.
David quotes a section K. Roy Garcia ’08’s little WSO rant below. I think he quotes it out of context, so I’m going to reproduce the whole thing so readers can judge for themselves. Cross the flip if you’re interested. Personally, I think the rant is pure attention-seeking with a touch of insane-o, and the WSO regulars (full disclosure: I’m one of them) are right to be unimpressed.
Kelly Garcia speaks truth to the WSO regulars.
I don’t know, maybe Democrats or Republicans really are objectively right and one or the other is preaching the Platonic Truth while the other is the anti-Christ. To me it just seems like a bunch of overfed and mentally dulled WASPs are arguing about the best way to continue 231 years of oppression, expansion, annexation, and world domination. All our sorrow will end, I hope, in fifty or one hundred years when Japan, China, the European Union and all the other nations of the world dismember the United States and drive its wasted masses into the oceans to find shelter in their watery graves.
So what’s my point? While I was unloading a truck in the back of a department store, I came upon a massive shipment of Hello Kitty handbags shaped just like the head of said kitty. As I unloaded what must have been hundreds, perhaps thousands from the truck previously mentioned, unpackaged them, and prepared them for the storeroom floor, I reflected on two things. One, they were very cute and adorable. Two, they represented a cornucopia of political, economic, and sociological facts. These ridiculous pieces of crap were licensed merchandise from Japan, manufactured in China with raw materials from the Third World, and sent to a department store in California to be unpackaged by cheap Mexican labor (that’s me) and sold to idiots with too much money (you?).
And that was when I knew it had become hopeless.
Alas, they are not impressed.
Happy birthday, Diana! Just over two weeks ago, I posted a call here for donations towards a gift from Ephblog to Diana Davis ’07, whose awesome pictures have embellished this site for years. I asked people to make donations towards converting Diana’s free photo site with flickr into an unlimited pro account, which costs $25/year.
In total, contributions to Diana totaling $140 came in. Thanks to your generosity, we have enough to give Diana her first year of Flickr and make a substantial additional contribution to her “get a camera” fund (after borrowing her parent’s for her college years, Diana’s decided it’s time to get her own). The $115 leftover after purchasing her pro account will help her towards a good camera, or a nice accessory for it (get a good case too, Diana!). I’m sure she’ll let us know.
It’s my birthday, so today your job is to identify one of my favorite stories about Williams and Williamstown: Why there is this lovely grass on both sides of the road throughout Williams, and what the exception to this rule is.
Newsday columnist Steve Marcus, apparently a member of some heretofore unknown temperance society out there on Long Island, flails around wildly in search of a rationale for continued bashing of the Duke lacrosse team. Reviewing the new book from fired Duke coach Mike Pressler: (Spoiler alert! Marcus didn’t think much of it!)
However, Yeager glosses over the match that lit the incendiary situation: That athletes from such a prestigious institution could do nothing better with a free spring night than engage in (mostly) underage drinking and sleazy entertainment more befitting the hard-up members of the population. Can’t Duke lacrosse players do better? Kids being kids doesn’t cut it. Yaeger also gives short shrift to a vile e-mail sent by one of the players as a pop culture reference that the un-hip didn’t understand. It was no more inexcusable than a Columbine joke.
First off, there’s nothing wrong with a well-crafted Columbine joke. Secondly … seriously, “no more inexcusable than?” It’s awful writing, and I think he has that backward there.
K.C. Johnson quite rightly takes issue with a different segment of the piece.
The Williamstown Theater Festival gets some positive coverage in Entertainment Weekly online.
Coach White just sent the following e-mail to the members of the track team:
I hope all is well and that you are enjoying the summer, making a lot
of money and spending quality time with your family. As you know, in
February, the college decided not to renew my contract. I appealed
the decision as I do not agree with their stated reasons. I just
received a letter that my appeal was denied, after several months.
Although I am extremely disappointed, I am not surprised, as the
rules are written by Williams for Williams. I just wish I had the
opporunity to speak to those that I have worked for or with for the
last seven years. There are a lot of people and things I will miss,
and some I will not. However life goes on and I will make the best of it.
Coaches Farley and Farwell will continue to lead you, and the team
will not miss a beat. There is no one person, coach or athlete, whose
loss cannot be overcome. I expect great things to continue as I
really believe the best is yet to come. Work together and be positive
and supportive of each other. I would be disappointed with anything less.
