Weekly News for Faculty, Staff and Friends of the Worcester State College Community


Dr. Kerr to Receive 2008 George I. Alden
Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Arthur and Dr. Martha Pappas to be Honored
with the Worcester State College 2008 Community
Service Award



Over 300 Attend Academic Achievement Awards

Cultural Influences in Early Childhood Development

Building a Career in Not-For-Profit

The Art of Physics

WSC Baseball Wins the 2008 MSCAC Tournament



WSC e-news General Info




Joseph P. Baratta (History) published an article, “Of Global Democracy and Global Government,” in the current issue of The Federalist Debate, 21, 1 (March 2008): 43-46.  Another work, drawn from his lead address at the conference on United Nations reform in Turin last June, titled “World Government or Global Governance? The United Nations Project in Historical Perspective,” will be published in a volume, Reforming the United Nations:  Democracy, Justice, and Security in the Age of Globalization - foreword by Brian Urquhart, editors Giovanni Finizio and Ernesto Gallo (Lothian Foundation Press, Blackwell, forthcoming).

On April 18, Julie Frechette (Communication), presented her paper "Media Literacy for the Web 2.0: Online Strategies for the Digital Age" at the Politics Web 2.0 conference sponsored by the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, U.K.

Peter Holloran (History) was reelected as Secretary of the New England Historical Association (NEHA) at NEHA's 80th annual meeting at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., in April.

Amaryllis Siniossoglou (Visual and Performing Arts) was accepted to exhibit her prints in the Boston Printmakers Celebrating 60 Years exhibition at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.

Lacey Hale '07 and Professor Champika K. Soysa presented a poster titled "The Impact of Housing Choice on Student Stress and Perceived Social Support," at the Eastern Psychological Association annual conference in Boston, Mass., in March 2008. Professors Andrea Dottolo, Champika K. Soysa, and Lori Dawson of the Psychology Department together with Dr. Sarah Tillery (Washington University,  St. Louis, Miss.), presented a symposium titled "Cultural insiders and outsiders: Theorizing relationships between social identities and institutional structures," at the Association for Women in Psychology annual conference in San Diego, Calif., in March. Professor Dottolo's paper was titled "Feeling like freak: Working class narratives from inside academia."  Professor Soysa's paper was titled "Clipped wings in the birdcage: Trauma in the Sri Lankan war zone," and Professor Dawson's paper was titled "The personal is political: Self disclosure, safety, power and pedagogy."

As a follow up to the fall conference, “Before, During and After: Managing a Campus Tragedy,”  the Chief Student Affairs Officers Committee hosted the Worcester Consortium to participate in a hands-on campus emergency planning workshop on April 25. Teams were comprised of Consortium College Presidents, Senior Administrators and Campus Police Chiefs. Chief Rosemary Naughton (College Police) and Adrian Gage (Residence Life) lead a discussion of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Along with the overview of NIMS system, workshop attendees participated in a tabletop exercise which described best practices following a major campus incident.

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Over 300 Attend Academic Achievement Awards

     Over 300 students, parents, families and friends attended the Worcester State College Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony, Thursday May 1 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.  Worcester State College President Dr. Janelle Ashley praised the students for their hard work and perseverance.  In her remarks she quoted Aristotle as saying, “we are what re repeatedly do.  Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.” Ashley added, “I think each of you epitomize Aristotle’s ideal of excellence.”  To read more about the awardees, click here to see the ceremony’s program.


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Exploring Cultural Influences in Early
Childhood Emotional Development

Barbara Zang, Ph.D.


Beth Russell (Psychology) has been studying parental behavior for years, most recently for her doctoral work in Human Development and Family Studies.

She studied shaken baby syndrome, which she defines as caregivers’ efforts to deal with a baby’s inconsolable crying.  “The caregivers are unable to regulate their response to this increasing emotional display,” Russell said.  

This work led Russell, who is in her second year at Worcester State, to her current research question: How do parents think about their babies’ emotional lives?

To answer this question, she is using 90-minute interviews with parents of children under the age of three. During these semi-structured interviews, Russell asks open-ended questions about such practices as sleep, eating, early education and soothing.

“You can’t do paper and pencil surveys to find out how parents feel about these things,” Russell said. How parents report their thoughts has been historically dominated by paper and pencil survey methods. These don’t help parents articulate what is a complicated and subtle process of decision making.

Interviews, she notes, are our “best way of understanding the nuanced tapestry parents have to weave to take care of their children. They are the social sciences’ best methodological bet for supporting parents’ expression of the practices they use with their young children.”

During the interview, this support comes in the form of prompts, examples and a reframing of questions when parents seem unsure or less confident of their response.

Russell hopes to ferret out parents’ cultural understandings of the way the world works. Sometimes, their understandings are different from the cultural values of the larger society.

