Friday, March 30, 2012

Students and Social Workers Attend Advocacy Day

Many Bloomsburg University Social Work students are among those pictured at the Legislative Advocacy Day that took place in Harrisburg on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Three BU faculty members--Dr. Ronnie Evans, Prof. Sylvia Costa, and Prof. Marietta Scalise-Warnitsky--accompanied 38 BU Social Work students to the day-long event, which is described in detail on the National Association of Social Workers-PA website.

The students who attended had a great time learning about advocacy through a policy lens. Attendees rallied in support of SB 922, which would create practice protection and bachelor-level licensure. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CoLA Scholarship

The Diplomat, " the premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region," recently published an essay by Dr. Sheng Ding of the department of Political Science about President Obama's China policy. The article, "Don't Worry About the China Bashing," discusses "China bashing" as an election-year phenomenon.

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Dr. M. Safa Saraçoğlu of the department of History has been awarded an academic-year residency fellowship to conduct research on legal reform in the Ottoman Empire at the Institute for Advanced Study at Nantes, France, for 2012-2013. His recently published scholarship includes “Resilient Notables: Looking at the Transformation of the Ottoman Empire from the Local Level” in Contested Spaces of Nobility in Early Modern Europe, edited by Charles Lipp and Matt Romaniello and published by Ashgate (2011). He also published an article titled “Refugees, Biopolitics and Cattle Theft: Operation of Ottoman Governmentality in Nineteenth Century Vidin” in Toplum ve Bilim 121 (2011).

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Dr. Jing Luo of the Department of Languages and Cultures has been been recommended for  Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Full Tester Certification in Chinese by The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Dr. Luo one of a very select group of language professionals who has demonstrated the ability to administer and rate oral proficiency interviews with a high degree of reliability through a rigorous certification process.

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Dr. Mark Decker of the Department of English just published an article titled “(Re)model(ed) Towns and the Remodeling of American Ideology:  The Expansion of Middle-Class Hegemony in Allan Pinkerton’s The Model Town and the Detectives and Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest” in the spring 2012 issue of the journal Clues. The article argues that Hammett and Pinkerton’s novels helped shape the way the American middle class conceptualized itself.  Pinkerton’s nineteenth century text does this by portraying detectives as members of the propertied bourgeoisie while Hammett’s twentieth century text portrays detectives as the kind of trained experts corporations were increasingly dependent on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marcellus Shale Programming Continues

A series of programs about the Marcellus Shale gas drilling is taking place on the Bloomsburg University campus this week. Kevin Clark, on assignment to the College of Liberal Arts, provided this report on a recent program: 

Bloomsburg University’s ten-day forum on the Impacts of Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale Region continued on Thursday, March 22, as Matthew Filteau, a specialist in agriculture economics and rural sociology at the Pennsylvania State University, provided details on his research of one drilling company’s employees in a talk entitled “Who Are Those Guys: A Qualitative Analysis of Transient Gas Workers in the Marcellus Shale Region."  

Filteau argued against the stereotypes of “bad guy roughneck and criminal deviant” which are commonly associated with these predominantly male workers.  While allowing that these transients are not “choirboys,” Filteau detailed his time spent among a drilling crew and its management team.  Often when boomtown economics fuel rapid development in the energy field, locals complain that outside workers are “ruining roads, fishing streams, and carousing with women."  However, Filteau says, while some of that “renegade” culture remains, the company he studied emphasizes safety and collective goals over recklessness and disrespect.  

Filteau explained the changing face of masculinity within the oil and natural gas industry and the unique problems caused by the industry’s demands for long hours, time away from family, and life on the road.  Filteau said, “these days, oil industry riggers see their co-workers as brothers” who share similar struggles to be breadwinners far from home.   While the industry does provide road repair for host communities, Filteau admitted that these same gas companies rely on meager county resources to provide social and mental health care for transient workers.  

Bloomsburg University’s Green Campus Initiative (GCI), the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), the College of Science and Technology (COST),  the College of Liberal Arts (COLA), and the Institute for Human Rights and Social Justice are sponsoring the forum which continues on March 28.  For more information visit the Bloomsburg University Green Campus Initiative’s web page for the event.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling & The Region's Housing

A series of programs about the Marcellus Shale gas drilling is taking place on the Bloomsburg University campus this week. Kevin Clark, on assignment to the College of Liberal Arts, provided this report on Wednesday's program: 

Bloomsburg University’s week-long forum on the Impacts of the Marcellus Shale Industry on our Region continued today [Wednesday, March 21] with a discussion of the effects the natural gas drilling boom has had on the region’s housing.  Dr. Bonita Kolb investigated the strains on rental housing that Marcellus Shale drilling operations bring with them, noting that rental prices rose and housing shortages added new challenges for the non-working poor, seniors, the disabled, and the working poor.  

