Dench named dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

first_imgBut Dench’s love for languages soon turned her focus from the stage to the past. Learning French at age 8 was “unbelievably amazing,” she recalled. Studying Latin a few years later, she said, was “even better.” As a teenager, reading “Antigone” in its original Greek proved more challenging. “It almost killed me,” said Dench during an interview in her University Hall office. “I despaired.” But her stubborn side refused to yield. “I had to crack Greek.”Intending to be an Egyptologist and study hieroglyphics, Dench’s interests shifted at Oxford. While completing the first part of her classics degree, she wrote a paper about Tacitus, a senator and historian of the Roman Empire, and began to see history as more than just political narratives and significant dates.“I realized history might be about working out where people are coming from, what are they thinking — what they think about this, that, and the other. I got a really high grade on that exam paper, and I thought that might be the direction that I might go.”Go she did. Her Oxford dissertation became her 1995 book “From Barbarians to New Men: Greek, Roman, and Modern Perceptions of Peoples from the Central Apennines.” In 2005 she published “Romulus’ Asylum,” which examines the multicultural nature and origins of the ancient empire. Her forthcoming book is titled “Empire and Political Cultures in the Roman World.”Having served as interim dean at GSAS, Dench knows that challenges are part of the job. In the wake of a recent story in the Chronicle of Higher Education, in which a number of women accused Faculty of Arts and Sciences Professor Jorge Dominguez of sexual harassment, Smith announced the University’s decision to place Dominguez on administrative leave. He subsequently announced that he will retire at the end of the semester and immediately resign from his administrative duties. In response to the Chronicle coverage, Dench sent a message to students, affirming GSAS’s commitment to creating an inclusive community free from harassment and discrimination, and outlining the resources available to students.Ensuring people’s voices are heard “is essential,” as is a visible institutional reaction, said Dench of the University’s efforts to encourage people to come forward and share their experiences with discrimination, and to support a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and discrimination at Harvard. Those two things, said Dench, “have to go hand in hand.”One path toward equality is through a more diverse faculty, said Dench, who supports the appointments of more women and underrepresented minorities to tenured and tenure-track professorships. She envisions “disciplines slowly reinventing themselves when faculty are diversified. It’s an intellectual need as well as a social and behavioral one.”She also will be monitoring the unionization effort initiated by some GSAS students that could affect student from all the Schools. The National Labor Relations Board will hold a second election next month after setting aside the outcome of a 2016 vote. That decision followed an appeal that argued the voter lists were inadequate. (In the first election, the tally was 1,526 against unionization and 1,396 in favor.)“As was the case in 2016, Harvard is 100 percent committed to ensuring a fair election,” said Dench of the vote scheduled for April 18 and 19. Dench hopes voters will examine all sides of the argument and explore in detail “what operating as a bargaining unit would mean and what possible alternatives would mean, and weigh them both before casting a vote. I also want to see as close to 100 percent of the eligible students voting this time.”As permanent dean, Dench said she will continue to play a key role in the “culture shift that we are seeing” at Harvard and beyond involving discrimination and harassment, and will support the needs of graduate students in a changing world.“I want to take a holistic approach to graduate education, reaching out across disciplines, helping students develop secondary fields, and sometimes helping them make the transition to non-academic careers, which I think is going to be crucial in the near to medium future.” Dench’s early trips to the ancient pool and to prehistoric sites (including landmarks that may have involved human sacrifice) both terrified and intrigued the child, whose fixation with mortality began at age 5. “I thought everybody lived to 100, and so I would think I’ve only got 95 years to live.”The exposure “to this very ancient history fed my morbidity,” she said, and her curiosity, laying the foundation for her lifelong love of antiquity. Throughout her career, Dench has used her historian’s eye to explore how the Greeks and the Romans viewed other cultures and in turn how those civilizations viewed themselves. She sees such scholarship as offering up important lessons that will be useful in her new role.“I would never advise anyone to be like the Romans, but I would tell them to use the problems that the Romans grappled with to better understand how we grapple with our own,” said Dench, who did exactly that during an elective M.B.A. course at Harvard Business School (HBS) in 2015 that she taught with HBS Professor Frances Frei. The pair used writings by Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca the Younger, among others, to spark class discussions with aspiring CEOs about ambition, power, and leadership.