Tag Archives: administrators

“Forces Greater Than Ourselves”: An Interview with Sheila Tobias, Wesleyan’s First Female Provost

“What we were doing at Wesleyan was taking place in the context of a much larger sweep of change in American history and culture.”

Sheila Tobias with NOW Founder Betty Friedan in the 1970s while Tobias was Associate Provost for Coeducation at Wesleyan. Image courtesy of Ms. Tobias.

In September of 1970, the same month Colin Campbell became Wesleyan’s youngest ever president, Sheila Tobias arrived at Wesleyan as associate provost. A noted author, scholar, and feminist activist, Tobias’ task at Wesleyan was different than that of any previous administrator—and different than any provost since then. Wesleyan had only just begun admitting women, and for the next eight years, Tobias was to oversee the inclusion of women in student life and assist the University in hiring and retaining female faculty. She was also instrumental in bringing the first women’s studies courses to Wes.

“It wasn’t a party school, but it was a school that catered to young men in all their glory,” Tobias says of the Wesleyan of the 1960s. “That was the place that I was invited to help change.”

While Tobias says that Wesleyan transitioned into coeducation more swiftly than many of its peers (“Wesleyan did it right”), she insists that the changes on campus were part of a much larger movement. “What we were doing at Wesleyan—namely, integrating a formerly men’s college—was taking place in the context of a much larger sweep of change in American history and culture,” Tobias says.

Wesleying is psyched to present an interview with Sheila Tobias, whose published books include Overcoming Math Anxiety, They’re not Dumb, They’re Different, Breaking the Science BarrierRethinking Science as a Career, and Faces of Feminism: An Activist’s Reflections on the Women’s Movement. For more on Sheila Tobias and her career at Wesleyan, see her website or this Special Collections blog post by Cordelia Hyland ’13

Dean Whaley: Administration to Ramp Up Tour de Franzia Charges, Whether or Not You’re Actually Drinking

It’s the most wonderful time of year

Thought you’d get through April without an ominous email from the administration about Tour de Franzia? Think again. By this point last year Dean Mike Whaley had already emailed your parents about the annual wine-fueled shit-show of a scavenger hunt, and the rest of the administration had quietly set in motion a personalized listserv-by-listserv email campaign imploring you not to participate. It didn’t really work, since Tour de Franzia popped off right on schedule, but on the other hand it sort of did, because participation and hospitalizations were each down by about 50%.

This year’s strategy seems to fall in line with the recent trend: having realized they can’t stop Tour de Franzia altogether (barring use of unreasonably draconian measures), administrators are leveling threats and ramping up judicial consequences in the hopes that participation continues to drop and eventually falls off altogether. The latest “D.A.R.E to Resist Franzia and Dinosaur Costumes” public service announcement comes from Dean Mike Whaley, who knocked off the traditional all-campus Tour de Franzia email on April 11. The gist of Whaley’s note is that judicial charges will be stricter than usual this year, whether or not you’re actually drinking or causing damage or doing anything particularly reckless:

Professor Striegel To Become New Provost and VP for Academic Affairs

Although we’re still not entirely sure what the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs does all of the time when ze’s not preparing for scary inspections, we’re thrilled to report that Ruth Striegel, professor of psychology and Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, will assume the position on July 1 after many months of heated anticipation mild curiosity. According to President Roth, Professor Striegel “embodies the Wesleyan ideal of using liberal learning to make a positive difference in the world,” which sounds solid, and has worked at Mount Holyoke with then-President Joanne V. Creighton, who totally served as acting president of Wesleyan before Doug Bennet ’59 swooped in from the clouds. Additionally, her research focuses primarily on eating and weight disorders, as described in this Wesleyan Connection article.

Anyway. Here’s the announcement email from President Roth:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Ruth Striegel, professor of psychology and Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, has agreed to become Wesleyan’s next provost and vice president for academic affairs. She will assume this position on July 1, succeeding Rob Rosenthal, who will be returning to the faculty as John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology.

Vassar Embezzlement Scandal

Vassar has found itself embroiled in quite the legal morass(…er) — now that you’ve been sufficiently nauseated by that, you might be interested to learn of the comparably reproachable actions of former Vassar employee Arthur Fisher and his wife, Jennifer Fisher, who were arrested last Friday in connection with the embezzlement of approximately $1.9 million from Vassar College.

The good people of Mads Vassar have provided excellent coverage of the developing legal situation so far. For those of you not inclined to venture far afield in the blogosphere, here are the central details of the case:

  • Fisher, a construction project manager at Vassar, ostensibly managed to leech the money from the school’s construction capital budget under the pretense of funding a nonexistent project over the course of his five year tenure, which concluded last December.
  • Financial inconsistencies found during an examination of project reports tipped off administrators to Fisher’s withdrawals (no word has yet been issued on the precise methods used by the defendants to accrue the cash money flo’).
  • A search of the Fishers’ Ossining home turned up five vehicles whose total value hovers around half a million dollars, several Rolexes (appraised at around $50k), and perhaps most disturbingly, a staggering cache of unregistered firearms and forged government identification.

Links to further reportage (Washington Post, Huffington Post, Poughkeepsie Journal, Associated Press) can be found here.

[Photos credited to the Poughkeepsie Journal]