Harvard’s first impressions

first_imgAs Harvard celebrates its 375th anniversary, the Gazette is examining key moments and developments over the University’s broad and compelling history.In the summer of 1638, the John of London set sail from Hull, England, bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On board was Puritan minister Joseph Glover with his wife Elizabeth and their five children. In the ship’s hold was his wooden printing press valued at 20 pounds, paper worth twice that much, and a quantity of lead alloy type.Centuries later, Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison called the John of London “the publishing fraternity’s Mayflower.”  That little press, made of pegged timber and iron, was destined to be the first in British North America, the first at Harvard, and the first printing press in the New World managed by a woman. (Glover died during the trans-Atlantic crossing, and his wife carried on.)The press, designed to print one sheet of moistened paper at a time, was the first piece of equipment in a publishing operation that was to print English America’s first book, its first periodical literature, and its first best-sellers, including Michael Wigglesworth’s fervent poem about the Last Judgment called “Day of Doom” (four editions, starting in 1662) and Mary Rowlandson’s 1662 captivity narrative. In sum, “We are looking at the first flowering of American literature coming out of the Harvard press,” said Lisa Brooks, who is John L. Loeb Associate professor of the Humanities.Brooks is writing a book about James Printer, the Nipmuc Indian typesetter, who starting in 1659 played a key role in printing the Eliot Indian Bible (1663), a rendering of the Old and New Testaments in Algonquin. Printer, trained at Harvard’s preparatory school on Crooked Lane, knew Greek, Latin, English, and his native Algonquin. When he arrived on the scene, the translated Bible ceased to be just a pipe dream for John Eliot, a Puritan minister and “apostle to the Indians” who started preaching in the “Massachusett” language in 1646.From the beginning, Glover’s little press was a cultural leap forward in Cambridge, a frontier town two miles upriver from Boston Harbor. It helped to legitimize Harvard, a wilderness Puritan college modeled — perhaps prematurely — on its iconic English cousins at Oxford and Cambridge. In the fall of 1638, one hopeful resident wrote, “wee have a Cambridge here, a college erecting, a library, and I suppose there will be a press by winter.”And there was. As early as December 1638 the little press turned out a broadsheet titled “The Freeman’s Oath,” a document that every man over 20 years of age, and six months a householder, had to swear to in order to become a citizen of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.That fall Elizabeth Glover had settled into the Haynes mansion in Newtowne Square, on the site of present-day Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Her indentured servant, Stephen Daye, moved into a house on nearby Crooked Lane, located at what is now 15 Holyoke St. With him were his three sons, his wife, and the printing press.Daye (who by 1655 would sign his name “Day”) was English America’s first printer, for which he won lasting fame among bibliophiles and students of American printing. But in truth, Daye was a locksmith by trade and an ironworker by inclination, and besides was barely literate. It is likely that his teenage son Matthew, who is believed to have apprenticed as a printer in England, brought what skill there was to New England’s first printery.There were material challenges. The Crooked Lane printery was a “tiny, crude, candle-lit, one-press shop,” wrote one historian. The type was worn, the handmade paper was uneven, the ink was poor, and the press was simple. “The results obtained,” wrote scholar of print Sidney A. Kimber, “matched the equipment.”Supplies were also a problem as the years went on. Metal type was so notoriously hard to make that it had to be imported for the next 150 years. Printing ink, a mix of varnish and lampblack that was hard to get right, was imported too. Most paper came from Europe for at least another century, since the Colonies had a shortage of both rags and skilled workmen. Presses were hard to