Moving Words

Professor Patrick Phillips saw one of his poems displayed throughout New York City’s transit system, and another published in New York Times Magazine. It’s fair to say most poets toil in anonymity, but not Patrick Phillips, at least not last winter. That’s when Phillips, an associate professor of English, had one of his poems displayed on New York City subways, buses and taxis. The five-stanza, 10-line poem, “Heaven,” was chosen by the Poetry Society of America for the New York MTA’s Poetry in Motion program, part of an initiative that showcases poetry on public transit subways and buses in more than 20 cities nationwide. The designation earned Phillips what he calls “surely my biggest audience ever.” Phillips, who grew up in Georgia, has taught at Drew since 2007. He says he tries to teach his students to imagine some of what’s going on beneath the surface of other people’s lives. “Reading is about empathy,” he says. “That’s as good as it gets, as far as I’m concerned.” As for writing poetry, Phillips says for him the act doesn’t actually involve much writing. In fact, he says, “I find composing pretty excruciating.” He says his writing process largely involves “finding scraps […]

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Campus Facelift

The F.M. Kirby Foundation has been quietly beautifying campus for more than a dozen years. Their latest grant will transform the area behind the EC.

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Academics in Common

by Jody Caldwell, Head of Reference & Research Services College students—both undergraduate and graduate—are an evolving species. Thirty years ago, students commonly produced term papers, based on painstakingly (and sometimes not so painstakingly) compiled print sources, written in solitary splendor in individual rooms. Now, students write more often and more reflectively, they use technology creatively, both for social and academic purposes, they do research in ways never dreamed of, they work together and generally enjoy collaboration with their peers and their faculty. The work of the Library has changed as a result, and must continue to change. And we’re now presented with a raft of new possibilities in the Vivian A. Bull Academic Commons. Several years ago, Gamin Bartle, the director of instructional technology and user services, and I began to think about how the Library and University Technology could better support students in their academic work. We looked at the ways in which students produce their work, often needing in quick succession help with research, with technology, with organizing their thoughts, with evaluating their sources, with polishing their writing. Not surprisingly, we came to the same conclusion many have come to before us: an integrated space for support of […]

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Fifth Annual Merrill Maguire Skaggs Lecture

The Poetry of the City with Alicia Ostriker Distinguished Poet-in-Residence in Drew’s MFA Program and Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at 7 p.m. Crawford Hall Ehinger Center This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, please contact Karen Landrigan at or 973-408-3741. Alicia Ostriker, a poet and critic, has published 15 volumes of poetry, including The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog, The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979–2011; and The Imaginary Lover, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She was twice a National Book Award Finalist, for The Little Space and The Crack in Everything. Ostriker is known for her intelligent and passionate appraisal of women’s place in literature. Ostriker’s critical work includes the now-classic Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America and other books on American poetry from Walt Whitman to the present. She is also the author of critical books on the Bible, including the controversial The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions. Her newest prose work is For The Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book. In 2015, Ostriker was appointed a chancellor of the […]

The Humanities at Work

As the workplace becomes increasingly responsive to the demands of globalization and complex social transformation, the strengths of the humanities scholar—deep intellectual engagement with ideas and broad understanding of human culture and experience—are resurgent in value and relevance. The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies knows this well, as do the students, ranging from 23 to 78 years of age, who turn to Drew to reenergize lives and careers. Recognizing that “the majority of our students are accomplished professionals, seeking new options and new insights,” says Dean Robert Ready, the school has become a leader in developing “professionally relevant and intellectually rigorous programs that put the humanities to work.” At the same time, these new academic initiatives serve to integrate the humanities into daily and civic life, putting the humanities to work for the common as well as the individual good. Here’s a sampling of three of the latest innovations at the Caspersen School. Certificate in Conflict Resolution • Arts & Letters Designed for law-enforcement personnel and veterans in the tri-state area, while also open to others, this new certificate program brings a humanities emphasis to the growing field of conflict resolution. The curriculum integrates fieldwork with academic study in conflict […]

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In Praise of Professors

Drew faculty. To their students they are teachers, mentors, debaters, advisers, collaborators, and friends. “Small classes and close mentoring relationships between students and faculty” is more than a tagline at Drew; it’s a long-standing hallmark and a true point of distinction. In this season of gratitude, we offer sincere thanks to Drew faculty past and present, a group like no other. Here, a few highlights in a sea of treasures by the people who know best: their students. Jim Bazewicz Professor of theatre arts “Baz is one of the kindest and most caring professors I have ever known. During the short-term London program, he gave my friends and me so much advice about the city, and even gave us his old A to Z book. He also helps sell his daughters’ Girl Scouts cookies, which have personally given me life during times of stress at school.” —Michelle Kim C’16 Fred Curtis Professor of economics and environmental studies and sustainability “Fred Curtis is an incredible professor, but an even better mentor. He is always willing to go above and beyond for the students, whether or not he is their adviser. If you need help, he’ll lend his hand. You haven’t had […]

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Making a Big Difference, a Little Bit at a Time

Every little bit counts: Cliché it may be, but Emily Litman C’99 can attest to its truth. As a high school senior, she had her heart set on Drew, but knew that her dream college was a bit of a stretch. Two days before the enrollment deadline, news of a last-minute scholarship tipped the college-of-choice calculus in favor of Drew. “Drew truly did change my life,” says Litman, now a fifth-grade teacher and ever appreciative of the generosity “that made my amazing Drew experiences possible.” That’s why she was so taken with an idea proposed by her longtime friend Carla Brady C’99: Let’s structure our class scholarship to benefit current Drew students for whom a little help will make a big difference. Starting in 2015, thanks to the marshalling prowess of Litman, Brady, fellow classmate Steve DeLuca, and the C’99 reunion committee, the generosity of many class members was sparked, and the Class of 1999 Scholarship was successfully endowed. Starting in 2015, the C’99 Scholarship will be given to one or more continuing Drew students who, because of unforeseen financial circumstances, may not otherwise be able to complete their Drew studies. In endowing the scholarship this year in honor of […]

A Word From…

Kenneth Alexo Jr., PhD Vice President, University Advancement The novelist and playwright G.B. Stern is reputed to have said that “silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” It’s pretty difficult to argue with the logic of her aphorism. To be thankful for something good we have received and yet fail to say “thank you” looks and feels an awful lot like ingratitude. No one, of course, wants to be thought ungrateful—and institutions of higher education are no exception. At Drew University, we do our very best to thank our alumni, parents, and friends for the many wonderful gifts that they provide, each and every day and typically without a lot of fanfare. But we also know that our usual means of conveying our appreciation (phone calls, emails, on- and off-campus events, letters from the president, and, yes, even gift receipts signed by yours truly) do not correspond to the actual value or impact of those gifts. I can’t hope to remedy the shortcoming in the space of this short column. What I can do, however, is offer you the entire Drew community’s gratitude for all that you do, and for the many and varied things that your gifts make possible: […]