February 2007


The Horizontal University . . .
John Contreni

This semester I have the great delight of meeting with a dozen bright undergraduate students in a one-credit course, "Readings with the Dean." We meet every Monday afternoon to discuss Tom Friedman's bestseller, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2006). Friedman's ironic title and his even more ironic subtitle (the book is 569 pages "brief" and the century had 94 more years to go when he completed it) betray his craft as a leading journalist and also point to a fundamental turning point in our global society. In a relatively brief period, since the early 1990s, political, social, and technological change have rapidly come together to flatten our world.

When I read the first edition of the book (published in 2005), I wondered what the implications of the new, flat world were for higher education. Interestingly, Friedman notes that he prepared the second, "updated and expanded" 2006 edition, in part to respond to parents who often asked him, "O.K., Mr. Friedman, thank you for telling us that the world is flat — now what do I tell my kids?"

As our Monday afternoon group makes its way through The World is Flat, we're trying to answer that question for ourselves.

Two weeks ago we explored the implications of what Friedman calls "horizontalization." His examples largely came from the worlds of business and commerce, but how will higher education be affected by increasingly horizontal collaborations?

Surprisingly, as the students responded, we realized that the world of higher education is already flattening. On-line courses offer students the opportunities to earn credits toward Purdue degrees from other colleges and universities. Study abroad courses at international universities provide the same opportunities with the added benefit of providing valuable experience in another culture. And as faculty research increasingly becomes collaborative, multi-institutional, and international, one can't help but wonder about the future of degrees from specific academic programs in specific colleges and universities.

In a flat world, the future may only be five to ten years away. Already, the "Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region" in 1997 established a framework for "academic mobility" among its signatory parties. In a flat world, the future of education will belong to those who can navigate an academically mobile world.


John J. Contreni
Justin S. Morrill Dean


Professor's memoir recalls life as an immigrant girl

A new memoir from a Purdue University English professor shares her story about growing up a Vietnamese immigrant in the Midwest in the 1980s and how she tried to be "more American" by consuming snack food, pop culture, and music.

Bich Minh Nguyen

Stealing Buddha's Dinner (Viking Penguin, $24.95) is written by Bich Minh Nguyen, an assistant professor of English. Nguyen's family left Vietnam in April 1975 when she was 8 months old. The family eventually relocated to Grand Rapids, Mich., where Nguyen grew up surrounded by images of the idealized blonde-haired American girl.

Her stories are about trying to fit in with American children, especially by eating American junk food, such as Pringles, bubble gum and Hostess cupcakes, instead of the traditional Vietnamese fare that her grandmother made.

"I think I had this fear that eating too much Vietnamese food would keep me from becoming American," Nguyen said. "I knew every commercial jingle because I was obsessed with American food... and with trying not to be different." More

Theatre students honored at national competition

Students in Purdue's Division of Theatre recently received awards at the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Milwaukee to recognize acting, directing and design.

"Our theatre students, who include actors, directors and various designers, are extremely dedicated and devote many hours to their craft," said Russ Jones, division chair of Purdue Theatre and design and technology chair for Region III of the Kennedy Center festival.

"Participating in this annual event gives students a chance to showcase their talents in a creative atmosphere that fosters further learning and development. Our group did extremely well this year, and all of their hard work over the past year certainly has paid off." More

Television can sour relationships on Valentine's Day

Turning off the television may be the best gift to give your sweetheart on Valentine's Day, says a Purdue University expert on the effects of mass media.

Glenn Sparks

"Some forms of technology, such as cell phones or e-mail, can help relationships survive long distances or busy schedules," says Glenn Sparks, a professor of Communication and mass media effects expert. "But other uses, such as chronic television watching, can affect how people communicate in relationships or even keep people from making friends."

For example, while watching TV or a movie might be a fun thing to do together, too much television can interfere with getting to know someone or maintaining a relationship.

"There may be programs we like to watch together, and this is good, but there is a concern that a television that is always on interferes with how we communicate," Sparks says. More

Expert: Super Bowl match-up divided some Hoosiers

For Hoosiers living in the northern part of the state, this year's Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears Super Bowl game generated significant interest, but it also produced conflicted feelings, says a Purdue professor who specializes in U.S. sports history.

