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The Union Bookshelf

Posted on Nov 26, 2001

The Union Bookshelf regularly features new books written by alumni authors and other members of the Union community. If you're an author and would like to be included in a future issue, please send us a copy of the book as well as your publisher's news release. Our address is Office of Communications, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. 12308.

Thomas P. Weil '54

Health Networks: Can They Be the Solution? dissects the effectiveness of health networks in America and their impact on access, quality, cost reduction, and national health policy. Weil believes that the formation of integrated delivery systems represents a more sophisticated attempt to restructure America's health system than any previously undertaken. He evaluates whether recently formed health networks can generate enough fiscal savings to provide greater access to and quality of healthcare despite the current trend in cutbacks in reimbursement from Medicare and managed care plans. The book concludes with a discussion of how U.S. health networks might divest certain programs, services, and facilities in the case of an almost inevitable economic turndown.

Weil's extensive academic background, teaching experience, and three decades of day-to-day healthcare consulting permit him to bridge theory and practice on many issues while arriving at pragmatic, yet provocative, solutions.

To obtain a copy of Health Networks: Can They Be the Solution? go to www.amazon.com.

Stephen Zuckerman '62

New Clich├ęs for the 21st Century is a plucky and provocative book of new perspectives on timeless topics. “If only I could remember what I forgot,” and other classic Zuckerisms, run the gamut from silly to sagacious, all with Zuckerman's stamp of droll whimsy. One reader in Minneapolis states, “It makes me smile to know that many of life's complicated questions need not be answered…but can be calmed with a Zuckerism.” From the first chapter, “The Doctor Is In,” to the last, “The Pondering Jew,” nothing is too sacred to escape a satirical poke. Zuckerman is a practicing doctor of internal medicine, and a successful venture capitalist.

Daniel R. Schwarz '63

ReReading Conrad explores essential works such as Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, and Nostromo, addressing issues raised by recent theory and discussing the ways in which contemporary readers have come to read Conrad differently. Schwarz does this without abandoning such crucial Conradian themes as the disjunction between interior and articulated motives and the discrepancies between dimly acknowledged needs, obsession, compulsions and actual behavior. As a leading Conradian scholar, Schwarz has assembled his work over the past two decades into one crucial volume. His essays take account of recent developments in theory and cultural studies, including postcolonial, feminist, gay, and ecological perspectives and shed new light on an author who has spoken to readers for over a century. Schwarz is a professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he received Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences Russell Award for distinguished teaching. To obtain a copy of ReReading Conrad or other works by Schwarz, got to www.amazon.com.

Willard Goodwin '69

Hugh Kenner: A Bibliography provides the first complete record of Hugh Kenner's published works. Kenner, the noted modern literary critic, wrote definitive studies of Elliott, Beckett, and Joyce as well as his most famous work The Pound Era, widely considered the most important book on Ezra Pound. Goodwin's bibliography presents an efficiently arranged history of Kenner's works, including descriptions of his thirty-two books and pamphlets, book and periodical contributions, broadcasts, essays, and translations. This comprehensive presentation invites the reader into a full study of a well-respected modernist critic. This bibliography is a useful source of study for literary historians, critics, students, editors, and fans of Hugh Kenner. Goodwin is an independent scholar living in Austin, Tex. His essays, book reviews, and bibliographies have appeared in a variety of publications including Joyce Studies Annual, Libraries and Culture, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, and American Libraries. To obtain a copy of Hugh Kenner: A Bibliography, go to www.whitston.com.

Raymond Angelo Belliotti '70

Raymond Belliotti, distinguished professor of philosophy at the State University College of New York at Fredonia, has published What is the Meaning of Human Life? This book addresses the relationship between a meaningful life and religion; the threat nihilism and the loss of rational foundations pose for personal integrity; the responses available to the threat of cosmic meaninglessness; the role suffering and struggle in creating meaning; the nature and function of value; the question whether happiness is overrated as a goal of life; and how, if at all, we can learn to die meaningfully. Belliotti is also the author of Justifying Law (1992), Good Sex (1993), Seeking Identity (1995), and Stalking Nietzsche (1998). To obtain a copy of What is the Meaning of Human Life?, go to www.amazon.com.