I have loved my seven years at Williams. As a coaching staff and team
it is second to none. I took a tremendous amount of pride in you and
possibly cared TOO much but your efforts deserved my enthusiasm. It
was great seeing you develop as people and as athletes and I will
surely miss that. I will continue to follow your progress as you
continue to be the envy of the nation. Keep on making me proud by
doing things the right way, and focus on the future, not on the past.
Best of luck and please do not hesitate to contact me if there is
anything I can do for you (although right now I am out of town with
limited access to email.) Thank you very much for all of your support
during these trying times, I will not forget it. I hope we cross
paths in the future.
This is the longest email I’ve ever written. This shows you how
special you are.
Too bad for Williams! He will be greatly missed. It will be interesting to see who the track coach will be next year. (I have heard rumors of a minority female.) I am sure that Coach White will meet with coaching success wherever he goes.
Our very own David Kane has a new statistical study out debunking the flawed Lancet study vastly overstating Iraqi civilian deaths.
Nice job, DK!
Statistics Professor Dick De Veaux gets a nice shout-out from Andrew Gelman.
Math is like music, statistics is like literature
Dick De Veaux gave a talk for us a few years ago, getting to some general points about statistics teaching by starting with the question, Why are there no six year old novelists? Statistics, like literature, benefits from some life experience. Dick writes,
We haven’t evolved to be statisticians. Our students who think statistics is an unnatural subject are right. This isn’t how humans think naturally. But it is how humans think rationally. And it is how scientists think. This is the way we must think if we are to make progress in understanding how the world works and, for that matter, how we ourselves work.
Here’s the talk. I recommend it to everyone who teaches statistics.
Me too. I try to incorporate much of this advice in my own syllabus for a Williams class. Maybe I’ll send in another application for 2008.
Great article on the Williams/Amherst rivalry.
The 1997 season finale, for instance, has become something of a local legend in New England. Williams entered the game 6-1; Amherst was a perfect 7-0. The Lord Jeffs took a 46-45 lead with just over a minute to go on a trick two-point conversion. But Williams answered, driving 70 yards to set up a 27-yard field goal, which freshman Collin Vataha (in his first year of kicking — ever) nailed to ruin the Lord Jeffs’ perfect season, 48-46.
“People comment that it was one of the greatest games they’ve ever seen,” said Amherst football coach E.J. Mills, whose first taste of the rivalry as a head coach came in that 1997 matchup. “The thing that’s amazing about the game is the emotion — the raw emotion — from the kids. We really enjoy playing in that game, and unfortunately, for better or worse, you get defined by that game. And when you win it, it’s awesome, and when you lose it, it’s devastating. It’s kind of hard to put into words exactly, but it just means so much to a lot of people.”
Greatest game I’ve ever seen. Whole article is high quality and includes some new (to me) stories. How about Rubber Chicken!
Teeming with humanity, the world’s biggest cities already swell at the seams, and there’s no telling how big they’ll grow during the next century. Or is there?
Breakthrough research on that very point, by Stephen Sheppard and his Williams College colleagues, was presented at the Bellagio conference. Using Landsat satellite images of a sampling of 120 world cities — one set taken around 1990, another around 2000 — they were able to show global cities’ dynamic form of growth — how much they move to the urban periphery (“outspill”), or find space inside (“infill”).
According to Sheppard, quoted in the Seattle Times, cities on average outspill seven times as fast as they inspill, which means a place like Shanghai will have to grow by 14 square miles each year according to current trends. If this new growth isn’t planned, well, watch out.
Good planning, for example, can recycle underused urban land, or schedule better use of expansion areas, to achieve much greater people-carrying capacity. Good planning can avoid some of the worst modern traffic jams, put public transit first, make walking and biking conven-ient, and preserve pockets of green space critical to humans’ physical and emotional health. … Sheppard sees a frightening tide of population growth enveloping cities. He urges they take their thousands of planning documents, too often focused on some ideal future, and update them to reflect realistic growth scenarios.
In similarly cheery news, Sheppard’s Economics Department colleague Jerry Caprio explains in the latest Miliken Institute Review just why China’s immature financial system is the Achilles’ heel of the post-communist economic miracle. Well, let’s just hope nobody shoots at it, then.
Here is a discussion on College Confidential about how to get in to closed classes, i.e., classes which are already full. Question: How many classes are currently full and which ones are they? It would be great to see that information and discuss it. I hope that there aren’t too many full classes, that the faculty does a good job of adjusting their offerings to student demand. Do they?
