During the medieval era, the term "bachelor" was commonly used to describe a young apprentice in the university or a guild. Academic faculties were essentially members of guilds, and the baccalaureate degree was originally a milestone on the path to becoming one of the guild "masters." Often, it signaled that a candidate had completed the trivium, or the first three of the liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, and logic) as the groundwork for further exploration and study. The scope of the liberal arts is broader now, though we still retain the principle that to be a master in any field requires a foundation in the tools of critical thinking and the pursuit of knowlege. At many medieval institutions, what distinguished the holders of a bachelor's degree from the younger "scholars" was that they were not just attending lectures at the university but also seeking a license to lecture themselves.

Throughout the final weeks of the spring semester at Westmont we have enjoyed a wide range of opportunities to hear and to see students contribute to the "lectures" of the college. You could have caught this in the Major Honors presentations, the Senior Art Show, or in the commentary at the recent Spring Research Symposium. This report offers just a brief glimpse of those events, along with the panorama of professional accomplishments by faculty and staff. I hope the report provides a prelude to May 6, when we will celebrate the 306 students who have reached the bachelor's milestone on their journey of learning and discovery. I have no doubt that in the near future we will learn much from many of these graduates in the new ways that they become "thoughtful scholars, grateful servants, and faithful leaders."

Mark Sargent signaure

 

Updates

Chandra MallampalliCHANDRA MALLAMPALLI APPOINTED TO FLETCHER JONES CHAIR OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

As President Beebe announced last week, Chandra Mallampalli will assume the Fletcher Jones Chair of Social Sciences, succeeding the inaugural holder of the chair, Richard Pointer. Joining the Westmont faculty in 2001, Chandra holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an M.Div. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. His latest book, A Muslim Conspiracy in British India? Politics and Paranoia in the Early Nineteenth Century Deccan, will be released in June from Cambridge University Press.

Cambridge also published his 2011 book Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family. At present, Chandra is finishing another book under contract with Oxford University Press, entitled Between Hindu and Muslim: Christians of Modern South India. Along with a collaborator from Pepperdine, Chandra just received a networking grant from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities to study "South Asian Christianity in Transition: Identity, Theological Education, and the Plight of the Marginal."

In August, Chandra will be a visiting fellow at the Madras Institute of Development Studies in Chennai, India, during which time he will present two papers and conduct research in state and Jesuit archives. He also has four articles that will appear shortly. "Conquest and Intrigue in South India during the First Anglo-Afghan War" will be published by the Journal of Asian Studies. "Slaying Men with Faces of Women: Liberalism and Patronage in the Trial of a South Indian Maulvi" will be published next month in Modern Asian Studies. The International Journal of Asian Christianity will publish Chandra's "Dalit Christian Reservations: Colonial Moorings of a Live Debate" next fall, while his essay "The Orientalist Framework of Christian Conversion in India" will be one of the chapters in the new book Relocating World Christianity (E.J. Brill).

 

Ed Song NEW FACULTY ASSIGNMENTS

For the coming academic year, Ed Song will be joining the faculty in a full-time role. He will be teaching half of his load in the Westmont Downtown program, and covering a "Philosophical Perspectives" course on campus. Also, in collaboration with the Student Life Office, we have arranged for him to teach the internship courses in the Office of Career Development and Calling. Ed will continue his work on promoting postbaccalaureate scholarship opportunities for students. A graduate of Yale (B.A.), Oxford (M.A.), and the University of Virginia (Ph.D.), Ed has served the college in multiple ways over the past few years, and we are grateful to have him aboard full-time next year. On top of all that he does, he also offers a regular podcast (called "The City of Man") that discusses the politics of the day from a Christian perspective. You can find it on the Christian Humanist radio network.

The Augustinian Scholarship program has also expanded for next year, as we anticipate more first-year Augustinians to join us. To support this expansion, Jim Taylor will join Jesse Covington and Sarah Skripsky in working with the first-year students, while Andrea Gurney will teach a new, one-credit course for the second-year Augustinians who wish to enjoy one more academic experience together. Andrea's course ("Stories Worth Telling") focuses on some significant narratives (biography, fiction, history) and spiritual formation activities.

In March, the faculty elected Tom Knecht to serve as the vice chair of the faculty and leader of the Faculty Council. He will be joined by Faculty Council members Lisa DeBoer, Sarah Skripsky, Greg Spencer, and Jane Wilson.