Steven Glazer '85

Strewn across thirty-one towns in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire are treasures: historic one-room schoolhouses, gushing waterfalls, covered bridges, old cemeteries and cellar holes, bogs, hollow maples, ancient ceremonial sites and towering, stately oaks. Valley Quest: 89 Treasure Hunts in the Upper Valley, edited by Steven Glazer, will introduce these hidden, special places to you. Valley Quest clues and maps lead to places such as Gile Mountain, Velvet Rocks, Glen Falls, Dunbar Hill Cemetery, and the Jonathan Wyman Saw Mill. At the end of each quest…perhaps in a stonewall or hollow tree-is a treasure box containing a sign-in guest book and a handmade rubber stamp. Valley Quest was born out of a 150-year-old tradition in southwest England. “Letterboxing,” as this tradition is called, has become hugely popular, with over 2,000 boxes hidden in both natural and cultural locations. Glazer is also the editor of The Heart of Learning Spirituality in Education. To obtain a copy of Valley Quest: 89 Treasure Hunts in the Upper Valley, go to vital.communities@valley.net.

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Posted on Nov 26, 2001

As the field of bioethics grows, the problem of language is creating a barrier among those who deal with complex ethical issues in medicine.

Professor of Philosophy Bob Baker, one of a small number of philosophers who study moral issues in the field of medical treatment and research, says there is no one resource for professionals, policy-makers, or the public to find concise and current definitions of terms in bioethics.

“Bioethics is interdisciplinary,” Baker says. “It's very hard for philosophers to understand the informal “shop talk” language of physicians and nurses, and I think it's even harder for physicians and nurses to grasp the nuances of language of philosophers and theologians.”

In an attempt to break down the language barrier, about three dozen leading bioethicists from all over the world came to the College in August for an international planning conference. Their goal is to establish a framework for developing The Cambridge Dictionary of Bioethics and an associated web site. Baker is co-director of the project, with Laurence McCullough, professor of medicine and medical ethics at Baylor College of Medicine.

Before the conference, those attending were given an extensive list of the language used in the bioethics literature divided into subsections, such as proper names, institutions, and legal cases. Comments were invited, with the goal being a clear and consistent universal language in bioethics that is accessible to the public as well as professionals.

The Cambridge Dictionary of Bioethics will be a 600,000-word, 750-page global dictionary published by Cambridge University Press. The scheduled publication date is 2004. Cambridge University Press has agreed to set up and maintain the Language of Bioethics web site.

The idea for the dictionary came about in 1999 while Baker and McCullough were working on The History of Medical Ethics. Their editor at Cambridge asked them if it would be useful to have a dictionary of bioethics. At first, they dismissed the idea, but once the seed was planted the two began talking with colleagues from Asia, Africa, and Europe who admitted they didn't understand American bioethics. “And when we asked people in America, they said, “We don't understand the things going on overseas,” Baker says. “It turned out there was an incredible need.”

Also, as medical technology continues to improve, Baker says, ethical problems have continued to change. In addition, individual cultures face different problems; for example, “In the West, we perceive that individuals should make important medical decisions themselves, whenever possible. Eastern cultures believe decisions should be made within a family. In Africa, it could be an entire village.”

During the conference, participants broke into groups to discuss the focus of the dictionary. Morning sessions were divided into disciplinary groups-health care professions, law, humanities, and social sciences.

In the afternoons, participants worked in regional groups-Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; Europe; and North and South America. After the conference, participants began corresponding via e-mail, an electronic classroom setting on the Internet, and conference calls.

Editorial board members were selected for their areas of expertise and familiarity with the language and literature of bioethics. Many members have edited leading journals in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South America, and the United States. Funding for the conference came from the Greenwall Foundation, Union College, and Baylor College.

Baker said the original intent of bioethics was to bridge a communication gap between patients and practitioners. “Bioethics has gotten very technical,” he says. “Old-time bioethicists like myself want to make the language accessible to people from different disciplines and the general public. This dictionary will do all of that.”

The winter 2001 issue of Union College had a feature article about Professor Bob Baker and his work in bioethics. Readers who would like a copy should contact the Office of Communications, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. 12308. The telephone is (518) 388-6131.

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Alumni Album

Posted on Nov 26, 2001

A computer screen is like a little stage

A middle-school English teacher and playwright as author of educational software? Not an unlikely combination, at least not if the author is Werner Liepolt '66.

