December 19, 2001: Notebook
Photo by ricardo barros
Consistent with her sense of work to be done, Ingrid Le Roux *01 took three months to go from Princeton student to faculty member. In June she received a masters in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School; in September she became a lecturer in public and international affairs and began to lead a WWS junior task force, Child Health and Nutrition in Developing Countries.
Having spent 21 years managing Philani, an independent nonprofit healthcare organization serving 500,000 people in squatter communities near Cape Town, South Africa, Le Roux has become an expert in the health and nutrition of children living, often in extreme poverty, in the developing world. Despite her habit of speaking quietly, she conveys purposefulness, both as physician and teacher.
The underlying cause in half of the 12 million childhood deaths in the world today is malnutrition. In Philanis target communities, one in four children suffers from chronic malnutrition and one in 10 from acute malnutrition, Le Roux says. For these children, the consequence is often stunted physical and intellectual development; for their communities, the consequence is the cycle of poverty.
The undergraduates in the task force are studying various healthcare and nutritional intervention models from South Africa, Vietnam, and Haiti. They are also formulating both policy recommendations and implementation strategies to address direct as well as underlying causes of malnutrition. Like Philani itself, the students will, Le Roux hopes, develop policies that use and sustain the talents of the target populations especially the talents of the mothers whose children go hungry.
By Richard Trenner 70
After nearly two years of work and $3 million, university officials decided to withdraw Princeton from the online educational consortium known as the University Alliance for Lifelong Learning.
Princeton was one of the founders of the four-member Alliance, which also includes Stanford, Yale, and Oxford universities. Although university officials said going through the process of setting up online courses and getting feedback from alumni participants will be beneficial to future efforts, they explained that the venture no longer meshed with the schools plans for providing Internet access to educational materials.
Provost Amy Gutmann wished the Alliance success in the official statement announcing the move. At the same time, we have decided to proceed in a way that provides broad access to electronic learning materials and courseware on a nonproprietary basis, Gutmann said.
The Alliance was expected to require a new round of funding, but university officials said that did not play a major role in the decision to leave.
In the end, what made sense to the others did not make sense to us, said Associate Provost Georgia Nugent 73, who oversaw Princetons participation in the Alliance. We have a mission that is more public, and we want to make things more available.
The Alliance was nearing the end of its first phase when Princeton announced it was pulling out on November 8. About 600 alumni from the schools, including nearly 90 from Princeton, were signed up for the 12 initial classes, two of which were developed by Princeton professors. Herbert Allison, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance, said he was disappointed by Princetons decision but that the departure will not hurt the Alliance as it moves forward. Were grateful for all their work and we respect their decision, Allison said.
Gutmann said the university would continue its online pursuits under the leadership of its new vice president for information technology, Betty Leydon, who joined the university in June.
Leydon and Nugent both said the Alliances more commercially driven direction its expected the Alliance may charge for its offerings was not what Princeton had in mind for its online initiatives.
The future of Princetons Internet efforts will continue to be broad-based, Leydon said. The @princeton courseware offered to alumni will remain, as well as the development of tools to facilitate the archiving and retrieval of materials and the use of multimedia sources online, including streaming video, she said. One example Leydon gave was the possible creation of an online video database of campus lectures that would be easily accessible to both students and alumni.
Were exploring lots of opportunities, Leydon said.
One of those opportunities is the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) being developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and others, Nugent said. According to its Web site, OKI is building a scalable, sustainable open-source reference system for Internet-enabled education.
Leydon said the university is looking at OKI, along with M.I.T.s Open CourseWare, which is designed to make materials from virtually all of M.I.T.s courses freely available to anyone on the World Wide Web for non-commercial use.
As the only architect on the universitys Board of Trustees, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk 72 is attuned to the discussions that arise when new buildings are proposed.
There are lots of people who care about the stewardship of the buildings and landscape on campus, says Plater-Zyberk, who is currently dean of the school of architecture at the University of Miami. Some believe we have not been building as beautifully as our history and others believe we have not been keeping up with the times. But this happens everywhere whenever you build. Its a part of our culture today.
With two major projects in their early planning stages the sixth residential college, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2005, and the recently announced science library to be designed by the inventive Frank Gehry Princeton is spreading itself across the architectural spectrum.
