Category: Of Special Interest
When people think about the effects of climate change, they’re probably not immediately wondering how the world’s warming will affect the sea crustacean we know as the lobster. But that was a central concern for the keynote speakers and the researchers who presented at the 11th International Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology and Management, held June 4-9 in Portland, Maine. CGS Senior Lecturer Kari Lavalli co-chaired the conference with Rick Wahle, research professor at the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences.
U.S. Senator Angus King (I– Maine) opened the conference with a keynote speech, warning against proposed cuts in federal science funding and telling the audience that data is key to safeguarding Maine’s $533.1 million a year fishery. “This is not an abstract problem or something about environmentalists versus non-environmentalists,” King said. “This is very practical.”
The conference’s 200-plus researchers attended talks on topics such as: how temperature affects diseases in lobsters, how changing environmental conditions affect chemosensory abilities, how thermal stress affects season movements, climate-related shifts in the distribution of American lobsters, and more.
Researchers probed a question troubling both biologists and lobstermen: the number of baby lobsters in the Gulf of Maine is falling even though fishermen are still seeing high value and volume in their catches. The Portland Press Herald covered the “great disconnect” between these two facts: “Researcher after researcher at last week’s International Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology & Management in Portland talked about work underway to explore the disconnect, ranging from an examination of how rising ocean temperatures might have forced the larvae to ‘settle’ in new spots where surveyors aren’t counting, to whether new predators are eating them or gobbling up all their food supply.”
Lavalli spoke to the radio station WCAI about another trouble facing New England lobsters. Warming waters can increase the incidence of shell disease and bring new predators to the lobster’s waters. In one of her panels, Lavalli spoke on the slipper lobster, a species that is commercially fished but understudied, and why it is less susceptible to shell disease even though it lives in waters that are much warmer than our New England lobsters. Understanding why some species are susceptible to disease and some are not could be key to protecting the lobster population from the effects of climate change.
In fact, one workshop focused on three diseases seen in lobsters and how rising temperatures and increased ocean acidification affects the lobster’s shell and immune system response. “The take-home message from this workshop was that we still have much to learn about diseases in the marine realm and there is a real need to train a new generation of pathologists who will recognize, report, and study these diseases,” said Lavalli. “Attendees warned that the U.S. lobster fishery is at particular danger of having a major disease outbreak in the near future.”
A threat to the lobster fishery would be a major blow to Maine’s economy. University of Maine Professor Robert Steneck noted that lobster represents almost the entirety of Maine’s fishing industry, and he urged the state to diversify and plan for an uncertain future.
The conference received press coverage from Portland Press Herald, Maine Public, Maine Biz, Fox 23, WCSH6, and the Boston Globe. The Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning at BU College of General Studies was among the conference’s sponsors.
On July 14-16, Boston University College of General Studies hosted the 22nd Annual Dickens Symposium: Interdisciplinary Dickens, a gathering for scholars from across the world to present their research on the nineteenth century writer Charles Dickens. Over 70 scholars attended from nine countries.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was not just a spinner of dramas and writer of comedies. He was someone with a concern for social justice, an interest in people from all walks of life, and an interdisciplinary thinker who dealt with the themes of science, disease, linguistics, religion, music, and more. A sampling of conference panels reflects the depth and breadth of Dickens’ interests: Dickens and the Arts; Urban Dickens; Dickens, Disease and Death; Storytelling, Chance, and Melodrama; Dickens, Gender, and Economics.
“Dickens is someone, like Shakespeare, who has encyclopedic knowledge and chronicles people from all walks of life and all parts of society,” Natalie McKnight, dean of CGS and Dickens scholar, told BU Today. “There isn’t much you could be interested in, in terms of a discipline, that you couldn’t find some angle on in Dickens.”
“As is always the case with this conference, the program is testimony to the extraordinary multitudes that Dickens contains,” Iain Crawford, a University of Delaware associate professor of English and Dickens Society president, told BU Today.
During the last two weeks of the London semester, January Boston-London students stayed busy finishing assignments and visiting the London spots still on their lists before they dispersed for the summer.
In the closing weeks of the semester, students wrote op-eds and worked on final projects. They reflected on urban design and the privatization of public spaces, and discussed how to incorporate quantitative data into their rhetoric papers. In their social science classes, they studied political changes in the late twentieth century– the rise of neoliberalism and the collapse of communism. A joint social sciences/humanities assignment encouraged the students to make interdisciplinary connections between their classes.
In their RH 104 class, students worked on a multimodal assignment — creating a video that tells the story of how England has remembered its dead over the last 200 years. Brandon Clifton’s video uses his own photography to show the old and new side by side: cemeteries and war memorials, soldier’s uniforms in museums, and a rally in Trafalgar Square to remember the 1984 Sikh genocide.
