Uchenna Baker Named Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Thu, 17 May 2018TACOMA, Wash. – Uchenna Baker has been named the new vice president for student affairs and dean of students at University of Puget Sound, following an extensive and highly competitive national search. She will assume the position on July 17, 2018. Baker comes to Puget Sound from Elon University in North Carolina, where she currently serves as assistant dean of campus life and director of residence life. Her extensive experience in student life includes previous roles at University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Utica College (New York); and Rutgers University (New Jersey). She earned an M.Ed. in counseling psychology and a B.A. in English and sociology, both from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in educational policy with a focus on urban education through a joint program of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “Uchenna will bring excellent leadership skills, collaborative student affairs practices, and student-centered perspectives to our campus,” said Provost Kristine Bartanen. “We look forward to welcoming her to Puget Sound this summer, and working with her to continue to support student success at Puget Sound.” In her new role, Baker will be responsible for the overall vision and leadership for student affairs and will ensure coordination of programs and services, assessment, and planning. Reporting to the provost, she also will build partnerships and create more synergies with academic affairs colleagues to enhance the comprehensive student experience at Puget Sound. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, she will work closely with President Isiaah Crawford and play an integral role in the development and implementation of the liberal arts college’s new student-centered strategic plan.  “I am truly excited to join the University of Puget Sound,” Baker said. “This university is known for its commitment to student success and I am honored to be able to work alongside such a remarkable group of educators. I look forward to becoming part of an extraordinary leadership team and continuing Puget Sound’s great legacy as a college that changes lives.” Throughout her career Baker has served in numerous professional capacities, including as a teacher of college courses on leadership, research, and first-year seminars; and presenter at professional associations and workshops on topics including belonging, attachment, and identification at college; transformative leadership; academic-residential integration; democratic practices in the classroom; and student contributions to social justice, diversity, and inclusion. Baker joins Puget Sound during an exciting period in which the university draws an ever more accomplished and diverse student body from across the United States and abroad, and has engaged in new partnerships and initiatives to enhance the college as a welcoming and accessible place for students. These have included the Tacoma Public Schools Commitment, which meets the full demonstrated financial need of graduates from local high schools; the Access Programs Cohort Initiative, which supports the college aspirations of first-generation and underrepresented students who take part in the college’s Access Programs; the introduction of a test-optional admission policy; and a partnership with The Posse Foundation. Press photos of Uchenna Baker can be downloaded from Tweet this: Welcome! Uchenna Baker, new vice president for student affairs @univpugetsound! #highered #college Follow us on Twitter!

University of Puget Sound Creates The Suzanne Wilson Barnett Chair of Contemporary China Studies
Wed, 02 May 2018College strengthens its reputation as a center of excellence for the study of China; New chair honors professor emerita of history TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound is excited to announce the establishment of The Suzanne Wilson Barnett Chair of Contemporary China Studies, a new endowed faculty position central to the college’s expansion of its Asian Studies Program. The creation of the new chair, named for Professor Emerita of History Suzanne Wilson Barnett, is a major step in Puget Sound’s strategy to strengthen its reputation as a center for excellence in the study of contemporary China, building on decades of scholarly interaction and partnerships with universities in the Pacific Rim. “The new chair and the enhanced focus on China will grow Puget Sound’s international reputation in the interdisciplinary study of Asian societies, where we already excel,” said Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford. “Faculty and students across a range ofdisciplines will gain new opportunities for research abroad, for creating transpacific partnerships, and for establishing themselves as authorities in a dynamic and thriving region that is growing at more than twice the rate of the United States. It is an exciting time in the Pacific Rim and an important moment in the history of Puget Sound.” An international search for the new chair was announced today at a special Asian Studies Celebration in Trimble Hall, where Asian studies faculty, students, and staff; senior administrators; and others involved in the new venture gathered. Suzanne Wilson Barnett taught at Puget Sound from 1973 to 2007 and was a central figure in the launch of the Asian Studies Program more than 40 years ago. She served as its director from 1974 to 1989. A Harvard University graduate, exceptional teacher, and respected scholar, she shared her enthusiasm for Chinese history and for disciplined, effective writing with hundreds of students throughout her distinguished career at Puget Sound. In 2002 Barnett was selected as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Washington Professor of the Year, an award given by Carnegie and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and in 2006 she was awarded the college’s Walter Lowrie Sustained Service Award. She has held leadership positions in several national historical and Asian studies organizations and remains an active and popular figure around campus. Barnett earned