“Absolutely every ancient writing about the Roman empire is grappling with the sorts of issues that any organization grapples with. What is leadership? How do you develop a sense of direction? How do you develop a strategy? How do you advance a mission? In the Roman case, that usually comes down to just a few people, or even one person. Then you have to think about how to reconcile that with consensus, the collective good, and a much more holistic vision of how to move forward.”When it comes to making big decisions, Dench always returns to one simple question: “Why not?” In taking on the interim dean position last year, she said she knew “it would be interesting” and that she would “learn a lot about Harvard, and a lot about myself.” After nearly a year in the job, she has also learned how much she loves teamwork and helping students succeed at every level.“I am so invested in the academic and personal welfare of graduate students,” she said.Dench holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and a doctor of philosophy degree in ancient history from the University of Oxford. She taught classics and ancient history at Birkbeck College, University of London, before coming to Harvard in 2007 with a joint appointment in classics and history. She has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring.Yet Dench’s life could have taken quite a different turn had she chosen the family profession. Her father was the well-known Shakespearean actor Jeffery Dench. Her aunt is Dame Judi Dench, who won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for her turn as Queen Elizabeth I in the 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love” and is perhaps best known for her no-nonsense take as “M,” the head of the intelligence service in James Bond films.The familial experience “was an intense sibling rivalry, like many others, except it played itself on a global stage,” the dean said, laughing.Her own early acting forays included the role of the little girl in “Toad of Toad Hall,” a stage adaption of the children’s novel “The Wind in the Willows,” with her co-star, the mole, played by the young David Suchet (who later found fame playing the Belgian detective in the British mystery series “Agatha Christie’s Poirot”). The young Dench also starred opposite her famous aunt in an avant-garde 1968 movie version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with Judi cast as the fairy queen Titania, and Emma as Peaseblossom, one of Titania’s fairy attendants. She doesn’t remember much about the shoot, except that it was filmed in a muddy wood during a chill British November, and that she was “painted green from head to toe.” “Absolutely every ancient writing about the Roman empire is grappling with the sorts of issues that any organization grapples with. What is leadership? How do you develop a sense of direction? How do you develop a strategy? How do you advance a mission?” — Emma Dench By her own account, Emma Dench was a strong-willed child who was fascinated with mortality, with languages, and with roaming the English countryside exploring ancient churches and ruins during her father’s travels with the Royal Shakespeare Company.It was one particular jaunt to South West England when she was 7 that helped set Dench on her career path to the past.“I learned to swim in a Roman bath. It was amazing. I had been trying to swim for ages, and I actually cracked it there, in Bath,” said Dench, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics at Harvard and interim dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).On July 1, Dench will take on the deanship full time, and in the process turn her attention from studying the past to planning the future.Dench will replace Xiao-Li Meng, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Statistics, who was dean for five years and is stepping down to join the Harvard Data Science Initiative.“Emma’s distinguished scholarship and her deep devotion to teaching, learning, mentoring, and helping undergraduate and graduate students excel at Harvard and beyond has been the hallmark of her tenure as McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics, and as interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,” said Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.“In her short time as interim dean, she has won the respect of her faculty colleagues and GSAS staff with her thoughtful outreach, her steady guidance, and her ability to forge creative and practical solutions to meet the needs of students. She is a proven leader whose broad appreciation of the needs of students, nuanced understanding of the School’s operations and challenges, collaborative approach, dedication, and commitment will help further the GSAS’s mission of advancing knowledge and innovation, supporting groundbreaking research, and prepping graduate students for success beyond Harvard’s gates.”“Emma Dench is an inspired choice to lead the GSAS. She is deeply committed to teaching and learning, and to supporting students and faculty who engage every day in the work of developing ideas, expanding understanding, and advancing discovery,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “It also has been a pleasure to work alongside Xiao-Li Meng to advance some of the highest ideals of higher education. He brought to the role a keen awareness that the women and men of GSAS represent the future of knowledge and, indeed, the future of universities.” “In her short time as interim dean, she has won the respect of her faculty colleagues and GSAS staff with her thoughtful outreach, her steady guidance, and her ability to forge creative and practical solutions to meet the needs of students.” — Michael D. Smithlast_img read more