Students still made time for weekend journeys and side trips– a museum or two, a weekend trip to Bath, and some shopping at Brick Lane Market.
England was, of course, the perfect place to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Harry Potter series on June 26th. The Harry Potter Studio Tour was a popular destination for students.
The end of the semester had students reflecting on Instagram about what they’ve learned– not just about academics but about themselves and what they can accomplish.
Akshay Pardiwala said, “Words can’t describe how transformative these six weeks have been. I was able to mature as a person while strengthening and repairing bonds with friends… I’m glad that London will always hold a special place in my heart.” Phoebe Vatis wrote, “Thank you to this amazing city for giving me the best memories of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better semester.”
Chaneigh Bernard called it “the most adventurous” six weeks of her life and said, “Forever thankful that London could show me that even though I could never attend a field trip without my mom as the chaperone, I can travel across the world by myself… and love it.”
This week in the January Boston-London semester, students went back to ancient times with a visit to the Roman Baths and the prehistoric Stonehenge.
Bath and Stonehenge were on the agenda for Team E. Team C traveled to Bath and Longleat, with a stop at Highgate Cemetery and a Thursday trip to the Globe Theatre to see Twelfth Night. Dean Natalie McKnight visited the students this week and joined them on a trip to Highgate Cemetery.
Other attractions this week: Space Spectacular at Royal Albert Hall and Edward Albee’s The Goat at Royal Haymarket Theatre. Akshay Pardiwala captured the Royal Albert Hall trip in a #TerrierTakeover for the ApplytoBU Snapchat.
Students visited the prehistoric Stonehenge and the nearby town of Salisbury eight miles away. Elham Banaie’s #TerrierTakeover on the CGS Snapchat showed the trip to Stonehenge, the shuttle up to the monument, and the rolling fields on the way to the Salisbury Cathedral– home to one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.
At Bath, students saw the thermal springs of the Roman Bath, another historic site that back centuries. CGS student Sarah Garcia’s #TerrierTakeover showed the sacred spring overflow and the student’s next trip to Longleat, an historic estate and park where students wound their way through the United Kingdom’s largest hedge maze.
Also this week, students began reflecting on the twenty-first century’s digital revolution. They discussed technology and reflected on what the Internet is doing to our brains and how it affects our internal memory. They examined the legendary London taxi driver test — possibly “the most difficult test in the world“–and debated the rise of “hyper-individualism” in the digital age.
Social sciences class gave a framework for understanding the journey toward to the twenty-first century as students studied the Holocaust and the Cold War. On top of classes and trips, students are also writing papers and working on multimodal assignments– for example, creating their own videos to show how England has remembered its deceased for the last two centuries.
Also this week, CGS Academic Advisor Ilda Hanxhari was available to meet with any students who needed academic advising support.
Throughout the semester, students are able to take optional social trips– to places like Harry Potter Studio Tour, Kensington Palace, and Edinburgh. This weekend a few students went on a weekend trip to Amsterdam, where they took a cruise down the city’s historic canals.
Weeks 2 and 3 of the January Boston-London semester were crammed with travel to historic sites in London, as students took in the literature and history of the twentieth century while exploring ancient historical landmarks, too.
On May 29, students visited Westminster Abbey, the resting place of British monarchs and luminaries and the site of Britain’s coronation ceremonies and royal weddings.
All of the teams went on an excursion to Oxford, where they explored Oxford University, Christ Church, and the Ashmolean Museum. Christ Church is one of the larger colleges at Oxford University and has graduated 13 British prime ministers– in addition to being the setting for parts of the Harry Potter film series.
At the Ashmolean Museum, the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, students could see objects dating from 8000 BC to the present day. The museum holds Raphael drawings, pre-Dynastic Egyptian sculpture, Anglo-Saxon treasures, and modern Chinese painting.
Team E climbed the 500-plus steps up St. Paul’s Cathedral and saw Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the famous Globe Theatre. On her CGS Snapchat takeover of the trip, CGS student Colby Lucas showed the Crofton dorms, selfies at St. Paul’s cathedral and the beautiful views from the top of the cathedral. After the excursion to Oxford and Christ Church, a Jack the Ripper tour of London’s East End was on the agenda.
The trips integrate with the reading and studying that takes up most of the students’ week. “Mapping the East End Labyrinth” by Laura Vaughan, for instance, meshes with what students learn on the Jack the Ripper Tour. Students read excerpts of Virginia Woolf and George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language as they also study the rise of the Nazis and fascism, the Russian revolution, and the Great Depression.
On June 8, all of the teams heard a talk from Ben Goldacre, senior clinical research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at University of Oxford. Dubbed a “debunker” by TED Talks, Goldacre exposes “bad science” and criticizes journalists, politicians and advertisers who misrepresent science.
