A Wesleyan Perspective: 2001

 A Continuing Journal of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program
January 2001      Volume One . . . . . . . . . . . Number One

GLSP -- "Our Home" - 2001

Having arrived at 2001, that prophetic time when we are, according to Stanley Kubrick, to take the next step in the evolution of mankind, it is perhaps valuable to step back and look at: who we are, where we've been, and what we've done, both personally and as an organization to make the world a better place to live on, before moving off to the other planets.

This journal, chronicling the teachers, administrative staff and students of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program, is one attempt to provide an overview of this program's efforts to provide positive leadership in that direction.

Table of Contents

1. How We Started:
Our GLSP by Morton Briggs

2. Profiles of our Teachers:
John Risley: tribute to an artist/teacher.

Go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/av/DreamersGallery3.html

3. Students in Today's Program:

4. News from our Graduates in the Field

5. Summers with the Graduate Liberal Studies Program:
Royal Hartigan

6. Future Directions:
Planned Trip to Antarctica


How We Started: Our GLSP History
by Morton Briggs
as told to Bob White

Kay and Morton Briggs at home

You might say the program at Wesleyan started in 1951 or so, basically at the same time that the Master of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT) began. Both of those programs came out of two factors: One -- all of a sudden Wesleyan came into a lot of money from "My Weekly Reader," a great moneymaker. A good staff of editors from My Weekly Reader and other magazines had been brought in from Columbus Ohio, where "The Reader" was originally published. There were about twenty editors in all.

Most of these people, before they became writers, had been "school people," teachers, principals, superintendents. So we had a real good core of specialists who were brought to Middletown in 1950 at a time when it was impossible to find housing. I guess it was fun, finding housing for these people who were used to the best, but it was a headache too. And, at the time, Middletown didn't have all that many "bests."

At that time I was secretary of the University so it was my job to act as liason to these "Weekly Reader" people coming in and to try and meld them with the Wesleyan faculty. Now, that's the background of what made the GLSP possible. It became a necessity to find something educational to do with the money realized through the Weekly Reader. This was a problem for the  president Victor Butterfield. If we were to use the money for education we wouldn't have to pay taxes but for any other use we would. So, out of that came The Graduate Liberal Studies Program on the one hand and the Master of Arts in Teaching Program on the other hand.

Now, there was a "third hand" which was comprised of all sorts of miscellaneous programs: for example we had the poet Bill Snow going out to give poetry readings. He loved it and he did it very well. Of course the schools were delighted to have him, particularlly since he came "free." I was the one who went through the mill since, as a free spirit,  he could never be depended upon to be where he said he was going to be. So, I'd have to track him down. I helped set up the Master of Arts in Teaching Program and then we hired a director, Ernest Stabler, to run that program and so I had less and less to do with it. That is until the middle 60's when Ernest and his family went to Africa for two years. So I took over that program, subbing for him. Then, later, when he left again in 69', I became very much involved as director once more, until 71' when they finally closed the program.

You ask why they ended what was considered a very good program and the answer is that it had accomplished its mission, in other words to get more people interested in teaching in public education.

I was abroad in 72/73' with a study group that I was leading and Wesleyan had decided to keep its moral obligation in public education. But instead of having a master of arts in teaching they would have an educational studies program which would be the undergraduate equivalent to prepare students to teach by the time they graduated.

- to be continued -

Summers with The Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Summer 2000 GLSP Study with Royal Hartigan and Students at World Music Hall

- Future Directions -

Voyage to Antarctica

An Interview with Greg McHone:

From: "J. Gregory McHone" <jmchone@mail.wesleyan.edu>
Subject: Re: Antarctica

Hello to everyone interested in our travel course to Antarctica!

There is now much more information posted on our web site:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/glsp/, which I invite you to read.

At the web site, Click on "Voyage to Antarctica" in the lower left of the new menu bar.  I will be adding more to it over the next several  weeks, including some photos, actual expense budget, date for a deposit, and answers to questions.  Feel free to email me with those questions!

There is also a professional brochure in production, which will be sent to you and many hundreds of others as well, but for now you still have priority over people yet to contact us (spaces are limited).  An announcement about this trip will be in the Wesleyan Alumni magazine in a few weeks as well, and some people will just travel without taking the course (a lesser experience!).

The trip to Antarctica was a suggestion from Professor Stewart Gilmore, who came to us last summer and said, "A few years back, I went to Antarctica with Betchart Expeditions." He did this in 1999, I believe.  He said, "I thought it would be great to go again and if I'm going to do that, why not make it into a course where GLSP students can come along and get credit for it."