A terrific growth’

first_imgEditor’s Note: This story is the first installment in a two-part series on University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh’s legacy at Notre Dame. This series is also the final installment in the “From the Office of the President” series. He befriended popes and presidents. His name is on the University library. Time Magazine featured him on its cover. He served on the Civil Rights Commission and stood hand-in-hand with Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s. Women can earn a Notre Dame degree because of him. But at the beginning of it all, University President Emeritus Fr. Ted Hesburgh didn’t want the job. “[Being president was] the last thing in the world I wanted to do, and I was not aching to get these big jobs,” Hesburgh said. “I just wanted to teach and be in the hall and work for the students. That’s literally what I had in mind of what I was going to spend my life doing. And I come back here, and within six or seven years, I wind up being president. “That to me was not exactly a gift from heaven.” Hesburgh had begun his studies at Notre Dame in 1934 and completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome in 1939. When he returned to Notre Dame in 1945, he was a priest interested in teaching theology and working as a rector in Farley Hall. By 1952, he was the 15th president of Notre Dame. He was 35 years old. In a recent interview with The Observer, Hesburgh, now 95, reflected on the change of plans that took him from a young theology professor to the office on the top of a library that bears his name and towers over the campus he helped build. “We were not a very great university at that time,” Hesburgh said. “We had a miserable little budget of about $7 million. Today, it’s $7 billion.” When Hesburgh first assumed the mantle of University president, the job was much different. The Congregation of Holy Cross governed Notre= Dame and ran many of its daily operations. The University president also acted as the superior of all the order’s priests on campus, and he was limited to two three-year terms in office. After Hesburgh completed his two terms in office, he said the congregation removed him from the position of superior that could by canon law only be held for six years. But he remained in the Office of the President. “At the end of six years, they said, ‘Keep on going,’” Hesburgh said. “And I went on for almost 40 years.” In 1967, the congregation relinquished official control of the University and turned its leadership over to a Board of Trustees, a mixed group of lay and religious members. With the change, Hesburgh said Notre Dame truly became a “self-propelled” establishment. “[The Congregation of Holy Cross] owned the University, insofar as anybody owns the University, but they turned it over to become an autonomous corporation,” Hesburgh said. “They took it lock, stock and barrel and turned it over to this new corporation called the University of Notre Dame du lac.” The Board of Trustees was not the only addition to Notre Dame during Hesburgh’s term. “We needed all kinds of buildings,” Hesburgh said. “We needed arts buildings, we needed science buildings, we needed laboratories, we needed playing fields, we needed everything. While Hesburgh added 40 new buildings to campus during his time at Notre Dame, his first order of business was hiring new deans to lead the University’s academic life to a new level. “You need absolutely first-rate deans who can reach out and attract faculty to transfer to Notre Dame, and once they get here, they can work with [those faculty] to increase … in their fields,” he said. “And that’s what happened. I mean today, I’d say the people that were teaching when I first became president could never get a job here.” Grants from the Ford Foundation and other organizations began the growth in fundraising and financial development that would skyrocket during Hesburgh’s tenure. During his 35 years, Hesburgh grew Notre Dame’s endowment from $9 million to $350 million, according to the University website. “The Ford Foundation got into a developmental program developing some promising colleges to grow into great universities,” he said. “We were one of the original five or six picked out.” Hesburgh credited the work of his fellow administrators, especially former executive vice president Fr. Ned Joyce. “The best friend I had was Edmund P. Joyce, Fr. Ned Joyce,” Hesburgh said. “He was a superb companion because first he was very smart, and on top of that he had knowledge that I didn’t have. He was a [certified public accountant], and he was also a big sporting fan so he knew about athletics.” Joyce retired from his position in 1987, the same year as Hesburgh. When the two retired, Hesburgh was the longest-tenured university president in the United States, according to the University website. His long time in office, so different than the life he planned for himself as a young theology professor, has been a blessing in disguise, Hesburgh said. “With continuity, everything moves,” Hesburgh said. “With discontinuity, everything changing every three or four years, you’re not going anywhere. One guy just gets started, and he’s changed with somebody else, and he just gets started, and you don’t have that continuous thrust upwards. But we had people around so long that we were part of a continual upward effort. “By and large, we are a fully-built, equipped, manned – and womaned – university. And it’s been a terrific growth.” Tomorrow: University President Emeritus Fr. Ted Hesburgh on keeping the door open to students.last_img read more

