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Union College ranked 11th in international study

Posted on Mar 7, 1999

According to a recent study by the Institute for International Education, Union was eleventh among U.S. colleges in the number of students who studied abroad during 1994-1995.

Union had 241 students — about twelve percent of its enrollment — study abroad during the years, the period studied by the institute. The College sent 280 of its students in terms abroad during 1995-1996, according to William Thomas, director of international programs.

More than half of all Union students — fifty-six percent — study overseas by the time they graduate. The percentage has grown from about forty-five percent five years ago, due in large part to an expansion in offerings, according to Thomas. The College has added eight programs of study abroad since 1994 and now has resident-study terms abroad in Brazil, China, England, France, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Japan, Costa Rica, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Barbados, Austria, and Germany. The College also has exchange programs in Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Korea, Poland, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and India.

Study abroad is becoming more popular at most American colleges, which Thomas attributes to an emphasis on the increasingly interconnected world. “The reason so many students want to go is simply the times,” he says.

Kelly Nadeau studied in Rennes, France, and enjoyed it so much that she wants to work in France for a year after graduation.

“By my junior year I wanted something different,” she says. “Once I got to France, I fell in love with it.”

Deb Loffredo also wanted a different experience — “something you can't learn in a classroom or a textbook,” she says — and she went to Florence, Italy, in the fall. There, she learned about art in museums.

“Our art history professor would say, 'Meet us at such and such museum at such and such time,' and we'd study the work right here,” she says. “You really learn to appreciate art when you're standing right in front of it.”

According to Michael Bullen, his term in Kenya was “spectacular.”

“It was a real cultural slap in the face,” he says, especially the ten days he spent living with a Kenyan family in a rural village. Overcome by the sense of generosity there, Bullen was amazed at the sense of communalism so different from American capitalism.

All three students say that they learned not only about the world but also about themselves. “I think it helped me to grow up and become more independent,” Loffredo says.

Increasingly, students are looking for this kind of experience and want to learn about different parts of the world, Thomas says. But it's the students' enthusiasm about their abroad experiences that causes others to apply. “It's really word-of-mouth promotion,” he says.

Union's three-term system gives more students an opportunity to study abroad than colleges with longer terms, according to Thomas. “Students are using up one-twelfth of their college career versus one-eighth in a semester system,” he says.

In the past, engineering students found it difficult to study abroad because of their course schedules, but new programs in Poland, the Czech Republic, and India offer courses in engineering at engineering schools. Union students now can receive credit for engineering courses even though they are taught in a foreign country.

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Ask Ruth Anne — Prof. Ruth Anne Evans

Posted on Mar 7, 1999

Ruth Anne Evans knows a little about biology, philosophy, math, history, engineering — you name it — and a lot about Union students and Union history.

As a librarian at the College for thirty-seven years, Evans earned a reputation as a great librarian by helping hundreds of students research topics from small protozoa to the history of World War II.

But she has also established a reputation as a master historian of Union. One of the campus legends is that if you have a question about Union's history, Evans probably has the answer.

“You can virtually ask her anything that happened at some point in Union's history and she's likely to have some insight into it,” says Ellen Fladger, the College's archivist, who has worked with Evans for years. “The amazing thing about Ruth Anne is that even if she doesn't know the answer, she knows where to find it, and to me that is the mark of a really good librarian.”

Evans began working in the Union library during her summer vacations while she was a student at Smith College. She remembers those first years fondly: “It was the middle of the war, and we had thirteen people and two typewriters. That was fun — being eighteen or nineteen and surrounded by all sorts of young men — they were lots of fun to look at and talk with.”

After graduating from Smith, Evans worked full-time for a year at the library before enrolling in Columbia University's School of Library Science. She graduated one year later, became an assistant cataloguer in Colgate University's library, and returned to Union and her hometown of Schenectady four years later. Beginning as an assistant cataloguer, she later moved to reference and eventually became assistant and then associate librarian. In 1973, she became the first woman at Union to be named a full professor.

Although Evans “retired” in 1989, she still comes in to the library on a daily basis to help with a variety of chores. She is helping to transcribe and footnote the diaries of Jonathan Pearson of the Class of 1835, and she pores over the College history as part of the creation of a Dictionary of Union College History.

Over the years, Evans has become a remarkable repository of information about the College. “I keep thinking we should tap the contents of her brain,” Fladger says. “She just has an incredible amount of information in her head. She is like a walking version of the College archives.”

With such continued devotion to the College and substantial work in the library, one might wonder why Evans retired. She says the reason is automation, explaining that she was not comfortable with many of the technological advances in library science. “I still like a book,” she says. “I can't see curling up with a computer, but maybe they'll make a computer you can cuddle up to.”

She admits that for a while she was the “test case” for technological services. “If I could make it work, anybody could do it,” she says.

And so, officially retired but just as busy as ever, Ruth Anne Evans scoots around campus dispensing facts and Union trivia to those who want to know. As she cheerfully says, “It hasn't been dull, but most people aren't dull, and even the dull ones you can do something with.”

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AAC Minutes Listed

Posted on Mar 5, 1999

Feb. 22, 1999

1. The minutes of Feb. 15, 1999 were approved as corrected.

2. The report of the lunch hour subcommittee was discussed. Between 12:05 and 12:45 the
line is very long and there is inadequate seating.

a. Students liked the previous system.

b. Faculty like the common lunch hour because of the time it allows for meetings and

c. Under previous schedule, some students went to labs without lunch, which faculty
thought impaired performance.

A variety of solutions were proposed and discussed.

3. The AAC discussed the distribution of the calendar report to the community. It will
be distributed as soon as possible.

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Review Committee Formed

Posted on Mar 5, 1999

A reappointment review is being held for Prof. Paul Gremillion, assistant professor of
civil engineering. The committee consists of Professors Tom Jewell (chair), Phil Snow and
John Garver.

Input on Prof. Gremillion's teaching, scholarship or service may be sent to any
member of the committee.

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