make. The first American-made press was built by a New Haven clockmaker in 1769.And there were literary challenges. Early products of the press at Cambridge were flawed. There were typographical errors, inventive spellings, and missing words. But even in England, apologetic scholars point out, printing had fallen on hard times. One 1631 Bible was called the “wicked Bible” because the word “not” was left out of the seventh commandment.In Cambridge, printing triumph and printing embarrassment met in one document, “The Whole Booke of Psalms” (1640). It was English America’s first printed book (triumph), but its run of 1,700 copies was marred by blurred type and typographical errors (embarrassment). At the base of some pages, lines bow upwards, where the press’s type was improperly locked in place.Then there was the translation itself. The psalms were faithful to the original Hebrew, but the Colony ministers at work were more scholarly than poetic. “God’s Altar needs not our pollishings,” warned the preface, and the translations within “have attended Conscience rather than Elegance.” The 23rd Psalm, for instance, begins this way:The Lord to mee a shepheard is,Want therefore shall not I, Hee in the folds of tender-grasse, Doth cause mee down to lie;But for all its faults, what we now call the “Bay Psalm Book” was a brilliant creation that rose above the technical limitations of the press and its early workers. It was also sturdy, owing to nonacidic ink and to thick paper made from linen and cotton rags. “The ‘Bay Psalm Book’ is in a lot better shape than the paperback you bought 10 years ago,” said rare books expert Hope Mayo, the Houghton Library’s Hofer Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts. (Harvard owns one of the 12 extant copies.)By the third edition, in 1651, the “Bay Psalm Book” ’s rude translation was smoother, due in part to Henry Dunster, Harvard’s first president. But Dunster had a far bigger role in English America’s first printing press: In 1641 he married the widow Glover, and so gained control of what was the sole printing office in the colony until 1675. The press was moved in 1645 to the president’s lodgings at the south end of what is now Harvard Yard.In its first 10 years, the press was largely underused, despite the triumph of the “Bay Psalm Book.” The 23 imprints of that first decade included Commencement broadsheets, a speller, a catechism, and 10 almanacs. (These last, with charts and essays, were New England’s only periodical literature until the advent of newspapers in the18th century.)Stephen Daye in the 1640s turned the business of printing over to son Matthew.The younger Daye died in 1649, and Dunster hired Samuel Green, a Cambridge jack-of-all-trades. He was to oversee Harvard printing operations until they shut down in 1692. (After that, Harvard did not have another press of its own until 1871.)By 1659, Harvard had acquired a second press, and had moved operations into the new Indian College, Harvard’s first brick building. In the same year, Green received help from New England’s first legitimately trained printer, a London journeyman named Marmaduke Johnson. Printing quality improved, making the Eliot Bible, crisp and neat, the triumph it was. But Johnson raised Puritan ire by racking up debts, drinking to excess, and — despite being a married man — forcing his affections on one of Green’s daughters.Harvard’s first printing press itself, for all its importance to English America’s early literature, has been lost to time. Morison speculated that it was ready for “the junk pile” even before 1700. But until the 1950s most scholars of printing believed that the so-called Stephen Daye press was used well into the 18th century, and ended up in the Vermont Historical Society’s museum in Montpelier. “It’s possible, but we don’t think so,” said museum curator Jacqueline Calder, citing current scholarship.Still, the timber-frame “common press” on display in Montpelier resembles the one Stephen Daye unpacked in 1638. Stout and plain, it has had a place in the museum since the 19th century.But many modern visitors are puzzled by the contraption. “I don’t think people realize what it is,” said Calder. “I don’t think they realize the importance of printed materials.”last_img read more

