Undergraduate Faculty Emeriti

Michael Boylen • Ceramics

"Pottery is both very tangible and abstract," Michael says. "It also relates to basic human needs and experiences. Like any serious craft, studying pottery brings you up against yourself and provides opportunities to see and to grow." Whether a student was aiming toward a career in ceramics, incorporating ceramics into a broader Plan, or taking a single course, Michael approached his discipline in a consistent way. "The fundamental knowledge of materials, techniques, and form was established in small introductory classes. Ongoing development in the visual arts is a personal process; therefore further instruction becomes increasingly specialized and individualized, while still maintaining the benefits of group interaction."

Teaching Philosophy

Michael’s first concern was that his students "understand visual form and the process of ceramics, both as personal experience and in relation to the history of culture and technology."

Scholarly Activities

Michael has worked, lectured, and given workshops in Canada, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, and Scandinavia. A contributing editor of Studio Potter magazine, he has written for American Craft and Ceramics Monthly magazines as well. He has served as president of the Vermont Council on the Arts.

Education

A.B., Yale University, 1958; M.S. University of Wisconsin, 1963; M.F.A., University of Wisconsin, 1966; Marlboro College, 1980–2010

Veronica Brelsford • Languages, Literature

Born in Austria of German parents, Veronica encountered her first foreign language, English, at the age of 5. She learned it "almost unconsciously; certainly more easily than an older person who would be inclined to reason things out. Language is not very reasonable," she adds. "Nor is it purely utilitarian, for communication at all levels has elements of culture and poetry."

Veronica spent several semesters in Italy with groups of students, including a semester in 1989 on the island of Salina in the Aoelian group. Following one such semester at Casa Campardi in Italy, she spent a term on sabbatical as a student at the University of Grenoble. "It's important for a teacher to get back into the classroom as a student," she says. "I loved tackling some areas I hadn't had time to explore in depth. The challenge of translation, for instance. I think that people need to be aware that much of the literature they read is somebody's interpretation of what's been said, not the original." Veronica's translation workshops seeked to sensitize the student to this issue and to seek "an ever-better understanding of the text."

Education

A.B. Pembroke College, 1956; Certificat de Langue et de Litterature Francaise, Ecole Superieure de Perfectionnement des Professeurs de Francais a l'Etranger, Paris, 1958; Translator, Universe Books, 1959–1960; M.A., Middlebury College (program in France), 1960; Universita degli Studi, Sienna, fall 1983; Universite de Grenoble, 1984; All language programs, Dartmouth College, summer, 1987; Vitesse Press, 1988–1989; Marlboro College, 1965–2008

Robert Engel • Biology

In an age of specialization, Bob acquired an unusually broad-based understanding of the life sciences. From the time he came to Marlboro from the University of California at Santa Barbara, in 1975, to his retirement in 2011, he taught courses ranging from general biology to tropical, marine and desert ecology, and from ornithology to comparative physiology and plant taxonomy. Bob is a strong believer in the liberal arts. "People who understand the history and aspirations of our own species and who can speak to and understand different cultures, will make the largest contributions as life scientists," he says.

Teaching Philosophy

Bob sees science as a way of knowing, a technique rather than a jumble of facts and figures. "The experiment is the method and the elegance of science," he says. "Good experiments are critical to the study of any system." He also believes that good biologists must be good naturalists; he eschews the sort of experimentation that isolates an organism from its environment. "I make sure my students are familiar with the biological environments of whatever they study, whether it be cells, organisms or ecosystems."

Scholarly Activities

When not in the classroom, Bob could often be found looking for a rare Vermont plant or animal. He has also found time to edit a cookbook for the local historical society.