To Liepolt, “a computer screen is like a little stage,” and these days, the veteran teacher from Westport, Conn., is using this “little stage” to help kids learn and teachers teach. “Even though I am not a programmer, I know what works in computers and education,” says Liepolt, “and that's something often missing in educational software.”

Last summer, Carl Sagan Productions tapped into Leopold's skills and interests to develop a prototype multimedia, Internet K-12 curriculum based on the newly released Cosmos series-The Lost Dinosaurs, Cosmos 1: The First Solar Sail, Leviathan, and Cosmic Africa-all documentary films to be aired on A&E during the next year. “The ideal form of the product,” he says, “will be hybrid DVD, with educators linking to the Cosmos Learning web site to see how their students are doing, and author lessons that can in turn be used by other educators.”

How does he see this kind of learning evolving in the future? “Well, the kind of product I am working on doesn't replace the classroom, but it does it help bring to it the passion of learning, the spark of high intelligence, and imagination and high production values.”

Liepolt got interested in this kind of work about ten years ago, when he went “back to school” at Teachers College, Columbia University, while on sabbatical-cal. “I took pretty well to aspects of multimedia development and the web,” he says. So well, in fact, that he wound up teaching graduate-level courses ranging from multimedia authoring to designing database-driven websites.

The Columbia connection had another benefit. One of his former students was the executive producer in charge of the PBS educational web site at WNET. PBS partnered with a non-profit arm of Disney to produce the Concept-to-Classroom series of online courses aimed at educators. The producer asked Liepolt to write the first one, on multiple intelligence theory. Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, who developed the theory, was the resident expert, and so many people logged on during Gardner's live chat that Disney's server farm was overloaded. “That taught a number of people about how powerful education on the Internet is,” Liepolt says.

Since then, Liepolt has prepared several other courses in the series (the Concept-to-Classroom courses can be found at www.wnet.org/wnetschool, an award-winning web site for teachers).
Liepolt also has applied computer technology to curriculum mapping, currently mandated by several state departments of education. Curriculum mapping was once done by papering a wall with sheets of teachers' curriculum maps. Working with middle school and Teachers College colleagues, Liepolt developed the prototype for an Internet-based curriculum mapper called The Cartographer, now being used in more than 200 schools to help teachers and school systems see new relationships among practices. Liepolt also maintains a web site devoted to curriculum mapping (www.cmap.com).

With his unusual skills, Liepolt gets to move around a lot in Westport's school system. For example, a few years ago he taught a top-level sophomore English class, using e-mail and conferencing extensively. “We also built a web site based on our studies of Dickens's Great Expectations. I brought that experience to a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar at The Dickens Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz.” (As a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar, he also created a web site for The Dickens Project there, at humwww.ucsc.edu/dickens/index.html.)

Sometimes, his job is working with other teachers to integrate computer technology into their classes. He was asked to serve on two National Educational Technology Standards writing teams (an International Society for Technology in Education project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education). And sometimes, he's involved in trouble-shooting equipment or writing on-line help pages.
The former English literature major has an M.A. from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania; he serves on the boards of advisers for FamilyPC Foundation and Magazine and on the Library of Congress/Ameritech digital library project, and for several years was an Apple Distinguished Educator.

A passion for issues and debate

John J. Castellani '72 is the new president of The Business Roundtable, an association of the chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations.

Located in Washington, D.C., the Roundtable is probably the leading business group in the world, focusing on major issues from international trade to health care, from the environment to the future of the digital economy. Representing a workforce of more than 10 million employees and $3.5 trillion in revenues, member CEOs are committed to advocating public policies that foster vigorous economic growth and a dynamic global economy.

Castellani believes the Roundtable “can enrich government through dialog and experience-driven solutions” and “can strengthen our democratic system and our economy.”

With a wealth of experience in industry, corporate management, and public affairs, he arrived at the Roundtable following a stint leading the corporate and financial practice at the public relations giant, Burson-Marsteller.