Harvard’s IOP announces fall fellows

first_imgThe Institute of Politics (IOP) at the Harvard Kennedy School has announced its resident and visiting fellowships for this fall. Resident fellows interact with students, participate in the intellectual life of the Harvard community, and lead weekly study groups on a wide variety of subjects. The following resident fellows will join the Institute for the fall semester:John Carr, executive director for justice, peace, and human development, United States Conference of Catholic BishopsJim Doyle, governor of Wisconsin (2003-11) and attorney general of Wisconsin (1991-2003)Nina Easton, senior editor and Washington columnist, Fortune magazineMark McKinnon, co-founder, No Labels; chief media adviser to former President George W. Bush; and vice chair, Hill+Knowlton StrategiesBrett O’Donnell, president, O’Donnell and Associates Ltd.; chief strategist, Bachmann for President campaign; and director of messaging, McCain-Palin campaignSonal Shah, deputy assistant to the president and director, White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (2009-11)George Papandreou, prime minister of Greece (2009-11), will also join the IOP as a visiting fellow this fall. Visiting fellows traditionally meet with student groups, lead discussion groups on topical issues and their experiences in public and political service, and participate in public policy classes with students and Harvard University faculty.Read more information.last_img read more

Radcliffe Institute Fellow Junot Díaz, RI ’04, named 2012 MacArthur Fellow

first_img Read Full Story Today, Junot Díaz, Pulitzer–prize winning writer, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Radcliffe Institute fellow in 2003–2004, was named a 2012 MacArthur Fellow. Díaz — selected for his creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future — is one of 23 recipients of this year’s “genius grant,” which awards fellows $500,000 over five years.After becoming a literary sensation in the mid-1990s for his powerful short stories — often set in the barrios of the Dominican Republic and published in Drown — Diaz won a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute. He worked at the institute during the 2003–2004 academic year on his second book, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel titled The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, published in 2007. Diaz’s third book, another collection of short stories, This is How You Lose Her, came out in September to great acclaim.last_img read more

Chinese breast cancer delegation visits HSPH

first_imgBreast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in China, with 1.1 million new cases annually. China’s breast cancer mortality has doubled over the past 30 years. Diagnosis tends to be made when the women are older and already in Stage III/IV, compared to Western countries where patients generally are diagnosed earlier and have a higher cure rate.In an effort to help reverse these trends, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in December 2012 welcomed a delegation of 15 national and provincial health leaders from China for a week-long visit to learn about breast cancer treatment and prevention in the U.S. and to make plans for HSPH’s new Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Initiative in China.Composed of representatives from the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and officials from China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the delegation discussed China’s breast cancer programs and needs with cancer specialists from HSPH, Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), and other physicians in the greater Boston area. The visitors attended lectures, visited medical facilities, and interacted with prominent academics, public, and private sector leaders.last_img read more

In the daily grind, inspiration

first_imgOften it seems that apathy reigns supreme among millennials, the 20-somethings who in poll after poll show their distrust of elected leaders, political institutions, and the courts.But the Director’s Internship Program at Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) is proving that not all millennials doubt that government and politics can be used for good. This year, competition was stiff — about 700 students applied for 105 three-month placements.“Our mission is to get students engaged in politics and to get as many as possible to go into politics or political careers,” said Trey Grayson ’94, the IOP’s director. “We’ve discovered internships are gateways into careers in politics.”Among the examples: Sietse Goffard ’15 and Eliza Pan ’15, who recently completed the program.Goffard, 20, earned a posting in the Newton office of U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III.Goffard said he “helped work on the front lines,” answering “calls and emails” from constituents needing assistance navigating dense government bureaucracies. He learned a lot about federal law as he sought to help people across the 4th District with problems critical to their everyday lives.“Their concerns were sobering,” said Goffard. “Quite often, the congressman is the first one they turn to when they’re having a government-related problem.”Goffard, who hopes someday to work for the United Nations or the World Bank, said there is a popular misconception that government employees don’t work hard, which feeds skepticism among young people. More involvement might be an eye-opener, he said.“The answer is more engagement. To counter indifference or skepticism, it helps to witness what goes on inside behind scenes. When you realize how dedicated and hard-working elected officials and their staffers are every day, you come to view their work in a very admirable light.”Pan, 20, was dispatched to London and paired with Rachel Reeves of the Labor Party. As part of the so-called Shadow Cabinet, Reeves follows the moves of counterparts in the Conservative Party.Pan handled constituent duties such as answering correspondence and emails and researching issues of the day. She also helped the shadow minister with what’s called the government’s regular spending round, when agencies search for fat to trim and MPs fight to protect their constituents’ interests.Pan handled constituent duties such as answering correspondence and emails and researching issues of the day. She also helped the shadow minister with what’s called the government’s regular spending round, when agencies search for fat to trim and MPs fight to protect their constituents’ interests.Pan, who wants to remain in politics, sees more engagement through internships as a way to decrease distrust among her peers.“I saw potential for mobilization of our generation,” Pan said. “People can be disengaged, but this is a way to be brought back.”The Harvard students’ optimism counters grim statistics from many polls, including one conducted in April by the IOP. That poll reported that Americans aged 18–29 deeply distrust U.S. institutions. Among the findings:28 percent said political involvement rarely has any tangible results;48 percent said their vote doesn’t count;81 percent felt they could trust Congress to do the “right thing” only sometimes or never.“This is a generation that doesn’t have a lot of faith in institutions of government and service,” Grayson said. “A lot comes from own observations during their own lifetime.”Millennials’ experiences have been marked by political dysfunction and economic anxiety, he said.“Washington doesn’t work well. There’s a lot of bipartisan bickering and breakdown, not a lot of successful legislation crossing party lines, and an economy where even the recovery was one of the worst in post-war America.”Yet, there remains an instinct to help.“This is a generation that believes in community service but believes political institutions are not working well,” Grayson said. “So when you ask them if they believe that electoral politics is the right way to go, they’ll say, ‘serve your country, community.’ Their attitudes toward electoral politics are not as strong. There’s a disconnect.”Like his interns, Grayson thinks programs such as the IOP’s show a young person the good that government can do, and may lead to a career in politics. As a Harvard student in the 1990s, he interned in the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office.“We know the value of internships,” he said. “If the kid gets in there and sees people who try and do the right things, that’s going to rub off. When they come back to college, even if their roommate isn’t interested in politics, they’ll tell their roommate about their summer experience. If we do this, we think we can make a little bit of dent in their cynicism.”last_img read more