Education

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975; Marlboro College, 1975–2011

Carol Hendrickson • Anthropology

Contact Info

ch@marlboro.edu

Plans Sponsored

  • A cross-cultural exploration of pregnancy and childbirth with a focus on flows of obstetrical knowledge, ethnographic writing and inter-subjectivity, based on research in Nepal. Cailin Marsden ’12, anthropology.
  • An interdisciplinary examination of the origins of violence in contemporary Mexican governance and public life. Scott Weaver ’12, Latin American studies.
  • An exploration of the effects and interpretation of history in modern West and North Africa, including field work in Chinguetti, Mauritania. Jeff Bristol ’09, anthropology and history.
  • A cross-cultural study of natural disasters drawing on the visual arts and social sciences, including an internship in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. Kaitlin Harding ’09, development studies and visual arts.

When she was not teaching popular classes like Ethnobiology and Senses of Place, Carol Hendrickson conducted field research on Maya identity issues in the central highlands of Guatemala as she did for more than 30 years. An expert on traje (Maya dress), her research focuses on the ways in which material culture non-verbally relates cultural meanings and provides insight into local understandings of ethnicity, gender, class, politics, national identity and global flows of information. In addition to using conventional field methods such as interviews, participant observation and photography, Carol advocates taking “visual field notes” as an important means for seeing—in the double sense of observing and understanding—in the field.

Teaching Philosophy

According to Carol, the study of anthropology is important "because it pushes us to see beyond ourselves.” In the classroom she wanted students to "learn to question our assumptions about our own world and come to understand people’s lives that initially might seem very different from ours." She also encouraged her students to study abroad because “learning is a total experience, engaging a person’s mind, body, emotions and social relations on and away from campus.”

Scholarly Activities

Carol's book, Weaving Identities: Construction of Dress and Self in a Highland Guatemala Town (University of Texas Press), was selected by Choice as one of the best new books in anthropology in 1995. With Edward Fischer she co-wrote Tecpán Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context (Westview, 2002), which is currently being translated for publication in Spanish. In 1999 Carol was awarded a coveted Fulbright-Hays faculty research grant for her work in Guatemala. In addition to her own research trips, she has participated in several Marlboro faculty-student field study trips, including one to Vietnam in 2005 and one to South India in 2007, both sponsored by a grant from the Freeman Foundation. In 2006, 2002 and 2000, Carol was a faculty member for the NEH Summer Institute on the Maya, and in 2009 she was a faculty member on a field study trip to China sponsored by the East-West Center and the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Carol has served on the board of the Maya Educational Foundation since 2005

Selected Publications

Education

B.S., Bates College, 1971; M.A., University of Chicago, 1979, 1983; Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1986; Marlboro, 1989–2015

Dana Holby • Dance

Dana did her early training at Juilliard, the Royal Ballet School in England, the Munich Opera Ballet, and the Boston Conservatory. After five years as a professional dancer, she turned her energies to an M.F.A. at Connecticut College where she was awarded a teaching fellowship. For five years she was head of the dance department at Middlebury College, where she founded the Middlebury College Dance Company and the Festival on the Green, before teaching dance at Marlboro.

Of Marlboro she says, "It is the ideal place for a dancer who also wants to work in other areas of the curriculum. For the same reason, there are wonderful opportunities for collaboration between theater, music, and dance faculty and students." Dana maintained a prolific level of creative activity while at Marlboro, turning out a steady stream of new dance performances, both at the college and in the southern Vermont community. In addition to her work at Marlboro, Dana founded and served as artistic director and choreographer for the Coincidance dance company and still supports artists’ endeavors as often as possible in the area.

Education

B.A., Boston Conservatory of Music, 1968; M.F.A., Connecticut College, 1975; Marlboro College, 1981–2008

Dana Howell • Cultural History

Plans Sponsored

  • A study of Czech and Soviet cultural identity in the 20th century through literature and film, including the relationship of socialist realism to Czech "new wave." Will Jenkins '10, cultural history and literature.
  • An exploration of cultural development and politics of truth, focusing on the Soviet Union, including a cultural history of socialist realism. Molly Bruce '09, political science and cultural history.
  • An investigation of the theory and ethnography of globalization and locality, including international field work and a paper on tourism in Senegal. Erin Cheever '09, anthropology.

