Why I Teach: Jeffry Casey, Theater Professor

Photo: Jeffry Casey and theater Norwich student actors pose on the construction site of the future Pegasus Player theater.
Norwich University Office of Communications

December 4, 2017

Assistant Professor of Theater Jeffry Casey (third from left) is a playwright and director who joined the Norwich faculty in July. Teaching classes on theater, literature, writing and public speaking, he describes himself as the “Swiss army knife” of the English department. Casey directed student actors in the November 2017 Pegasus Players production of two Harold Pinter plays, “Party Time” and “The New World.” We recently asked Casey—seen here on the site of the new $24M Mack Hall construction project with students Sachi de la Cruz ’21, Nick Veldy ’21, and Nathan Ures ’21—what inspired his career.

Why I Teach:

“When I was in Kindergarten, I kept talking in class. One of the teachers tried to humiliate me by making me teach the class. It was this massively malicious sort of way of humiliating me to get me to stop talking. I think at that point, I spent the rest of my time in school, all two decades or however long it was, thinking about, Could I do this? … Could I do this better? was always my question.

I grew up in rural West Texas, where I endured lots of bad teaching. Whenever I would get angry at that, I always thought, How could this be better? How could this be improved? Long before I ever got a chance to teach, I was thinking about pedagogy. I mean we stick people in these classes for whatever it is, eight hours a day for twelve years, and we have been doing it the same way for how long? I always wanted to imagine just any sort of different way of doing it that would make it more exciting, because I was generally so bored.

By the time I got to college, I just loved the discussions. We were talking about all this stuff. You can see all my books. I’ve got philosophy, literature, theater, poetry, sociology. I just loved sitting down and talking about all of this stuff. It is something I actually can’t live without is that talking.

Hearing what students have to say is an important component of that. Every night during play rehearsals, a student would bring up something that I didn’t realize about the text. I think the nature of being good a teacher is just being a student with the students and discovering the text anew every time. Part of why I don’t really lecture is because I want [my students] to say things to me. Because I’m sick of my own voice. I’m sick of my own thoughts. I’m with them all the time.”

Photograph by Sean Markey

Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider Celebrated as Vermont’s Citizen of the Year

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Nov. 17, 2017

On Thursday, Nov. 16, over 200 friends, family and community members, and community partners gathered at Trader Duke’s Hotel in South Burlington to celebrate Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider as the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.

Schneider was selected by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce for the Citizen of the Year Award for his extensive community leadership and continual devotion to the betterment of Vermont.

In addition to the dinner celebration, the Vermont State House flew a Norwich University flag to honor President Schneider, who has served Norwich University as president for over 25 years and is one of the longest and continuously serving college or university presidents in the history of the nation. He has envisioned, inspired and engineered tremendous improvements in the university’s academic reputation, quality of faculty and facilities, and strength of athletic programs, creating strategies and programs for diverse student populations of Corps of Cadets and civilian students to excel.

The Norwich University campus has been transformed under President Schneider’s leadership. Among the physical gems Schneider has ushered in, a new library, academic halls, campus center, sports arenas, the Sullivan Museum and History Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate®, student residence halls, and renewable energy facilities. The physical growth of the institution under his leadership has had an immeasurable and positive impact on the economic, cultural, and social welfare of central Vermont, as well as the entire state.

“President Schneider is a gifted leader, an inspiration for community engagement, and an exemplary representation of the finest ideals of Vermont citizenship,” said Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce (pictured). “He represents the innovative spirit essential to inspiring students and faculty to tackle real-world challenges. We are honored to present this award to President Schneider.”

Recent recipients of the Citizen of the Year award include Bill Stritzler, Janette Bombardier, Stephen C. Terry, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Antonio Pomerleau, and Governor James Douglas.

Schneider, Ph.D., was commissioned as an ensign in the Coast Guard and served eight years of active duty, including a tour in Vietnam and served 30 years of both active and reserve duty, retiring in 1998 as a Rear Admiral. Schneider’s military awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and numerous campaign decorations for service in Vietnam.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich University Professor Receives $132K NSF Grant for Research on Impacts of Past Climate Change to Vt. Lakes

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Oct. 10, 2017

Norwich University Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Laurie Grigg has earned a $132,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support her research on insights into the impacts of climate change on Vermont lakes.

The NSF recently announced  that Grigg’s is one of 30 faculty research fellowships awarded through NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) nationwide.

