Campus

Service award helps Mariana Mitova rally support for sports program for kids with special needs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Receiving the Faculty Senate’s Community Involvement award wasn’t just a boost for Mariana Mitova. It was also a boost for the causes she espouses, especially RallyCap Sports. Mitova, who teaches in Bowling Green State University Apparel Merchandising and Product Development Program, said that in addition to being a personal recognition – “the glass plaque is proudly displayed in my office” – being honored last year has greatly benefited RallyCap Sports. The program, which was founded by alumnus Paul Hooker, offers the chance to be active in sports to young people with special needs. BGSU was the first campus to host the program.  (click for related story.) Mitova is the BGSU chapter advisor, and her son, who is blind, is a participant. Mitova told Faculty Senate Tuesday that her recognition has increased awareness about the program, donations have increased to RallyCap, and more faculty became interested. They then promoted it to other families who may benefit. Her receiving the award is being used by this at national headquarters who are trying to find campus advisors at the 12 other RallyCap locations. Mitova said she used the monetary award to host a dinner for 22 core student volunteers. (More than 1,000 students volunteer putting in more than 5,200 volunteer hours.) Those broader effects, said Mitova, are the reason faculty members should take seriously the calls for nominations. If Associate Dean Mary Murray had not nominated Mitova this would not have happened. She conceded faculty get a lot of emails, and it’s easy to delete them. Mitova said she deleted the first two calls for nominations herself. “Guilty as charged,” she admitted But after being asked to address senate, “I started thinking more about what would have happened if Dr. Murray hit the delete button,” she said. “Instead she took the time to solicit support, write the nomination letter, and submit the nomination package.” That time is valuable, Mitova said. “However, she thought this nomination is worth the time.” In addition to RallyCap, Mitova is also active…


Mantra sextet to perform new work for percussion at BGSU concert

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Percussion sextet Mantra Percussion returns to Bowling Green State University for a concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 19 in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. The group’s performance is part of the Music at the Forefront series sponsored by the University’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, and is free and open to the public. Committed to honoring the past and expanding the future of percussion music, Mantra Percussion brings to life new works for percussion by living composers, collaborates with artists from diverse genres and styles, and questions what it means to communicate music with percussion instruments. The group engages new audiences by challenging the standard concert format through evening-length events that look toward a grander artistic vision. Their BGSU performance will feature new works by Aaron Siegel, Lesley Flanigan, Tristan Perich and Michael Fiday. After co-commissioning Michael Gordon’s evening-length percussion sextet “Timber,” they gave the work’s United States premiere in October 2011 at BGSU and subsequently toured the work internationally. They also gave the New York premiere of “Timber” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in December 2012. Since forming as an ensemble in 2009, Mantra Percussion has been featured throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including the Bang on a Can Marathon, Duke Performances, the Redcat Theater in Los Angeles, National Public Radio, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Drogheda Festival in Ireland, the Ecstatic Music Festival and the Ecstatic Summer Festival, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Right Now Festival in South Korea, Vancouver New Music and numerous others. Over the past eight years, Mantra Percussion has commissioned and/or premiered more than 40 new works for percussion ensemble. Mantra Percussion has been hailed by the New York Times as “finely polished . . . a fresh source of energy” and by TimeOut New York as “forward thinking.” The group was praised by The New Yorker and TimeOut New York for presenting one of the 10 best classical performances of 2012. They recorded one of Time Out New York’s Ten Best Classical Albums of 2011,  Siegel’s “Science Is Only a Sometimes Friend,” on Lockstep Records,”…


City at work repairing water main break on campus

The City of Bowling Green is currently repairing a water main break along Park Avenue near Lot W. It is not known when repairs will be completed. Affected buildings include the College Park Office Building, the Greenhouse, Central Services and the Park Avenue Building. These buildings do not have restroom or drinking fountain service at this time. The closest available restrooms are in the Technology Building. Please see signage in the affected areas for more information.