For example, in U.S. culture, there’s a value of independence, Russell said. We believe babies should get through the night alone, and therefore we do not support co-sleeping, which is a practice with a negative, positive value. “These children are perceived as clingy,” she said.

Academics might label co-sleeping as a practice that fosters interdependence. This mirrors the feelings of some parents, Russell says, for whom the practice is a positive value. “They like the closeness. They like the quiet time they have with the baby. They can provide comfort when the baby is restless,” she said.

Her 2007-08 mini-grant, “Reliability of the Parental Interview of Caregiving—Infancy,” supports this research. She has recruited 11 parents so far; her goal is 30. The mini-grant paid for a Sony Voice recorder and voice transcribing software as well as small stipends for the interviewees.

“I hope to determine the reliability of the measure of such interviews,” Russell said.  Her aim is to develop one of the very few interviews that will improve on the data collection methods in her field.

She also hopes to use her findings as the basis for a symposium on metaparenting she will propose for the 2009 conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, which will be in Denver.



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Building a Career in Not-for-Profit

The Nonprofit Management Program and the Urban Studies department  sponsored a Nonprofit Fair on April 9, 2009, at the Students' Center. The fair attracted twenty-five nonprofit organizations from the region. The nonprofits represented a wide array of  service areas including elder services, youth mentoring, at-risk youth services, the arts, crisis centers and health promotion services. Live music was provided by Sterling Music Exchange, a nonprofit organization that empowers youth by providing them with an opportunity to express themselves through music. Over ninety students attended the fair.


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The Art of Physics
Barbara Zang, Ph.D.

Sometimes professors see possibilities in students that they themselves don’t immediately see.

More than two decades ago, Sudha Swaminathan (Physical and Earth Sciences), then a physics and mathematics major at Mount Holyoke, took a sculpture class for fun.

“My sculpture professor predicted that one day I would find a way to bring my fondness for science and art together,” she said.

That prediction, with some help from serendipity, is coming true: In the spring of 2009, Swaminathan and her colleague Frank Lamelas will offer Physics in Art, a new, three-credit lab course they’ve developed for science and art majors.

Swaminathan, who is in her third year on the faculty, began researching art analysis using physics when she got to Worcester State. “I found a book, Art Criticism from a Laboratory,” she said. “It was published in 1938, and some of the images were from the Worcester Art Museum.”

She called the museum to make an appointment to see the images and talk with a curator. The idea for Physics in Art was born. Her 2007-08 mini-grant with Lamelas has that title.

The two have used the grant to develop an introductory physics course with three components.  The first addresses optics. What are the basic principles of optics and how did artists use those principles? They’ve constructed a camera obscura to give students the opportunity to experience the ways artists painted.

The course will then move to the analysis of art using physical techniques. They’ve employed Emily Nelson, a WSC junior history major with an interest in art, who has also worked in a dentist’s office and therefore knows something about x-ray technology. Nelson is creating painting swatches to illustrate the use of non-invasive techniques such as x-rays, infrared and ultraviolet techniques.

X-rays of paintings are used to reveal underpaintings. These are the painted layers beneath the outermost visible layer.  Pigments with greater amounts of lead or other heavy elements absorb x-rays strongly, and can be seen in an x-ray of a painting.

“With infrared detection you can see Emily’s charcoal drawings underneath the samples of 10 different colors of paint,” Swaminathan said.

Infrared techniques can also be used to see the under image, because some paints are transparent in the infrared portion of the spectrum.  

“Research-grade infrared cameras are too expensive for such a course,” Lamelas said. “But by adapting a camera made for amateur astronomers, and with a home-made infrared light source, we can see some of the infrared spectrum we’re interested in.”

They used part of the mini-grant to purchase the camera then outfitted it with a 50mm Nikon lens from an old film camera, and a $50 infrared filter. “We’re trying to engineer our own way of doing this so that it will be interesting for students,” Lamelas said. “We’ll be able to do multi-spectral imaging.”

The third part of the course encompasses the analysis of art for authentication and dating. “We don’t have the capacity to examine paintings with neutrons,” Swaminathan said. “Neutron analysis is invasive. You need a small part of the painting itself to do the analysis.”  

Instead, they’ll use a scanning electron microscope to examine paint pigments. “This way you can tell whether the pigment source is natural or synthetic,” she said. “Natural iron oxide shows up differently than synthetic iron oxide.”  Paintings can thus be dated.

The public will also benefit from the development of this course. Swaminathan and Lamelas are preparing a one-hour “Physics in Art” tour for the Worcester Art Museum. They’ll write guides to six paintings in the museum’s collection that illustrate the techniques they’re teaching their students.  They hope to have this tour available for museum visitors later this year.