"The Bears used to have a training facility in Rensselaer," says History professor Randy Roberts. "Before the Colts came to Indianapolis in the 1980s, the city didn't have an NFL team to call its own, so a lot of people rooted for Chicago. Many of those loyalties undoubtedly hold true today."

Roberts says that while most Hoosiers now consider the Colts Indiana's team, in far northern Indiana, many consider themselves part of Chicago. In southern parts of the state, like Evansville, fans tend to have historic allegiances to teams in the south, he says. More

Audiology group offers hearing test for legislators

The Purdue Audiology Student Organization visited the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Jan. 30 to offer hearing screenings to the 150 members of the Indiana General Assembly.

"Hearing loss can be stressful, and hearing is important for legislators, who spend a good part of their time in meetings and listening to constituents," said Robert E. Novak, interim head of Purdue's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

"We hope that in the process of providing this screening to the legislators and helping them better understand their own hearing abilities that we can also help them understand how hearing loss can affect Indiana residents across the life span, infants through older adults, and their families." More

Free screenings test speech, language and hearing

Purdue University's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences offered free screenings performed by clinical instructors and graduate students from the M.D. Steer Audiology and Speech-Language Clinics. The speech, language and hearing screenings on Feb. 8 were open to members of the public and university community age 18 or older.

Barbara Solomon, director of the speech-language clinics and a clinical professor of speech and language, said the 15-minute screenings could prove especially helpful during this time of year.

"People who have a cold have frequently irritated their vocal cords, resulting in a hoarse or breathy voice," Solomon said. "If they repetitively use their voices during their occupations — such as teachers or singers would — they may clear their throats often, aggravating the problem. The irritation may not go away without proper evaluation." More

Visual Design for Democracy expert speaks at Purdue

A University of Illinois graphic design professor who also instructs government officials on how to improve their public information materials spoke at Purdue University on Jan. 26.

Marcia Lausen presented findings from her forthcoming book Design for Democracy: Election Design. The event was sponsored by the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Lausen uses the confusing design of the "butterfly" ballot used in Florida in the November 2000 election as a demonstration of how poor design choices can adversely affect the function of a democracy. More

Buzznell elected president of communication organization

A Purdue professor has been chosen as president-elect select of the world's largest international association devoted to scholarly research in communication.

Patrice Buzzanell, a professor of Communication, begins her six-year term with the International Communication Association this spring. She is the first Purdue professor to be elected president of this research-oriented organization that has more than 3,500 members in 65 countries.

Buzzanell is known for her research in career, leadership and gender issues, especially in mothering, maternity and work-family management. Her most recent work looks at fathers. More

CLA tops fundraising goal

As of Jan. 31, the College of Liberal Arts has exceeded its overall campaign fundraising goal of $39.3 million. So far, the college has raised $39.55 million. The overall campaign figures breaks down as follows:

Scholarships: $7.6 million raised, exceeding the $5.6 million goal.

Facilities: $13 million raised, exceeding the $12 million goal.

Faculty: $2.6 million raised; the goal is $4.5 million.

Programs: $7.4 million raised, exceeding the $7 million goal.

Unrestricted: $8.79 million raised; the goal is $10.2 million.

For fiscal year 2006-07, $3.928 million has been raised toward the $5 million goal. As of Jan. 31, the following amounts have been raised for the fiscal year:

Scholarships: $1.9 million raised; the goal is $2 million.

Facilities: $210,836 raised; the goal is $500,000.

Faculty: $845,497 raised; the goal is $1.5 million

Programs: $322,023 raised; the goal is $400,000.

Unrestricted: $649,428 raised, exceeding the goal of $600,000.


Purdue Theatre stages Urinetown: The Musical

Purdue Theatre has launched the new year with the Tony award-winning comedy, Urinetown: The Musical from Feb. 16-25 in the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre located in the Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts.