Next year, Eileen McMahon McQuade, in her role as associate dean of the faculty, will be devoting a portion of her time to providing administrative oversight to the Westmont in San Francisco program. Along with managing budgets and staff, she will help us discern ways of bolstering recruitment, enhancing partnerships, and identifying possible curricular innovations.

 

Kelly CollinsSPORTS AND SCHOLARS

Congratulations to Kelly Collins, a member of the cross country and track and field teams, for being selected as Westmont's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an award sponsored by the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable. One of Westmont's "First Seniors" (for the top GPA of the graduating class, in this case 4.0), Kelly has twice competed in the NAIA national indoor track and field meet and once in the outdoor championships. She has also run all four years in the national championships in cross country, finishing as high as twenty-first in 2014, which qualified her for All-American status. An English major from Pleasant Hills, California, Kelly recently completed a "Major Honors" project in her field with a blend of analysis and creative writing based on the parables of Jesus.

Tennis WestmontCommendations are also in order for Coach Mark Basham and the members of the men's tennis team after they won the Golden State Athletic Conference title with a 5-4 upset of Arizona Christian University. The title came down to the last set of the last match. In the #6 singles matchup, Westmont's Luke Bernard rallied from a set down to win (3-6, 7-5, 6-2). Westmont also won the top three singles matches (victories by Luke Whalen, Philipp Sibbel, and Christian Mathis) as well as the top doubles match (Sibbel and Mathis). The Warriors narrowly made it into the final with a 5-4 semi-final victory over San Diego Christian, as Whalen overcame a 5-1 deficit in the tiebreaker of the third set of the decisive match. It is Westmont's first GSAC men's tennis title since 1997.

Stefan InouyeOne of the champion tennis players—Tommy Nightingale—will be the sole triple major at Commencement this year, as he is finishing programs in Economics and Business, English, and Religious Studies. He was also one of twelve athletes recognized recently at the Golden Eagle Banquet. Since 1995, the Golden Eagle Banquet has honored the top academic student from each of the varsity athletic teams. Students become eligible during the sophomore year. This year's Golden Eagle recipient in men's basketball, Stefan Inouye (left), became only the tenth Westmont student-athlete to be granted the award for all three years of eligibility.

Along with Tommy and Stefan, this year's Golden Eagles are: Kelly Collins (women's cross country), Libby Dahlberg (volleyball), Andrew Devian (baseball), Sophia Fuller (women's soccer), Jacob Grant (men's cross country), Tim Heiduk (men's soccer), Isabel Lee (women's tennis), Lauren McCoy (women's basketball), Joseph Miller (men's track and field), and Olivia Wood (women's track and field).

Jena HaringSTRUCTURE AND INTERIORITY

During the final weeks of the semester, the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art has been featuring the annual senior show, entitled As of Yet Unknown.  Among the wide variety of works, one standout is a series of portraits by Jenna Haring, the recipient of the Department of Art's annual senior award for 2017. As she notes, these are images of a friend recovering from brain surgery, the highs and lows of a "cyclical post-op journey." The "contours of her frame," the geometric backdrops, and her "hidden face" all intimate something of her mental and emotional experience. The portraits prompt us to consider both the "impossibility and intimacy of witnessing the internal world of our closest others."

Next fall the Museum looks forward to being a part of a large collaborative effort with 70 cultural organizations in Southern California, including the Los Angeles Museum of Art. The multi-institution exhibit is entitled Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, and will feature works about Latin American art in numerous Los Angeles settings.

Yuri OkahanaAs in Haring's paintings, there was a mixture of the structured and the subliminal in Westmont's spring theatre production of Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding, directed by Mitchell Thomas. First performed in 1933, Blood Wedding turns its gaze on social conventions in contemporary Spain even as it evokes classical plays and myths about passion and fate. The Santa Barbara Independent commended “Westmont College’s excellent new production" and took special notice of the “ingenious set design” by adjunct professor Yuri Okahana (photo).  That design—featuring sliding screens—allowed Mitchell to display multiple levels of action simultaneously. According to the reviewer, it was a technique that suggests the “social and the subconscious aspects of this mythic drama may somehow be one and the same.” 