Spoils of war

first_imgCrouching in the bush, an AK-47 machine gun poised at the ready, an African boy is a portrait of icy detachment as he considers an interloper. It’s the now-hardened image that has come to symbolize the recruitment of children into armed conflicts since the 1990s.Experts say that outdated and narrow picture obscures present-day conditions, where both boys and girls are deployed in war not just in Africa, but also Asia, Latin America, and now Syria, where civil war has raged since 2011. While global pressure to curb the use of children in combat has worked in some places, the persistent challenge for local governments and international organizations such as the United Nations is to find ways to integrate damaged former soldiers back into the communities they were led to violate and abandon.Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier in Sierra Leone and the author of “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” said that too often the signing of resolutions has been the primary focus of many intergovernmental organizations, and that more practical approaches are needed.“A lot has been done on paper about what can be done and how can we address the issue. But where the problem lies … is in the implementation of some of these things,” Beah said during a panel discussion Monday evening at the Harvard Kennedy School’s JFK Jr. Forum. “Oftentimes when they sign these things, they don’t even have the capacity to implement them.”Leila Zerrougui, the U.N.’s special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict, agreed that the successful reintegration of former child soldiers has been more complicated than first understood. But she defended the resolutions, saying the documents provide vital recognition by both the international community and local governments that using children in armed conflict is unacceptable. She said such resolutions also lay the groundwork for future action.“All this is true. And I’m not saying everything is perfect,” she said. “Every day I see the report that [shows], still, children are being recruited. But we can do more, and all of you can help us in making it better and more efficient and effective on the ground.”Beah now works with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as an advocate for youths affected by war and is a member of Human Rights Watch Children’s Advisory Committee. He said that little progress has been made to improve or expand the economic opportunities for former soldiers and others in war-torn communities. Many of the same lackluster offerings that existed when he left the war in the mid-’90s are still being promoted by NGOs and others, he said, without input from local communities.“There’s no market research to really determine what is it that can yield better economic opportunity for people coming out of war,” Beah said. “We were sitting there, some of us, thinking, ‘How come nobody is asking us?’ But nobody is interested in engaging them about, practically, what they want to do because I think there’s this assumption that maybe because they’ve been through war that we don’t have the intelligence to actually think about our situation.”He later added, “People who have survived these wars are remarkably intelligent because it takes intelligence to survive the kind of situations they have survived.”Given the lasting mental and physical trauma to child soldiers and others in conflict areas, as well as the lack of basic resources, it is clear that outside efforts need to be much more thoughtful and long-range, said Jocelyn Kelly, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Women in War program.Kelly introduced a new report on the difficulties that former child soldiers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have experienced trying to rejoin communities they had left. In addition to traditional interviews and data-gathering by public health researchers, the report includes photo essays and illustrations by former child soldiers that map the damage done by war to their bodies and their lives.“I think the entire model of the way that we do integration programs has to be much more holistic — not only with the individual but with the community,” Kelly said, noting that in her research she encountered ill-conceived programs that gave sewing machines to people in communities with no electricity and single male goats to boys who were encouraged to start goat farms.Until humanitarian organizations fully engage local communities in decision-making and help them to become self-sufficient, the malevolent forces that first prompted children to become soldiers will return, Beah said.“The only way this is going to work is to empower government to build those structures that have been destroyed before the war … and to build those institutions so that they are able to do this work on their own,” he said. “NGOs, U.N. agencies should be training governments to do the work that they’re doing. Because if you don’t do this, then the alliances will continue and then these things just become cyclical.”The “Caught in Conflict” discussion was part of “Humanity Explored” a monthlong series of lectures and multimedia events to be held across Harvard to consider the role that visual storytelling, art, and design play in the push for human rights in conflicted regions around the globe.The series is a joint collaboration of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Global Health Institute, Art Works Projects for Human Rights, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Cultural Agents, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and the Harvard Institute of Politics John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.last_img read more