Kolb, who conducted the survey in both the northern tier counties of Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming counties, as well as in the southwestern Pa. counties of Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland, described the three waves of demand that have affected housing options for both locals and industry out-of-staters.  She described the first wave as industry representatives who clamored to the area to tie up land leases for potential drilling sites.  They needed short-term housing and occupied most of the existing hotel space.  The second wave came when drilling began; these tend to be long-time hires who need apartments and houses.  One consequence of the second wave has been to create more demand for rental units, rendering moderately priced housing a thing of the past in places like Williamsport.  “Gone,” Kolb says, “are the days of $300 to $400 apartments.”  She told the story of one recent graduate who felt lucky to find a new one bedroom apartment for $1,200 a month in Williamsport.  The third wave of industry newcomers are professionals who make good salaries and are demanding new houses where there are few new houses available.  Kolb noted that some of these professionals are commercially licensed drivers, who command 80,000 to 100,000 a year—and who “after purchasing big screen TVs and pickups, want to buy homes.” 

Lost in the din and dust of drilling are the elderly and working poor, who often count on Section 8 government housing vouchers to meet their residential need.  Kolb says this has led to people doubling up with other family members or “couch surfing” as they board with family and friends temporarily.  Tioga County is opening its first-ever homeless shelter, and Kolb found that more rural places like Sullivan County are receiving the displaced poor of neighboring Bradford County as rising rental prices force them out.   

Some bright spots associated with the boom include new incentives for developers to build additional housing.  Kolb pointed to a new Hilton Towers and Conference center slated for Williamsport.  Still, the downside is that those locals who used to be able to afford modest housing are forced to accept substandard housing, while the poor are being forced onto the streets.  A housing summit is slated for April 3 in Harrisburg for state and federal housing officials who will review Kolb’s study and discuss long range solutions to the housing situation in Marcellus Shale communities.

The series is organized by the Green Campus Initiative

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CoLA Notes

Remember Hannah Karena Jones? The May 2011 graduate just announced on her blog that she has signed her first book deal--with Arcadia Publishing. The book, Byberry State Hospital, will be part of their popular Images of America series. Congratulations, Hannah!


On March 11, 2012, Dr. Mark Jelinek, professor in the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, conducted the Southwest Symphony Orchestra's performance of works by Alexander Borodin and Johannes Brahms in his hometown of Hobbs, New Mexico. Dr. Jelinek has served as artistic director of the Southwest Symphony for seventeen seasons; he also conducts the Bloomsburg University Community Orchestra and the Bloomsburg University Chamber Orchestra.

The orchestra's performance featured violinist Lisa Liu, daughter of our respected former dean, Dr. Hsien-Tung Liu.


Featured on BU's Internship web page is History and Political Science major Matt Albertson, who recently completed an internship at the National Museum of the United State Navy. The internship was offered under the auspices of the The Washington Center. He writes, "My tasks in the education department at the U.S. Navy Museum showed me how exciting and fulfilling a job at a museum may be."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

French Professor Reviews Novels

Dr. Nathalie G. Cornelius of the Department of Languages and Cultures has recently had three book reviews published in The French Review:

In December 2011 appeared her review of Chochana Boukhobza’s novel Le troisième jour, the story of Rachel and her impresario Elisheva, two Jewish cellists who return to Jerusalem after five years to give a concert. Amidst the violence and the beauty of politically charged Israël at the height of the first Intifada in 1990, the area’s history becomes a backdrop for a painful return to their origins.

In February 2012 was published her review of Agnès Michaux’s Les sentiments, a literary reconstruction of the onset and aftermath of the affair between Marilyn Monroe and French actor/singer Yves Montand. The novel distills the experiences to emotional states rather than factual incidents, where perspectives shift from one protagonist to another in an effort to propose an alternate view of the famous events.

