Classical Association of Virginia Honors Hollins Professor as Teacher of the Year

Hollins University Professor of Classical Studies Christina A. Salowey has been named the Lurlene W. Todd Teacher of the Year for 2019-20 by the Classical Association of Virginia (CAV).

First presented in 2005, the award recognizes outstanding Latin teachers and professors in Virginia. Nominees are evaluated on at least four of the following factors:

 

 

  • Evidence of the success, size, and growth of the teacher’s program.
  • Examples of innovative and creative classroom activity.
  • Evidence of improved student learning.
  • Significant numbers of students who continue their study of the classics at the next available level.
  • Examples of outreach and promotion of the classics inside and outside of the teacher’s institution.
  • Evidence of the teacher’s professional service and profession development.
  • Student success in contests and competitions, especially those offered by the CAV.
  • Examples of student travel and field trips which enhance learning and promote the program.

“We applaud Professor Salowey’s exemplary dedication to her students and to pedagogy across her career at Hollins,” said Trudy Harrington Becker, a senior instructor of history at Virginia Tech and chair of the Lurlene W. Todd Award Committee.

A member of the Hollins faculty since 1996, Salowey teaches numerous literature genres, two ancient languages, and the art, religion, history, philosophy, architecture, science, and geography of the long-lived civilizations that spoke and wrote those languages.

“There are many joys in teaching at a small, liberal arts university,” she has said, “ but a significant one for me is that I am not restricted to one sub-discipline in a broad field of study.”

Throughout her time at Hollins, Salowey and her husband, Associate Professor of Communication Studies Chris Richter, have led undergraduates to Greece during January Short Term to engage in intensive study and research. Each trip is unique and has focused on different regions, such as Crete, northern Greece, and Greece and Turkey.

In collaboration with students in her Greek 350: Greek Inscriptions class, Salowey produced a digital exhibition highlighting photographs of ancient Greek texts that were inscribed on ancient works of art. The exhibition features a commentary for those texts for elementary readers of Greek.

Professor of Classical Studies George Fredric Franko adds that Salowey “routinely teaches overloads and supervises independent studies, in which she meets with students weekly to keep them on track. As an indicator of her success in inspiring students with zeal for the study of ancient Greek, Latin, and ancient art, this year six seniors are graduating with a major in classical studies.”

Salowey also devised, implemented, and led a new summer program at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. These seminars address the needs of graduate and undergraduate students, as well as secondary and college teachers, by offering 18-day sessions on specific topics in Greece and visiting major monuments under the guidance of exceptional scholars.

In 2019, Hollins honored Salowey with the Herta T. Freitag Faculty Legacy Award, which is presented to a member of the faculty whose recent scholarly and creative accomplishments reflect the extraordinary academic standards set by Freitag, who served as professor of mathematics at Hollins from 1948 to 1971.


Searching for Waymarkers

LeeRay Costa is professor and director of gender and women’s studies, and director of faculty development, at Hollins University.

 

My last day on the Hollins campus this semester was March 15. I went to my office to gather my books, files, course materials, and supplies with the hope that this new arrangement of working from home and teaching remotely would be temporary. It is hard to believe that seven weeks have now passed and that we have begun our last week of spring classes. On the one hand I am admittedly relieved that what sometimes feels like the terrible, horrible, awful, no-good spring semester is finally coming to an end. On the other hand, I deeply miss my Hollins students and colleagues. And while I have secretly come to loathe the #Zoomlife and its inability to capture the joyful energy of being physically together, I cherish every moment I get to see you and talk with you, even on a screen. Unlike most of our students, I have the freedom and ability to return to campus, but I have avoided doing so because I can’t bear the thought of being there without all of you. This separation weighs heavily upon my heart and there have been days during this quarantine when I have felt unmoored and lost. I imagine you may have felt that way too.