Grigg (pictured with students) will be analyzing sediment cores from the bottom of a central Vermont lake in order to reconstruct how the aquatic ecosystems have responded to climatic changes during the last 10,000 years. Changes in the ecosystem will in turn be used to infer changes in water quality. The long-term perspective provided by this study will inform our understanding of how lakes are and will respond to climatic changes.

“Lake sediment, which accumulates in layers at the bottom of lakes through time, provides an opportunity to investigate the dynamics between past climate change and aquatic plant growth over longer time-scales and to gain insights into how aquatic ecosystems will be impacted in the future by climate change,” Grigg said.

Grigg’s research aligns with the mission of Norwich University’s Center for Global Resilience and Security to advance interrelationships between human resilience and sense of security in the face of global challenges, and will contribute more broadly to the growing body of knowledge on the projected impacts of climate change to our valuable freshwater resources.

Collaboration with the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming will enable access to critical analyses, as well as training in innovative statistical approaches to analyzing data. The results of this project will build a strong collaboration between researchers at Norwich University and the University of Wyoming while establishing new methods for investigating past aquatic ecosystems and contributing to a greater understanding of the long-term connections between aquatic plant growth, water quality, and climate change. This work will inform future management decisions concerning the conservation of Vermont’s lakes and will provide additional evidence on the impact that projected climate change will have on valuable freshwater resources.

“NSF EPSCoR takes a comprehensive approach to building U.S. research capabilities,” said NSF acting EPSCoR head Uma Venkateswaran. “These awards provide non-tenured researchers with tremendous opportunities and result in EPSCoR institutions gaining faculty members and investigators with cutting-edge research experience, who can help build the vibrant science and engineering laboratories and programs of the future.”

About National Science Foundation (NSF):

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

 

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich University to Welcome Alumni Back to Campus and Launch the “Year of Legacy” at Homecoming

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Sept. 19, 2017

Norwich University will host over a thousand alumni and guests during annual Homecoming festivities Sept. 21-24 and kick off the “Year of Legacy,” year four in the five-year, $100 million campaign called “Forging the Future.”

During the Saturday, Sept. 23 “Partridge Society Luncheon and Year of Legacy Launch,” alumni will hear from students and alumni who exemplify the Norwich legacy in various ways, and President Richard W. Schneider will announce campaign progress to date. The campaign will culminate for Norwich’s bicentennial in 2019.

Highlights of Homecoming 2017, open to the public:

Thursday, September 21

  • 4:30-6 “Polynesian Treasures of the Wilkes Expedition, 1838 to 1842,” a presentation by Smithsonian Institution Curator of Oceanic Ethnology Dr. Adrienne L. Kaeppler. Free and open to the public. Sullivan Museum and History Center, the state’s only Smithsonian Affiliate.

Friday, September 22 

  • 1:45 Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art kicks off its annual lecture series with Class of ’97 Mo Gagnon, principal of Gagnon Architects in NYC, along with presentations by summer research fellows. Informal reception to follow.
  • 2-2:45 Sullivan Museum and History Center Bicentennial Painting Unveiling, Todd Multipurpose Room, Kreitzberg Library. This rare, large-format (over six-foot) portrait of a cadet from 1826, painted by artist Julian Parisen, reflects the time period when the ALSM (Norwich) was in Middletown, Conn. The companion portrait, also over six feet, reflects a young lady with a basket of flowers from 1827, also by Parisen. These two portraits are rare examples of Parisen’s work.
  • 3-3:45 Harmon Wall and Valor Plaque Ceremony in White Memorial Chapel.
  • 4:15-5 Corps of Cadets Review with Retreat, Upper Parade Ground.
  • 7 p.m. Men’s Soccer vs. Emmanuel, Sabine Field.
  • 8-10 p.m. Screening of comedy film “Gentlemen’s Fury” with featured actor Jake Head ’97; Q&A to follow. Cabot 85. Free.

Saturday, September 23

  • 9:30-11 Alumni Parade with NU Corps of Cadets Review, Sabine Field. Watch it on live-stream here.
  • Beginning at 11 a.m. Five out of eight NU fall sports teams have games at home; check the schedule here.
  • 1:40 p.m. Corps of Cadets Football March-On, Haynes Family Stadium at Sabine Field, to begin the football game against United States Coast Guard Academy. After a 12-year hiatus the Norwich University football team will once again renew its storied rivalry with the United States Coast Guard Academy.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich Set to Welcome 765 Students in the Class of 2021, Begin New Academic Year

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

August 18, 2017

Norwich University is planning to welcome 49 first-year students from abroad and 6 exchange students among its approximately 765 new students that comprise the Class of 2021. More than 500 students will enter into the Corps of Cadets as ‘rooks’, over 200 as civilians, and approximately 45 as commuter students.