A cultural historian with an area specialty in Soviet studies, Dana Howell came to Marlboro in 1985 to help build the new World Studies Program. She directed the program for five years, and helped Marlboro students, across the curriculum, take on internships all over the map. She also directed the first Marlboro Asia Project, with support from the National Endowment on the Humanities, and helped to add faculty in international studies. Dana taught area courses in Eurasian studies and courses on contemporary topics like war reporting, tourism and public culture.

Teaching Philosophy

In her classes, Dana looked at contemporary life through the lens of cultural traditions and history. "I'm interested in situations where people see their lives as part of large events and changes, where they are thinking about the connection to history," she says. "This must explain my fascination with Soviet and post-Soviet societies." Dana prefers using primary materials, which offer students an immediate exposure to cultural perspectives and invite further reading. "I like a recent comment by a British historian, 'I read until I can hear the people talking.'" Dana's international perspective allowed her to work with Plan students on a broad range of topics, from seafaring in Newfoundland to Japanese fashion. "I'm always surprised by the creativity of Marlboro students and the diversity in this small community."

Scholarly Activities

Dana's book The Development of Soviet Folkloristics addresses Soviet views of peasant and minority cultures. Since 2000, Dana has worked for the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute. She chairs the academic committee for OSI's Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching. "Our goal is to promote 'scholarly teaching' that engages undergraduate students and promotes democratic change in higher education in the post-Soviet region," Dana says. "It's exciting work with international scholars and young academics committed to innovation. It also lets me travel to pursue my research interests in historical tourism and cultural remembrances of war."

Selected Publications

B.A., Barnard College, 1970; M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1974; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1984; Marlboro College, 1985 –

Jerry Levy • Sociology

A sociologist interested in contemporary American society, Jerry has no shortage of experiences on which to base his perceptions. As a graduate student at the New School for Social Research, he undertook field work in a welfare center and a mental hospital before conducting a year of research for his doctoral dissertation in a poor Black and Puerto Rican school. From this work came his first book, Ghetto School, published in 1970.

At Marlboro, Jerry's courses Education and Socialization, and Social Class in America reflected his interest in contemporary American economic, political and social institutions. His course Sociology of the Arts was informed not only by academic research but by his own experience as a "serious amateur violinist." Likewise, his course on U.S. foreign policy was informed by his ongoing study of "how the United States relates to the rest of the world" and by his own participation in electoral politics.

Teaching Philosophy

"Books are like theories," says Jerry. "They give you ways of perceiving the world. Then you must look at the world yourself and weigh the books against your own experiences."

Education

B.A., University of Illinois, 1962; M.A., New School for Social Research, 1966, Ph.D., New School for Social Research, 1972; Marlboro College, 1976 - 2014.

Tim Little • History

As a graduate student, Tim specialized in English, Irish, and modern European history, areas in which his interest remained high while at Marlboro. However, he sponsored senior Plans on topics ranging from modern Japan to Imperial India. He was also a mainstay of the World Studies Program, having co-taught the introductory world history seminar, along with Dana Howell, for many years.

As first selectman of the college Town Meeting during the mid-sixties, as alumnus and trustee, as dean of students and dean of admissions for a total of seven years, and as a Marlboro faculty member, Tim has participated in nearly every phase of Marlboro life. In the early days, nearly all Marlboro students, but virtually no staff or faculty, lived on campus; therefore, Tim’s responsibilities as first selectman spilled over to include the morale and welfare of the entire community. He met the challenge skillfully enough to be appointed dean of students soon after graduation.

