Tag Archive | "Civic Arts"

Maltese Ambassador visits Tusculum, meets with students

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Maltese Ambassador visits Tusculum, meets with students

Posted on 27 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Malta’s Ambassador to the United States visited the Tusculum College campus at the end of March.

Alumni, friends and special guests of the College were greeted at the entrance to the Thomas J. Garland Library by, from left, Dr. Ken Bowman ’70, chair of the Tusculum Board of Trustees; his wife, Jo Ellen; Dr. Bruce Shine ’60, a former member of the board of trustees; his wife, Betsy; Maltese Ambassador to the U.S., Mark Miceli; Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum, and her husband, Tom Moody.

Ambassador Mark Miceli was the guest of honor at a reception on Sunday, March 27, for the international photography exhibit, “Malta’s Magnificent Megalithic Monuments,” which was displayed in the Thomas J. Garland Library lobby during the month of March. The photographic exhibit featured a photographic study of the Mediterranean island nation”s prehistoric temples and artifacts, the work of artist Daniel Cilia.

Ambassador Miceli also spent time sharing about Malta’s history and its role in the European Union with students on Monday, March 28.

The college is appreciative of the assistance of or Dr. and Mrs. D. Bruce Shine of Kingsport for coordinating the loan of this exhibit to Tusculum. Dr. Shine is a 1960 graduate of Tusculum College and a 15-year member of its Board of Trustees and former Chairman of the Board.

Ambassador Miceli gave a presentation to students about Malta's history and its place in the European Union.

Dr. Shine and his wife, Betsy, have developed close ties with the country of Malta through Shine’s years teaching at the International Maritime Law Institute and coordinated not only the loan of the exhibit, but also the ambassador’s visit.

The exhibit and visit also garnered Tusculum some publicity in Malta. An article about the exhibit was posted on Malta’s U.S. Embassy website . The exhibit is now on display in California.

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Tusculum College class continues work to rehabilitate New Hope Cemetery

Posted on 27 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

The Greene County Heritage Trust has recognized the effort to rehabilitate the New Hope Cemetery with a Special Award of Merit. From left are representatives of groups and individuals involved in the rehabilitation effort: John Mays, moderator of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church; Randi Nott; Tammy Greene, pastor of Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church; Gene Maddox, member of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church; Joyce Doughty, director of the Center for Civic Advancement and Robin Fife, assistant professor of social science.

Historic New Hope Cemetery continues to emerge with the continuing work to rehabilitate the only remnants of what was once an African-American church and school in the Tusculum community.

The cemetery now looks very different and a database has been created about the individuals buried in the cemetery due to the recent efforts of a service-learning class at Tusculum College. The class was taught by Robin Fife, assistant professor of social science.

Located near the intersection of Oak Grove and Old Shiloh roads in what is now a residential area, the cemetery was at the site of what had been the New Hope Presbyterian Church and an affiliated school, established by former slaves following the Civil War. The church had ties to Tusculum. In 1869, the Rev. William Witherspoon Doak, then president of Tusculum College, was appointed by the Holston Presbytery to serve as an itinerant missionary, and as such, preached at the church. Tusculum students have been involved with the cemetery’s clean-up and rehabilitation since its rediscovery about eight years ago.

When students learned that the focus of the course would be the rehabilitation of the cemetery, some said they were surprised and doubtful that they would be able to do much of significance.

Discovering how much can be done through a focused effort in a short amount of time is one of the lessons students in the class say they learned from their experiences.   The students were able to accomplish a great deal from beautifying the cemetery to creating a database of individuals buried in the cemetery that will aid in genealogical and historic research. The students also created a grid of the cemetery, mapping out and recording the location of the tombstones and other features of the cemetery. One group created family trees for some of the individuals buried in the cemetery, while another researched the best practices for preserving the tombstones and then put them into practice in cleaning lichen from the markers.