her bachelor's degree in history and German from Muskingum College in Ohio, and at Harvard earned both a master's degree in East Asian studies and a doctorate in history and East Asian languages. She is co-editor of Asia in the Undergraduate Curriculum: A Case for Asian Studies in Liberal Arts Education (Routledge, 2000) and of Christianity in China (Harvard University Press, 1985). Provost Kristine Bartanen said the expansion of Puget Sound’s Asian Studies Program will further enhance students’ experiences, including through a growing array of high-impact learning opportunities. “Our scholarly interactions with Asia are already at a high level, with faculty exchange programs, research trips, our signature nine-month Pacific Rim Study Abroad Program, culture and language studies in Chinese and Japanese, and the Asian field schools that provide a myriad of on-site experiential-based learning opportunities in multiple countries in Asia,” Bartanen said. “The faculty member hired into the new chair will help to carry these efforts forward and prepare our students for potential international careers or for service at home, underpinned by a solid understanding of contemporary China.” The Suzanne Wilson Barnett Chair of Contemporary China Studies has been established through a gift from The Trimble Foundation. The Trimble Foundation and Trimble family, which have long-standing personal connections to China, have made numerous gifts to Puget Sound, supporting student scholarships, faculty exchanges, visiting scholars, and capital projects critical to the college’s educational mission. Press photos of Suzanne Wilson Barnett can be downloaded from Photo on page: Suzanne Wilson Barnett, by Ross Mulhausen Tweet this: New endowed chair @univpugetsound for contemporary studies of #China is named for Prof. Emerita Suzanne Wilson Barnett. #LoggerPride in our growing center of excellence for #Chinastudies in the #PacificNorthwest. Follow us on Twitter!

Mellon $800,000 Grant Propels Experiential Learning
Wed, 18 Apr 2018Puget Sound will expand its summer internship program and launch ePortfolios TACOMA, Wash. – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded University of Puget Sound $800,000 to implement a transformative strategy that will ensure all undergraduates take part in meaningful, high-impact learning experiences. The four-year Engaging High Impact Experiences grant carries forward recent Puget Sound work to create and pilot new internship models and to implement experiential educational practices across the curriculum. This effort will now expand to include all sophomores in the Reflective Immersive Sophomore Experience (RISE) program that encourages students to connect their liberal arts education to a career environment. It also will progressively engage all students on campus in using ePortfolios—online showcases of their knowledge, skills, and growth.  “At Puget Sound we believe a liberal arts education must continually transform itself as it engages new generations of young people and helps them become global citizens who are creative, analytical, system-thinkers, and strong and effective communicators who can apply all they learn to their careers and personal lives,” said Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford. “The Mellon Foundation’s ongoing support for our high-impact learning initiatives is generous and farsighted, and will benefit not only our students, but the communities and industries they will serve.” The Mellon Foundation supported Puget Sound’s formative work on a range of experiential learning projects over the past three years with a $250,000 award in 2015. Another $100,000 discretionary presidential grant was directed by President Crawford toward RISE, which engages sophomores in internships and ePortfolios. Three years ago Professor Renee Houston began leading a new wave of experiential learning under the direction of Provost Kristine Bartanen. Along with faculty and staff advisors, Houston, now associate dean for experiential learning and civic scholarship, is setting the course to integrate these creative learning practices more broadly into the university curriculum, culture, and student cocurricular activities. Space has already been created in the curriculum for more internship courses, project-based education, community-based learning, and other activities. In December 2017 new RISE Program Manager Nicole Kendrick began work on the sophomore-focused internship program. Students enrolled in RISE earn academic credit for a course that encourages career exploration and optimizes prospects for students to find fulfilling post-graduate employment. RISE launched in 2018 with 100 sophomores, and incremental expansion is planned. Last year Puget Sound piloted ePortfolio, a student’s record of learning documented through text, photos, videos, documents, charts, presentations, and/or audio. The tool encourages students to showcase academic work; to share skills, interests, and projects; and to reflect upon the education journey.  In each successive year of the Mellon grant, starting from fall 2018, the entering first-year class will be immersed in experiential learning that they will engage with through ePortfolio. The ultimate aim is for all students to take part in high-impact educational practices.   The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been a generous supporter of Puget Sound, backing efforts such as internationalizing the curriculum for the Environmental Policy and Decision Making Program; development of a Latina/o Studies Program; creating new humanities and honors program initiatives; connecting students’ academic and cocurricular lives through residential seminars; and providing junior faculty sabbaticals. Photos on page: From top right: A student does biology lab work; Professor Amy Spivey and Lillis Scholar Jordan Fonseca '18 work on a multi-campus solar project; students on a geology trip; students visit Indonesia as part of the LIASE Asian Field Schools initiative. Tweet this: Visionary Mellon Foundation awards @univpugetsound $800,000 for more high-impact #experientiallearning. Thank you @MellonFdn ! Follow us on Twitter!