The architect for the residential college has yet to be named, but the trustees are in discussion with an architect they hope will deliver a collegiate Gothic-style building to house 500 students.
I think the fact that we will be working on a collegiate Gothic building on one side of the campus and a Frank Gehry building on the other will be very interesting, says Jon Hlafter 61 *63, the universitys director of physical planning. Im excited to be here for the next few years.
As for using Gehry, an architect many consider provocative and ultramodern, university officials had been eyeing his distinctive work for nearly two years, says Robert H. Rawson, Jr. 66, chair of the Board of Trustees executive committee. Rawson said it was a confluence of interests that will finally bring Gehry to Princeton the desire for him, the need for a new science library, and $60 million from Peter Lewis 55, who has worked with Gehry on other projects.
Founded in 1947, Princetons Department of Near Eastern Studies is the oldest of its kind in the country. But seniority doesnt count for everything, and in recent years the department has struggled to attract concentrators; currently, there are only four undergraduates in the department. Students interested in the Middle East have tended to gravitate toward history, politics, and the Woodrow Wilson School, departments that offer a wider range of courses and dont require proficiency in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. All this may change, though, in the wake of September 11.
As of September 12, 10 students were enrolled in Arabic 101; by October 31, the number had grown to 19. For the course Introduction to the Middle East, enrollment has doubled since the attacks.
Discussions and lectures hosted by the department have also drawn larger crowds than in the past, says Acting Chair M. Sükrü Hanioglu. The department has responded to this growing interest by offering Islamic Fundamentalism in Secular Turkey, taught by Professor Heath Lowry, for the spring. A class on Osama Bin Laden will be offered next fall.
The department has been in the process of hiring another modernist, and this addition of an expert on the modern Middle East will augment the departments strengths in the history of the region and address the current level of student interest.
But will the departments sudden popularity be short-lived? Assistant Professor Michael Doran doesnt think so. Student interest in the subject will continue even after the crisis ends, because the Middle East is going to remain one of the most complicated and important areas in international politics, he says. Our department, especially after we hire a social scientist, will be the best place to go to understand the regions problems in all of their dimensions.
By Kate Swearengen 04
Photos by Denise Applewhite
Last month, a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of John Witherspoon, Princetons sixth president (176894), was placed near East Pyne. The statue, created by Scottish sculptor Alexander Stoddart is the twin of a piece installed last June at the University of Paisley in Scotland. The artworks are intended to honor Witherspoons contributions in this country and in Scotland as a patriot, president, and preacher and to commemorate the connections between the two communities through Witherspoon.
Matthew Frazier, Abbie Liel, Courtney Mills, and Lillian Pierce, all of the Class of 2002, were recently awarded Marshall Scholarships, which cover the cost of living and studying at a British university of the recipients choice for two years. The Marshall Scholarships were established in 1953 as a British gesture of thanks to the people of the U.S. for the assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Financed by the British government, the scholarships are awarded each year to 40 American students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership potential.
To celebrate 175 years of Princetons Alumni Association, to which all alumni belong, the Alumni Council threw a birthday party over the Yale game weekend. Events started Friday, November 9, with a lecture by Sandy Stoddart, who created the new statue of John Witherspoon (left). On Saturday, about 1,800 people came together in a decorated Jadwin Gym for an informal lunch and birthday cake, followed by a Tiger win at football. Alumni who attend regional conferences in the coming year will be able to view a new production by J. T. Miller 70 called An Illustrated History of the Alumni Association of Nassau Hall, which was shown prior to lunch.
The university has posted a survey on its Web site and encourages alumni to participate. The task force conducting the survey is seeking feedback that will help shape the future of the sites core pages. Please go to www.princeton.edu/ websurvey/pu_web_survey.html.
William H. Weathersby, vice president for public affairs at Princeton 197078, died November 20 in Sykesville, Maryland. He was 86. He was the universitys first such vice president, and brought wisdom and a seasoned judiciousness to an otherwise young administration, says Vice President Robert Durkee 69, Weathersbys successor. During Weathersbys tenure, he was instrumental in creating The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey in order to advocate for higher education at the state level; he initiated the idea of creating a staff position at Princeton for a person to monitor federal policies and issues that affect higher education; and with regard to PAW, he helped develop a formula to keep the magazine viable financially.