BGSU theater staging ‘The Language Archive’

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University’s Department of Theatre and Film will present Julia Cho’s award-winning play, “The Language Archive” in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at BGSU’s Wolfe Center for the Arts, Feb. 15-24. Performances are in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the BGSU campus, Feb. 15-17 and 22-24 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 17, 18, and 24 at 2 p.m.Tickets purchased in advanced are $5 for students, $10 for seniors, and $15 for adults. All tickets are $20 if purchased on the day of performance. Tickets can be purchased through the BGSU Arts Box Office in the Wolfe Center, online at bgsu.edu/arts, or by calling 419-372-8171. Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women who have written distinguished works for the English-speaking theatre, “The Language Archive” tells the story of George, a brilliant linguist who has devoted himself to archiving dying languages. When George’s wife leaves him after he fails to decode a series of mysterious notes he receives from her, he struggles to learn the vocabulary of loss as he fights to preserve the Elloway language. Its last known speakers, a bickering elderly couple grappling with their own sense of loss, refuse to speak to each other in their native tongue, making George’s work nearly impossible. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to George, his assistant, Emma, finds herself unable speak in complete sentences as she tries to come to terms with her feelings for him. Inspired by the universal language of Esperanto, which was created with the hope of moving toward a more peaceful and unified world, “The Language Archive” offers a poignant and bittersweet exploration of the insufficiency of language to capture and communicate the human experience. Still, Cho’s play reminds us that language is sometimes an act of faith, and often our only hope for coming to terms with loss. As Cho’s characters discover, we sometimes have to venture further into sadness to find the endings we need – even if they’re not the endings we imagine. Introspective and lightly comic, “The…


Faculty told student evaluations don’t play into tenure, promotion decisions

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Acting Provost John Fischer sought to reassure faculty about a new approach to student evaluations of courses at Bowling Green State University. Starting next fall, students will answer the same six questions regardless of the course they are taking, and these questions can be answered online, not just in class. These will be in addition to specific questions posed by particular academic departments. A presentation on the Teaching and Learning Evaluations drew fire from faculty when a report was presented at last month’s Faculty Senate meeting. The criticism included a charge that colleges and universities were using such quantitative data to justify employing more part-time faculty, even though the methods of gathering those evaluations is flawed. The faculty online discussion group has been active with back and forth about the issue since that meeting. Fischer told Faculty Senate that the new evaluations would not be used for any promotion, tenure, or re-appointment decisions. Those are covered by the contract with the BGSU-Faculty Association. The evaluations serve more institutional purposes. “We need a university measure that will give us some sense and data of how students think we’re doing on teaching and learning,” he said. While written comments are more helpful, Fischer said, there’s no way to gather and summarize that data. Each of the six questions will have a space for written comments. He noted that when the College of Education and Human Development put its evaluations online the number and length of the written comments increased dramatically. Asked by senate member Craig Zirbel if these are the six questions he would have chosen, Fischer equivocated. He said he was reluctant to say anything that could reflect negatively on the working group that put together the proposal over the past two years. He did allow he may have included a couple other questions. During the January Faculty Senate discussion, David Jackson, president of the Faculty Association, said that all the questions were directed toward the teaching side with none addressing student participation and effort….