This feeling of being lost conjures my experience of being a pilgrim. Five years ago during my sabbatical, I embarked on a pilgrimage. Over the span of 33 days I walked 400 miles from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain on the Way of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago. I walked for many reasons: personal, professional, physical, and spiritual, and imagined myself following in the footsteps of my Portuguese ancestors.

My journey was a decade in the making and, as an obsessively detailed planner, I had prepared for months before embarking on it. Nevertheless there were days when I found myself off track and distressed. The truth is, even when we think we know the path and have a map to give us direction, we may unexpectedly find ourselves lost along the way. This lostness can be disorienting and even scary. And it can simultaneously offer up profound life lessons: crystalizing for us our strengths and sense of purpose, and illuminating for us what we cherish most.

The Camino de Santiago is indicated by a series of waymarkers, usually yellow arrows or golden scallop shells. These are maintained by volunteers of local pilgrim associations, and offered as an act of kindness and support for those making the journey. As I walked, those waymarkers provided me with a sense of confidence and reassurance. I smiled and whispered my gratitude each time I discovered one.

More often than not camino waymarkers are easily visible, though sometimes they are hidden, and occasionally they are present yet terribly confusing. I will never forget a particular section of the camino near Porriño. Apparently, members of the community surrounding this area were arguing over the route. Some wanted it to flow directly through the very industrial and concrete center, so that they could benefit economically from the pilgrims who were likely to stop and buy food and supplies. Others wanted to divert pilgrims to a path through the woods, to preserve the reflective nature of their journey and to physically prevent them from walking on dangerously trafficked roads. What resulted were a series of competing waymarkers that had been repeatedly covered over, with new arrows spray painted in their place. Each morning individuals from opposing sides would set out to conceal the marks of their rivals. For unsuspecting pilgrims like me this resulted in confusion about the way forward and dread that I might make a wrong turn and lose my way.

There have been days during the quarantine when I have felt transported to that moment of fear, confusion, and anger over a situation I did not create but must figure out how to handle. Like many of you, I have stumbled my way through new modes of teaching, learning, working, communicating, and sharing space and resources with folks whom I love dearly but that occasionally get on my nerves. I have had to make hard choices about what and whom to prioritize and how to get the necessary tasks of everyday living accomplished while struggling with a lack of motivation and tearfully mourning the many losses I have experienced and continue to witness all around me. I have felt the despair of not knowing what lies ahead, and longed for the unambiguous waymarkers that remind me that everything is going to be alright.

My pilgrim experience also reminds me that sometimes those clear and reassuring waymarkers are actually right in front of me but I remain unable to recognize them. This may be because I am distracted and have let my attention wander, or because I am so lost in the story unfolding in my own mind that I have ignored the signs all around me telling me and showing me something quite different. As I have revisited these lessons and brought them to bear on the current moment, I have realized that at least some of this feeling of being unmoored and lost is tied to the experience of being dis-placed: dis-placed from our beautiful Hollins campus, our beloved Hollins community, and our treasured rituals that create a sense of certainty, connection, and shared purpose.

And yet, even in this displacement, our waymarkers remain. Because whether you recognize it or not, each one of us – students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni – is a yellow arrow, a golden camino shell, for someone else in our community. Individually and collectively, we provide direction, reassurance, a sense of calm, and support for one another, no matter where we happen to be currently residing. Perhaps this is something our alumni know best, scattered as they are across the globe but forever knitted into the Hollins experience.

These waymarkers, embodied in the members of the Hollins community, inspire me and remind me that no matter how isolated or lost I may feel, I am not alone. Through our relationships, our shared experiences, and our mutual care for one another we form a network of connection and hope that transcends both time and place, and that can anchor and fortify us in these unpredictable times. As we continue through the end of the term, into summer and beyond, I encourage you to look for the yellow arrows and golden scallop shells that surround you, to delight in their shine, and to give thanks for their presence on our collective journey.

 


Hollins Researchers Partner With Other Universities To Study Impact Of COVID-19 On Tick-Borne Illnesses

Two Hollins professors are collaborating with scientists from four other universities to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the time people spend outdoors and if that change could result in increased exposure to ticks or tick-borne diseases.