One group sought donations for the rehabilitation process and made recommendations of how the New Hope Cemetery Committee can possibly raise funds for the cemetery’s continued rehabilitation and its maintenance in the future. Another group recorded the progress of the class and made sure that the groups were communicating to ensure efforts were coordinated. The class members gave a presentation about their efforts Wednesday, April 6, which was attended by a number of community members, including members of the New Hope Cemetery Committee.

Tusculum student Alex McKay, from Chattanooga, plays “Amazing Grace” at the conclusion of a presentation by a service-learning class about its work in New Hope Cemetery.

The class members divided into small groups to take on individual projects that involved their interests and talents. Class member Tom Salinas, from Brownsville, Texas, said that the students were not presented with a specific project to complete. “We had a problem, and we came up with our own projects and solutions,” he said. “Overall, it was a really wonderful experience.”

Clare McBeth of Martin said she learned that a small group can make a difference. “When we all got together and worked hard, we saw things can be changed.”

Other students spoke of the challenging nature of the project and a sense of accomplishment that came after a project was completed. “I like challenges,” said Donayle Watson of Elizabethton. “We had a challenge, and it was doing something to help the community.”

Charles Shrewsbury of Stanton, Va., recalled visiting cemeteries as he accompanied his father on family genealogical searches and said it was rewarding to be able to do something to help family members of those buried in the New Hope Cemetery have access to the cemetery.  “Family relationships are important,” he said. “No one should be forgotten.”

The group that undertook the cleaning of the cemetery did plenty of that type of work, such as raking up leaves that filled 13 large trash bags. But, they also worked to make the cemetery a more attractive place for visitors by refinishing and repainting three benches that are now providing a place to sit and reflect in the cemetery. The benches were donated to the cemetery through one of the students in the class. The students also built a bridge over the deep ditch between the edge of the road and the entrance into the cemetery.

This group also made some discoveries as they worked. The students uncovered a set of steps at the back of the cemetery that may have led to either the church or the school.

The plotting and mapping group created a grid of the cemetery, using string and stakes to divide the cemetery into four foot by four foot squares. The group then recorded everything located in the squares to create a blueprint and map of the cemetery.

A related group researched the best practices in conserving the tombstones and compiled a list of “do’s and don’ts” for those who would be working in the cemetery in the future.  The group put what they learned into practice, beginning the process of cleaning lichen from some of the markers.

Another group recorded the names of those found on the tombstones, which began their research into who was buried in the cemetery. Researching death certificates, cemetery lists and other information, the students were able to compile a database of individuals buried in the cemetery, listing names, birth and death dates, occupations and causes of death as possible. In their research, the students found the names of 54 persons who may be buried at the cemetery. The students said based on the information they found,  they are almost certain 43 of the 54 are buried in the cemetery, thirty of which are in marked graves and 13 in unmarked.

The group found one person with a Tusculum College connection – Aaron Gudger who was a janitor at the college prior to his death as a result of a car accident.

Another group researched various families whose members are buried in the cemetery and created family trees for those families. The students researched census, birth, death and other records and contacted family members to learn more about the families.

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Tusculum College students explore significant Renaissance and Reformation sites in Italy and Germany

Posted on 26 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Dr. Joel Van Amberg, assistant professor of history, shares information about this square in Florence with a group of Tusculum students which visited significant sites in Italy and Germany during a European tour.

The Reformation and the Renaissance became more than concepts in a textbook for a group of Tusculum College students who discovered the art and architecture of the periods in a recent trip to Italy and Germany.

The group of Tusculum students were primarily students in a “Cultural and Literary Heritage of the West” course that includes study of the Reformation and Renaissance. The students shared their experiences on the March trip during a presentation April 18.

“It is amazing for the students to see in person what they would later be seeing in the textbook,” said Dr. Nancy Thomas, associate professor of English, one of the professors that accompanied the students and teaches the Humanities course.

As an instructor, the trip also had benefits, Thomas said. The Reformation and Martin Luther are two of the significant topics covered in the Humanities course, she noted. “Going to Germany, seeing the places he had been and going to his museum fleshed him out. He is real to me now.”