After graduating from Union with a degree in biology, Castellani launched his career at General Electric as an environmental scientist and strategic planner. From GE, he went on to Washington in 1977, becoming vice president for resources and technology at the National Association of Manufacturers. He joined TRW, Inc., as head of federal government relations in 1980, and was named vice president of state, federal, and international government relations in 1987.
Joining Tenneco, Inc., in 1992, as senior vice president for government relations, he was named executive vice president in 1997, with responsibility for investor relations, government relations, communications, environment, health and safety, security, and risk management. He was also a member of the committee that managed the transformation of Tenneco from an ailing conglomerate into seven focused, strong manufacturing companies.

He still sees a connection between Union and where he is today: “The turbulent national political environment got me involved with public policy when I was a student at Union. Thirty years later that passion for issues and debate still drives me, and I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to exercise it every day.”

Castellani has served as vice chair of the Connecticut Governor's Prevention Task Force, as a member of the board of directors of Keep America Beautiful, and as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He was also president of the Business Government Relations Council and chair of the Fairfax County (Va.) Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He is married to the former Therese Ann Mulroy; they have two sons.

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A Taste of College

Posted on Nov 26, 2001

Hundreds of high school and middle school kids called Union home this summer, as they took advantage of studies and programs they couldn't find at home. And here, they got a taste of college.

Union was one of nineteen campuses around the country chosen by the Center for Talented Youth, a national program run by Johns Hopkins University, to house its six-week summer program. It was also the site of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Camp, Robot Camp, Summer Science Workshop, and Camp College.

Here's a taste of what went on:

Center for Talented Youth

Taking a semester's worth of work in three weeks? Not the average undergraduate's idea of a fun summer. But then, these kids weren't undergraduates, and they certainly weren't average.

In all, more than 600 of the brightest high school students converged at Union for the two three-week sessions. The Center for Talented Youth (CTY), now twenty-one years old, caters to kids who are gifted and really want to learn. In their own classrooms, these kids are often the brightest in class (students qualify by scoring in the ninety-seventh percentile on the SAT), but here they are one of the group. As one of the students said, “I come here so I can be average.”

Cindy Ragland, CTY site director, headed a staff of eighty-eight, an instructor and a teaching assistant for each class (twenty-three classes in the first session, twenty-one in the second), resident assistants who lived in the dorm and ran activities, and an administrative staff of twelve. “They're watched over closely,” Ragland said. “Because we have some kids age twelve, the rules are set for the youngest members.”

She said that many of the students are multi-talented. “A number are in competitive sports, are extraordinary musicians, or are already being paid to design web pages.” Because they're so bright, they're often socially isolated, and this could be their first time among real peers. So, in addition to an array of classes that included politics, ethics, etymology, existentialism, math, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics, there was time for swimming, swing dancing, and other activities.

Faculty and staff are drawn from all over the U.S. and abroad, and fifteen-hour days, seven days a week, is the rule. So why take this on? Ragland, who is on the English faculty at Central Connecticut State University, has been involved in the program since 1989. “It's very intense, but people really believe in the program. Some staff members were involved as kids in CTY and came back. When you see how much impact the program is having, there are visible effects almost immediately, it's infectious.”

Added CTY spokesman Charles Beckman, “These are kids who've exhausted all the academic options available to them in their schools. They're really hungry for more academic experiences.”

Seyfollah Maleki, associate professor and chair of the Physics Department, gave a group of the students a tour of some of Union's research facilities. “It was great talking to them!” he says, “They actually listened to the physics and were full of questions, even a full hour after I showed them our particle accelerator and laser labs.”

Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Camp has been meeting on campus for the past four summers. Run by Union students, the camp is for kids mostly from low-income, single-parent homes, for whom traditional camp is not an option. The camp means that Union's Big Brothers, Big Sisters program is now year round. During the academic year, eighty Union students (“bigs”) are actively involved, and many alumni have stayed in touch with their “littles.”

Camp College

In August, Kelly Herrington, associate dean of admissions, shepherded the new two-day Camp College program, which was attended by sixty students and chaperones from sponsoring organizations. The chaperones, who are teachers, ministers, and staff members from nonprofit organizations, learned alongside the students about the college admissions process and the college experience. Guidance and admissions counselors from around the state volunteered their time and expertise.

Summer Science Workshop

Two dozen budding scientists did college-level work through the Summer Science Workshop, which was led by Karen Williams, associate dean for undergraduate education and associate professor of biology. High school juniors and seniors who show promise in the sciences were exposed to two weeks of college-level classroom and laboratory study as well as career guidance in the health professions and scientific research. This year, under the heading of AIDS and HIV, the students covered three units, computer technology, immunology, and cell biology. Each team of students wrote and delivered a paper in one of these fields.

