Yale college

School Notes: Yale College
July/August 2010

Dean Mary Miller delivers Mellon Lectures

Dean of Yale College Mary Miller ’81PhD had an unusually busy spring semester, dividing her time between her “day job” as the college’s chief administrator and her scholarly work in pre-Columbian art history as she delivered the prestigious A. W. Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The five-week series of talks, Art and Representation in the Ancient New World, focused on the constant evolution of Miller’s field of research.

As Miller describes it, her newest research—from which the lectures were drawn—is distinct from her earlier work in that it looks at the works of Maya art and architecture in terms of the “fundamental issues” of culture that they represent, thus seeking “to use the works themselves to understand principles so grand that they do transcend cultural boundaries.”

Yale’s Collaborative Learning Center

On the lower level of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library, the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) helps students and faculty make use of Yale’s rich technological resources, collections, and opportunities for interactive, interdisciplinary, and cooperative academic projects. The CLC service desk is a gateway for many of these activities, offering foreign language tutoring; workshops on effective use of the technologies (video and image editing, web publishing, etc.); and access to media equipment, digital images, and other tools to enhance the learning process in and out of the classroom.

A primary goal of the CLC is to help faculty use technology in their course offerings. Working with CLC director Barbara Rockenbach and instructional technology group manager Kenneth Panko, faculty members have used the CLC’s resources to design innovative courses such as Studies in Visual Biography (an art course offered through the Yale College Freshman Seminar program in fall 2009), and Medieval Manuscripts to New Media: Studies in the History of the Book (a collaborative effort pioneered by two colleagues in the Department of English in spring 2010). The former, taught by School of Art faculty member Jessica Helfand ’82, ’89MFA, took first-year students “into the collections”—from Ezra Pound’s passport at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library to a private tour of the Marcel Duchamp holdings in the Yale University Art Gallery—inspiring them to understand, according to Helfand, that “research doesn’t mean Wikipedia; that an artist/designer can make work inspired by the accomplishments of others … and that to reconstruct someone’s biography is a multifaceted and often asynchronous exercise.” In the latter course, the “two Jessicas” of the Department of English—associate professor Brantley and assistant professor Pressman—guided students through an exploration of contemporary digital literary culture and its intersection with medieval manuscript culture. Operating as a “collaboratory,” the class made use of manuscripts and Kindles, Yale Library archives and digital software, with students contributing to a course-specific blog to track and expand upon their classroom experiences.

To read more about these and other items of community interest, visit the Yale College news archive at yale.edu/yalecollege/homepage_announcements/archive/.

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