Eloise A. Briére of the French Studies program in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, has been elected president of the International Council for Francophone Studies (CIEF) for a three-year term.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Joel Blumenthal, associate vice president for Advancement in University Relations, to spend a year "on loan" from the University as a public affairs specialist in the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs in Arlington, Va.
In his place, Mary Fiess, a 17-year staff member of the University Relations office, will serve as Acting Director, leading the public relations efforts of both the University Relations and University Graphics offices.
"The University has a fine, seasoned staff in University Relations and University Graphics," said Paul T. Stec, Interim Vice President for University Advancement. "I am confident Mary will provide the leadership needed during this time of transition to communicate the dynamic story that is the University at Albany."
Blumenthal, who led the Universityís public relations and publications efforts since September 1990, is responsible at NSF for obtaining media coverage for the organizationís funded research in the social and behavioral sciences, economics and engineering.
Christina A. Sebastian has joined the Annual Fund as assistant director. She supports assistant director Eva Valentin-Espinal as they gear up for the 1998-99 Annual Fund Calling Campaign. She replaces Nicole Girault, who is now pursuing a law degree in Iowa.
Sharona Wachs, cataloger in the University Libraries, received the 1997 Bibliography Award from the Research and Special Libraries Division of the Association of Jewish Libraries for her publication American Jewish Liturgies: A Bibliography of American Jewish Liturgy from the Establishment of the Press in the Colonies through 1925. The award of $500 was presented at the Associationís annual convention banquet on June 24.
Among the 23 SUNY law enforcement officers receiving degrees on Aug. 27 for a 15-week program at the New York State Police Academy was Onna Cooley of Albanyís University Police Department (UPD).
The program covered courses in administration of justice, basic law, campus police procedures, firearms, defensive tactics, criminal investigations, special patrol topics, and human relations in a campus setting. It was taught by instructors from SUNY and the State Police. Each graduate has a minimum of 60 hours of college credits and was required to pass a civil service examination, a background check, medical and physical agility examinations and a psychological examination.
Cooley joined UPD last fall after serving as a communication specialist for the State Police at Troop G in Loudonville.
Albany faculty and staff will play a large part in the New York State Association for Women in Educationís Fall 1998 conference, "Integrating Solutions: Leadership, Networking, Problem Solving," on Friday, Sept. 25, at Herbertís at Birch Hill in Schodack.
Sharon Dawes, director of the Universityís Center for Technology in Government, will given the keynote address, "What do managers and leaders really need to know about technology?" at 12:30 p.m.
The day of sessions and workshops runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Workshops will be led by Shirley Downey, director of Career Development, in "Career Planning for the New Millennium;" Meredith Butler, director of University Libraries, in "Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Own Career and Leadership Development;" Diane DiGiorgio, senior education specialist in the Professional Development Program, in "How to Make a Presentation;" Jeannette Altarriba of the Department of Psychology in "Perceptions of Women in the Workplace," and Betty P. Shadrick, special assistant to the Vice President for Research and the Dean of Graduate Studies, in "The Balanced Life: Blending Work, Study, and Personal Life Responsibilities."
Those seeking information on the conference may call 732-4444.
