Editors note: This is the final installment of Chemistry professor Dr. Len Holmes’ Russian journal, based on his recent visit to the City of Tomsk in Siberia on an educational mission.
By Dr. Len Holmes
“Things could be worse.” That is the philosophy of the Siberian. Stalin is rarely mentioned. The old Soviet Union and its bosses are forgiven or forgotten. Nine-meter-high gulag wire gates have been cut open and buried by the Siberian winter. The Russian carries no anger over injustice. Instead, he celebrates each warm day as a promise to begin renewing life. Those who carry hope, carry joy.
From my travels, I saw that the real joy of Russia is her school children. I think it was the first time in my life that I came close to understanding that our children are the old man’s eyes into the future. The Professor and I visited cities, towns and villages throughout Central Siberia. Settlements in Central Siberia are isolated - endless narrow roads, infinite plains and deep white forests separate them. Each village brought the same question to mind. “How did these people get here?” In many cases, German prisoners constructed the towns during the “Great Patriotic War.”
School doors opened for me. I spoke to hundreds of kids, ranging in age from about nine to 17 years. Siberia gave me a special gift. For a time, I was Russian. I remember the beaming pride of teachers as they introduced me to their classes - neat rows of cleared-eyed kids, scrubbed faces, combed and brushed hair, hands folded on top of their desks. I would speak to the teachers and kids about America and education, and they would listen and ask questions. Secretly, I doubted Russian visitors to America would witness the same.
In many cases, the children prepared special programs for the American professor. Russian children love to sing. They will recite poetry. Russians are gifted with a sense of national pride unlike any I have ever seen in the United States. I returned to America with a stack of letters addressed to “My American Friend,” written by kids who seek a pen pal so they may learn more about the American lifestyle. Russian children learn American history and read our authors.
No tourist on a deluxe tour would have seen the soul of Russia that was opened to me in those simple classrooms. The teachers have a sense of the importance of their work. Russian schools are not rich by American standards, but they love their children. They have wealth no bank account can tally, nor any government tax. In most cases, I was the first American the teachers and the students had ever seen, much less spoken to. It occurred to me that I had a unique responsibility: what they saw in me is what they would believe about America.
American ideals should only be admired from a distance in Siberia: “Amerikansky - don’t forget where you are.” Perhaps this rule should apply to my life in America, in North Carolina, in Pembroke, at UNCP and within my department. I am only a guest, a visitor.
Business Symposium set for May 9
The 2005 Business Competitiveness Symposium is Wednesday, May 11, at the Regional Center (at COMtech) from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
This year’s symposium will feature Weyerhaeuser’s Lumberton plant that was recently rated the company’s number one plant on a variety of measures, such as employee work ethic. Plant Manager Mark Whitt will talk about this success story and the future challenges that it and all organizations face.
The symposium will also feature expert commentary from the School of Business faculty who will share information about important topics to help organizations improve. The room will be filled with business leaders, educators and organizational leaders who will discuss these and other emerging issues.
Featured topics and speakers include:
The cost is $25 for those registered in advance, $35 at the door.
For further details, contact the Regional Center for Economic, Community & Professional Development at P.O. Box 1510; Pembroke, N.C. 28372-1510; phone: 910.775.4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information may also be obtained by contacting symposium coordinator Dr. William “Rick” Crandall, (Business) director of special programs, at 910.522.5786 or email@example.com.
South African artist to teach course at UNCP
Dr. Nicholas Allen, art professor and dean of faculty of Art and Design at Port Elizabeth Technikon (Technological University) in South Africa, will teach a special topics course for the Art Department.
The course - Art 301-46 - is both on campus and on the Internet. The first two weeks will take place on campus in August at the beginning of fall semester with classes meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 - 10:15 a.m. The rest will be finished on the Internet, with three credits for the whole course.
The course titled Art and Technology will trace the role of technology in art since prehistoric times to the present. The course will go from ancient cultures, into painting medias and the discovery of oil painting. It will touch on optical technology, ceramics technologies, kiln designs, sculptural techniques of casting concrete and bronze, stone and marble sculpture, printmaking techniques such as intaglio, etching and lithography and more.
“This will be an interesting course for all students and faculty interested in technology,” said Janette Hopper, chair of the Art Department. “Dr. Allen has extensive experience and research to make him an extremely qualified person to teach this course. Please encourage your students to take this course to enhance their experience in art and technology and to have contact with an energetic professor from South Africa.”
For more questions, please contact the Art Department at 910.521.6216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Festival of Writing draws large crowd
About 500 students attended the University’s first Festival of Writing on April 19 in the University Center Lounge.