Hard work & inspiration on display at BGSU undergrad art exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Laura Dirksen was 7 years old, she went digging for clay. She’d just learned about the material and was intrigued that it could be found in her back yard. She was so intent on her search and digging the hole that she almost got stuck. Her father had to come out to get her. In truth, Dirksen admits now, mostly she found mud. She rediscovered clay about a dozen years later in her second year studying art at Bowling Green State University.  She started as a painting major. “I fell into the ceramics program my sophomore year,” she said, “and things really shot up from there.” And it made her feel her nostalgic for her childhood adventure. Dirksen’s ceramic sculpture “Degrade” won the Medici Circle Best of Show Award at the Undergraduate Art Exhibition, which opened Sunday in the University Galleries in the Fine Arts Center. The show continues through Feb. 19. “Degrade” is her reflection on the tendency to denigrate people, especially women. The form reflects her own shape, and features the admonition: “Why do you always degrade Tom?” “Tom,” she explained, is a stand in for society. While “a lot of people tear things down … I try to bring out the best.” Dirksen, who grew up in Maria Stein in Mercer County near the Indiana border, wasn’t sure she’d ever make it to college. “In high school my academic level wasn’t exactly the best, but my art stuff was always what kept me going.” After high school she ended up working two jobs and realized that’s not what she wanted. Dirksen recommitted herself to her art. She came to BGSU as a painting major. In her sophomore year, she was introduced to ceramics. Working with clay heightened her sense of touch. “It’s really intense. You’re always working. It’s humbling,” she said. “You work constantly at something, and you’re not going to get your best results unless it’s something you’ve done 1,000 times over.” Seeing a completed piece is “a reminder…


Conrad competition brings out the best in BGSU singers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The audience at the Conrad Art Song Competition finals Saturday night did a good job following instructions to hold their applause until the performers had completed all their songs. Holding their laughter was another matter. Several of the competitors offered up light hearted songs, and even if they were in a foreign language they managed in their gestures and facial expressions to draw a reaction. Soprano Caroline Kouma enlivened her performance of Leo Deliebes’ “Les filles de Cadix” with a coquettish manner. Pianist Rhys Burgess served as her musical straight man, punctuating her acting. That kind of interplay won the duo first place in the graduate division of the 19th Conrad competition. Winners in the undergraduate division were baritone Luke Serrano and pianist Yuefeng Liu. The event was created with a gift two decades ago by Conrad, a local doctor who resumed her vocal studies later in life. She passed away at 92 in 2014. Her spirit lives on through the competition, said Christopher Scholl, who coordinates the event. “She would be extremely proud of you tonight,” Scholl told the performers Saturday. Dean Southern, a vocal coach from the Cleveland Institute of Music, was one of the three outside professionals adjudicating the performances. BGSU “should be very proud,” of the competition, he said. “It’s definitely unusual and unique and to be celebrated.” Southern said he was impressed by the emphasis on the singer and pianist as a team, not just a singer with a pianist assisting. “That’s part of my DNA,” he said, noting that he studied piano before turning to voice. “The song will never be complete if those two parts are not there together.” Southern was also impressed that the duos were required to perform at least one song by a living composer. “That’s really important.” Adam O’Dell, who recently received his master’s in composition from BGSU, agreed. As an undergraduate, he said, the vocalists focused on Mozart, Schumann, and the like. But at BGSU he could have a singer, Luke Schmidt,…


University dancers put emotion into motion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A dance concert is like an art gallery come to life. The art on display at the Winter Dance Concert bursts with energy at times while offering deep reflection at other moments. The University Dance Program concert will be presented Friday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre at Bowling Green State University. Tickets are $10 and sold at the door. “Hello Blackbird, Bye Bye” opens the show on an exuberant note. Sarah Drummer belts out the standard “Bye, Bye Blackbird:” as she and a quartet of dancers (Shannon Cleary, Kaela Kahl, Autumn White, and Lindsey Williams), all donning top hats and tails, execute the tap choreography of Tracy Wilson. It’s a nice showcase for Drummer, who has graced BGSU stages for the past four years, and will be saying goodbye to BG as she heads to New York. More tapping from Cleary, Elizabeth Halsey, Alyssa Hulthen, and Jenna Streffon follows only to a more contemporary beat, “Grown Woman,” by Beyonce, choreographed by Colleen Murphy. The mood shifts to the confessional in “it’s okay to be human,” as the dancers, in voice overs, express misgivings, fears, and uncertainties about life. Student choreographer Adrienne Ansel  has the dancers (Alec Batton, Cleary, Leigh Denick, Courtney Gee, Kahl, Alexa Piccirillo, Courtney Slabaugh, and Sarah Thomas) moving together, apart, sometimes drifting, sometimes clashing to Rag’n’Bone Man’s soulful “Human.” There’s a sense of daring in the performers’ willingness to expose themselves. In the end, one by one, the dancers come to some resolution and come together at the front of the stage. Guest dancer and choreographer Tammy Starr performed solo on “Posthumous” to a Chopin piano piece. Starr work relies on a delicacy of gesture. They express a sense of wonder and a sense of fragility, balanced by the certainty of her movement. The first half of the show ends with Starr’s piece “Seabirds.’ Here the dancers (Batton, Cleary, Denick, Gee, Kahl, Piccirillo, Slabaugh, and Thomas) cavort to the string music of Vivaldi….


