Faculty Colloquium: Me (Brenda Ueland)

Please joins us on Friday, November 9th at 3 p.m. in Cone Chapel for this week’s Faculty Colloquium. Me (Brenda Ueland), a song cycle for piano and voice composed by Libby Larsen and published in 1994; performed by pianist, Marva Duerksen and soprano, Christine Elder.

Brenda Ueland (1891-1985), an American journalist, editor, freelance writer, and teacher of writing, is best known for her book If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit. Carl Sandburg liked it so much that he claimed “it was the best book ever written on how to write.” In the unrelated field of Arctic exploration, Brenda is famous for her letter exchange with the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen. Only his letters to her survive, but they are so explicit in their sexual details that one must be over 18 to read them at the Minnesota Historical Society!

All of this brings us to our presentation for Friday’s faculty colloquium. Here, you will encounter Brenda Ueland through the words of her autobiography, Me: A Memoir (1939), excerpts from which comprise the text for American composer Libby Larsen’s marvelous song cycle for soprano and piano. Ueland was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota into a relatively progressive family in which her father was a prominent lawyer and judge and her mother a suffragette and first president of the Minnesota League of Women Voters. After completing her baccalaureate at Barnard College, Ueland spent some years in New York and its environs working as a staff writer, composing scripts for radio broadcasts, and eventually teaching writing classes. She married three times, had one child and, by her own account, numerous lovers. Her autobiography details elements of her childhood, time in college, life in Greenwich Village, and various love affairs. In our reading of Ueland’s autobiography, we have found Ueland to be engagingly self-confident, witty, insightful, and wise, but never preachy. As Libby Larsen explains in a note to the published score of her cycle: “Ueland’s gist is to confirm in us the true art into which we are all born, the art of living.”

Holiday Hours

The Hatfield Library has special hours during Thanksgiving.

Wed, Nov. 21     7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thur – Sat, Nov. 22 – 24     CLOSED
Sun, Nov. 25     1 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Normal building hours resume Monday, November 26th.  The Hatfield Library staff wish the Willamette Community a most wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Break!

Assignment Calculator?

What is the Assignment Calculator?  And who is it for?

The assignment calculator is a simple tool that students and faculty can use to help calculate when parts of a research paper or assignment should be worked on and completed.  Basically, all you need to do is plug in the beginning date of an assignment and the due date, and it does the rest for you!

Then the calculator lists all of the steps needed to complete your assignment and when each step should be done.  Below is an example.  This is a wonderful tool to help with time management! Check out the Assignment Calculator at:



Archaeology and the Death and Burial of Jesus

Dr. Jodi Magness
Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In this slide-illustrated lecture, we survey Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus, and consider the archaeological and literary evidence for the burials of Jesus and his brother James. The lecture includes a discussion of the claims surrounding the so-called “James ossuary” and the “Talpiyot tomb” (recently said to be the tomb of Jesus and his family).

Thursday, November 8th 7:30 PM
Rogers Music Center

The Lane C. McGaughy Lecture in Ancient Studies
Sponsored by Willamette University’s Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (CASA).

What is QR? Quantitative Reasoning: “As If Your Life Depended on It”

Faculty Colloquium: James Friedrich, Professor of Psychology

Title: What is QR? Quantitative Reasoning: “As If Your Life Depended on It”


Mathematics and science requirements have long been standard components of the undergraduate curriculum, and specific applications of mathematical tools and scientific reasoning permeate work in many disciplines. Recent discussions of liberal education goals have begun to reframe some of the justification for these courses in terms of the importance of “quantitative reasoning” (QR) and “quantitative literacy,” and yet the significance of the broader meaning behind these new labels is not widely understood. If QR is not simply “math” or “science,” then what is it? In this faculty colloquium, I hope to take up the conceptual issues underlying the recent changes in terminology and discuss their implications for general education (including Willamette’s current revision efforts). In doing so, I will be drawing examples and illustrations from health care and medical decision making as a way of illustrating why your life might, indeed, depend on QR.