The festival showcased student writing in the Freshman Composition program and marketed courses and programs in writing. Writing displays included a wide-range of samples from topics on punctuation and argumentative writing to “Oedipus Wrecks” and “Logos, Ethos and Pathos.”
Dr. Kim Gunter (English), second-year director of Freshman Composition, organized the event.
“We had 429 name tags, and they are all gone,” Dr. Gunter said. “The Festival of Writing was developed to make what we do in these courses public.”
“For the students the festival is a public showing of their work,” she said. “It’s great to see the students explaining their work.”
English Professor Nancy Barrineau amplified.
“The point is to get students to think of themselves as writers, and they are writers,” Dr. Barrineau said. “They are so proud of their work.”
There were also displays of student publications, including The Aurochs, an annual poetry journal, and Revisions: Best Student Essays of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Digital Consortium draws more than 100
The 3nd annual Digital Content Consortium on April 1-2 at the University was attended by more than 140.
Sponsored by the Digital Academy, the consortium is an annual two-day conference on all things digital. It was a digital jam session of software, art, music, science, photography, cartooning and more. Friday there was a presentation and bluegrass performance by producer John Santa of The Studio in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Margie Labadie (Art), Digital Academy (DA) conference coordinator said “the conference continues to grow and get better every year.”
“We had more UNCP faculty members from more disciplines than ever before,” Labadie said. “This is as it should be because teaching and learning with technology is growing across the disciplines.”
“Presenters demonstrated the use of different software in different disciplines – Flash for musical notation POV-Ray for physicists and Photoshop for artists,” Labadie said. “The conference is for demonstrating how digital tools are being used to promote learning.”
The Digital Content Consortium is only one of a variety of activities offered by the Digital Academy all year. Labadie noted that the new Media Integration Studies minor begins in the 2005 fall semester with class offerings from English, philosophy, and sociology, as well as music, mass communications and art. “Digital Soup and Sandwich” another DA activity, is an open, informal presentation/discussion forum held monthly for faculty and staff.
At this year’s Digital Content Consortium many UNCP faculty and staff presented.
UNCP presenters and their topics included:
Biotechnology Symposium was April 13
The departments of Chemistry and Physics and Biology hosted the 3rd annual Biotechnology Symposium April 13 at the Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development at COMtech.
The symposium was kicked off with a welcome from Chancellor Meadors followed by an introduction by Steven Burke of the N.C. Biotechnology Center.
The daylong agenda included presentations from a variety of individuals traversing the academic, industrial, governmental and biotechnology fields. Bill Cooper, manager for the BioNetwork Bio-processing Center, teamed with Robeson Community College’s BioAg Manager J. D. Brooks in a panel discussion exploring the growing demand for academically qualified individuals in the bio-manufacturing and bio-processing work force. Panel members addressed the increasing demand for bio-agricultural awareness and opportunities.
Chemistry Professor Dr. Len Holmes, who directs UNCP’s biotechnology initiative, said he was delighted with the array of participants and guests from the various biotechnology driven academic and industrial arenas.
“Martin Community College sent six representatives to research and gain information on servicing biotechnology equipment, and over 20 different biotechnology companies were present,” Dr. Holmes said.
NC State University’s microbiologist Dr. Hosni Hassan gave a presentation entitled “Microbial Secondary Metabolite: Role in Microbial Physiology and Potential use in Biotechnology and Medicine,” and Dr. Jose’ Bruno-Barcena of NCSU shared his research insights with his lecture on “Lactic Acid Bacteria Physiology: Application to Process Optimization.”
Guest speakers from the biotechnology industry and related fields included Julia Cino, a bioreactor and fermentation design consultant for New Jersey based at New Brunswick Scientific. Frank Kohn, president of FSK Associates, Inc., traveled from Iowa to discuss his company’s role in the growing field of international consulting for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and vaccine industries. Vladimir Kostyukovsky, director of bio-processing for Biolex Corp. in in Pittsboro, N.C., spoke on the topic of “Development and Manufacturing of Therapeutic Proteins in the Transgenic Aquatic Plant Life.”
Keynote speaker was U.S. Food and Drug Administration Deputy Director Dr. Ajaz Hussain, who addressed issues concerning process analytical technologies and the evolving biotechnology manufacturing practices.
Staff Council announces May 9 cookout, election
There will be a staff cookout on Monday, May 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. sponsored by the Staff Council. A Staff Council election will be held at that time.
Volunteers to help with the cookout and candidates are needed to run for office.
Please contact Staff Council Chair Tony Chavis at extension 6506 or email him at email@example.com.
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