Issues Conferences highlights Black History Month at BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS With the start of February, Bowling Green State University’s Beyond ‘The Dream’ series focuses on Black History Month. From movies at the Gish Film Theater to guest speakers and musicians and an academic conference, the month provides a variety of opportunities to share in the African American experience. Highlighting the month is the 18th annual Black Issues Conference on Feb. 17 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. To begin the day, the University will welcome area high school students to a 10 a.m.workshop that consists of a panel discussion of first-year experiences and personal development workshops. PJ Jones, a 2010 BGSU alumna and assistant director of multicultural and diversity affairs at the University of Florida, will give the keynote address, “Art Is Power,” during the conference luncheon, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in 228 Union. Jones is also the co-founder of Fearlessly Fierce LLC and the co-creator and personality behind the “Educated and Melanted” podcast. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy Alumni Society. Concurrent research sessions throughout the day will cover topics such as Black Popular Music and Its Cultural Influences, The Importance of Social Justice to African Americans, Black Art and the Black Art Movement, Dealing with Aggression toward Black Females, LGBT Identity and Representation, African American College Experiences, Black Elementary Education, and Food Struggles in American and African American Culture. The conference is free for BGSU students, $15 for BGSU faculty and high school students, and $20 for others. The deadline to register is midnight Feb. 8. Click to register. Tuesdays at the Gish presents “Creed,” a sequel in the “Rocky” franchise, on Feb. 6; the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” on Feb. 13; “The Fits,” a coming-of-age story focused on dancing, on Feb. 20; and “Short Term 12,” about a group home for kids, starring Brie Larson, on Feb. 27. Screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hanna Hall and each film in the series will be introduced by a BGSU doctoral student or faculty member. Admission is free. Other events during February include “The Black Art…


Visiting photographer Osamu James Nakagawa captures intimate images of life & death within his family

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Osamu James Nakagawa photography is a matter of life and death. Nakagawa bookended his Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture on campus last week with two images. One showed him still a baby being greeted by exuberant relatives on his family’s arrival back in Tokyo. It was the first time, they’d seen either him or his older brother, both of whom were born in New York City. He closed with a video of his mother on her death bed, close up images of her last breaths. This autobiographical streak runs through the photography he showed to the audience gathered in the Fine Arts Center at Bowling Green State University. It does not totally define him though. Nakagawa has won acclaimed for his series of photos of the cliffs and caves on Okinawa where people go to commit suicide. The cave shots are so dark that they barely registered on the screen. He shot them he said at a very slow shutter speed with a flashlight as the only illumination. Also, he photographed the areas around the U.S. military bases on the Japanese island. They are stark representations of an unwanted military presence that brings crime, including rape, to the province. Nakagawa studied painting and sculpture in Houston, and then returned to Japan to work as an unpaid assistant to his uncle who was a photographer. To earn some money, he worked with American photographers helping them find the subjects and locations their editors wanted. The lists of requests were always the same – geishas strolling down the street and Mount Fuji. He knew he wanted to photograph what they were missing. He returned to Houston to get a master of fine arts in photography. In 1998, Nakagawa said his life was a whirlwind. At the time his daughter was born, his father was diagnosed with cancer. The photographer was living in Indiana, where’d he’d just taken a position at the University of Indiana. “All these things were happening,” he said, “and I was…