Comments are open.
Brother Spotless has thoughts on the use of the N-word by the chairman of the board of trustees at some other Williams College.
A lot has been said about Roger Williams University’s longtime chairman Ralph Papitto and the N-Bomb he dropped in a board meeting. My question is simple: why?
Ralph Papitto is an 80 year old white man; the fact that he’d know how to use the n-word is not surprising, nor am I shocked or distressed that he’d actually use it when discussing potential black board members. When are we, black folks, going to get past the fact that racism exists, especially among people who were born less than 70 years after slavery ended?
Fortunately, it is “inconceivable” that an Eph would use the N-word at an official meeting at Williams. Or perhaps that word does not mean what you think it means . . .
I’ve decided to bring back Photo IDs, because I have leftover photos of Williams that might as well be posted. David has recruited an incoming member of the class of 2011 to take over in the fall, but we can have my photos until then.
Where is this? And what is the rule?
Credit: The taking and posting of this photo for a Photo ID was suggested by Ronit Bhattacharyya ’07.
Nice to hear a Williamstown Theatre Festival reference on the Daily Show:
An Eph connection to homosexuality in comics?
Welcome to the first installment of CBR’s comprehensive look at homosexuality in comics. CBR News spoke with nine comics industry professionals about the portrayal of GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual) characters and themes in comics, past and present.
Tokyopop editor Lillian Diaz-Przbyl has loved comics all of her life. The Williams College graduate started working at Tokyopop in 2004, where she handles both licensed properties from Japan and Korea and also oversees the development of original material. Her titles include “Loveless,” “Saiyuki,” “Dramacon,” “Mark of the Succubus” and the graphic novel adaptation of HarperCollins’ hit children’s series, “Warriors.” Diaz-Przbyl serves as editor for Tokyopop’s BLU manga imprint, which specializes in yaoi and yuri, two subsets of manga that deal with male and female homosexual relationships, respectively.
Diaz-Przbyl mused that one of the reasons yaoi and yuri are so popular is because they subvert traditional gender roles. “While I think a real selling point of manga in general is its emotional realism and potency, it often occurs in very non-traditional, fantasy situations,” Diaz-Przbyl said. “Reality is not the object here. Men in yaoi don’t usually behave like real men (especially real gay men), and women in yuri don’t behave like real women (although the sort of close female relationships that yuri builds off of are seen as relatively acceptable in Japanese culture, up to a point — better your daughter fool around with her school friend than some boy, after all).”
Agreed! Uh, I think.
“When reading yaoi or yuri, you don’t automatically have to associate yourself with ‘the girl,’ which can be very liberating,” Diaz-Przbyl continued. “There are a lot of ways that girls are ‘supposed’ to behave in relationships, and throwing that for a loop is very exciting. Even when characters do conform to the ‘standard’ relationship dynamics, the gender reversal factor still makes it feel more transgressive.”
We are very pro-transgressive, here at EphBlog.
In the aftermath of a spasm of Oberlin-induced rage (and who among us hasn’t had one of those?), Manhattan media gossip site Gawker yesterday proposed to identify America’s Most Annoying Liberal Arts College. The good news? Williams didn’t even make the preliminary list, nor was it written into the final ballot today.
No more write-ins please–sorry, Skidmore! — this is our list and we’re sticking to it. To get you started, we turn to the immortal words of commenter LOLCait, who helpfully defined liberal arts colleges for us: “In the form it’s being used here, it’s a four-year liberal leaning, usually in a small town, college with no grad programs, that rich kids go to feel free and take peyote and wander around campus barefoot and shrieking into the night “I’m a real person!” and then graduate and abandon it all for a good job, only to relive it on screened in porches years later when they find an old joint pressed into a copy of the Stranger, so they toke it even though it’s stale and they remember a little bit but then go to bed and wake up just the same as they were the day before.” All right then! To the colleges!
Wesleyan, Bennington and Hampshire all show up, though. Vote early and often!
Amherst is going to a no-loans policy for financial aid. President Tony Marx, famous crusader for social justice, has decided that it is tragic that so many investment bankers graduate from Amherst with $10,000 in debt. How can they get through the financial screening process from those notorious NYC co-op boards? Think of their clothing bills!
Other than Princeton, I do not know of another school with the same policy. Does Williams have any other choice but to follow suit? If you were advising a high school senior with a choice between Williams and Amherst, would you argue that choosing Williams is worth the extra $14,000 in debt? I wouldn’t.
