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CAS - Ampersand E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

December 2015

Dean Lauren BentonDear friends of the College of Arts and Science:

Twice a week this fall, students gathered in Calhoun to learn K’iche’ Mayan, a language spoken by more than a million people in Guatemala. Vanderbilt Senior Lecturer Mareike Sattler simultaneously addressed students in the room and students appearing on two large monitors from classrooms at Duke and the University of Virginia.

The three universities have founded a new digital learning consortium to offer courses in less-commonly taught languages. In its first semester of operation this fall, Vanderbilt students enrolled in courses in K’iche’ Mayan, Haitian Creole and Tibetan – the last two taught by instructors based in North Carolina and Virginia, respectively.

Language study is an integral part of the Vanderbilt liberal arts curriculum. Students flock to majors and minors requiring advanced language proficiency. They pursue study abroad opportunities in droves. Their interest in language learning often goes hand in hand with deep engagement in the study of the literature, culture, politics and economy of regions around the world.

We celebrate the addition of the consortium courses in less-commonly taught languages as we carry forward Vanderbilt’s deep commitment to language study.


Dean Benton Signature

Lauren Benton

Melodores at White HouseMelodious holidays

Vanderbilt’s award-winning a cappella group, the Melodores, is having an extraordinary holiday break. On Dec. 11, the performers sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” for President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. Next week, the all-male vocal group shares its holiday sound on NBC’s The Today Show.

Elizabeth Zechmeister

Arts and Science in the media

Political science’s Elizabeth Zechmeister (pictured) co-authored an article in the Washington Post that explains how terrorist attacks can change opinions and elections. The Huffington Post has tapped religious studies professor Volney Gay to blog about psychology and religion. In his first two blogs, Gay explored ISIS atrocity propaganda. Media including NPR and MSNBC turned to Medicine, Health and Society’s Jonathan Metzl for information on mental health and mass shootings. On the science front, Phys.org, Gizmag and Space Daily talked to astronomy’s Keivan Stassun about a new gamma ray device that can be used to find gold and other elements on asteroids.

Ad for A&S items

F on paperThank you Professor Bell

A Facebook post about Vereen Bell, professor of English, emeritus, has engaged 197,200+ people, generated over 1,000 likes and inspired alumni recollections.

Charles KingNext big mogul

Entrepreneur Charles King, BA’91, leads Hollywood’s hottest startup, a media company producing entertainment for multi-ethnic audiences.

Nick MecakalskiStudent playwright

After trying on various majors, senior Nick Mecikalski chose the one that makes him most happy.

Dami Lasisi, Regina Andrade and Tenele DiaminiHult Prize@Vanderbilt

Three Arts and Science graduate students head to the next round of the Hult Prize’s $1 million social entrepreneurship challenge.

Water from tapNew major

Arts and Science’s new environmental sociology major is one of the nation’s first.

Ikard, Wcislo and Zeppos with Chancellors CupSaluting Wcislo

Alumnus Keith Ikard (left) and Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos surprised former Ingram Commons Dean Frank Wcislo with the 2015 Chancellor’s Cup. It goes to faculty who have contributed the most to student-faculty relations.


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Ampersand  |  Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science
301 Kirkland Hall  |  Nashville, TN 37240

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