Bruce Kinzer named to history faculty as department chair

Bruce Kinzer, a leading teacher and scholar of British history, has been appointed to the College's history faculty and the chairmanship of the Department of History. The appointment, which followed a national search, was announced by President Robert A. Oden Jr.

"We are confident Bruce Kinzer will bring to Kenyon and the history department the deft scholarly touch and quietly effective leadership skills that he has already so amply demonstrated in his remarkable academic career," said Oden. "His colleagues are unanimous in their praise of his careful, comprehensive scholarship and his masterful service as a department chair. The entire College is grateful to Professor of History Michael Evans and his committee for their tireless work in bringing this crucial search to such a splendid conclusion."

Currently a professor of history at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Wilmington, where he served as chair of the history department from 1991 to 1995, Kinzer has as special interest in the nineteenth-century English philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill. Before joining the UNC Wilmington faculty in 1984, he taught at Canada's McMaster University from 1980 to 1984 and worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the John Stuart Mill Project at the University of Toronto from 1976 to 1980. He has also taught at Corpus Christi College of Oxford University.

Kinzer is the author of The Ballot Question in Nineteenth-Century English Politics (1982),A Moralist In and Out of Parliament: John Stuart Mill at Westminster,1865-1868 (1992, with A.P. Robson and J.M. Robson), and a forthcoming volume on Mill and the Irish Question. Editor of The Gladstonian Turn of Mind: Essays Presented to J.B.Conacher (1985) and Public and Parliamentary Speeches (1988, with J.M. Robson), he is also the author of numerous articles and reviews and a frequent contributor to professional conferences.

A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Kinzer holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from the University of Toronto.

"Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of my fellow members of the search committee, we were able to identify, in the person of Bruce Kinzer, a truly exceptional fit to the needs of the history department," said Evans, chair of the search committee. "We are both delighted and excited that he has accepted the appointment as chair."

Serving along with Evans on the search committee were Assistant Professor of History Jeffrey A. Bowman, Associate Provost and Himmelright Associate Professor of Economics Kathy J. Krynski, Professor Emeritus of Classics William E. McCulloh, Provost and John Crowe Ransom Professor of English Ronald A. Sharp, and Associate Professor of History Wendy F. Singer.

"I have the greatest confidence that Bruce Kinzer is the right person for this important position," said Sharp. "He will be a first-rate chair of the history department, as well as a major addition to Kenyon's roster of outstanding teachers and scholars."

Jennifer Bruening appointed director of athletics

Jennifer E. Bruening, who has served for the past year as interim director of physical education and athletics, has been named to the post on a permanent basis. The announcement was made by President Robert A. Oden Jr. and Dean of Students Donald J. Omahan '70.

"I am very pleased that Jennie Bruening has agreed to accept this very important position," said Omahan. "She has served with great dedication and skill as interim director,pro-viding excellent leadership on sometimes difficult issues. We are confident that Jennie is the right person to guide the department into the future."

Bruening came to Kenyon in 1995 as head coach of the women's volleyball team, a post she will continue to hold. She has also served as associate director of athletics and senior women's administrator and taken on roles with the women's basketball program, the Kenyon Student Athletes (a group she founded),and the Kenyon Athletic Association. Bruening was named interim director with the departure of the former director of athletics,Robert Bunnell, last spring.

"I'm excited to be able to expand my role as the permanent athletic director," said Bruening. "The department is moving in a positive direction, with the expansion of our facilities and the evolution of our staff. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to lead the department through the upcoming changes."

A cum laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Bruening holds a master's degree in English from Morehead State University, where she was assistant volleyball coach. She was recently awarded a doctorate by the sports-management program at Ohio State University, where she studied the socialization of African-American women and its effects on their participation in sports.

New campus master plan presented to community

On May 2, during Common Hour, members of the community gathered in Higley Auditorium for a presentation of the campus masterplan being developed by NBBJ, an architectural and planning firm in Columbus, Ohio.