Can iPads help students learn science? Yes

first_imgThe scale of the universe can be difficult to comprehend. Pretend you are going to make a scale model with a basketball representing the Earth and a tennis ball as the moon. How far would you put the tennis-ball moon from the basketball Earth? Most people would place them at arms’ length from each other, but the answer may surprise you: At that scale, the balls would need to be almost 30 feet apart.A new study by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that students grasp the unimaginable emptiness of space more effectively when they use iPads, rather than traditional classroom methods, to explore 3-D simulations of the universe.This study comes at a time when educators are increasingly questioning whether devices such as iPads should play a greater role in education. It suggests that iPads (and other tablets) can improve student understanding of challenging scientific concepts such as astronomical scale.“These devices offer students opportunities to do things that are otherwise impossible in traditional classroom environments,” said study leader Matthew H. Schneps of the Harvard College Observatory. “These devices let students manipulate virtual objects using natural hand gestures, and this appears to stimulate experiences that lead to stronger learning.”Schneps and his colleagues looked at gains in learning among 152 high school students who used iPads to explore simulated space, and compared them to 1,184 students who used more traditional instructional approaches. The researchers focused on questions dominated by strong misconceptions that were especially difficult to correct via teaching. Many questions examined students’ understanding of the scale of space.They found that while the traditional approaches produced no evident gain in understanding, the iPad classrooms showed strong gains. Students similarly struggle with concepts of scale when learning ideas in biology, chemistry, physics, and geology, which suggests that iPad-based simulations also may be beneficial for teaching concepts in many scientific fields beyond astronomy.Moreover, student understanding improved with as little as 20 minutes of iPad use. Guided instruction could produce even more dramatic and rapid gains in student comprehension.“While it may seem obvious that hands-on use of computer simulations that accurately portray scale would lead to better understanding, we don’t generally teach that way,” said the study’s co-author Philip Sadler, the Frances W. Wright Senior Lecturer on Celestial Navigation and Astronomy in the Department of Astronomy. All too often, instruction makes use of models and drawings that distort the scale of the universe, “and this leads to misconceptions.”Participants in the iPad study came from Bedford High School in Bedford, Mass., one of a number of school systems around the country that have made the decision to equip all students with iPad devices. “Since we began using iPads, we have seen substantial gains in learning, especially in subjects like math and science,” said Henry Turner, the school’s principal.“What is perhaps most remarkable is that we saw significant learning gains among students who used the simulations, in situations where little to no gains were observed in the traditional classrooms,” said Mary Dussault, a member of the research team. This study thereby provides experimental evidence supporting national trends promoting the use of new technologies in the classroom.The study is published in the January 2014 issue of Computers and Education.The research was spearheaded by the Laboratory for Visual Learning, a member of the Science Education Department at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, as part of its mission to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States.last_img read more