2018 Senior Art Show
Thu, 19 Apr 2018April 25–May 13; Kittredge Gallery TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound’s Kittredge Gallery opens its annual Senior Art Show Wednesday, April 25, with a reception starting at 5 p.m.    The Class of 2018 exhibiting artists include: Kiri Bolles, Megan Breiter, Ian Chandler, Stephanie Clement, Sam Crookston Herschlag, Walker Edison, Ally Hembree, Emily Katz, Sequoia Leech-Kritchman, Monica Patterson, Jarrett Prince, and Mairan Smith. The Senior Art Show is Puget Sound’s annual exhibit of studio-based senior thesis projects by studio art majors. This year’s 12 seniors have produced a diverse collection of work, addressing themes such as vulnerability, identity, relationships, environment, and craft. The artists’ theses, individually and collectively, exemplify many of the university’s core values as a liberal arts institution, including a rich knowledge of self and others, aesthetic appreciation, and intellectual curiosity. On the whole, the show encourages viewers to consider one’s place—whether that be within one’s own body and identity, within a global community, or any space in-between. The show is the culmination of the 12 artists’ undergraduate work at Puget Sound, and collectively represents thousands of hours of dedication, discovery, learning, and honing of craft. The exhibition opens with a public reception in Kittredge Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend the free event. Kittredge Gallery serves as a teaching tool for the Department of Art and Art History, and as a cultural resource for both the university and the community at large, exhibiting work by noted regional and national artists. Exhibits and talks are free and open to the public. Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 25, 5–7 p.m., Kittredge Gallery Gallery Location: University of Puget Sound, N. 15th Street at N. Lawrence Street, Tacoma, Wash. Directions and Map: Regular Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday, noon–5 p.m.  Website: Newsletter: Signup here For accessibility information please contact or 253.879.3931, or visit PRESS PHOTOS are available upon request.

New Book by Hans Ostrom and William T. Haltom
Tue, 10 Apr 2018Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” in the Age of Pseudocracy; TACOMA, Wash. – The co-authors of a new book about George Orwell’s iconic Politics and the English Language would have it that we readers completely missed the point. Hans Ostrom and William T. Haltom tell us that we have been dangerously distracted, with our mean smiles and guffaws at Orwell’s mockery of the language of bureaucrats, politicians, and others that we hate. They tell us that this 1946 essay that teachers hope will rid us of sloppy and decadent language has a far more ominous message. A good look around today suggests that the two University of Puget Sound professors who wrote Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” in the Age of Pseudocracy (Routledge, March 2018) may be right. They argue that our focus on Orwell’s tips for good writing “detracts from Orwell’s most terrifying and compelling general portents. Politicos misuse language to make lies sound truthful and murders seem respectable.” Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” in the Age of Pseudocracy is written by Professors Hans Ostrom, published poet, novelist, and professor of English; and William T. Haltom, the writer behind three books and professor of politics and government. Their aim, they say, is to rescue Orwell’s obscured major point: “that politics corrupts language, which then corrupts political discourse further, and so on.” It is this—the corruption of power, position, and prominence—that Orwell wants us to pay attention to. Our age is described by the authors as a pseudocracy—meaning that shams, pretenses, and mendacity dominate political language and public discourse on politics. They blame public relations, political image-makers, consumer culture, mass education, and mass media for widespread apathy, inattention, and sensationalism. It is enough to make you worry. The highly engaging and readable book goes further than just analyzing Orwell’s intent, secreting his wisdom, and mourning his limitations. The authors ambitiously try to rescue today’s “credulous audiences, who expect fantasies and abhor facts” and the increasingly distrustful audiences who no longer know what to believe. They attempt to pull us out of this quicksand by transforming Orwell’s diagnoses and prescriptions into resources for a 21st-century audience. Our rescue, however, is one we have to work for. They propose actions we can take: from analyzing if you yourself are an easy target, to checking for references and factuality, to avoiding sound bites, to demanding that content providers check sources’ veracity, to teaching students to battle mendacity. Their implorations are brutal, they use humor like a knife and language like the weapon they want us all to wield. They write, “We exhort readers to zealously, jealously guard the ideas and inferences that they deem knowledge and, when in doubt, push propositions back into the zone of opinion.” It is a good battle, it is an important battle, and what can I say: Read this book. Hans Ostrom is professor of African American Studies at University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Wash). Previous publications include A Langston Hughes Encyclopedia; Honoring Juanita: a Novel; and Metro: Journeys in Creative Writing, written with Wendy Bishop and Katharine Haake. With J. David Macey, he edited the five-volume The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature. He taught as a Fulbright senior lecturer at Uppsala University in Sweden and also taught at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, in Germany. William T. Haltom, professor of politics and government at University of Puget Sound, teaches courses in politics and law. He is author of Reporting on the Courts: How the Mass Media Cover Judicial Actions. He is co-author of Distorting the Law (Chicago 2004) and "The Laws of God, the Laws of Man: Power, Authority, and Influence in ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ " in Legal Studies Forum (1998). Press photos of the authors and the book cover can be downloaded from on page: From top right: Book cover; George Orwell at the BBC, 1940 (public domain photo); the two authors Tweet this: Politics corrupts language; Language corrupts politics. New book by @univpugetsound profs Hans Ostrom, William Haltom rethinks #Orwell intent in “Orwell: ‘Politics and the #English Language’ in the Age of Pseudocracy.” Follow us on Twitter!