Irish explore social entrepreneurship

first_imgThe Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Fellow Irish Social Hub (FISH) will host the inaugural Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference today and tomorrow in the Mendoza College of Business. The conference, which begins tonight with an opening reception, aims to teach students more about what social entrepreneurship is and how they can become involved in the field. Melissa Paulsen, program manager for the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and concurrent professor, said several entrepreneurs involved in both non-profit and for-profit work will attend the conference. “We really wanted this to be about connecting the Notre Dame community, specifically Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students, with the social entrepreneurship practitioners,” she said. Paulsen said she hopes students understand the range of possibilities for social entrepreneurship. “We define entrepreneurship as starting a business but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is or the interests you have or discipline of choice. You can use that experience to engage in social enterprises on many different levels.” Students are invited to attend several workshops Friday morning that will cover the basics of social entrepreneurship, Paulsen said. “The idea behind the workshops is to basically give the community an idea of what social entrepreneurship is, what are start-up issues and incubation issues, how do you start a social enterprise,” she said. Different panels will address the challenges of starting such an enterprise, legal issues surrounding social entrepreneurship, international development and more, Paulsen said. One key feature of the day will be a career panel for students interested in social entrepreneurship, which will be followed by an opportunity fair where students can personally interact with the practitioners present. “You can ask questions like, Tell me more about your organizations,’ Tell me about your beneficiaries,’ How are you raising money?, How do you sustain yourself?,” Paulsen said. “And also, Do you have career opportunities or internships for students?.” After the workshops, the conference will host a Taste of Michiana luncheon, where local food entrepreneurs will show off their creations. The lunch will be followed by a presentation from the conference’s keynote speaker, Rishi Jaitly, Paulsen said. Jaitly founded Michigan Corps, has worked for Google Asia and Kiba Detroit and has been engaged in policy work, all since he graduated from the Princeton University in 2004. His keynote speech is titled, “Choose Your own adventure: The power of embracing your social entrepreneurial self,” and will focus on the different ways students can become involved in social entrepreneurship. “You don’t have to start a brand-new organization to be engaged in social entrepreneurship,” Paulsen said.last_img read more