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WSC Baseball Wins the 2008 MASCAC Tournament
Worcester State snapped a 4-4 tie with a four-run, seventh-inning uprising in a
9-4 victory over Westfield State in the Massachusetts State College Athletics

Conference (MASCAC) baseball tournament championship game. 
For more..                                                               



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    BRIDGE TO HER FUTURE AWARD: The WSC Women’s Forum would like to thank all those who contributed on Thursday, May 1 toward funding their First Annual “Bridge To Her Future” Award. A total of $400 was raised – an exciting and successful start.  Contributions will continue to be accepted through May 30th.  Donations can be mailed directly to Nancy Morton, Abby’s House, 52 High Street, Worcester, Mass., 01609.  Or, you may contact Bonnie Orcutt at borcutt@worcester.edu or ext. 8750 or Rita Franz, President of the Women’s Forum, at rfranz@worcester.edu to make other contribution arrangements.  Again, thank you all for your generosity and support of women struggling to become financially independent during an increasingly difficult economic time.

    MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL: Third World Alliance presents "Diversity; The Tapestry of Life," on Wednesday, May 7, 2008, in the Student Center exhibit area from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Come and enjoy Polynesian dancers, Latin music, Latin dancers, a live Caribbean band, Jamaican, Spanish and Irish food.

    WSC TRACK CLOSED:  Due to a  replacement of the field surface with new turf and refurbishing of the track, the track and field complex will be unavailable for use as of Monday, May 5 through Friday, August 15.

    ALL SPORTS CAMP @ WSC: Athletics will be holding their 3rd Annual Summer All-Sports Day Camp July 21-25. The camp includes: baseball, basketball, street hockey, stickball, ultimate frisbee, softball, football, soccer, volleyball, kickball, track & field. For boys and girls ages 8-13.
    For more information click here for the brochure

    COMMONWEALTH AWARDS: Don't forget to nominate someone. Awards are given in three categories: Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance, Eugene H. Rooney, Jr. Public Service Award and the Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service. Nomination forms for these awards are available in the Human Resources Office on campus (Admin. Village, Room 118). All nomination forms must be in to Carol Faron by Friday, May 16.

    YEARBOOK MESSAGES: Do you know a graduating senior who will be missed? Show them just how proud you are of their great accomplishments by placing a Friend Ad in the 2008 Yearbook. It's FREE. 100 words or less. Deadline for submissions is April 25. Email message to accolade@worcester.edu. Please note: messages may be edited for content and/or space.

    SUPER SENIOR SEND-OFF BBQ: The campus community is invited to join the seniors and their families for a send-off bbq. The meal includes shrimp, rib eye steak, ribs, bbq chicken, salads, baked potato bar, corn on the cob and a make-your-own sundae dessert bar. There will be caricaturists, wacky photos, psychics and music. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased through the Student Center Information Desk or by calling extension 8073. Checks can be made payable to WSC Student Activity Trust Fund. Please order your tickets by Friday, May 9, 2008.

    HOW TO WRITE STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES:  Understanding the difference between departmental goals, learning objectives and outcomes. This forum will be presented by Andrea Bilics and Maureen Erickson on Tuesday, May 13 at 10 a.m. in the Student Center North/South Auditorium. Space is limited. Please bring your own syllabi.To reserve a space please contact Andrea Bilics at: Andrea.Bilics@worcester.edu or cteachlearn@worcester.edu

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**Please Note - Links to online newspaper articles
 may no longer be available after a certain period of time.**

College Town
Telegram & Gazette (5-4-08)

A Good win for Worcester State
Wicked Local Hull (5-2-08)
Excerpt: Worcester State College  got a tremendous starting pitching performance Thursday from sophomore Joey Lucier (Brockton, MA).  The right-handed hurler went 7.2 innings scattering 8 hits giving up 3 runs and striking out 10 in a 7-6, 10-inning win over Salem State.

Monday, May 5, 2008




Monday, May 5

Criminal Justice
Opportunity Fair

Student Center, Exhibit Area
& North/South Auditorium

Free and Open to the Public
3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 6

Film: Everything's Cool
Ghosh Center, Room 318
Free and Open to the Public
4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 7

All Classes End

Multicultural Festival
Student Center,
Exhibit Area
Open to Campus
10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 8

Reading Day

Film/Talk: College Police
Presentation on
Active Shooter in the
Ghosh Center, Room 102
Open to all Faculty & Staff
10 a.m. & 2 p.m.

WSC Dance Company
Spring Show

Sullivan Auditorium
Tickets @ door
7 p.m.



May 9-16

Final Exams

Tuesday, May 13

Talk: How to Write Student
Learning Outcomes

Student Center,
North/South Aud.
10 - 11 a.m.

Thursday, May 15

Nursing Pinning

Friday, May 16

Graduate Dinner/
Hooding Ceremony

Saturday, May 17

Senior Send-Off BBQ
Student Center
Open to Campus Community
Tickets @ Student Center Info Desk

Sunday, May 18


DCU Center

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