This incoming class increases the number of overall international students from 60 last spring to 102, reflecting a growing emphasis on internationalizing the campus. The size of the Class of 2021 (approximately 765) aims to counterbalance a spike in growth last fall along with a relatively higher proportion of students expected to return to Norwich, reflecting successful retention efforts. Overall campus student population is estimated at approximately 2,400.

Rooks arrive on campus on Sunday, Aug. 20, to begin Rook Orientation Week. Civilian students arrive on Wednesday, Aug. 23, for orientation. The rest of the students return on Aug. 26—27, and classes begin on Monday, Aug. 28.

Norwich begins the new academic year with new leadership in several key areas: Provost Sandra Affenito; Chief Information Officer Francis Moore; Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Edward Kohn; Dean of the College of National Services Air Force Colonel Andrew Hird; Director of Human Resources Dana Moss; Commandant of Cadets Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Titus, U.S. Army (Retired); Director of Counseling and Wellness Nicole Krotinger.

President Richard W. Schneider begins his 25th year as president of Norwich University, making him the longest serving president at Norwich after founder Captain Alden Partridge, who served as president for 24 years. According to the American Council on Education, only five percent of college or university presidents serve more than 20 years. During his tenure, Schneider has impacted greatly both the Norwich campus and the academic program.

As part of the evolution of the program, Norwich is launching new academic majors. The new Bachelor of Science in Engineering is interdisciplinary and designed to prepare students to excel in engineering and related fields. A new Bachelor of Science in International Business prepares students to engage globally. Norwich’s Nursing program is focusing on fast-tracking by offering an accelerated track for students already with a bachelor’s degree to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a program for registered nurses to earn a BSN online. In addition, the Norwich nursing program now offers a new concentration in informatics in the online Master of Science in Nursing to educate nurses to lead their organizations to conceptualize, design and research computer-based information systems.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS) builds upon the institution’s 198 year academic heritage with innovative online programs. CGCS offers master’s degrees in a variety of areas; bachelor’s degree completion programs; a certificate in teaching and learning and continuing education opportunities. The programs are recognized throughout the industry for their rigor, small class size, high student satisfaction and retention. online.norwich.edu

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich Announces New Commandant of Cadets

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

August 17, 2017

Norwich University officials have named Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Titus, U.S. Army (Retired), as new commandant of cadets, a uniformed position at the rank of colonel, Vermont State Militia. Titus assumed responsibility for the Office of the Commandant and the Corps of Cadets on Aug. 8, 2017.

Titus brings significant military and higher education experience to the post. He has commanded at the battalion level and led soldiers through three combat deployments. He served as an assistant professor and course director at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and earned graduate degrees at the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. He most recently served as a strategic logistics adviser on the Joint Staff.

“I am deeply flattered and honored to be selected to serve as Norwich’s Commandant of Cadets,” Titus said. “The Corps of Cadets has been developing disciplined men and women of character for centuries, and I am excited to contribute to that legacy in some small way.”

The Commandant of Cadets is responsible for the leadership training, character development, administration, housing, morale, welfare, good order and discipline of the Corps of Cadets. The Commandant establishes policies, rules and regulations, and operating procedures for efficient and effective operations. The Commandant develops and manages budgets for all areas of responsibilities.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich University Names New Director of Human Resources

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

August 3, 2017

Norwich University has named former Marine officer, Naval Academy graduate, and educator Dana Moss as its new director of human resources. He began his tenure on July 31, 2017.

Moss has over 17 years of experience in human resource administration. He was most recently the human resources manager for a large, international steel corporation, and prior to that, held a variety of HR responsibilities at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Moss is also a veteran and an educator. He initially enlisted into the United States Marine Corps and later served in it as an infantry officer for eight years, completing three deployments. He is currently a member of the New Hampshire Wing Civil Air Patrol and the parent of an incoming rook (first year student in the Corps of Cadets). He has taught courses in organizational leadership at several institutions of higher education since 1998.

Moss graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982 with dual majors in history and political science. He said he looks forward to applying his combined military experience, service academy background, HR profession and teaching to his new role at Norwich.