 

contakesMichael everestSTRONG ROLES FOR THE SCIENCES—AND SOCIOLOGY

Westmont certainly had vital roles in the annual meeting of the Southern California Christians in Science, which was held early this month at California Baptist University. Steve Contakes and Michael Everest were co-chairs of the event, and Steve gave a talk on "Better Things for Better Christian Living Through Chemistry? Thoughts and Questions About Chemistry's Role in the Science & Religion Dialogue." Three Westmont students—Jacob Clark, Laurie Maragliano, and Makenna Musson—also attended as part of their involvement with the Westmont Faith and Science Club. The conference featured a plenary address from Jeff Schloss, entitled "Never trust a biologist: Where babies really come from."

The Natural and Behavioral Sciences were also robustly represented in the 21st Annual Westmont Spring Research Symposium. Michael advised three projects, including Holly Bowler's study of how the cardiac glycosides in common milkweed, though poisonous in large amounts, may be rendered medicinal but not toxic by traditional Native American cooking. Steve oversaw a couple projects that continued his work with students on photoactive nanoparticles that help remediate inorganic pollutants in contaminated land and water. Jonathan Mitchell (3 projects), Don Patterson (3), Carmel Saad (3), Brenda Smith (3), Amanda Sparkman (2), Kristi Cantrell (1), Deborah Dunn (1), Steve Julio (1), Enrico Manlapig (1), Allan Nishimura (1), Steve Rogers (1) and Tom Whittemore (1) all served as advisors for the student researchers.

felicia songAll told, 44 students contributed to the 38 projects on display during the Research Symposium, which was held on April 19 in Winter Hall. Like last year, the Sociology Department was a strong participant, accounting for more than a quarter of the student researchers. Felicia Song served as the advisor for twelve different projects! Those included studies of first- and second-generation Chinese immigrants, Muslim-American women in the U.S. media, notions of masculinity and femininity, religion and LGBTQ themes, mental health, the language of the "war on drugs," and different cultural understandings of beauty.

 

rock at westmontHONORS FOR STUDENTS

This was an excellent year for Major Honors projects, as eight students completed one of the yearlong research endeavors under the guidance of faculty mentors. At a recent dinner for the students, the mentors consistently lauded the students' resilience, especially when students' discoveries forced them to take their research in new directions. You can catch something of the focus and spirit of the topics here in a brief clip as the students describe their projects, originally shown in the spring Honors Convocation.

Recently I received notice from the director of the Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford program (SCIO) that a Westmont student—Matthew Maler—had been awarded the De Jager Prize for outstanding academic work during his fall semester in the Oxford Honors Semester. Congratulations, Matthew.

 

IflandPATENT FOR RICK IFLAND IN RESEARCH ON OPHTHALMICS

Rick Ifland and Omega Ophthalmics were just issued their twentieth patent for an ophthalmic medical device that replaces the natural lens inside the eye during cataract surgery. The executive director of Omega, Rick works with a medical research team that has passed a significant milestone within their current trials. They are about to start another trial to test aspects of the device prior to applying for an "investigational device exemption" from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct human trials in the United States. Omega's project is a refractive capsule that can substantially aid our abilities to treat cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Implanted in the eye, the capsule holds a refractive lens to support vision even as it maintains an open space for biometric sensors and drug delivery to treat diseases.

 

Daniel GeeDANIEL GEE GRANTED LILLY FELLOWS AWARD

Daniel Gee, who was Westmont’s “First Senior” in the Class of 2013, has been awarded a Lilly Fellows Graduate Fellowship. He will be one of nine students from around the nation in the cohort, and he is the fourth Westmont student to receive the prestigious award.  The award supports Daniel’s study toward a doctorate in choral conducting at USC.

Daniel recently completed his master's at USC, and then taught for one year back at Westmont. The fellowship also allows him to participate in colloquia and conferences designed to nurture theological and interdisciplinary growth among a cohort of young teacher-scholars.  Lisa DeBoer and John Ware of Xavier University in Louisiana will be serving as the mentors of this tenth cohort of Lilly Fellows.

DISSERTATION OF THE YEAR: CAMPUS CLIMATE AT CHRISTIAN COLLEGES

Stu Cleek was honored recently for writing the Cleek, Stu"Dissertation of the Year" in the Rossier School of Education at USC. He completed the work as part of a collaborative research endeavor with Peter Hansen, who also finished his own dissertation and doctorate at USC this spring. Stu's dissertation is entitled "Perceptions of Campus Racial Climate and Sense of Belonging at Faith-Based Institutions: Differences by Race/Ethnicity, Religiosity, and Faith Fit." Stu and Peter surveyed over 1300 students from six institutions, including Westmont. At a recent Faculty Forum, they summarized some of their major findings. Here are a few of the more compelling points:

First, it is quite telling that virtually all of the numerical growth at Christian colleges in the last several years has been due to the increase in students of color. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of white students at institutions in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) has grown only modestly (247,703 to 262,010), while students of color have nearly doubled (58,331 to 104,029). This differs notably from national averages. Students of color represent 41% of American collegians, whereas they comprise only 28% of the student bodies at CCCU schools.