Multicultural, LBGTQ+ centers find home in the heart of campus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Five years after he arrived on the Bowling Green State University campus, Bryce Davis has a place he can “whole-heartedly and unapologetically” be himself. That wasn’t the case when he first came to Bowling Green. In his time here, he’s worked to change that, and the opening Saturday of the Multicultural Center and LBGTQ+ Resource Center in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union is the result of his and his fellow students’ efforts to bring about change. He had misgivings about BGSU from the start. Coming from Columbus where he as active in promoting social justice causes, he was excited about the academic programs in psychology and sociology. He saw BGSU as an up and coming, innovative institution. But Davis, who identifies as queer and biracial, looked around at the cornfields fields that surrounded the campus. He knew that there may be cultural conflicts with a largely older white and conservative community. When he got here he felt there was no place for him on campus. Friends who were black has racial epithets yelled at them by people in trucks driving down Wooster Street. Gay couples were reluctant to hold hands because they would be mocked or even have things thrown at them. Davis joined Vision, now the Queer/Trans Student Union, and found a place for himself at BGSU. Through Vision he joined the activist group Call to Action. He’s stayed here for five years, and is now ready to move onto graduate studies. The opening of the Multicultural Center and LBGTQ+ Resource Center will give others the place he sought, and needed, especially as a first year student. The space replaces what had been located in a few cubicles that each barely accommodated five people in the Math Science Building. The new centers have separate conference rooms connected by a lounge, and a small office space. Interim President Rodney Rogers said Sheila Brown, the associate director of Multicultural Affairs, declared the centers as “15,000 times better” than the space in Math Science. The centers had…


Arts beat: Miguel Zenon’s lessons go beyond music

By DAVID DUPONT BGSU Independent News Jazz composer and saxophonist Miguel Zenon had a lot to teach students during his residency this week at the College of Musical Arts. He had technical lessons about chord substitutions and keeping time. The biggest lesson, though, students may have come away with is how to be humble. Zenon was never less than gracious and appreciative whether dealing with a local writer or the audience that attended the Thursday night concert that culminated his two-day visit. He thanked the audience for coming, appearing genuinely touched by their interest in his work. And this from an artist who has been, informally at least, designated a genius. Back in 2008, Zenon received an early morning call informing him that he’d been named a MacArthur Fellow, known in the press as the “genius award.” The award bestows more than an honorific for the Puerto Rican native, but a generous annual grant intended to allow the recipients to pursue their passions without strictures. Zenon said the person who called to inform him of the prize said this would probably be the last time he’d hear from the foundation. And what Zenon has chosen to do with part of his fellowship also imparts an important lesson. He has founded Caravan Cultural. Zenon spoke of the project and his life to a class in Hispanic Culture taught by Francisco Cabanillas. His lecture was in Spanish but he switched to English to answer questions in deference to jazz students who joined midway through. Caravan Cultural presents jazz concerts in locales throughout Puerto Rico. In one location the locals restored a hall that had been home to the local concert band specifically for the visit. Zenon brings a band. The musicians teach local youngsters who then have a chance to join them on stage. These are youngsters like himself. He grew up with little money, but was able to attend a performing arts school starting when he was 11. There he learned alto saxophone. It wasn’t until he was a teenager that…