We do off-campus trips almost every year.  A couple of summer trips have been planned as well: a course called Literature and London, and a Geology of New England trip led by Dick Leibe.  So three academic trips are coming
up in 2001, two this summer and in December the trip to Antarctica.  Each trip will be about two weeks long.  The Antarctic trip needs to be done in our winter because that is when it is summer down there.  And it needs to be done so that teachers can go, therefore the only good time seems to be the last few weeks of December during Christmas break.

We thought it would be a good idea to have the Alumni Office involved, so we contacted Joyce Chapman who arranges travel trips for Wesleyan alumni. She agreed to co-sponsor the event.  Betchart Expeditions will produce a professional brochure, to be sent to several thousand GLSP students and alumni.

The group will travel from JFK in New York City all the way to Buenos Aires, Argentina  - a long time in the air. Then there's just an hour to be spent in that city before a second flight, lasting several hours, to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.  At Ushuaia there will be a day to rest and sight see before embarking on a Russian research vessel, which is one of several Polar Research ships built mainly in Finland during the 1970's and 80's, but recently converted to carry passengers on expeditions such as this. This is one way that the Russians can sponsor their own research, by using some of their ships for "paying passengers."

But the ship has been converted quite well and has comfortable cabins, with cooks who can provide menus for Europeans and Americans; it has an international crew, and a Russian captain. Fortunately Stew Gilmore speaks fluent Russian. In the 1960's Stew, while a Stanford graduate student, went to Antarctica for a year and a half as an exchange scientist with a Russian Polar expedition. So he travelled with the Russians in the early 60's which, at the time, was quite unusual.  He still has his Polar clothes, which are quite different from modern gear. The last time he went the Russian crew was really impressed with his Russian Polar outfit, and the fact that he spoke Russian to them at the same time.

Stew is also a musician, so there are some social events he leads during trips. He's done other trips for Betchart Expeditions, a group in California near Stanford, where Stew is on sabbatical.  Betchart is a well known company that specializes in this type of trip for academic groups to places around the world.  The ship is designed for fifty four passengers.

We have twenty five cabins reserved by Betchart, so there's room for a large group from Wesleyan. This will be a mix of Graduate Liberal Studies students, with many who are taking the trip as a course in addition to the
expenses of the trip; and there will be some Wesleyan alumni.

The academic course will include a series of seminar meetings that Stew Gilmore will conduct in the late Fall semester of 2001.  He'll present an introduction to the history and science of Antarctica.  Stew is a professor of history and science at Wesleyan.  And as a former professional scientist himself, he knows a considerable amount about geophysics and the work that has been done, and is currently being done in Antarctica (such as measuring ozone in the atmosphere).  Stew is quite capable of explaining the exploration history and the scientific research history of Antarctica.

This will be a great trip for people who really like to look at birds; Antarctica is famous for its bird population. There's no place on Earth quite like it, with penguins, cormorants and other sea birds, and certainly we will also see mammals such as seals and whales.  Other people may be more interested in the geology or history of exploration.

Every day people will have an opportunity to go ashore. This is a 240 foot ship, which is small enough to get into bays and harbors close to the shoreline where bigger ships can't go. There's a limit, by International agreement, on the number of people allowed ashore at any one time.  On this ship, everybody who wants to go ashore can do that; so there will be a lot of trips onto the Antarctic ice shelf and the mainland.

There are also research stations that might be visited. Some stations, abandoned during the past century, are still there with all the materials still intact.  Obviously there are several countries that maintain staffed research stations, which may also be visited.  We'll be able to see the history of Antarctic exploration and research in person.

There will be other experts on board who will be giving lectures on various aspects of ecology and geology, animals and marine science. Stew will do history and geophysics.  Everyone on board will get a chance to mingle with these experts who give lectures every evening. There will be other social events conducted as well, but this is really an educational trip; it is not intended to be a "sit back in the deck chair trip;" it's a real adventure and people will be gathered together to share their common interest.

J. Gregory McHone, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Graduate Liberal Studies Program
and Visiting Scholar in Earth Sciences
Wesleyan University
284 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459-0519
phone: (860) 685-3339; fax: (860) 685-2901

We would be pleased to hear from current Graduate Liberal Studies Program students or graduates of the program. Tell us what you're doing today and what you'd like to share with fellow students in this journal.

Editor: Rob White dit LeBlanc at rwhite@wesleyan.edu
A Shop For Dreamers at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/av/gronican.htm