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Swarthmore in the NewsJanuary 6, 2012


Editor’s note: This is a double issue.


Times Higher Education (London)

Big-screen vision breaks academic boundaries

By Matthew Reisz

January 5, 2012

A researcher from Bournemouth University has published what he describes as a pioneering example of "scholarship in the guise of a film script".

Kip Jones, a reader in qualitative research, is now an expert on performative social science, which asks people to write poetry or draw a picture in preference to an interview.

While working on a Ph.D. about informal care, he became fascinated by the work of the German-born developmental psychologist Klaus Riegel (1925-77) and the American social psychologist Kenneth Gergen, who is now senior research professor of psychology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

He then noticed that these key figures in his research development had both presented papers at a conference in Morgantown, West Virginia in 1976.

Dr. Jones began to imagine his heroes developing their ideas as they shared a train journey back to their respective universities. Both were at turning points in their intellectual lives. Perhaps it was their meeting that propelled Professor Gergen into forging his highly influential theories of social constructionism?

"Gergen is a giant to our generation," explained Dr. Jones, "so it was good to look back to a time when he was insecure...I wanted to examine how breakthroughs come, and the price people pay for them. ...

Dr. Jones first presented his "dialogue which never happened" as an audiovisual piece at the Free University of Berlin in 2002 in the presence of Kenneth and Mary Gergen.

He has now reworked it as a film script and published it in a special issue of Psychological Studies devoted to Professor Gergen's career.

Although On a Train from Morgantown may represent a first in an academic journal, Dr. Jones believes that the idea has great potential....


The Boston Globe

More students spending winter break in 'winternships'

By Christopher Muther

January 5, 2012

Tufts English major Alex Stein is well aware that he could be spending this winter break planted on a sofa in sweatpants or drinking beers to celebrate his impending graduation, or both. Instead, the 22-year-old senior will spend a week of his break in New York, working at Y&R advertising...

Stein is among a growing number of college students who are using a portion of their school break to take part in a so-called "winternship,'' or winter internship. Facing a bleak job market and shrinking starting salaries, more students are doing winternships to bolster their resumes and, they hope, their chances at landing a job.

"The growth is unbelievable,'' said Robin Richards, CEO of, a company that works with 30,000 businesses to find interns. "Two years ago, we saw very few winternships. This year, we've seen a 46 percent increase in our employers posting internships for winter break.'' ...

Winternships, most of them unpaid, have been around for several years, but schools such as Tufts University, Harvard Business School, and Swarthmore College have been putting more emphasis on them as their students search for an edge in a still-weak job market. ...

The Atlantic

What Newt Gingrich and the History Channel Have in Common

By Dominic Tierney, assistant professor of political science at Swarthmore College

January 3, 2012

The Republican candidate Newt Gingrich and the cable channel History have both followed the same formula for success, by elevating fantasy over actual history. The difference, however, is that Newt wants to carry his sensational vision of a bygone age into office.

Newt is the most prominent self-described "historian" in the United States. If he were elected in 2012, he would be only the second president after Woodrow Wilson to hold a Ph.D. Indeed, according to Newt, his gifts at decoding the past are so illustrious that Freddie Mac paid him $1.6 million, not for lobbying, but for his historical skills.

Meanwhile, over on cable, the History Channel is rising in popularity with the mission statement, "History: Made Every Day." With practitioners and purveyors of the past soaring so high, these might seem like giddy times for the historical profession. ...

StarNews (Wilmington, NC)

Valerie Robertson does well by doing good

By Ben Steelman

January 1, 2012

Valerie L. Robertson totes around a lot of keys.

For one thing she runs a local magazine, Cape Fear's Going Green, from an office in her peach-colored house in Wilmington's Carolina Place neighborhood. Some 8,000 copies of the free quarterly go out from distribution points around New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, and a number of folks follow the online edition.

She also works as an office manager and computer tech for Choice Caregivers, a long-term home health-care business for seniors, headed up by her mother, a former hospital administrator. And when Mom's out of town, as she often is, Robertson is left in charge.

Then there are the day-to-day duties of a friendly, neighborhood do-gooder. ...

Thus after graduating from Swarthmore College, Robertson tried to find a niche in the environmental movement. For a while in the late 1970s and early ’80s, she was on the fringe of the solar industry ... an experience that led to a fascination with the problems of green building and adapting energy-efficient upgrades to historic structures...


Hartford Courant

Hartford Nonprofit’s Champions List Grows

Reader submitted by Lauren Blake, Our Piece of the Pie, Inc.

December 29, 2011

Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. has welcomed Mickey Herbert in its prestigious Champions Council. For more than 35 years, OPP has been serving urban youth through mentoring, education, and employment programs and services in Hartford...

Mickey Herbert recently retired as both the president and chief executive officer of ConnectiCare, a $1 billion health plan in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, and as executive vice president of ConnectiCare's parent company, EmblemHealth, a $10 billion company in New York City...

Mickey Herbert earned a B.A. at Swarthmore College and an M.B.A. at Harvard University. He is a graduate of an HMO Fellowship Training Program at the Wharton School and was a senior fellow of the executive program in managed care at the University of Missouri. He has an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Bridgeport.


Meta-Activism Project (Blog)

Eternally Contested Internet: The 1980s

By Mary C. Joyce

December 22, 2011

...The overarching theme of this series on the history - and pre-history - of the Internet is conflict: different actors with different goals and visions shaping the medium. The 1960s saw a tension between the Cold War and the counter-culture. The 1970s saw the rise of commercial firms since advances in processing power meant that mass-produced "microcomputers" (desktops) could be sold to businesses....

Whereas we now associate the military establishment with secrecy and aggressive isolation, the Pentagon point person for ARPANET was Barry Leiner, a man who, like Kahn and Cerf, convinced many private companies to adopt TCP/IP. His time working in think tanks, private industry and the government made him an excellent bridge-builder....

It was [Leiner’s] close relationship with Steve Wolff of the National Science Foundation that allowed for that smooth transition of the Internet into the civilian sphere. Wolff, who got an electrical engineering degree from Swarthmore, was perfectly positioned to bridge the worlds of academic research and high tech...