Interim President Rodney Rogers is on a mission to maintain the positive momentum of BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The night before Interim President Rodney Rogers sat down with BG Independent News for an interview, he had given an introduction to a Beyond the Dream performance honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Preparing his remarks gave Rogers the chance to reacquaint himself with the words of Dr. King. He was struck that at the end of his life Dr. King said he wanted to be remembered as someone who “lived a committed life.” That’s what Rogers, who assumed the presidency of Bowling Green State University on Jan. 1, hopes for those who come to study at the university. “We want to help students think about what is a committed life,” he said. A career is part of that. “But there are other parts to one’s life. In a democratic society, it’s important we have committed citizens.” Helping to shape “an educated and knowledgeable citizenry that can sustain a democratic society” is part of the mission of a public university. It is why education remains important, Rogers said. In some circles, it’s become fashionable to question the value of higher education. Higher education is about more than the student landing that first job after earning a degree, though that’s important. “We’re not serving their needs if we’re not thinking about all those future careers,” he said. “I think we’ve been a little lax in higher education in not reminding the public that they have placed their trust in us as public institution to educate the citizenry of tomorrow.” Those citizens will be faced with dealing with an enormous amount of data and technology both on the job and off, Rogers said. Rogers, who was provost, stepped into the interim role leading the university when President Mary Ellen Mazey stepped aside late last year in a move that surprised many. “The board has asked me to make sure we continue to build on the progress that President Mazey, and others before her, established,” he said “We have so many positive things going on. I just…


By outsourcing shuttle, BGSU looking to save $1 million over five years

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University has announced plans to partner with Groome Transportation to provide campus shuttle services in an effort to reduce costs, create efficiencies and provide a new fleet of buses for users. The initiative is one of the ways BGSU is responding to the Governor’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency, which requires state institutions of higher education to look for ways to continue offering a high-quality education while decreasing costs. “BGSU has a strong history of partnering with private companies to increase efficiency and improve services for our students. This initiative is no exception,” said BGSU Interim President Rodney Rogers. “Collaborations like these allow us to concentrate on our core mission of educating students.” Additional University partnerships include those with Chartwells, which provides dining services; Wood County Hospital, which operates the Falcon Health Center; and the Bowling Green Flight Center, which provides flight instruction. BGSU’s current fleet of buses will require nearly $250,000 in new equipment replacement and maintenance costs over the next two years. The shuttle service operated at a deficit in fiscal year 17. As part of this agreement, Groome Transportation will bring a new fleet of BGSU-branded buses to campus, helping to reduce the University’s operating costs. Employment opportunities will be offered to existing staff members who meet Groome’s hiring requirements. At BGSU’s request, the company is exploring possible changes to its hiring policy to permit drivers to be under age 25. If that is not possible, the University will work with the approximately seven student drivers who would be displaced to find them other employment on campus. “Ohio House Bill 64 requires institutions to develop and implement a plan that will provide undergraduate students the opportunity to reduce their cost of earning a degree by 5 percent,” said Sheri Stoll, BGSU’s chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration. “We continually look for ways to keep a BGSU education affordable for Ohio’s students and their families.” Following an RFP process, the University entered into negotiations…


University documents details suspended fraternity’s offenses

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Members of a fraternity urged pledges to lie to Bowling Green State University officials investigating charges of hazing last fall. The fraternity Phi Kappa Psi has been banned from campus and was forced to vacate the house in the Greek Village last December. Of the fraternity’s 50 members, a dozen lived in the house. At the time the suspension was announced the university said it would find on-campus housing for those who needed it. University documents detail the charges of hazing and obstruction that led to the sanctions, which will keep the fraternity off campus until at least fall, 2020. The charges stem from the fraternity’s Dawn Dance, an event not sanctioned by the university, held last Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. At the event the pledges were threatened with being struck with a tree branch if they did not answer questions about trivia on the fraternity’s history correctly. At least one pledge was struck by a non-member, a female guest. The pledges were also pointedly not called by their names, but had to respond to “pledge” or a nickname. They were expected to immediately respond to any text response by a member or their dates. Pledges had to set up and tear down for the dance. Alcohol was served to those under 21 at the event. Pledges were also expected by the members to serve as “sober monitors” at parties, and clean up afterward. According to the documents, at one point pledges were gathered together and had garbage thrown at them because members said they didn’t do a good enough job. The pledges then had to clean up that mess. Other acts of “dehumanization” included making one pledge carry a pink teddy bear key chain and producing it whenever a member asked. At the Dawn Dance a pledge admitted to forcibly kissing a woman in attendance. He later apologized to her, saying he was drunk at the time. When university officials were informed of the hazing, members sent multiple text messages telling pledges…