Elizabeth Gleim
Elizabeth Gleim (Photo Credit: Nancy Evelyn)

Elizabeth Gleim, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, and Meg du Bray, a visiting assistant professor in environmental studies at Augustana College who will be joining the Hollins faculty this fall as an assistant professor of environmental studies, are working with researchers from the University of Georgia, Duke University, Clemson University, and the University of Rhode Island on a new study entitled, “Investigating COVID-19 Impacts on the Epidemiology of Tick-Borne Diseases in People and Pets.”

“We’re examining whether people are spending more time outside due to COVID-19 restrictions and whether this might be affecting them, their families, and/or their pets’ (if they have any) risk of contracting a tick-borne illness,” Gleim explains.

Gleim and her fellow researchers are inviting any person 18 years or older who resides in the United States or Canada to fill out a short survey that “should only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time,” she notes, “or less if you do not have children and/or dogs.”

The research team is hoping to have as many people as possible participate in the study. “We encourage everyone to please share the survey with any individuals or groups that you think would be willing to complete it,” Gleim says.


“A Blessed Time”: Professor Becomes His Parents’ Caregiver During the Pandemic

Ernie Zulia is artistic director and chair of the Hollins University Theatre Department.

This would have been the second week of performances of our spring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. We were in mid-rehearsals when the lights went out on our campus.

Curious Incident is a show full of wonder, and heart, and the entire cast had been basking in the deep satisfaction of a rich and exciting rehearsal process before this work we love was called to a halt. What to do? Continuing rehearsals in Zoomland was not practical. So out came the calendars and timelines, and come September, we are planning to pick up where we left off to open the show on October 22. So with determination, passion, and some good ole theatrical grit, we are embracing the old adage that the show must go on!

Although we couldn’t rehearse in Zoomland, we now find ourselves going to class in this strange and foreign place online. My favorite class is called “Purpose Passion and Possibilities: Personalizing the Art of Theatre Making.” It’s a practical philosophy class, and is based in some pretty powerful discussion. The first day we met in Zoomland, we spent a lot of time checking in with each other and sharing a lot of feelings about our strange new circumstances. One of the things that came up a lot was how weird it was to be back at home, locked in with parents after experiencing an independent adult life at Hollins. I could totally relate…but from a very different point of view.

At 5 a.m. the morning of March 14, two days after our last day of face-to-face classes, I was awakened by a call from Akron, Ohio. My 94-year-old Dad had been rushed to the hospital with a torn muscle, which triggered a pretty severe heart incident. My 91-year-old Mom was in lock-down at the retirement community they’d been living at for the past 14 months. Dad was alone in a hospital, and like the boogey man, the coronavirus was lurking under beds and behind doors and in closets.

After being so discombobulated by the shutdown of our campus, I suddenly felt blessed that I could grab my computer and office files and rush up to Ohio to be at my Dad’s bedside so he wouldn’t have to be alone in the hospital. Ninety-four-year-olds are easily confused and disoriented, so I was grateful to be able to hold my dad’s hand and help him feel safe. He’s a WWII veteran and always felt it was his job to make others feel safe. Tables do turn.

It’s now five weeks later, and like so many of my students, I’ve been living in quarantine with my parents. Dad needed 24-hour care, but the managers of the community were very skeptical about allowing a parade of caregivers to come through the doors and risk infecting the entire community. So even though family members are forbidden to visit, we struck a bargain: as long as I was willing to go into quarantine with them, I could move in and be their full-time caregiver.