Second, the study revealed that students of color were less likely to feel a high sense of belonging on campus (67% for white students at Westmont; 55% for students of color) and more likely to feel like they do not belong in classroom discussions (4% for white students, 15% for students of color). "While faith fit and religiosity do play some role in the sense of belonging for students" at CCCU institutions, Stu and Peter contend, "the campus racial climate appears to be more predictive of the sense of belonging." Stu and Peter have given us some valuable data and talking points for appraising the campus climate and cultivating an ethos of hospitality for all students.

 

DIDO PROJECTRECOGNITION FOR ARTISTS ANDERSON AND HUFF

Two of our Art Department faculty—Scott Anderson and Nathan Huff—have received recent acclaim. Scott won a Silver Addy Award from the American Advertising Federation for an illustration that he did as a poster for Westmont's Dido Project—a two-play package directed last year by John Blondell. He also did an illustration for a work of fiction in The North American Review that was accepted into this year's volume of American Illustration, the single-most competitive of the professional juried competitions for illustrations. The hardcover volume—set for release in the fall—selects less than four percent of the 10,000 submitted illustrations.

Nathan Huff's solo show "Sadness, Sleep and Sanctity" was a featured exhibition at Huff sculptureVentura College's New Media Gallery during January and February. The installation brought together sculptures from a variety of media, including basketry, soft sculpture, and assemblage. Nathan, along with collaborators from Biola and George Fox, also debuted six large-scale paintings during the winter concert recital at George Fox University. The project drew inspiration from the music of Morten Lauridsen and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.

 

reflection

Tremper LongmanSHALOM, TREMPER

Some of the books on my desk are gifts from their authors. They often linger there among the scattered papers, a visible reminder of friendship and a fresh invitation to explore our faculty’s scholarly endeavors. Recently Tremper Longman gave me the new Dictionary of Christianity and Science, a Zondervan volume that he co-edited. It is, as you can imagine, one of many Tremper volumes in my office. Poignantly, it will also be the last of his book projects to be released during his full-time teaching career at Westmont. While I am delighted that Tremper will continue to bear Westmont’s name in his future speaking and publishing, let me close this report with a word of gratitude for the many ways that he has represented Westmont throughout the world and inspired colleagues on campus. In fact, some of the contributors to this dictionary—Steve Contakes, Mark Nelson, and Jeff Schloss—are Westmont colleagues he recruited for the project.

We have roasted Tremper in the past couple months, both at his farewell dinner and before his last chapel address, but behind all the satire there is a mountain of affection and appreciation. "I respect Tremper as a scholar and teacher," Holly Beers writes, "but what I most appreciate about him is deeply personal. He has always invested in me—a junior member of the department—by giving me his time and energy to process questions, direct me to resources, and encourage my research." "Tremper and Alice were in our church homegroup for a while," Alister Chapman recalls. "I appreciated his genuine concern and care for people in the group, the gracious way he contributed to our Bible studies without dominating them, and his enthusiasm for reading Old Testament Bible stories to our boys (with a variety of fun and erudite interpolations to the text!)."

I have enjoyed my many conversations with Tremper over the past five years—some, admittedly, about the Philadelphia Eagles, but most about biblical texts. Even though I am far from a biblical scholar, I have always appreciated how he welcomes me into those discussions without condescension. I experience his erudition as a gift, offered with encouragement to view the Scriptures through the lens of my own discipline and to love them with something of his own passion.

"Tremper Longman III is one of a kind," observes Jim Taylor. "Who else do you know who is an Old Testament scholar who plays squash, likes heavy metal music, writes three books at a time (with his door open to welcome visitors), and chooses titles for his books like God Loves Sex? Tremper is also a Westmont treasure—bright, knowledgeable, prolific, humble, authentic, and good-natured. I'll miss him!"

Those are sentiments widely shared. God be with you, Tremper.

 

 

 

 

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