During Week 2 of the London semester, CGS Academic Advisor Heidi Chase was on-site to meet with students and faculty, answer questions, and address student concerns.
As always, students take time between trips and classes to explore London, whether it’s visiting Camden Market, exploring Chinatown, finding vintage treasures at Greenwich Market, or escaping to the tranquil Kyoto Gardens close to the dorms.
A dance performance dramatized the struggle of anxiety. A documentary investigated gentrification in Cambridge and Somerville. And a group of college students traveled out of the city to talk with former prisoners. These are a few of the Capstone projects that Boston University College of General Studies (CGS) students created in response to the theme, “Making the Invisible Visible.”
This year, the faculty of Team Y — Meg Tyler, John Mackey, and Samuel Hammer — spearheaded a pilot capstone project with the aim of “exploring beyond the traditional CGS capstone boundaries.” They issued a theme, “Making the invisible visible” and gave students full license to find and explore a topic within the theme. The final products: an individual log that records and describes the students’ experiences; a group annotated bibliography; a group creative work; a cooperatively generated exploratory essay; a group capstone defense.
Many of the group creative projects took bold risks. One group’s project grew out of a teammate’s personal experience with anxiety. “We realized that in modern day society, mental illnesses often goes unnoticed in college students,” the team said in a description of their project. They decided to produce a live, moving performance on the 5th floor of 808 Commonwealth Avenue, the art gallery building used by CFA students. Using spoken poetry, music and dance, they said, “We were able to express ourselves, as well as bring to light the serious problem of mental disorders in college students.”
Another team took on the issue of mental health by going out into the BU community and inviting students to “paint your mental health on me.” Classmates painted a jail cell to show how mental health struggles can feel isolating, or smiling faces to represent healing. In their personal reflections, each teammate focused on a different facet of mental health and what the experience was like for each of them.
One team created care packages for Boston homeless women and then took a journey through Boston to deliver the packages and talk to women about their experience. Their group painting showed a Boston city-scape with ghostly outlines of homeless people in the streets.
The team below visited a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for formerly incarcerated people. Students reflected on the visit through artwork and poetry and curated a gallery of photos from their trip.
Another team investigated the issue of gentrification in Boston by creating a 24-minute documentary, interviewing residents and activists who are working to get access to affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying Cambridge and Somerville.
Another team, a self-described “diverse group of girls,” looked at how microaggressions affect people, creating a sculpture that reflected the invisibility of microaggressions and the damage they cause people. “Even though our microaggressions differed we were all effected in the same ways mentally,” said the team. “With the realization that our aggressors walked away harmless while the victims (us) were damaged, we wanted to teach people what microaggressions, were so they can be identified, and stopped.”
The January Boston-London program students have already finished the first week of their semester! Group flights landed in London Heathrow Airport on May 20th and May 21st, where arrival staff greeted students and guided them to their new home for the semester. Students traveled by bus to check in at their residence hall in Kensington and moved into the dorms where they’ll be spending the next six weeks.
After orientation, students took a guided boat tour to historic Greenwich in southeast London, where they were free to explore. Greenwich is home to the 02 Arena, University of Greenwich, the beautiful Greenwich Park, Greenwich Market, and the Royal Observatory, which straddles the Greenwich meridian line. CGS student Sachi Dulai did a #TerrierTakeover on the CGS Snapchat and showed us her Greenwich explorations.
The January Boston-London program incorporates trips to historic sites so students can integrate what they’re learning with the sights and historic landmarks of London. On May 29th, the students visited Westminster Abbey— a regal church with architecture dating back to the 13th century. Westminster Abbey is the final resting place of 3,300 people (including seventeen monarchs and over 100 poets and writers) and the place where British monarchs have been coronated since 1066.
Fitting an entire semester into six weeks means classes begin immediately, with no time to waste. Twelve CGS professors from the humanities, rhetoric, and social sciences divisions all made the journey to London as well. Students launched immediately into their CGS core classes, which cover the industrial revolution to the digital revolution.
Boston University Study Abroad London is nestled into the busy neighborhood of Kensington. Students are a 20-minute walk away from the meadows and memorials of Kensington Gardens.
Students have a fully furnished kitchen equipped with everything students need to cook meals independently — pots and pans, dishwasher, cutlery, stoves, and microwaves. High Street Kensington is a quick 10-minute walk from the residence building and a useful place to find household supplies–and good places to eat.
Students also took in some beautiful views — a bird’s eye view of London and the Thames from atop the towering, 443-feet tall London Eye.
Over the weekend, students took an optional trip to Scotland–from Glencoe to Loch Ness– where CGS student Akshay Pardiwala did a #TerrierTakeover.