So this is the fourth week without setting foot outside a three-room independent living apartment…and you know what, it’s been kinda wonderful. I teach and conduct theatre department business from my computer in the small den, and sleep on the pull-out sofa in the living room. But more importantly, I’ve been given the gift of some mighty precious time with two people I love. They’re not going to be around much longer (virus or no virus), so I consider these unexpected circumstances a real gift; precious time to hear poignant and funny stories of days gone by. But even better, I’ve been given the rare opportunity to care for them the way they once cared for me when I was a vulnerable and defenseless child. In many ways, the elderly are quite child-like, which allows them to be more open and free to share their hearts and souls, and the richness of lives well-lived. And I get to be there to check under the bed for monsters before we turn the lights out.

When this COVID craziness began, I never expected it to turn into such a blessed time, filled with so much love. I hope our entire Hollins family can find some semblance of a silver lining in this unprecedented time we are living through. As for me, being locked in with parents has turned into a true gift. Stay Gold everyone!


Coronavirus: Sharing Their Expertise

Two Hollins professors have been interviewed recently for their expertise in areas related to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns impacting the country and the regional community around Roanoke.

NOTE: The Hollins University administration is maintaining and regularly updating a coronavirus-related web page for full information on how the school is approaching the situation as well as linking to key external resources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health. You can find this at https://www.hollins.edu/coronavirus-preparedness/

On March 2, visiting professor of public health Cynthia Morrow was interviewed by local TV station WDBJ7 seeking her advice and recommendations for how those concerned should best approach the situation as it presently stands. Morrow was a Commissioner of Health in New York during the H1N1 – or swine flu – pandemic back in 2009 and offered several practical bits of advice including good hand and overall hygiene as well as “social distancing,” or maintaining a safe distance during interactions with others. You can view her interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.

Peter Chiappetta, a visiting assistant professor of business and financial consultant, was interviewed by WDBJ7 on March 9 to discuss concerns around the impact the fears and realities of the coronavirus outbreak were having on the financial markets, including a temporary halt in NYSE trading earlier that morning. You can view his interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.


Wilson Museum Showcases Photography of Professor Emeritus Robert Sulkin

The photography of a distinguished member of the Hollins University faculty who taught for nearly four decades is the subject of a new exhibition at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

Robert Sulkin: Photographs 1973-2019, which is on display January 16 – March 29, is a retrospective exhibition highlighting the work of the award-winning photographer who joined the Hollins faculty in 1980 and retired at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. The exhibition presents 120 images selected from 40-plus years of making photographs, ranging from his early social landscape works created in the mid-1970s to what the artist refers to as his landscape intervention work from 2019. Throughout his career, Sulkin has worked in series, and these will be displayed together somewhat chronologically.

Like many photographers working at the end of the 20th and early 21st centuries, Sulkin witnessed and experienced changes in technology that had profound effects on his work. Collectively his studio and/or photoshop-based fabrications comment on aspects of culture and track a progression of style and experimentation, some playful, some farcical, and some serious.

Of his work, Sulkin says, “Broadly, my photography deals with the futility of the individual attempting to cope in a technology-driven world spinning out of control.”

During his career, Sulkin has participated in over 200 solo, group, and juried exhibitions. In recent years, he has had shows at Virginia Tech, the Arts Club of Washington, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, and the William King Museum of Art. His work has also appeared at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, The Light Factory, the Chrysler Museum of Art, college galleries throughout Virginia, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and 516 ARTS, among others. 

Sulkin will deliver a Cabell Artist Lecture on Thursday, February 13, at 6 p.m. in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center. A reception will follow.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Robert Sulkin: Photographs 1973-2019 is sponsored in part by the City of Roanoke through the Roanoke Arts Commission.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free.


Hollins Professor Completes Leadership Program at 2019 HERS Institute

LeeRay Costa, professor of anthropology and gender and women’s studies and director of faculty development at Hollins, has completed the 2019 HERS (Higher Education Resources Services) Institute at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She joined 64 competitively selected women leaders from across the U.S. and Canada to take part in the intensive, residential leadership development program.

The Institute provides participants with the opportunity to develop their individual leadership strengths to boldly lead change on their campuses and in their roles. They also expand their knowledge of the national higher education landscape to become even stronger assets to their institutions.