Egg-Laying Lizards: Bad Parents? Or Hidden Helpers?
Thu, 05 Apr 2018National Science Foundation funds work by Puget Sound biologist and microbiologist TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound behavioral ecologist Stacey Weiss and microbiologist Mark Martin have been awarded $731,000 by the National Science Foundation to research the habits of egg-laying lizards and find out whether microbes may make them better parents than we think. It’s an oddity of the natural world that most egg-laying reptiles—with the exception of crocodiles, some turtles, skinks, and selected other species—do not provide parental care to their eggs. In other species, egg-tending is crucial to protect eggs from risks such as pathogens in the soil and air that can kill developing embryos. And yet many female reptiles abandon their eggs after they are laid. How the embryos survive deadly bacterial and fungal threats remains unexplained. Stacey Weiss, professor of biology, and Mark Martin, associate professor of biology, have a hypothesis that a female lizard may transfer protective microbes from her reproductive system to the eggshell surface when she lays an egg. This idea is supported by work so far showing that eggs of the Southwestern U.S. striped plateau lizard, Sceloporus virgatus, have higher success in hatching if they are laid by the mother than if they are surgically removed without contacting the birth canal, called the cloaca. Females of this species lay their eggs in soil nests at the beginning of the summer monsoon season, when fungal growth peaks. For two months, the eggs get no parental care or egg-tending, and in September the hatchlings emerge. Through a combination of field work, next-generation gene sequencing, bioinformatics, and culture-based studies, Weiss and Martin aim to test their hypothesis using Sceloporus lizards. Their NSF project, titled “Antifungal protection of eggs by maternal cloacal microbiota” will run over five years and will involve more than a dozen Puget Sound undergraduates, plus students from Tucson Magnet High School in Arizon. “During the past two decades, science has uncovered the centrality of microbes throughout the biosphere, even relating to issues of animal development and health,” Martin said. “The idea that cloacal microbes in lizards might in fact protect eggs against infection by pathogens is fascinating in terms of basic biology, and potentially could lead to the discovery of new antimicrobial therapies.” Weiss spent her 2017-18 sabbatical in Arizona, where she sought out and studied Sceloporus lizards in the creek beds and plateaus of the oak-juniper forest in the Madrean Sky Islands—mountain “islands” surrounded by “seas” of lowland desert. Once the time of egg-laying arrives, Weiss and her students will study the transfer of the female’s cloacal microbiome onto eggshells. They also will measure the hatching success of eggs with and without the benefit of these maternally transmitted microbes. “After this initial documentation work, we will examine how these proposed beneficial microbes affect behavioral interactions among lizards,” said Weiss, the principal investigator. “We expect that females vary in their microbiomes, and some will have better protective function than others. “If so, do females advertise this fact via chemical or visual cues? Do males pay attention and invest more in the courtship of more egg-protective females? These questions can only be answered using interdisciplinary approaches, and we are incredibly excited about what we will learn from working at the interface of behavioral ecology and microbiology.” Weiss says the researchers’ work will later be extended to other species. For example, they may compare populations with different levels of pathogen risks, and compare species that lay eggs with species that give live birth. “Such comparative work allows us to address broader evolutionary questions about this phenomenon,” Weiss said. Martin and his students will use culture-based and DNA-focused approaches to more fully examine the antifungal capabilities of the mother’s microbes. This work is critical to understanding the mechanisms by which these microbes fight off infection from soil pathogens and thus enhance offspring survival. Others involved in the research and mentoring include A. Elizabeth Arnold, professor in the School of Plant Sciences at University of Arizona, and Margaret Wilch, biology teacher at Tucson M