SUB discusses events for upcoming school year

first_imgWith events like Dogs and Donuts, weekly movie showings, AcoustiCafe every Thursday night and a concert each semester, Student Union Board (SUB), has a hand in many of the on-campus programs aimed at improving student life. Executive director Jackson Herrfeldt, who is starting his third year at SUB, said one of SUB’s main goals is to engage the student body as much as possible.“We’re working with different organizations on campus for big events in the spring semester and we’re also really spending time focusing on working with what students want. We’re trying to make sure every event we have is geared toward as many students as possible and what they would enjoy best,” Herrfeldt said.SUB is comprised of nine different committees: AcoustiCafe, Antostal, Collegiate Jazz Festival, Concerts, Movies, Festivities, Services and Special-E, or Special Entertainment. Sammy Meehan, one of SUB’s assistant directors, said she is looking forward to the flexibility Special-E offers. While the committee has mostly brought in comedians, Meehan said new programming is in the works.“Special-E is the miscellaneous committee within SUB and has a lot of freedom to bring a variety of acts to campus,” Meehan said in an email. “We have been talking about bringing mind-readers, hypnotists, improv troupes and magicians, so there is a lot to look forward to from Special-E this year.”Meehan also expressed her excitement to be involved in the planning of the Collegiate Jazz Festival, or CJF, at the end of February, which is the oldest college jazz festival in the country.“It is one of my favorite events on campus. It is a weekend-long festival that attracts college jazz bands from around the country,” Meehan said. “It is a unique event because many local residents also attend the event, so it helps connect ND students with their local community.”SUB committees start planning big events like CJF months in advance, Herrfeldt said, to ensure the contracts and logistics are in order. Planning is already underway for CJF and for the first semester concert. Both Herrfeldt and assistant director Madi McFarland said concert plans are kept quiet until they are finalized.“We always like to keep it a little bit secret just because if anything falls through we don’t want it to get out, but we’re definitely working on developing a new system for our concerts, dividing that up a little differently to really please as many students as possible,” Herrfeldt said.One such change to the concert plans is to book a bigger artist for the spring semester concert, McFarland said in an email.“Concerts is definitely our most confidential committee because there is a lot riding on who we bring to campus. We usually have one concert each semester but we decided to go for a smaller one this semester and have not made any plans for next semester yet,” McFarland said. “Planning for this event starts far in advance, so once we confirm the artist for our smaller concert this semester (which should be fairly soon) we will start planning for next semester.”On a smaller scale, SUB plays movies not yet released on DVD every week for just three dollars, while the Services committee hosts finals and midterms stress relievers, providing students with free food and an excuse to take a study break. The Festivities committee plans events like their free guacamole giveaway on National Guacamole Day during the first week of class. Both Herrfeldt and McFarland said Dogs and Donuts is by far one of SUB’s most popular programs.“My favorite event in the past that I have been a part of is Dogs and Donuts. It’s a Festivities event where we bring Rise’n Roll donuts and puppies from nearby shelters and just hang out on the quad. It is so much fun and a great stress reliever,” McFarland said. “This year, Festivities is looking forward to putting a fun new spin on this event, which is all I can say but get excited for that.”Herrfeldt said SUB’s cooperative and open-minded group dynamic is what has brought him back each year.“We always like to joke that we’re the fun side of student government because there’s a bunch of different divisions of the student union and we take the programming division,” Herrfeldt said. “I think because of that and because we do such unique and interesting events, we thrive on a fun, comedic team-bonding environment.”Tags: student events, Student Union Board, SUBlast_img read more

Ensemble Announced for On the Twentieth Century, Starring Kristin Chenoweth

first_imgAll aboard! Additional casting has been announced for the new Broadway revival of the classic tuner On the Twentieth Century, starring Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher. Mamie Parris (Wicked), Preston Truman Boyd (Bullets Over Broadway) and more will appear in the Roundabout Theatre Company production, which will begin performances on February 12, 2015 and play a limited engagement through July 5. Opening night is set for March 12 at the American Airlines Theatre.Joining Parris and Boyd in the ensemble will be Phillip Attmore (After Midnight), Justin Bowen (Chaplin the Musical), Paula Leggett Chase (Bye Bye Birdie), Ben Crawford (Les Miserables), Jenifer Foote (Follies), Bahiyah Hibah (Chicago), Kevin Ligon (Bullets Over Broadway), Erica Mansfield (Pippin), James Moye (Bullets Over Broadway), Linda Mugleston (Cinderella), Andy Taylor (Once), Jim Walton (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Richard Riaz Yoder (White Christmas). Rick Faugno, Drew King and Analisa Leaming will be making their Broadway debuts in the production.Directed by Scott Ellis, with a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman, On the Twentieth Century follows a down-and-out Broadway producer named Oscar Jaffe (Gallagher), who struggles to convince his former muse and lover, Lily Garland (Chenoweth), now a successful film actress, to return to Broadway in a (non-existent) epic drama about Mary Magdalene. While dealing with Lily Garland’s jealous new lover and a religious fanatic aboard a luxury train, Oscar hopes he can lure her back to the stage and salvage his sinking career.The original Broadway production was directed by Hal Prince and opened in February 1978 at the St. James Theatre. The musical received five Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.The cast will also feature the previously reported Andy Karl, Mark Linn-Baker, Michael McGrath and Mary Louise Wilson. On The Twentieth Century View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on July 19, 2015 Related Shows Star Files Kristin Chenowethlast_img read more