At the Arboretum, an unquiet winter

first_imgDon’t let the smooth blanket of snow fool you. Don’t be deceived by the footpaths free of summertime crowds or the trees patiently waiting for spring. Winter at the Arnold Arboretum is a busy time.For humans, it’s a time for catching up outdoors and forging ahead inside. It’s a time when the frozen ground is a blessing, when heavy machinery — a bucket truck to reach high branches, say — can cover territory that is off-limits in the summer. Meanwhile, horticulture crews have time to focus on oft-neglected patches of natural woodland, targeting invasive species.Indoors, researchers peer into microscopes and visit greenhouses, examining and cataloging collections from other seasons. Though spring prep work is typically completed in the autumn, planning for the season is ongoing, as is the development of programs for high school and college interns interested in horticulture.Work aside, winter at the Arboretum is a time of beauty, of marveling at the gnarled branches of the hawthorn collection, of surprise at the fresh blossoms on the witch hazels, and of transport while walking snowy paths under evergreens.“The firs, spruces, and pines, you really get a chance to appreciate them in the winter better. Juxtaposed against the snow, you can be transported to the Alps, the Rockies, wherever you want,” said Michael Dosmann, curator of living collections.For horticulture supervisor Andrew Gapinski, the witch hazels are most interesting. The shrubs win the annual competition for pollinators by blossoming when other plants are still sleeping. Their spidery blossoms, which open through winter, are visited by gnats and other insects that become active during the season’s fleeting warm-ups.Prep timeIn the fall, leaves are cleaned up and newly planted specimens are thoroughly watered to ensure they’re hydrated — especially evergreens, such as rhododendrons, that photosynthesize on warmer winter days even though they can’t draw water from the frozen ground, making them susceptible to drying out.But one of the most important winter-prep tasks, Dosmann said, is a year-round one: ensuring that specimens enter the season in good health.“We practice tough love here. We don’t have the necessary resources to go through and pamper plants. A healthy plant going into winter will winter [well] and be good in the spring.”The first step in that process is choosing a site, Dosmann said. With the Arboretum’s 140 years of history to draw on, horticulturists know better than to put in plants that won’t make it through the winter, but in some cases knowing how conditions vary across the terrain is valuable, Dosmann said. Certain locations have microclimates that are a benefit to tender plants. Explorers Garden, a flat area on Bussey Hill, gets ample sunshine on its southwest-facing slope, and its elevation keeps it above winter’s coldest bite, as the chill air drains away to lower elevations.Winter is a time of particular emphasis on pruning. Not only are staff less occupied with tasks that dominate in the growing season, a plant’s branch structure is more visible because of the loss of leaves. Pruning is also less stressful this time of year because the plant is dormant and because the vigorous growth of spring is just weeks away. There’s also a reduced chance of transferring pathogens in the winter.Though pests are mostly dormant in the winter, they aren’t ignored. Officials meet to assess the pest situation and plan strategy for the coming year. One January day, horticulturists took in monitoring traps for winter moth — a pest that affects many kinds of trees — to better understand the level of infestation before spring begins.Frigid temperatures might help on this front. One early winter cold snap hit minus 4 to minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit at the Arboretum, cold enough to help with some pests and close to the minus 10 that knocks out the hemlock woolly adelgid, one of the Arboretum’s least welcome visitors, Gapinski said.The Arboretum is home to three full-time faculty members, Director William (Ned) Friedman, the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and recently appointed assistant professors of organismic and evolutionary biology Robin Hopkins, an expert on speciation in plants, and Elizabeth Wolkovich, an ecologist investigating the effects of climate change on plant communities. Faye Rosin, director of research facilitation, works with visiting scientists and postdoctoral fellows.Analysis of flowers, leaves, stems, roots, and other specimens collected during warm months is a process that amply fills the winter, Rosin said. “People with extensive outdoor work do analysis in the winter months. The indoor work happens all the time.”For those who can’t wait, such as Friedman, whose research involves a rare, extinct-in-the-wild water lily from Rwanda, the temperature and moisture in the Arboretum’s greenhouses can be adjusted to replicate various outdoor environments, as can the conditions in smaller growth chambers.“On a cold, dark, winter day in Boston, there is nothing better than taking some time to visit theses water lilies under the bright supplemental lights, high humidity, and warm temperatures that they thrive under,” Friedman said.last_img read more

