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Spring 2001

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Newsbriefs

David Miller art show
Core curriculum revised
Bound for Biosphere
New leader for health service
Domestic partners covered


David Miller art show

A retrospective exhibit of work by painter David Miller, Skidmore’s Ella Van Dyke Tuthill ’32 Professor of Studio Art, is on view at the Tang until June 17.

Known for their exuberant color and imaginative images—which sometimes include stick figures, doodles, and gestural marks —Miller’s paintings are “about curiosity,” he says. He describes his work as “active, colorful, humorous, dense, open, atmospheric, and fantasy-like.” He explains that most of his paintings have a “psychosocial slant.… Each composition begins with an openness, and then layers of gestures suggesting fragments of reality float and create a range of tensions within the ungrounded space. This open forum becomes a game explored through a variety of mediums that express visual, sociological, or text-based events.” Miller adds, “I personally like my art to be complicated. If it’s too simple, I get tired of it.”

The exhibit—the first solo faculty show in the new Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery—includes paintings and drawings created over the past thirty years. New for this show is a series of small oil paintings on masonite. These “mood-oriented” pieces are a vivid exercise in color and multilayered texture. “In recent years,” he says, “I have found that I take more chances and am very decisive in my painting, that I’m interacting more with the work.”

As an undergraduate at the Art Institute of Chicago, Miller focused on illustration and graphic design, but then he concentrated on painting in his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. His work is in several public and private collections, has been widely exhibited, and has earned him numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. Miller came to Skidmore in 1975. Along with teaching, he directs the college’s Schick Art Gallery.

The Tang’s hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Core curriculum revised

Skidmore’s faculty recently voted to revise the core curriculum, slightly reducing the number of all-college requirements. Along with allowing more freedom in shaping courses of study, the move aims to ease the crunch that students sometimes face in finding needed courses with seats available and with meeting times that fit their class schedules. The key features of the new core are:

  • As before, some students must take a preliminary writing seminar before going on to complete the expository writing requirement, which can be met with any course that carries a writing-intensive designation.
  • The quantitative reasoning requirement is also unchanged: some students will need to take a preliminary QR 1 course, and all students must take one course that carries a QR 2 designation.
  • The interdisciplinary requirement remains the same: all students must take the Liberal Studies 1 course in their first year, plus one Liberal Studies 2 course by the end of their second year.
  • Instead of demonstrating intermediate competency in a foreign lan- guage (requiring from zero to four courses), all students must now take one course in a foreign language at an appropriate level.
  • The requirement to explore other cultures can now be met with a non-Western course or with a course covering cultural diversity.
  • The previous six-course breadth requirement—two courses each in “nature,” “society,” and “arts”—has been reduced to four courses: one each in natural sciences (with a laboratory component), social sciences, humanities, and arts.

Planners expect the new curriculum to require from one to four fewer courses than the previous core. The new core requirements take effect in the fall of 2001, applying to incoming freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, but not seniors.

Bound for Biosphere

Skidmore has entered into a partnership with Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Ariz. Originally established as a futuristic experiment in self-contained living, the huge desert outpost is now managed by Columbia as an academic research center.

With giant glassed-in conservatories that house “biomes” ranging from tropical rainforest to savannah to coral reef, Biosphere 2 hosts visiting students from some thirty colleges and universities—now including Skidmore. Credit-bearing academic programs, taught by Columbia faculty, include the “Earth Semester” of four environmental science and policy courses; Biosphere also offers field work, astronomy study, and various research experiences.

After submitting a successful proposal to be allowed scientific access, biology professor David Domozych and his wife, Catherine, a senior teaching associate in biology, visited Biosphere in January to conduct a survey of the algae in the facility’s freshwater ecosystems. Along with a chance to study how algae populations respond to life under glass and in recycled water, the visit gave the Domozychs a first-hand look at Biosphere’s offerings for visiting students—from accommodations and campus services to research and learning opportunities.

“Our students should have a great time at Biosphere 2,” says David Domozych. “It’s quite a place—almost like entering another planet.” He expects the first Skidmore students to enroll at Biosphere next fall.

New leader for health service

Glenn Egelman is Skidmore’s new director of health services. A graduate of Colgate University, he holds an M.D. from the University of Rochester and is a board-certified internist. He replaces Sonia Kiszka, UWW ’91, who resigned in August.

Egelman has worked in college health for more than ten years, most recently at SUNY-Stony Brook and before that at the University of Rochester. He was also a member of the clinical faculty at the Stony Brook and Rochester schools of medicine. He is currently a board member and chair of clinical medicine for the American College Health Association, and he serves on the editorial board of the wellness magazine be—Balance Everything: life, love & learning.

At Skidmore Egelman supervises a staff of 12 full- and part-time employees who provide a wide range of primary and emergency care as well as health education.

Domestic partners covered

As of January 1, Skidmore College began offering health and other benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of its employees. In making the move, Skidmore joins a growing number of educational institutions across the state and nationwide to extend employee benefits to unmarried partners.

The plan, which was under review for more than a year, was strongly backed by Skidmore’s faculty and unanimously passed by the board of trustees. Because Skidmore has “a policy of nondiscrimination and fairness to all our employees,” President Jamienne S. Studley said, the college’s “leading motivation” was to provide equal benefits for gay and lesbian employees.

Like other such policies, Skidmore’s requires that couples have lived together for at least six months and that they show proof of shared financial and property arrangements. The benefits include health insurance, use of college facilities, family leave in case of illness, and tuition reimbursement. Children of domestic partners can also receive insurance and tuition coverage.

 


© 2001 Skidmore College