Precision Ag Specialist

first_imgGeorgia producers have a new precision agriculture resource to enhance productivity on their farms.Simerjeet “Simer” Virk, who has served as a research engineer in the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since 2016, is now an assistant professor on UGA’s Tifton campus in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. He earned his doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering earlier this year from UGA’s College of Engineering.   Virk, who brings a decade of experience to this new position, will focus on advancing the adoption and proper implementation of precision agriculture technology and data management tools as a specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension, but he will also conduct applied research on UGA farms and with farmers in different production regions throughout Georgia.“Dr. Virk is well known on our campus for his technical savvy and easygoing attitude,” said Michael Toews, assistant dean at UGA-Tifton. “Georgia growers are getting a true partner to assist with adopting cutting-edge technologies that improve their productivity and profitability.”Virk will continue working with fellow UGA faculty including precision agriculture researchers George Vellidis, Wesley Porter and Calvin Perry, who are making strides in the adoption of technology including variable-rate irrigation and planting technology. Virk hopes to capitalize on progress in these areas and expand to variable-rate technology for fertilizer application, sprayer control systems and nozzle technology, yield monitoring systems, and data management tools and techniques.Technology has evolved tremendously over the last decade and current tools allow producers to make timely and critical decisions in the growing season that can affect their bottom line.A technology enthusiast and certified drone pilot, Virk says drones are rapidly becoming a go-to remote sensing tool for many researchers and consultants. He sees potential for growth in this area, especially in spot spraying applications. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are also advancing at a rapid pace, and robotics, automation, machine learning and the Internet of Things are being incorporated into precision agriculture. The industry is already in the next phase of precision agriculture, or “digital agriculture,” where field and machinery data is constantly collected and used for making real-time management decisions.“I believe that almost every farmer can benefit from basic precision ag technologies such as GPS and guidance,” said Virk. “From there, I see precision ag as a toolbox full of different technology and data management tools, but not every grower will need all of those tools. Depending on farm size and operations, he may only need the tools that will serve his operations the best and make farming profitable. Precision ag is not a one-size-fits-all approach for every farm and operation. Instead, you have to pick and choose which technology and practices will fit best into your operation.”Virk plans to take a two-pronged approach to promote these tools. For growers who are already using some technology, he wants to ensure that they are using it effectively to maximize productivity. For growers looking to get started or advance to the next level, he wants to ensure that they are ready to take the leap and have the information they need to make the right choices.Addressing barriers to technology adoption will also be critical, said Virk, who will be working with other specialists and educating Extension agents on options available to growers and effective utilization of data so they can make smart “precision decisions” for their crop production.      “Some of these technologies are not straightforward,” he said. “That’s where I see my position playing a critical role — educating and training our agents about the principles and workings of technology so they are prepared to help growers with their questions or issues related to its use or adoption. We have one of the best Extension systems and some of the best agents in the country who are eager to learn about new technologies and are willing to help growers in every possible way.”Virk is aware that the cost of adopting and implementing precision agriculture technologies can be significant, but he emphasizes the benefits and return on investment these technologies can provide for producers.“As researchers, it’s important for us to consider the economics of the technology adoption when evaluating and testing different technology options for growers,” he said. “There are some options that won’t fit a certain production system, so it’s important to be cautious before jumping in and investing in something brand new in the market. Growers should give new technologies at least one year or so for it to be field-tested by the industry before making an investment decision.”Virk said precision agriculture technologies have the potential for application beyond row crops. Specialty and vegetable crops are high-value commodities and Virk plans to partner with specialists in these production areas to identify the appropriate technologies. He’s also working with UGA beef and forage specialists who have realized the potential for technology education and adoption in hay and forage production.While it is unclear how many Georgia farmers are currently using precision agriculture technologies, Virk hopes to get a better handle on what farmers are currently using now and where they want to go in the future.“I hope to work with our agents, industry and commodity commissions to get a baseline of where we’re at now through grower surveys and meetings so we can track those numbers in the next few years and be able to evaluate the program’s impact,” Virk said.To get timely updates on his work, follow the UGA precision agriculture team on social media at @GAPrecisionAg on Facebook and Twitter.last_img read more