“As Norwich University approaches the completion of its second century of educating leaders for the future, it is an optimal time to assess the legacy that has sustained this institution for all those many years, as well as to embrace the ideas and innovations that will ensure that the successive generations of leaders will be fully equipped and educated for ‘the next 200,’” Moss said. “I look forward to being a part of the leadership team that advances Norwich toward that journey.”

Norwich University, located in central Vermont, employs 853 faculty and staff on campus and in its online programs. Norwich is ranked #28 out of 116 Vermont businesses with more than 200 employees on Vermont Business Magazine’s “Largest Employers List.” Check out employment opportunities at www.norwich.edu.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich Fills Leadership Positions: Announces New Provost, CIO, and Dean

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

June 5, 2017

Norwich University officials announced top positions filled:

Provost and Dean of Faculty: Norwich has named Sandra G. Affenito, Ph.D., as new provost and dean of faculty beginning August 1, 2017. Affenito (pictured) comes to Norwich after serving as associate provost and dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in West Hartford, Ct. As dean at USJ, Dr. Affenito functioned as a Chief Academic Officer for two major academic units. She established the Center for Student Research and Creative Activity; the Academics and Art Alliance; advanced teaching, research, scholarly and creative activities; and expanded professional development for faculty and academic staff. Affenito has over twenty-five years of leadership and administrative experience in higher education, health care, and the corporate sector.

Chief Information Officer: Norwich has named Francis (Frank) Moore, of Spanaway, Wash., as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Norwich University beginning July 5, 2017. Since 2000, Moore has served as the Chief Information Officer at two universities: Longwood University, Va. and Pacific Lutheran University, Wash.  At both institutions, he was responsible for all ITS budgeting and strategic planning, ensuring that the ITS plan dovetailed appropriately with the University’s strategic plan. In addition to performing the traditional CIO duties at Norwich University, Moore will teach several computer science and computer security and information assurance classes.

These two positions are newly created.

“With the addition of these two positions to our university leadership team, we are well positioned as an institution to deliver a world-class education to our future leaders as we usher in our bicentennial in 2019 and envision the next phase of Norwich University,” said President Richard W. Schneider.

Dean of the College of National Services: Norwich has named Air Force Colonel Andrew Hird (pictured) as dean of the College of National Services, which oversees Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs at Norwich through the departments of Army Military Science, Aerospace Studies and Naval Science.

Hird is Commander of AFROTC Detachment 867, Northfield, Vt., where he leads and manages the administration of the Air Force officer training program at Norwich University. Detachment 867’s nine authorized personnel guide and mentor approximately 150 officer candidates, active and special cadet students through training and professional leadership development as well as instruction in Air Force structure, history and national security affairs. He has commanded aircrew in the C-141B and C-17A, and is a former C-17A schoolhouse instructor. He has served on the Air Staff, the Central Command Combined Air Operations Center staff and the United States Transportation Command Staff. In addition to his current command, Col Hird commanded the 62nd Operations Group, 517th Firebird Airlift Squadron and the 385th Air Expeditionary Group. He is a Command Pilot with over 5,000 flying hours and has flown combat missions in Operations Deliberate Force, Allied Force and Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

3 Questions for Norwich Criminal Justice Scholar Stephanie Maass

Photo: Studio portrait of Stephanie Maass
Norwich University Office of Communications

May 18, 2017

Corrections scholar Stephanie Maass, PhD, teaches in the School of Justice Studies and Sociology at Norwich, where she says she strives to “foster discussions, the sharing of ideas” in the classroom and broaden students’ conceptual frameworks. Her courses range from intro surveys and senior seminars to examinations of juvenile justice and corrections. During her master’s and doctoral studies at George Mason University, Maass honed a research focus on community corrections, substance use and co-occurring disorders, and organizational change. The scholar has trained corrections officers across the country on the use of evidence-based supervision practices. We recently asked Maass about her teaching and scholarship.

1. Why do you teach?

I teach to help students become critical and responsible consumers of information. I strive to challenge their preconceived notions with information they may not be aware of and guide them while they think through the realistic challenges facing our world today.

2. What drives your passion for the field?

The criminal justice system is often bleakly portrayed as a broken system plagued with corruption and high recidivism rates. I look at the system and I see potential, particularly in the corrections field. Community correction, in particular, offers a significant amount of time to work with justice-involved individuals to rehabilitate them, reintegrate them into society, and increase public safety. We only need to pay attention to what approaches work best and how to successfully implement those strategies.