Dr. Joel Van Amberg, assistant professor of history who also accompanied the students, encouraged those at the presentation to travel abroad. “You will learn things you didn’t anticipate and be stretched in ways that you did not expect,” he said. “The unexpected is the most exciting thing of foreign travel, the broad range of experiences you get when you go abroad.”

The trip began in Rome, where the students visited such sites as the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon and the Circus Maximus. “The most amazing part of Rome is the architecture,” said Marcus Taylor, an English major from Kodak, Tenn. “You can’t imagine what it is like until you are actually there.”

At the museum at the Vatican, the students were able to see masterpieces of the art in various forms. “One of the things that amazed me was the tapestries, the sheer magnitude of them,” said Ben Sneyd, an English major from Unicoi, Tenn. “You can look at them in a book, but you will never understand about the size or magnitude and never really see the detail and understand the work that must have gone into them until you see them.”

The students’ next destination was Florence, where they continued to explore the art and architecture of the Renaissance. One of the sites they noted was the Florence Baptistry where the saw Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, two solid bronze doors containing panels with intricately designed illustrations of events from the Old Testament.

Traveling on an overnight train, the students headed to Germany and Wittenberg, which was very different than what they had experienced in Italy. “Rome and Florence were big cities and then we get off the train in Germany at a stop with just some gravel and a bench,” said William Hogg, a political science major from Pikeville, Ky. “Wittenberg was a very quaint town.”

The students noted that Germany was cleaner than the Italian cites and the people were more friendly.

In visiting the various sites related to Martin Luther, Isiah Lyman said they were able to see how he grew as a person through the various stages of his life.

Tusculum student Isiah Lyman prepares to take notes about the display of armor in one of the rooms of Coburg castle in Germany.

While in Germany, the students also visited Coburg where they able to visit a castle. “It was amazing to see a castle up close and see the way it looked,” said Lyman, a history major from Boiling Springs, S.C.

One of the rooms in the castle had a display of weapons with a wide variety of swords and the cannons and ammunition used to defend the castle walls, said Codie Fleming, a political science major from Washington, Ga.

Dr. Thomas, Dr. Van Amberg and the students expressed their appreciation for those who had made the trip possible at the college and the travel professionals who found them clean and comfortable youth hostels to stay in along the journey.

International trips are in the planning stages for the next academic year, said Dr. Geir Bergvin, director of Tusculum’s Center for Global Studies. Planned are trips to Ecuador and Spain, a fall trip to London and service-learning trip to Belize.

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Stokes serving as president of Tennessee Association of Special Programs

Posted on 21 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Jeanne Stokes

Jeanne Stokes, director of the TRIO programs at Tusculum College, is serving as president of the Tennessee Association of Special Programs (TASP).

Stokes was installed as president of the organization on Feb. 28, during the regional meeting of TRIO professionals. She will serve a two-year term.

As president, Stokes will preside at all meetings of the association and make all appointments to both standing and special committees with the advice and consent of the organization’s Executive Board. The president of the organization also serves as a board member of the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP).

TASP was established in 1973 to bring together those persons who have an active interest in broadening access to postsecondary education to low-income and first generation individuals in Tennessee. The TRIO programs, which Tusculum hosts, are federally funded initiatives that provide educational and enrichments programs and resources to encourage middle and high school students who would be first-general college students and/or whose families meet income requirements to continue their education after high school. The TRIO programs also provide similar support services to college students.

Stokes has been involved in the Tusculum TRIO Programs for 20 years at Tusculum, joining the staff as coordinator for the Talent Search program. She has been an instructor at Tusculum and Warren Wilson colleges and also worked as a teacher at Concord Middle School and EastView Elementary. At Tusculum, she also serves as a member of the Judicial Review Board, the Quality Enhancement Plan Steering Committee and as an advisor for students.

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Tusculum class makes donation to CHIPS domestic violence shelter, hosts Women’s Fair on campus

Posted on 13 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

A Tusculum College class presented a donation to the CHIPS (Change Is Possible) organization on Wednesday, April 6, following its studies and activities focusing on gender issues.