Champlain Valley AHEC Names Alice Christian New Executive Director

first_imgAlice Christian, MPA, of Colchester has been named executive director of the Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center (CVAHEC), announces Patricia Donehower, MSN, RN, chair of the Board of Directors. She succeeds Fran Joseph, who ably led the organization for two years before resigning in August.We feel very fortunate to have Alice taking the leadership role at CVAHEC and carrying on the mission of recruitment, retention and healthcare initiatives to meet the healthcare workforce needs for Vermonters. Alice will lead an experienced team in the St. Albans office and adds her wonderful skill, passion and commitment to our workforce. A graduate of Smith College in Northampton, MA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Christian has completed Mediation Training at Woodbury College in Montpelier, VT and earned her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Vermont this year. She is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.While she earned her masters degree, Christian completed internships at the Vermont Department of Health where she did a workload analysis of the Burlington District Health Office, and at the City of Burlington Community and Economic Development Office where she assisted in developing the Burlington Substance Abuse Coalition, now known as the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community. She currently volunteers with the Partnership.The new executive director has also held positions with Mercy Connections in Burlington, Vermont Folk Rocker in Starksboro, Seven Days newspaper, the Peace and Justice Store in Burlington and in Academic Computing at Smith College.She has volunteered as a co-founder of the International Fair Trade Association, as a member of the Burlington Central America Solidarity Association, and is a former president of the Northampton Food Coop Board of Directors.last_img read more

Lawsuit filed against Rock of Ages, et al, over proposed acquisition by Swenson

first_imgRock of Ages Corporation,BARRE, Vermont — (BUSINESS WIRE)–Rock of Ages Corporation (NASDAQ:ROAC) today announced that a purported shareholder of Rock of Ages has commenced a purported class action lawsuit against Rock of Ages, all of the members of its Board of Directors and certain officers, and Swenson Granite Company, LLC (“Swenson”), in connection with the previously announced acquisition proposal submitted by Swenson on May 6, 2010 to Rock of Ages’ Board of Directors. The plaintiff alleges, among other things, that the directors and named officer defendants of Rock of Ages breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the Swenson proposal, that Swenson’s proposed offer is inadequate, and that the persons constituting a group with Swenson with respect to the Swenson proposal, including Rock of Ages’ controlling shareholders, would benefit from the proposed transaction to the detriment of Rock of Ages’ other shareholders. The plaintiff seeks, among other things, damages and injunctive relief against the consummation of the transaction proposed by Swenson. Rock of Ages believes the complaint is without merit and plans a vigorous defense.As previously reported, a Special Committee of independent directors has determined to commence a process to explore possible strategic alternatives for Rock of Ages while it continues to evaluate the Swenson proposal. The Special Committee has retained legal counsel and Covington Associates LLC as its financial advisor to assist and advise the Special Committee in connection with these matters. There can be no assurance that the Swenson proposal will lead to a definitive acquisition agreement, or that a transaction contemplated by the Swenson proposal or any other transaction will be approved or completed.About Rock of AgesRock of Ages ( is external)) is the largest integrated granite quarrier and manufacturer of finished granite memorials and granite blocks for memorial use in North America.Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains statements that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations about future events. These statements are not guarantees of future events and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual events may differ materially from what is expressed in such forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. These include the uncertainties which are attendant with litigation. Although Rock of Ages plans to vigorously defend against the allegations asserted by the plaintiff, there can be no assurances that it will be successful. Litigation is often expensive and distracting to management. A ruling adverse to Rock of Ages in this litigation may prevent Rock of Ages from further considering, pursuing, entering into or consummating any transaction contemplated by the Swenson Granite Company, LLC (“Swenson”) proposal or similar transactions even if the Special Committee and the Board believe such a transaction would be in the best interests of Rock of Ages’ shareholders. Additional uncertainties include whether the acquisition price proposed by Swenson will be reduced, whether financing for the acquisition can be obtained and whether an acquisition of Rock of Ages will be consummated upon the terms proposed by Swenson, or at all. In addition, the Special Committee’s determination to commence a process to explore and consider possible strategic alternatives may not lead to any other proposals being pursued, agreed to or consummated, and the Special Committee may determine to cease that process at any time. Rock of Ages will be responsible for payment of the fees and expenses of the Special Committee’s financial advisor and counsel, as well as of its own counsel; such fees and expenses could be significant and adversely impact Rock of Ages’ results of operations. In addition, to the extent Rock of Ages incurs expenses or liabilities in connection with the purported shareholder litigation that are not reimbursed by its insurance carriers, such amounts could significantly impact Rock of Ages’ results of operations and cash flows from operations. Further information and risks regarding factors that could affect Rock of Ages’ business, operations, financial results or financial positions are discussed from time to time in Rock of Ages’ Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and Rock of Ages does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release, except as may be required under the federal securities laws.Source: Rock of Ages 5.25.2010. BARRE, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–last_img read more

