Faculty Meeting News and Notes: August 30, 2018

David Brennan '75 on campus for a career event in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

David Brennan ’75 on campus for a career event in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

By Benjamin Pontz, Editor-in-Chief

The agenda for the semester’s first meeting of the Gettysburg College faculty, held Thursday afternoon, was largely informational and celebratory, and no official action was taken during the hour-long affair.

Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs opened the meeting with some introductory remarks, new chair of the college’s Board of Trustees David Brennan ’75, former CEO of AstraZeneca, made his first presentation to the college faculty, and Provost Christopher Zappe provided a high-level overview of several ongoing initiatives before introducing new members of the faculty. Subsequently, Vice President of College Life & Dean of Students Julie Ramsey, Vice President of Education & Enrollment Services Barbara Fritze, and Vice President of Development, Alumni & Parent Relations (DAPR) Robert Kallin introduced new administrators and staff in their respective divisions.

By the numbers

  • 16 new tenure-track faculty members begin this fall including 5 Mellon Faculty Fellows
  • 150 first-generation college students and 155 domestic students of color are among the just under 750 members of the Class of 2022
  • 76 students participated in the Cross-Disciplinary Science Institute (X-SIG) research program this summer under the guidance of 26 faculty mentors; students participated in the Kolbe Fellowship, which supports research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • 61 students were enrolled in one of 6 online hybrid courses this summer
  • 2 faculty members were recognized for 25 years of service to the college: Dr. Roy Dawes, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Dr. Bela Bajnok, Professor of Mathematics

News and Notes from President Janet Morgan Riggs’ Remarks

  • In the latest college rankings from The Princeton Review, Gettysburg placed among the top 25 schools for:
    • Lots of Greek Life
    • Lots of Beer
    • Best Science Facilities
    • Best Athletic Facilities
    • Best Food
    • Best Alumni Network
    • Best Study Abroad Programs
    • Best Schools for Internships
    • Best Classroom Experience
  • After feedback from a task force empaneled amid the Hanson Hall mold issue last spring, the college has completed an inspection of all residence halls for mold and remediation is in the final stages where issues were found.
  • The college has replaced all washers and dryers after moving to a new vendor.
  • The college will celebrate the conclusion of the GettysburGreat Campaign, which sought to raise $150 million over the past eight years, at Homecoming Weekend, which is September 21-23, and the final amount will be announced at an event on September 22.
  • Bob Kallin, Vice President of DAPR, which has spearheaded the campaign, will retire effective Friday, October 5. He received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the meeting.
    • Betsy Duncan Diehl ’84, Associate Vice President for Development and Donor Relations, will fill that role on an interim basis while a search is conducted.
  • The Board of Trustees has launched a Long Term Financial Planning Group that will evaluate the college’s operations to strengthen its financial posture for the long term. The group will consider the optimal size of the student body, how to make Gettysburg accessible to students from all financial backgrounds while still attracting enough full-paying students to maintain stable revenue, and curricular offerings.
  • The Management Department, which currently offers a major in Organization & Management Studies (OMS) in addition to a business minor, has begun work on developing a major in business amid ongoing demand from students. The major would be available only as a second major (i.e. must be paired with another major field) and will have an interdisciplinary flavor similar to the public policy program. The department will bring the proposal to the faculty at some point in the future.

News and Notes from Board Chair David Brennan’s Remarks

  • In July, when Brennan was on campus and held meetings with a handful of students, he asked them what they found surprising or unexpected about Gettysburg, and all of them, he said, mentioned close relationships developed with faculty members.
  • The Board’s highest priority this year is the presidential search. Brennan spoke with representatives from Russell Reynolds, the search firm with whom the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) has contracted to help coordinate the search, and they said that they have never received more input on a search than they have thus far at Gettysburg. A final student forum will be held next Thursday, September 6, at 5:00 p.m. with PSC Chair Charlie Scott.
  • Stability and the college’s financial future is another of the Board’s highest priorities.

News and Notes from Provost Chris Zappe’s Remarks

  • The College continues to coordinate the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, an initiative launched in 2012 to create opportunities for faculty members from diverse backgrounds. The Consortium now has 51 member institutions. Gettysburg has two scholars on its faculty through the CFD post-doctoral fellowship program: Aisha Mershani and Ty Redden, who serve as Gondwe Scholars and Visiting Assistant Professors in the Departments of Interdisciplinary Studies and Africana Studies respectively.
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is the Class of 2022’s first-year read. Anthony Ray Hinton, who spent decades on death row for a crime he did not commit and is featured in the book, will speak at Gettysburg College on Tuesday, September 25.
  • A report with data from two summers of online hybrid courses is forthcoming. It will go to the Academic Policy and Program Committee and the Committee on Learning and Assessment as well as the faculty at large.

List of New Faculty Members

  • Nicholas Miller, Assistant Professor of Art & Art History
  • Austin Stiegemeier, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art & Art History
  • Michael Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Biology (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Jerrod Hunter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Suvrajit Sengupta, Assistant Profesor of Chemistry
  • Gregory Suryn, Lecturer of Chemistry
  • Rachel Lesser, Assistant Professor of Classics (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Katheryn Whitcomb, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics & History
  • Yoko Nishimura, Mellon Faculty Fellow in East Asian Studies
  • Kara Walter, Visiting Lecturer of Economics
  • Aristides Dimitriou, Mellon Faculty Fellow in English
  • Kalyan Nadiminti, Mellon Faculty Fellow in English
  • Vivek Freitas, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
  • Robert Stevens, Emerging Writer Lecturer in English
  • Charlotte France Werbe, Assistant Professor of French
  • Richard Lambert, Assistant Professor of German
  • Megan Benka-Coker, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences
  • Vernon Cisney, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Ian Isherwood, Assistant Professor of War & Memory Studies (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Daria Bozzato, Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian
  • Patturaja Selvaraj, Assistant Professor of Management (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Rebecca Thompson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Management
  • Daniel Droz, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • Mercedes Valmisa Oviedo, Mellon Faculty Fellow in Philosophy
  • Laura Watson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
  • Anne Douds, Assistant Professor of Public Policy
  • Aaron Lucayo, Mellon Faculty Fellow in Spanish
  • Farah Ali, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish
  • James Day, Director of the Sunderman Conservatory & Associate Professor of Music
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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 served as Editor-in-Chief of The Gettysburgian from 2018 until 2020, Managing News Editor from 2017 until 2018, News Editor in the spring of 2017, and Staff Writer during the fall of 2016. During his tenure, he wrote 232 articles. He led teams that won two first place Keystone Press Awards for ongoing news coverage (once of Bob Garthwait's resignation, and the other of Robert Spencer's visit to campus) and was part of the team that wrote a first-place trio of editorials in 2018. He also received recognition for a music review he wrote in 2019. A political science and public policy major with a music minor, he graduated in May of 2020 and will pursue a master's degree in public policy on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Manchester before enrolling in law school.

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