The HERS Institute was created in 1976 to proactively fill the higher education pipelines across the United States with dynamic women and combat an undeniable gender gap. Recent research has concluded that women hold less than 40 percent of tenured positions, only 36 percent of full professorships, and just 30 percent of the presidencies at the nation’s colleges and universities. Research has also noted that women only apply for a position if they meet 100% of the qualifications, while men will apply if they only meet 60% of the qualifications. HERS Institute alumnae, which today number more than 6,000, have noted that the program’s unique ability to create a non-competitive space re-energized them around what they could bring to their roles, and helped them develop the confidence needed to lead at their respective institutions.

“I learned critical skills for leadership within the contemporary context of higher education, including how to communicate effectively and engage in difficult conversations, manage and lead change, cultivate talent, create a culture of inclusion, equity, and belonging, navigate leadership transitions, and administer and manage budgets,” Costa said. “I look forward to applying what I learned to my faculty development work at Hollins, including providing workshops and training to support faculty teaching, research, and overall career development. I am also excited to help foster a campus workplace that is inclusive, equitable, diverse, and committed to faculty satisfaction and well-being.”

Each HERS Institute attendee is required to complete a self-designed leadership project for their institution, a personal case study that pursues organizational change on campus. Costa created Hollins’ first faculty development program.

“During its inaugural year, the program will focus primarily on two areas,” Costa explained. “First, inclusivity, equity, and diversity, and second, high impact learning practices. This project supports Hollins’ institutional values and mission. It also engages faculty in innovative and experiential approaches to teaching and learning that will empower Hollins’ students to be effective and inspiring leaders, problem solvers, creators, and change agents.”

Costa has been a member of the Hollins faculty since 2001 and was named director of faculty development in March 2019. Her research, teaching, and community activism focus on social justice and a desire to understand processes of social change. In 2018 she launched the Hollins Contemplative Collective, which seeks to cultivate the holistic well-being of faculty, staff, and students and to integrate into curricular and co-curricular life practices of mindfulness and healing that are embodied, inclusive, and both individually and collectively transformative. A previous recipient of Hollins’ Herta Freitag Faculty Legacy Award and Senior Class Faculty Award, Costa holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

 


Major Scientific Journal Publishes Hollins Professor’s Study of Reducing Tick-Borne Diseases

The world’s 11th-most cited scientific journal is highlighting findings by a Hollins faculty member that controlled burning could be an effective tool in battling tick-borne pathogens.

Scientific Reports, an open-access publication featuring original research from across all areas of the natural and clinical sciences, has published “Frequent Prescribed Fires Can Reduce Risk of Tick-borne Diseases,” whose lead author is Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Elizabeth Gleim.

A previous two-year study by Gleim and her fellow researchers determined that tick populations were substantially lowered where long-term prescribed fires, “an especially common and necessary land management practice in fire-dependent ecosystems such as open pine forests, grasslands, and fire-maintained wetlands,” were employed.

“In the current study,” Gleim’s report states, “these ticks were tested for pathogens to more directly investigate the impacts of long-term prescribed burning on human disease risk….The incidence of these tick-borne diseases has increased in the past several decades and several new pathogens have emerged….Thus, the need to find cost-effective, practical approaches to reducing tick-borne disease risk is more important than ever.

“To follow up on our finding that long-term prescribed fire significantly reduced tick abundance,” the report continues, “the current study tested the ticks collected in that previous study for common tick-borne pathogens to investigate how prescribed fire may affect pathogen dynamics.”

Gleim and her team performed the first-ever major survey of tick-borne pathogens in southwestern Georgia and northwestern Florida. The results offer “exciting implications for public health as it appears that prescribed fire, when performed on a regular basis, significantly reduces encounter rates with ticks infected with pathogenic bacteria.” Reductions in tick populations were sustained rather than temporary “through regular, long-term prescribed fires [that] resulted in a drier microclimate at ground-level….”