‘Costly Morass’ in U.K-France Plan to Replace Old Plants With a Questionable Mega-Reactor

first_img‘Costly Morass’ in U.K-France Plan to Replace Old Plants With a Questionable Mega-Reactor FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Carol Matlack for Bloomberg News:As Britain races to replace its aging nuclear reactors and coal generators, it’s hoping to team up with France to build the most expensive power plant in history—a massive atomic facility with two reactors at Hinkley Point on England’s southwestern coast. It could provide 7 percent of the country’s electricity by 2025. But the design, intended to showcase the latest French reactor technology, poses engineering and financial problems that could create a costly morass for both countries. Critics question whether the EPR, an ultrapowerful, super-reinforced reactor containing about twice as much concrete as existing models, is the right choice for either Britain or France. “It has turned out to be extremely difficult to build,” says Simon Taylor, a professor at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School who specializes in energy finance. “The industry trend is toward smaller, more flexible designs.” Westinghouse Electric and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy are marketing smaller reactors, as are manufacturers from South Korea and Russia. Even in France, Taylor says, “there are voices in the nuclear industry saying, ‘We must come up with a plan B.’ ” Public support for the project in Britain has fallen to 33 percent, down from 57 percent in 2013, according to a YouGov poll released on April 26 commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe, a pro-nuclear group.Britain can offset the closure of old nuclear and coal plants and put off the need for new reactors for another decade by increasing its investment in renewable energy, says Deepa Venkateswaran, a utility analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London. New, less expensive technologies might be developed to store energy from wind and solar, helping to ensure reliable supply. Building Hinkley Point now, she says, “is not make-or-break.”In the end, politics could trump finance and technology. France wants to protect thousands of well-paying jobs in its nuclear industry. And British Prime Minister David Cameron, who in March joined French President François Hollande in reaffirming support for Hinkley Point, is keen for a project that would create jobs in an economically depressed region. “The decision-makers on both sides are totally underestimating” the risks, says Mycle Schneider, an independent nuclear analyst in Paris. “But the farther they go on, the more difficult it is to pull out.”Full article: French Plans for a Nuclear Plant Begin to Look Like a Bad Deal for Britainlast_img read more

High-Ranking Officers from the Americas Will Participate in Disaster Relief Exercise in Chile

first_imgBy Dialogo July 17, 2009 Santiago de Chile, 15 July (EFE).- High-ranking army officers from eleven countries in the Americas will participate in the first multilateral disaster cooperation exercise in Santiago from July 20 to 24, the Chilean Army announced today. The exercise, organized by the Conference of Army Commanders in the Americas (CEA), will include high-ranking military officers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and Chile. The meeting, which will be held at the Chilean Army Center for Computational Operational-Tactical Training, will include the first application of the simulation system for emergency situation management and training (SIGEN) created by this institution. The simulation consists of sending an email reporting a fictional major catastrophe to which the officers will have to respond by taking decisions to maintain the security of the population in a coordinated manner. A multilateral operation of this type has never been carried out before in the Americas, for which reason it is hoped that the exercise will lead to improvements in management, reaction capabilities, and decision-making among the various armies. In addition, roundtables will be held with Chilean and foreign presenters who will draw up recommendations to be presented at the CEA’s meeting of army commanders to be held in Buenos Aires in October.last_img read more