Education

B.A., Marlboro College, 1965; M.A., University of Rochester, 1973; Advanced Graduate Study, University of Rochester; Marlboro College, 1965–1967, 1974–2011

John MacArthur • Astronomy, Physics

A scientist of considerable stature, John taught physics at Marlboro for 40 years before retiring from fulltime teaching in 1988. He now returns to teach occasional courses in such topics as energy futures and global warming. Through the years John's broad interests have found expression in a wide variety of projects and inventions, and in courses that include all areas of physics, as well as astronomy (the Marlboro observatory bears his name) and mathematical ecology. On two occasions the Sloan Foundation awarded grants to Marlboro because a college so small could boast a physicist so distinguished.

Scholarly Activities

Trained as a solid-state physicist, John is also well-known for his work in astrophysics, energy studies and population biology. In 1956–57 he spent a sabbatical at MIT developing a working model of a solar cell. On another sabbatical ten years later, he researched problems of infrared photometry at the Catalina Observatory at the University of Arizona. He has also served as a consultant to several Vermont institutions and industries. With his late brother Robert MacArthur, the noted ecologist and a 1951 Marlboro graduate, John traveled to Panama to study tropical birds, collaborating in a groundbreaking study of island biogeography.

Education

B.A., University of Toronto, 1945; University of Chicago, 1946 - 1948; Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1953; Marlboro College, 1948–1988

Joseph Mazur • Mathematics

Learning mathematics at Marlboro is learning to spot the reflections of one course in another, Joe Mazur maintains. "One finds that a mathematical form that represents competition in an ecology course is often the same one that represents a chemical reaction or a knight's move on a chess board."

Joe liked to tell his students that the notice over Plato's academy—"Let no one unversed in geometry enter these doors"—was not some whimsical administrator's plan for a balanced curriculum but an example of the early understanding that mathematics and knowledge are inseparable. It is no accident, he says, that in Aristotle's time the word mathematics meant "any subject worthy of knowledge." This revelation often surprised students. But according to Joe's vision of mathematics, it is no surprise. "Mathematics does not exist only to serve science as a language," he claims. "The fact is, mathematics was an integral part of life. Today, too, it pervades everything."

Selected Publications

Joe is the author of several books, including Zeno's Paradox, Euclid in the Rainforest, and What's Luck Got to Do with it? Learn more about Joe's continuing publications on his personal web page.

Education

B.S., Pratt Institute, 1967; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972; Marlboro College, 1972–2003

Paul Nelsen • Theater

Plans Sponsored

  • An investigation and analysis of live action role playing games, supported by studies of theoretical models drawn from major thinkers in sociology and performance studies. Paul Vorvick '10, theater and sociology.
  • A study of theatrical and choral performance, including a production of Sara Ruhl's play Eurydice, incorporating selected, arranged and original live choral music. Lynn Mahoney '09, music and theater.
  • A study of therapeutic benefits of theater, acting and performance in clinical and educational settings, supported by field research drawn from an internship with the youth program, ActingOut. Kirsten Schrull '09, theater and psychology.

Paul Nelsen has extensive experience acting and directing at all levels, including more than 300 stage productions, from student efforts to professional Actors' Equity casts. Some representative directed works include King Lear, Antigone, Hecuba, Lion in Winter, Ubu Roi, Shadow of a Gunman, Dido and Aeneus and Dancing at Lughnasa. Paul has also directed several original scripts, industrial films and videos, as well as two national touring companies of A Peasant of El Salvador. He was one of 12 college professors featured in the 1995-96 Shakespeare in Performance Institute, sponsored in by the National Endowment for the Humanities at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. At Marlboro, Paul brought his wealth of experience into the classroom, where he taught on subjects relating to performance, performance history, and performance theory.

Teaching Philosophy

"I love the challenge of exploring how theater intersects with diverse territories of study," says Paul. "It draws together so many different areas of learning and experience, from the historical to the technological, from the pragmatic to the spiritual." He endeavored to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to expand and develop their artistic interests, whether it be through acting, directing, scriptwriting, designing, or dramaturgical analysis. To Paul, the discipline embraces "such a wide range of knowledge and skills that the study of theater represents in itself a pursuit of liberal education."