The session began with introductory remarks by President Robert A. Oden Jr., who noted that the new plan is an updated version of one completed ten years ago. He said that the primary impetus for the revision is the need for new and renovated athletic-fitness-recreation facilities and that the primary challenge given to NBBJ was to provide guidance on how to add to the campus without detracting from it.

"We must have first-rate facilities for the support of our first-rate faculty and student body," said Oden. "Over time, that will entail construction of more new buildings,including residence halls that conform to changes in student desires and needs regarding their living arrangements."

Comparing those at the opposite poles of the issue to warring fundamentalists, Oden addressed one of the most contentious topics to arise any time campus planning is discussed, that of parking. "We need to find a balance between banning vehicles altogether and allowing parking everywhere," said Oden. "Neither of the extremes is a viable option."

Oden also noted that plans are currently being made for a new building, to be designed by architect Graham Gund '63, to house the finance division. Other scheduled projects include restoration of the Rosse Hall steps to their original configuration, completion of a design-standards manual under the supervision of Associate Provost Gregory P. Spaid '68,and installation of additional campus sculptures, including crows by Peter Woytuk '80 on the roof of Ransom Hall.

Vice President for Development Douglas L. Givens, who is soon to become managing director of the new Philander Chase Corporation, said that the planning process has been, and will continue to be, "an open and public process." Before introducing the NBBJ principals, he noted that the firm had been chosen for the job following a national search for a qualified planning group.

Representing NBBJ for the presentation were A.J. Montero, Kathy Kelly, and Pat Bowman, who stressed the cooperative nature of the process when he stated that the plan "was done with, not for, the College community." Bowman said that, in creating the plan, currentneeds ­­ including athletic-fitness-recreation facilities, student-activity spaces, housing,administrative offices, special-purpose facilities, and parking ­­ were viewed in the context of the history and character of the campus and the College's goals.

Noting that all physical changes must be thoughtful and well-planned on a campus like Kenyon's, Kelly spoke about solving the need for improved athletic-fitness-recreation facilities,a project in which she has been deeply involved with members of the College community. The outdoor tennis courts currently under construction, the first aspect of the project to come to fruition, are expected to be followed by indoor courts on an adjoining site as well as additions to and renovations of the Ernst Center and Wertheimer Fieldhouse.

Montero addressed the firm's planning for the new Horn Gallery and the Brown Family Environmental Center's education center,for which construction is scheduled to begin in May. In both cases, he noted, efforts were made to give the buildings a rural quality in keeping with their locations.

Among the sites suggested as possibilities for future student residences were the hill below the Bolton Dance Studio, the lawn between the North Tennis Courts near the New Apartments and Woodside Drive, and a new wing extending southeast from Gund Commons. Another possible site, parallel to Ward Street and between Norton and Watson halls, would create another open-ended quadrangle.

Several sites were also suggested for additional or reconfigured parking lots and spaces, including the areas around Walton House, between Ransom Hall and the Church of the Holy Spirit, along Ward Street south of Davis House, behind Lewis Hall along Brooklyn Street, along Acland Street where Fink House now stands, behind the Bexley Apartments where the portable residence now stands, and near the existing New Apartments lot. In every case, the sites would be landscaped in such a way as to minimize their intrusion into the campus and village landscapes. In the case of the Walton House lots, NBBJ has proposed that the area be reconfigured to afford additional green space for development of a "literary garden," which would stretch from the rear of Gordon Keith Chalmers Memorial Library to Sunset Cottage.

The NBBJ plan also calls for addressing parking concerns by moving from the current open system to one that is more controlled and by continuing to make walking a priority on campus, in part by better maintaining existing walkways.

As Oden predicted in his opening remarks, parking issues elicited the greatest number of comments. Writer-in-Residence and Visiting Professor of English P.F. Kluge '64 asked if the planners had considered whether the Gambier hilltop might already be as full as it should ever be. Others voiced concerns about the impact of proposed facilities on traffic in various areas.

