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The Carletonian

Faculty Scholarship Celebration honors published Carleton faculty

<culty Scholarship Celebration, held on November 3 in the Gould Library Athenaeum, is a gathering of peers honoring the years of effort their fellow faculty members have endured to become part of the world of published authors. This year’s celebration was the tenth anniversary of the tradition started in 1999. The group was modest in size, informal and jovial and a sense of camaraderie was present throughout the proceedings. Not all of those who were honored were there; Nader Saiedi, author of “Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Bab,” was absent, yet for everyone present there was a man or woman prepared to congratulate, praise, and in some cases, rib the author.

At the opening of the celebration, Rob Oden spoke a few words concerning the courage necessary to send works to publishers. He divulged a plan he had been considering: to compile all the nastiest rejection letters he had ever received, and to then present them as a sort of comfort to the many who repeatedly face rejection from publishers before they are finally considered “fit for print.”

The first author introduced was Laurence Cooper, Associate professor of Political Science, who authored “Eros in Plato, Rousseau, and Nietzsche: The Politics of Infinity.” Cooper is one of the nation’s leading scholars on Rousseau. Second honored was Richard Crouter, Professor of Religious Studies, member of the German Schleiermacher Gesellschaft, and author of “Friedrich Schleiermacher: Between Enlightenment and Romanticism.” Next was Ann Iijima, graduate of the class of ’77, who is now the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the William Mitchell College of Law. She was honored for her book “The Law Student’s Pocket Mentor: from Surviving to Thriving”, a guide which is proclaimed to be a “wonderful Christmas present, or any present.” Lori Pearson was then honored. Also a Professor of Religion, Pearson is a specialist in Christian theology and authored “Beyond Essence: Ernst Troeltsch as Historian and Theorist of Christianity.” The last writer of the night was Nader Saiedi, a man of international renown in the Bahai faith, and of considerable influence with his book “Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Bab.”

Nicola Melville and Kelly Connole were celebrated for their successes in the arts. Nicola published “Melville’s Dozen,” a compilation of piano music for students as well as competent artists, paired with a CD, which was unfortunately not in the Athenaeum. The titles read by her speaker elicited great laughter from the audience with names such as “Sour Puss” and “Three Preludes to Missing the Point.” Kelly Connole, meanwhile, has a ceramics exhibition in Minneapolis, in the Christenson Center Art Gallery. Her collection is entitled “Where the Sky Meets the Earth,” and was inspired by childhood memories of her pet rabbits’ antics. Besides the exhibition in Minneapolis, Connole’s work is enjoying great national success, and is being displayed in galleries across the country.

Dean of the College Scott Bierman, who hosted the event and is himself a published author, said that the process of writing is “all about developing habits of the mind.” While the process itself is non-linear, much like a student’s paper-writing process, the quality of writing is separated by one major difference: a professor publishing a paper is putting his professional reputation on the line, and is addressing an audience much broader than one faculty member. Bierman says that this fundamental difference greatly intensifies the focus of the author, and thus the quality of the work itself. On this difference, he speculated that the quality of student writing would be improved vastly if students were to consider their audience a greater body of people than just the professor to whom it is due. Realistically speaking, he says, if students were to begin at an early stage to perceive their audience in this way, their work would be “fit for print” during their undergraduate years.

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