Those better informed should let us know more details. I think that the maximum debt for Williams students is now set at $14,000. Is that correct? I know that it was lowered a few years ago. What was Amherst’s set at before this move? How much money will the change in policy cost them? How much would a similar change cost Williams?
Tony Marx should have called Morty for advice. President Schapiro would have pointed out that financial aid is too confusing to applicants already. Why give them more choices? Why compete on price? We wouldn’t want the Little Three to turn into a nasty bazaar, would we?
My prediction stands. Within a few decades, an elite college education will be free for many/most students.
Thanks to a loyal Jeff reader for the news. More mocking to come.
David Rackovan ’04 is deployed in Iraq and is having a birthday on August 12th!
Please consider joining me and sending him a birthday card.
APO AE 09351
It only takes a regular stamp!
Thank you for supporting our fellow Alums who are deployed in harm’s way.
Professor Sam Crane has thoughts on Clausewitz, Sun Tzu and the war in Iraq. Sam’s stuff is always worth reading, but I wish that he would get rid of the annoying pop-up ads.
How about an Eph baseball mafia?
To hear their names mentioned as possible candidates for a front-office job in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization came as a surprise to both Dan and Jim Duquette yesterday.
Only one of them, however, showed interest in the position.
Dan and Jim Duquette, who are cousins, were mentioned as possible successors to Kevin McClatchy as chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Pirates in Sunday’s editions of the Beaver County Times and The Baltimore Sun, as well as various other outlets. McClatchy announced July 6 that he will step down as Pirates CEO at the end of the season.
“It sounds like it could be an interesting opportunity,” said Dan Duquette, president of the Dan Duquette Sports Academy and owner of the Pittsfield Dukes of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
When reached by phone yesterday, Jim Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles, said it was flattering to be considered a possible candidate for the job, but reiterated the point he’d made in the Sunday edition of The Sun, saying he is happy in his current job in Baltimore. He has been with the Orioles since 2005, following his year as general manager of the New York Mets.
“I came down here a little under two years ago, and I have some unfinished business to do here,” Jim Duquette said. “I think we’re going in the right direction, and I don’t expect to be any place other than where I am.”
If he should change his mind, he has connections in the Pirates’ front office. Current chairman of the board Robert Nutting, like Jim Duquette, is a graduate of Williams College.
In less than two years, Erin Burnett, host of CNBC’s “Street Signs” and co-anchor of “Squawk on the Street,” has blossomed from a relative unknown into Wall Street’s sizzling media star. Ratings of “Squawk” are up 79 percent over last year in the crucial 25-to-54 year old demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The 31-year-old farm girl from Mardela Springs, Md., has her own listing on Wikipedia and obsessed fans have created a chat room on Yahoo! that tracks her every move. Earlier this year, Burnett handily won a poll of the hottest financial news anchors on Wall Street gossip blog Dealbreaker.com. She got 37 percent of the votes while rival CNBC anchor Becky Quick came in second with 22 percent. Maria Bartiromo only got 13 percent, prompting media watchers to dub Burnett “Maria 2.0.” The Post’s Zachery Kouwe uncovers just what Burnett thinks of her newfound buzz.
Q: Do you get stopped on the street and propositioned by your fans on Wall Street?
A: Oh God, no. People who recognize me from the show have stopped me a few times, but it doesn’t happen often. In New York, there are a lot of real celebrities running around.
Q: How much e-mail do you get from obsessed viewers?
A: It’s flattering that people notice you, but some of the stuff is just weird. It comes in but I don’t respond to it. I guess it just comes with the job. I actually get a lot of really thoughtful and insightful e-mails from hedge-fund managers and brokers.
Q: What’s your typical day like?
A: I get up at 5 a.m. and head straight down to the stock exchange and there it’s just a race to get ready on the set. Around 7 a.m. we have our first call for “Squawk on the Street” to figure out what news stories we’re following.
Q: Sounds like a lot of work. Do you ever get to go out during the week?
A: By the time the end of the day comes, I’m pretty exhausted. Sometimes I’ll have dinner or drinks with a source but if I have a free night, I usually go to the gym.
Q: How often to you get to the gym?
A: Not as often as I should, but I usually get there three or four times a week counting both Saturday and Sunday. It just makes me feel better. I played field hockey and lacrosse in college so I miss the exercise.