From California to Chile to Saudi Arabia — over the last semester, Dean Natalie McKnight has been sharing CGS’ knowledge on assessment and Capstone projects all across the globe
In January, at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in San Francisco, California, Dean McKnight spoke on a panel of college administrators talking about “Interdisciplinary Capstones for All Students.” The panel was organized to promote the use of Capstone projects like ours here at CGS–touted as one of the “Ten Best Practices in Higher Education.” McKnight spoke on the panel alongside representatives from Elon University, Champlain College, and Portland State University– all schools with a well-established interdisciplinary capstone program and with valuable lessons to offer other institutions.
In March, Dean McKnight found herself travelling to Santiago, Chile to a conference at Universidad Diego Portales as the plenary speaker. The presentation, entitled “General Education: Now More Than Ever,” was to talk about the benefits of the two-year program here at CGS. Dean McKnight discussed the significance of general studies to higher education, and why a general education is so vital to the success of students around the globe.
In April, Dean McKnight traveled again to Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Since 2014, CGS has been working with Effat University on the development of its general education program, and CGS faculty visit the University each year. After watching Dean McKnight’s presentation at the AAC&U Conference in January, administrators from Effat University asked Dean McKnight to share CGS’ approach to Capstone, e-Portfolios, and assessing the effectiveness of its education.
CGS’ general education program equips students to solve real world issues–quandaries like hunger in Boston, bike safety, deforestation, and fuel alternatives. By applying their knowledge of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, students learn interdisciplinary problem-solving.
It’s a CGS tradition– the celebratory Capstone turn-in! Sophomore students officially turn in their Capstone projects, the final product of two years of interdisciplinary education, and CGS recognizes students who have excelled in academics and leadership.
Judson Rea Butler Award
This award is made annually to the sophomore student who best exemplifies the highest standards of leadership, citizenship, and loyalty in contributing to the student life of the College of General Studies.
2017 recipient: Alex Oummadi
Linda Bondy-Ives Advisee Award
This annual award is given to a deserving sophomore student who embodies the values and spirit of Linda Bondy-Ives, who was a dear friend and colleague at CGS. For over 25 years, Linda touched the lives of many students through her energy, kindness, and compassion.
2017 recipient: Francheska Castro
Brendan Gilbane Award
This award was established to honor long-time faculty member and dean Brendan F. Gilbane, who served as dean from 1974-2000. Initially nominated by a faculty member, this scholarship is given to a student based on following criteria:
- plans to continue into either CAS or COM (Dean Gilbane received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from COM and his Ph.D. in history from CAS)
- excellence in academic performance, as reflected in the faculty nomination and in the student’s academic record
- a two-page personal statement written by the nominated student, linking the first two years of interdisciplinary general education at CGS with plans for the next two years of study at CAS or COM.
2017 recipient: Donavon Young
The following students received merit scholarships for their academic achievements: Amber Jimenez, Mitchell McLeod, Morgan Ashurian, Teresa Brock Moneo, Kerry Sadlier, Eli Elman, Sharon Sethna, Alexis Kenney, Sally Gao, and Nidhi Bhagat.
Before applying to Boston University, Tiffany Kim was a star on the rise in South Korea. At 16, Kim left her home in San Francisco to audition for television show K-pop Star, an American Idol type show which takes place in Seoul, South Korea.
According to an interview published on BU Today, Kim says that growing up watching K-pop music videos, she was fascinated by how each song was “a total work of art,” blending choreography, lighting, clothes, and other production elements. Although Kim only sang in her room for her own enjoyment, she decided to take a chance, and audition to become the next BoA, a star billed as the “Queen of Korean pop.”
After spotting an ad for the show, Kim auditioned, passed the preliminaries and advanced to a televised audition in South Korea with three celebrity judges—including BoA. Her rendition of “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys ultimately won Kim a spot on the show.
For Kim, this was a complete shock– going from singing in her room for her own enjoyment to now singing for millions of viewers at home. According to Kim, the competition was exhilarating and challenging: “It was pretty difficult competing against people who’d had so many years of experience.”
Ultimately, Kim earned ninth place on the show, but was eventually signed by Starship Entertainment. Even though she was suddenly an overnight sensation, Kim kept up with her studies, and applied to BU. Now an economics major, she doesn’t regret the decision.
Now a Junior, Kim is not sure when she will make her return to the K-Pop world, but plans on earning her bachelor’s degree first. Even though her return to K-Pop is still up in the air, Kim does know one thing for sure, and that is: “Once I find a passion, I pursue it to the best of my ability.”
Be sure to check out BU Today’s full interview on Tiffany Kim at http://www.bu.edu/today/2017/k-pop-star-kim-na-yoon/