Details: Friday, November 2 at 3 p.m. in the Hatfield Room

Crisis of Global Capitalism

Please join us on Tuesday, October 30, at 7:00 pm in the Hatfield Room of the Library, Willamette University will be hosting a talk by Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin entitled “The Crisis of Global Capitalism: A Left Perspective.” Both authors are well known political economists, historians, and activists. Panitch is the editor of the Socialist Register and the author of The End of Parliamentary Socialism among many other works. Gindin was a research director for the New Democratic Party in Manitoba and was a regional research director of the Canadian Auto Workers’ Union. Both men are now professors at York University and have recently co-authored The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. Their talk promises to be an eye-opening analysis of the ongoing crisis and of the prospects for progressive politics.

The talk is co-sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, Economics, Environmental Science, History, Politics and Sociology.

Please urge your students to go and we hope to see you there!

For further information please call Bill Smaldone (503-375-5440).

Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece

The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Greek and Roman Artworks Travel to Oregon!

Professor Ann Nicgorski, Chair & Professor of Art History and Archaeology, will lecture on The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, Thursday, October 25th at 7:30 p.m. in the Paulus Lecture Hall at the Law School.

This fall, the Portland Art Museum is hosting a blockbuster exhibition of Greek and Roman art entitled The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece (October 6, 2012 to January 6, 2013). There are over 100 exquisite objects in this exhibit, which are all on loan from the renowned British Museum in London.

This lecture provides an overview of the exhibition with a focus on its key themes and selected, noteworthy objects, such as the iconic Discobolus, or discus-thrower, from the 5th century BCE, which will be making its first trip to the United States.  In addition to several other large-scale works of stone sculpture, the exhibit also features smaller figurines in a variety of media, as well as numerous vases with figural decoration. Key themes include the human body and face; character, portrait and realism; gods and goddesses in human form; athletes and Herakles-superman; birth, marriage, sex, and death; and composite human-animal creatures of mythological legend, such as the famous Theban sphinx.

Edward Burger: Teaching to Fail

November 1, 12:30pm – 1:30pm

This NITLE seminar will explore ways to foster creativity and risk-taking in the classroom. Note that this event will not be recorded, so registering and attending in real-time is your only option!

Summary: Although we know that creativity requires the ability to take risks and learn from failures, our students typically are risk-averse and seek to avoid failure at all costs. How then can we foster risk-taking and creativity in our students? In this seminar, Edward B. Burger, Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, will explore the ultimate goals of education, how are we engineering our curriculum and classes to deliver on the promise of those lofty goals, lead a discussion to answer both questions, and celebrate the notion of “failing to succeed.”

Information about the speaker: Edward Burger is the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, an educational and business consultant, and most recently served as vice provost for strategic educational initiatives at Baylor University. He is the author of over 60 research articles, books, and video series (starring in over 3,000 on-line videos). Dr. Burger has won numerous awards, including the 2000 Northeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2001 MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo National Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics, 2003 Residence Life Teaching Award from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mathematical Association of America’s Chauvenet Prize (2004), Lester R. Ford Prize (2006), and Williams College’s Nelson Bushnell Prize for Scholarship and Teaching (2007). He also received the 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching: the largest and most prestigious prize in higher education teaching across all disciplines in the English-speaking world. He was named 2001-2003 Polya Lecturer by the MAA, and in 2007, 2008, and 2011, he received awards for his video work.

View the Full Program

Register online by Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

If you prefer a more social setting, you can also join a small group of viewers in Smullin 6. If you choose to join us there, you do not need to register.

Related Content

New Voices Showcase

Fiction writer Natalie Serber and poet Stephanie Lenox will read selections of their works as part of the Hallie Ford Literary Series on Oct. 17.

The “New Voices Showcase” begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room of the Hatfield Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Serber’s debut story collection, “Shout Her Lovely Name,” was published last June and has since garnered rave reviews in national publications. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Serber’s collection is “funny and wrenching …. ‘Shout Her Lovely Name’ will reach inside readers and squeeze.”

Lenox teaches poetry at Willamette University and edits the online literary journal, “Blood Orange Review.” She is the author of “The Heart That Lies Outside the Body,” an award-winning poetry chapbook published in 2007. Her debut collection of poems, “Congress of Strange People,” is being published this month.

Lenox says many of her new poems are written in persona, using voices of people other than herself.

“I try on masks to see which ones fit,” she says. “I’ve chosen to write about record-holders in The Guinness Book and other odd characters because I find something relatable in these voices; they’re simultaneously me and not me.”

By hearing readings from two authors, Lenox hopes people will make connections between the different modes of writing.