Scholarly Activities

Paul has published more than 80 articles and reviews in leading Shakespeare and theater journals and his essays are included in several books. Book reviews in Choice, the magazine of the American Library Association, include The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Drama, Michelle O'Callaghan's volume on Thomas Middleton, Renaissance Dramatist, Freddie Rokem's Philosophers and Thesbians: Thinking Performance (Cultural Memory in the Present), and Women as Hamlet by Tony Howard. He co-edited a volume of essays called Acts of Criticism: Performance Matters in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (Associated University Press, 2006). In 2008, Paul conducted manuscript assessment projects for Bedford St. Martin Publishers and Associated University Press, and he has served on the editorial board of Shakespeare Bulletin.

Since 1989, Paul has been director of London Theatre Seminars, biannual seminars that draw participants from all over the United States and Canada. Seminar sessions include interview exchanges with celebrated guest actors, directors, critics, and scholars as well as with seminar participants. From 1992 to '99 he served on the academic advisory board supporting the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, now a very successful arts enterprise in London, and subsequently on research advisory board for the Globe.

Education

A.B., Lafayette College, 1969; M.F.A., Brandeis University, 1971; Marlboro College, 1978–2013

Laura Stevenson • Literature, Writing

In Laura’s classes, students honed sentence-level skills, but they also develop analytical and creative abilities by reading widely and critically. The combination of skills is essential, she says. "If you can’t express what you want to say, it doesn’t matter whether you know it or not, but in order to express it coherently, you have to know what you mean—and there’s the rub."

Teaching Philosophy

"You can teach people not to write badly," says Laura, "but you can’t teach them to write well. Good writing is so closely attached to personal perceptions and thinking styles that once you’ve offered the obvious pointers, all you can is to provide encouragement and support—not to mention, faith—while students find their own way."

Scholarly Activities

A trained historian, author of Praise and Paradox: Merchants and Craftsmen in Elizabethan Popular Literature (1984), Laura taught humanities at U.C. Santa Barbara before coming to Marlboro. In the 1980s, when escalating deafness compelled her to give up her secondary avocation as a musician, she began writing stories for her children. Since then she has published four children’s novels—Happily After All (1990), The Island and the Ring (1991), All the King’s Horses (2001), and A Castle in the Window, (2003) – and collaborated on shorter works with Marlboro student illustrators. An NEH Research Fellowship in 1996-97 has resulted in several critical studies of late 19th-century children's literature. Most recently, she has published two novels for adults, Return in Kind (2010) and Liar from Vermont (2015). Learn more about her publications on Laura's personal website.

Education

B.A., University of Michigan, 1968; M. Phil., Yale University, 1971; Ph.D., Yale University, 1974; Marlboro College, 1986–2012

Jet Thomas • Religion

"The field of religious studies is as old as the history of mankind," Jet Thomas says. "Since the field of religion does not in itself constitute an academic discipline, the resources which must be brought to bear on the analysis of religious phenomena include all of mankind's intellectual life, from physics to aesthetics." From the ancient Sumerians to contemporary philosophy and theology, Jet's courses and tutorials explored questions of faith and knowledge, examining the nature of religion and the forms it has taken. "By and large, religious traditions are an ensemble of signs and symbols through which people experience the highest personal and cultural values," he says.

Jet studied and worked at Harvard for 11 years before joining the Marlboro faculty in 1973. From 1977 to 1985 he combined teaching with the responsibilities of dean of faculty. Jet has traveled widely in pursuit of his interest in world religions, including Nepal, India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Education

Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1957 - 1959; A.E.C. Intern, Oakridge, 1959 - 1960; B.A., William and Mary, 1962; B.D., Th.M., Harvard Divinity School, 1967; Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School, 1972; Harvard University, 1962 - 1973; Marlboro College, 1973–2005

Jim Tober • Economics, Environmental Studies

Contact Info

jim@marlboro.edu

Plans Sponsored

  • Rent seeking and economic methodology. Raven Hetzler '13, economics.
  • An interdisciplinary study of environmental management, with a focus on collaborative, place-based and adaptive planning, drawing on economics, environmental philosophy and policy studies. Isaac Lawrence '10, economics & philosophy.
  • An exploration of the contested relationship between public and private space in the U.S., with an emphasis on the contemporary urban environment. Pooja Patel '10, American studies & economics & politics.
  • A cross-cultural study of natural disasters, drawing on the visual arts and social sciences. Kaitlin Harding'09, development studies & visual arts.