Reconnecting on education

first_imgIt’s no secret that the American educational system today lists under the weight of some massive, seemingly intractable burdens such as poor college preparation, modest achievement results compared with other nations, high dropout rates, significant teaching and performance disparities across racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, and a deficit of graduates equipped with the necessary skills for tomorrow’s workforce.Experts say this crisis is caused by a profound disconnection, whether between different educational levels, between schools and communities, or between education and social institutions. Such disconnections can undermine the nation’s competitiveness, increase social inequality, and diminish well-being and outcomes related to health, income, and even social engagement. It’s an urgent situation, and analysts say fresh educational strategies are urgently needed to address it.To begin sketching out the task at hand, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) held a special Askwith Forum panel last Thursday hosted by Fernando Reimers, Ed.M. ’84, Ed.D. ’88, the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and director of HGSE’s Global Education and International Education Policy Program, to consider how to make education more relevant, how to get schools to be better at reaching their goals, and whether those goals are, in fact, the appropriate ones.The talk was part of a multi-day, think tank–style gathering, “Education for the 21st Century,” organized by the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) with faculty from across Harvard, along with national and global experts, educators, and students. Thursday’s panel featured some of Harvard’s top experts in the realms of leadership, strategy and infrastructure, sustainable development, religious pluralism, and public health education, who identified some of the biggest global challenges and offered ideas of what it will take to recalibrate how schools prepare students to face and confront them.Because the challenges are vast and multifaceted, and involve many stakeholders, education must adapt and enter into the “problem-solving era” where active learning that relates to a student’s community replaces old modes of “received wisdom,” said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School (HBS) and is the ALI chair and director.“We need to have education be about solving real problems” so that students “see it leading to something; they’ll feel a sense of efficacy and mastery, and we will be able to tap all this talent and idealism … to solve these big problems,” said Kanter. “After all, they’re going to inherit the Earth; we should engage them now in making it a better place.”Ensuring sustainability means identifying fundamental core assets like natural capital of air, land, and water; human capital of people’s ability, health, and education; digital and hard infrastructures such as roads and bridges; and intangible capital of social connectedness, institutional trust, and knowledge that must be built up or retained so it is available to future generations, said William Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).Scholars today grapple with questions about “asset management”: “How do we decide what to weigh and which trade-offs are best to make long term?” he asked. To begin, students must learn how to question the status quo, think about how global connectivity produces side effects and unintended consequences that require expansive thinking, and abandon notions of rugged individualism or paralysis in the face of institutional power.The unprecedented migration of people from one part of the globe to another has prompted urgent questions in many countries, including the United States, about how people should deal with ethnic, racial, cultural, gender, and religious diversity, and the role that education should play.“The fact that students could go through a whole 12 years of education and not know if an imam was a person, place, or thing is really one of the things that needs to change and has begun to change,” said Harvard Divinity School Professor Diana Eck, who studies religion in India and heads the Pluralism Project, which looks at the religious impact of immigration in the United States. “It’s important to have some knowledge of the religious traditions of the people with whom we share our planet.”“Pluralism isn’t just diversity. Diversity is a fact across society; pluralism is something we have to achieve,” said Eck. “How do we live together in some positive way with difference? And unless we can solve that problem in various societies, we’re in trouble.”Given the broad, interdisciplinary nature of public health, as well as the personal and communal effects it has on human well-being, students can always find something to embrace, whether it’s the move toward clean air and water, developing healthy eating habits, or wearing bike helmets.“Public health is much more than what a doctor does for you in a doctor’s office,” said Howard Koh, professor of the practice of public health leadership and director of the Leading Change Studio at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Koh served as assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2009 to 2014.Health and education have a direct relationship because public health is ever present. “I like to say health starts where people live, labor, learn, pray, and play,” he said.But changing American education to confront these difficulties will require a broad coalition and new approaches, the panelists said.Schools first need to figure out what matters and then help people to develop accompanying skills, said Reimers, who co-chairs the ALI with Kanter. “The instruments that we use to define success for our students and to give them feedback on success are so blunt and so imperfect,” he said, that they don’t tell people much about what will be necessary to help them lead a good life.Clark said the biggest challenge facing most countries is figuring out which institutional structures will be relevant and effective in the coming decades to assist communal decision-making. “We don’t know how to shape common purpose,” he said. If changes can’t be made through existing institutions, creating new ones will require a rethinking of higher education and its role within the community.“I’m very struck … by how interested people seem to be in the pluralism, inclusion, diversity — how we build common purpose and one sense of community,” said Kanter. “I’m very struck by that and also very encouraged because … we know this is what we need. More divisiveness and partisanship isn’t going to get us anywhere on these problems.”last_img read more