Students in Dr. Angela Keaton’s “Theory and Practice of Citizenship” course hosted a Women’s Fair on Monday and Tuesday, April 4 and 5, in the Niswonger Commons to provide information about these issues. As part of the Women’s Fair, one group of students from the class hosted an unique bake sale to highlight the gender pay gap. The proceeds from the bake sale were donated to the CHIPS program, which is dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse. Keaton is an assistant professor of history and director of the Honors Program at Tusculum.

To help illustrate differences between pay for men and women, the students sold baked goods at different prices, $1 to males and 75 cents to females. The packaging for the baked goods also contained information about gender pay issues.


As part of the Women’s Fair, another group of students collected a large box full of old wireless phones and accessories to donate to HopeLine, Verizon Wireless’ program that works to prevent domestic violence and raise awareness about the issue. The HopeLine program has awarded more than $7.9 million in grants to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country and has distributed more than 90,000 phones with the equivalent of more than 300 million minutes of free wireless service to victims of domestic violence.

A third group of students developed interactive activities for the Women’s Fair to provide information about women’s heart health.

Following the presentation of the donation, Carolyn McAmis, the executive director of CHIPS, talked to the students about the organization’s service. The CHIPS organization provides a free, confidential and safe shelter to victims of domestic abuse in Carter, Greene and Unicoi counties. In addition, the organization provides individual and group counseling, case planning and referral to appropriate support services and criminal justice/legal advocacy for help through the legal process.

While CHIPS receives grant funds for operating expenses and revenue from its thrift store in Unicoi County, McAmis said, donations such as the one from the Tusculum students are also important to provide for special needs of those it serves.

She explained that some victims leave an abusive situation with only the clothes they are wearing, some have had to leave essential medications or have had a pair of glasses broken by their abuser, and CHIPS helps provide for those and similar needs.



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Confucius Institute representatives visit Tusculum to discuss potential partnerships

Posted on 23 March 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Representatives the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis visited the Tusculum College campus to discuss potential partnering opportunities for students and faculty at the college. The group was in town to meet with officials at the Greeneville City School System, with which they already have developed partnership programs, said Dr. Kim Estep, academic vice president at Tusculum College.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis promotes understanding of the Chinese language and culture among the people of the United States, develops friendly relations between the two countries, accelerates the expansion of multiculturalism and provides opportunities for students studying the Chinese language. “We asked to have an exploratory meeting to discuss future partnerships with Tusculum College, particularly in the areas of language and culture classes and travel opportunities,” said Estep.

The group met on the Greeneville main campus and gave the Tusculum representatives a presentation on what they do and what kinds of partnership they have already developed with other institutions, including the Greeneville City School System. Also joining the group was Tusculum College alumnus Noah Wagner. Wagner, a 1951 graduate, has long been interested in strengthening the foreign language program at Tusculum College, as his business and language background at the school has been key to his successes throughout the years.

“I think after our discussions we really feel there are two main areas where a partnership might develop with the Confucius Institution,” said Estep. Those areas include the possibility of offering Chinese language and culture courses to students not only on the residential campus, but potentially through the Graduate and Professional Studies program as well.

“The discussions went really well, and we are continuing to explore paths to implementation,” said Estep. “We are opening up dialogue now with faculty to see about incorporating some of the ideas discussed into existing courses in our curricula.” She added the further discussions will be held in the upcoming weeks and a teleconference with representatives of the college’s Center for Global Studies Advisory Council and representatives of the Business Administration Department is being planned.

“We look forward to partnering with the faculty, students and staff at Tusculum College to provide Chinese language and cultural classes and programs independently and through interdisciplinary means as well,” said Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis.

“We are committed to providing a global, world-class education to students as young as two up to ninety-two,” said Riki Jackson, assistant director of the Confucius Institute. “Our commitment is to reach as many students as possible at the preschool, K-12, collegiate and post-collegiate level as well as in the business community from the far southwest corner of the state all the way to the far northeast corner of Tennessee. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to explore a partnership with the wonderful students and faculty at Tusculum College.”


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