- Andersen, Deborah Lines - Information Science & Policy
- Anderson, Drew Arthur - Psychology
- Aquilar, Edwin - Political Science
- Archambeault, Deborah S. - Accounting
- Bertot, John Carlo - Information Science & Policy
- Blood, Susan - Languages, Literatures & Cultures
- Claiborne, Nancy - Social Welfare
- Cohen, Thomas - English, Chair
- Cohon, Rachel - Philosophy
- Cooren, Francois - Communication
- Daniels, Thomas L. - Geography & Planning
- Dutta, Saurav K. - Accounting
- Frey, William H. - Sociology
- Frye, Cheryl A. - Psychology
- Gellis, Zvi Dan - Social Welfare
- Goldfarb, Boris - Mathematics & Statistics
- Hoffmann, Richard J. - Biological Sciences
- Jones, John Bailey - Economics
- Kranich, Laurence Joel - Economics
- Lehman, Amy - Theatre
- Marschke, Gerald R. - Economics
- Maruna, Shadd - Criminal Justice
- Montrul, Silvina A. - Languages, Literatures & Cultures
- Musah, Rabi Ann - Chemistry
- Nagy-Zekmi, Silvia - Languages, Literatures & Cultures
- Neal, Mark Anthony - Africana Studies
- Schiller, Karthryn S. - Educational Administration
- Sieber, Renee E. - Geography & Planning
- Valverde, Gilbert A. - Educational Administration
- Vergari, Sandra M. - Educational Administration
- Wills, David R. - Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Note: In the next issue, the Update begins its series of new faculty member profiles.
What is it like living among and learning about the cultural realities of other people for the first time?
In Northern Passage: Ethnography and Apprenticeship Among the Subarctic Dene (1998, Waveland Press), Robert Jarvenpa, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, uses on the one hand the motif of apprenticeship to reveal the humbling, childlike quest of the novice ethnographer. On the other, he reveals the trials of an active participant, learning the intricacies of bush life and livelihood from Subarctic Indian hunting partners and teachers.
In the process, Jarvenpa achieves what he calls "a reflective narrative," presenting a compelling vision of northern Dene or Athapaskan society. The Han people of the Yukon Territory and eastern Alaska, and the Chipewyan of northern Saskatchewan emerge as vividly drawn actors in a cultural landscape distinctly influenced by a history of gold miners, fur traders, missionaries, conservation officers, and other post-colonial agents.
"Thirty years ago, you couldnít write a book like this for an academic press, because there wasnít an interest in talking about the process of field work, and of how you learn to grow as an ethnographer," said Jarvenpa.
Jarvenpa believes that his early field experiences Ė three months among the Han people in 1970 and 12 with the Chipewyan in 1971-72 ó unfold as a primer on false leads, setbacks, and revealing discoveries, which build to a suspenseful aftershock. Trapping economies, environmental knowledge, the exploration of dreaming and hunting power, the discovery in these culturesí systems of permission and informed consent, blend with experiences of learned language, accusations of spying, alcohol use, personal economic savvy, gained partnerships, the knack for note-taking, and the pros and cons of the ethnographerís active participation.
Since that early field work, Jarvenpa has made "seven or eight" major field trips back to the region dealt with in Northern Passage. "Iíve worked on several other research projects dealing with Subarctic Dene peoples ever since," he said.
"This allowed me to look back at those first experiences with an added perspective, one that includes the steps I took as a young ethnographer which led me to where I am now."
Jarvenpa admits he also observes his early findings in a bittersweet way, because particularly the Chipewyan society has altered dramatically since. "In the late í70 there was a major uranium find in northern Saskatchewan, and a road now leads from the Chipewyan village to the mines. Many of the young men now travel that road and work as miners. Among the fears of the people is one of losing their basic language."
The Han, he said, have been able to retain much of their culture because the main economy they added was tourism. "Itís been a benefit without too much of a disturbance," said Jarvenpa.
Ironweed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by University Professor of English William Kennedy, has been cited as one of the top 100 English-language novels of the 20th century. The top 100 were selected in July by the editorial board of the Modern Library, a division of Random House.
Ironweed, the story of hobo hero Francis Phelan set in 1930s Albany, was ranked 92nd. "That makes the list very enjoyable," Kennedy deadpanned. "Itís an occasion for a small celebration."
Two of Kennedyís favorite authors, James Joyce and William Faulkner, were well represented, with Joyce commanding the No. 1 and 3 spots with Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Faulkner No. 6 with The Sound and the Fury.
"We tried to pick books that were of great merit and proven over time," said Christopher Cerf, chairman of the Modern Library editorial board and part of the 10-member voting board, which included authors William Styron, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and Gore Vidal.