John Max Rosenfield, 89

first_imgAt a Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on April 4, 2017, the following Minute was placed upon the records.John Max Rosenfield, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of East Asian Art, Emeritus, was a pioneering historian of Asian art, whose half-century of scholarship on Buddhist sculpture, Japanese calligraphy, early modern painting, and modern Japanese art, among many other subjects, remains influential today. He was part of a generation that served in the Pacific during World War II, and he would later enter the field of Japanese studies, building academic and international programs for cultural exchange, translating foundational texts, and training several generations of prominent scholars.Known as Jack to his close friends, Rosenfield was born in 1924 in Dallas, Texas. His father was an influential cultural critic for the Dallas Morning News, and Rosenfield was given wide exposure to the arts from a young age. In high school he showed an aptitude for painting, although later he would speak disparagingly of his own efforts, referring to his canvases as “regionalist landscapes with cacti and an occasional jackrabbit.”Rosenfield was eighteen when the Pacific War changed the trajectory of his life. At the time he was enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin but would soon enlist in the Army’s Military Intelligence Division. Rosenfield went on to be stationed in Assam, north Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and north India. As he would note many years later, “Asia has always been a living reality for me, never a bookish abstraction.”After the war Rosenfield studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and then returned to Texas. Upon completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University in 1947, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 1949, funded by the G.I. Bill. The following year the Korean War pulled him back into service, and Rosenfield gained his first exposure to East Asia, with sojourns in Korea and then Japan. When he returned to the United States, Rosenfield eventually found his way into the art history program at Harvard. There he studied under Benjamin Rowland and earned his Ph.D. in 1959 with a dissertation on portrait statues of the Kushan kings, which was eventually published by the University of California Press in 1967.Rosenfield joined the Harvard faculty in 1965 as a specialist in Japanese art. He was promoted to the rank of full professor in 1968, and six years later assumed the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professorship of Oriental Art. He served as chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Harvard and Acting Director of the Harvard University Art Museums before retiring in 1991.Rosenfield’s earliest publications on Japanese sculpture were among his most influential works of scholarship. A series of articles during the 1960s showcased his remarkable ability to describe with precision three-dimensional forms and work outwards from artworks to complex ideas of Buddhist philosophy. During the following two decades he organized a series of exhibitions that showcased, in many instances for the first time, important works of Japanese art at Harvard and from private collections. These endeavors resulted in important catalogues on the arts of the Heian period (1967), the Powers collection (1970), the Hofer and Hyde collection (1973), the Drucker collection (1979), Japanese calligraphy (1984–85), and Todaiji Temple (1986).In retirement Rosenfield continued to write prolifically, authoring a series of monographs on long-standing interests: eccentrics in Edo painting (1999), the literati painter Yosa Buson (2003), and his greatest passion, the monk Shunjōbō Chōgen, who was responsible for rebuilding the Great Buddha in Nara during the late twelfth century (2011). It is a testament to Rosenfield’s extraordinary commitment to and love for his craft that his final publication, on the seventeenth-century Japanese sculptor Tankai, was completed just before his passing at age 89 and posthumously published by Princeton University Press.Rosenfield’s service to the field was immense and multifaceted. He served as trustee or board member of numerous institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Asia Society Galleries, the Japan Society of New York, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies in Kyoto. Recognition of his achievements extended to Japan, where he had many close friends and lifelong intellectual partnerships with scholars and curators. In 1988 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government for advancing mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. In 2001 he was awarded the Yamagata Banto Prize for the promotion of Japanese culture internationally. These distinctions culminated in his receipt of the Charles Lang Freer Medal from the Smithsonian Institution in 2012, an award that has only been given out thirteen times since 1956.Rosenfield had boundless energy and curiosity. Following Archilochus (by way of Isaiah Berlin), he referred to himself disparagingly as the fox as opposed to the hedgehog, citing that “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows the one great thing.” He was exceedingly humble with regard to his own achievements, and unfailingly generous to anyone with whom he engaged.Rosenfield was quick-witted and affable, but also experienced sadness and loss throughout his life, beginning with the death of a younger brother in his teens and continuing with the untimely death of his son, Paul Thomas (1960–1994). He and his wife, Ella Ruth Hopper Rosenfield, lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, for more than forty years, and in his late years he cared for Ella when she began suffering from the effects of dementia, until her death in 2011. He died due to complications from a stroke two years later, and is survived by his daughter, Sarah Anne.Professor Rosenfield mentored countless students, curators, and scholars from all over the world, and he continued to advise faculty and graduate students at Harvard well after his retirement. In the words of one of his former students, “John Rosenfield taught me Japanese art history as no one else can, and made a university as gigantic as Harvard feel like a small college.”Respectfully submitted,Melissa McCormickEugene WangYukio Lippit, Chairlast_img read more