Jim Tober’s comprehensive outlook on economics began when, as an undergraduate at Berkeley, he became fascinated with how societies organize their members for productive activity. Jim went on to make economics a vital element of interdisciplinary study at Marlboro, especially in the area of environmental studies.

Teaching Philosophy

"I like motivated, independent, curious, quick-witted students who appreciate the importance of disciplinary knowledge but who are attracted to the interesting questions that lie at the intersection of disciplines," says Jim. He organized his teaching around two broad inquiries: the first concerns the analysis and comparison of economic systems, their histories and development; the second addresses public policy and collective decision-making, especially as related to the natural environment. To help Marlboro students probe these issues, he offered the basics of micro- and macro-economic theory, as well as courses and tutorials such as Philanthropy, Advocacy and Public Policy, Topics in U.S. Environmental History, Environmental Economics and Policy, Who Owns the Land? and Decision-Making: Individual, Interactive and Collective.

Scholarly Activities

Jim’s long-term research on wildlife policy has led him to author two books: Who Owns the Wildlife? The Political Economy of Conservation in Nineteenth Century America (1981) and Wildlife and the Public Interest: Nonprofit Organizations and Federal Wildlife Policy (1989). His current research interests range from planning strategies among nonprofit human service agencies in rural Vermont to economic development in South Asia and the protection of global biodiversity. Several research trips, most recently to look at wildlife management in Namibia and study the nonprofit sector in Bangladesh, have enlarged his global perspective and informed his teaching.

Jim was instrumental in forming the first interdisciplinary environmental science program in the early 1970s. He worked with other faculty, including those at the graduate school, to offer a more broadly based, structured and vital area of study for environmental studies students.

Jim has been a longtime member (and former chair) of the Marlboro Planning Commission, which guides development decisions in the town. He was a board member of the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association during the acquisition of this town park property, and is now a member of the town commission governing it's management. These activities supported Jim's research and teaching on land use and environmental policy, providing practical, place-based case studies for students.

Education

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1968; Ph.D., Yale University, 1973; Marlboro College, 1973 –2015

Neal Weiner • Philosophy

Neal joined the Marlboro faculty in 1970, after being a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of Chicago and a Danforth Fellow at the University of Texas, where he did his doctoral work on Plato. His teaching at Marlboro placed special emphasis on the history of philosophy for, as he argues, "the study of history of thought stretches our minds so as to make us encompass possibilities of thought and action quite different from our own. Without understanding them, we cannot understand ourselves. But philosophy is not history. In the end, historical imagination must bow to relevance and simple truth."

Neal believes that these ideals are best realized in a classroom style that avoids formal lectures. He favored the close scrutiny of ideas in seminars where free give-and-take was limited only by students' ability to explain and defend their thoughts. His approach to philosophy is broad, and he taught political theory, literature, and psychology, as well as traditional philosophy courses. He helped design Marlboro’s Seminar in Religion, Literature, and Philosophy and published a book examining the ethical dimensions of the idea of mental health, The Harmony of the Soul: Mental Health and Moral Virtue Reconsidered (1993, SUNY Series on the Philosophy of Psychology).

Education

A.B., St. John’s College, 1964; B.A., University of Chicago, 1965; Ph.D., University of Texas, 1969; Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1964–1965; Danforth Fellow, 1965–1968; Assistant Professor, SUNY, Old Westbury, 1968–1970, Marlboro College, 1970-2007