Union College News Archives

News story archive

Navigation Menu

So Much For Summer Melt

Posted on Jun 7, 1996

Nearly all the members and parents of the Class of 2000 — the largest in the College's history at 619 (as of June 5) — are to be on campus in late June for a new orientation program that was originally designed to reduce “summer melt.”

About 120 students will visit campus during each one-day program between June 24 and 28, according to Kate Schurick, assistant dean of students.

Students will attend programs on academics, international programs, student activities and campus life. Meanwhile, their parents will have sessions of their own on topics
including residence life, campus safety, health services and student services.

Students will meet with faculty advisors, pre-register for classes, log on to their
computer accounts, and participate in a freshman survey, Schurick said.

“This is an attempt to get students thinking about being Union much earlier in the
summer,” Schurick said. “When they arrive in the fall, they'll hit the ground

This orientation is the first summer program at the College in recent years. During
planning, it was designed as a way to help reduce “summer melt” — students who
decide to go elsewhere or defer enrollment.

Read More

ARC Photographers: “No Fear”

Posted on Jun 7, 1996

Spilling out from a lesson at Caffe Dolce, the student photographers set out to document Jay Street in Schenectady. The snapping of shutters and the voices of photographers calling, “Can I take your picture?” quickly fill the tiny street.

The eight students are clients in Schenectady County Association of Retarded Citizens'Maple Ridge and Princetown day treatment programs, and their teachers are Martin Benjamin,
Union professor of photography; Manisha Tinani, a senior chemistry major; and Noelle Pirnie, a junior social sciences major.

Benjamin began working with the ARC over a year ago, and this spring began teaching a
class of ARC clients. Teaching assistants Pirnie and Tinani — who process film, contact
sheets and prints made by developmentally disabled members of the class — are using the
experience to make photographs of their own as part of an internship for credit.

Armed with 35 mm cameras, black and white film (provided by a $1,000 grant from Ilford
Corp. of Paramus, N.J.) and some instructions, the ARC students set off each class to take
pictures at their schools or on field trips to places such as Jay Street, Jumpin' Jack's
or Union College. They also bring their cameras home over the week — taking pictures of
family, friends, staff members — and return to class with more pictures to be developed.

At the start of each class, Tinani and Pirnie return and discuss prints made during a
previous class. “They're always excited,” Benjamin says of the ARC students.
“They love getting their pictures back.”

The students often have different ideas of what are good photos, Pirnie explains. What
they think are bad pictures, are often their best, most interesting work. “Sometimes
they have some really good accidents,” says Benjamin.

Pirnie, who has been working with Benjamin since the start of the project, noticed a
change in her work as time went on and she got to know the clients. “I was a little
uneasy at first,” she says. “What were first portraits of the 'mentally
disabled' have turned into just portraits, and you can see that by looking at my

Tinani, of Selkirk, N.Y., volunteered for the Albany ARC while she was in high school,
and enjoys teaching and working with the participants. “It's a lot of work,” she
says. “But it's also fun and exciting.”

For Benjamin, who has been teaching for 26 years, the experience has been
“different and amazing” from teaching undergraduates, in part, he says, because
the ARC students “have no fear and they present themselves exactly as they are. Each
class is exhilarating.”

Plans are to display photos by the students and their teachers in a campus show next
winter term.

Read More

Students Taking Virtual Term Abroad

Posted on Jun 7, 1996

This fall, Jill Hahl and Brian Smallwood, both Class of 1997 mechanical engineering majors, and Ron Bucinell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will be working with two mechanical engineering students and a professor from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, on their senior capstone design projects.

The interesting thing is, the Union students aren't leaving Union, and the METU
students aren't leaving METU. Welcome to the “trial run” of Union's Virtual Term
Abroad — a real-time, computer-based design experience allowing Union students to work
interactively on a comprehensive design project with students at another university in
another country.

The concept for a Virtual Term Abroad has been discussed at Union over the past few
months, and recently under the direction of Richard Kenyon, Dean of Engineering, the
concept has begun to evolve, and the Virtual Term Abroad will likely become a component in
the new engineering curriculum to be instituted in the fall. A major goal of the
curriculum is to provide all engineering students with a term abroad, term-in-industry,
cooperative work assignment, or this virtual international design experience, dubbed the
Virtual Term Abroad.

For the Union team of Hahl, Smallwood and Professor Bucinell, the work has already
started, even though the actual design project won't be released until the fall. They've
begun working through the details and challenges of setting up a design studio, capable of
allowing the teams to communicate effectively throughout their project. “This is much
more than just E-mail,” Professor Bucinell explains.

Kenyon said he has been working on finding corporate and foundation support to help
with the construction of the design studio for this and future Virtual Terms Abroad

The Virtual Term Aboard will be conducted in English, the language of instruction at
METU. But both teams will have to deal with cultural bias and time difference, Bucinell

Read More

For The Record

Posted on Jun 7, 1996

Martha Huggins, Roger Thayer Stone Professor of Sociology, has published two articles from her Fulbright Foundation research on the murders of Brazilian street youth:
'Scapegoating Outsiders: The Murders of Street Youth in Modern Brazil” in Policing and Society, and “Exclusion, Civic Invisibility and Impunity as Explanations for Youth Murders in Brazil” in Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research. Two articles from her sabbatical research on torture have been published in academic anthologies: “Conciencia Torturda: Secretos y Moralidad en La Violencia Policial” in La Policia en America Latina: Historica, Organizacion y
Competencias y Abuso do Poder
and “Constructing Moralities about Torture, A Study
of Moral Exclusion” in Torture and its Consequences: The Ripple Effect.

Rudy Nydegger, associate professor of psychology, delivered a paper titled
“Applying Total Quality Management Techniques in the Not-for-Profit Sector” in
an address recently at the annual convention of the New York State Psychological
Association in Buffalo.

Brian Canavan has joined the College's Office of Residence Life as assistant
director. He served for three years as coordinator of residence management at Villanova
University. He earned a master in education degree from the University of Vermont and
bachelor's degree in mathematics from Saint Michael's College.

Betsy Phelps '96 and Kim Lott join the admissions office as admissions
counselors this summer. As a student, Phelps was a career assistant with the Career
Development Center, a volunteer in admissions and an RA. She also was involved in the
Union College Choir, Coeducation Celebration committee, and WRUC. Lott, of the Bronx, is a
1996 graduate of the University of Rochester, where she worked in the admissions office
for four years as a student intern. She served as program assistant and RA for Rochester's
“Early Connection Opportunity” summer program, and was an intern with the
Rochester City Council and with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Donald Rodbell, assistant professor of geology, was a guest on the WAMC (90.3
FM) Environment Show for a segment on global climate change, a focus of his
research. The Environment Show is syndicated nationally to nearly 200 public radio

Read More