Q: Do you want to stick with financial news for the foreseeable future?
A: I really love business news, talking about deals and having CEOs on air. The guys who run nuts and bolts companies – like the companies that inject air into diapers – really know what’s going on. So you could sort of say that I took to business news like a fish to water. The best thing about being in business news is you don’t have to cover Paris [Hilton] unless Hilton Hotels is being sold.
Q: What are your favorite stories?
A: I love breaking news, when something big hits the wire and you have to start talking about it off-the-cuff with no teleprompters. It’s a lot of fun and invigorating.
Q: After you graduated from Williams College, you worked at Goldman Sachs. Why did you leave?
A: I loved the experience and I still have a lot of friends there. I just didn’t feel an excitement about it.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: One thing I really like to do is travel. I have this goal of going to 100 countries and I’m already up to 30. I just got back from Bulgaria.
Q: Who is your favorite business personality?
A: Rupert Murdoch (wink wink). No seriously, [it’s] the Jeffs. Immelt and Zucker, of course!
Q: Is there a story you are getting sick of covering?
A: For me, I’m tired of the immigration debate. The discussion has become irrational and exhausting – people talk at each other and refuse to listen. At first, it was fascinating. It has become repetitive.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: “Henry’s End” in Brooklyn Heights.
Q: Are you getting annoyed with the comparison with Maria?
A: Yeah. The way I look at it, it’s good for CNBC because we have such a strong lineup. People like rivalries. Our styles are very different.
Q: Are you single?
A: The only thing I can say is that I’m not married.
Q: What do think of the threat posed by the new Fox Business Network?
A: I say, bring it on.
No more talk of “Jeffs,” please.
Nice story from Chris Gondeck ’90.
Bob Solomon was the professor we all wanted to have. Passionate, a great communicator, and a top notch scholar. I still think that his 1975 book, The Passions, is one of the greatest books on the emotions ever written, and if you ever get a chance to purchase the courses that he and his wife recorded for The Learning Company, I highly suggest you do so. I am planning on putting the Adam Smith show back on the feed for the rest of the summer.
Looking back, it was so gracious of him to spend time with me, particularly early on when nobody knew me from Adam. I still remember my family being puzzled why I was reading Adam Smith during Christmas 2005, and one of my favorite party moments was when I told a philosophy professor here in Portland that I had done two shows with Bob Solomon. His jaw dropped, because, trust me, in the world of philosophy,Bob Solomon was a big deal. This professor asked me how on earth I got him to do not one, but two shows. My response? “I asked.”
There is a famous anecdote about him that I will leave you with. At one point, Bob was in medical school, and not enjoying it at all. He was fed up and looking for some sign, and he wandered into the wrong lecture hall one day and heard a professor lecture on Nietzsche. The professor repeated the famous question Nietzsche asked, “If given the opportunity to live your life over and over again ad infinitum, forced to go through all of the pain and the grief of existence, would you be overcome with despair? Or would you fall to your knees in gratitude?”
He quit medical school the next day and began his career in philosophy.
A chance to spend 4 years at Williams, over and over again? Gratitude is the only reasonable response.
Eph blogger with the nicest pictures? Tough to know! But I love all the beautiful knitting portrayed in Stream of Consciousness by Laura Lim Prescott ’92. Did you even know what a Sal Crochet Cap was? Other examples here and here. She even quotes from Little Women.
There is so much great stuff on Eph Planet that you ought to read that more and EphBlog less.
I know that I should be nicer to the hard-working folks at the Office of Campus Life, but this stuff bugs me.
Hello Student Leaders,
If your group has not done so already, please be sure to re-register for the upcoming semester. The Office of Campus Life will be sending out important information early to mid-August regarding the Purple Key Fair, Jamboree, and the Student Organization Summit. Groups are required to attend the Purple Key Fair and the Student Organization Summit in order to receive College Council funding.
Blah, blah, blah. Nothing wrong with the announcement and the attendant bureaucracy per se, but note the end of the post.
While your at it, please check out the new Campus Life website!
Thank you and enjoy your summer,
Campus Life Coordinator, Student Leadership & Development
Is there more student leadership on campus today than 10 or 20 years ago because the College now employs a bureaucrat with the phrase “student leadership” in her job title? I doubt it. In fact, odds are that there is less leadership by students. The more that the College pays people to do things that students used to do for themselves, the less they will learn about leadership.