Robot Camp

Fifteen area teens honed their programmable robots to take on an obstacle course, and one another, in a July competition. The competitors were three-wheel drive automatons, about the size of a small shoebox, built and programmed in a summer camp for aspiring robotics engineers. The competition featured a maze and obstacle course presented to the students shortly before the first round.

The young engineers had a short time to program their robots for the course. Part NASCAR race and part learning experience, the competition capped a weeklong experience now in its fourth year. Robot Day Camp is an offshoot of Union's Robot Club, whose members have competed in international competitions in France and Turkey; some have also served as counselors for the camp.

Professors Linda Almstead of the Computer Science Depart-ment and Cherrice Traver of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department were directors.

All of these programs have been a boon to the college's recruitment effort. Many students who've taken part have gone on to enroll at Union (like fourteen-year-old Jackson Reed, a CTY alumnus who then took courses here and is now a full-time undergraduate). And, perhaps not surprisingly, a good number have gone on to become staff members in the very programs that first brought them to Union.

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Zehetmair Quartet performs at Union

Posted on Nov 20, 2001

Schenectady, N.Y. (Nov. 20, 2001) – Led by internationally renowned violinist Thomas Zehetmair, the Zehetmair Quartet will perform on Friday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. at Union College's Memorial Chapel.

This performance will feature works by Haydn, Schumann, and Karl Hartmann; unusual amongst quartets, they perform from memory, giving the players a unique level of communication. Following their performance at Union College the Quartet will make their New York City debut at the Frick Collection on Dec. 2.

Thomas Zehetmair and three of his longstanding chamber music partners founded the Zehetmair Quartet in
1997. The quartet's first appearances in March 1998 (Lisbon, Cologne, Leipzig,
Salzburg, Munich) were widely acclaimed by both audiences and critics; present
engagements included major European music centers such as Paris, Brussels,
Amsterdam, Vienna, London, Edinburgh, Milan and Zurich. The quartet's repertory extends from the classical period to the music of our time, and their first CD recording for ECM is of Hartmann's First and Bartok's Fourth String Quartets.

First violinist Thomas Zehetmair was born in Salzburg. He studied at the Mozarteum with his father and later took master classes with Franz Samokyl, Max Rostal and Nathan Milstein. Early debuts were the Salzburg Festival (1977), first recording of the Mozart Concertos (1978), and the Vienna Musikverein (1979). He is now a regular guest of the world's finest orchestras, working with distinguished conductors including Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Simon Rattle, Christoph von Dohnanyi and Heinz Holliger. He was previously heard in the Series in October 1995 with oboist Heinz Holliger and Camerata Bern in a performance of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Second violinist Matthias Metzger studied with Ulf Hoelscher at the Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe. He was
appointed leader of the Schllerbach Chamber Orchestra in 1987 and of the
Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra in 1993. Matthias Metzger performs regularly as
soloist and in chamber music.

Violist Ruth Killius studied with Ulrich Koch and Kim Kashkashian in Freiburg. From 1993-96 she was the principal viola of the Camerata Bern, and, with the Ensemble Contrechamps, she has taken part in numerous first performances and recorded for CD the string trios of Hindemith, Petrassi and Veress. She has partnered Thomas Zehetmair in performances of the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola with the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Cellist Francoise Grober studied with Boris Pergamenschikow at the Cologne
Musikhochschule and subsequently with William Pleeth, Daniel Shaffran, and
members of the Amadeus Quartet. In 1990 she won second prize in the Tchaikovsky
Competition in Moscow, and was awarded special prizes by the Soviet Artists'
Federation and the Moscow Virtuosi. Since then she has received invitations to major festivals and orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Tokyo, Leningrad Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, and the Russian State Orchestra.

Tickets at $20 ($8 for students) are available in advance at the Office of Communications, Union College (518) 388-6131 and at the door at 7 p.m. For more information, call 372-3651.

The Union College Concert Series is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; additional support comes from the Times Union Newspapers. Memorial Chapel is located near the center of the Union College campus. Parking is available on campus and nearby side streets.

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