Ironweed won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1984 for Kennedy, who is director of the campusís New York State Writers Institute.
M.E. Grenander, 79, of East Berne, a University distinguished service professor emeritus of English, died on May at her home.
Grenander established one of the first privately endowed named professorships in the entire State University of New York system when she gave the University at Albany $500,000 in 1994 for a professorship in memory of her husband, the late James W. Corbett. Corbett was a Distinguished Service Professor of Physics who died in April 1994.
Grenander was the first individual to donate more than $1 million to the University at Albany, including the professorship and a $250,000 gift to establish the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives in the University Libraries.
"She was a very active scholar, and very supportive of scholarship by other people. She went to great pains to teach and do research with accuracy," said Keith Ratcliff of the Department of Physics. "She was a very special lady to this University in terms of the contributions she made and the professorship she established in her husbandís name in the physics department."
He added, "One of the things I remember about her is that after a day filled with research and scholarship, she always enjoyed sitting down with a mystery novel." She was a great fan of Wagnerian opera, and supported the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown.
Born Mary Elizabeth Grenander in Rewey, Wis., Grenander was an Aristotelian scholar since her undergraduate days at the University of Chicago. Internationally recognized as a leading scholar of short story writer and famed Hearst columnist Ambrose Bierce, Grenander was the author of Poems of Ambrose Bierce, which was published in 1995 by the University of Nebraska Press. Her articles on Bierce appeared in the Western Humanities Review, American Literary Realism, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, and other publications.
Grenander was educated at the University of Chicago in English, receiving an A.B. in 1940, an A.M. in 1941 and a Ph.D. in 1948. From 1942 to 1946, she was a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
She taught at Albany from 1948 to 1989. Grenander and Corbett were both members of Phi Beta Kappa and strongly supported the Universityís chapter, helping to establish the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Academic Excellence.
In 1986 she was appointed Distinguished Service Professor, the highest academic rank a in SUNY. She was cited for her contribution to nearly three dozen University councils, committees and policy groups, her visiting appointments in France and Egypt, as well as lectureships in Europe, the Soviet Union and China.
A highly significant achievement of her career, in the opinion of former SUNY Chancellor Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., was the founding and directing of the Institute for Humanistic Studies which sponsored three major international interdisciplinary conferences which were held at the University between 1978 and 1980.
She is survived by two sisters, Charlotte White of Puyallup, Wash., and Karen Grenander Hanley of Miami, Fla. A memorial service will be held at the University this fall.
Perry Dickie Westbrook, a professor of American literature at Albany for 37 years, died at 82 on Feb. 18 in Hamilton, Bermuda, while on vacation. Westbrook, who retired from the University in 1983, was an American literary scholar with a keen interest in New England literature and the work of women authors.
"Perry had no problem in recognizing the quality of early women writers," said Harry Staley, a professor emeritus of English who was a faculty colleague of Westbrookís for decades. Two of his works were Mary Wilkins Freeman and Mary Ellen Chase, critiques of 18th Century women writers from New England. Some other New England works included Acres of Flint, A Literary History of New England, and New England in Fact and Fiction.
"He was preoccupied with the New England imagination and Yankee temperament because he saw American literary history coming out of that region," said Ronald Bosco, Distinguished Service Professor of English.
Westbrook also wrote five successful murder mysteries, used his understanding of Russian to publish on Dostoevski, and taught in India for a year on a Fulbright grant. He translated his love of nature in later years to travels to the coast of Maine and the books Seacoast and Upland and Biography of an Island.
"At a time when teaching specialization was supposed to be everything," he accomplish a wide ranges of things with a big reach," said Staley.
Born in 1916 in New York City, he received his bachelorís masterís and doctoral degrees from Columbia University before teaching at the University of Kansas, Georgia Tech University, the University of Maine, and finally the University at Albany.
Westbrook, who lived in Delmar, is survived by his wife Arlen.