While the results of the study are encouraging, Gleim concludes with a couple of caveats. “Because all of our burned sites had been burned on a regular basis for a minimum of ten years, further research needs to occur to determine how long regular burns would have to occur in order to achieve the results observed in this study. Additionally, the particular habitat and microclimatic conditions that are required for the results observed in this study seem to imply that the ability of fire to reduce tick populations and disease risk may vary depending on ecosystem-type and the management objectives of the prescribed fire.

“Thus, similar studies need to be conducted in different ecosystems and regions of the country to determine whether long-term prescribed burning could have effects similar to those observed in the current study on different pathogens and/or within different ecosystems.”

Scientific Reports received more than 300,000 citations in 2018 and garners widespread attention in policy documents and the media. It is part of Nature Research, a family of journals that includes Nature, the leading international weekly journal of science first published in 1869.

 

 


Poliner Selected as Finalist for the 2019 Algren Award

Elizabeth Poliner, associate professor of English and creative writing at Hollins and director of the Jackson Center for Creative Writing, has been selected as a finalist for the 2019 Nelson Algren Literary Award, presented by the Chicago Tribune.

Poliner was recognized for her short story, “Sabelle.” She will receive a $750 cash prize and her work is featured on the Tribune’s website.

Named in honor of the American author best known for his National Book Award-winning 1949 novel, The Man with the Golden Arm, the Nelson Algren Literary Award is a nationally recognized contest for original short fiction. Held annually since 1981, the contest received more than 3,000 entries this year. It was judged by Jennifer Acker, founder of The Common, an online literary magazine; Mona Simpson, who won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize in 2001; and Jane Smiley, a two-time winner of the Heartland Prize.

Poliner is the author of the novel, As Close to Us as Breathing, winner of the 2017 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize in Fiction, finalist for the Harold Ribalow Prize for Jewish fiction, and an Amazon Best Book of 2016. She is also the author of a story collection, Mutual Life & Casualty, and a volume of poetry, What You Know in Your Hands. Her stories have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Kenyon Review, The Common, Colorado Review, and TriQuarterly, among other journals. A member of the Hollins faculty since 2008, she teaches in both the Master of Fine Arts and undergraduate creative writing programs.


Hollins Professor to Keynote POW/MIA Awareness Day Ceremony

Hollins University Professor of English Marilyn Moriarty will deliver the keynote address at the POW/MIA Awareness Day ceremony on Saturday, September 22, at 11 a.m. at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Admission to this special event is free.

According to the ceremony organizers, “The objective of POW/MIA Awareness Day is to ensure America remembers its responsibility to stand behind those who serve our nation and do everything possible to account for those who do not return.”

Moriarty’s talk, “Andreé: A Name on the Prisoners’ List,” draws from the ongoing research she’s conducting for a memoir, an early draft of which was short-listed for the 2018 Faulkner-Wisdom Narrative Nonfiction Book Award. Her study has focused on her mother’s experience with the French underground during World War II.

Moriatry says the impetus for her research came from an old photo. “A 1945 photograph addressed to my father, ‘With love, Liliane,’ put a false name to my mother Andreé’s face. Decades later, that name became the key to unraveling her wartime activities.” With the assistance of newly-found French cousins, she discovered that even though her mother did not wear a uniform, “she was arrested by the Gestapo, spent six months in solitary confinement, was tried by the Wehrmacht, and served two years of a four-year sentence before the war ended.”

The memoir project has produced some spin-off work. An essay, “Swerves,” won the 2014 Faulkner-Wisdom Gold Medal and was reprinted in the 2016 anthology, Borderlines and Crossings: Writing the Motherland. Another essay, “You Are Where You Eat,” appears in text and audio on The Dirty SpoonThe essay will also be published on the France-Amérique website in early October.

Moriarty adds that invitation to speak at the POW/MIA Awareness Day ceremony came through a Hollins connection: April Cheek-Messier ’94, M.A.T. ’02, who is president of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.