Development news

Peggy Lindsey makes the transition from faculty to administration

I n this job," says Peggy J. Lindsey, "I get to do two things I enjoy very much--research and writing--plus, I get to plan parties and attend them!" As the director of donor relations in Kenyon's Office of Development, she is responsible for assisting with the cultivation of donor prospects, planning events to recognize donors, and managing the College's gift-acknowledgment system.

An academic by training, Lindsey is in the process of writing her dissertation for a Ph.D. in English from Auburn University. The as-yet-untitled work examines national and cultural identity in Irish novels since 1949. A graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor of arts degree in English, a bachelor of science degree in English education, and a master of arts degree in English composition studies, Lindsey's particular scholarly interest has been examining the connections between linguistics and literature. Although Lindsey grew up in Ohio, her family has Deep South roots. "I see a lot of parallels between southern literature and Irish literature," she says. "Both have a distinctive voice, a distinctive point of view."

Lindsey began her college career as a business major. Although always drawn to the creation and enjoyment of literature, she bowed for a time to her father's belief that "an English major will get you nowhere." Finally, passion won out over practicality. "I could teach," she says. "And for most of the last few years, that's what I've done."

A teacher of English as a second language at Capital University in the year before coming to the College, Lindsey has also taught first-year composition, business writing, and technical writing, as well as adult-literacy classes.

The transition from faculty member to administrator has been smooth. "My current job involves a lot of writing, and I must also do considerable research about the people I'm writing to and for," she says. "I even get to do a bit of character analysis--it's just that the characters are a bit different. The fringe benefit is that there are no papers to grade at the end of the day."

Having been educated in large state land-grant universities, Lindsey is now passionate about the liberal-arts environment of smaller institutions. "After years of trying to justify myself to accountants, engineers, and agricultural technicians," she says, "it's such a pleasure to be in an environment where the process of learning is valued for its own sake."

Although Lindsey loves to teach and expects that to be a component of her life in the future, she also greatly enjoys the daily contact with a variety of people she has in her new position. "If you are in the classroom in front of students most of the day and either grading papers or doing research at night, it makes for a very isolated existence," she says. "I enjoy being around people too much to make teaching a lifelong career. I would rather do it as an avocation."

Lindsey's goal is to complete her doctoral dissertation "this century." She says she wants the date on her degree to be prefaced with a nineteen. "Sometimes, when people learn I'm working at Kenyon but still planning to complete my dissertation they express amazement," she says. "But this is something I'm doing just for me, just for the sheer pleasure of the writing and research. I honestly think I have something new to say on my subject, and it will be very satisfying to see it in print."

Looking ahead to the time when she will have more freedom to pursue other interests, Lindsey says she expects to spend about a year reading "trashy novels." "I'm curious to discover if I can read something that has absolutely no redeeming social value," she laughs. She also intends to explore the Kokosing Gap Trail on bicycle or roller blades with her nine-year-old Labrador-Golden Retriever mix, Barney.

Lindsey is pleased with her shift from the classroom to the administrative side of college life. "It's everything I had hoped it would be," she says.


Mellon grant funds Kenyon-Denison collaboration

K enyon and Denison University have been awarded a $735,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York City for a three-year program to increase technological literacy among faculty members and students on the two campuses.

The grant will fund workshops that will allow faculty members to explore possible uses of technology in teaching and collaborative projects for new approaches within their disciplines or in interdisciplinary programs. It is hoped that the workshops will encourage those who are inexperienced with computing, as well as those who are experienced, to use new approaches in technology.

The goals of the collaboration between the colleges include improving pedagogy, extending faculty expertise, creating new curricular opportunities, promoting a better understanding of technology, developing new methods of cost containment, and expanding collaborative efforts within the institutions.

Denison and Kenyon have already developed a strong track record of effective collaboration, with accompanying cost containment, through participation in the Five Colleges of Ohio consortium. The consortium, which consists of Kenyon and Oberlin colleges, Denison and Ohio Wesleyan universities, and the College of Wooster, received a grant for $840,000 from the Mellon Foundation in 1995 to fund its first collaborative library efforts.

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