In March 2012 appeared her review of Philippe Besson’s Retour parmi les hommes, the second installment in a tale of French society during and just after World War I. The protagonist Vincent de L’Étoile’s past is marked by his close relationships with author Marcel Proust and Arthur Valès, a soldier who loses his life in the war. Vincent’s present revolves around his relationship with eccentric writer Raymond Radiguet. Less of an adventure tale than a fictional journal of displaced identity and exile, the novel recounts the human condition and the memorialization of personal and universal suffering.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Poli Sci Grad Leads, Writes

December 2011 College of Liberal Arts top honor graduate Zachary Pearce is putting his Political Science degree to use. He's the youngest-ever member of the Board of Directors of the Delaware Valley School District and the author of two recent articles published on the Huffington Post. Zach's articles can be found here and here.

Here's an excerpt from his most recent piece:

If true reform is to happen in our locally-structured educational system, then it is going to take a real push by all the stakeholders involved: parents, students, teachers, unions, administrators, school boards, and community leaders. These stakeholders can be the true super heroes we need in the United States. I refuse to believe that America is in a state of decline; however, if we do not make real strides towards better educating our students, then that is the reality we face.

Zach graduated from Delaware Valley High School with honors in 2008 and from Bloomsburg University summa cum laude with a BA in Political Science in December 2011.

During his college career, Zach was an active part of the community both in Pike County and in Bloomsburg, holding leadership positions in several different organizations.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Music Prof On the Road for Spring Break

Dr. Gifford Howarth first visited Singapore in the spring of 2006 on a travel fellowship as part of his doctorate program at Michigan State University. Since then he has made 5 additional trips to the Southeast Asian country, and on March 9th he is back on the plane for the 24-hour flight to Singapore. This visit is going to be a unique one.

Dr. Howarth has had a teaching relationship with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore since 2006. His visits involve teaching percussion workshops and lessons with students of the school. He has built a great teaching relationship with Jonathan Fox, head of percussion at the conservatory. Mr. Fox is originally from Boston and studied music at The Juilliard School in New York City. He has been teaching and performing with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra since 2000.

During this visit to Singapore, Dr. Howarth will be performing in the Yong Siew Toh Percussion Ensemble Concert on March 17th. He will be soloist for the world premiere performance of composer Jim Casella’s MEANWHILE IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE for solo marimba and percussion ensemble. Also on the program will be Dr. Howarth’s arrangement of the popular solo guitar work LEYENDA by Isaac Albeniz. His arrangement is for solo marimba and percussion ensemble.

Dr. Howarth with Jonathan Fox and students
of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory
A unique addition to the concert will be a high school group from Kuching, Malaysia. Mr. Fox has also included the members of a St. Joseph’s Secondary School Marching Band from Malaysia to perform on the concert. Mr. Fox has a strong teaching connection with the school in Malaysia. In the spring of 2010, Dr. Howarth had the opportunity to work with the Malaysian marching band and is looking forward to their contribution to this concert.

In addition to performing on the concert, Dr. Howarth will be teaching private lessons and presenting a percussion masterclass that is open to the public. He looks forward to working with the diverse student population of the conservatory. The percussion students are from countries throughout Asia,  including Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reading to Feature Regional Poets

Melanie Simms, a senior Creative Writing major, and Jerry Wemple, Professor of English, will help the central Susquehanna Valley kick off National Poetry Month with a reading at the Degenstein Community Library in Sunbury on April 2.

Simms, a Sunbury resident, will read her poem “Sunbury,” which highlights the history of the town located at the confluence of the North and West branches of the Susquehanna River. The poem was published in a recent issue of Susquehanna Life magazine. Simms also read it during an interview on WKOK, a regional radio station, and at A Taste of the Arts, sponsored by BU's Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

Simms is an award-winning poet with over 150 poetry publications in magazines, literary journals, and newspapers. She formerly served as Poet Laureate of Perry County. Among her awards are a Vermont Studio Writers Scholarship and the Sophie Award for Poetic Excellence.

Wemple is the author of two poetry collections and co-edited the poetry anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (PSU Press). He also edits Watershed: The Journal of the Susquehanna. A regional native who graduated from Shikellamy High School in Sunbury, Wemple’s work often focuses on the people and places of the Susquehanna Valley. Among his awards are The Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, the Word Journal Chapbook Prize, a Fellowship in the Arts from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry and creative nonfiction.

The reading takes place at 7 p.m., Monday, April 2 in the Degenstein Community Library, 40 S. Fifth Street, Sunbury. An open mic follow the featured readers. The event is free and open to the public.