Urinetown: The Musical
Evening performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22-24. Matinee performances will be at 3 p.m. Feb. 24-25. Katherine Burke will direct the production, with musical direction by Bill Barclay and choreography by Caley Milliken.

Creators Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis will transport viewers to an apocalyptic world where toilets are banned, water is scarce and public facilities are the only option for relief — that is, if citizens can afford to spare their pennies. More


Darren Dochuk, an assistant professor of History, has been appointed a visiting fellow for the next academic year at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. Dochuk's research interests focus on the rise of religious and political conservatism in post-World War II California and the Southwest.

Martin Beck Matustik, a professor of Philosophy, has been invited to give the Gannon lecture next year at Fordham University. The Gannon Lecture Series, which began in fall 1980, brings distinguished individuals to Fordham to deliver public lectures on topics of their expertise. It is named in honor of the Rev. Robert I. Gannon, president of Fordham from 1936-49.

– An article by S. Laurel Weldon, associate professor of Political Science, has been selected as the best article to appear in Political Research Quarterly, the official journal of the Western Political Science Association, in 2006. The article was titled "Women's Movements, Identity Politics, and Policy Impacts: A Study of Policies on Violence Against Women in the 50 United States."


Maria Kondaurova, a doctoral student in Linguistics, was awarded the first-place prize in the Best Student Paper competition at the Acoustical Society Meeting in Honolulu. The Linguistics Program is part of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

Garrett Washington, a graduate student in the Department of History, has been awarded a fellowship from the Social Science Research Council that will support research in Japan during the 2007-08 academic year. He will be working in Tokyo at Keio University.



New York Times
Oh, the rivalry! And that's off the field
(David B. Klenosky, Department of Sociology and Anthropology)

New York Times, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Hartford Courant, The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.), Lafayette Journal and Courier, International Herald Tribune, Purdue Exponent
Hungry heart
(Bich Minh Nguyen, Department of English)

The Washington Times
Just cause, just means: Suicide bombers can never be considered "freedom fighters"
(Louis Rene Beres, Department of Political Science)

South Bend Tribune
Bears or Colts? Our loyalties are Super-divided
(Randy Roberts, Department of History)

New Albany News and Tribune
Super spirit: Hoosiers fired up over first Super Bowl
(Randy Roberts, Department of History)

CBS News, MSNBC.com, the Associated Press, Belleville News Democrat, Agency France Presse, Bradenton Herald, Brocktown News, Centre Daily Times, Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.), Contra Costa Times, Dunton Springs Evening Post, Examiner.com, Forbes.com, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Guardian Unlimited, WLFI, New Orleans Times Picayune, Kansas City Star, Myrtle Beach Sun News, Oberlin (Kan.) Times, Townhall.com, Jordan Falls (Iowa) News, Leading the Charge, Kentucky.com, Metro Networks radio, Monterrey Herald, Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, Pioneer Press, San Luis Obispo Tribune, Sky Valley Journal
Bush prepares State of the Union address
(Buddy Howell, Department of Communication)

United Press International, Earthtimes.org, Playfuls.com, Reality TV World, Daily India, United Press International, St. Tammany.com, PopPolitics, Reality TV World, –
TV watching can harm relationships
(Glenn Sparks, Department of Communication)

Detroit News, Washington Post
Spiritual leaders usher flocks away from fridge
(Kenneth Ferarro, Department of Sociology and Anthropology)

Indianapolis Star
Abstinence education really works
(Kenneth Ferarro, Department of Sociology and Anthropology)

Hays (Kan.) Daily News
Experts say balance is key when it comes to romance, technology
(Glenn Sparks, Department of Communication)

Purdue Exponent
Professor visits Ethiopia, develops generation of journalists
(Glenn Sparks, Department of Communication)

Purdue Exponent
Focus on leadership pays off for professor
(Patrice Buzzanell, Department of Communication)

This edition of Liberal Arts eNews is available online.

Previous editions of this newsletter can be found on the Liberal Arts eNews home page.


Any story ideas can be sent to Kim Medaris at the Purdue News Service, 494-6998, kmedaris@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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