Discussion of the master plan will continue after classes resume in the fall. The final version of the plan is scheduled to be ready for a presentation to the Board of Trustees at its meetings in late October.

Ransom thoughts

E-admissions: A change in the landscape
by John W. Anderson
Dean of Admissions

Much has changed in the admissions field in the last ten years.

Applicant pools have increased at many colleges, in some cases dramatically, not only because of an upswing in the college-bound high-school population but also because of the phenomenon of submitting larger numbers of applications. Coaching for the SATs and the ACT has reached new levels of sophistication. Independent educational consultants who advise students on a fee basis are now commonplace almost everywhere. And a cottage industry of service providers, from graphic designers, to marketing consultants, to video producers,is blossoming in every corner of the country.

Of all the new wrinkles in college admissions, though, e-admissions is both the newest and potentially the most profound.

What is e-admissions? Broadly,e-admissions encompasses those aspects of the admissions process that have been influenced by the advent of the Internet. While students and their families still talk with counselors,friends, and relatives during their college search,they turn increasingly to the World Wide Web. There they find not only the web sites of almost every college and university in the United States (and even many abroad) but also countless "matching" services. To use these matching services, students enter data about themselves, which is then matched with data provided by colleges, yielding-at least in theory-a list of suitable colleges.

While Kenyon's admissions office still receives thousands of letters and telephone calls requesting information, we now receive more information requests via e-mail. Even before many of these students request information, they have visited our web site to learn more about the College.

When the application deadline approaches, do students still panic, stay up late into the night polishing their essays and wracking their brains for one more way of letting us know why we ought to admit them? Yes. And do they then rush to the post office to make sure the post-mark matches the deadline date? Not necessarily. Rather than rushing to the post office,in many cases they can simply press the "send" button on their computers to speed their on-line application to the colleges of their dreams.

How have these innovations affected college admissions? Prospective students have immediate access to much more information on colleges than ever before. Many web sites contain everything traditionally found in catalogs and viewbooks, as well as thousands of additional pages of information. On the Kenyon web site, prospective students can listen to the Chamber Singers, keep track of the construction of the new natural-sciences buildings on "Chem Cam," peruse the Collegian and other publications, play with molecular models, read about (and sometimes hear and watch) student projects, and even check the notoriously fickle weather in Gambier.

For better and worse, e-admissions removes the information filter of the admissions staff. By searching the directories we provide, prospective students can locate and, using e-mail, correspond with friends who attend. They can communicate directly with faculty members via e-mail and ask about courses, facilities,and postgraduate plans of their majors.

That doesn't mean admissions officers are exempt from electronic relationships,though; indeed, we welcome them. E-mail,list-serves and chat rooms, all of which allow for direct links with students, are regularly used by admissions staffers to create more personal lines of communication with prospective students.

Who benefits from e-admissions? Students and their families, certainly. They are more knowledgeable about colleges. The on-line searches, while not flawless, do help students find colleges that fit their interests,including ones whose names they had not previously heard. Requests for information are handled quickly. And international students now have a much easier time of getting college information and completing an application.

On-line applications are easy to complete, and they are a blessing for those students who, like me, have nearly illegible handwriting ­­ and poor spelling skills. They also remove some of the drudgery and redundancy of filling out applications. Furthermore, they ensure that students no longer are tied to the unpredictability of the postal service.

Colleges and universities are beneficiaries also. We can get our message out to students we miss when we use more traditional communication strategies. Employing the full capabilities of the web, we can demonstrate our distinctive features. And information can be kept current; we don't have to wait until the next publication cycle to update information.

As e-commerce and "dot-com" companies have permanently changed the way businesses operate, so, too, has e-admissions reshaped the way higher education-and its clients ­­ conduct the college-admissions process. The challenge to keep up, to know what is happening in the field, to evaluate the myriad opportunities that spring up seemingly daily can be daunting (as can the cost). But it is also very exciting. College admissions will never be what is was even a few years ago, and we think that is, by and large, a good thing.

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