3. What questions do you explore through your scholarship?

Currently in the field of corrections the adoption rate of best practices is about 33%. We know quite a bit about what works to reduce recidivism but quite a bit less about how to implement those effective strategies on a large scale. My research seeks to understand the adoption—or lack of adoption—of best supervision practices among individuals in organizations. What makes one individual or agency more likely to use best practices than another? And which practices are they likely to use over others?

What I Do: Norwich History Professor Rowland Brucken

The ultra-runner and human rights scholar discusses his work in Zimbabwe, the country’s repressive political climate, and baseball.

Norwich University Office of Communications

 
May 5, 2017

Norwich history professor and ultra-marathoner Rowland Brucken rarely takes the easy or conventional path. Take the Ohio native’s lifelong devotion to the Cleveland Indians. Or the fact that he didn’t start a band during high school–he founded a chapter of Amnesty International. Today, Brucken serves as the human rights organization’s Zimbabwe country expert and testifies on behalf of Zimbabweans seeking U.S. asylum. At Norwich, he teaches courses on human rights and international law, civil rights, and the prosecution of human rights abuses, as well as surveys of U.S. foreign policy, U.S. history, and the history of baseball. In the classroom, Brucken strives to inspire his students to inform themselves, engage with peers, and reach their own conclusions. “If students have the ability and will to do that, then I’m the happiest professor ever.”

What questions do you explore in your scholarship?

The main question around a lot of my research now is, how can societies heal from mass trauma? Whether it’s torture, genocide, systemic human rights abuses—what are the alternatives? What are the options that victims and survivors have? A second larger question with the human rights work that I do is, how has international human rights law evolved, especially since World War II? In what areas, regions, and times has it been effective in deterring human rights abuses or holding people accountable? In what areas has it been ineffective?

You returned to Zimbabwe earlier this year. What were you doing there?

I gave a paper on truth commissions to a government-sponsored research conference, which was a bit awkward. I also met with civil society groups, human rights organizations, to talk about how Amnesty can best help them given that the next year is probably going to be particularly difficult in Zimbabwe. Lastly—and something unexpected—as part of a transitional justice working group, I gave some feedback to the parliament of Zimbabwe on a truth commission bill that they are now debating. What kind of truth commission to set up in response to past human rights abuses.

You said next year will be difficult there. Why?

There are national elections scheduled for 2018. Whenever there have been elections, the government has increased surveillance and repression of perceived political challengers, as well as human right activists who document human rights abuses. Also, the ruling party might implode; the opposition party is relatively fragmented; and the economy has bottomed out. All of those make for a very uncertain campaign. The government with a monopoly on violence can act unpredictably and arbitrarily in employing torture and detention, among other weapons.

How did your interest in Zimbabwe come about?

It started when I studied abroad when I was in college, during my junior year back in 1990. I wanted to go a country that no one in my college had ever been to. I was at a place called Ranche House College in Harare, the capital. But I also ended up hitchhiking all over the country on my own.

What distinguished that experience for you?

Zimbabweans are culturally an incredibly generous and kind people. For example, when you ask somebody here in the United States, “How are you?” They say, “I’m fine.” In Zimbabwe, it translates into, “I am fine—if you are fine.” There’s a communitarian emphasis. I met many Zimbabweans all over the country. People would be cooking by the side of the road. I would just stop off and have dinner with them. They took me in as a college student, a 20-year-old guy who didn’t really know what he was doing with his life. They took me in, and they gave me their food, their wisdom, their hospitality. I’ve never forgotten that. It’s a debt that I can never repay as a human being.

Did you run on your most recent trip?

I did. I did. I forgot that Harare was a mile above sea level. I ran the same distance, but was often out of breath and had to run slow. I’m not one to back down. I just adjust my pace.

Are you still training for ultra-marathons?

I am. I’ve got one more 100-miler left in me. I’m doing two marathons this [year]. I’m looking at doing another 50-miler in the fall. It’s foolishness is what it is.

You study the history of baseball. Did you play as a youngster? Were you a fan?

I played horribly in little league for two years. I grew up in Cleveland, and so I’m a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan. When I was in elementary and junior high school, the Indians would finish last or next to last every year. Rooting for a losing baseball team, it taught me a lot about life. About being grateful for small victories and about loyalty and that every opening day is a new year. So hope emerges every year right in springtime with flowers and trees. Baseball has such rich history. I couldn’t imagine teaching a course on football history that brings in so many cultural, economic, foreign policy, political, race, class, and gender aspects as baseball does.

Interview edited and condensed for length and clarity.